Did the Jews kill Jesus?

No. Technically, Jesus was executed by the Roman authorities. His death by crucifixion might indicate that he was killed for suspicion of sedition, but the survival of his community speaks against this (the Romans were not fussy about mass executions when they suspected rebellious behavior). But in the NT, especially in texts stressing the separation of the Jesus followers from Judaism proper, Jews are often depicted as vindictive villains set on killing Jesus in order to strengthen the new identity of the emerging Christian community.

Theologically speaking, it should not matter who killed Jesus since most Churches hold that he died for the sins of the world, as part of the divine plan for humankind. However, since the reproach of deicide has and continues to lead to pogroms against Jews (Easter was always a precarious time for Jews), let me repeat it here: No.

For more on this, read Jeremy Cohen’s Christ killers: the Jews and the Passion from the bible to the Big Screen (2007).


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