The following are facts which are not disputed by most world-renown scholars and many religious leaders:
- Judea in the first century was a nation occupied by the Roman Empire. And, as in every occupation, a small number of citizens were employed by those in power. They worked as priests, moneychangers and tax collectors and shared the proceeds that they extracted from their fellow Jews with the Roman authorities.
- Although it is clear that Jesus opposed those Jews who worked for the Romans, references in the Christian Scripture indicate that all or most Jews were the enemy of Jesus. The New Testament does not explain that Jesus lived and died as an observant Jew and that he only was critical of those he believed to be exploiting or misleading his fellow Jews.
- The chief priest was actually appointed by Rome and held office only at the will of Rome. The Roman procurator even kept the chief priest’s vestments. If the Roman authorities became displeased with a high priest, he was deposed and a new one, a more agreeable one, was appointed in his place. In this sense, the chief priest cannot fairly be called a “Jewish” leader at all. Though always a Jew by birth, he gave loyalty only to Rome and did the will of Rome.
- If the Jewish authors of the New Testament had known the horrible consequences of their first century writings which blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus, they would have been more specific in explaining that there was an internal struggle among members of the Jewish community of that period. Clearly, the use of the word “Jew” in the exclusive sense as the enemy of Jesus represents a misguided, incorrect and destructive portrait of an entire people.
- There is strong evidence that many of the negative references about Jews were inserted many years after the Crucifixion, when the followers of Jesus were working to spread their message among Gentiles.
- It is a fact that some of the words in the New Testament have been used by people in power to arouse mobs, to burn synagogues and kill Jews in Europe (link to Martin Luther page)