IN  THE  HOUSE  OF  THE  HIGH  PRIEST #2


From  the  book  "The Trial and Death of Jesus"


by  the  late  Haim  Cohn  (Justice  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Israel)



With the high priest and the Sanhedrin so circumstanced, with Jesus awaiting trial early the next morning before the Roman governor and the people unaware of it, what more natural than that they should assume that, if they were looked to for leadership, the people would expect them to take some action to prevent the trial and the possibly or probably resulting crucifixion? If the trial and crucifixion of a Jew by the Romans were an affront to the Jewish people, the trial and crucifixion of an outstanding Jew, one of the people's favorites, were an outrage which the people would surely not suffer quietly; and it was essential that the leaders should be able to come forward and satisfy the people that they not only had no hand or part in the proceedings but, on the contrary, had done everything in their power to avert the tragedy. Now the only way in which the Sanhedrin could possibly prevent the putting to death of Jesus was to bring about either his acquittal or a suspension of sentence subject to good behavior. For an acquittal, Jesus had first to be persuaded not to plead guilty to the charges, and then witnesses must be found to prove his innocence. For a suspension of sentence, if he were found guilty, he had to be persuaded to promise that he would not again engage in treasonable activity. No other way was open to the Sanhedrin, because Jesus—as we saw—had been given into the high priest's custody on an undertaking that he would be delivered for Roman trial the next morning, and a breach of that undertaking would have resulted in the temple police, and maybe the Sanhedrin, being stripped of their powers and competences. Once duly delivered to stand his trial, Jesus must conduct himself in such a manner, and evidence be provided for him to such effect, that either an acquittal or, at least, a suspended sentence would in all probability follow.


COHN  MOVES  ALONG  WITH  HIS  FAIRY-TALE;  TO  HIM  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  THE  REAL  "GOOD  GUYS"  -  THE  ONES  ON  JESUS'  SIDE.  YOU  TALK  ABOUT  PIE-IN-THE-SKY  DREAMING,  AND  JUST  IGNORING  THE  CLEAR  GOSPEL  RECORD,  BUT  THEN  NOT  BELIEVING  THEY  ARE  INSPIRED,  YOU  CAN  THROW  OUT  WHAT  YOU  THINK  IS  MADE-UP  ACCOUNTS  -  Keith Hunt


It is true that the high priest might conceivably have done all this alone: have talked to Jesus himself and have himself sent out his emissaries to look for witnesses. Indeed, the Johannine tradition is that it was the high priest (or his father-in-law) alone who questioned Jesus that night. But the high priest, head, as he was, of a very rich Sadducean family, could rightly have been apprehensive lest his personal influence on Jesus might not be strong enough to assure a reasonable prospect of success if he worked alone. Moreover, he took the hazard of not only failing to impress Jesus, but of being denounced by him to the Roman governor as seeking to interfere with the due process of justice, a denunciation which Jesus would never have made of the Sanhedrin, but which, it is possible, he would have had little compunction about making of the Roman-appointed high priest. The high priest may also have reflected that this was a matter for which the whole Sanhedrin should bear responsibility, more particularly if the law-abidingness of Jesus thereafter had in any way to be vouched for. And it was no small or inconsequential matter for the Jewish authorities to talk to a prisoner in technically Roman custody and awaiting trial under Roman law before the Roman governor, to the end of procuring acquittal or suspension of sentence: it was a clear meddling with Roman justice, unjustifiable perhaps from the Roman point of view, but, as it would seem, indicated, nay, even required, from the Jewish, only because of the prevailing political situation, that is, the popular resentment of Roman occupation and oppression and the concomitant resistance. In other words, this was in the nature of a political decision and answerability for it had better rest on the Sanhedrin as a whole. The fact that opinions within and without the Sanhedrin may have been divided as regards the personality and teachings of Jesus may have been another reason why the high priest chose not to act alone in taking a stand in his favor. He might even have felt himself incompetent to determine, in his own discretion, to what lengths he had to go to save Jesus, the merit or demerit of Jesus' teaching being, at least formally, outside his personal judgment.


COHN  CONTINUES  HIS  SILLY  IDEAS  OF  THE  GOOD  NATURED,  "COME  TO  JESUS'  DEFENCE"  WITH  THE   HIGH  PRIEST  AND  SANHEDRIN  BEING  OH  SO  WONDERFULLY  GRACIOUS,  TO  COME  IN  THE  MIDDLE  OF  THE  NIGHT,  TO  TRY  AND  RESCUE  JESUS  FROM  WHAT  THE  ROMAN  COURT  WOULD  DO.  HE  ALSO  GIVES  WAY  TOO  MUCH  EMPHASIS  THAT  IT  WAS  ALL  ARRANGED  BEFOREHAND,  THAT  JESUS  WAS  TO  STAND  TRIAL  BEFORE  PILATE.  TO  COHN  IT  WAS  THE  ROMANS  BEHIND  ALL  THIS  ANIMOSITY  TOWARDS  JESUS,  AND  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS….WELL   THEY  JUST  LOVED  HIM  SO,  LIKE  ALL  THE  PEOPLE  DID.  AND  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  WOULD  SHOW  THE   PEOPLE  THEY  LOVED  JESUS,  BY  A  MIDDLE  OF  THE  NIGHT  MEETING  IN  THE  HIGH  PRIEST'S  HOME,  TO  ENCOURAGE  JESUS,  AND  DELIVER  HIM  FROM  THE  DREADFUL  ROMANS  -  Keith Hunt


Thus it came about that in that festival night all the members of the Great Sanhedrin were suddenly bade to proceed forthwith to the high priest's palace: there would be a trial, early the next morning, before Pontius Pilate, the governor; Jesus - the popular preacher who taught in the temple and attracted such huge audiences, the same man who showed such mind the other day in the temple bazaar—has been arrested on a charge, it seems, of treason or sedition; temple police have succeeded in abstracting him into their custody for the night; if anything is to be done to save him, it must be done at once; and there can be no doubt that we must do everything to save him— it is a matter of life and death, which we must attend to even at night and even on a festive day;70 please come at once! And they all came, every one, unfailingly.


THE  ROMANS  ARRESTING  JESUS  ON  TREASON  OR  SEDITION!!  WHERE  ON  EARTH  DOES  COHN  GET  THAT  FROM?  YOU  CAN'T  FIND  IT  IN  THE  GOSPELS.  JUDAS  DID  NOT  TO  GO  THE  ROMANS,  BUT  AGAIN  COHN  THROWS  THAT  SECTION  OUT  OF THE  GOSPELS,  AS  HE  DOES  OTHER  VERSES  AND  RECORDED  HAPPENINGS;  THEN  HE  COMES  UP  WITH  HIS   IDEA  THAT  IT  WAS  THE  ROMANS  WHO  REALLY  ARRESTED  JESUS,  TO  BE  TRIED  IN  THEIR  COURT  BEFORE  PILATE;  THE  JEWISH  SANHEDRIN  COMING  TOGETHER,  SO  KINDLY,  SO  HEARTFELT,  SO  IN  LOVE  WITH  JESUS,  AS  TO  WANT  TO  SAVE  HIM  FROM  THE  ROMANS.  TALK  ABOUT  TURNING  THINGS  UP-SIDE-DOWN,  BACK-TO-FRONT,  HAIM  COHN  HAS  JUST  BEING  DOING  IT…..QUITE  THE  ARTIST  AT  DOING  IT  FOR  SURE  -  Keith Hunt


The Gospels tells us that when they had assembled, the first thing was that they "sought false witness against Jesus to put him to death" (Matt. 26:59): that is to say, they had assembled to find him guilty of some crime and sentence him to death. But how could they do that by seeking "false" witnesses? To find him guilty, they would, one should think, have to seek true witnesses to testify against him! Not enough that the trial was prearranged and the death sentence predetermined; even the witnesses had to be "false," presumably to fill the cup of judicial perversion to the brim. 


BUT  WHY,  IF  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  THERE  TO  SAVE  JESUS  FROM  THE  ROMANS,  WHY  FIND  FALSE  WITNESSES  TO  BEGIN  WITH?  IF  YOU  ARE  TRYING  TO  SAVE  SOMEONE,  YOU  WANT  WITNESSES  WHO  ARE  GOING  TO  BE  ON  JESUS'  SIDE,  WHO  WILL  TESTIFY  HE  WAS  NOT  GUILTY  OF  TREASON  OR  SEDITION.  YOU  WANT  WITNESSES  WHO  COULD  GO  BEFORE  PILATE  TO  TESTIFY  THERE  WAS  NOTHING  IN  JESUS'  WORK  AS  A  PREACHER  OF  GOD,  THAT  WAS  ANYWHERE  CLOSE  TO  PLANNING  TREASON  AND/OR  SEDITION  AGAINST  ROME  -  Keith Hunt


In this as in many other respects, the author of the Gospel of Matthew outdid the author of the Gospel of Mark: in Mark we read that they "sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together" (14:55-56). 


THERE  IT  IS  IN  MARK….. THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  LOOKING  FOR  WITNESSES  THAT  WOULD  BRING  FORTH  SUCH  EVIDENCE,  SO  JESUS  COULD  BE  PUT  TO  DEATH.  THAT  DOES  NOT  SOUND  LIKE  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  LOVEY  LOVEY  TOWARDS  JESUS,  BUT  JUST  THE  OPPOSITE  -  Keith Hunt


Meaning that they sought witnesses, not necessarily false, but preferably true, but all that came forward and testified proved to be false, in that their testimonies did not "agree together." It seems that all the witnesses against Jesus had to be "false," so as to lay the foundations for subsequent allegations of judicial murder,71 but then the Gospels themselves proceed to found his conviction entirely on a confession of so-called blasphemy; the false witnesses—presumably because of their falsity—are discarded as instrumental in the verdict. 


COHN  ADMITS  THE  FOUNDING  OF  THE  CONVICTION  FOR  DEATH,  WAS  "ENTIRELY  ON  A  CONFESSION  OF  SO-CALLED 'BLASPHEMY.'"  BUT  JUST  A  MINUTE,  IF  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  TRYING  TO  SAVE  JESUS,  WHY  DID  THEY  END  UP  CONVICTING  HIM?  WHY  CALL  WITNESSES  OF  ANY  KIND,  UNLESS  YOU  WANT  SOME  WHO  CAN  CLAIM  BEFORE  PILATE,  JESUS  HAD  NO  SEDITION  OR  ANYTHING  IN  HIS  TEACHING  AND  MIND,  AS  TO  DESIRE  TO  OVERTHROW  ROME,  AND  PUT  HIMSELF  UP  AS  KING  -  Keith Hunt


On the face of the Gospel stories, the episode of the witnesses is completely unintelligible: Jesus himself had pointed out that he had always spoken "openly to the world" (John 18:20) and taught in the temple and in the synagogues "where the Jews always resort" (ibid.); "all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple for to hear him" (Luke 21:38); thousands must have listened to him teach and preach, and many of them could, without any great effort, be made available to testify exactly what his teachings and his preachings were.


Such could not be labeled "false" witnesses, nor would they have contradicted one another, because the sayings of Jesus had left an imprint on people's minds and would have been rehearsed countless times by and among them. Indeed, the specific "false" testimony recorded in the Gospels, namely, as to Jesus' words that he would rebuild the destroyed temple within three days (Mark 14:58; Matt. 26:61), actually appears to refer to an utterance by him in public in the temple (John 2:i9),72 and there is no reason why it should not have been accepted as true, for what it might be worth as incriminating evidence. It comes to this, then, that the Sanhedrin sought "false" witnesses to testify against Jesus, but could not find any; the witnesses appearing and testifying before it were true witnesses, but were proved false, because they would not "agree together"; and whether they were false or true, and whether they agreed together or not, no attempt was made to rely on their testimonies in any way; nor are we given any hint or intimation of the points on which they failed to "agree together," or the manner of their disagreement, or why it was that they were first "sought" and inexplicably abandoned in the end.


COHN  ADMITS  THE  WITNESS  ACCOUNTS  "ARE  UNINTELLIGIBLE"  -  IT  DIDN'T  MAKE  SENSE  TO  HAVE  THEM,  IF  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  THERE  TO  HELP  JESUS.  SO  BECAUSE  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  TRYING  TO  HELP  JESUS,  THE  GOSPEL  WRITERS  MADE  UP  THE  "FALSE  WITNESS"  SCENARIO   TO  MAKE  IT  LOOK  LIKE  THE  SAHEDRIN  WAS  AGAINST  JESUS.  BUT  IN  THE  END  JESUS  WAS  STILL  CONDEMNED  FOR  BLASPHEMY!  BUT  WHY  CONDEMN  HIM  FOR  ANYTHING  IF  YOU  LOVED  HIM  AND  WANTED  TO  SAVE  HIM  FROM  THE  ROMANS?  WHY  BOTHER  GOING  ANYWHERE  CLOSE  TO  ANYTHING  THAT  MIGHT  CONDEMN  A  PERSON,  IF  YOU  WERE  JUST  THERE  TO  DO  YOUR  UTTERMOST  TO  SAVE  HIM  FROM  THE  COURT  OF  ROME?  I  GUESS  COHN  JUST  THROWS  OUT  ANYTHING  THAT  WOULD  ROCK  HIS  IDEAS,  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN  BEING  SWEET,  NICE,  LOVEABLE  TOWARDS  JESUS  -  Keith Hunt


We shall accept it as a fact, and start from the premise, that the Sanhedrin which assembled that night in the high priest's house did "seek for witnesses." As we said, it could not, even at that time of night, have encountered any difficulty in finding a good number of people able and willing to testify about Jesus' public teachings and preachings. But it did not need any such testimony for its own information, or to have any specific allegation against Jesus proved or disproved: not only was there nothing of the kind against him before it, but its members can reasonably be presumed to have been familiar with his teachings, if only from hearsay. What the Sanhedrin needed was a finding that the witnesses who had come forward to testify against Jesus were false ones, men who could not be relied upon and who had not "agreed together": it was not that they were unreliable and untruthful—on the contrary, they presumably were truthful and reliable; it was that they had to be pronounced, formally and solemnly, as false witnesses. It was altogether irrelevant to what particular teaching or deed or saying of Jesus they would testify: it happened to be the destruction and rebuilding of the temple; it could as well have been any other of his prophecies or parables.


What mattered was that, to whatever item they would testify, they ought not to "agree together" so as to warrant a finding that they were "false" and unreliable.


The question whether, and to what extent, a witness is truthful and his evidence credible is, in every case, to a very large degree determined as a matter of impression and discretion of the trial judge or jury. If, that night, the Sanhedrin had indeed been resolved in advance "to put Jesus to death," nothing would have been easier than to find the witnesses testifying against him truthful and reliable and "agreeing together," and extract from their evidence a capital offense that would serve its purpose. But it simply does not make sense that, though resolved in advance "to put Jesus to death," it dismissed the witnesses testifying against him as "false," without even troubling to inquire whether their testimonies did or did not disclose a criminal offense. The inevitable conclusion is either that the Sanhedrin was not resolved in advance to put Jesus to death at all or that it did not dismiss the witnesses as "false," or that both these things were so: if it dismissed the witnesses as "false," it did so because it wanted to, and because, for its own true purpose, it did not need the evidence of any witness. The purpose was to provide Jesus with a judicial finding that all witnesses who had come forward to testify against him had been proved false and unreliable. Such a finding of the Sanhedrin was not, of course, in any way binding on the Roman governor; but there was always the chance that the evidence available against Jesus before the governor would not be strong and conclusive, in which case a Sanhedrial finding that witnesses against him had been forthcoming before the Jewish courts also and dismissed as untrustworthy might well turn the scales in his favor. The Sanhedrin could, in the circumstances, and in view of Jesus' popularity, be reasonably confident that Jewish witnesses would not volunteer to give evidence against him before the governor; there remained the possibility that Roman agents had overheard Jesus' speeches in the temple or in the synagogues, and, as against their evidence, there might be some force in the Sanhedrial finding that witnesses who had testified to some seditious content in those speeches had been proved false. The very fact that witnesses had come forward before the Jewish courts, too, to testify against him might raise the suspicion that Jesus was the object of persecution for private and ulterior motives, and the finding of perjury would strengthen that suspicion considerably.


A criminal court, under Jewish law, had to satisfy itself of the reliability of witnesses and of their "agreeing together" by directing to them certain questions which the law laid down, as, for instance, on what day, at what hour, and in what place the event to which they testified had happened. From the Gospel reports, it does not appear that any such obligatory examinations were conducted before the witnesses were found "false." If, being examined as to the date of a speech of Jesus to which they had testified, one gave one date and a second another, that would, in law, suffice for the rejection of the evidence of both, however irrelevant the date might appear to the issue whether the speech contained any illegal matter. All the same, the Gospel reports do not exclude the possibility that such examinations were duly conducted: "their witness agreed not together" (Mark 14:56) and "But neither so did their witness agree together" (14:59) presuppose some examination to find out whether or not the testimonies were inter-consistent. Anyhow, statutory examination of witnesses was not confined to the obligatory questions, and the more a judge pressed it, the better would it be. This power of further questioning is especially required in the case of witnesses who "agreed together" on the obligatory questions, for it would be easy for perjurers to have concerted answers to those questions ready in advance; it is really only by surprise questions that discrepancies are likely to be detected. In contrast to the obligatory questions, those put in supplementary examination are in the judge's discretion: he must choose the line that fits the demeanor and reactions of the individual witness under questioning, and he may draw from the way in which the witness behaves and reacts his own conclusions as to the truthfulness of the answers.74


COHN  GIVES  US  A  LONG  RAMBLING  DISCOURSE  ON  "WITNESSES"  -  FROM  A  LEGAL  COURT  FRAMEWORK.  ALL  MAYBE  INTERESTING  AND  EDIFYING  FROM  A  NORMAL  FRAME  COURT  PROCEEDINGS.  BUT  THE  SANHEDRIN,  WE  ARE  TOLD,  DESPITE  THE  ULTIMATE  USELESSNESS  OF  THESE  WITNESSES,  STILL  FOUND  JESUS  GUILTY  OF  BLASPHEMY!  AND  SO  UNDER  JEWISH  LAW,  THE  DEATH  PENALTY  COULD  BE  ENACTED.  COULD  BE  THE  VERSE  THAT  TELLS  US  THEY  FOUND  HIM  GUILTY  OF  BLASPHEMY,  COHN  THROWS  OUT  ALONG  WITH  OTHER  VERSES  OF  THE  GOSPELS.  BUT  THE  GOSPELS  BEING  INSPIRED,  THAT  VERSE  IS  THERE,  AND  CONTRADICTS  COHN'S  IDEA  THAT  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  THERE  TO  SAVE  JESUS  FROM  DEATH.  YOU  DON'T  MEET  TO  SAVE  SOMEONE  FROM  DEATH,  THEN  CONDEMN  THEM  FOR  A  CRIME  WORTHY  OF  DEATH,  AND  THEN  GO  BACK  TO  TRYING  TO  SAVE  THE  PERSON  FROM  DEATH  -  Keith Hunt  


That the Sanhedrin found that the testimonies of witnesses did not "agree together" is nothing extraordinary: many accused persons must have been acquitted for the same reason. But, contrary to the traditional thinking, there is no reflection, in a finding of this sort, on the witnesses: they may be perfectly honest people testifying in the best of faith, and the inconsistencies which marred their evidence may have been due to natural and unavoidable shortcomings of the human memory. To have all been found "false" proves nothing against the witnesses who testified against Jesus before the Sanhedrin, but it proves something in regard to the court. Whereas one court would use its power to pursue examinations to try to smooth out minor inconsistencies, as in modern "re-examination," so as in the end to find the witness reliable and convict the accused, another would do everything it could, in that use, to multiply inconsistencies, so as in the end to find the witness unreliable and acquit him. This, apparently, is what happened here: the witnesses all said of Jesus, "We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands" (Mark 14:58), without any discrepancy between their stories being reported, yet the court found that "neither so did their witness agree together" (14:59), though, on the face of it, that witness agreed perfectly. The court exercised a discretion: to attain its ultimate purpose, it found some natural and minor inconsistencies—which did not have to be reported—enough to reject the evidence as false. It does not matter whether, in exercising that discretion and making that deliberate and intentional choice, some of the members of the Sanhedrin were, perhaps, also anxious to reassure their own consciences that in fact no valid evidence was available to incriminate Jesus, or whether they only wanted to be able to certify and attest that the witnesses who had testified against him had perjured themselves.


IF  YOU  ARE  TRYING  TO  HELP  SOMEONE,  KNOWING  THEY  COULD  FACE  GRAVE  REPERCUSSION  FROM  THE  ROMAN  COURT,  YOU  WOULD  THINK  THEY   WOULD  HAVE  JUST  BEEN  INTERESTED  IN  THOSE  WHO  SPOKE  HIGHLY  OF  JESUS;  WHO  WOULD  HAVE  SAID  THEY  NEVER  GOT  ANY  INDICATION  IN  ANYTHING  JESUS  HAD  SAID,  TO  INDICATE  HE  WAS  PLOTTING  AGAINST  ROME,  TO  CAPTURE  THE  THRONE  FOR  HIMSELF.  IF  YOU  WERE  REALLY  WANTING  WITNESSES  TO  HELP  AND  MAYBE  APPEAR  BEFORE  THE  ROMAN  COURT,  TO  TESTIFY  JESUS  WAS  A  GOOD  CITIZEN  UNDER  ROME,  AHD  NO  SEDITION  OR  ANY  PLANS  TO  OVERTHROW  ROME,  YOU  WOULD  HAVE  DEARLY  WANTED  JESUS'  DISCIPLES  TO  HAVE  COME  FORTH,  THEY  WERE  WITH  HIM  FOR  3  AND  1/2  YEARS.  IF  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  TRYING  TO  SAVE  JESUS  FROM  WHAT  ROME  COULD  DO  TO  HIM,  THEY  COULD  HAVE  DONE  NO  BETTER  THAN  TO  USE  JESUS'  DISCIPLES.  BUT  WE  HEAR  NOT  ONE  WORD  OF  THIS  IN  THE  GOSPELS  -  Keith Hunt


While, under Jewish law, the admissible and reliable evidence of at least two eyewitnesses, and of two witnesses who had warned the accused of the punishability of his offense, was a sine qua non for any criminal conviction,75 under Roman law the nonavailability of witnesses did not suffice to warrant an acquittal: the accused could always be convicted of his plea of guilty,76 even where no witnesses were called or were forthcoming. Since the trial before Pilate would go forward under Roman law, it would not suffice to put potential witnesses out of action or impugn their credibility: it was much more important to dissuade Jesus from pleading guilty and so prevent his conviction upon his own confession. 


SO  COHN  NOW  PUTS  AWAY  THE  "WITNESS  STUFF"  AND  ZEROS  IN  ON  JESUS,  BECAUSE  UNDER  ROMAN  LAW  JESUS  COULD  BE  CONVICTED  BY  HIS  OWN  WORDS  -  Keith Hunt


Wherefore Jesus had not only to be instructed what and how to reply to questions which would be put to him in the governor's court, but also, and first of all, persuaded to cooperate with the Sanhedrin. We must assume that Jesus knew of his impending hearing before Pontius Pilate: if he had not known it before, his arrest by Roman troops could not have left him in any doubt. We shall also assume that he knew, or took it for granted, that the Sanhedrin had nothing against him, to put it at its lowest: if he had not been aware of that all along, the examination of witnesses in his hearing and the branding of them as "false" and unreliable must have removed the last doubt. But he was no less conscious of his own immense popularity and of the shaky posture of the high priest and the Sanhedrin internally as well as externally and well informed enough to make his own appraisals. He would not, therefore, have harbored any fancies that The Sanhedrin's attitude toward him was born of pure neighborly love: he would have guessed the egoistically political motivation behind it and naturally have weighed in his mind his own religious and messianic concerns as against general Jewish and Sanhedrial politics  His own  'religious and messianic concerns" may have included a resolute and preconceived expectancy toward his peril and ultimate fate in a trial before the Roman governor. And, on the part of the Sanhedrin, "persuading Jesus to cooperate" meant not only inducing him to plead not guilty and to promise Pilate to be of good behaviour but also - and perhaps mainly - making him forsake his own "religious and messianic concerns," insofar as they were incompatible with Sanhedrial sanctions: the Jewish leadership could not be expected to vouch for Jesus before the Roman governor unless he were ready and willing at least to bow to its authority and assure it of his loyalty.


MY  WHAT  REASONING  FROM  COHN;  THE  SANHEDRIN  IS  ON  JESUS'  SIDE;  THEY  WANT  HIM  TO  PLEAD  NOT  GUILTY;  THEY  WANT  HIM  TO  TELL  PILATE  HE  WILL  BE  OF  GOOD  BEHAVIOR. THEY  NEED  TO  HAVE  JESUS  ON  THEIR  SIDE  IF  THEY  ARE  GOING  TO  HELP  HIM  -  TRYING  TO  PERSUADE  HIM  NOT  TO  INCRIMINATE  HIMSELF  BEFORE  THE  ROMAN  COURT.  AS  COHN  PUTS  IT,  "THE  JEWISH  LEADERSHIP  COULD  NOT  BE  EXPECTED  TO  VOUCH  FOR  JESUS  BEFORE  THE  ROMAN  GOVERNMENT  UNLESS  HE  WERE  READY  AND  WILLING  AT  LEAST  TO  BOW  TO  ITS  AUTHORITY  AND  ASSURE  IT  OF  HIS  LOYALTY."  I  CHALLENGE  YOU  TO  FIND  ANY  SUCH  IDEAS  AND  WORDS  SPOKEN  IN  THIS  REGARD  IN  THE  GOSPELS.  TRY  TO  FIND  WORDS  LIKE  "PLEASE  PLEAD  NOT  GUILTY  BEFORE  PILATE."     "WE  ARE  HERE  TO  HELP  YOU."  "WE  ARE  ON  YOUR  SIDE,  WE  WANT  TO  SAVE  YOU  FROM  THE  ROMAN  COURT  AND  PENALTY  IT  MAY  IMPOSE  ON  YOU."  "WE  WANT  YOU  TO  SAY  YOU  TRUST  US,  ARE  FAVORABLE  TO  US."  WE  WANT  YOU  TO  SAY  YOU  BOW  TO  OUR  AUTHORITY  AND  ASSURE  US  OF  YOUR  LOYALTY,  THEN  WE  CAN  GO  TO  BAT  FOR  YOU."  "WHERE  ARE  YOUR  DISCIPLES,  CALL  THEM  TO  COME;  LET  THEM  ASSURE  US  YOU  HAVE  NO  SEDITION  AGAINST  ROME"  -  Keith Hunt


Jesus' loyalty and goodwill could not be established negatively by the absence of trustworthy incriminating evidence. It had to be established positively, out of his own mouth. Hence his interrogation by the high priest himself: its purpose was to persuade him to accept the Sanhedrin's authority and desist from dangerous pretensions.77


NOTICE  THE  LAST  SENTENCE!  THE  COMING  TOGETHER  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  TO  "INTERROGATE  BY  THE  HIGH  PRIEST  HIMSELF:  ITS  PURPOSE  WAS  TO  PERSUADE  HIM  TO  ACCEPT  THE  SANHEDRIN'S  AUTHORITY  AND  DESIST  FROM  DANGEROUS  PRETENSIONS."  IT'S  LIKE,  "WE  WANT  YOU  TO  PUT  AWAY  ANY  SEDITION,  ANY  IDEA  OF  OVERTHROWING  ROME,  ANY  IDEA  OF  BECOMING  KING  OF  THE  ROMAN  EMPIRE."  "WE  WANT  YOU  TO  SAY  YOU  ARE  LOYAL  TO  US."  "WE  WANT  YOU  TO  SAY  YOU  ARE  UNDER  OUR  AUTHORITY."  "WILL  YOU  BRING  FORTH  YOUR  DISCIPLES  TO  VERIFY  YOU  HAVE  AND  NEVER  HAVE  HAD,  ANY  THOUGHTS  OR  PLANS  TO  OVERTHROW  ROME,  AND  BECOME  KING  OF  THE  ROMAN  EMPIRE"  -  TRY  TO  FIND  ANY  WORDS  IN  THE  GOSPELS  THAT  COME  ANYWHERE  CLOSE  TO  ANY  OF  THIS  -  THEY  ARE  NOT  THERE  -  Keith Hunt


So long as the "false" witnesses testified against him, Jesus answered nothing, but "held his peace" (Mark 14:61; Matt. 26:63), though he was seemingly expected, and entitled, to cross-examine and rebut them. But since they were speaking the truth, his intervention would have been pointless. It was when the high priest started questioning him that he first reacted. Asked whether he was "Christ, the Son of the Blessed" (Mark 14:61), Jesus admitted that he was (14:62) and added:"and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (ibid, and Matt. 26:64). According to Matthew, the question of the high priest was in the following terms: "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God" (26:63); according to Luke, Jesus was simply asked, not necessarily by the high priest: "Art thou the Christ? tell us" (22:67). It has been shown that the references in Matthew to the "Son of God" and in Mark to the "Son of the Blessed" must be interpolations78 from a time when the dogma of the divine descent of Jesus had already been introduced into Christian belief.79 


COHN  BELIEVES  MANY  WORDS  IN  THE  GOSPELS  BY  SOMEONE,  WERE  ADDED  LATER,  NOT  REALLY  THERE  IN  THE  ACTUAL  LIFE  AND  WORDS  OF  CHRIST;  HE  DOES  NOT  BELIEVE  THE  GOSPELS  WERE  DIVINELY  INSPIRED  -  Keith Hunt


We shall, therefore, take as the true tradition that recorded in Luke, "Art thou the Christ? tell us," to which Jesus is said there to have answered: "If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God" (22:67-69).


SO  COHN  THROWS  OUT  THE  WORDS  MARK  AND  MATTHEW  GIVE  AS  NOT  THERE  IN  THE  ORIGINAL  MANUSCRIPTS,  BUT  ADDED  LATER  BY  SOMEONE  -  Keith Hunt


We do not know whether this was the sole question asked of Jesus by the high priest, or whether the high priest had questioned him before as to his teachings, opinions, and intentions in general, as would appear from John 18:19. If he had  the question recorded in the Gospels may have been the last of a series in a more prolonged examination; Jesus may have answered them specifically, in which case his answers seem not to have aroused any disdain; or he may have reacted in a manner similar to that reported in John: "I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? Ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said" (18:20-21). Be that as it may, his reply to the last question, "Art thou the Christ?," apparently led the high priest and the Sanhedrin to give up in despair. Before we inquire into the reasons why they did, let us consider the question and the reply themselves.


TO  COHN  THEY  GAVE  UP  IN  DESPAIR,  BECAUSE  THEY  DID  NOT  WANT  HIM  TO  INCRIMINATE  HIMSELF  BEFORE  ROME;  THEY  WANTED  TO  SAVE  HIM  FROM  ROMAN  PUNISHMENT;  THEY  WERE  ON  HIS  SIDE,  WANTING  TO  HELP  HIM  -  Keith Hunt


It has been said that the claim to be Christ, sitting at God's right hand in heaven, was an admission of blasphemy in Jewish law, amounting to a denial of the fundamental principle of monotheism which would not, ex definitione, brook a divine being besides God.80 But by asserting that, as Christ or Messiah, he would be privileged in heaven to sit at God's right hand, Jesus did not in any way infringe the oneness of God. It might be different if he had actually claimed to be the Son of God; but, as we have noted, any such claim put into his mouth by the evangelist must be rejected as a later interpolation.81 


YA  TO  COHN  SUCH  WORDS  WERE  ADDED  LATER  IN  CHRISTIAN  HISTORY  BY  SOMEONE  ELSE.  AS  THEY  SAY,  YOU  CAN  PROVE  ANYTHING  BY  THE  BIBLE,  JUST  THROW  OUT  WHAT  WOULD  NULLIFY  YOUR  THEOLOGY  -  Keith Hunt


According to what may be regarded as Jesus' own words, peacemakers "shall be called the children of God" (Matt. 5:9), and so "that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven," you must "love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (5:44-45). It is the great reward of doing good that "ye shall be the children of the Highest" (Luke 6:35). In the sense in which Jesus employed the metaphor "children of God," the terms "Son of God" or "Son of the Blessed" may also bear a purely allegorical as distinct from a biological meaning, and indicate the chosen rather than the natural son. In this respect, there would not be much difference between the Christ—or Messiah—and the Son of God: the Christ was chosen by God as His messenger or prophet. The Greek Khristos is a translation of the Hebrew Mashiah (Messiah), signifying the anointed. Not only the Messiah but all God's favorites are anointed, such as priests,82 kings,83 prophets,84 and even holy places and chattels.85 The anointing may be a mark of divine distinction, but it is a distinction conferred on human beings, and by its very nature not at all apt for divinity. It is a human being who is chosen by God to serve Him, or inspired by God to prophesy, or to whom God has revealed Himself, and it is a human being whom God would love as His son. That, in the original tradition, Jesus was a son of God only in this figurative sense seems to be borne out by his genealogy as recorded in the Gospels (Matt. 1:2-16; Luke 3:23-38).


COHN  DOES  NOT  BELIEVE  JESUS  EVER  CLAIMED  TO  BE  GOD,  OR  SON  OF  GOD  IN  THE  VERY  LITERAL  SENSE.  BUT  THE  GOSPELS  MAKE  IT  VERY  CLEAR  JESUS  DID  CLAIM  TO  BE  THE  VERY  SON  OF  GOD  IN  THE  LITERAL  SENSE;  BUT  COHN  REJECTS  THOSE  VERSES  AS  BEING  LATER  ADDED  BY  SOME  CHRISTIAN,  SOMETIME  LATER  IN  CHRISTIAN  HISTORY  -  Keith Hunt


As for the "Son of Man," that may simply be a translation of the Hebrew Ben Adam, meaning man (literally, "son of Adam," the first man), or the title by which God addressed some of His prophets, Ezekiel, for example, or an allusion to the Son of Man whom Daniel announced as arriving on the clouds of heaven and entering upon "a dominion which shall not pass away and a kingdom which shall not be destroyed" (Dan. 7:13-14) ,86 It has been pointed out that "Son of man" is a self-appellation used exclusively by Jesus and of himself.87


The Synoptists are themselves witnesses confirming this usage as a historical fact, as they never by any chance allow the term to glide into their own language. Even to the evangelists themselves it did not seem to be a regular messianic title. . . . Ignatius, Justin, Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Gregory of Nissa, Gregory Nazianzus, Cyril of Alexandria, Chrysostom, as well as Tertullian, Ambrose, Cyprian, Augustine, with one consent, though in variously conceived modes, have seen in this title a reference to the human side of the descent of Jesus.88


HE  WAS  THE  SON  OF  MAN,  FOR  HE  WAS  ALSO  BESIDES  BEING  DIVINE,  GOD  IN  THE  FLESH,  HE  WAS  MOST  DEFINITELY  FLESH  AND  BLOOD,  AS  IT  IS  WRITTEN,  TEMPTED  IN  ALL  POINTS  AS  WE  ARE,  BUT  NEVER  SINNING.  JESU  KNOWS  EXACTLY  WHAT  IT  IS  LIKE  TO  BE  HUMAN;  HENCE  AS  WE  ARE  TOLD  HE  CAN  BE  A  FAITHFUL  HIGH  PRIEST  ON  OUR  BEHALF  IN  HEAVEN  -  Keith Hunt


Speaking of himself as son of man, he desired to be known as son of a man: there could have been no clearer or better repudiation of any claim to divinity. When Jesus said to his disciples, speaking of himself, "that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins" "they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men" (Matt. 9:6-8), the specific reason for marvelling, and for glorifying God, being that not only God, but a human being, could forgive sins. It is true that the style "Son of man" in itself, and when Jesus uses it in speaking of himself in the third person, suggests that he regarded himself not just as a member of the human race like any other, but as the chosen one whom God "will make Lord of the world."89 He may have taken his cue, drawn his analogy, from the words of the Psalmist, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet" (Ps. 8:4-6).


The import of the term Son of Man, and the significance of Jesus using it of himself, may have interesting theological implications—and it is perhaps not surprising that it has provided generations of scholars with an inexhaustible subject of thought and research. For the purposes of our inquiry it is sufficient to state that the expression is simple and straightforward Hebrew (or Aramaic) of biblical provenance, and that the use of it, even in relation to oneself, was neither prohibited nor offensive—as, indeed, it is not in the spoken Hebrew of today.


The association of the Messiah with "clouds of heaven" or with a seat at the right hand of God was nothing new either, and no one using such a metaphor was ever suspected or accused of blasphemy. Moses went into the clouds   (Exod. 24:18); even the enemy shall come up as clouds (Jer. 4:13); and Daniel's "Son of man" came on the clouds of heaven (7:13). And the "Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Ps. 110:1). A minor altercation is reported in the Talmud between two illustrious scholars which throws some light on the manner in which "blasphemies" of this sort would be dealt with. Daniel had a vision of two thrones, on one of which sat "the Ancient of days," whose garment was white as snow, and his throne was like the fiery flame (7:9). Said one scholar: This was the throne of God, and the other, next to it, was the throne of David. He was rebuked by the second: How can you so profane God's holiness?90—suggesting that a mere mortal such as David would not be suffered or imaginable on a throne next to God's. The rebuke may or may not have been called for, but it did not diminish in any way the great prestige of the "profaner," nor would anybody have for a moment envisaged the possibility that any such "profaning" could be a criminal offense.


Even, therefore, on the assumption that Jesus uttered in front of the Sanhedrin the messianic declaration of the Son of Man, meaning himself, sitting at the right hand of God and coming in clouds of heaven (he had said much the same on earlier occasions: Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27) ,91 there was nothing either in the words themselves or in messianic claims or arrogations in general that would constitute an offense under Jewish law. Not only was there nothing criminal in his words, but there was nothing in his pretensions or pretentiousness that could, in reason, shock or scandalize his hearers.92


NO  BUT  CLAIMING  TO  BE  "GOD"  WOULD  CAUSE  AN  HUGE  OFFENCE  TO  JEWISH  LEADERS,  IT  WOULD  BE  BLASPHEMY…. AND  SO  THE  DEATH  PENALTY  COULD  BE  CALLED  FOR  -  Keith Hunt


We are told, however, that, upon hearing the words, the high priest "rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?" (Mark 14:63-64; Matt. 26:65). (The version in Luke 22:71 is: "And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth"; there is no mention of rending garments.) It is, indeed, a rule of Jewish law that, on hearing the divine Name desecrated, the court and the witnesses must rend their garments,93 and most scholars, not surprisingly, regard this gesture on the part of the high priest as the proper and prescribed reaction to blasphemy uttered in his presence. They do not pause to ask why it was only the high priest who rent his garments, and not also all the other members of the Sanhedrin present, for the rule of law applied equally to all and each of them.94 We may perhaps see in the lone act of the high priest a first indication of the fact, yet to be demonstrated, that it was not this rule of law which had here found its application.


THE  WORDS  MARK  AND  MATTHEW  ARE  VERY  CLEAR  -  IT  WAS  TO  THEM,  OR  THE  HIGH  PRIEST  -  BLASPHEMY;  BUT  COHN  PROBABLY  THROWS  OUT  THOSE  VERSES  IN  MARK  AND  MATTHEW,  AS  ADDED  LATER,  IN  CHRISTIAN  CENTURIES  -  Keith Hunt


We have seen that, under Jewish law, the capital offense of blasphemy is not, and at no time was, committed unless the holy and ineffable Name of God, composed of the letters YHWH (Yahweh), had been expressly pronounced by the blasphemer.95 The rending of garments—like capital punishment—follows the enunciation and desecration of this one and only divine Name alone; it does not follow any other reviling of God in which the Name was not spoken (Lev. 24:15-16), however bad the reviling be. The theory that the rending of garments, and capital punishment, had been justified by Jesus' use of the divine Name of "Power" (at whose right hand the Son of Man will sit) has been disproved by prominent commentators of the New Testament.96 In fact, the designation "Power" has been used of God only in post-biblical times: it was a Pharisaic device—apparently adopted by Jesus as a matter of course and of piety—to provide a non-sacred name by which God could be referred to in general conversation.97 Some Christian theologians have held that Jesus' blasphemy consisted in his reply to the high priest, "I am" (Mark 14:62), reasoning that the words "I am" (Ani Hu) are a divine name as holy and sacrosanct as Yahweh.98 It is true that God is said to have used this description speaking of Himself: "I am, and there is no god with me" (Deut. 32:39), and a prophet has also put it into God's mouth (Isa. 48:12). But that does not mean that any sacrosanctity attaches to the words as thus cited, nor is there any reason why they should, in this respect, be distinguished from the many other words that God is said to have used in speaking of Himself. Anyone conversant with the rudiments of Hebrew knows that the words Ani Hu, whether jointly or severally, are articulated hundreds of times in everyday speech—in fact, one cannot do without them; and to make their enunciation or profanation a capital offense is tantamount to rendering each single citizen, each day of the year, liable to the death penalty. That absurdities like this should have been propounded by scholars of repute goes to show how desperate were the efforts that they had to make to bring Jesus' words within the category of blasphemies under Jewish law. In the result, they all failed utterly.


AH  BUT  WE  HAVE  SEEN  ONE  GOSPEL  ACCOUNT  SAY  THEY  CALLED  IT  BLASPHEMY…. BUT  AS  WE  HAVE  SEE  COHN  WOULD  THROW  THIS  OUT  AS  BEING  SOMETHING  ADDED  TO  THE  GOSPELS  BY  SOME  CHRISTIAN  SOME  TIME  AFTER  THE  FIRST  CENTURY  PROBABLY,  TO  MAKE  IT  LOOK  LIKE  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  WERE  AGAINST  CHRIST,  WHICH  COHN  HAS  BEEN  TRYING  TO  SAY  THE  EXACT  OPPOSITE  -  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  FOR  FOR  JESUS  AND  TRYING  TO  SAVE  HIM  FROM  THE  ROMAN  COURT  AND  DEATH  -  Keith Hunt


Nor did Jesus commit the minor offense of reviling God without desecrating the Name. On the contrary, his boast of the heavenly distinctions that God would shower upon him, of his choice by God as the Messiah (the "Christ"), bespeaks his recognition and worship of God: so far from reviling God, he was invoking God's "power" and wisdom, and the heavenly distinctions to which he laid claim would be exiguous unless God were indeed the ultima ratio in perfection and insight. And the fact that he relied on God for his choice and election was—as we have pointed out—the most natural and common thing to do:99 he might have been regarded as an apostate or an atheist if, for his teachings and aspirations, he had relied on his own strength and not on God's choice and call; but his persistent and unfailing dependence on God, his invocation of God, attest piety and devotion, however mistaken and misguided his teachings or aspirations may appear to this or the other listener.


OF  COURSE  COHN  IS  CORRECT  THIS  WAS  JESUS'  VERY  NATURE,  BUT  THE  GOSPELS  MAKE  IT  VERY  CLEAR,  THAT  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  WERE  AGAINST  HIM,  AND  FINALLY  WANTED  TO  SEE  HIM  DEAD…. BUT  COHN  THROSE  OUT  THOSE  VERSES,  AND  WHATEVER  ELSE  MAKES  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  LOOK  REALLY  BAD  AND  EVIL  AND  VERY  MUCH  AGAINST  CHRIST  -  Keith Hunt


Some corroboration for the hypothesis that Jesus could not have been convicted of any offense because of his teachings and aspirations, or, in particular, of his claim to be the chosen Messiah, is to be found in the report of the trial of Peter, which, as we know, took place before the Sanhedrin about a decade later (Acts 5:26-39). Like Jesus, Peter and his disciples were pious and observant Jews and had a following among the people. But while Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, Peter taught and asserted that the Messiah had already appeared in the person of Jesus, which made his doctrine theologically much more prejudicial and dangerous than any personal aspiration voiced by Jesus. 


ABSOLUTELY  RIDICULOUS!  JESUS  SPOKE  VERY  PLAINLY  ABOUT  HIMSELF  AS  THE  MESSIAH,  AND  BEING  GOD,  SENT  BY  GOD,  THE  VERY  LITERAL  SON  OF  GOD,  BEING  THE  "I  AM"  -  DOING EVERYTHING,  MIRACLE  AND  TEACHING,  FROM  GOD;  MAKING  IT  VERY  PLAIN  WHAT  HE  THOUGHT  OF  THE  SCRIBES  AND  PHARISEES  AS  A  WHOLE,  AND  SO  EVENTUALLY  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  WANTED  HIM  DEAD  -  Keith Hunt


But Rabban Gamliel, "a doctor of the law" of high "reputation among all the people" (5:34), who was present at the session of the Sanhedrin, pleaded with his colleagues to "refrain from these men and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God" (5:38-39). Thus it came about that Peter was acquitted and left to continue his teachings. We shall revert to his trial in another context; for our present purpose we need only observe that Gamliel, a leader of the Pharisees and one of the most eminent scholars of his day, did not purport to fathom God's ways and choices; anybody professing to teach in God's name and to have been graced with divine inspiration must be free to do so, and in due course of time it will emerge whether it had truly been God who had inspired him. 


ONE  MAN  DOES  NOT  SPEAK  FOR  ALL  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  AND  THEIR  MIND-SET  TOWARDS  JESUS  OR  HIS  DISCIPLES  -  Keith Hunt


Had the Sanhedrin seen, in the messianic teachings or aspirations of Jesus, any blasphemy or idolatry or false prophecy or any danger to the public peace or the established faith, it would certainly not have failed in its duty to administer justice and uphold the law—against Jesus and Peter alike. But in the case of Peter it was content to leave the matter in the hands of God, because it could not, and would not, exclude the possibility that Jesus had, indeed, been divinely inspired. It has been sagely remarked that this Sanhedrial decision, on Gamliel's plea, may have been among the first precedents for the relatively modern, but still widely unheeded, rule that no one is to be punished merely for expressing unpolitic or unorthodox opinions.100 The rule may not, at that time, have been required to protect individual views for which the proponents did not claim divine authority; if it was required, it was for people who dared to challenge orthodox tenets and established religion on the purported authority of divine call and afflatus, for it was only God's backing that would render their sermons worth listening to.


There is no valid reason to doubt that the same Gamliel who persuaded the Sanhedrin in Peter's case was present and prominent also during the meeting at night in the high priest's house, when Jesus stood before it. To regard the outcome of the "trial" of Jesus that night as proof of Gamliel's absence appears to be in the nature of a petitio principii; but there are scholars who, on the one hand, agree that he could not have found Jesus guilty and would very much like to know what he would have said or done had he been present,101 but, on the other, take Jesus' conviction by the Sanhedrin for granted, notwithstanding the undoubted presence and concurrence of judges of Gamliel's school of thought. 


THE  MAJORITY  OFTENN  RULES…. THE  GOSPEL  ACCOUNTS  MAKE  IT  CLEAR  JESU  WAS  CONDEMNED  BY  THE  SANHEDRIN  THAT  NIGHT  -  Keith Hunt


Had Gamliel, in the trial of Peter, vented only an individual opinion, a discussion would presumably have ensued, with some members relying on the stand of Gamliel or other Pharisaic scholars in the matter of Jesus a few years earlier, if indeed any Pharisaic scholar had then taken such a stand. Gamliel, however, certainly did not: he gave authoritative expression to what must have been a matter of general consensus that God's way and choices are unfathomable to men, and that, however much this way of choice may contradict that way or choice, both may be the "words of the one living God."102 Thus, whether or not Gamliel himself was there to speak in the case of Jesus also, his opinion and manner of thinking were most certainly well represented, so that there is, again, no cause to infer that he may not himself have been present that night, too. Nor is there any ground for the assumption that had Jesus actually stood trial that night, the outcome would have been different from that of Peter's. The fact is that he stood no trial and was not convicted. No blasphemy was charged, no blasphemy occurred: God's holiness was unimpaired, the holy Name was undefiled. 


Why, then, did the high priest rend his garments?


NO  NOT  AT  ALL!  THE  GAMLIEL  STUFF,  IS  NOT  IMPORTANT;  HE  IS  NOT  MENTIONED  AS  SUPPORTING  JESUS;  IF  THE  GOSPEL  WRITERS  HAD  IT  ALL  WRONG,  SURELY  SOMEWHERE  THE  TRUE  EVIDENCE  WOULD  BE  PRESERVED,  SAY  BY  PEOPLE  LIKE  JOSEPHUS  THE  JEWISH  HISTORIAN.  COHN  SAYS  "HE  STOOD  NO  TRIAL  AND  WAS  NOT  CONVICTED"  -  THE  GOSPELS  SAY  THE  OPPOSITE,  IF  YOU  DO  NOT  THROW  ANY  OF  THE  VERSES  OR  PASSAGES  OUT,  BY  CLAIMING  THEY  WERE  ADDED  LATER  BY  CHRISTIANS  DOWN  THE  LINE  -  Keith Hunt


The easiest way to unravel the riddle, as with most problems arising out of the Gospel reports, is to dismiss the whole incident of the rending of the high priest's garments as unhistorical. The authors of the Gospels of Luke and of John have already shelved it, apparently regarding the traditions of Mark and Matthew as unreliable. 


SEE  WHAT  HAPPENS  WHEN  YOU  DO  NOT  READ  ALL  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT;  YOU  CAN  COME  UP  WITH  IDEAS  LIKE  ABOVE;  LUKE  AND  HOHN  BECAUSE  THEY  DID  NOT  RECORD  IT,  THEY  ARE  SAID  TO  HAVE  DEBUNKED  IT,  AS  NOT  TRUE  OR  NO  WAY  OF  KNOWING  IF  IT  WAS  TRUE.  BY  NOT  READING  WHERE  PAUL  SAID  THE  SCRIPTURES  WERE  GOD  BREATHED - INSPIRED - YOU  CAN  PIT  THIS  MAN  AGAINST  THAT  MAN,  AND  AS [SO TAUGHT] THIS GOSPEL  WAS  WRITTEN  LATER  THAN  THAT  GOSPEL [SO  TAUGHT]  THE  LATER  GOSPEL  IS  MORE  CORRECT  THAN  THE  EARLIER  ONE….. SO  OUT  THIS  GOES,  OR  OUT  THAT  GOES;  CHOP  UP  THE  BIBLE  AND  DO AWAY  WITH THIS  VERSE  OR  THAT  PASSAGE.  IT'S  LIKE  THE  GUY  WHO  LEFT  CHURCH,  THE  PASTOR  SAYING  GOODBYE  TO  HIM  AT  THE  DOOR.  "WHY"  SAYS  THE  PASTOR, "YOU  ONLY  HAVE  THE  COVERS  OF  YOUR  BIBLE."  THE  MAN  REPLIED,  "YA,  PASTOR,  WHENEVER  YOU  SAID  THIS  SECTION  WAS  DONE  AWAY  WITH,  I  TORE  IT  OUT."


But I think that the Marcan version lends itself to a reasonable and satisfactory explanation, and it will be seen that it falls neatly into place, and is not without significance, in the sequence of events that night. It is an ancient and well-known Jewish custom to rend one's garments as a sign of grief,103 not only on the death of a kinsman or other beloved person, or on suffering calamity or serious misfortune, but also on hearing any bad news, as, for instance, on the outbreak of war.104 If the high priest rent his garments that night, it was because of his grief not to be able to make Jesus see his point, his anguish that Jesus ostensibly refused to cooperate and was moving stubbornly toward his disastrous fate, and, not least, that Roman oppression would claim another Jewish victim, with all the consequences that might flow from Roman killing of a man of Jesus' standing and popularity. 


OH  THE  LOVEY,  SWEET,  KIND,  ALTRUISTIC,  HIGH  PRIEST  AND  SANHEDRIN,  THEY  JUST  WANTED  TO  HELP  JESUS  SO  MUCH;  IT  WAS  BREAKING  THEIR  HEART  THAT  HE  WAS  NOT  CO-OPERATING.  THEY  WERE  SO  UPSET,  IN  ANGUISH  OF  MIND,  THAT  HE  WAS  ACTING  STUBBORN  ENOUGH,  TO  GET  TO  THE  ROMAN  COURT  OF  PILATE,  AND  INCRIMINATE  HIMSELF  TO  DEATH.  I  MEAN  THE  POOR  HIGH  PRIEST  WAS  SO  BESIDE  HIMSELF,  HE  WAS  PRACTICALLY  CRYING  FOR  GRIEF,  AND  JUST  HAD  TO  SHOW  IT  BY  REND  HIS  GARMENTS  -  MY  TONGUE  IS  IN  MY  CHEECK  -  Keith Hunt


His declaration before the Sanhedrin that he was the Messiah (the "Christ"), while it was not a criminal offense, amounted to a rejection by Jesus of the offer made to him by the high priest and the Jewish leadership: cooperation between them would be possible only if they would accept his assertion and recognize his claim. This, of course, they could not and would not do, not only because they did not believe in him, and would have regarded their submission to his authority as a dereliction of duty and a transgression of law, but also because Sanhedrial recognition of the messianic pretensions of Jesus would surely have meant, in the eyes of the people as well as of Pilate, a confirmation of the very charges of which Jesus stood accused before the Roman authorities. So far from agreeing to abstain thenceforth from activity that might bring him into conflict with the powers-that-be, he reasserted his messianic mission and insisted on its fulfillment; he would not bow to the authority or accept the guidance of the Sanhedrin. It was no blasphemy which made the high priest rend his garments, but the failure of his efforts to bring Jesus to reason and save him from his doom—and a foreboding of the catastrophic aftermath.


OH  YES  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  THERE  THAT  NIGHT  TO  RESCUE  HIM  FROM  HIMSELF.  THEY  JUST  HAD  TO  GET  HIM  TO  HONOR  THE  SANHEDRIN,  TO  SEE  THEIR  WONDERFUL  SELFLESS  SPIRIT;  THEY  HAD  ALL  COME  OUT  IN  THE  MIDDLE  OF  THE  NIGHT,  ON  PASSOVER  OF  THE  14TH,  TO  DO  THEIR  BEST  TO  GET  JESUS  TO  CO-OPERATE  WITH  THEM,  AND  THEIR  TRYING  TO  SAVE  HIM  FROM  ROME  AND  A  GOOD  LIKELIHOOD  OF  DEATH.  IT  WAS  NOT  "BLASPHEMY"  THAT  MADE  THE  HIGH  PRIEST  REND  HIS  GARMENTS  [THE  GOSPELS  SAY  IT  ACTUALLY  WAS]  -  BUT  IT  WAS  THE  FAILURE  OF  THE  HIGH  PRIEST  IN  HIS  EFFORTS  TO  REASON  WITH,  AND  SAVE  HIM  FROM  HIS  DOOM,  A  FOREBODING  OF  THE  CATASTROPHIC  AFTERMATH…..THE  SANHEDRIN  ACCORDING  TO  COHN,  WAS  SO  WONDERFUL,  THEY  LOVED  JESUS  AS  DID  THE  POPULACE,  AND  JUST  WANTED  HIM  TO  LIVE  AND  NOT  FACE  THE  ROMAN  DEATH  PENALTY.  YOU  TALK  ABOUT  CALLING  BLACK,  WHITE,  AND  WHITE  BLACK;  COHN READS  THE  GOSPELS  WHILE  STANDING  ON  HIS  HEAD  -  UPSIDE  DOWN  -  Keith Hunt


But it was only the high priest who rent his garments: there was no conviction for blasphemy, no desecration of the holy Name, and so no legal duty of rending, nor were the others present under any obligation to follow the high priest's example.105 


JUST  BECAUSE  OTHERS  DID  NOT  REND  THEIR  GARMENTS,  DOES  NOT  MEAN,  THEY  WERE  LOVING  JESUS  AND  ALSO  GRIEF  STRICKEN  AT  WHAT  HE  COULD  FACE  BEFORE  PILATE.  THE  WHOLE  THING  WAS  SUCH  A  SHAM,  THEY  WERE  PROBABLY  JUST  STRICKEN  WITH  SHOCK  AND  FROZEN,  WITH  WHAT  JESUS  WAS  CLAIMING  FOR  HIMSELF  -  Keith


That the rending of his garments is almost conclusive evidence of the high priest's grief - if it was not just formal compliance with a ritualistic prescript—cannot be seriously contested; 


IT  CANNOT  SERIOUSLY  BE  CONTESTED!  JUST  BECAUSE  THIS  SUPREME  COURT  OF  ISRAEL  GUY  SAY  IT,  DOES  NOT  MAKE  IT  TRUE.  THE  MAN CAN'T  EVEN  READ  THE  PLAIN  WORDS  OF  THE  GOSPEL  WRITERS;  WHY  A  9  YEAR  OLD  COULD  AND  COME  UP  WITH  THE  PLAIN  TRUTH,  BUT  THIS  "EDUCATED"  COHN  MAN,  HE  SO  MIXED  UP  WITH  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  MENTAL  ATTITUDE  OF  MOST  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN,  HE  CAN'T  SEE  THE  FOREST  BECAUSE  OF  THE TREES  -  Keith Hunt


but if—as the protagonists of the Jewish Trial Theory maintain- it was his purpose, in interrogating Jesus, to extract a confession, then, according to the Gospel reports, he had accomplished that purpose easily. What cause had he, therefore, for any grief?106 


COHN  ADMITS  THE  GOSPEL  WRITERS  ACCOMPLISHED  TO  MAKE  IT  APPEAR  THAT  THEY  GOT  A  CONFESSION  IN  INTERROGATING  JESUS;  SO  INDEED  WHY  THE  GRIEF  FROM  THE  HIGH  PRIEST? - Keith Hunt


The cause can be understood at once if we assume that the last thing that he desired was to extract a confession; on the contrary, he wanted Jesus to give up his messianic aspirations or at least keep silent about them: he got exactly the contrary of what he wished, and hence had reason to mourn. 


NOTE  THE  USE  OF  "ASSUME"  -  COHN  ASSUMES,  THE  REASON  FOR  THE  HIGH  PRIESTS  GRIEF,  IS  THAT  HE  WANTED  JESUS  TO  "GIVE  UP  HIS  MESSIANIC  ASPIRATIONS,  OR  LEAST  KEEP  SILENT  ABOUT  THEM"  -  HE  GOT  "EXACTLY  THE  CONTRARY  OF  WHAT  HE  WISHED,"  SO  JUST  HAD  TO  MOURN.  THE  HIGH  PRIEST  AND  SANHEDRIN,  THEY  WERE  THERE  TO HELP  JESUS  LIVE  NOT  DIE.  OH  THEY  WERE  SO  SAD,  SO  UPSET,  THEIR  ALTRUISTIC  LOVE  FOR  JESUS,  WAS  GETTING  THEM  NOWHERE.  YOU  CAN  SEE  IT,  "OH  WHY,  OH  WHY,  DON'T  YOU  LET  US  HELP  YOU;  WE  LOVE  YOU,  WE  KNOW  THE  PEOPLE  OF  JUDAH  LOVE YOU,  WE  ARE  HERE  IN  THE  MIDDLE  OF  THE  NIGHT  TO  DESIRE  YOU  TO  PUT  AWAY  MESSINAIC  ASPIRATIONS  THAT  COULD  LEAD  YOU  TO  THE  ROMAN  DEATH  SENTENCE.  WE  ARE  FOR  YOU,  WE  ARE  ON  YOUR  SIDE"…….. MOURN,  MOURN,  TEARS  DROPPING…… OUT  OF  LOVING  DESPERATION  FROM  THE  HIGH  PRIEST,  BEING  SO  SORRY  HE  COULD  NOT  GET  JESUS  TO  SEE  COMMON  SENSE,  HE  JUST  WITH  GREAT  ANGUISH,  RENT  HIS  GARMENTS………MY  TONGUE  IS  IN  MY  CHEEK  AGAIN  -  Keith Hunt 



If we take into consideration the trouble to which he had gone, ordering temple police to seek the custody of Jesus, calling the full membership of the Great Sanhedrin into his own palace, and devoting the whole festive night to frantic efforts in behalf of Jesus, we cannot be surprised at his total disappointment and despair when he saw that everything had been in vain.


COHN  GOES  BACK  TO  HIS  WHOLE  PICTURE;  THE  SANHEDRIN  HAD  REALLY  PUT  THEMSELVES  OUT,  GETTING  UP  IN  THE  MIDDLE  OF  THE  NIGHT;  BARGAINING  WITH  THE  ROMANS  TO  HAVE  TEMPLE  POLICE  THERE  AMONG  ROMAN  MILITARY  TO  ARREST  JESUS,  SO  THEY  COULD  THEN  BE  GIVEN  THE  CHANCE  BY  THE  ROMANS  FOR  THE  SANHEDRIN  TO  MEET  WITH  JESUS,  AND  TRY  AND  TALK  SOME  SENSE  INTO  HIM;  TO  GET  HIM  TO  HONOR  THE  WISHES  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN,  TO  NOT  INCRIMINATE  HIMSELF  BEFORE  THE  ROMAN  COURT.  THEY  WERE  FRANTIC  ABOUT  THIS,  THEY  WERE  EVEN  WILLING  TO  DO  IT  ON  A  FESTIVAL  NIGHT.  THEY  LOVED  JESUS,  KNEW  THE  PEOPLE  LOVED  HIM,  AND  THEY  SO  WANTED  TO  SAVE  HIM  FROM  DEATH,  THAT  THE  ROMANS  MIGHT  HAND  OUT  TO  HIM.  THE  HIGH  PRIEST  WAS  IN  TOTAL  DESPAIR,  GRIEF  WAS  OVERWHELMING,  HE  JUST  HAD  TO  REND  HIS  GARMENTS,  BECAUSE  JESUS  WOULD  NOT  ACCEPT  THE  SANHEDRIN'S  KINDNESS  AND  LOVE  FOR  HIM  -  Keith Hunt


While others present did not rend their garments, there is, in the Gospel reports, some backing for the surmise that they may have given vent to their indignation and disillusionment in different, less civilized, ways. 


WE  SHALL  SEE  COHN  THINK  WHAT  HE  TALKS  ABOUT  NEXT  IS  "LESS  CIVILIZED  WAYS"  BUT  STILL  JUST  SHOWING  THEIR  FRUSTRATION,  SORROW,  SADNESS,  IMPATIENCE,  WITH  JESUS  NOT  ACCEPTING  THEIR  LOVING  KINDNESS,  BY  HONORING  AND  FOLLOWING  THE  SANHEDRIN,  IN  THEIR  EFFORT  TO  GET  JESUS  TO  ABANDON  HIS  BRASHFULNESS  THAT  WOULD  SURELY  GET  HIM  INTO  HOT  WATER  WITH  PILATE  AND  THE  ROMAN  COURT  -  Keith Hunt

 

According to one version, they "did spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands" (Matt. 26:67); according to another, "some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him; and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands" (Mark 14:65). A third has it that it was "the men that held Jesus," that is, presumably, the temple police, who "mocked him and smote him, and when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face" (Luke 22:63-64). The most probable story of all, however, if we must assume that Jesus was, in fact, bodily assaulted, is that of the Fourth Gospel, that one of the Jewish officers "struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?" And Jesus' reply, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?" (John 18:22-23), lends both the question, with the accompanying violence, and the response a very authentic flavor. 


NOTICE  COHN  "THE  MOST  PROBABLE  STORY  OF  ALL,  HOWEVER,  IF  WE  MUST  ASSUME  THAT  JESUS  WAS,  IN  FACT,  BODILY  ASSAULTED,  IS  THAT  OF  THE  FOURTH  GOSPEL…."  COHN  PUTS  DOUBT  IN  HIS  AND  YOUR  MIND,  TO  ACCEPT  THE  SYNOPTIC  GOSPELS  ACCOUNT;  NOT  BELIEVING  THE  GOSPELS  ARE  DIVINELY  INSPIRED,  HE  CAN  QUESTION  JUST  ABOUT  ANYTHING  IN  THEM,  AS  TO  BEING  TRUE,  AND  NOT  SIMPLY  MADE  UP  FOR  DRAMATIC  EFFECT  AND  TO  SLANT  A  CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY  AGAINST  THE  JEWS  -  Keith Hunt


But let us say that, following Jesus' "confession" and the final conclusions to which the members of the Sanhedrin were driven by it, some of them actually exploded in fisticuffs, or servants or other bystanders reacted violently. In a more sophisticated and less turbulent society, people might have turned away in silence and disgust or, at most, used strong words. But in those tumultuous days in an enemy-occupied Jerusalem, people may not always have been as self-controlled and disciplined as that. And after a nerve-racking night, which each and all of them would rather have spent in celebrating, or in preparing for, the feast at home and in the temple, or in slumber, than in trying to persuade Jesus to accept their authority and be saved from his fate, 


AGAIN  WE  CLEARLY  SEE  WHAT  COHN  THINKS  THE  SANHEDRIN WERE  TRYING  TO  DO  -  SAVE  JESUS;  HAVE  HIM  ACCEPT  THEIR  AUTHORITY  AND  BE  SAVED  FROM  HIS  FATE  WITH  THE  ROMAN  COURT  -  Keith Hunt


the anger and frustration which took hold of them could not easily, in every individual case, be confined within civilized limits. Had a sentence of death been pronounced against Jesus by the Sanhedrin that night, as reported in Mark 14:64, 


MARK  WAS  INSPIRED  TO  GIVE  US  THE  TRUTH  IN  PLAIN  EASY  TO  UNDERSTAND  WORDS,  BUT  COHN  WOULD  DISMISS  THIS  AS  ADDED  LATER  BY  ANTAGONISTIC  CHRISTIANS  WITH  JEWS,  AT  THE  END  OF  THE  FIRST  CENTURY  OR  LATER  -  Keith Hunt


any impatience with his obduracy that might have incensed any member of the court would have found its quick release in the carrying out of the sentence: it is virtually inconceivable, and, of course, highly improper, for a judge to raise his hand against a prisoner in the dock. The biblical prescript "Love thy neighbour as thyself" (Lev. 19:18) was interpreted as an exhortation to judges to make as light and fair as humanly possible the last hours of a prisoner sentenced to death;107 and not only judges were forbidden even to lift a finger to strike another man.108 But, if it be true that the Sanhedrin did not, that night, pass any death sentence, (IT  IS  NOT  TRUE,  FOR  THEY  DID  INDEED  PASS  A  DEATH  SENTENCE  ON  JESUS  AS  MARK  RECORDS  -  Keith Hunt) the ineffectuality, after a long and tiring vigil, of the desperate efforts to bring Jesus to reason, and agonizing thoughts of impending and now probably unavoidable tragedy, might well have robbed the more passionate judges and bystanders of their last traces of self-restraint.


AGAIN  WE  SEE  COHN  TRYING  TO  TELL  US  WHAT  HE  CLAIMS  IS  THE  REAL  STORY  AND  TRUTH  ABOUT  THAT  NIGHT,  AND  THE  BENEVOLENT  EFFORTS  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN  TO  RESCUE  JESUS  FROM  HIMSELF,  AND  FROM  THE " IMPENDING  AND  NOW  PROBABLY  UNAVOIDABLE  TRAGEDY"  -  WITH  THE  ROMAN  COURT  -  Keith Hunt


It is only in Mark (14:64) that we find a formal condemnation to death; according to Matthew, they—the judges—answered the high priest "and said, He is guilty of death" (26:66); according to Luke (22:71), they did not even say that. Thus each Gospel has a version of its own: John has no death sentence, because according to him there was no trial before the Sanhedrin; Luke has none either, although according to him there was some sort of trial before the Sanhedrin, albeit only in the early morning hours; according to Matthew, they all exclaimed, "He is guilty of death," but no "condemnation," as such, is recorded; only in Mark is one recorded.109 


COHN  NOW  TRIES  TO  PIT  ONE  GOSPEL  ACCOUNT  AGAINST  ANOTHER,  TRYING  TO  GET  YOU  TO  SEE  THERE  ARE  CONTRADICTION,  AND  ONE  GOSPEL [JOHN]  NOT  HAS  NO  DEATH  SENTENCE  AND  NOT  EVEN  A  TRIAL  BEFORE  THE  SANHEDRIN;  LUKE  HAS  NONE  EITHER,  BUT  SOME  SORT  OF  TRIAL  BEFORE  THE  SANHEDRIN.  HE  ADMITS  IN  MATTHEW,  "THEY  ALL  EXCLAIMED 'HE  IS  GUILTY  OF  DEATH'  BUT NO  'CONDEMNATION'  AS  SUCH  IS  RECORDED;  ONLY  IN  MARK  IS  ONE  RECORDED."  

CLEVER  TRY  AT  TRYING  TO  MAKE  OUT,  THE  GOSPEL  AUTHORS  WERE  ONLY  WRITING  WITH  HUMAN  NATURE,  HENCE  CONFUSED  AMONG  THEMSELVES,  SOMEWHAT  CONTRADICTORY,  AND  JOHN  LEAVING  IT  ALL  OUT.  COHN  WOULD  TRY  AND  SAY  JOHN  WROTE  LAST,  AT  THE  END  OF  THE  FIRST  CENTURY,  HENCE  HE  IS  MORE  CORRECT,  DISMISSING  THE  ACCOUNTS  OF  MATTHEW,  MARK,  AND  LUKE.  COHN  TRIES  TO  MAKE  A  BIG  ISSUE  OF  THEY  ALL  EXCLAIMED  "HE  IS  GUILTY  OF  DEATH"  WITH  "NO  CONDEMNATION."  IS  NOT  "HE  IS  GUILTY  OF  DEATH"  A  PRETTY  FORCEFUL  CONDEMNATION?  I  MEAN,  ONCE  DEAD  DOES  IT  MATTER  ABOUT  ARGUING  OVER  WORDS  OR  THE  SEMANTICS  OF  WORDS?  I  THINK  MOST  WOULD  NOT  BE  THINKING  ABOUT  AN  "OFFICIAL"  CONDEMNATION,  CERTAIN  NOT  THE  ONE  ON  TRIAL,  IF  A  VERDICT  OF  "HE  IS  GUILTY  OF  DEATH"  IS  BROUGHT  AGAINST  THEM.  BUT  COHN  WILL  GRASP  AT  ANYTHING  HE  CAN,  TO  TWIST  THE  CLEAR  STATEMENTS  OF  THE  GOSPELS,  FOR  HIS  DEDUCTION  THAT  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  TRYING  TO  LOVINGLY  SAVE  JESUS  FROM  THE  ROMAN  DEATH  PENTALTY.

THE  WRITERS  OF  THE  GOSPELS  WERE  INSPIRED  TO  WRITE  FROM  DIFFERENT  PERSPECTIVES  OF  ALL  THE  PROCEEDINGS  THAT  NIGHT.  ONE  RECORDED  THIS,  ANOTHER  RECORDED  THAT,  SOME  PUT  IT  IN  CERTAIN  WORDS,  OTHERS  PUT  IT  IN  ANOTHER  WORDS;  SOME  EVEN  LEFT  PART  OR  ALL  OF  IT  OUT.  SUCH  IS  THE  NATURAL  WAY  REPORTERS,  OR  BIOGRAPHERS  WILL  WRITE.  NOT  ALL  TV  STATIONS  REPORTING  THE  NEWS  ON  CERTAIN  EVENTS  OVER  A  PERIOD  OF  HOURS,  WILL  SAY  OR  WRITE  EXACTLY  THE  SAME  THING.  AND  SOME  REPORTING  ON  THE  LIFE  OF  AN  INDIVIDUAL  WILL  LEAVE  OUT,  WHAT  OTHERS  HAVE  REPORTED  ON.  JOHN'S  GOSPEL  IS  VERY  DIFFERENT  IN  MANY  WAYS  THAN  MATTHEW,  MARK,  AND  LUKE.  JOHN  WROTE  A  DIFFERENT  BIOGRAPHY  ABOUT  THE  LIFE  OF  CHRIST,  THAN  DID  THE  SO-CALLED  SYNOPTIC  GOSPELS  -  Keith Hunt


Had there actually been a formal condemnation, it would necessarily have to be assumed that some sort of trial did precede it, and also to be expected that the formal sentence would duly be carried out, whether by order of the Sanhedrin itself or, on the view that it lacked the necessary power, of the Roman authorities. The ultimate event, as all the Gospels report it, seems to attest cogently enough what had—and had not—taken place before: in the issue, the Sanhedrin did not purport to carry out any death sentence of its own, nor did the Roman authorities—or anybody else—carry out any death sentence of the Sanhedrin; nobody informed Pontius Pilate that a trial had been held before the Sanhedrin, and that Jesus had already been sentenced to death! Yet one would have thought that this was the first thing to tell the Roman governor if "the Jews" were indeed so eager to see Jesus condemned: the Great Sanhedrin of Israel had already assembled and had unanimously found Jesus guilty of a capital offense! Not even the author of the Gospel of John, according to whom the Jews said to Pilate, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death" (18:31), puts a plea into their mouths that he order a death sentence, which had already been passed, to be carried out by the Romans; on the contrary, he lets the Jews refuse to "judge him" (ibid.). Even if, then, there was no formal condemnation by the Sanhedrin, that does not necessarily mean that members of the Sanhedrin may not have exclaimed some such words as are reported in Matthew, that Jesus was now doomed.


COHN  DOES  SOME  PRETTY  FANCY  FOOTWORK  HERE [AS  IN  MANY  OTHER  PLACES].  MAYBE  PILATE  KNEW  ABOUT  THE  SANHEDRIN'S  NIGHT  VIGIL  WITH  CHRIST,  MAYBE NOT [PROBABLY  WAS  SLEEPING].  THE  FACTS  ARE,  THE  SANHEDRIN  DID  CONDEMN  JESUS  TO  DEATH.  BUT  AS  I'VE  SAID  BEFORE,  THEY  DID  FEAR  THE  PEOPLE,  THEY  DID  KNOW  THE  PEOPLE  LOVED  JESUS.  THERE  WAS  NO  WAY  THEY  WERE  GOING  TO  HAVE  IT  APPEAR  THEY  HATED  CHRIST,  HAD  SENTENCED  HIM  TO  DEATH,  AND  WOULD  THEMSELVES  KILL  HIM.  THE  PEOPLE  WOULD  HAVE  GONE  WILD,  AND  THAT  ON  A  FEAST  DAY…..NO  WAY,  THEY  WERE  NOT  STUPID  LEADERS;  THEY  WERE  HATEFUL,  ANGRY,  HAD  MALICE,  VEHEMENTLY  WANTED  JESUS  DEAD;  BUT  THEY  WERE  NOT  STUPID  LEADERS.  THEY  HAD  TO  ARRANGE  IT  SO  IT  LOOKED  LIKE  THE  ROMANS  WERE  PUTTING  JESUS  TO  DEATH….THEY  WERE  "CRAFTY"  AS  MARK  STATED  IT [MARK 14:1-2]  -  Keith Hunt


We started from the premise that the high priest, and hence the members of the Sanhedrin, knew that Jesus was to be tried early the next morning before the Roman governor, and that they regarded it as absolutely indispensable to do everything possible to prevent the unfavorable outcome of that trial. 


ONCE  MORE,  COHN  SPILLS  OUT  HIS,  WHAT  HE  WOULD  CALL,  TRUE  ACCOUNT  OF  THE  HAPPENINGS  THAT  NIGHT,  AND  THE  TRUE  MOTIVE  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN  -  Keith Hunt


It follows that they anticipated that the probable outcome would be fatal, and did not believe that Jesus stood a chance of acquittal or of a punishment less than death. 


THEY  KNEW  THE  ROMAN  COURT  WOULD  FIND  JESUS  GUILTY,  AND  WANTED  SO  BADLY  TO  SAVE  HIM  FROM  DEATH,  ACCORDING  TO  COHN  -  Keith Hunt


We have pointed out that saving another's life warranted violation of the feast, but nothing short of saving the life of a man in direst jeopardy would warrant it. The men of the Sanhedrin were acquainted with their governor, and had no illusions about him: if Jesus were tried and did not formally and solemnly recant his pretensions, he had no hope of escaping death. When their efforts to get him to agree to give up those claims and promise to desist from messianic activity had availed nothing, they all knew that he would be found guilty and sentenced to die—by virtue not of any sentence or judgment of theirs, but of what that governor would pronounce against him. The outcry, "He must die," was the natural and spontaneous reflex to the words which Jesus had spoken, sealing, as they did, his fate in the coming trial, from whose upshot there seemed no longer any possibility of rescuing him.


ONCE  AGAIN  COHN  IS  ON  THE  BAND-WAGON  OF  THE  WONDERFUL  SANHEDRIN,  TRYING  TO  SAVE  JESUS  FROM  DEATH,  AND  SO  GRIEVED  THAT  JESUS  WAS  REFUSING  THEIR  HEART-WARM  SERVICE  TOWARDS  HIM  -  Keith Hunt


We cannot know whether the evangelists—or some of them—were aware of what had, in truth, happened that night in the high priest's house and had framed their reports so as to serve their particular partisan ends, or reported each according to his traditions, in the honest belief that they were historically true. 


COHN  IS  SO  NICE,  HE  WANTS  TO  GIVE  THE  BENEFIT  OF  THE  DOUBT  TO  THE  DISCIPLES,  AS  THEY  WROTE  WHAT  THEY  HONESTLY  THOUGHT  WAS  TRUTH,  BUT  WAS  ANYTHING  BUT  THE  TRUTH.  THEIR  REPORTS  WERE  TO  SERVE  A  "PARTICULAR  PARTISAN  ENDS"  -  REPORTED  ACCORDING  TO  TRADITIONS,  AS  COHN  WOULD  SAY,  TRADITIONS  OF  CHRISTIANS  OVER  TIME,  WHO  HAD  PARTICULAR  PARTISAN  ENDS,  A  THEOLOGICAL  SLANT;  THEIR  TAKE  ON  THE  WHOLE  MATTER  FORMED  BY  THE  EVER  INCREASING  ANTAGONISM  THAT  DEVELOPED  IN  THE  LATTER  HALF  OF  THE  FIRST  CENTURY  BETWEEN  JEWS  AND  CHRISTIANS [WHICH  INDEED  DID  HAPPEN]  -  Keith Hunt


It has been said that we must distinguish between "early tradition and later expansion," and that "only after having eliminated from the four accounts such elements as are due to secondary traditions or to editorial accretion, may we use the residue of primary tradition for purposes of making historical deductions."110 


A  CLEVER  WAY  OF  SAYING  THE  GOSPELS  WERE  MAN  MADE,  NOT  DIVINELY  INSPIRED;  MODERN  CRITICISM   BEING  APPLIED,  BASED  ON  "NON-INSPIRATION"  -  YOU  DEDUCE  WITH  HUMAN  REASONING,  WHAT  PARTS  OF  THE  GOSPELS  ARE  TRUE  AND  WHAT  PARTS  ARE  NOT  TRUE  -  Keith Hunt


But the task of differentiation is not easy, and what to one scholar may appear to be a primary tradition, a second may regard as secondary, and it would be difficult to disprove either opinion. It has also been said that in reporting the night proceedings in the high priest's house, the evangelists did not purport to convey any traditions which they possessed but described what they knew of trial or interrogation procedures of their own time and place. Thus the high priest is recorded as interrogating Jesus exactly as Roman judges or governors would, in the days of the evangelists, have interrogated suspect Christians.111 It is, indeed, probable that, to render Jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus plausible, the evangelists would attribute to the Sanhedrin some sort of judicial procedure, and one with which they and their contemporary readers were familiar would be the natural choice. 


AGAIN  THE  MAN  MADE  LAWS  OR  TRADITIONS  OF  THE  TIMES  OF  THE  APOSTLES,  GAVE  THE  INFLUENCE  TO  THE  GOSPEL  WRITERS,  NOT  THE  INSPIRATION  OF  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT.  BUT  ALL  ON  MERE  HUMAN  DESIGN,  AS  WHATEVER  THINGS  THE  LIFE  OF  THE  APOSTLES  WOULD  BE  LIVING  IN.  A  MILD  WAY  OF  SAYING  THE  APOSTLES  WROTE  WITH  SLANTED  BIAS,  INFLUENCED  BY  SOCIETY  -  Keith Hunt


The Jewish law of procedure prevailing in Jerusalem in the epoch of Jesus was almost certainly unknown to them, apart from the fact that, even if it were known, it would not have suited their purpose. We find even such a learned and well-versed Jewish writer as Philo of Alexandria ignorant of Jewish laws: claiming to describe the Jewish canon, he gives in actual fact a description of Greek and Egyptian statutes in force in his own time and place.112 And what is understandable in a Jewish writer is certainly understandable, and venial, in Christian authors and preachers. 


COHN  SAYS,  AS  OFTEN  DONE  BY  JEWISH  WRITERS,  SO  ALSO  THEN  BY  CHRISTIAN  WRITERS;  BOTH  CAN  BE  FOUNDED  ON  WRONG  OR  UNEDUCATED  KNOWLEDGE  OF  JEWISH  LAWS,  AND  SO  MISTAKES  HAPPEN  -  Keith Hunt


But the whole theory falls to the ground for the simple reason that the Gospel reports, whether of the interrogation by the high priest or of the trial by the Sanhedrin, in no way correspond to procedures known to be in use when and where the evangelists lived: 


COHN  SEES  REPORTED  THINGS  THAT  WOULD  NOT  NORMALLY  HAPPEN,  OR  BE  USED,  THINGS  IN  THE  GOSPELS  THAT  "IN  NO  WAY  CORRESPOND  TO  PROCEDURES  KNOWN  TO  BE  IN  USE  WHEN  AND  WHERE  THE  EVANGELISTS  LIVED."  I  GUESS  NOT!  THIS  WAS  NOT  IN  ANY  WAY  THE  NORMAL  WAY  THINGS  SHOULD  HAVE  BEEN  DONE,  BY  THE  SANHEDRIN,  THE  ARREST  AT  NIGHT,  THE  CONDEMNATION  TO  DEATH  BY  THEM,  AND  THE  CRAFTY  WAY  TO  BRING  JESUS  BEFORE  PILATE  AND  THE  ROMAN  COURT  FOR  TO  AQUIRE  THE  DEATH  SENTENCE  UPON  HIM  -  Keith Hunt


in a letter from Pliny,113 rendering account to the emperor of the manner in which he tried suspect Christians, he speaks of their interrogation, himself questioning and re-questioning them until they confessed; but he does not speak of the examination of any witnesses. The normal procedure would be to start, not with the examination of witnesses, but with the interrogation of the accused (quaestio), and where the accused confessed, witnesses would no longer be required.114 But, as will be remembered, the Gospel reports speak of the examination of witnesses first: the accused was not interrogated unless and until that had proved abortive. Just as interrogation of the accused would have been contrary to Jewish law, so would the prior examination of witnesses have been contrary to Roman; and just as there is not in the Gospel reports a true and accurate account of Jewish law, so is there none of Roman.115


COHN  WOULD  TRY  AND  MAKE  A  BIG  MASSIVE  ISSUE  BY  THIS,  SO  MASSIVE  TO  HIM,  THAT  HE  WOULD  COUNT  THE  GOSPEL  STORIES  AS  UNRELIABLE,  MADE  UP,  THEOLOGICALLY  SLANTED,  FULL  OF  BIAS,  UN-KNOWLEDGABLE  ABOUT  JEWISH  LAWS;  HENCE  NOT  AT  ALL  TRUE,  AND  THE  OPPOSITE  TO  WHAT  REALLY  TOOK  PLACE  -  Keith Hunt


Scholars who see, in the Gospel accounts of the trial, descriptions of Roman procedures have regarded the beatings and smiting of Jesus that those accounts record as having followed it as an echo of the flagellations which, under Roman law, were implicit in every sentence of death and preceded its carrying out.116 They hold that no such beatings or smitings actually took place, but as the evangelists knew that every prisoner sentenced to death would automatically be liable to flagellatio, they reported the beatings and smitings as if they had to follow the sentence as a matter of course. 


THE  BEATING  AND  SMITINGS  DID  NOT  HAVE  TO  FOLLOW  ANY  LAW  OF  ANYONE.  THAT  NIGHT  AND  ALL  THAT  TOOK  PLACE  WAS  NOT "NORMAL"  AS  COURTS  OF  LAW  IN  JEWISH  AND  ROMAN  COURTS,  WOULD  HAVE  "NORMALLY"  TAKING  PLACE.  ALL  THE  HAPPENINGS  WERE  VERY  UN-NORMAL  DURING  THOSE  OURS  OF  NIGHT  AND  INTO  DAY-BREAK.  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  WERE  INCENSED,  ANGRY,  INFLAMED  WITH  HATE,  ANIMOSITY,  AGAINST  JESUS.  THEY  HAD  FOR  SOME  TIME  WANTED  HIM  DEAD,  THEY  USED  "CRAFT"  TO  GET  WHERE  THEY  COULD  SEE  HIM  DEAD.  EVERY  CUNNING  WAY  WAS  DONE,  TO  THE  END  THAT  IT  WOULD  LOOK  LIKE  JESUS  WAS  GUILTY  OF  SEDITION  AGAINST  ROME,  WITH  PLANS  TO  TAKE  THE  ROMAN  THRONE  AND  SET  HIMSELF  UP  AS  KING  OVER  THE  ROMAN  EMPIRE  -  Keith Hunt


This theory is equally untenable: according to Luke, the beatings preceded the trial (22:63-64), which in itself would take them out of the category of penitentiary measures; and the other Gospels report some flagellations afterward at the hands of Roman soldiers (Matt. 27:30; Mark 15:19; John 19:1), which would amply account for what was required under Roman law but under Jewish was illegitimate and improper.


NORMALLY  SPEAKING…. IMPROPER  UNDER  JEWISH  LAW,  BUT  THAT  NIGHT  WAS  ANYTHING  BUT  "NORMAL"  UNDER  JEWISH  LAW.  IT  WAS  DONE  AT  NIGHT  BY  THE  SANHEDRIN,  SO  THE  JEWISH  POPULATION  WOULD  HAVE  NO  IDEA  WHAT  WAS  TAKING  PLACE  -  THE  BEATINGS  BY  THE  JEWS  WAS  REAL,  IT  ALL  TOOK  PLACE,  AND  THE  SO  DOING  WAS  NOT  OUT  OF  FRUSTRATION  THAT  JESUS  WOULD  NHOT  BOW  AND  HONOR  THE  SANHEDRIN  THAT  WAS  TRYING  TO  HELP  HIM  AVERT  THE  ROMAN  DEATH  SENTENCE.

ACCORDING  TO  COHN  THIS  IS  WHAT  HAPPENED,  AND  HOW  SOME  OF  THE  GOSPEL  WRITER  SHOULD  HAVE  RECORDED  IT:  "We  are  trying  to  help  you;  can't  you  see  that?" - SLAP,  BANG!  "We  want  to  help  you."  -  SLAP,  BANG  ON  THE  HEAD.  "We  need  you  to  honour  us,  bow  to  us,  so  we  can  help  you."  -  SLAP,  BANG!  "It  is  very  frustrating  for  us."  SLAP,  BANG!  "You  need  to  see  we  are  helping  you;  we  don't  want  you  to  die."  SLAP,  BANG!  "Please,  please  wake  up."  SLAP,  BANG!  

THE  KIND,  LOVING  SANHEDRIN  WAS  SO  UPSET,  SO  GRIEVED,  SO  SORROWFUL  THAT  JESUS  WAS  NOT  RESPONDING  TO  THEIR  HEART-FELT  KINDNESS  TO  HELP  HIM,  THEY,  OUT  OF  FRUSTRATION,  JUST  HAD  TO  LOOSE  THEIR  COOL  [SOME  OF  THEM]  AND  SLAP  AND  HIT  HIM,  TO  GET  HIM  TO  SEE  SENCE   -Keith Hunt


"Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early" (John 18:28), and in the hall of judgment in the Roman governor's court Pilate was already prepared and waiting for the prisoner to be brought before him for trial. Both John and Luke (23:1) report that Jesus was "led" there, being neither chained nor shackled; according to Mark (15:1) and Matthew (27:2), the Jews bound him first, and so led him to Pilate's court. The second version appears the more probable one: though, as we have seen, Jesus had in all likelihood been led unbound into the high priest's house, the logic would be that he was led bound into the Roman court. He had been delivered into Jewish custody for the night upon the plea of the temple police, on the undertaking that he would be duly handed over the next morning to the Roman court for trial: at least in front of the Roman troops and guards, the Jewish constables would have to act as if Jesus had indeed been their prisoner, in the full sense of the word, through that night, and that they were now surrendering him, as such, for trial. His delivery not as a prisoner, but as a free man, might have aroused suspicion that in asking that Jesus be given into their custody theirs had been a purpose other than the one vouched by them, and incompatible with what the Romans planned. The Roman tribune may have agreed to let Jesus stay overnight in Jewish custody on his own responsibility; but had he—or the governor—seen that Jesus had been freed and accorded special treatment, he might have called the temple police to account for the indulgence. At all events, it can be assumed that, after hearing Jesus' replies to the high priest, the Sanhedrin saw no way out and ordered him to be arrested and brought for trial to the Roman court.


AH  INDEED,  THE  SANHEDRIN  WANTED  IT;  THEY  HAD  CRAFTILY  PLANNED  IT;  IT  WAS  BEFORE  PILATE  AND  ROME  THAT  THEY  WANTED  JESUS  TO  BE  CONDEMNED  TO  DEATH;  THEY  WANTED  IT  TO  LOOK  LIKE  THIS  MAN  WAS  FULL  OF  SEDITION,  WITH  PLANS  TO  OVERTHROW  THE  THRONE  OF  ROME  AND  MAKE  HIMSELF  KING  OF  THE  ROMAN  EMPIRE  -  Keith Hunt


The Synoptic Gospels are unanimous that "when the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death" (Matt. 27:1), or that "straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council" (Mark 15:1). According to Luke, this consultation "as soon as it was day" (22:66) took the place of the trial itself, being either identical with it or in lieu of it; but the version in Matthew and Mark raises the question whether it was the conclusion of the trial or a separate and additional proceeding. 


THE  SYNOPTIC  GOSPELS  SHOW  CLEARLY  IT  WAS  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS,  THAT  TOOK  COUNCIL  TO  PUT  JESUS  TO  DEATH….THE  WORDS  AS  PLAIN  TO  READ.  WHETHER  THIS  WAS  SOME  SEPARATE  "TRIAL"  DOES  NOT  MATTER;  WHAT  MATTERS  IS  THE  VERDICT  FROM  THE  "CHIEF  PRIESTS  HELD  A  CONSULTATION  WITH  THE  ELDERS  AND  SCRIBES  AND  THE  WHOLE  COUNCIL."

NOTHING  COULD  BE  CLEARER…..THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  WANTED  JESUS  DEAD,  JUST  AS  THEY  HAD  WANTED  FOR  SOME  TIME  -  Keith Hunt


There is a theory ventilated that the Sanhedrin would always—and had to—pronounce sentence at the dawn of day,117 another of those unfounded and rather absurd theories invented for the purpose of proving the historicity of some otherwise inexplicable Gospel report: 


DOES  NOT  MATTER  WHO  INVENTED  THIS  IDEA,  ABOUT  THE  SANHEDRIN  AND  SENTENCING  -  WRONG  BE  IT.  THE  FACT  IS  THE  GOSPEL  WRITERS  WERE  INSPIRED  TO  WRITE  IT  WAS  SO;  THE  SANHEDRIN  PRONOUNCED  THE  DEATH  SENTENCE  ON  JESUS  -  Keith Hunt


as a matter of law, the Sanhedrin started its sessions in the morning hours and determined them in the afternoon,118 and even where the trial had been concluded earlier, sentence was never pronounced until shortly before sunset.119


THAT  MAY  HAVE  BEEN  THE  FACT  IN  "NORMAL"  COURT  PROCEEDINGS   BY  THE  SANHEDRIN;  THIS  WAS  ANYTHING  BUT  "NORMAL"  -  Keith Hunt


Seeing that, for Matthew and Mark, a trial had taken place during the night and had resulted in a condemnation or a finding of guilt, the evangelists may have thought an explanation to be due for the subsequent delivery of Jesus into the hands of Pilate instead of his execution by the Jews;120 they could hardly suppress the trial before Pilate and the resultant crucifixion, because those facts were already too well known. The early morning "consultation" provided them with a solution: though the Jews had tried Jesus and found him guilty, they now consulted together whether it would not be wiser, and more practicable, not to have Jesus put to death but to deliver him into the hands of Pilate. 


AND  THAT  IS  EXACTLY  THE  CRAFT  OF  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS;  THEY  WANTED  JESUS  TRIED  AND  CONDEMNED  TO  DEATH  BY  THE  ROMAN  COURT;  THEY  WANTED  THE  JEWISH  PEOPLE  TO  SEE  THIS  MAN  WAS  FULL  OF  SEDITION  AGAINST  ROME,  HAD  IDEAS  OF  KINGSHIP  ON  THE  THRONE  OF  ROME.  THEY  WANTED  THE  JEWISH  PEOPLE  TO  SEE  THAT  THEY,  THEIR  LEADERS,  WERE  THE  GOOD  GUYS,  LOYAL  TO  ROME,  BRINGING  THIS  JESUS  MAN  BEFORE  THE  ROMAN  COURTS  BECAUSE  HE  WAS  A  TRAITOR  TO  ROME  -  Keith Hunt


It is significant that no explanation is offered, in either Matthew or Mark, why this would be wiser, or more practicable: anybody who wanted to see Jesus tried and crucified by the Romans could have denounced him to them, and there was no need, with that purpose in mind, for any Sanhedrial trial or condemnation, and a night trial at that;121 


IT  HAD  TO  BE  DONE  PRIVATELY,  AT  NIGHT;  THE  PEOPLE  AT  LARGE  NEVER  GOT  ANY  IDEA  IN  JESUS'  TEACHING  AND  PREACHING,  THAT  HE  WAS  SEDITIOUS  TOWARDS  ROME,  THAT  HE  WAS  WANTING  TO  BE  KING  OVER  THE  ROMAN  EMPIRE.  NO  NEWS  HAD  EVER  COME  TO  PILATE  OR  ANY  ROMAN  OFFICIAL,  THAT  JESUS  WAS  PLANING  TO  OBTAIN  THE  ROMAN  THRONE.  THE  ROMANS  WERE  PAYING  PRACTICALLY  NO  ATTENTION  TO  JESUS.  THEY  NEVER  LOOKED  UPON  HIM  AS  A  THREAT.  THEY  WOULD  HAVE  HAD  THEIR  SPIES  OUT  THERE,  THEIR  INFORMERS.  NOTHING  CAME  BACK  TO  THEM  THAT  JESUS  WAS  A  SWORD  WIELDING,  ARMS  CREATING  WAR-PLANING  SELF-APPOINTED  KING,  JUST  WAITING  FOR  THE  RIGHT  TIME  TO  MAKE  WAR  ON  ROME  AND  OBTAIN  THE  ROMAN  THRONE.  IF  THE  PEOPLE  HAD  SEEN  THE  SCRIBES  AND  PHARISEES  AND  THE  WHOLE  SANHEDRIN,  TRYING  TO  ARREST  JESUS  AND  HAND  HIM  OVER  TO  THE  ROMAN  AUTHORITIES  AS  A  BOLD  SEDITIOUS  MAN,  IN  THE  DAYLIGHT;  THE  JEWISH  PEOPLE  WOULD  HAVE  GONE  RIOTOUSLY  MAD.  MARK  GIVES  US  THIS  BASIC  TRUTH:  "After  two  days  was  the  feast  of  the  Passover,  and  of  Unleavened  bread:  and  the  chief  priests,  and  the  scribes  sought  how  they  might  take  him  by  craft,  and  put  him  to  death.  But  they  said,  not  on  the  feast  day,  lest  there  be  an  uproar  of  the  people" (Mark 14:1-2).  THE  KEY  IS  "BY  CRAFT"  -  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  HAD  TO  DO  IT  ALL  WITH  CRAFTINESS,  SLIGHT  OF  HAND,  KEEPING  THEMSELVES  LOOKING  GOOD  IN  THE  EYES  OF  THE  PEOPLE.  SO  AN  ELABORATE    PLAN  HAD  TO  BE  DEVISED  -  THE  ONE  THE  INSPIRED  GOSPELS  TELL  US  ABOUT  -  Keith Hunt


on the other hand, if the Sanhedrin had indeed found Jesus guilty of a capital offense under Jewish law, it would have regarded his execution, no less than his trial and condemnation, as its own proper function and duty. 


NOPE,  THEY  COULD  NOT  HAVE  DONE  SO.  THE  PEOPLE  WOULD  HAVE  DEMANDED  AN  EXPLANATION;  THE  JEWISH  LEADERS  WERE  NOT  SILLY  ENOUGH  TO  ALL  OF  A  SUDDEN  BRING  JESUS  FORTH  IN  PUBLIC,  SAID  HE  WAS  GUILTY  OF  THIS  OR  THAT,  AND  TOLD  THE  PEOPLE  TO  STONE  HIM  TO  DEATH.  THE  PEOPLE,  JESUS'  DISCIPLES,  WOULD  HAVE  CAUSE  SUCH  AN  OUTCRY,  THERE  WOULD  HAVE  BEEN  THOUSANDS  THERE  TO  DEMAND  A  FULL  EXPLANATION;  THEY  WOULD  HAVE  PREVENTED  ANY  "PAID"  GUYS  TO  CAST  THE  FIRST  STONE;  THERE  WOULD  HAVE  BEEN  A  RIOT  -  Keith Hunt


The simplest way out of the difficulty is, of course, to say that, as there was no Sanhedrial trial, equally there was no early morning consultation, and the consultation report was superadded to the trial report only once more to stress, as the text in Matthew would suggest, the deadly enmity of the Jews toward Jesus and their ever-recurring "counsel to put him to death." 


YA,  THE  SIMPLE  WAY  OUT,  FOR  PEOPLE  LIKE  COHN.  DENY  THE  GOSPEL  ACCOUNTS,  SAY  THEY  WERE  ALL  FABRICATED,  VERY  EFFECTIVE  STORIES,  MADE  UP,  TO  GIVE  EVIDENCE  OF  AN  EVIL  JEWISH  LEADERSHIP  SOCIETY,  AGAINST  CHRISTIANS;  THEY  WERE  PASSAGES  OF  STORIES  ADDED  LATER  TO  THE  BASIC  GOSPEL  ACCOUNTS  OF  JESUS  -  Keith Hunt


But even supposing that this consultation report, as distinct from the trial report, was based upon a valid tradition, it might be said—looking back at the events as we have interpreted them—that neither the failure and lamentation of the high priest nor the frustration of the members of the Sanhedrin was enough in their eyes to justify the delivery of Jesus into Roman hands: they still had compunctions, still felt the need to consult with each other, before making a decision which would be irrevocable. 


OH  YES,  COHN  CONTINUES  WITH  HIS  BENEVOLENT,  KIND,  LOVING  MIND-SET,  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN;  THEY  JUST  HAD  TO  BE  VERY  VERY  SURE,  THEIR  DECISION  TO  HAND  JESUS  OVER  TO  THE  ROMAN  COURT,  WAS  THE  RIGHT  AND  ONLY  WAY  THEY  COULD  NOW  PROCEED  -  Keith Hunt


Maybe, by this further consulting together, they could find some other, as yet untried, stratagem to persuade Jesus to desist or a pretext to withhold or postpone his surrender for trial; and it was only after such renewed deliberations, unable to discover stratagem or pretext, that they made up their minds. 


YES,  THEY  WERE  SO  MUCH  ON  JESUS'  SIDE,  THEY  WANTED  JESUS  TO  DESIST  HIS  AMBITIOUS  PLANS,  THEY  WANTED  TO  LOOKED  AT  HOW  THEY  COULD  WITHHOLD  OR  POSTPONE  HIS  SURRENDER  FOR  TRIAL.  AFTER  ALL  THIS  COULD  THEY  ONLY  MAKE  THEIR  DECISION  -  Keith Hunt


They saw, and satisfied themselves and each other, that they could do nothing more. They had done everything humanly possible, and now concluded that, in the circumstances, they would have to honor their undertaking and deliver Jesus up for trial. 


HOW  THEY  HAD  WORKED,  HOW  THEY  HAD  SWEATED,  HOW  THEY  HAD  SHED  TEARS,  HOW  THEY  HAD  SORROWED,  HOW  THE  HIGH  PRIEST  IN  MOURNING  HAD  RENT  HIS  GARMENTS.  HOW  THEY  HAD  SMITEN  AND  BUFFETED,  AND  SLAPT  JESUS,  TO  TRY  AND  GET  HIM  TO  SEE  THE  SANHEDRIN  WAS  ON  HIS  SIDE,  TRYING  TO  DELIVER  HIM  FROM  THE  EVIL  ROMANS  -  MY  TONGUE  IS  IN  MY  CHEEK  AGAIN  -  Keith Hunt


Whatever forebodings they may have entertained of what that trial might hold in store for Jesus, they had no power to prevent it, or any practical possibility of withholding and concealing Jesus. Not that Jesus had desired to be withheld or concealed, or his trial prevented. And so—as we shall presently see—the members of the Great Sanhedrin left the high priest's palace and dispersed, each going to his home and after his business; and the impending fate of Jesus—and their own inadequacy—must have hung over them like a dark and sinister shadow.


OH  HUNG  OVER  THEM  SO  DARKLY,  SO  DARKLY;  HEADS  BOWED,  SADNESS  ALL  OVER  THEIR  FACES,  SOME  SHEDDING  A  TEAR  OR  TWO.  HOW  TERRIBLE:  THEY  HAD  SO  TRIED,  IN  THE  OURS  OF  NIGHT,  GETTING  OUT  OF  BED,  COMING  TOGETHER,  WITH  SO  MUCH  LOVE  AND  CONCERN  FOR  JESUS.  IT  WAS  HEART-BREAKING  THAT  HE  WOULD  NOT  LET  THEM  HELP  HIM;  HE  HAD  TURNED  DOWN  THEIR  PLEA  FOR  HIM  TO  BOW  BEFORE  THEM  AND  GIVE  THEM  HONOR;  THEY  JUST  WANTED  TO  HELP;  THEY  JUST  WANTED  TO  SAVE  HIS  LIFE,  SO  HE  COULD  CONTINUE  HIS  WONDERFUL  WORK,  HIS  MIRACLES,  HIS  TEACHING  THE  PEOPLE  THE  TRUTHS  OF  GOD'S  WORD.  HOW  THE  PEOPLE  WOULD  MISS  HIM,  NOTHING  BUT  SORROW  WOULD  ENCASE  THE  JEWISH  PEOPLE.  OH  WHAT  A  TRAGEDY  FOR  THE  JEWISH  PEOPLE,  THAT  SUCH  A  MIGHTY  TEACHER  FOR  GOD,  SHOULD  COME  TO  A  CLOSE,  IN  PROBABLE  DEATH  BY  THE  ROMANS……INDEED  THE  MEMBERS  OF  THE  SANHEDRIN,  LEFT,  DISPERSED,  WITH  THE  THOUGHTS  OF  THE  IMPENDING  FATE  OF  JESUS,  AND  THEIR  OWN  INADEQUACY  TO  GET  HIM  ON  THEIR  SIDE;  IT  ALL  MUST  HAVE  HUNG  OVER  THEM  LIKE  A  DARK  AND  SINISTER  SHADOW.


MY  TONGUE  IS  NOW  IN  BOTH  CHEEK  -  Keith Hunt


WELL  IF  THIS  WAS  NOT  ALL  VERY  SERIOUSLY  DONE  BY  HAIM  COHN  IN  HIS  BOOK  "THE  TRIAL  AND  DEATH  OF  JESUS"  IT  WOULD  BE  LAUGHABLE,  ONE  OF  THE  BEST  COMEDY  STORIES  OF  ALL  TIME.


HOW  SOMEONE  CAN  TWIST,  ABOLISH,  READ  INTO  VERSES  AND  WORDS,  IN  THE  GOSPELS,  THAT  TURN  THE  PAIN  EASY  TO  UNDERSTAND  WORDS  OF  THE  GOSPEL  WRITERS,  UPSIDE-DOWN,  AND  TOPSY-TURVY   AND  INSIDE-OUT…… IT  IS  A  CLASSIC  OF  WRONG  UNDERSTANDING,  WRONG  INTERPRETATION,  OF  BIBLE  READING.  IT  IS  A  CLASSIC  OF  PERVERTING  THE  SCRIPTURES  OF  THE  ETERNAL  GOD;  OF  TWISTING  THE  SCRIPTURES  TO  MAKE  THEM  SAY  WHAT  YOU  IN  YOUR  IMAGINATION  WANT  THEM  TO  SAY.


FORTUNATELY  THE  WILD  IDEAS  OF  COHN  ARE  EASY  TO  SEE,  A  DECEPTION  EASY  TO  FIND  -  A  DECEPTION  FROM  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  MATTER.  BUT  MOST  DECEPTIONS  ARE  NO  WHERE  NEAR  THIS  EASY  TO  SEE.  MOST  RELIGIOUS  DECEPTIONS  ARE  CLOAKED  IN  WAYS  MUCH  HARDER  TO  DICERN  FROM  THE  TRUTH.  FOR  THOSE  MORE  NUMEROUS  DECEPTIONS,  IT  TAKES  A  SEARCHING  OF  THE  SCRIPTURES,  DEEP  BIBLE  STUDY  AND  READING;  IT  TAKES  A  HUNGERING  AND  THIRSTING  FOR  THE  TRUTH,  A  LOVE  OF  THE  TRUTH.  IT  TAKES  TIME  AND  EFFORT  TO  SEARCH  OUT  THE  TRUTH  FROM  ERROR.


THIS  WEBSITE  IS  DEVOTED  TO  BRINGING  YOU  THE  TRUTHS  OF  GOD'S  WORD  FROM  THE  MANY  ERRORS  OUT  THERE  IN  CHRISTIANITY.  BUT  YOU  WILL  NEED  TO  HAVE  DETERMINATION  TO  CHECK  UP,  TO  STUDY,  TO  SPEND  TIME  IN  SEARCHING.  IF  YOU  DO,  JESUS  HAS  PROMISED  THAT  THE  SPIRIT  WILL  GUIDE  YOU  INTO  ALL  TRUTH.


Keith Hunt