Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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maryhelena
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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To start with, there is a fundamental discrepancy between the Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel in so pivotal a matter as the identity of those responsible for the arrest. While the Synoptics ascribe it to the Jewish authorities and depict the arresting party as a Jewish throng sent from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders (Mark 14:43), the Fourth Gospel mentions a cohort or detachment (speîra) and a tribune (chilíarchos, the usual Greek rendering of the tribunus militum who commanded a cohort).16

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (p. 311). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.


The piece of information regarding Roman troops involved in the arrest is all the more revealing because it blatantly contradicts the well-known early Christian tendency to magnify the Jewish responsibility for Jesus’ fate and downplay the Roman one. Instead of portraying high priests, scribes, and elders as the sworn enemies of Jesus, the Fourth Gospel lets us consider the possibility that Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judaea, was the person actually responsible not only for having crucified him but also for having started the process leading to the execution.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (pp. 312-313). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.


In a similar way, we should consider a further sobering detail. Luke reports that, when Jesus was led to the execution place, “a great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him” (Luke 23:27), and, as he died, “they returned home, beating their breasts” (Luke 23:48). This Lukan report appears to deserve credit, as such displays of deep sorrow plainly contradict the Gospel tendency to make Jews/Judaeans deadly hostile toward Jesus. But, irrespective of their historicity, and as Goguel shrewdly remarked, the Jews/Judaeans are here portrayed as mourning Jesus without a hint of criticism toward the Jewish authorities.28 Now, this attitude becomes far more understandable if, in the underlying tradition on the arrest, Jews played the role of passive onlookers and the responsibility is entirely ascribed to the Romans.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (p. 314). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.


As Goguel remarked, it is easily understandable that, at a moment when the Christian groups separated from Judaism, there arose a tradition ascribing the Jews a direct responsibility for Jesus’ death, while the emergence of a tradition according to which there was a Roman initiative against him could hardly have been a fabrication, since it would definitely damage Christian apologetic interests.29

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (p. 315). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.


From all these convergent traces, it may safely be inferred that there appears to have been a more original (oral or written) account according to which the Romans played the main role in the arrest. The original atmosphere of the episode has been significantly altered, but the several traces that have been preserved allow a glimpse of its true character. The conclusion is thereby forced upon us that the most likely hypothesis is that the responsibility not only for the death but also for the arrest rests on the Roman side.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (pp. 315-316). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.

Interesting here - a seditious Jesus hypothesis is able to portray the Jews as expressing deep sorrow at the death of Jesus - especially in contrast to ''the Gospel tendency to make Jews/Judaeans deadly hostile toward Jesus''.

It brought to mind how the Jews are recorded as feeling after the Roman execution of their last King and High Priest.

....as supposing he could no other way bend the minds of the Jews, so as to receive Herod, whom he had made King in his stead. For by no torments could they he forced to call him King: so great a fondness they had for their former King. So he thought that this dishonourable death would diminish the value they had for Antigonus’s memory; and at the same time would diminish their hatred they bear to Herod.” Thus far Strabo.

https://penelope.uchicago.edu/josephus/ant-15.html

The gospel story moved it's focus away from Hasmonean nationalism in order to welcome the gentiles - however - such a move would also have another purpose. Not to antagonise the Romans under whose occupation they lived.
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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Talk about grasping at straws. Did he write for people who have never read the Gospels?

The piece of information regarding Roman troops involved in the arrest is all the more revealing because it blatantly contradicts the well-known early Christian tendency to magnify the Jewish responsibility for Jesus’ fate and downplay the Roman one. Instead of portraying high priests, scribes, and elders as the sworn enemies of Jesus, the Fourth Gospel lets us consider the possibility that Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judaea, was the person actually responsible not only for having crucified him but also for having started the process leading to the execution.

This is laughable.

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

Yeah, this narrative really lets us imagine that it was all Pilates doing and that the Jewish leaders had nothing to do with it.... OMG...
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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As Goguel remarked, it is easily understandable that, at a moment when the Christian groups separated from Judaism, there arose a tradition ascribing the Jews a direct responsibility for Jesus’ death, while the emergence of a tradition according to which there was a Roman initiative against him could hardly have been a fabrication, since it would definitely damage Christian apologetic interests.

These types of claims are beyond brain dead. It must be that theology schools actually harm people' s ability to use critical thinking. This is so utterly and totally idiotic that its beyond comprehension.

Completely baseless assumptions about the motivations of the writers. We don't know who the writers were, when they wrote, their motivation for writing, nothing. All of this is based on assumptions. He, like virtually all theologians, starts with an assumption about the motivations and purposes of the writers, without ever having established anything! Not to mention the fact that the Gospel of John is a composite work that was produced by at least three different writers, if not four or more, each of which was re-working and revising prior narratives with differing agendas!

I mean come on, this guy is a joke. The entire field of theology is a joke.
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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rgprice wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:46 pm
As Goguel remarked, it is easily understandable that, at a moment when the Christian groups separated from Judaism, there arose a tradition ascribing the Jews a direct responsibility for Jesus’ death, while the emergence of a tradition according to which there was a Roman initiative against him could hardly have been a fabrication, since it would definitely damage Christian apologetic interests.

These types of claims are beyond brain dead. It must be that theology schools actually harm people' s ability to use critical thinking. This is so utterly and totally idiotic that its beyond comprehension.

Completely baseless assumptions about the motivations of the writers. We don't know who the writers were, when they wrote, their motivation for writing, nothing. All of this is based on assumptions. He, like virtually all theologians, starts with an assumption about the motivations and purposes of the writers, without ever having established anything! Not to mention the fact that the Gospel of John is a composite work that was produced by at least three different writers, if not four or more, each of which was re-working and revising prior narratives with differing agendas!

I mean come on, this guy is a joke. The entire field of theology is a joke.
Written by someone with his own book to sell - a book with a different hypothesis than the book this thread has as its focus.

Bermejo-Rubio is not a theologian - he is a historian. For all those interested in searching for early christian origins his new book is necessary reading. Although, as I've said, he is working within the historical Jesus bubble, his reading of the seditious elements within the gospel story are from a historical perspective of such elements. His dating, his application of these seditious elements is out - but that does not distract from his historical analysis of these elements. The seditious elements are there - and need to be addressed from a historical perspective - not a theological perspective seeking to sideline these seditious elements in order to present a pacifist Jesus.
Last edited by maryhelena on Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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As a historian, I aim at recovering the memory of a group of men who—as such a group—have been virtually canceled from History. In this sense, my goal is simultaneously modest and ambitious. It is modest, since it refers to a single episode that took place two millennia ago in a corner of the Roman Empire. But it is vastly ambitious, since that episode has left, through an extensive and ceaseless campaign of indoctrination, a deep imprint on the collective memory. My point is that such an episode has been remembered in a way that, as I will argue in the book at hand, is biased and, in all probability, wildly wrong.

The perspectival shift introduced cannot fail to produce a substantially different reconstruction of the past. This is possible because the past is not a fixed entity back there in time, but is transformed by the historians’ work, depending on the new information they can get and on the attention they want to pay to a certain place, time, or people. My aim is to shed light on a blind spot of our collective memory, caused by the exclusive focus on a single man. This restriction has been due to the specific interests of Christian communities, but the worrying aspect is that those interests interests have conditioned, and even determined, the view of so many generations up to the very present. The time has arrived to make every effort to get a more lucid and rigorous approach to what happened at Golgotha, just outside Jerusalem, some two millennia ago.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (pp. 18-19). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.


As to the idea that the historical reconstruction is irrelevant for the Christian faith, even if it were right, that would not be a valid reason for historians to renounce their task, at least for two complementary reasons. First, given that Jesus was ethnically and religiously a Jew (not a Christian), the study of his figure is significant, to start with, for a better knowledge of the Palestinian Judaism in the first century CE; to claim that such a task must be abandoned because of the alleged effects for the faith of Christian believers is a non sequitur, which arbitrarily assumes a religious perspective that is alien to the historian. Second, since Christianity proclaims Jesus as its founder, the historian must find out if and to what extent this claim is justified or not; with that goal, the acquisition of a most precise knowledge of him is obviously imperative. The notion that such a historical study is irrelevant is, from a strictly historical standpoint, nonsensical.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (pp. 69-70). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.


Fernando Bermejo-Rubio is associate professor in the Department of Ancient History at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Madrid)
==================

They Suffered under Pontius Pilate is a fresh, challenging, and convincing re-assessment of the issue of the historical circumstances leading to the execution of Jesus of Nazareth. Although Bermejo Rubio follows in the footsteps of Reimarus and Brandon, he comes to the topic with sophistication and acuity lacking in his predecessors, avoiding both naïve historicism and apologetics. His case is forceful: historians must come to terms with Jesus's execution along with insurrectionists, and with the fact that the gospel writers and later Christian visual representations worked very hard to neutralize that fact. This is an important book that deserves a very serious engagement.


— John S. Kloppenborg, University of Toronto

https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781978709577/T ... 20(Madrid)

rgprice
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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Sorry, this guy's work is less than worthless. Its all laughable. Illogical, baseless, apriori assumptions. What a joke.

Just look at his stupid arguments. He is simply taking these texts at face value, with zero understanding of their development, no acknowledgment of the literary relationships between the texts, no concept of how the narratives originated, no concept of the allegorical and symbolic meaning of the narrative. He takes one line in v18:12 out of context, then ignores the entire rest of the trial account that says Pilate tried to free him and avoid charging him and says, "Oh since the writer said there was a detachment of soldiers with a commander, this narrative is pinning the blame on Pilate!" Even though the next 20 lines make explicitly clear that this isn't the case.

All of these claims about, "Oh X writer couldn't have said that unless it was true, because they would be too afraid to say it otherwise!" This is just total nonsense. The perfect example is the fact that every single Gospel, including John, says that Peter denied and abandoned Jesus. And what do the idiotic theologians and those who follow them say? Oh, this must be a true account, because otherwise Christians wouldn't have said this since it was embarrassing to their apostle, so it must be true!

Never mind the fact that a critical analysis of the Gospel of Mark indicates that the narrative was written by someone who sought to discredit Peter, following statements made in the Pauline letters about Paul's conflicts with Peter. So the reason that the narrative has Peter deny and abandon Jesus isn't because "it was true", its because that was the agenda of the Pauline writer who clearly believed that Paul was the one and only true apostle, as we know many of the early sects did. The fact that every other Gospel also includes this scene about Peter denying and abandoning Jesus only shows that none of the other writers knew anything real about Jesus, they were all just copying from the first Gospel and tweaking it to suit their needs. Many of the later writers softened the break between Jesus and Peter, but it is clear that the first writer invented the entire plot device to begin with and did indeed seek to discredit Peter and the other apostles.

Claiming someone "wouldn't make something up" based on assumptions about their presumed agenda is idiotic. Almost every claimed "scholar" who purports to assess these narratives does so from the starting assumptions of Christian orthodoxy, assuming that the people who wrote these narratives were themselves orthodox Christians. Yet actual critical analysis of the narratives indicates that in fact none of the narratives were originally orthodox and that the original writers did not have the same agendas as the later orthodox editors and readers. Orthodox Christians have massively misinterpreted these works. All of these claims about "truth via the criteria of embarrassment" are actually nothing more than an apologetic ruse to explain away the fact that there are so many statements it the Gospels that are embarrassing to orthodoxy, not "because they were true", but rather because the scriptures are not orthodox in origin, they all come from the "heretical" sects that the orthodox opposed. The Gospels are largely Gnostic in origin and have been whitewashed with orthodox veneer. That's a big reason why there are so many statements that seem embarrassing to orthodoxy.

Again, take any of these morons that engage in this type of nonsensical analysis and give them any number of books of historical fiction and have them apply their methods. They will reach the conclusion that hundreds of known fictions "must have been true!" This is just like dowsing for water or tarot card reading. Its total garbage.

the emergence of a tradition according to which there was a Roman initiative against him could hardly have been a fabrication, since it would definitely damage Christian apologetic interests

Where is the proof of this? This is just an entirely baseless claim made on baseless assumptions. There is not one single piece of evidence to support this nonsense. First, prove that anyone in the first four centuries interpreted v18:12 as indicating that, "there was a Roman initiative against him". Firstly support the claim that ANYONE read this and saw it as evidence that the Romans were out to get Jesus. Show me an example. Why would this passage even necessitate that reading?

Secondly, prove that the original writer of this particular passage (keep in mind that John is a revised composite work with at least three layers of writing), would not have wanted to implicate the Romans? I'm not saying this passages even does that, but why should anyone assume that the wrier wouldn't have wanted to implicate the Romans? We know there were "Jewish" Christian sects early on. How do we know that this layer of the text hadn't originated among Jewish Christian circles who did seek to pin it all on Pilate? For all we know the Gospel of John was produced by someone who took a Jewish Gospel as his starting point and then re-worked it to make it anti-Jewish and in the process of re-working this scene they overlooked this detail and left the Roman soldiers in, not thinking much about it, but then turned the trial upside down and pinned all the blame on Pilate. This is all hypothetical of course, but clearly the claim that this, "could hardly have been a fabrication" is utter nonsense. There are dozens of ways to understand this as a fabrication, either with the intentional implication that FBR has read into it, or for it to have been made up for other reasons.

Thirdly, where is the evidence that even if it was interpreted the way that FBR is interpreting it, i.e. as a sign of Roman initiated action against Jesus, that such an interpretation would have "definitely damage Christian apologetic interests". Where is the evidence? Show me in the writings of the church father that such an implication would have been damning to their apologetic interests.

As I said, this guy is a joke.
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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rgprice wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 3:19 am Sorry, this guy's work is less than worthless. Its all laughable. Illogical, baseless, apriori assumptions. What a joke.

Just look at his stupid arguments. He is simply taking these texts at face value, with zero understanding of their development, no acknowledgment of the literary relationships between the texts, no concept of how the narratives originated, no concept of the allegorical and symbolic meaning of the narrative. He takes one line in v18:12 out of context, then ignores the entire rest of the trial account that says Pilate tried to free him and avoid charging him and says, "Oh since the writer said there was a detachment of soldiers with a commander, this narrative is pinning the blame on Pilate!" Even though the next 20 lines make explicitly clear that this isn't the case.

All of these claims about, "Oh X writer couldn't have said that unless it was true, because they would be too afraid to say it otherwise!" This is just total nonsense. The perfect example is the fact that every single Gospel, including John, says that Peter denied and abandoned Jesus. And what do the idiotic theologians and those who follow them say? Oh, this must be a true account, because otherwise Christians wouldn't have said this since it was embarrassing to their apostle, so it must be true!

Never mind the fact that a critical analysis of the Gospel of Mark indicates that the narrative was written by someone who sought to discredit Peter, following statements made in the Pauline letters about Paul's conflicts with Peter. So the reason that the narrative has Peter deny and abandon Jesus isn't because "it was true", its because that was the agenda of the Pauline writer who clearly believed that Paul was the one and only true apostle, as we know many of the early sects did. The fact that every other Gospel also includes this scene about Peter denying and abandoning Jesus only shows that none of the other writers knew anything real about Jesus, they were all just copying from the first Gospel and tweaking it to suit their needs. Many of the later writers softened the break between Jesus and Peter, but it is clear that the first writer invented the entire plot device to begin with and did indeed seek to discredit Peter and the other apostles.

Claiming someone "wouldn't make something up" based on assumptions about their presumed agenda is idiotic. Almost every claimed "scholar" who purports to assess these narratives does so from the starting assumptions of Christian orthodoxy, assuming that the people who wrote these narratives were themselves orthodox Christians. Yet actual critical analysis of the narratives indicates that in fact none of the narratives were originally orthodox and that the original writers did not have the same agendas as the later orthodox editors and readers. Orthodox Christians have massively misinterpreted these works. All of these claims about "truth via the criteria of embarrassment" are actually nothing more than an apologetic ruse to explain away the fact that there are so many statements it the Gospels that are embarrassing to orthodoxy, not "because they were true", but rather because the scriptures are not orthodox in origin, they all come from the "heretical" sects that the orthodox opposed. The Gospels are largely Gnostic in origin and have been whitewashed with orthodox veneer. That's a big reason why there are so many statements that seem embarrassing to orthodoxy.

Again, take any of these morons that engage in this type of nonsensical analysis and give them any number of books of historical fiction and have them apply their methods. They will reach the conclusion that hundreds of known fictions "must have been true!" This is just like dowsing for water or tarot card reading. Its total garbage.

the emergence of a tradition according to which there was a Roman initiative against him could hardly have been a fabrication, since it would definitely damage Christian apologetic interests

Where is the proof of this? This is just an entirely baseless claim made on baseless assumptions. There is not one single piece of evidence to support this nonsense. First, prove that anyone in the first four centuries interpreted v18:12 as indicating that, "there was a Roman initiative against him". Firstly support the claim that ANYONE read this and saw it as evidence that the Romans were out to get Jesus. Show me an example. Why would this passage even necessitate that reading?

Secondly, prove that the original writer of this particular passage (keep in mind that John is a revised composite work with at least three layers of writing), would not have wanted to implicate the Romans? I'm not saying this passages even does that, but why should anyone assume that the wrier wouldn't have wanted to implicate the Romans? We know there were "Jewish" Christian sects early on. How do we know that this layer of the text hadn't originated among Jewish Christian circles who did seek to pin it all on Pilate? For all we know the Gospel of John was produced by someone who took a Jewish Gospel as his starting point and then re-worked it to make it anti-Jewish and in the process of re-working this scene they overlooked this detail and left the Roman soldiers in, not thinking much about it, but then turned the trial upside down and pinned all the blame on Pilate. This is all hypothetical of course, but clearly the claim that this, "could hardly have been a fabrication" is utter nonsense. There are dozens of ways to understand this as a fabrication, either with the intentional implication that FBR has read into it, or for it to have been made up for other reasons.

Thirdly, where is the evidence that even if it was interpreted the way that FBR is interpreting it, i.e. as a sign of Roman initiated action against Jesus, that such an interpretation would have "definitely damage Christian apologetic interests". Where is the evidence? Show me in the writings of the church father that such an implication would have been damning to their apologetic interests.

As I said, this guy is a joke.
Did not Peter recently advise that we should 'assume good faith'...

Hardly think the following reflects that advice....

'this guy's work is less than worthless. Its all laughable. Illogical, baseless, apriori assumptions. What a joke.'

Bermejo Rubio's new book is a masterpiece of historical research into the seditious elements in the gospel story. I'm just reading the final chapter - prior to the appendix - and am awestruck by his logic, intelligence and awareness of the consequences of his hypothesis for gospel research.
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

Post by rgprice »

Just think about this in regard to his ridiculous claim:

the emergence of a tradition according to which there was a Roman initiative against him could hardly have been a fabrication, since it would definitely damage Christian apologetic interests

Christians wrote hundreds of martyrdom accounts from the 2nd century through the 4th century, and on. In essentially all of these accounts Roman officials are who executed people. Who killed Peter? Romans. Who killed Paul? Romans. Who killed Polycarp? Romans. Who killed Ignatius? Romans. And on and on it goes.

Now, if accounts about Romans apprehending and killing Christians was so antithetical to the Christian agenda at this time, then why are Romans the ones doing all the killing in of all the stories that Christians wrote from the 2nd through 4th century and on? And volumes of research shows that the overwhelming majority of martyrdom accounts were fabricated. The accounts of martyrdom were greatly, greatly exaggerated by Christians in the 2nd through 4th centuries and beyond.

And beyond that, there were also those that viewed the crucifixion of Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy, and there was even a Gospel, the Gospel of Judas, that depicts Judas as the good disciple because he did what it took to ensure that Jesus fulfilled prophecy. So it was certainly possible to hold the idea that the Romans were doing good by apprehending Jesus, and that in fact the Romans were an instrument of God's divine will in carrying out the crucifixion.

So if implicating Roman officials is such a "non-Christian" thing to do, apparently the Christians themselves weren't told!

But the thing is, this guy is writing a book, he has credentials, he is making claims that many less educated people will be persuaded by. Yet this entire line of reasoning is so blatantly and obviously baseless its absurd. To essentially claim, "there is no reason anyone would fabricate this narrative element, so it must be true" or even to claim, "this must be a trace of an earlier tradition, since no one writing at this time would fabricate this claim," is just blatant scholarly malpractice. Sorry, but there is no other way to see this. This is bad, bad, bad "scholarship".
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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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I'll get back to posting on Bermejo-Rubio's new book either tomorrow or by the weekend. A little break not because of too much information or that I have disagreement with some of his arguments....mostly due to the fact he is working within the historical Jesus bubble....but because somehow I found his approach to his work quite moving. He knows he is working against the grain. In a cool calm way he sets out the only objective of a historians work.

The final paragraph.

Of course, these musings are, at the end of the day, irrelevant for historians, who honestly do their work irrespective of the corollaries or the echo they will find. The Jewish resisters who constitute the subject of this book belong, by definition, to the history of Judaism, not to that of Christianity. Although the disclosure of the extent of the ideological factors in this field should make us skeptical about the not very promising future, at least we can contemplate the story of the men crucified at Golgotha with a more lucid, insightful, and honest regard, far from narrow parochialism, strange oblivions, and blatantly distorting biases. After all, clearheadedness is, for secular-minded historians, their first intellectual imperative.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (pp. 384). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.

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Re: Fernando Bermejo-Rubio

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In an account of Philo (In Flaccum 6.36–41), which is often cited in the interpretations of Mark, the pagan populace of Alexandria dressed up a certain Carabas as a mock king, and “young men carrying rods on their shoulders as spearmen stood on either side of him in imitation of a bodyguard.” In Mark 10:35–37, when James and John ask Jesus to allow them to sit, one at his right and the other at his left, their request implies closest participation in his royal glory. The seats to the right and the left of the king are of the highest rank and honor after the king (see, e.g., 2 Sam 16:6; 1 Kgs 22:19; Ezra 4:29). The most plausible explanation of the Golgotha scene is accordingly that the Romans considered Jesus to be the leader of the men crucified with him.20

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (p. 345). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.



The incongruities of the Passion accounts, the vestiges of a different report in which the arrest was carried out by the Romans, the convergent evidence of an anti-Roman stance in Jesus’ group, the collective nature of the execution at Golgotha, and the reasonable surmise that the prefect had information sources at his disposal are elements that, taken all together, make exceedingly unlikely—not to say incredible—the bulk of the Gospel narratives. And when the apologetic and polemical interests of the first Christians in fashioning those accounts in order to exonerate the Romans and blame the Jews are added, the critical reader should adopt a most skeptical stance toward the extant sources. Irrespective of whether that reshaping was carried out in good conscience or not, the obvious result is an unmistakable distortion of the actual events. Such an odd state of affairs, however, triggers the historian to think about it and to advance a most compelling hypothesis.1 Fortunately, the surviving traces of an alternative story allow us to provide a by far more likely historical reconstruction.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (p. 355). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.


In fact, the evidence to condemn Jesus and the other men must have been, from an imperial perspective, overwhelming. Since opposition to the Empire can be drawn from several aspects of the Gospel story, if there is a meaningful question to be posed about Jesus’ death it is not why was he crucified but which, among the many reasons why he could be crucified (preaching of an imminent kingdom, royal claim, opposition to payment of tribute, hostility to the Herodian ruler, incident in Jerusalem surrounded by an armed entourage . . . ), had the greatest influence on the decision of the Roman prefect.14 To search for another reason for his crucifixion is a sort of intellectual conjuring trick that violates all sound reasoning and spreads confusion.

As we have seen, a lot of convergent evidence indicates that Jesus was condemned by Pilate because of his subversive activity, and in the first place for his kingly-messianic claim. Unlike many scholars’ fanciful pretense, he was not condemned for “speaking truth to power”; nor was he executed by accident, just because he inadvertently got caught up in a riot that had nothing to with his plans. His claim entailed a crimen maiestatis, or attack against the authority of the emperor and the Roman people, in the specific kind of aspiration to royal power. The ironical usage of the titulus crucis “king of the Jews” makes sense only if it reflects a claim actually harbored by him.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (pp. 363-364). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.


Jesus’ central role was emphasized by the explanatory tabella that, according to the Gospels, was put on his cross, identifying him as “king of the Jews.” Mark does not say a word about who prepared the titulus, but in this section of the account the subjects of the actions are soldiers; they would have prepared the inscription, of course, upon the orders of the prefect. It is important to emphasize this point, because most scholars go on endorsing the Gospel Passion narratives, according to which “king” was not a self-designation of Jesus but an epithet exclusively hurled at him by outsiders.

Bermejo-Rubio, Fernando. They Suffered under Pontius Pilate: Jewish Anti-Roman Resistance and the Crosses at Golgotha (pp. 366-367). Lexington Books. Kindle Edition.

Perhaps I'll simply say what I said over 10 years ago - to a post on FRDB:

.... ''public' knowledge. Because without that the gospel story could not run. Literary invention, if it contains a re-telling of public knowledge in a creative storyline, has a far better chance of success than pure imagination. Being able to connect the dots has more going for it than a storyline with no obvious beginning, no connection to what is publicly known. So, a man is crucified. The story tells about the notice above his cross - King of the Jews. And public knowledge will lead where? To a carpenter from wherever who had notions above himself? That story can lead to only one place in history. Antigonus in 37 b.c. - and to that Herodian Jew who paid a Roman assassin. ''

Bermejo-Rubio is keeping alive the seditious Jesus gospel elements. The seditious elements are there - the question now is whether they belong to a supposed historical Jesus (for which there is no historical evidence) or are they simply a reflection of prior history. If this is the case, then the gospel writers were not denying past history in their endeavour to promote a Prince of Peace aspect to the gospel literary Jesus figure. After all, sedition would get one hung on a cross - for gospel writers, those days were gone, they were over. They wanted to tell a different story without denying the past. Hope for a Hasmonean kingdom was not on the table. A Davidic type messiah figure, a Man of War, would have to give way to the reality of Roman occupation - and a Prince of Peace messiah figure could be viewed as a way forward.

Bermejo-Rubio needs to keep wearing his historians cap but start to think outside the assumed historical Jesus box. Achieving all he has achieved with identifying the seditious gospel elements - these elements are useless unless the rebel against Rome can be named, can be identified. That is impossible to do for any variant of the assumed historical Jesus. The gospel seditious elements don't establish historicity for the gospel Jesus. These seditious elements are reflecting past, not present history under Pilate and Tiberius. The historian cannot confine himself to the box that is the gospel Jesus story.
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