The Politics of the Passion

The crucifixion of Christ is mostly understood to have moral, spiritual and religious meanings. The cross is not usually associated with politics. While it is certainly true that in the New Testament the cross does have religious and moral significance, crucifixion was clearly understood and presented as a political act in the gospels. Continue reading “The Politics of the Passion”

The History behind Pilate

I am not usually a fan of documentaries about the Bible because they often have a sensationalist bent to them. However, the history 2004 documentary Pilate: The Man Who Killed Christ is avoids that by carefully examining and presenting Ponitus Pilate’s role in the crucifixion of Jesus in the context of Jewish-Roman relations in the first century AD. Among the experts it consults are prominent New Testament scholars N.T. Wright, Helen Bond and John M.G. Barclay. What I particularly love about this documentary is it offers much needed historical perspective on the crucifixion accounts in the New Testament which challenges the wrongheaded notion that Jewish people were to blame for Christ’s death. You can watch the full documentary below. Continue reading “The History behind Pilate”

The Shame of the Cross

Over the last year or so I have been learning more about honour-shame cultures and how they impact the way we read the Bible, particularly how we understand and communicate the Gospel. The Roman world in which the Jesus’ movement emerged consisted of honour-shame cultures. While I have recognized its importance, its only very recently that I have begun to fully grasp its significance. The insight came from reading a short but illuminating article from Jennie Pollock over at Think Theology entitled Global Glory. She writes: Continue reading “The Shame of the Cross”

Rethinking the Curse on Jesus

The traditional reading of Galatians 3:13 is that it seems to say because of Jesus’ crucifixion, he was cursed by God as the means of atonement. In an article, Jackson Wu briefly reviews a paper by biblical scholar Daniel Streett where he challenges this interpretation and rather argues (quite persuasively in my opinion) that it was Jesus’ executioners, not God, who “cursed” him. Continue reading “Rethinking the Curse on Jesus”

The Fall of Jerusalem

[1]The Arch of Titus is a 1st-century AD triumphal arch found in Rome. Architecturally it has provided the general model for many triumphal arches erected since the 16th century including the most famous one, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. It was constructed in c. 82 AD by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus’s victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem (70 AD.) Titus was the Roman Emperor who sacked Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple, bringing to an end the Second Temple Era of Judaism. This event radically altered the state of the Jewish people and in a sense they have never since fully recovered. [2]There is a tableau on the arch depicting this catastrophic event which has now been digitally restored and can be seen in the video below. Continue reading “The Fall of Jerusalem”