The Trial of Jesus of NazarethS. G. F. Brandon (Stein and Day, 1979) $4.95
The problem with which Brandon has been wrestling for many years is this: The gospel account of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion indicates that Jesus was killed by the Jews for blasphemy, whereas the historical situation implies that he was killed by the Romans for sedition. Brandon concludes in this work that Roman Christians rewrote the historical accounts, explaining away anything that would suggest that Christians, like contemporary Jews, were saboteurs in the Empire. Brandon argues that Pilate was a strong, responsible Roman leader who had Jesus crucified for leading a revolt against Rome. Some arguments Brandon uses to make his case are: 1) Jesus probably continued the movement of John the Baptist; 2) Jesus seems to have opposed giving tribute to Caesar; 3) the “cleansing” of the Temple seems to have been a military attack against the nation’s citadel and treasury; 4) a messiah or king of the Jews would have been a guerrilla leader; 5) at least one disciple was a zealot, one a terrorist, and possibly others came from suspicious backgrounds; 6) Roman rule blocked the establishment of the kingdom of God; 7) the disciples at Gethsemane were armed; 8) the entrance into Jerusalem signaled an open revolt against Rome.