065 Commentary

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This page forms part of the resources for 065 Pilate and Antipas in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

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John Dominic Crossan

In The Cross That Spoke Crossan has argued that the passion narrative is derived ultimately from a creative account of Jesus' death, the Cross Gospel, that he identifies within the later GPeter. The "Herod" in these stories reflects the active leadership of Herod Agrippa as "King of the Jews," rather than Herod Antipas who was a contemporary of Pilate. Crossan considers the Cross Gospel to have been the single source of the passion narratives in the NT gospels. On the composition of this account he writes:

The author(s) of the Cross Gospel wrote from a viewpoint strongly favorable to Roman political authority and strongly critical of Jewish religious authority, blaming it, in fact, for the Jewish people's ignorance of what had really happened. But they also presumed that Herod Antipas could be in charge of a crucifixion near Jerusalem, and that people not soldiers could carry it out. I find both of those presuppositions highly unlikely, but they might well bespeak the outlook of a literate Galilean Christianity centered, say, at Sepphoris in the middle of the first century C.E. That city had been the Roman capital of Lower Galilee from 57-55 B.C.E. until 19 C.E., when Herod Antipas gave that privilege to his newly constructed Tiberias on the lake. But around 54, under the Roman procurator Felix, it was restored to its former position, and it remained firmly pro-Roman in the First Roman-Jewish War of 66, even issuing Eirenopolis or City of Peace coins in 67-68 (Meyers et al, 1986:6). For Sepphoran Christians, the emphasis was on Galilee not Jerusalem, and on Roman procurators not Herodian monarchs. They composed their story, be it politically naive or polemically astute, accordingly. Historical Jesus (387)

David Flusser

Flusser always gives Luke's account considerable credence. In a note on the trial of Jesus he comments:

At least the kernel of Herod's (Antipas) connection in Jesus' death is historical, because in Acts 4:25-28 a very early Christian "pesher" is quoted according to which both Herod Antipas and Pontius Pilate caused Jesus' death ... The apocryphal Gospel of Peter 1:1-2 also connects Herod Antipas with Pilate. Jesus b(p. 152 n. 20)

Jesus Seminar

The commentary in [The Acts of Jesus] (p. 358f) makes it clear that the Seminar considered the hearing before Herod Antipas to be a Lukan fiction:

Luke alone among the gospel writers introduces the trial before Herod (vv. 5-12). In so doing Luke achieves two things. First, he joins a king (Herod) to a governor (Pilate) in fulfillment of Psalm 2:2: kings and rulers are to be arrayed against the Lord and his Anointed. Second, he has Herod join Pilate in declaring Jesus innocent (v. 15). That is a clean sweep for the Christians: the real authorities had agreed in finding nothing with which to charge Jesus. His death is the sole responsibility of the religious authorities and the mob.

Gerd Ludemann

Ludemann [Jesus] (401) notes:

The composition of this scene is completely redactional and goes back to an early Christian exegesis of Ps. 2.1f. Luke has read the friendship between Herod and Pilate out of this psalm. Cf. especially Acts 4.27, where Ps. 2 is understood as a scriptural proof for the joint proceedings of the two against the Anointed.