CNN’s Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery investigates Jesus and his world
CNN is currently airing the second season of Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery, which aims to investigate artifacts that shed light on the world in which Jesus lived. The first season tackled the Shroud of Turin, relics of John the Baptist, the “Gospel of Judas,” the ossuary (bone box) inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” pieces of the “True Cross” and the “Gospel of Mary.”
The second season of CNN’s Finding Jesus will examine the stone that proves Pontius Pilate’s existence, the story of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, the childhood home of Jesus, the tomb of King Herod the Great, the bones of St. Peter and the story of doubting Thomas.
This second season features interviews with a number of Bible and archaeology experts, including Robert Cargill, Nicola Denzey Lewis, Mark Goodacre, Shimon Gibson and Candida Moss.
For more on CNN’s Finding Jesus, follow the conversation online on Twitter at #FindingJesus.
Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery airs on CNN on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on March 11, 2015.
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[…] answers frequently asked questions about the apostle Peter. Denzey Lewis appears in the CNN series Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery, which aims to investigate artifacts that shed light on the world in which Jesus […]
Charel, you should dig deeper as you don’t have it right yet. Perhaps you will discover the light while it is still on your mind. Once gone, it is hard to find a time to bring it forth again. Another small suggestion….take a little time to punctuate.
in fact Jesus Christ is a false image of the Hebrew messiah yeshu no true Hebrew would write in anything other then a sub form of Aramaic called yud so any Greek is a lie and the bible is the greatest lie in history there is no God in Hebrew there is a cherub in the burning bush who is the Hebrew creator
Dean, you’re repeating some well-known things that _may_ not be understood correctly. According to Brent Kinman (“Pilate’s Assize and the Timing of Jesus’ Trial”, Tyndale Bulletin 42.2, 1991), Pilate was on his annually-required judical tour of his province. He made it happen at the time of Passover, and at this time he took over judging (certain?) judicial proceedings… among them Jesus’ now-Roman trial, and now for sedition. The Sanhedrin were, according to Israel Drapkin (“Crime and Punishment in the Ancient World”, Lexington Books), merely serving as inquisitors preparing the case for Pilate. Hence, they had no right _during Pilate’s assize_ to exercise the death penalty. They did have the right later when they attempted to stone Stephen, though, while not in accordance with Mosaic prescriptions, Drapkin states that Jewish impromptu “trials” with death penalities enforced sometime took place. From memory according to Bruce Chilton (“Rabbi Jesus”, Image/Doubleday), Kinman, and others, Jesus rode into Jerusalem around Tabernacles time (the fall) and pretty much had a cat-and-mouse six months existence with the authorities in and around Jerusalem (“…as was His custom….”, etc in the Gospels) prior to Passover. Kinman also makes the case that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was Solomonic in nature, a self-declaration of Messiahship.
Speaking of Messiahship and His silence, according to Drapkin the testimony of the accused in Jewish legal proceedings, even if someone admitted guilt, should be discounted. In Jesus’ day the accused were nearly forbidden from any testimony. Now that leads to inconsistencies in that the Sanhedrin took Jesus at His word when He _did_ speak to them, and they should not have done so. But He was nearly silent before Pilate, which would have been according to customs familiar with Him.
I’m convinced Pilate’s inconsistencies during these days stemmed from his nervousness regarding his mentor Sejanus and his status in Judaea (recall him afraid of being accused of not being “a Friend of Caesar”, a Roman technical term/title). According to most scholars, the crucifixion either took place in 30 CE (when Sejanus was building up to his top power in Rome) or in 33 CE (after Sejanus was executed). Either way, Pilate wasn’t getting Sejanus’ attention and one can easily see how he could be inconsistent in his behavior — sometimes lenient, sometimes harsh — to his Jewish subjects when his own neck was on the line.
Jesus is coming soon!
Finding Jesus? The historical Jesus has been right there, in plain sight, for 2,000 years, and nobody up until now saw Him. Allow me to explain…Did Pilate execute Jesus when Jesus & disciples came into Pilate’s province of Judea? No, in fact for approximately three years Pilate is turning a blind eye to Jesus & disciples, who commit what Rome called sedition by attracting large crowds. That’s why John the Baptist & disciples stayed on the other side of the Jordan River, in Herod Antipas’ Perea, knowing what would immediately happen to him if he and disciples crossed the river into Judea. Did the Jewish authorities execute Jesus & disciples for gross blasphemy once Jesus’ ministry began? No. In fact, the Jewish authorities in Judea waited until Jesus gave the sign that He was ready to die, that sign being the provocative entry into Jerusalem with the mob, an act that Pilate was in Jerusalem to stop if it should occur; Roman governors were required to be in Jerusalem the week before Passover to ensure no false claimant to being the Messiah took place, yet Pilate once again turns a blind eye to Jesus and the mob entering Jerusalem!*
In John 11 chief priest Caiaphas admits that Jesus is the Messiah, and that His death must come at the right time, otherwise Judea will be destroyed…
“51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.”
How about that! You never noticed that passage before, huh?
Now, after Jesus’ resurrection the next nine Roman governors of Judea (until 66 AD, the Jewish Revolt) are following Pilate’s stand down policy towards the Jesus Sect community, where Jesus’ apostles are still attracting large crowds and causing riots in the Temple. These atypical behaviors by ten Roman governors informs us that the behaviors weren’t individual ad hoc behaviors, but policy set by the emperor in Rome!
What’s the reaction of the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem to Jesus’ apostles causing problems in the Temple? Soon after Jesus’ resurrection they arrest the apostles twice (the first arrest is Peter and John; the second arrest is all the apostles) and tell them to stop taking about Jesus, and let them go! In fact, the only person persecuting** the followers of Jesus is Paul, but the Sanhedrin won’t allow Paul to kill anyone; the Jewish authorities refuse to assist Paul with the ultimate weapon at their disposal, refusing to ask the Roman governor that a Sanhedrin be allowed to form in order to adjudicate Jesus’ followers.*** Paul is only given the authority arrest and whip Jesus followers, but this doesn’t last long as we know, because the Sanhedrin sends Paul off on a red herring to Damascus, where Paul is confronted by Jesus, and is rebuked. Notice: Jesus NEVER rebukes the Roman authorities or the Jewish authorities for persecuting His followers, only Paul, because it’s only Paul who is persecuting Jesus’ followers! If the Roman and Jewish authorities were persecuting Jesus’ followers, Jesus would have rebuked them too, but since they weren’t persecuting Jesus’ followers, there was no need to rebuke them.****
Now when Paul and Peter, and their disciples, are roaming the eastern Roman Empire (outside of the Levant) they too are attracting large crowds, and what are the Roman governors doing about this sedition? Nothing. As with the ten Roman governors of Judea, they too refuse to immediately execute Paul and Peter (and their disciples).
I made the above discoveries over the last three years, but to Roman subjects of the day they would have already known this material, because every Roman subject knew what the penalty was for attracting large crowds, hence any narrative that came their way that said otherwise would be known to be a forgery, UNLESS already known to be true, and this is the greatest part of my discovery–Roman subjects accepted the Gospel/Acts narratives because they knew then to be true; Jesus was already well known throughout the Roman Empire before Paul traveled there, ministering, otherwise Paul’s stories (and Peter’s) would have been known to be badly constructed forgeries, and early Christianity would have imploded.
*To ensure Jesus was indeed signaling it was time for Him to die, an ad hoc “Sanhedrin” conducted three night time Q&A sessions with Jesus (not trails, as under the Law of Moses trials can only take place during daylight hours, thereby also precluding any possibility of punishment, and Roman administration of Judea required the Roman governor giving his permission for the opening of a proper Sanhedrin assembly). Jesus’ silence informed the ad hoc assembly that Jesus was indeed ready to die.
**’Persecution’ is a word Christianity has erred in using when referencing the punishments Rome administered to the early Church. The proper word is ‘prosecution’, since it was illegal for any Roman subject to (1) attract large crowds; and (2) tell others not to join the Roman military. Regarding the Jewish authorities in Judea and Galilee, it was a crime to speak blasphemies, and anyone who did was not persecuted, but prosecuted under the Law of Moses.
***One or two Passovers after Jesus’ resurrection, while Paul was still a student, Stephen bumped into a gathering of foreign Jews in the Temple. The foreigners are shocked by Stephen’s words and immediately go to the Jewish authorities and direct their attention to Stephen, asking why Stephen is still alive after committing such gross blasphemy. The Temple authorities’ hands are now tied. They have no choice but to request of the Roman governor that they be allowed to form a Sanhedrin in order to adjudicate Stephen, where upon Stephen is tried, convicted and executed under the Law of Moses.
****For political reasons that are obvious, neither Roman or Jewish authorities could communicate to each other who they knew Jesus to be, hence the silence of this fact in the Gospels/Acts narratives. It should also be noted that God waited for the existence of the Roman Empire before sending Jesus, since God knew that the Jewish authorities would never go along with a plan that had them murdering the Messiah. That disagreeable action would be handled by the Romans, specifically Pilate, who tried his best to get Jesus off his judicial docket, but the Sanhedrin wouldn’t release Pilate from his responsibility to uphold Roman laws of sedition.