Catholicism, Judaism, and Pontius Pilate

I love a well written fiction story as much as the next person and one of my favorite authors is Daniel Silva. His latest book, The Order, is predicated on a disturbing premise and I did not enjoy reading it. It discredits all of the gospels and their accuracy and outright states that Pilate’s words about washing his hands of Jesus’s blood were falsely inserted. This, Silva states, set the stage for the Catholic church to blame the Jews for Jesus’s death and ultimately led to the Holocaust.

I won’t include any quotes from the book here except for portions of the author’s note at the end. "The ancient Christian charge of deicide is universally regarded by scholars as the foundation of anti-antisemitism. "
“No original draft of any of the 4 canonical gospel survives …[.] It is widely accepted that non of the gospels, with the possible exception of Luke, were written by the men for whom they are named.”
“Paul Johnson, in his monumental history of Christianity,” describes the Gospels as ““literary documents” that bear evidence of later tampering, editing, re-writing, and interpolation and backdating of theological concepts.”
"He states the entire scene with Pilate is a literary invention “Religious scholar Reza Aslan, in his riveting biography of Jesus titles Zealot, asserts that the problems with the Gospel’s of a Sanhedrin trial are “too numerous to count.””
He points out that John Dominic Crossan who is professor emeritus at Depaul University calls the Pilate scene “Christian propaganda.” I can give relevant page numbers if you have the book.

Needless to say, I find this all most disturbing. I note that Silva is a convert to Judaism and therefore may have a bone to pick. I also not that I should probably read Lee Strobel’s and David Limbaugh’s books again about the authenticity of the scriptures.

How do I reconcile this or do I? Does this work of fiction, purportedly based on fact, go on the pile the the Dan Brown books? I am just a simple person, not a religious scholar by any means, but I would love to know how to address this should the topic ever come up in casual discussion with my reading buddies. thank you for reading!

Well, @plantaseed - you’re right that works of fiction are very interesting, and while I’ve never read anything by Daniel Silva, I don’t doubt that he can spin some very interesting yarns. I’d say the author’s notes you’ve cited bear fair witness to that.

The idea that antisemitism did not exist before the crucifixion is an obvious fiction. The history of the Jews BC is no less turbulent than it has been AD.

And much of the antisemitism AD has been from Muslims, Communists and others who couldn’t care less about the crucifixion of Christ.

So whatever “universal regard” he’s thinking of should already warn you that there’s a serious bias that Mr. Silva and his “scholars” are working from.

As for no original drafts of the Gospels surviving - why stop there? There are no original drafts (actually, the technical phrase would be “original autographs”) of any of the 66 books of the Bible - any more than there are of any other ancient secular writings either, for that matter.

And I must ask, is the opinion about the authorship of the gospels that he says is so “widely accepted” coming from the same “scholars” he was so impressed with in the previous question?

As for Paul Johnson’s comments in his History of Christianity, he wrote that nearly half a century ago when he had been largely influenced by skeptical scholars. Many of his positions have changed dramatically toward the right over the decades - it would be interesting to hear his updated views now.

And it is true that the problems with Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin are too numerous to count. Anyone can Google a phrase like “Illegal trial before the Sanhedrin” and find numerous articles and books written to document how outrageous their kangaroo court was on the night of Christ’s betrayal. Christians have been preaching that for generations.

As for who is spreading propaganda and disinformation, I would say there have always been antichristians with a bone to pick and always will be. They aren’t going away, but then, neither are we. When they make their shallow attacks against the Bible, they’re revealing more about themselves than they are the Bible.

“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know!” (A good phrase to Google and read the rest!)

I hope this will help you.


this is incredibly helpful. thank you