Here is the latest in a flurry of rather silly articles extolling the supposed archaeological significance of the First Century synagogue at Magdala; which just happens to be located wholly within the confines of a privately-owned Christian tourist resort (hint, hint).
Conspiracies occur. In my past work as a legal secretary, I had direct contact with secret campaigns to promote certain large corporations and political movements. These included “news” articles and ghostwritten op-ed pieces planted in various major news outlets.
Some years ago, there was a tremendous scare over avian flu, which was portrayed as threatening a real plague over North America. I came to conclude that the whole thing was a PR ploy to ennoble public impressions of the pharmaceuticals industry.
The present article sets forth a fanciful notion of what the Sanhedrin may have been thinking during Jesus’ trial.
As to many New Testament stories, my position in the past has been, “This specific thing may not have happened, but something like it probably did.” There are so many problems with and discrepancies among the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ trial, however, that as a Christian I now doubt he was ever tried by the Sanhedrin at all.
By the time of his arrest, Jesus had become such an irritant to the Jewish leaders that the New Testament easily portrays them as having wanted him dead. A conspiracy of the chief priests and Pharisees (John 11:57) to that end would have been singular, as these two parties were otherwise bitter enemies. The Sanhedrin, however, was without power at the time to condemn anyone to death, for blasphemy or any other reason; so the New Testament portrays “the Jews” as having taken Jesus to Pilate to portray him as an insurrectionist, on which basis Pilate might well put him to death.
My own current belief is that Judas may never have betrayed Jesus into the hands of “the Jews” at all; he may instead have betrayed him directly to Pilate, who I believe had his own, wholly personal, reasons to want Jesus dead.
Related: The Son of the Blessed