Blasphemy and the Jewish Examination of Jesus -- By: Darrell L. Bock

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 17:1 (NA 2007)
Article: Blasphemy and the Jewish Examination of Jesus
Author: Darrell L. Bock

Blasphemy and the Jewish Examination of Jesus

Darrell L. Bock

Dallas Theological Seminary

IBR Jesus Project 5. This article represents another contribution to the IBR Jesus Group and covers issues of background, historicity, and significance associated with the Jewish examination of Jesus by the leaders of Judaism. It argues that the core of this account is historical by working systematically through Mark’s use of the theme of blasphemy, the question of whether the Jews had the right to execute Jesus legally, and potential witnesses, as well as examining the themes of Jesus’ potential blasphemy and how Jews saw the potential for exaltation. The work represents an updating of my Blasphemy and Exaltation monograph by interacting with issues raised since it was published.

Key Words: historical Jesus, Jesus’ trials, blasphemy, exaltation, Son of Man, Caiaphas, Mark 14:53-72


There is little doubt that if one is to treat the historical Jesus, then one must consider Jesus’ relationship to the Jewish leadership and the issues that led him to be crucified. No scene is more important for this topic than the Jewish leadership’s examination of Jesus. In fact, this scene is of such importance that John Meier argues that the criterion of rejection and execution is a category one can appeal to for examining authenticity, even as he notes

Author’s note: This work, part of the IBR Jesus Project, is an update of my earlier treatment of this theme in Blasphemy and Exaltation in Judaism and the Final Examination of Jesus (WUNT 2/106; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1998). I have added sections discussing the extrabiblical gospel evidence as well as interaction with key studies since the release of the book, including studies by Robert Gundry in The Old Is Better: New Testament Essays in Support of Traditional Interpretations (WUNT 178; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2005), 98-110; Adela Yarbo Collins, “The Charge of Blasphemy in Mark 14.64,” JSNT 26 (2004): 379-401; Timo Eskola, Messiah and the Throne: Jewish Merkabah Mysticism and Early Christian Exaltation Discourse (WUNT 2/142; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2001); my “Jewish Expressions in Mark 14.61-62, the Authenticity of the Jewish Examination of Jesus,” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 1 (2003): 147-59; Maurice Casey’s review of my work, in JTS 52 (2001): 245-47; and the assessment of Casey and especially Mark in Anna Maria Schwemer, “Die Passion des Messias nach Markus und der Vorwurf des Antijudaismus,” in Martin Hengel and Anna Maria Schwe...

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