A Yale professor has recently made sensational claims in a paper written to prove that not only was Jesus crucified due to a disciple of his carrying a weapon, but that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem during Passover, looking for a fight.
According to Newsweek, professor of religious studies at Yale University, Dale Martin believes that Jesus brought his disciples to Jerusalem for an armed battle to overthrow the Romans during the last Passover of Jesus’ life before being crucified. Martin refers to a biblical passage to which a disciple of Jesus cuts the ear of one of the arresting guard’s off before apprehending him.
This passage, combined with other readings prompted those who agreed with Martin to ask why Jesus would have an armed disciple or disciples present in Jerusalem in the first place. According to his paper’s abstract, he concludes, “Jesus led his followers, armed, to Jerusalem to participate in a heavenly-earthly battle to overthrow the Romans and their high-priestly client rulers of Judea.”
Martin not only claims that the disciple used a sword to cut the guard’s ear off, but also compared Jesus and his disciples to the writers of the War Scroll, a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls to which the writers themselves planned a human attack on the Romans, which would be divinely guided by God. Martin was also quoted as saying, “It’s making me rethink my view that Jesus was a complete pacifist.”
However, Martin’s paper gained criticism naturally from other professors of religious studies. The Newsweek article also quotes historian Paula Fredriksen of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Fredriksen not only mentions that no legal documents stating Roman laws on carrying weapons in Jerusalem exist, but she also calls Martin’s use of the word sword, a mistranslation, to which a knife was a better translation of the Greek.
Martin’s idea of Jesus being a violent radical planning to wipe out the Romans is extremely contradictory to scripture within itself. In fact, many of the notions and questions raised by Martin are both refuted and answered in the New Testament, to which Martin seems to ignore. For example, Jesus’ disciple, Peter carried a weapon to defend Jesus, not to go on the offensive.
According to scripture, death plots were made on Jesus’ life. Not by the Romans, but by his own Jewish religious authorities. What Martin failed to mention was that when Peter cut the guard’s ear off, Jesus miraculously healed the guard by restoring his ear. He was then quoted as telling Peter not to use weapons, and that those who lived by them, would die by them.
As for comparing Jesus’ teachings to the War Scroll, which preaches that men should use violence in God’s name; when Jesus was asked by Pontus Pilate, the Roman prefect at the time where his kingdom was, Jesus replied that his kingdom was not an earthly one. But that had it been one, his people would have fought. This disproves the idea of Jesus being a political/religious radical. His plan was not an earthly overthrow, instead, it was of spiritual redemption.
Jesus’ teachings were that God alone would judge mankind and that his disciples should be peacemakers as referred to in his sermon on the Mount of Olives. Martin’s paper makes one question his true intention for writing such a piece. Does Martin truly believe in his own arguments? Or does press and publicity trump truth? These days, many would be wise to agree with the latter.
Does racism exist within the Dead Sea Scrolls?