Sunday, July 31, 2011


A number of times in my writings I have spoken about justice -- justice for Judas, for ancient Jewish leaders, and for Jewish culture, all of which have been hugely misrepresented in their relationship to Rabbi Joshua/Jesus. But recently, I saw an edition of Tavis Smiley's show on PBS that has made me rethink that a bit. I saw the show on Friday afternoon, July 1.

He had as his guests several former inmates who had been falsely accused and convicted of crimes and were now free (often because of DNA evidence). I believe that most of them had spent 20 to 30 years in prison before gaining their freedom. One of them, Johnnie Savory (30 years in jail, I think), said (and this is not an exact quote, but it's close): We are not seeking justice. Justice is preventing the injustice from happening. We are seeking truth and some compensation for our time in prison.

In the case of Judas and the rest, it's a little late for justice, and compensation of course is ridiculous. It's even late for justice for all those that have been harmed in the aftermath of the false allegations. In the case of the historical Jesus, all we can get is a true accounting of what took place and of the efforts of scholars ever since to suppress the evidence and the search for truth.

I remember seeing a poet late at night after a movie on PBS. I think her first name was Barbara, but I wouldn't swear to it. She recited a poem about her parents that sprang from her contemplation of a photograph of them on their college campus where they had met and were married. She wanted to travel back in time and tell them not to get married -- for they would do unspeakable things to each other and to their children. Then she realized that if they never get married, she would never exist, and however painful her life has been, she is alive and wants to be alive. So instead, she finds herself telling her parents, Go ahead, get married, and do all that you are going to do. And I? I will tell the tale.

For the historical, Jewish Jesus, all we can do is tell the tale and that includes the tale of what scholars have done to suppress academic freedom and anything approaching rational investigation of the evidence. That is something, but it's a far cry from justice.

Leon Zitzer

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?