Jewish deicide is a historic belief Among Some In Christianity That Jewish people as a whole Were Responsible for the death of Jesus . [1] The antisemitic slur “Christ-killer” was used by mobs to incite violence against Jews and pogroms , the murder of Jews during the Crusades , the Spanish Inquisition , and during the Holocaust . [2]

At the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI repudiated belief in collective Jewish guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus. [3] It declared that the accusation could not be made “against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today”.

Source of deicide charge

Justification of the charge of Jewish deicide has been sought in Matthew 27: 24-25 :

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that was a good starting point, he took off and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’ All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and our children!’

The verse that reads: “All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and our children!’” Is also referred to as the blood curse . In an essay on antisemitism, Amy-Jill Levine’s biblical scholar argues that this passage has caused more than a few years of experience in the New Testament. [4]

According to Jeremy Cohen:

[e] ven before the Gospels appeared, the apostle Paul (or, more probably, one of his disciples) portrayed the Jews as Christ’s killers … But the New Testament clearly looks to the Jews as responsible for the death of Jesus, Paul and the evangelists did not yet condemn all Jews, by the very fact of their Jewishness, as murderers of the sound of God and his messiah. That condemnation, however, was soon to come. [5]

As early as 167 AD Melito of Sardis in a Christian world in the presence of Sardis, where Jews had a thriving community with excellent relations with Greeks, made assertions in his Peri Pascha that transformed the burden that Jews had killed their own Messiah into the charge that the Jews had killed God himself. He was the first writer in the Lukan-Pauline tradition to unambiguously raise the calumny of deicide against Jews. [6] [7] This text blasts the Jews for allowing King Herod and Caiaphasto execute Jesus, despite their calling God’s people (ie, both were Jewish). It says “you did not know, O Israel, that this one was the firstborn of God.” Pontius Pilate, but only mentions that Pilate washed his hands of guilt. [8] At a time when Christians were widely persecuted, Melito’s speech is believed to be an appeal, not to punish Jews, but for Rome to spare Christians. [9]

St John Chrysostom made the charge of deicide the cornerstone of his theology. [10] He was the first to use the term ‘deicide’ [11] and the first Christian preacher to apply the word “deicide” to the Jewish nation. [12] [13] He held that for this putative ‘deicide’, there was no expiation, forgiveness or indulgence possible. [14] The first occurrence of the Latin word deicida occurs in a Latin sermon by Peter Chrysologus . [15] [16] In the Latin version he wrote: Iudaeos [invidia] … fecit esse deicidas , ie, “[Envy] made the Jews deicides”. [17]

The accuracy of the Gospel accounts portrayal of Jewish complicity in Jesus’ death has been vigorously debated in recent decades, with views of a denial of responsibility to extensive culpability. According to the Daniel Harrington Jesuit scholar, the consensus of Jewish and Christian scholars is that of Jewish responsibility, with regard to the Jewish people, but only the probable involvement of high priests in Jerusalem at the time and their allies. [1] Many scholars read the story of the passion as an attempt to take the blame off Pilate and place it on the Jews, on which might be at the time politically motivated. It is thought possible that Pilate ordered the crucifixion to avoid a riot, for example. [18]Some scholars hold that the synoptic account is compatible with traditions in the Babylonian Talmud . [19] The writings of Moses Maimonides (a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher ) mentioned the hanging of a certain Jesus (identified in the sources as Yashu’a) on the eve of Passover. Maimonides considered Jesus as a Jewish renegade in revolt against Judaism; religion commanded the death of Jesus and his students; and Christianity was a religion attached to his name in a later period. [20] In a passage widely censoredMaimonides wrote about “Jesus of Nazareth, who imagined that he was the Messiah, and was put to death by the court ( Beth din ). ” [21] [22] [23]

David Klinghoffer argues that to attribute blame to Jewish leaders for the death of Jesus is not ipso facto anti-Semitic, since Jewish writings retains traditions consistent with this view. [23]

Historicity of Matthew 27: 24-25

Pilate Washes His Hands by James Tissot – Brooklyn Museum

Selon the gospel accounts, Jewish autorités in Roman Judea charged Jesus with blasphemy and Sought His execution (see Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus ), lacked the authority to order-have Jesus put to death ( John 6:31 p.m. ), So They Brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate , the Roman governor of the province, who authorized Jesus’ execution ( John 19:16 ). [24] The Jesus Seminar ‘s Scholars Version translation notes for John 6:31 p.m. adds: ” it’s illegal for us : The accuracy of this claim is doubtful.” It is noted, for example, that Jewish authorities have been responsible for the stoningof St. Stephen in Acts 7:54 and of James the Just in Antiquities of the Jews [25] without the consent of the governor. Josephus however, notes that the execution of James happened while the newly appointed governor Albinus “was but on the road” to assume his office. Also the Acts refers to the stoning happened in a lynch-like manner, in the race of Stephen’s public criticism of Jews who refused to believe in Jesus.

It has been suggested that the Gospel accounts may have fallen into the role of the Romans in Jesus’ death during a time when Christianity was struggling to gain acceptance among the pagan or polytheist Roman world. [26] Matthew 27: 24-25 reads:

So when Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing, but rather that a tumult was arising, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man; see ye [to it]. And all the people answered, His blood [be] on us, and on our children.

This passage has no counterpart in the other Gospels and some scholars see it as probably related to the destruction of Jerusalem in the 70 AD [27] Ulrich Luz describes it as “redactional fiction” invented by the author of the Gospel of Matthew . [28] Some writers, viewing it as part of Matthew’s anti-Jewish polemic, see in it the seeds of later Christian anti- Semitism . [29]

In his book 2011, Pope Benedict XVI , besides repudiating placing blame on the Jewish people, interpreters in the Gospel of Matthew our children “. [30] [31]

Historicity of Barabbas

Some biblical scholars Including Benjamin Urrutia and Hyam Maccoby go a step further by not only doubting the historicity of the blood curse statement in Matthew goal aussi the existence of Barabbas . [32] This theory is based on the fact that Barabbas is full of Jesus Barabbas, [33] meaning literally Jesus, son of the father. The theory is that this name of Jesus himself, and that when the crowd asked Pilate to release “Jesus, son of the father” they were referring to Jesus himself, as suggested by Peter Cresswell. [34] [35]The theory suggests that further details around Barabbas are historical fiction based on misunderstanding. The theory is disputed by other scholars. [36]


Eastern Christianity

The Holy Friday Liturgy of the Orthodox Church , Byzantine Rite Roman Catholic churches, uses the phrase “impious and transgressing people”, [37] but the strongest expressions are in the Holy Thursday liturgy, which includes the same song, after the eleventh Gospel reading, but also speaks of “the murderers of God, the lawless nation of the Jews”, [38] and, referring to “the assembly of the Jews”, prays: “But give them, Lord, their reward, because they devised vain things against Thee. ” [39]

Western Christianity

A liturgy with a similar pattern but with no specific mention of the Jews is found in the Improperia of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. In the Anglican Church , the first Anglican Book of Common Prayer did not contain this formula, but it appears in later versions, such as the Anglican Anglican Prayer Book of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa , as The Solemn Adoration of Christ Crucified or The Reproaches . [40] ALTHOUGH not hand of Christian dogma , Many Christians, Including members of the clergy , preached que la Jewish people Werecollectively guilty for Jesus’ death. [3]


The French-Jewish historian and Holocaust survivor Jules Isaac , in the aftermath of World War II , played a seminal role in documenting the anti-Semitic traditions in Catholic Church Thinking, Instruction and Liturgy. The following passage was made by Pope John XXIII in 1960. [41] In the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI issued the declaration Nostra aetate (“In Our Time”), which among other things repudiated belief in the collective Jewish guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus .[3] Nostra aetate stated that, even though some Jews and those who have been called to Jesus ‘ death, the blame for what happened to Jews in the United States. be held guilty. It makes no explicit mention of Matthew 27: 24-25, but only of John 19: 6 .

On November 16, 1998, The Church Council of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a resolution prepared by its Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations urging any Lutheran Church presenting a Passion Playto adhere to their Guidelines for Lutheran-Jewish Relations , stating that ” the New Testament … must be used as a justification for hostility towards present-day Jews “, and that” blame for the death of Jesus should not be attributed to Judaism or the Jewish people. ” [42] [43]

Pope Benedict XVI also repudiates the Jewish deicide charge in his book Jesus of Nazareth , in which he interprets the translation of ” ochlos ” in Matthew to mean the “crowd,” rather than to mean the Jewish people . [30] [44]

See also

  • Antisemitism and the New Testament
  • Decretum of Iudaeis
  • Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism
  • Nostra aetate
  • Westboro Baptist Church


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Greenspoon, Leonard; Hamm, Dennis; The Beautiful, Bryan F. (November 1, 2000). The Historical Jesus Through Catholic and Jewish Eyes . A & C Black. p. 78. ISBN  978-1-56338-322-9 .
  2. Jump up^ Singer, Thomas; Kimbles, Samuel L. (July 31, 2004). The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society . Routledge. p. 33. ISBN  1-135-44486-2 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:c Nostra Aetate: a milestone – Pier Francesco Fumagalli
  4. Jump up^ Fredriksen, Paula; Reinhartz, Adele (2002). Jesus, Judaism, and Christian Anti-Judaism: Reading the New Testament After the Holocaust . Westminster John Knox Press. p. 91. ISBN  978-0-664-22328-1 .
  5. Jump up^ Jeremy Cohen (2007):Christ Killers: The Jews and the Passion from the Bible to the Big Screen. Oxford University Press. p.55ISBN 0-19-517841-6
  6. Jump up^ Abel Mordechai Bibliowicz, Jews and Gentiles in the Early Jesus Movement: An Unintended Journey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 pp.180-182.
  7. Jump up^ Christine Shepardson, Anti-Judaism and Christian Orthodoxy: Ephrem’s Hymns in Fourth-Century Syria, CUA Press 2008 p.27.
  8. Jump up^ On the passoverpp. 57, 82, 92, 93 from Kerux: The Journal of Northwest Theological Seminary
  9. Jump up^ RM Grant “Five Apologists and Marcus Aurelius”Vigiliae Christianae42 (1988): 1-17
  10. Jump up^ Gilman, Sander L .; Katz, Steven T. (March 1, 1993). Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis . NYU Press. p. 47. ISBN  978-0-8147-3056-0 .
  11. Jump up^ Fred Gladstone Bratton, [The Crime of Christendom: The Theological Sources of Christian Anti-Semitism,] Beacon Press, 1969 p.85.
  12. Jump up^ David F. Kessler (12 October 2012). The Falashas: A Short History of the Ethiopian Jews . Routledge. p. 76. ISBN  978-1-136-30448-4 .
  13. Jump up^ Malcolm Vivian Hay [Thy brother’s blood: the roots of Christian anti-Semitism,] Hart Pub. Co., 1975 p.30.
  14. Jump up^ Flannery, Edward H. (1985). The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-three Centuries of Antisemitism . Paulist Press. p. 52. ISBN  978-0-8091-4324-5.
  15. Jump up^ Wolfram Drews,The unknown neighbor: The Jew in the thought of Isidore of Seville,Brill, 2006 p.187.
  16. Jump up^ Charleton Lewis and Charles Short,Latin Dictionary Latin Dictionary
  17. Jump up^ Sermons of Peter Chrysologus, vol. 6,p. 116, “Sermo CLXXII”, atGoogle Books
  18. Jump up^ Kierspel, Lars (2006). The Jews in the Fourth Gospel: Parallelism, Function, and Context . Mohr Siebeck. p. 7. ISBN  978-3-16-149069-9 .
  19. Jump up^ Laato, Antii; Lindqvist, Pekka (14 September 2010). Encounters of the Children of Abraham from Ancient to Modern Times . BRILL. p. 152. ISBN  90-04-18728-6 . The Babylonian Talmud, as distinct from the Palestinian Talmud, preserves these traditions, arguably, because Palestine was under Christian domination, while the Sassanid Empire , which hosted major academies of the Jewish diaspora, viewed Christianity inimicably. The different political situation in the backdrop for freer dissent
  20. Jump up^ Davidson, Herbert (9 December 2004). Moses Maimonides: The Man and His Works . Oxford University Press. pp. 293, 321. ISBN  978-0-19-534361-8 .
  21. Jump up^ Goodman, Micah (1 May 2015). Maimonides and the Book That Changed Judaism: Secrets of the Guide for the Perplexed . U of Nebraska Press. p. 123. ISBN  978-0-8276-1197-9 .
  22. Jump up^ Kellner, Menachem Marc (March 28, 1996). Maimonides on the Decline of the Generations and the Nature of Rabbinic Authority . SUNY Press. p. 73.ISBN  978-0-7914-2922-8 .
  23. ^ Jump up to:b Klinghoffer, David (18 December 2007). Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History . Potter / Tenspeed / Harmony. pp. 3, 72-73. ISBN  978-0-307-42421-1 . To say that Jewish leaders were instrumental in getting Jesus killed is not anti-Semitic. Otherwise we would have to call the medieval Jewish sage Moses Maimonides anti-Semitic and the rabbis of the Talmud as well.
  24. Jump up^ The Historical Jesus Through Catholic and Jewish Eyesby Bryan F. Le Beau Leonard J. Greenspoon and Dennis Hamm (Nov 1, 2000)ISBN 1563383225pages 105-106
  25. Jump up^ 20.9.1
  26. Jump up^ Anchor Bible Dictionaryvol. 5. (1992) pg. 399-400. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
  27. Jump up^ MatthewCraig Evans(Cambridge University Press, 2012) page 455.
  28. Jump up^ Ulrich Luz,Studies in Matthew(William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005) page 58.
  29. Jump up^ Graham Stanton,A Gospel for a New People, (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993) page 148.
  30. ^ Jump up to:b Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI (2011). Jesus of Nazareth . Retrieved 2011-04-18 .
  31. Jump up^ “Pope Benedict XVI Fingers Points on Who Killed Jesus” . 2011 . Retrieved 2011-04-18 .
  32. Jump up^ Urrutia, Benjamin. “Pilgrimage”,The Peaceable Table(October 2008)
  33. Jump up^ Evans, Craig A. (2012). Matthew (New Cambridge Bible Commentary) . Cambridge University Press. p. 453. ISBN  978-0521011068 .
  34. Jump up^ Peter Cresswell, Jesus The Terrorist 2009
  35. Jump up^ Peter Cresswell, The Invention of Jesus: Rewrote the New Testament, 2013
  36. Jump up^ Purcell, JQ (June 1, 1985). “Case of the Duplicate Pseudo-Barabbas, Cont” . Letter to the Editor. The New York Times . Retrieved January 9,2017 .
  37. Jump up^ Ware, Metropolitan Kallistos and Mother Mary. The Lenten Triodion. St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 2002, p. 612 (Second Stichos of Lord, I Have Cried at Vespers on Holy Friday)
  38. Jump up^ Ware, Metropolitan Kallistos and Mother Mary. The Lenten Triodion. St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 2002, p. 589 (Third Stories of the Beatitudes at Matins on Holy Friday)
  39. Jump up^ Ware, Metropolitan Kallistos and Mother Mary. The Lenten Triodion. St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 2002, p. 586 (thirteenth antiphon at Matins on Holy Friday). The phrase “plotted in vain” is drawn fromPsalm 2: 1.
  40. Jump up^ An Anglican Prayer Book (1989) Church of the Province of Southern Africa
  41. Jump up^ Tapie, Matthew A. (26 February 2015). Aquinas on Israel and the Church: Aquinas on Israel and the Church . James Clarke & Co. pp. 12-14. ISBN  978-0-227-90396-4 .
  42. Jump up^ Evangelical Lutheran Church in America”Guidelines for Lutheran-Jewish Relations”November 16, 1998
  43. Jump up^ World Council of Churches”Guidelines for Lutheran-Jewish Relations”inCurrent Dialogue , Issue 33July, 1999
  44. Jump up^ “Pope Benedict XVI Fingers Points on Who Killed Jesus” . March 2, 2011 . Retrieved 2012-09-28 . While the charge of collective Jewish guilt has been an important catalyst of anti-Semitic persecution throughout history, the Catholic Church has consistently repudiated this teaching since the Second Vatican Council.