The Race That Killed Jesus

The Race That Killed Jesus

A friend of mine recently asked me who I thought killed Christ. “Was it the Jews? Was it the Romans?” I must admit that such considerations were not something I had particularly thought about much before although the question and the controversy was something I was aware of from previous encounters with other Catholics and with Rabbis. The racial question of blame seems quasi-appropriate in the present tense atmosphere with the issue of immigration in Europe and Pale-Blacki relations in America. It still begs the question however of “why does it matter?” Unsurprisingly, similar to the question of homosexuality that I addressed before, it is of little importance and of great importance simultaneously. While the superficial question is inherently low class, it can yield considerations of a higher and necessary nature. Let’s examine the major ways in which individuals deal with this issue and then I shall propose a meditation on the subject which seeks to rise above all three.

For most of the people I have observed, the question of whether or not the Jews were the ones who killed Christ is usually at the service of some ideological aim; i.e. that the question is only relevant in establishing a kind of “bloodline” of iniquity. These individuals explicitly or covertly take the admission of, “his blood be on us, and on our children,” (Matthew 27:25) as justification for the continual skepticism or suppression of what they consider “Jews”. The indictment of “Jews” and “Jewry” as scapegoats is then put to use to advance agendas meant to affect the political, social, and economic makeup of modernity. To individuals who take this path, it is a question of diagnosis on a material plane for the world’s ills. In some ways, too, it becomes a kind of fantasy. “If only we could get rid of Jewry, things would be better,” is the implication. Furthermore, I can’t help but imagine it as a kind of dualistic, Manichean fantasy as well: that the “Christian” way is opposed to the “Jewish” way.

On the other side, there are those few who blame the Romans. “They are the ones who actually crucified the Lord,” I hear many apologetic Christians says. I am sure many of them are channeling Nostra Aetate which is explicit when it states how:

What happened in [Christ’s] passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God.ii

However, the shifting of the blame to the Romans seems like a rather easy “cop out” if not a serious and grave error when it is used as yet another example of the superiority of modern, whig politics over ancient monarchical systems. Again, the reduction to an ideological utilitarianism is intrinsic in that line of argument whether it panders to Jewish sensibilities or to modern anti-authoritarian sentiments.

But what does the Church herself believe? Most Catholics will be quick to toe the line and recognize that “everyone” is to blame. The Catechism is clear, after all, when it says that:

In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.” Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone…iii

This leads to the third (though not ultimate) option which many have taken as their preferred method of resolving the conflict: that it was not a question of whether it was the Jews or the Romans, but all people universally in their participation in sin. The question of “races” is translated to the question of one “race” only—the human race.

Pope Benedict XVI, furthermore, wrote in Jesus of Nazareth that he interprets the translation of “ochlos” in Matthew’s gospel as “crowd” as opposed to the entirety of the Jewish race. In fact, he goes on to say in the same book (my emphases added):

[W]e must ask: who exactly were Jesus’ accusers? Who insisted that he be condemned to death? We must take note of the different answers that the Gospels give to this question. According to John it was simply “the Jews.” But John’s use of this expression does not in any way indicate—as the modern reader might suppose—the people of Israel in general, even less is it “racist” in character. After all, John himself was ethnically a Jew, as were Jesus and all his followers. The entire early Christian community was made up of Jews […] The real group of accusers are the current Temple authorities, joined in the context of the Passover amnesty by the “crowd” of Barabbas’ supporters.

Benedict’s words are quite interesting. There were two points in particular that I found fruitful: one is that it is the failing of modernity to conceptualize such spiritual events in spiritual terms. Rather, it necessarily reduces such an event to whatever modern ideology or category (e.g. racism) that it finds appropriate for the particular passage. The focus on racism for most moderns is especially indicative of the obsession modernity has with materialism in general. Since no universal, spiritual, metaphysical, or objective reality outside of scientism is permitted in a truly modern or post-modern concept, then “blame” and “race” is taken only in the modern understanding of biological ethnicity.

Furthermore, he notes how it was the excitement of the “crowd” by the temple authorities that led to Jesus’s accusation. This connection between demagoguery and excitement of the lower strata should not be overlooked as part of the condemnation of Christ. Indeed, there is something to be said about the dangers of pandering to the masses that should be taken as a lesson against the modern, democratic mentality but would be too lengthy to discuss here.

These are the three major viewpoints that individuals I have met seem to take vis-à-vis the question of deicide: that the Jews are to blame, that the Romans are to blame, and that all are to blame. Certainly the last one seems to have the most sensible and spiritual elements as the first two specifically pander to utilitarian and modern obsessions with materialism and biology. Indeed, the first two seem to make the same mistake which, according to Benedict, accused Christ in the first place: by attempting to push a political agenda by pandering to the masses for excitement. It is the great irony that modern “anti-semitism”iv takes on the same demagogic form as the quintessential crucifixion of a Jew.

However, I’d like to propose a fourth option and one which does not simply “negate” the racial element as if it was a spectre to be avoided as too dangerous for modern audiences or not important at all. I believe that a deeper meditation can be acquired on the nature of race and deicide in this case. My answer, therefore, to the question of which race killed Christ is that no race did. In fact, I contend that the high priest and Pontius Pilate were acting with such deracinated attitudes that not only can we find Jews and Romans not guilty of the crime, but highlight the golden virtue of both in the infernal example of the false accusation.

The easier of the two to deal with is Pontius Pilate: prefect of the province of Judea and judge over Jesus’s trial. It is easy enough to sum up his various crimes in how he dealt with Christ. Perhaps the most egregious was his indifference towards the truth especially as Truth was staring him in the face. This episode was immortalised when Jesus says to Pilate, “every one that is of the truth heareth my voice,” and Pilate responds with, “quid est veritas?v implying a kind of jovial joke. The fact that he not only took the matter lightly but had no interest in judging properly is why he may be the one who is present in the vestibule of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy as “the coward who made the great refusal.”vi Dante refuses to acknowledge him by name—a poetic choice as it was Pilate who refused to acknowledge the name of Jesus (“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”vii).

This refusal to acknowledge Truth; the cowardice in refusing to seek it out; and the abdication from the right of judgment and from administering justice is exactly what makes Pilate a traitor to the Roman gens. The Roman spirit is that of virtue and Imperium; the two being tied closely together. The manly art of virtue (even the name itself is derived from vir meaning “man”) is so profoundly documented as a necessity to the Roman individual of high (and especially political) standing that it is not necessary to include examples at the present time. Any individual can find a multitude of sources on the subject to their satisfaction. It is clear that Pilate’s refusals to administer justice is inherently un-Roman. This is especially true as Pilate is a representative of the Emperor who so often was associated with virtus.viii Indeed, Pilate traded in his Roman virtues for political expedience. He exchanged his delegated fasces of justice for material gain. No Roman gave justice that day—only a political machine shrugged its cold indifference.

While the merits of Roman virtue are clear especially as they are—at least in theory—perpetuated by young men of today who consider themselves loyal to the Church, what is less clear are the merits of “Jewishness.” Either individuals find “Jewishness” to be an interior archetype towards materialism and other serpentine vices, or, like many Catholics, they have a quaint yet detached association with it. However, the Jewish spirit should be respected.ix Indeed, a wise man once said:

The spiritual tradition of Israel being of universal significance, every particular spiritual tradition falls under the law of its origin, life and work. In other words, no spiritual tradition can live or accomplish its mission in the world without conforming to the essential conditions of the origin, life and mission of the tradition of Israel. In other words again, there are no true traditions other than those modelled on the tradition of Israel. For it is the tradition par excellence—the model, the prototype and the law of all visible spiritual traditions which have missions to accomplish.x

However, was this spiritual tradition in the mind of the High Priest and the other men of the Temple when they were condemning Jesus? Was this the Jewish tradition that they employed to condemn the Messiah? What were the motivations for their judgment? “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish,” (John 11:50) was the stated reasoning. In other words, the High Priest chose a quantitative motivation. Not only that, but he expressed little trust in the administration of God’s justice. Thus, he traded LOGOS for Logic—a betrayal of the mystical and qualitative tradition of Israel for the quantitative calculus of the world. No Jew gave judgment that day.

Indeed, both men acted not as their race had been called to act—Romans to rule the world with Justicexi and Jews to bring the Messiah—but as cowards. They abdicated not only their race but their virility. They became nobodies. Thus, it was neither race that condemned Christ. It was, in fact, the rather unique attribute to the human race: our ability to negate our own race-identity. It was our choice to deracinate and degenerate ourselves from the gloria of our ancestors that caused the Jew to act un-Jewish and the Roman to act un-Roman. It is our betrayal of our lineage that causes every act of us, who are made in the image and likeness of God, acting un-Godly to continually condemn Jesus to the cross.


i “Whiteness” is not afforded to any particular race except those who exhibit great virtue. I tend to use the term “pale” since it distinguishes the rather sad and degenerate state in which modern Europeans have put themselves in with the gloriousness of such luminaries as the Roman race in the past. Compare this to how Saruman loses his whiteness as he continues to industrialize and participate in Sauron’s plans.

ii http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html

iii Catechism of the Catholic Church (598).

iv I should be clear that this has no bearing on whether or not so called “anti-semitism” is even applicable to the past. While I do not deign to engage in that discussion at the present time, I mean only the present and modern use of “anti-semitism” applied to modern incidents.

v “What is truth?” John 18:38.

vi Inferno III, 57.

vii John 14:6.

viii It was said that Augustus had a golden shield inscribed with “virtus”, “iustitia”, and other virtues on it.

ix There is a legitimate question about whether or not “Jews” of today maintain the same spirit of Jewishness present in the glory of the Mystical Traditions of Israel. The question of whether or not “traditional Jews” exists is about as problematic as whether or not “traditional Europeans” or “traditional Christians” exist in the modern context. This is part of the reason why I refuse to use the term “white” to refer to those of European descent since it implies a purity which they have abdicated.

x Meditations on the Tarot, pp. 296.

xi cf. De Monarchia Chapter VII “The Roman people were ordained for Empire by nature” and Chapter VIII “The decree of God showed that Empire belonged to the Roman people”.

6 thoughts on “The Race That Killed Jesus

  1. Certainly we all crucify Christ, in a sense, when we sin. However, I think that there is truth to the idea of “Jewishness” and its role in the Crucifixion. The Romans were indifferent whereas the Jews were malicious. Both are bad, but the latter is worse. The Church Fathers clearly saw something inherently degenerate about “the Jews,” but I don’t think they had genetics in mind. My comment on Adam’s article briefly explained this; “the Jews” rejected Logos when they rejected Christ. God told them to follow His new Covenant and they spurned him. Following this line of thought, “Jewishness” is really the denial of Order, a subjugation of reason to passion. This simply became concrete in Rabbinic Judaism which is why a lot of blame (whether correctly or not) is put onto ethnically Jewish people. It’s ridiculous how some Christians today admonish figures like St. Justin Martyr and St. John Chrysostom for their polemics against Jews; they were not “anti-Semitic” or “racist” in modern terms.

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  2. To perpetuate the blood libel against the Hebrew people, or to seek to transfer it somewhere else, are both, I would suggest, equally unhelpful.

    Both the religious and the civil authorities acted against Jesus out of fear, out of misunderstanding, out of a misplaced desire to keep the peace, hold the line, whatever. This is because the misunderstood Him and His mission.

    Jesus created a new dispensation. One in which ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.’

    In the society in which Jesus was born, distinctions of ethnicity, of citizenship, of trade, of religion, were what gave one one’s identity. Now our identity is in Christ.

    And Christ looked not to authority – Roman Imperial or Jewish Religious. He looked to the outcast, the outsider. He ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. And He told us to do likewise, and that ‘inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this article. In a simple sense, it shows that blame itself is only a tool of division, which keeps us separated from our higher nature and achieving our life’s purpose. There are lessons here that transcend blame altogether. Indeed, the inaction of the few and action of many may have been the ultimate cause of death for Christ, but ultimately, it was refusal of the truth which condemned him to death. Great read. Thanks.

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  4. I have been of the opinion, from the text and accompanying material on this subject, that Pilate didn’t want to execute Jesus (he had little motivation and would have preferred to send Barabbas to the cross) but the Sanhedrin was adamant that Christ die (with exceptions such as Nicodemus of course). The early Church father’s counter-semitism seemed to indicate that this had laid a curse upon the Jews as rejectors, and that they would never recover their previous station.

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    1. Firstly this is a very thought provoking and well researched article.
      I agree with Mark’s comment and on this subject, James, E Michael Jones is well worth reading. His book “Jewish Revolutionary Spirit” provides an explanation of the metaphysical dimension of the Jewish rejection of Logos that has persisted throughout history. Every major counter cultural movement has been founded by people of Jewish origin; consider the Communists in Russia and Eastern Europe.
      Jesus was rejected and a revolutionary called Barabbas was chosen by the Jewish crowd to be saved from execution. This had deep consequences because it meant that the path was chosen and the Talmud was the result. Jesus came to fulfill the law (Matthew Ch:5) and he is the embodiment of Logos.
      Your article does confirm that We were complicit in this act but it wouldn’t have happened if Jesus were not betrayed and handed over to the Romans by the Jews. Your description challenges me though because none of us can absolve ourselves of guilt. This isn’t me contradicting what I’ve written though. The only way for all mankind to be forgiven is to embrace Logos and become followers of Christ. Any other way is joining the revolt against God which tragically involves many of us in the current age.

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  5. Related to my last comment, do you have any thoughts on divine judgement James? Terrifyingly I think we will all be judged and atm I don’t know what way this is going to go for us, given the way we’ve embraced all manner of perversion and corruption largely guided by moral relativism.
    The major flaw in Bishop Barron’s interpretation of Catholicism is that there’s a reasonable chance all men are saved. This is theologically incorrect and isn’t supported by sacred scripture.

    This is not good news for any of us. Only by obeying the Ten Commandments and becoming Catholic Christians can we give ourselves a chance of being saved from damning judgement.

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