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The Passion Paperback – 3 Mar 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141021322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141021324
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 426,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Geza Vermes was born in Hungary in 1924. From 1957 to 1991 he taught in at the Universities of Newcastle and Oxford. Professor Vermes is the editor of The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (1997) and author of The Changing Faces of Jesus (2000) and The Authentic Gospel of Jesus (2003). He lives in Oxford.

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The Passion of Jesus of Nazareth is part of history, but it is also the central core of Christian theology, the very nucleus of the Church's faith. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By C. Haines on 9 Jun 2006
Format: Paperback
In this fairly short book, the accounts of each stage of the Passion story in the Four Gospels are set out, followed by Prof. Vermes' comments, and this is a very helpful exercise. This method highlights some discrepancies which normal Bible reading doesn't reveal. The author comes to some conclusions about what probably happened, and if you're serious about getting closer to the truth, you have to respect the views of a scholar with such a great knowledge of Jewish practice.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
In this fascinating book, Geza Vermes examines the different accounts of the crucifixion in the four Gospels. They are incoherent and contradictory in certain respects. His aim is to find the real history that lurks within. Mark, Matthew, Luke and John are thus subjected to a stringent critical scrutiny in order to define, evaluate and interpret the differences with expert knowledge underpinned by common sense.

The Prologue sets out the key questions, for example the strange change of attitude of the ordinary people towards the Nazarene; they flocked to him to hear his words and to be healed, but during the crucifixion they are portrayed as suddenly hating him. Serious students of the Gospels cannot fail to notice this inexplicable contrast. This is one of the questions examined by Vermes: why the evangelists presented such an extraordinary change in attitude.

He also looks at how the Gospel accounts relate to one another, how they conform to Jewish and Roman reality from non-New Testament sources, and what motivated the various chronicles of the crucifixion. Vermes explores these problems and then attempts to find answers of what really transpired on the day of the crucifixion.

Chapter One: Literary & Historical Preliminaries, includes sections on the sources, Jewish history and legal systems in force in Judea at the time of Jesus: the historical background, the Roman provincial system, the biblical legal system, Jewish law courts according to the Mishna, death penalties, and the temple authorities and Jesus.

In Chapter Two: The Evangelists' Account of the Passion, the author sketches, interprets and queries the way that the evangelists describe the events during the final day of the life of Jesus, from the Last Supper to his death and burial.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought the book as a birthday present for son-in-law.
He was delighted to receive it.
The cost was more than that printed on the cover-however it was explained that the book was out of print and hence the higher price.
Overall the present achieved its' purpose.
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By soban anwar on 30 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The Facts, Mam, Nothing But the Facts.... 17 Mar 2008
By Big D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As with his other books,"Resurrection" and "The Nativity", Vermes seeks to separate fact from fiction and religious tradition---stories that have accumulated over the years without any basis in fact, stories that were included over trhe years to promote a particular theological view...

The best way to put it is described by noted Christian writer and speaker, Ellsworth Kallas: "The Gospels are like political biographies, written by people seeking to emphasize certain points to certain audiences...." Nothing wrong with that, nothing at all...but what about the facts, the facts, mam, nothng but the facts, as Jack Webb used to say in the old "Dragnet" TV series.

That's what Vermes does: give us the facts, nothing but the facts from a dispassionate "Lay-It-Out-There" perspective.

He takes various Gospel accounts of the Passion and compares them, noting where some timing sequences are just impossible, and, untimately, pointing to John as probably the most historically accurante Gospel.

Also points out that the Gospels seek to minimize Pilate's responsibilty in the Cruxification, casting more blame on the Jews, when in reality, when the Gospels were written, the writers were seeking to convert Romans and other Gentiles to the faith, having for the most part, given up on converting Jews. Hence, they "went light" on Pilate and followed the anti-Jewish tenor of the times in which the Gospels were written.

A very good book. Very informative and provocative.

So, Who Really Did Kill Jesus? Read the Book. Then you will know...
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Short and sweat 9 Aug 2006
By J. Owens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a mere 122 pages but it does a good job of covering all the major historical issues surrounding Jesus' passion. However, at times, I wish it went into more detail as Vermes' conclusions are not always persuasive.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Searching for Gospel Truth 13 Oct 2007
By Pieter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this fascinating book, Geza Vermes examines the different accounts of the crucifixion in the four Gospels. They are incoherent and contradictory in certain respects. His aim is to find the real history that lurks within. Mark, Matthew, Luke and John are thus subjected to a stringent critical scrutiny in order to define, evaluate and interpret the differences with expert knowledge underpinned by common sense.

The Prologue sets out the key questions, for example the strange change of attitude of the ordinary people towards the Nazarene; they flocked to him to hear his words and to be healed, but during the crucifixion they are portrayed as suddenly hating him. Serious students of the Gospels cannot fail to notice this inexplicable contrast. This is one of the questions examined by Vermes: why the evangelists presented such an extraordinary change in attitude.

He also looks at how the Gospel accounts relate to one another, how they conform to Jewish and Roman reality from non-New Testament sources, and what motivated the various chronicles of the crucifixion. Vermes explores these problems and then attempts to find answers of what really transpired on the day of the crucifixion.

Chapter One: Literary & Historical Preliminaries, includes sections on the sources, Jewish history and legal systems in force in Judea at the time of Jesus: the historical background, the Roman provincial system, the biblical legal system, Jewish law courts according to the Mishna, death penalties, and the temple authorities and Jesus.

In Chapter Two: The Evangelists' Account of the Passion, the author sketches, interprets and queries the way that the evangelists describe the events during the final day of the life of Jesus, from the Last Supper to his death and burial. It includes, to mention a few: the arrest, the interrogation, the night trial, the morning meeting of the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod Antipas, the crucifixion, the death and burial.

In Chapter Three: The Passion Accounts Compared With One Another and with Sources from Outside the New Testament, Vermes considers the agreements on seven incidents of the Passion account and the five disagreements. Here is included the content of the 4 Gospel narratives in parallel columns. Then follow comments on (a) the general agreements (b) disagreements between the Synoptics and John (c) some peculiarities in Luke.

Chapter Four: Denouement, provides the findings, including a reconstruction of the sequence of events from the Thursday evening to Friday 14 Nissan or 7th April AD 30 which was the eve of Passover. The Epilogue discusses the leading actors in the Passover narrative: The Jews, Caiaphas, Pilate and Jesus Christ.

As for the Jewish people, the only rational explanation of why the evangelists portrayed them as hostile to Jesus, is the obvious anti-Judaism of the early Gentile Church. Caiaphas is seen as an efficient quisling, Pilate is whitewashed; in reality he was brutal and cruel as is evident from many other sources. It was politically correct to blame the Jewish people and absolve Pilate - I have to agree with Vermes on this point.

I do not agree with the author on his conclusions about some of the Savior's words during the Last Supper and on the cross. Vermes just basically misunderstands the meaning of the vow not to drink wine again until the coming of the Kingdom, and why Jesus exclaimed, "why has Thou forsaken me?", not remembering that the Redeemer had to take all the sins of the world on himself during those last moments before his death. In these matters there is a veil of blindness over Vermes's perception.

The book contains a political map of the Levant at the time of Jesus and a map of the old city of Jerusalem, a bibliography of modern and classical sources, and concludes with an index. This work is highly illuminating and confirms, to my sorrow, the Antisemitism that existed in the Gentile Church from the earliest times. For further information, please consult Our Hands Are Stained with Blood by Michael L Brown and Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin.

Kabbalah of Yeshua - Zusha Kalet

New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus - David Bivin

Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus - David Bivin

Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church - Ron Moseley

Yeshua: The Name of Jesus Revealed in the Old Testament - Yacov Rambsel
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The UnGospel Truth 17 April 2013
By Kitchen Magician - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Geza Vermes, the world-renowned authority on Jesus Christ and scholar of Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls,provides a uniquely insightful and compelling credible case for the so-called Gospels not representing the gospel truth in the events leading to the execution of Jesus Christ. Drawing comparisons and contrasts between the Gospel account of the events and strict Jewish-biblical and Talmudic law, Mr. Vermes convincingly demonstrates that the evangelists who wrote the Gospel account of the death of Jesus were highly influenced by their own religious and political interests in currying favor with the Romans whom they viewed as a vast pool of prospective converts to Christianity. They knew that they could not convert pagan Romans and then turn around and proceed to instruct them that their new Lord and savior was crucified on a Roman cross, the most humiliating of Roman methods of execution. Thus, it was in their own best interests to pin the blame on the Jews and write their accounts in the gospels accordingly. Thus, Pontius Pilate, a brutal and cruel ruler, is portrayed in a much more benign light goaded by the Jews to execute Jesus. As Mr. Vermes points out, while conventional thought is the Jews wanted Jesus executed for blasphemy in having portrayed himself as the messiah and son of God, in fact there were many messiahs in Jewish history and the Jewish Bible refers to various Jewish figures as sons of God, with no ill effects. Why would Jews change their views with regard to Jesus? Ironically, the Gospels are not really the gospel truth, after all.

For those interested in the subject, this book is the best.
Passion 28 May 2010
By Daniel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Short summary:

The book is divided in four parts; in the first part he looks at the historical background of the crucifixion of Jesus and in particular at the Jewish legal system in force in Judea at the time of Jesus, the second part is a running commentary where he goes through the Passion story in 13 steps and at every step looks what each Evangelist wrote and compares and contrasts these with each other and other sources. The third part is essentially a wrap up of the second part where he comments on the agreements and disagreements and the fourth part his take on what `really' happened 2,000 years ago on the day of the crucifixion of Jesus.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed his running commentary and the way he compares and contrasts the various accounts and found his conclusions on the whole quite plausible. Also the survey of the historical background and specifically the Jewish legal system at the time was very interesting.

Grade:

8 out of 10
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