The Agony of Victory: A fictional Account of Actual Events
Review of The Agony of Victory () — Foreword Reviews
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The Agony of Victory
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One person found this helpful. As the subtitle explains, this book is an historical view of Jesus' death, not a theological one. It comes from the pen of a classical historian and from the perspective of ancient Roman culture, both of which promise a different, richer, more nuanced understanding of the people and issues at play that make the Passover of AD 33 so compelling and endlessly fascinating.
Smith explains how three people came together over the Passover to change history: Pontius Pilate - a "marginally competent governor of an obscure Roman province: Judea"; Chanin ben Seth - known in the New Testament as Annas - "a self-made man from a minor priestly family who had risen to the position of high priest of Israel from AD 6 to 15"; and Jesus - "an obscure itinerant Jewish teacher He had gotten crosswise with the Jews over three problems: In addition, Pilate's mentor had been executed for treason.
Therefore, Pilate couldn't afford many more problems without raising a red flag with the emperor.
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By AD 33 Pilate knew he needed to support the priestly families in order to have their support. Smith - using the historical approach outlined above - pays close attention to Jesus' cleansing of the temple. Jesus was not against animal sacrifice nor the presence of money changers "but the ruthless profiteering and exploitation perpetrated by the high-priestly establishment in the name of God.
In order to prevent a scene, Annas had Jesus arrested at night and brought before a small private gathering of Annas' loyal supporters in his home. Annas needed to share the responsibility with the Roman leadership, so he charged Jesus with "the specific charge, 'King of the Jews', [which] carried with it an implicit threat" against the Roman Empire.
Our evidence is early, multiple, includes both strong and weak corroboration, and provides opportunity for cross-examination. That there was a trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate is supported by at least six different sources. It is the highest probability event of anything under consideration in this study and one of the most probable events in all ancient history.
He made sure that Annas and his compatriots expressed themselves clearly that they wanted Jesus to be executed.
Smith expertly lays out his evidence in reconstructing the events. So, of course, Jesus was crucified. Smith is an expert on Roman capital punishment and provides extensive evidence on the methods employed. He warns that this part of the book is grim. Smith addresses the topic of whether Jesus was buried. Only in the case of the highest form of treason With Easter approaching and this being related to one of my areas of interest, reading it was a no-brainer.
Smith outlines the rules of classical scholarship and shows how he uses them in his study. I hope this doesn't need to be said - but it can be a crazy word sometimes, Smith is not making the case that Jews bear the responsibility for Jesus' crucifixion.