The Passion narratives must be understood through the Jewish historical experience, religious tradition and, above all, holy scripture. It is crucial to remember that the Passion story, considered as the birth of Christianism, is very linked to the Jewish culture and holy scripture since, Christianism was, at the beginning, only a new Jewish sect which managed to be so successful in the Roman world then later.
The main question that arises in order to perfectly understand the Passion narratives is about the role of Holy Scripture. Must they be considered as prophecies or only as help in order to understand the life and death of Jesus? Resulting from this question a totally different interpretation of the Passion.
[...] They needed to search into the holy scripture in order to find an explication about what happened and, therefore, in order to save their faith and constitute their identity. Of course, only well educated Christians were able to do this important work for Christianity. They probably tried to combine the events with the prophetic texts in order to have a coherent story to broadcast. It was very ingenious because most of the people knew the holy scripture. Consequently, Christian teachers and preachers could much more easily move from “fulfillment” in the story back to “prophecy” in the holy scripture. [...]
[...] And the Passover is the Passion of Christ too. Consequently, the question raised by Crossan is to know if there was in fact darkness at noon when Jesus died or if the darkness was an invention of the Gospels in order to declare that Jesus died according to the holy scripture. For him, the darkness was probably an attempt to link the Passion story to the holy scripture in order to show that Jesus' death was already written in the holy scripture. [...]
[...] Brown considers that the Passion story is simply the account of memory. Consequently, he does not recognize a direct link between the Old Testament and the New Testament depicting the life and death of Jesus. For him, there is no Jewish heritage, especially religion, in the Passion story. The Passion was clearly the remembrance of what happened at the time when Pilate was governor. On the other side, John Dominic Crossan replies to the thesis of Brown by claiming that the Passion story is rather prophecy historicized. [...]
[...] In fact, in spite of few differences linked to the writing work and the access to information, the Gospels totally agree about the essential because the Passion story is a history remembered. If it was a prophecy historicized, all four Gospels could be totally different because the interpretation diverges from the reader. When it's the memory, the story must be similar between all the four and only affected by subjectivism. Nonetheless, John Dominic Crossan, in Who killed Jesus, claims that the interpretation given by Brown is wrong. [...]
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