To repeat from Helping Eighteen:
It is deeply moving to see the unbelievable sensitivity with which Jesus listens to the Fourth Song of the Suffering Servant (Is 52:13-53:12) among the many voices, and used it to interpret the true rule of God and His own life. He used no violence at all. He took the sword from Peter’s hand. He preferred being a victim to using violence. And, by that very fact He initiated in the world an unexpected and ongoing influence.
-Gerhard Lohfink, S.J., Catholic Biblical Scholar
Jesus of Nazareth (2012)
“The theme of the Servant of Yahweh, the Suffering Servant [42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12] is as deeply imbedded in the Gospels as anything else; to repeat what we have said in other connections, if this theme is not the work of Jesus himself then we know nothing about his words or person. It is the peak of faith in the Old Testament, the supreme affirmation of the power of God and the weakness of man. When we meet the theme of the Suffering Servant in the New Testament, we are at the very heart of the Christian revolution.”
-John L. McKenzie, S.J, Catholic Biblical Scholar
THE POWER AND THE WISDOM, 1966, Imprimatur
“There is no evidence that Jesus himself openly advocated violent action. But he was certainly not a pacifist…Jesus was not a fool. He understood what every claimant to the mantle of messiah understood: God’s sovereignty could not be established except through force.”
-Reza Aslan, ZEALOT, Published July 16, 2013, page 121ff`
ZEALOT, a book published only four days ago that portrays Jesus as a Zealot, has received more mass media attention in that time than all the volumes of Biblical scholarship on the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels by John L. McKenzie, John Howard Yoder, Richard Hayes, Gerhard Lohfink, Raymund Schwager, Martin Hengel and Joseph Klausner combined. Yet, the book contains little to nothing that has not been investigated thoroughly in the world of biblical scholarship over the last hundred and fifty years.
So, why this spontaneous tidal wave of media hype for a book written by an Associate Professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside? From whence did it originate? Why is it worth tens of millions of dollars of free mass media exposure time to learn that Jesus was one hundred per cent Jewish, that he lived in turbulent political time, that he was a peasant, that Rome was involved in His murder by crucifixion, etc.?
The political, economic, ethnic and religious atmosphere into which one is born and/or lives may determine what one encounters and has to deal with. But, it does not determine how one analyzes and interprets it or how one deals with it. The assumption that it does is the logical Achilles’ heal in the story of a violence endorsing Jesus that Aslan has composed.
When big time corporate media goes full throttle in advertising a book about Jesus, watch out! When corporate media begins a gratis PR blitz for a book that has as its theme that Jesus was a spiritual comrade of violent terrorists such as the Maccabees, the Zealots, Simon bar Kochba, the Stern Gang and the Irgun Levi Leumi, we are in the corporate media dynamic of “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction! Iraq has weapons of mass destruction! We can’t wait for a mushroom cloud to appear in our backyard!”
A falsehood repeated often enough on a large enough scale becomes the “truth.” In whose interest is it to manufacture the re-packaging and the re-distribution of the falsehood of Jesus the Zealot via contemporary corporate mass media? The thesis of Jesus the Zealot was debunked by Biblical scholars over forty five years ago when the British academician S.G. F. Brandon published his book,JESUS AND THE ZEALOTS; a book which contains most of what Aslan employs to create his story of Jesus as a violence endorsing Zealot. Why run it up the flag pole again?
The Christian Churches are certainly doing all they can to propagate a violence approving Jesus. Why is any more needed? Is it possible that the mere continuing existence and presentation, of the Nonviolent Jesus and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, is so terrifying to some segment of humanity, or to some pitch black dark spirit that possesses some segment of humanity, that every consciousness altering tool presently at the disposal of human beings must be utilized by it to Orwellianize, once and for all, the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels into a violent terrorist?