"The Jewish Folks did not kill Jesus, but they lobbied Pilate in the same way as the Israel Lobby does with the U.S. Congress today (with political and financial support) to kill Jesus. It was not the Romans who arrested Jesus, it was a gang of Jewish Elders who arrested Jesus. The Jews were the folks who brought Jesus to Pilate in the first instance and demanded (lobbied) to have Jesus crucified. The Romans did not see Jesus as a threat to them, but he sure was hated by the "Business Class" or the "Chosen People" at the time."
"Even Jesus is perceived by some rabbinical sects as not only an arch enemy but an existential threat as well. Yeshu, the Hebrew name used for Christ , is an acronym for the formula Y'mach Sh'mo V'Zichro meaning ‘may his name and memory be obliterated’-- a term reserved for the bitterest enemies of the Jews (Hitler, Amalek, etc.)."
--Gilad Atzmon, Jews, Logic and Corbyn, August 18, 2018--
Lesson of the widow's mite
"As he was making his way out of the temple area one of his disciples said to him, "Look, teacher, what stones and what buildings!" Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down."
Forgive them their debts
We’re familiar since medieval times for European rulers often freeing the prisoners when they came to power. But the amnesties in Sumer and Babylonia extended to everything that was owed to the palace. They were general cancellations of personal debts, mainly agrarian debts by cultivators – citizens who also manned the military.
The idea was to restore the economy to the stability that existed before widespread debts ran up during the preceding ruler’s reign. What was “restored” was an idealized “original” or “normal” state in which nobody owed debts to the palace.
These debt remissions extended in due course to debts owed to palace collectors – and, by Babylonian times (from about 2000 to 1600 BC), to debts owed to individual creditors. Most agrarian and personal debts were cancelled, but not debts among businessmen that were owed to each other. They were left in place.
The guiding logic of these debt cancellations was spelled out by Egyptians. If rulers had not cancelled these debts, they would have faced a situation in which indebted cultivators were falling into permanent bondage. Their labor would have been pledged to their creditors, and thus would not be available to perform the corvée labor that had to be mobilized each year to build basic infrastructure – walls, temples, palaces and other basic construction that was public or communal in character.
Also if the debtors on the land had to pay private creditors, they wouldn’t be able to pay their stipulated fees or taxes run up to the palace. So for two thousand years throughout the Bronze Age (circa 3200 to 1200 BC), there was a tension between the rulers and the emergence of a private wealthy class of creditors who used their money to try to become landowners. By about 1800 BC you had cultivators pledging their land to creditors and losing it. You begin to find large aggregations of landholdings, all at the expense of palace authority and its ability to levy taxes on labor, crops or money.
.... But in Sumer, Babylonia, Egypt and the Biblical lands there was a royal understanding that if poor cultivators – the 99 percent – had to pay the debts that they ran up, they would fall into bondage to the 1 percent, and forfeit their land to their creditors. Rulers sought to prevent this from happening, because if they had not intervened, they would have a citizenry available to serve in the army. They wouldn’t have taxes. They would have had a kind of Margaret Thatcher type economy – and quickly been conquered by outsiders or overthrown from within.
.... Michael Hudson: They were formulated in a society where debt was the main disruptive economic feature. For instance, the commandment “Thou shalt not covet my neighbor’s wife.” At that time, creditors would make loans to debtors, who would have to put up collateral. The most typical collateral they would put up would be their household slave girl, or otherwise their daughter or wife. The woman would have to go live in the house of the creditor, and usually had to have have sex with them. That’s how employer/employee relations were back from the Bronze Age through the Iron Age.
Already in 2350 BC, the laws of Urukagina in Sumer had a special sanction saying that a wife can’t have two husbands. The idea against coveting someone’s wife meant that you can’t take another person’s wife as a debt servant to have sex with.
The commandment “Thou shalt not steal” referred to making a loan and foreclosing on land or seizing property and not returning it. That was looked at socially as a form of theft.
The commandment “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain” referred to taking an oath. Creditors were notorious for lying. The books of Plutarch and other authors are rife with examples of creditors lying. In Babylonia everything had to be written down. In Egypt the same thing – every creditor claim had to be written down and witnessed.
The idea was to enforce behavior in keeping with the Ten Commandments and the laws of Leviticus, which said that every fifty years there has to be a clean slate – a deror, a jubilee year. The Hebrew word for the Jubilee year was cognate to the word for the Babylonian clean slate, andurarum. These debt cancellations also freed bond servants and returned land to debtors who had forfeited it. You could go right down through the Ten Commandments and see that their aim was to prevent the corrosive effects of debt tearing society apart.
.... Michael Hudson: Christianity began as a protest movement, but it was a protest movement that was very conservative. We know from the Dead Sea Scrolls – essentially the library of the Temple of Jerusalem hidden to protect it from the Romans – that what Jesus wanted to do was just what he announced in the first sermon that he gave. It is reported in Luke, Chapter 4. He said “I’ve come to proclaim the year of the Lord,” meaning the Jubilee Year. He unrolled the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah that described the Jubilee Year.
He said that the rabbis who opposed to be cancelling debts – the Pharisees, a conservative group of rabbis led most notably by Hillel – had developed a special clause that was similar to what the Babylonian creditors had tried to do. It was called the prosbul clause. A debtor who needed money would have to sign a waiver saying, “I agree not to avail myself of the rights that the Bible promises me in the Jubilee Year. So if the debts are cancelled, I waive my rights and the creditor can foreclose anyway.”
Jesus explained in his sermon that this was against the Mosaic Law – the law of Leviticus, chapter 25. It was in fact against everything the Old Testament talks about. (My book has the relevant Dead Sea scrolls.) But rabbinical Judaism was being taken over by pro-creditor Pharisees. Luke quotes Jesus as describing them as being avid for money, and working for the creditor class.
At that time the great social fight not only in Judea but also in Greece and Rome was between debtors and creditors. There was a region-wide civil war. There were assassinations of Roman pro-debtor advocates such as the Gracchi brothers in 133 BC. A century of civil war followed, in which even Julius Caesar, who enacted a modest debt reform, was killed. Sparta’s King’s Agis and Cleomenes were killed for cancelling the debts. There were armed uprisings throughout Greece and Asia Minor over this.
This was a universal fight. But somehow, the economic message of Jesus has been taken out of context. It is as if what he was talking about was otherworldly. But he was talking about something very worldly – the debt issue. Jesus wanted to restore the debt cancellation as it was supposed to be according to Leviticus 25.
Later rabbinical scholars in medieval Spain, most notably Maimonides, urged the observance of the Jubilee Year. So Hillel’s prosbul was not universal among the rabbis. But for the last 2000 years there’s been a rabbinical argument over this.....