History for the Rest of Us

Mary, Mother of Jesus – Summary

Mary, Mother of Jesus – Summary

May 5, 2014

Mary, or Virgin Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ, a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee. While betrothed to Joseph the angel Gabriel told Mary that she had ‘found favour with God’ and that she should ‘conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.’ Mary, asking the angel how this could be, since she knew not a man, was told that ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’ see Luke 1:26-35 According to Jewish custom, the betrothal would have taken place when Mary was around 12, with the birth of Jesus occurring about a year later. She was present at the marriage where Jesus performed his first miracle and among the women at his...

Was the Examination of Jesus Illegal?

Was the Examination of Jesus Illegal?

Apr 22, 2013

SOURCE: THE TRIAL OF JESUS FROM A LAWYER’S STANDPOINT by WALTER M. CHANDLER OF THE NEW YORK BAR LAW “Now the Jewish law prohibited all proceedings by night.”—Dupin, “Jesus Devant Caïphe et Pilate.” “Be not a sole judge, for there is no sole judge but One.”—Mishna, Pirke Aboth IV. 8. “A principle perpetually reproduced in the Hebrew scriptures relates to the two conditions of publicity and liberty. An accused man was never subjected to private or secret examination, lest, in his perplexity, he furnish damaging testimony against himself.”—Salvador, “Institutions de Moïse,” pp. 365, 366. FACT AND ARGUMENT The private examination before Annas (or Caiaphas) was illegal for the following reasons: (1) The examination was conducted at night in violation of Hebrew law; (2) no judge or magistrate, sitting alone, could interrogate an accused judicially or sit in judgment upon his legal rights; (3) private preliminary examinations of accused persons were not allowed by Hebrew law. The general order of events following the arrest in the garden was this: (1) Jesus was first taken to the house of Annas; (2) after a brief delay He was sent by Annas to Caiaphas, the high priest, in whose palace the Sanhedrin, or a part thereof, had already assembled; (3) He was then brought before this body, tried and condemned; (4) He remained, during the rest of the night, in the high priest’s palace, exposed to the insults and outrages of His keepers; and was finally and formally sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin which reconvened at the break of day. That Jesus was privately examined before His regular trial by the Sanhedrin is quite clear. But whether this preliminary examination took place before Annas or Caiaphas is not certainly known. John alone records the private interrogation of Jesus and he alone refers to Annas in a way to connect him with it. This Evangelist mentions that they “led him away to Annas first.” Matthew says that after the arrest of Jesus, they “led him away to Caiaphas the high priest,” without mentioning the name of Annas. Mark tells us that “they led Jesus away to the high priest”; but he does not mention either Annas or Caiaphas....

Birth of Jesus Christ

Birth of Jesus Christ

Dec 22, 2012

The Birth of Jesus as recorded in the ‘The Gospel According to St. Luke’ King James version of the Bible: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward...

Was the Indictment Against Jesus Illegal?

Was the Indictment Against Jesus Illegal?

Apr 24, 2012

SOURCE: THE TRIAL OF JESUS FROM A LAWYER’S STANDPOINT by WALTER M. CHANDLER OF THE NEW YORK BAR LAW “The entire criminal procedure of the Mosaic Code rests upon four rules: certainty in the indictment; publicity in the discussion; full freedom granted to the accused; and assurance against all dangers or errors of testimony.”—Salvador, “Institutions de Moïse,” p. 365. “The Sanhedrin did not and could not originate charges; it only investigated those brought before it.”—Edersheim, “Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,” vol. i. p. 309. “The evidence of the leading witnesses constituted the charge. There was no other charge: no more formal indictment. Until they spoke, and spoke in the public assembly, the prisoner was scarcely an accused man. When they spoke, and the evidence of the two agreed together, it formed the legal charge, libel, or indictment, as well as the evidence for its truth.”—Innes, “The Trial of Jesus Christ,” p. 41. “The only prosecutors known to Talmudic criminal jurisprudence are the witnesses to the crime. Their duty is to bring the matter to the cognizance of the court, and to bear witness against the criminal. In capital cases, they are the legal executioners also. Of an official accuser or prosecutor there is nowhere any trace in the laws of the ancient Hebrews.”—Mendelsohn, “The Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews,” p. 110. FACT AND ARGUMENT The Gospel records disclose two distinct elements of illegality in the indictment against Jesus: (1) The accusation, at the trial, was twofold, vague, and indefinite, which Mosaic law forbade; (2) it was made, in part, by Caiaphas, the high priest, who was one of the judges of Jesus; while Hebrew law forbade any but leading witnesses to present the charge. A thorough understanding of [this] Point…depends upon keeping clearly in mind certain well-defined elementary principles of law. In the first place, it should be remembered that in most modern jurisdictions an indictment is simply an accusation, carries with it no presumption of guilt, and has no evidentiary force. Its only function is to bring the charge against the prisoner before the court and jury, and to notify the accused of the nature of the accusation against him....

Were Proceedings During the Night Against Jesus Illegal?

Were Proceedings During the Night Against Jesus Illegal?

Apr 1, 2012

SOURCE: THE TRIAL OF JESUS FROM A LAWYER’S STANDPOINT by WALTER M. CHANDLER OF THE NEW YORK BAR LAW “Let a capital offence be tried during the day, but suspend it at night.”—Mishna, Sanhedrin IV. 1. “Criminal cases can be acted upon by the various courts during day time only, by the Lesser Synhedrions from the close of the morning service till noon, and by the Great Synhedrion till evening.”—Mendelsohn, “Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews,” p. 112. “The reason why the trial of a capital offense could not be held at night is because, as oral tradition says, the examination of such a charge is like the diagnosing of a wound—in either case a more thorough and searching examination can be made by daylight.”—Maimonides, Sanhedrin III. FACT AND ARGUMENT Hebrew jurisprudence positively forbade the trial of a capital case at night. The infraction of this rule involves the question of jurisdiction. A court without jurisdiction can pronounce no valid verdict or judgment. A court has no jurisdiction if it convenes and acts at a time forbidden by law. One is naturally disposed to deride the reason assigned by Maimonides for the existence of the law against criminal proceedings at night. But it should not be forgotten that in the olden days surgery had no such aids as are at hand to-day. Modern surgical apparatus had not been invented and electric lights and the Roentgen Rays were unknown. In the light of this explanation of the great Jewish philosopher the curious inquirer after the real meaning of things naturally asks why the Areopagus of Athens always held its sessions in the night and in the dark. We have seen that Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane about midnight and that His first ecclesiastical trial took place between two and three o’clock in the morning. St. Luke tells us that there was a daybreak meeting, which was evidently intended to give a semblance of legality and regularity to that rule of Hebrew law that required two trials of the case. The exact time of the beginning of the night session of the Sanhedrin is not known. It is generally supposed that the arrest took place in...