The Trial of Jesus:
the Passion of the Christ

A 3 Part Lecture Series presented by Professor J.H.H. Weiler

In conjunction with NYU School of Law, The Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization presented the following lectures as part of The Tikvah Public Lecture Series:  The Passion of the Christ: The Trial of Jesus, A three-part lecture series presented by Professor J.H.H. Weiler, Director of The Tikvah Center.

The Trial of Jesus is, arguably, the most consequential legal event in the evolution of Western Civilization.  It has shaped important aspects of our perception of justice, it has had a major impact on the relationship between Jews and Christians and, of course, it is a central part of the Passion narrative and Christian theology.

This lecture series will examine the historical, political and legal background to the Trial. Thus it will open a window to life during the period of the “Second Temple”—the formative years of both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Specifically, the controversies surrounding both the substantive accusations against Jesus and the procedural propriety of the process will be examined. Among the questions the lectures will explore are:

  • Why were all public authorities hostile to Jesus?
  • Of what charge was he indicted and convicted?
  • Were his procedural rights preserved during his trial before the Sanhedrin?
  • Was his trial a miscarriage of justice?
  • Who was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus: The Jews? The Romans? Jesus himself? All of the above?
  • Why do we find Jews and Christians generally unable to reconcile their positions on this matter?
  • Can one propose a nuanced approach to this age-old disputation?

Through reflecting upon these and other questions, this lecture series will explore if and how this trial shaped our culture - that is, the two millennia history of Western Civilization.

Lecture details:

February 3rd, 2011 from 6PM-8PM : "The Procedure of the Trial and the Notion of Justice"

February 10th, 2011 from 6PM-8PM: "The Trial of Jesus, the Trial of the Jews - Towards the Theology of Justice"

February 17th, 2011 from 6PM-8PM: "In the Wake of the Trial - Defining the 'Other': The Personal Guilt and the Collective Responsibility"


galilee - ©2005 photo by Alex Ringer, Israel