The Trial Of Jesus From A Lawyer’s Perspective, Volume 1: The Hebrew Trial, by Walter M. Chandler
This happens to be a book I have had in my kindle app for over a year, and I finally started reading it while enjoying some of the down time during the men’s weekend. This is definitely a book that would make an excellent read during the Spring Holy Days or the time approaching Passover, given its thematic material in looking closely at the trial of Jesus and its legal foundation. Although it took me a while to get started in reading this book, it did not take me a long time to appreciate it once I got started in reading it, and it is definitely a book that I will keep in my collection to re-read and to use as the source of commentary and future writing and research. I will also, as soon as possible, be reading the second volume from this author, which is definitely worthwhile if it is anything like this volume.
The organization of this book is very straightforward and orderly, just as one would expect from an accomplished lawyer with a precise prose style that manages to give a lot of praise to previous authors while also showing some substantial criticism where criticism is due. The author makes it clear that he is a Christian, and also (thankfully) does not insist on seeing the Trinity in places of the Bible where a duality is meant, which is a lamentably rare quality among mainstream Christian authors . As far as its contents go, this book is divided into three sections of unequal length. The first, and shortest section, looks at the passages of the Bible that form the basis of what we can know about the trial of Jesus, since the Gospels are really the only sources that deal with the trial in any kind of detail. The author then seeks to show the legitimacy of the Gospels as a historical source as well as their worth as textual evidence in a trial. The author then turns to the Jewish law, both the Mosaic law and the Talmud, to see what kind of laws were in place regarding the content of crimes, their punishment, as well as the required forms of criminal proceedings. The author has done immense and appreciative work in sifting through the complexity of the Talmud to find the relevant body of law to bring upon Jesus’ trial. It is the third part of the book, the brief that demonstrates the many and massive miscarriages of justice in Jesus’ trial that is the real heart of this book, which exposes the corruption of the Sanhedrin and its total disregard for justice.
There are a few minor quibbles that one can find in this book, which include the fact that the author likes to repeat certain quotations which apply in more than one part of his brief against the Sanhedrin (which is a lengthy one considering the many and massive errors that would have been enough to get Jesus Christ released on a technicality in a court that was remotely just), but these are minor matters that do not take away from the massive achievement of this work. Here is a work that forms part of a conversation of works about the trial of Jesus, a subject that has drawn considerable interest even today , and that manages to be an excellent work from the point of view of a historian and a clear prose style that speaks highly as to the author’s credibility as a lawyer in terms of its combination of logical clarity and genuine passion. This is a work worthy of close investigation and immense appreciation for anyone who is fair-minded about its position.
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