History can not be rewritten

30th April 2004 at 01:00
Sidney Brichto is very selective in his explanation of Jesus's crucifixion and criticism of Mel Gibson's film The Passion.

He claims "no one had a reason to kill" Jesus - which begs the question: why did they?

My understanding, as a Christian, is that the Jewish authorities called for Jesus's death on account of his alleged blasphemy - claiming to be God as well as man. St Mark makes this quite clear (14:60-64).

Unable to impose the death penalty themselves they handed Jesus over to the Romans, emphasising the political charge against him, namely his claim to be the Messiah, King of the Jews - a potential challenge to Caesar.

Mr Brichto suggests we should not lay the blame for Jesus's death at the door of the Jewish authorities. History is full of unpleasant lessons.

Germans must wish that the Holocaust had never happened - but it did and it would be wrong to deny it. Later generations, however, cannot be held responsible for the deeds of some of their ancestors.

I understand that, as a practising Jew, Sydney Brichto must deny the Christian interpretation of the crucifixion - the alternative would be unthinkable.

History, however, should not be re-written to suit present-day sensibilities. Likewise, the forgiveness Jesus came to preach must never be overlooked - that is what the Redemption is all about.

John de Waal 6 Briar Avenue Norbury, London SW16

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