Jews on Trial: Judges, Juries, Prosecutors and Defendants from the Era of Jesus to Our Own Time by Ori Z. Soltes ISBN 9780935437430 • $23.95
From the Gospel account of Jesus’ trial and punishment to medieval Blood Libels, from the notorious Dreyfus Affair to the story of Leo Frank’s trial and eventual lynching, and from the State of Israel’s trial and execution of Nazi Adolph Eichmann to Jonathan Pollard’s closed-door trial and ongoing incarceration, it seems that the Jew, one way or another, is always on trial in the courtroom of journalistic and historiographic examination, whether as the accused, the accuser, the jury or the judge.
Unique and provocative, this volume begins by asking when and how law became separate from religion in the Israelite-Judaean world before considering how we might evaluate and understand the Gospel’s narrative of Jesus’ trial and punishment in light of information found within Judaean, pagan Roman and early Jewish literature. Regardless of the details that favor or disfavor the Gospel account, many generations of Christians accept it as unequivocally true, which has shaped their relations with Jews over the past two millennia.
In Jews on Trial, Ori Soltes delivers a concise and extensive review of the history of Christian-Jewish relations that examines that relationship from a legal and quasi-legal perspective and adds significantly to the discourse. There is no other comprehensive text so broadly conceived, yet focused on such an important aspect of human history through a specific lens of religion, law and justice.