Saturday, August 15, 2015

The ABC Interview With Antonio Piñero (Part 1)

Antonio did an interview with ABC and César Cevera back in April of this year. The following is the English translation of that interview.

César Cevera: You are respected by most Catholic circles despite some of your very controversial beliefs concerning Jesus. How do you manage to separate theology from history?

AP: I admire the person of Jesus. Those circles see that I try to be neutral, not militant. I try to distinguish between cultural and ideological Christianity, which can challenge and see it from a different perspective. They can see that I am not sectarian or biased. I have had some problems, though not with ecclesiastical stuff. When I started my blog on Religión Digital, there were two calls to create groups to kill me. My guess is they meant with words and arguments, not actually killing me for real.

César Cevera: Jesus of Nazareth was condemned to the cross for sedition against Rome. Before that happened, though, he was first tried by the Hebrew priests. What made Jesus so dangerous compared to other prophets and preachers?

AP: There's a big historical discussion about that. It is very likely that the Jews actually had very little to do with the death of Jesus. A Jewish process like what we find narrated in the Gospels does not follow the usual protocol for a trial of this type. The Gospel of John, shortly after the raising of Lazarus from the dead, tells of a meeting that took place in the home of Caiaphas before the whole council. Caiaphas understood how many people were cued in on what Jesus was saying and doing. He knew that if this movement progressed and grew into a revolution against Rome, it would end up costing the lives of thousands of Jews. So he says, "It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to perish" (John 11:50). If there was a trial of Jesus, it is more likely that it would have been more like what we see with Caiaphas and the council, not an set legal proceeding.

César Cevera: If the movement led by Jesus grabbed the attention of Caiaphas and the Jewish priests, does that mean his movement was succeeding up to that point?

AP: Of course, it had some traction. He could have had the support of ten or fifteen percent of the people, but he was definitely not a popular person in Jerusalem. One of my recent books, El trono maldito (co-authored with José Luis Corral), brilliantly recreates the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem in such a way that it is easy to understand and not riddled with a lot of sympathy. Jesus reached the peak of his violence in that episode. Doing something like what Jesus did there could cost a person his life. He displayed a prophetic type of violence, where he announced the purification of the temple: the destruction and the rebuilding of the temple by the hands of God. Artisans, merchants, and traders who were living around the temple had no provision for a change of status like Jesus prophesied. This is what we do in the book I wrote with José Luis Corral. We put Jesus Christ in the realistic atmosphere of that time period.

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