According to the New Testament accounts, the Jewish authorities in Judea charged Jesus with blasphemy and sought his execution (see Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus). However, the Jewish authorities lacked the authority to have Jesus put to death, according to yet records them ordering the stoning of Saint Stephen and also James the Just according to Antiquities of the Jews 20.9.1 The Jesus Seminar's Scholars Version translation notes for : "it's illegal for us: The accuracy of this claim is doubtful." They brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Iudaea Province, who "consented" to Jesus' execution.
Pilate is portrayed in the Gospel accounts as a reluctant accomplice to Jesus' death. Some modern scholars have questioned the historical accuracy of such a portrayal. These historians suggest that a Roman Governor such as Pilate would not have hesitated to execute any leader whose followers posed a potential threat to Roman rule. However, the Gospel accounts indicate that there could be hesitation on the part of both Jewish and Roman authorities to act immediately or needlessly in the face of potential popular opposition (; ). These scholars also suggest that the Gospel accounts may have downplayed the role of the Romans in Jesus' death during a time when Christianity was struggling to gain acceptance in the Roman world. Yet the four Gospel accounts uniformly portray the Roman Governor Pilate as partly responsible for Jesus' execution, rather than exonerating him, and it is not clear that blaming Pilate completely, decades after his reign, would have diminished Christian acceptance.
According to a Latin dictionary, the Latin word deicidas was used by the fourth century, by Peter Chrysologus in his sermon number 172, where he wrote Iudaeos ... fecit esse deicidas, i.e., "Judeans... committed deicide".
As a part of Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI issued the declaration Nostra Aetate ("In Our Time"), which in part repudiated the traditional belief in the collective Jewish guilt for the Crucifixion. Nostra Aetate stated that even though some Jewish authorities and those who followed them called for Jesus' death, the blame for this cannot be laid at the door of all those Jews present at that time, nor can the Jews in our time be held as guilty.
On January 6, 2004, the Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America issued a statement urging any Lutheran church presenting a Passion Play to adhere to their Guidelines for Lutheran-Jewish Relations, stating that "the New Testament . . . must not be used as justification for hostility towards present-day Jews," and that "blame for the death of Jesus should not be attributed to Judaism or the Jewish people."
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