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Check Sound


threatening ideas. criticizing the local authority structure ... prisoner, and let the crowd decide which to save (a Holiday gift from the Romans) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Check Sound

Check Sound Check Mike Pass out handouts
Todays Lecture
The Trial as Ritual 1. Trial of Jesus 2. Salem
Witch Trials (Conceptualize the idea of
guilt) (Inquisitorial systems of proof)
(seeing the trial as ritual)
Lecture Organization
  • Class Announcements
  • Brief Review
  • Trial of Jesus (introduction)
  • Trial of Jesus (discussion)
  • Trial of Jesus (trial procedure)
  • Grace Sherwood

Class Announcements
1. Lectures-- -- power point slides on ANGEL --
webcast will be on my site in about a
week (Archive first course page second) --
first lecture was messed up (forgot to turn on
mike) 2. Questions?
1. Went over the syllabus and course rules 2.
Gave an outline of what the course will entail 3.
Highlights -- dont miss class -- make sure you
read syllabus and ANGEL help -- tested on course
rules 4. For those who missed, you can see a
re-enactment of the course rules on my website
(for my other classes). -- go to the Struggle for
Civil Rights page.
The Trial of Jesus an Introduction
1. Caveat -- treating this as an
historical/political narrative, not as a
religious text -- consider the class agnostic
about all forms of metaphysics -- we are
interested in politics and trials, not
religion -- if you have a problem with this
reading, just consider it hypothetical. -- we
wont consider the story as literary we will
consider it anthropological.
Religion and Taking Offense
Accuracy in reporting
The Trial of Jesus an Introduction
-- these are excerpts from ancient writings. --
seem to suggest that a public commotion and a
trial of some sort took place -- this is the same
form of proof that one would accept to say,
e.g., that Socrates was tried and that a public
commotion surrounded his death as well --
historians do not generally dispute that a trial
of a controversial figure called Jesus
occurred. -- But I have cut out the portions
that testify to miracles, not only because they
are not what concern us, but because these
portions of the story concern events for which
testimony is a problematic form of evidence
-- These are cut segments from the synoptic
Trial of Jesus the Discussion
1. Jerusalem -- the largest city on the
planet? The center of the polity Where large
numbers of people can be reached Where governance
and order are administered (compare Baghdad in
Iraq) 2. a character doing certain
controversial things people are saying he has
supernatural power developing a following
Question What is happening that is causing a
commotion in the city?
Question Why does this matter?
Trial of Jesus the Discussion
  • -- threatening ideas
  • criticizing the local authority structure
  • proclaiming himself to be the authority
  • -- intellectual disruption
  • give up wealth and do not seek it
  • ignore the law (punishment of prostitutes,
  • redefining the concept of God from one of
    judgment (fire and brimstone) to one of love.
  • this is a radical intellectual idea that
    threatens to transform a superstitious world in
    fundamental ways.

Question What are the threatening ideas?
Question What makes these ideas so threatening?
Trial of Jesus the Discussion
  • -- Example the impact upon Roman culture
  • -- replaced the state as the center of Roman life
  • -- conceptualizing the intellectual disruption
  • -- he has a following that is getting larger
  • consider how the police state operated back then
  • (No tear gas, no guns, no riot gear)
  • civil disobedience was not an institutionalized
  • (People didnt protest to make a statement when
    mobs gathered, it was generally for destruction
    or overthrow)
  • (Mobs were dangerous to the police state)

What Christianity did to the Roman
Empire Historians have suggested that
Christianity helped collapse the Roman Empire
because Christian teachings made the state no
longer the most important thing in Roman lives.
The most important thing is living for heaven and
treating others with kindness. Turn the cheek and
be kind to neighbors. How can you be a Roman and
believe this? (The suggestion is that this change
in intellectualism was transformative upon
superstitious culture).
Question Why is the speaking of wild and
controversial things a problem? Why not just
dismiss the character as a nut?
Question So what? Why is it important that a
following is emerging?
Metaphysical Disruption
God is loving God wants you to be good to one
another, not tough like Apollo The Gods are not
like mafia bosses or policemen God is passive,
redeeming, caring, wants you to transcend greed,
domination, etc.
God will crush us The Gods require our
sacrifice Apollo will not look kindly upon us if
we are weak How to properly abandon
children Vesta and being buried alive
Dont obey certain laws this is how you should
Legalistic Disruption
The local authority structure is not serving you
properly and is not the true authority anyway
(compare the enlightenment) A movement to
substitute science for superstition as the
ultimate source of societal knowledge.
Political Disruption
Trial of Jesus the Discussion
  • The religious holiday (Passover)
  • (tremendous amount of people entering the city)
  • -- mob violence during Passover (physically
    attacking commercial vendors)
  • -- keep in mind that this is not undertaken as
    crime. It is not done with the notion I stole
    something or I vandalized while you were not
  • -- it is done under the assumption that ultimate
    truth requires it. It uses an assumption of
  • -- Stop for a moment lets think of a
    parallel. Lets try to re-create the political
  • (An intellectual, cultural and political threat)

Question What is the straw that breaks the
camels back? What event causes the local
authorities to believe they must take action
against the character?
Islamic fundamentalists in New York?
Communism in America in the 50s?
The counter culture in the 60s?
Trial of Jesus the Discussion
  • Handle it like the mafia does whack the
  • -- they feared the mobs at Passover
  • -- the trial can take life, liberty and property
    LEGITIMATELY. You can kill people legitimately
    with this public ritual.
  • -- our first major lesson of the year

From the Gospel of Mark And the scribes and the
chief priests sought how they might destroy
him for they feared him, because all the people
was astonished at his doctrine. the chief
priests and the scribes sought how they might
take him by craft, and put him to death.
Question How do the local authorities initially
desire to handle the problem?
Question Why didnt they just bury him in the
Question So what was there solution?
Question Why? Why was that better than just
killing him?
The purpose of the trial is so that the
legitimate authority structure the state
can take away life, liberty and property. That is
what these contests do. That is what they are
The Trial of Jesus Trial Procedure
1. First step Arrested and taken before the high
priest Method of trial at this stage is
INQUISITION 1. authoritarian(s) examine you 2.
no right to silence 3. sometimes accompanied by
beating/torture 4. always secures some form of
information -- even lies can be beneficial
Question What is the method of the trial? What
procedure does it use?
Religion and Government are intertwined
Trial by inquisition
The Trial of Jesus Trial Procedure
(mention movie Unforgiven, Gene Hackman) 2.
Defendant loses this portion of the trial. 3.
Handed over to a Roman officer who will conduct
his own trial -- trial by inquisition -- this
time, a Roman authority presides over the
questioning -- Defendant prevails. Pilot can find
nothing worthy of death. (punishment is
Question Does the defendant pass or fail this
portion of the trial?
Question What is the next step in the trial
Question What method of trial procedure is used
this time?
National Authority Structure
Question Does the defendant win or lose this
Distinguish attitudinalism in a
philosophic versus political science sense
Local Authority Structure
One trial method Two different results
Question Why?
The Trial of Jesus Trial Procedure
4. Pilots problem -- the local authorities try
to convince him how dangerous the defendant is --
Pilots solution put him with another prisoner,
and let the crowd decide which to save (a Holiday
gift from the Romans) (metaphor let the jury
decide?) -- the verdict goes against Jesus.
Some examples O.J. Jesus
Conceptualizing guilt.
Format of guilt
Function of guilt
De Jure Guilty (guilty according to the ritual)
De Facto Guilty
- - (guilty in
Question Was the defendant guilty?
Mala in Prohibita (wrong because it is prohibited)
Mala in Se (it is inherently wrong)
Grace Sherwood
1. Who was she? (location of her fate uncertain
North Carolina or Colonial Williamsburg) 2. How
do you receive an allegation of witchcraft? --
acting suspiciously -- someone miscarried a baby
after talking to her, etc. 3. Trial by dunking
(initially) -- cross tie the big toes and the
thumbs -- throw her in water
Question What is the method of the trial used
in this case?
Question How do you win or lose the case?
Grace Sherwood
-- sinking was good for the verdict bad for the
health -- floating was good for the health, bad
for the verdict 2. Similarities -- both involve
allegations of metaphysics -- both threaten the
community in important ways 3. Important
difference -- only one threatened the ruling
establishment -- the other merely spooked the
town at night (made it difficult to sleep)
Question What are the similarities between
these two cases (Jesus and Witch trials)?
Question But what is a critical difference?
Question Why not use the same method of trial
used before (inquisition)?
Grace Sherwood
this was much more of a metaphysical problem
than a political one. -- required its own
(specialized) ritual? 4. next stage Professional
inspection of the anatomy -- locals apparently
didnt like what they saw
Question What is the next stage of the process?
Question What is the point of all this? Why am
I showing you this?
The Trial as Ritual
Grace Sherwood
Historically, trials have taken the following
form Dunking Battle Endurance Lot -- (remember
the novel, The Lottery?) Inquisition The ritual
was summoned in order that life, liberty or
property be LEGITIMATELY taken
Grace Sherwood
Today, the trial process retains some ritualistic
components Judges wear costumes (robed
politicians) There are chants whenever the judge
enters the room Oyez Oyez Oyez here comes the
honorable so and so Its like church -- you
have to sit and stand at certain intervals -- you
have to dress up in your Sunday best Before you
testify, you have to swear on the Bible that you
will not lie Judge has a gavel (England wear
Grace Sherwood
The process grows out of a social and political
ritual It retains some of that aspect even
today But how much? Isnt todays trial process
more sophisticated? Designed to get at the
truth Does it work like a crystal ball or is it
a more sophisticated form of dunking? next time
we shall take this up