Cover image for The court-martial of Jesus : a Christian defends the Jews against the charge of deicide
The court-martial of Jesus : a Christian defends the Jews against the charge of deicide
Fricke, Weddig, 1930-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Standrechtlich gekreuzigt. English
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Weidenfeld, 1990.
Physical Description:
viii, 296 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Translation of: Standrechtlich gekreuzigt.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BT440 .F75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Though Fricke offers no new evidence in his examination of who killed Jesus, his defense of the Jews is particularly solid. He examines the Gospels in great detail, pointing out their inconsistencies and using them to show how little can actually be known about Jesus from the canonical accounts. After a fine-tuned look at the events surrounding the Crucifixion, he concludes that Jesus was tried, sentenced, and executed by the Romans and that there was no trial before the Sanhendrin. Fricke, a German trial lawyer, served as the court-appointed defense counsel for a Nazi war criminal. This experience led him to search out the biblical roots of anti-Semitism. Unlike other, overly dense books on the same topic, this one is both well reasoned and readable. Though the trial of Jesus is the book's centerpiece, many other theories, such as the controversy surrounding Jesus' martial status, supply additional intrigue. Bibliography; to be indexed. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fricke claims that the Gospel accounts of Jesus's trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin (or Supreme Council) are in all likelihood a fabrication. Nowhere other than in the Gospels is there a record of such a trial, he observes, arguing further that New Testament writers, eager to win acceptance for Christianity in the Roman Empire, played down Roman complicity in Jesus's violent death. Fricke, a German lawyer, believes that Jesus was probably sentenced and crucified by the Romans in a military-type summary proceeding. His aim in writing this powerful, impressively argued tract is to absolve Jews of the age-old charge of ``Christ murder.'' He makes an interesting case for the thesis that pious chroniclers invented the story of Judas's betrayal of Jesus to show fulfillment of a prophetic psalm of David. Readers searching for the historical Jesus will find this a compelling brief. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Fricke, a German lawyer, here at tempts to lay to rest the vicious charge of deicide, directed at the Jews, that has long marred Jewish-Christian relations. His goal is admirable, but his methodology (speculative revisionism) is problematic. Fricke quotes from the New Testament when it supports his thesis (that Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death in a military trial), denies its historicity when it doesn't, and generally relies on secondary sources. His background as an attorney is occasionally helpful in gaining an understanding of the legal aspects of Jesus' trial. But the uneven historical research, combined with a sometimes awkward English translation and a neglect of non-German scholarship, prove to be the downfall of this book. Not recommended.-- Mark Stover, Calvin Coll. & Seminary Lib., Grand Rapids, Mich. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This well-meaning work has a thesis that most scholars would acknowledge to be basically true: that Jesus died not at the hand of Jews as a blasphemer but at the hand of Romans who mistook him for a rebel. The author is a German attorney who in the course of a trial was forced to investigate something of the history of Christian anti-Semitism and was moved to write this quite readable book. It is annoying for biblical scholars and historians to read, since almost every page contains a small error, but it would be pedantic to condemn an otherwise well argued thesis on that account. Although it is not stated, the translation appears to be based on the revised German second edition. Recommended as a first introduction (for community college and lower-division undergraduate students) to this important topic. -L. Gaston, Vancouver School of Theology