What a plague is the family of Simon Boethus; cursed be their lances! What a plague is the family of Ananos; cursed be their hissing of vipers! What a plague is the family of Cantharus; cursed be their pens! What a plague is the family of Ismael ben Phabi; cursed be their fists! They are high priests themselves, their sons are treasurers, their sons-in-law are commanders [captains], and their servants strike people with staves [thus verifying the words of Josephus about the servants of Annas] [Talmud, Pesahim 57].
For more than a decade, I have been working on a screenplay on the life of Christ called, simply, Messiah. If I could have just one thing granted in my life, one wish, one longing – my prayer and heart`s desire, stemming back to late 1988 — it would be to produce the most visually realistic, Biblically exact, historically authentic, dramatically complex and architecturally accurate movie ever made of the life of Christ. If such a thing is even possible! I guess what I’m saying is, in spite of all the attempts made so far, this has never been done. Not even close. And don’t get me started on how Jesus looks in Mark Burnett’s Bible Mini-Series. He looks more like Fabio than “the undesired one.” Gross. Go ahead; call me a Jesus movie snob. Guilty as charged.
That said, I am determined that every character in my movie — no matter how small the role, speaking part or not — be based on Biblical and historical realities. This would include, of course, the dynamic influence of Tiberius, and especially Sejanus, on the course of Pilate’s character and destiny.
So, last year while I was studying the trials of Christ and doing research on the key religious and political figures of that time, I came across this absolutely fascinating study on the Sanhedrin, which includes a very intelligent guess as to who was actually at trial of Jesus. Culled from a vast collection of ancient Jewish sources, N.L. Kuehl makes a powerful argument in his work, A Book of Evidence. Although the entire chapter (4) is excellent and informative, if you simply want to read his educated guess as to whom the 23 members of the Sanhedrin presiding over the trial of Christ were, you can find them on pages 5-10 of the PDF. I promise it will be worth it. I am amazed that this kind of stuff can be pieced together from the historical record. Make sure you tell me what you think about this! Click to read: From A Book of Evidence
By the way, it’s shaping up to be a great script. If you know anyone who has $ 250,000,000 they’d like to invest, please let me know!
One more thing: before you read the paper — that is if you want to — please check out this awesome video rendering of the Temple Complex in Jesus’ day. The temple grounds were vast. The temple itself was beautiful and awe-inspiring. From a distance, it looked like a snowy jewel covering Mount Zion. Besides their mafia-like control of power, this is what the Chief priests were fighting to preserve, along with the taxes and offerings and wickedly corrupt Bazaar of Annas – where the money changers habitually fleeced the people of God. This is the complex that Jesus ‘overturned’ and ‘would not allow anyone to pass through’. What courage! These are the structures – including the temple — Jesus said would be levelled when the apostles ‘marvelled at the buildings.’ (The opening image is from the Arch of Titus — a relief of enslaved Jews carrying temple articles through the streets of Rome after the destruction of Jerusalem.)