I appreciate any elucidation on the matter.
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The stance that Judaism tends to take is the stance that makes the most historical sense. And by this i mean that one should compare all the historical evidence we have from that time period, and compare it to the gospel narrative, and see what does or doesn't make sense. When Jewish scholars examine all the sources, this is the picture they come up with:
That maybe there was a person named Yeshu'a who had a Messianic following.
That he was put to death by Pontius Pilate who would have had no reservations for doing so as all [non gospel] historical sources show him to be an evil ruler.
According to Philo ("De Legatione ad Caium," ed. Mangey, ii. 590), his administration was characterized by corruption, violence, robberies, ill treatment of the people, and continuous executions without even the form of a trial. His very first act nearly caused a general insurrection. While his predecessors, respecting the religious feelings of the Jews, removed from their standards all the effigies and images when entering Jerusalem, Pilate allowed his soldiers to bring them into the city by night. As soon as this became known crowds of Jews hastened to Cæsarea, where the procurator was residing, and besought him to remove the images. After five days of discussion he ordered his soldiers to surround the petitioners and to put them to death unless they ceased to trouble him. He yielded only when he saw that the Jews would rather die than bear this affront.
Source: Jewish Encyclopedia
- That Jews wouldn't have wanted to turn Jesus over to be crucified as it goes against Jewish law. There's a big difference between not liking someone and wanting them to die the most horrible death possible, especially when that death goes against your own religious beliefs.
A Jewish court could not have passed a sentence of death by crucifixion without violating the Jewish law. Source: Jewish Encyclopedia
- That he was crucified for rebellion as historical sources shed a lot of light on the crucifixion narrative of the gospels:
Crucifixion was a punishment that Rome reserved almost exclusively for the crime of sedition. The plaque the Romans placed above Jesus' head as he writhed in pain - "King of the Jews" - was called a titulus and, despite common perception, was not meant to be sarcastic. Every criminal who hung on a cross received a plaque declaring the specific crime for which he was being executed. Jesus' crime, in the eyes of Rome, was striving for kingly rule (i.e. treason), the same crime for which nearly every other messianic aspirant of the time was killed. Nor did Jesus die alone. The gospels claim that on either side of Jesus hung men who in Greek are called lestai, a word often rendered into English as "thieves" but that actually means "bandits" and was the most common Roman designation for an insurrectionist or rebel.
The following crimes entailed this penalty [of crucifixion]: piracy, highway robbery, assassination, forgery, false testimony, mutiny, high treason, rebellion (see Pauly-Wissowa, "Real-Encyc." s.v. "Crux"; Josephus, "B. J." v. 11, § 1). Soldiers that deserted to the enemy and slaves who denounced their masters ("delatio domini")were also punished by death on the cross.
That Yeshu'a was more than likely arrested by the Romans for causing an uproar in the temple at the court of gentiles. This incident is recorded in the gospels as "Jesus Cleanses the Temple of Moneychangers." The gospel's don't make it clear that the moneychangers were gentiles, and that this system was very lucrative to the Roman government who enjoyed the taxes it brought in. Pontius Pilate did not live in Jerusalem but would move into Jerusalem a week before Passover with an extra legion of soldiers to prevent and persecute anything remotely resembling an uprising as Jews were historically ornery to their rulers during Passover as it was the "time of freedom against oppression." So when Yeshu'a causes a very large and worrying disturbance at the Temple, he would become a person of interest to the Romans. And as he caused a rebellion at the Temple, had a Messianic following, there would be no hesitation to put him to death via crucifixion.
Contrary to the gospel narrative, the Sanhedrin is not allowed to meet at night. So the story of Judas betraying Jesus to the Sanhedrin doesn't make sense historically. And it makes even less sense that they would hand Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion as stated earlier.
There is no historical source to backup the event in the gospels that "there was a tradition" to release one prisoner during festival time.
To sum up, the Jewish stance is that we had little or nothing to do with the death of Jesus. This is not to discredit any of the gospel narrative, nor to say that every Jew in that time period is free of any guilt for what may or may not have transpired. But when one adds in all of the extra biblical evidence (for which there is a lot), Jews feel that the gospels do not reflect what accurately happened. It made Pontius Pilate, a ruler known throughout the empire for cruelty seem like good natured hesitant guy, it glossed over the lengths Jews would go to prevent the death penalty of the Romans which went against Jewish law, and stated things about the Jewish High Court which completely contradict Jewish law. For more information about the historical evidence available of these events, read Zealot by Reza Aslan.
The story of Yesha haNazri is also described in Gemora tractate Sanhedrin. As described there, Yesha was accused of blasphemy, and Sanhedrin reached a verdict in the form of letal punishment. I am sorry that I can't find quote from tractate now, so I will be happy if someone will find it for me