The term deicide was coined in the 17th century from medieval Latin *deicidium, from de-us "god" and -cidium "cutting, killing."
New Testament accounts
According to the New Testament accounts, the Judean (or Jewish) authorities in Jerusalem, the Pharisees, charged Jesus with blasphemy, a capital crime under biblical law, and sought his execution. According to John 18:31, the Judean (Jewish) authorities claimed to lack the authority to have Jesus put to death, though it is doubtful what legal basis such a claim would have had; the Jesus Seminar historicity project notes for John 18:31: "it's illegal for us: The accuracy of this claim is doubtful." in their Scholars Version. Additionally, John 7:53-8:11 records them asking Jesus about stoning the adulteress and Acts 6:12 records them ordering the stoning of Saint Stephen.
They brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect of Judea, who was hesitant and let the people decide if Jesus were to be executed. According to the Bible, Pontius Pilate only ordered Jesus to be flogged. Washing his hands, Pilate said he would not take the blame for Jesus' death, to which the crowd replied, "His blood is upon us and our children."
Pilate is portrayed in the Gospel accounts as a reluctant accomplice to Jesus' death. Modern scholars say it is most likely that a Roman Governor such as Pilate would have no problem in executing any leader whose followers posed a potential threat to Roman rule. It has also been suggested 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.
The Catholic Church and other Christian denominations suggest that Jesus' death was necessary to take away the collective sin of the human race. The crucifixion is seen as an example of Christ's eternal love for mankind and as a self-sacrifice on the part of God for humanity.
The following is a verse from a hymn written in 1892 for use in the Church of England to call upon God to convert the Jews to Christianity:
- Though the Blood betrayed and spilt,
- On the race entailed a doom,
- Let its virtue cleanse the guilt,
- Melt the hardness, chase the gloom;
- Lift the veil from off their heart,
- Make them Israelites indeed,
- Meet once more for lot and part
- With Thy household's genuine seed.
Against certain Christian movements, some of which rejected the use of Hebrew Scripture, Augustine countered that God had chosen the Jews as a special people, and he considered the scattering of Jewish people by the Roman Empire to be a fulfillment of prophecy. He rejected homicidal attitudes, quoting part of the same prophecy, namely "Slay them not, lest they should at last forget Thy law" (Psalm 59:11). Augustine, who believed Jewish people would be converted to Christianity at "the end of time", argued that God had allowed them to survive their dispersion as a warning to Christians; as such, he argued, they should be permitted to dwell in Christian lands. The sentiment sometimes attributed to Augustine that Christians should let the Jews "survive but not thrive" (it is repeated by author James Carroll in his book Constantine's Sword, for example) is apocryphal and is not found in any of his writings.
In other mythologies
- Egyptian mythology
- Greek mythology
- Ophiotaurus was a creature whose entrails were said to grant the power to defeat the gods to whoever burned them. The Titans attempted to use them against the Olympians.
- After learning that his children were destined to usurp him, Cronus devoured his children. However, his children were later freed by Zeus.
- Norse mythology
- Japanese mythology
- Hawaiian mythology
- Lanikaula, a prophet, kills the followers of the trickster god Pahulu on Lanai.
- Aztec mythology
- Matthew 27:24-25
- Anchor Bible Dictionary vol. 5. (1992) pg. 399-400. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
- Book of Concord, "The Three Ecumenical or Universal Creeds," The Book of Concord Website, n.d.
- Associated Press, "Ancient Manuscript Suggests Jesus Asked Judas to Betray Him," Fox News Website, Thursday, April 06, 2006
- "Thou, the Christ Forever One", words by William Bright, from Supplemental Hymns to Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1889)
- Diarmaid MacCulloch. The Reformation: A History (Penguin Group, 2005) p 8.
- Augustine of Hippo, City of God, book 18, chapter 46.
- Edwards, J. (1999) The Spanish Inquisition, Stroud, pp. 33–35, ISBN 0752417703.
- James Carroll, Constantine's Sword (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002), p. 219.
- See also Paula Fredriksen, interviewed by David Van Biema, "Was Saint Augustine Good for the Jews?" in Time magazine, December 7, 2008.
- Fredriksen interviewed by Van Biema, "Was Saint Augustine Good for the Jews?"
- Deicide at TV Tropes - A comprehensive list of media and creative works featuring deicide.