May 25th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
An email from a correspondent reached me earlier this week, asking an interesting question:
Lately I’ve been tackling arguments that passages like Matt. 27:25 (“his blood be on us…”) were a huge influence on later anti-Semitism. … The key issue being: Just how influential were passages like Matthew 27:25, and Acts 4:10 (“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”) when it came to inspiring anti-Semitic sentiments among later writers?
If the question is being agitated, for whatever reason, then the first thing to do is to establish the facts. A Google search on “Christ killer” – which is a term supposedly used by Christians about Jews – reveals copious invective but a remarkable lack of actual patristic data.
Books can be (and have been) written on the general relation of the early Church to the Jews, and it would be too big a subject for an article. But a list of the places where these two verses specifically are used seemed like a useful thing to attempt.
Note that I am indebted to the marvellous BiblIndex site, where I performed a search on these two verses, to determine the references. But even so, it has proven no small task to track down each passage, and I have not been able to do so in many cases.
Naturally context is everything, and quotations can distort. But I thought that it is worth recording what sort of impression I received.
The first impression is that the early Christians were not, in the main, concerned with attitudes to Jews. They were concerned with their own identity, and how to understand the Old Testament, and relate it to themselves. They were not concerned with demonising Jews, by race or religion, so much as with connecting themselves with OT prophecy. Since, prior to 313 AD, they held no political power, any such attitudes would have meant nothing anyway.
We must never forget that the history of Israel in the Old Testament is that of the people with whom God is dealing, and the church does not reject the OT, but accepts it. The sins and failings of Israel are a theme that any exegesis must deal with; and “Israel” in this context also means the church, rather than an alien racial/religious group.
But while this approach persists, and is found copiously in the commentaries, a pronounced hostility to Jews as Jews does start to appear after the legalisation of the church, particularly towards the end of the 4th century. It is clearest in Chrysostom’s Adversus Judaeos, where the tone is a bitter one. Any reader of ecclesiastical histories will know that the same tone also appears towards heretical groups, together with an eagerness to identify opponents as “heretics” in order to demonise, marginalise, and extirpate. Hate is becoming good politics; and expressing it has become a way to signal the speaker’s own virtue against those awful other people. This evil habit of the Byzantine period begins during this time.
Much the most interesting reference is one in ps.Cyprian, which reveals that, rather than Christians taunting Jews as Christ-killers, some Jewish polemicists were not above taunting the Christians with the fact that the Jews had put the god of the Christians to death! Tertullian in his Apologeticum also records a debauched Jew parading wearing the head of a donkey, as an anti-Christian act. No doubt while Christianity was illegal, and Judaism was not, such incidents did take place. Once Christianity was legal, and favoured by emperor after emperor, the boot was on the other foot.
Here are the references, with the text of the passage in English. Contributions are welcome!
- Melito, De Pascha.  (Not in BiblIndex, curiously)
80. … you sang songs, but he was judged; you issued the command, he was crucified; you danced, he was buried; you lay down on a soft bed, but he in a tomb and coffin. 81. O lawless Israel, why did you commit this extraordinary crime of casting your Lord into new sufferings–your master, the one who formed you, the one who made you, the one who honored you, the one who called you Israel?
- Tertullian, Aduersus Iudaeos (Against the Jews), 8:18. 
… in the Psalms it is prophesied, “They exterminated my hands and feet.”  And the suffering of this “extermination” was perfected within the times of the LXX hebdomads, under Tiberius Caesar, in the consulate of Rubellius Geminus and Fufius Geminus, in the month of March, at the times of the passover, on the eighth day before the calends of April, on the first day of unleavened bread, on which they slew the lamb at even, just as had been enjoined by Moses. Accordingly, all the synagogue of Israel did slay Him, saying to Pilate, when he was desirous to dismiss Him, “His blood be upon us, and upon our children;” and, “If thou dismiss him, thou art not a friend of Caesar; ” in order that all things might be fulfilled which had been written of Him.
- Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem (Against Marcion), II. 15.
… if the fathers’ blessing was also to be passed on to their seed, without any previous merit of theirs, why should not the fathers’ guilt also overflow upon their sons? … yet without prejudice to that decree which was afterwards to be made … that the father would not take upon him the son’s sin, nor the son his father’s sin, but that everyone would bear the guilt of his own sin: and thus, after Israel’s hardness, the hardness of the law might also be subdued, and justice no longer judge the nation but individuals. And yet, if you were to accept the gospel in its true form, you would learn to whom applies this judgement of God who turns the fathers’ sins back upon their children, namely to those who were, at a time then future, going of their own will to call down this judgement upon themselves, His blood be on our heads and on our children’s. So then God’s foresight in its fullness passed censure upon this which he heard long before it was spoken.
- Cyprian (pseudo), Aduersus Iudaeos (Against the Jews).  Note that Cyprian, Ad Quirinum (Three books of testimonies against the Jews) (here) does not seem to make use of Matt. 27:25 at all.
1. Now, then, incline your ear to me, and hear my words, and give heed, you Jew. Many a time do you boast yourself, in that you condemned Jesus of Nazareth to death, and gave Him vinegar and gall to drink; and you vaunt yourself because of this. Come therefore, and let us consider together whether perchance you do not boast unrighteously, O Israel, (and) whether that small portion of vinegar and gall has not brought down this fearful threatening upon you, (and) whether this is not the cause of your present condition involved in these myriad troubles. 2. Let him then be introduced before us who speaks by the Holy Spirit, and says truth— David the son of Jesse. He, singing a certain strain with prophetic reference to the true Christ, celebrated our God by the Holy Spirit, (and) declared clearly all that befell Him by the hands of the Jews in His passion; …
- Hippolytus (pseudo), In sanctum pascha, gives an exegesis of Exodus 12, seeing the sacrifice of the passover lamb as a prediction of Christ’s death.
23. The [passover] lamb is then slain “towards the evening”. And in fact it is also at sunset that the Lamb sacred to God was put to death. 24. “the whole assembly of the sons of Israel shall kill it.” (Ez. 12:6) The unbelieving Israel in fact becomes responsible for this precious Blood, some then by pouring it out, the others until today in refusing to believe. This is why the Holy Spirit witnesses against them and exclaims, “Your hands are full of blood.” (Is. 1:15)
- Lactantius, Diuinae Institutiones (Divine Institutions), VII.1. 
… in this book we will relate His second advent, which the Jews also both confess and hope for; but in vain, since He must return to the confusion of those for whose call He had before come. For they who impiously treated Him with violence in His humiliation, will experience Him in His power as a conqueror; and, God requiting them, they will suffer all those things which they read and do not understand; inasmuch as, being polluted with all sins, and moreover sprinkled with the blood of the Holy One, they were devoted to eternal punishment by that very One on whom they laid wicked hands. But we shall have a separate subject against the Jews, in which we shall convict them of error and guilt.
For thus did we also fast, when our Lord suffered, for a testimony of the three days; and we were keeping vigil and praying and interceding for the destruction of the People, because that they erred and confessed not our Saviour. So do you also pray that the Lord may not remember their guilt against them unto the end for the guile which they used against our Lord, but may grant them a place of repentance and conversion, and forgiveness of their wickedness.
For he who was a heathen and of a foreign people [cf. Gosp. of Peter 1], Pilate [] the judge, did not consent to their deeds of wickedness, but took water and washed his hands, and said: I am innocent of the blood of this man [Mt 27.24]. But the People answered and said: His blood be upon us, and upon our children [Mt 27.25]; and Herod commanded that He should be crucified [cf. Gosp. of Peter 1]; and our Lord suffered for us on the Friday. Especially incumbent on you therefore is the fast of the Friday and of the Sabbath; and likewise the vigil and watching of the Sabbath, and the reading of the Scriptures, and psalms, and prayer and intercession for them that have sinned, and the expectation and hope of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, until the third hour in the night after the Sabbath. And then offer your oblations; and thereafter eat and make good cheer, and rejoice and be glad, because that the earnest of our resurrection, Christ, is risen. And this shall be a law to you for ever, unto the end of the world. For to those who have not believed in our Saviour He is dead, because their hope in Him is dead; but to you who believe, our Lord and Saviour is risen, because your hope in Him is immortal and living for ever.
Fast then on the Friday, because thereon the People killed themselves in crucifying our Saviour; and on the Sabbath also, because it is the sleep (p. 94) of our Lord; for it is a day which ought especially to be kept with fasting: even as blessed Moses also, the prophet of all (things touching) this matter, commanded. For because he knew by the Holy Spirit and it was commanded him by Almighty God, who knew what the People were to do to His Son and His beloved Jesus Christ, — as even then they denied Him in the person of Moses, and said: Who hath appointed thee head and judge over us? [Ex 2.14] — therefore he bound them beforehand with mourning perpetually, in that he set apart and appointed the Sabbath for them. For they deserved to mourn, because they denied their Life, and laid [] hands upon their Saviour and delivered Him to death. Wherefore, already from that time there was laid upon them a mourning for their destruction.
- Eusebius, Commentarii in Esaiam (Commentary on Isaiah).  Both the text, and the English translation from IVP, are inaccessible to me.
- Eusebius, Commentarii in Psalmos (Commentary on the Psalms)(in PG 23).  These are explanations of the psalms, treating them as predictions of Christ.
On Ps.21:12-14. For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me. Many calves have surrounded me, strong bulls of Bashan have surrounded me. You will not depart from the truth, if you say the bulls of Bashan means the leaders of the Jewish people; or the leaders of the priests, the scribes, and the elders… They opened against him their mouths, just like a lion raging and roaring, saying, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. His blood be upon us and our descendants. But Aquila reads Just like the lion, seizing and roaring; Symmachus: Just like a lion, coming and roaring. But those who were thirsting for blood, and procuring that their children be responsible for the blood of the Saviour, were no different from a roaring lion.
On Ps.34:23-26. (I was unable to locate any reference here)
On Ps.54:7-12. And obviously the gospels tell in what way the voices of the whole population of the Jews were open against him to Pontius Pilate. Which is declared likewise in the 21st psalm saying…
On Ps.58:7-12. (Same sort of material again, the “Jews” are not even mentioned)
Os Ps.58:13. And I’m amazed at the accuracy of the prophecy of the Holy Spirit. Because in the time of our Saviour, the Jews could not put to death, but it was by the hand of the Romans, when Pilate gave judgement, after the soldiers surrounded and arrested him, and nothing was done by the Jews. By law they could not put to death, but only prosecute. For the leaders of the Jews went into council, and conspired to kill him. And false witnesses and sycophants, eager for their pay, stood in the sight of the Saviour. And the whole people with their voices and lips demanded his blood upon them and their children. Remember that by law therefore they could not put to death, what Pilate decreed, his soldiers carried out; but the conspiracy of the leaders of the priests, the testimony of the sycophants, and the voice against him of the multitude. [Apologies for this terrible translation of col. 545]
- Eusebius, Commentarii in Psalmos (Pitra 2).  I was unable to find anything relevant, so suspect I have the wrong work.
- Eusebius, De solemnitate paschali. Here. 
10. But he himself, before he suffered, ate the Pascha and celebrated the festival with his disciples, not with the Jews. But when had celebrated the festival at evening, the chief priests came upon him with the traitor and laid their hands on him; … those who had become defiled already in soul and body by their bloodthirstiness against the Savior feared to come in under [Pilate’s] roof! They, on the one hand, on that very day of the passion, ate the Pascha that was injurious to their own souls, and asked for the Savior’s blood—not on their own behalf, but to their own detriment; our Savior, on the other hand, not then, but the day before, reclined at table with his disciples and conducted the festival that was desirable to himself. 11. Do you see how from that time, he [i.e., Jesus] was separating himself from them and moving away from the Jews’ bloodthirstiness, but was joining himself with his disciples, celebrating the desirable festival together with them? So then, we too ought to eat the Pascha with Christ, while purifying our minds from all leaven of evil and wickedness, and taking our fill of the unleavened bread of truth and sincerity, and having within ourselves, in our souls, the “Jew in secret” and the true circumcision, and anointing the doorposts of our minds with the blood of the Lamb who was sacrificed for us, to ward off our destroyer.
- Eusebius, Demonstratio evangelica. VIII.3; IX.12 (or IX.11); X.3; X.8.  This is concerned with showing from the OT, verse by verse, how its prophecies have come to pass in the life of Christ.
VIII.3 … all this it says will come to pass because of the sin of the house of Jacob, and the transgression of the house of Israel. And it goes on to describe this sin and transgression, “They that defile judgment and pervert all that is right, who build Sion with blood and Jerusalem with unrighteousness.” With blood! Yes, this was the cause of their final misery, for that they pronounced the impious curse upon themselves, saying, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Therefore, it says this, “Zion shall be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall be as a storehouse of fruit,” a prophecy which was only actually fulfilled after the impious treatment of our Saviour. For from that time to this utter desolation has possessed the land…
IX.11 So, then, we that are the Gentiles know and receive the prophet that was foretold… while the Jewish nation, not receiving Him that was foretold, has paid the fit penalty according to the divine prediction which said, “And the man who will not hear all things whatsoever the prophet shall speak in My Name, I will exact vengeance on him.” Surely He has avenged on that people all the blood poured out on the earth, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, yea, even to crown all to the Christ Himself, Whose blood they called down not only on themselves but on their children, and even now they pay the penalty of their presumptuous sin.
X.3 And all this was fulfilled, when “The passers-by reviled him, wagging their heads and saying, He saved others, himself he cannot save.” And since, even now, the Jews draw down the curse of their fathers upon themselves, and are wont with blasphemy and impious words to anathematize our Lord and Saviour and all that believe on Him, He goes on to say:
“They shall curse, but thou wilt bless. May they that arise against me be ashamed, but thy servant shall rejoice. Let them who speak evil of me be clothed with shame, and be clothed in confusion as with a cloak. But I will confess the Lord with my mouth, and amid many will I praise him, for he stood by the right hand of the poor, to save my soul from the persecutors.”
And it is quite clear, even now, to what evils they that invoke curses in their synagogues have grown accustomed, never at all being able to recover from those same times, while He offers to His Father in the midst of many nations the praise of His new Covenant, having the Father working with Him, Who sits at His own right hand.
X.8 The dogs that surrounded Him and the council of the wicked were the rulers of the Jews, the Scribes and High Priests, and the Pharisees, who spurred on the whole multitude to demand His blood against themselves and against their own children. … For when it was their duty, even if they could not acquire the character of shepherds, to protect like good sheepdogs their Master’s spiritual flock and the sheep of the house of Israel, and to warn by barking, and to fawn upon their Master and recognize Him, … they preferred like senseless dogs, yes, like mad dogs, to drive the sheep wild by barking… And all who even now conduct themselves like them in reviling and barking at the Christ of God in the same way may be reckoned their kin; …. Yea, all who to-day insult the Body of Christ, that is the Church, and attempt to destroy the hands and feet and very bones, are of their number…
- Eusebius, Generalis elementaria introductio (Eclogae Propheticae.).  This quotes the passage among others indicating how the prophecies of the messiah were ignored by the Jews.
- Eusebius, Laudatio martyrum omnium (Encomium on the martyrs). Here.  I was unable to locate any reference to the passage in this text.
- Athanasius, Epistulae festales (Festal Letters) 1-7 ; 11-14 ; 17-20 (syr.), PG 26 (1857), 1360-1397 ; 1403-1432. § 5 (p.1406). Syriac translation Here. But I was unable to find any reference to Matt.27:25 in these letters.
- Basil of Caesarea, Enarratio in prophetam Esaiam.  On Isaiah 1:15.
37. You hands are full of blood. This is the reason why God turns away his eyes, when they extend their hands, because their supplications themselves are the cause of his anger. For if someone kills the beloved son of another, and then extends hands still stained with blood to his father, … will not the blood of the son itself exasperate the father? In the same way today the prayers of the Jews, if they extend their hands, they recall to God the Father the wicked crime against his only-begotten son, and every extending of hands reveals those hands full of the blood of Christ. For although in their blindness they continue, they are the heirs of the paternal murder. “For his blood,” they said, “be upon us and our children.”
- Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 41: For the day of Pentecost, ch. 17.  This seems to be a an exposition from the biblical text.
The captivity in Egypt and at Babylon was for a limited space and had long been ended by the return. That caused by the Romans had not yet taken place, but it would come, being a punishment for the audacity of the Jews against the Savior.
- Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 4 (Against Julian). 
68. … You’re a persecutor like Herod, you’re a traitor like Judas, except you haven’t killed yourself like he did to show he repented; you’re a murderer of Christ like Pilate; you’re an hater of God like the Jews!
- Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 6: On peace among the monks. Ch. 17. The quarrels of Israel drew on them their misfortunes.
But when these men began to be ill, and quarrelled, some against the others, and divided themselves into numerous factions, when the cross reduced them to extremities, and their foolish temerity towards our God and Saviour, since they did not recognise God in man, and so drew on themselves the rod of iron which was threatening them from afar – I mean that authority and realm which actually had power – what happened, and what were their misfortunes?
- Gregory of Nyssa, In luciferam sanctam Domini resurrectionem. GEBHARDT E., Gregorii Nysseni opera, 9, Sermones, Leiden 1967, 315-319. p.317, l.3
- Epiphanius, De duodecim gemmis (On the 12 gems) (georg., arm., copt. fgt).  This is a narrative about those of the dead who rose and went into Jerusalem when Christ rose from the dead.
Those who had risen made reply: «Know you not that the earth quaked and the abysses gaped and the nethermost depths of hell were destroyed? What was it you did on that day, or what was this matter?» Then these [of the tribe of Israel] remembered and said : «We seized a certain deceiver called Jesus and crucified him.» Those who had risen, however, lifted up their voices and said : «Woe unto you! He it was Who came unto us; He destroyed the walls of hell and severed the bonds of death through His might and caused us to rise up from our biers». The saying was fulfilled in which it is said : «Let the dead rise and let all be exalted, who have dwelt on the biers», and the Lord of Life shall show that He has by his power severed the bonds of the souls who were confined in Hades, thanks to His descent into hell…
- Didymus, De Spiritu sancto. (On the holy spirit)  The punishment of Israel by God predicted by the OT:
219. Indeed, although they rushed into madness, to the point of killing Him who had been sent because of them, saying, “His blood be on us and on our children”, however, God raised Him from the earth, in which he remained for three days and three nights – as shepherd of his sheep, since the text continues: “who made the earth bring forth the shepherd of the sheep.” [Is.63:11] 220. That our Lord Jesus Christ was the shepherd of the sheep that the text of the prophet mentions here…
- Didymus, Fragmenta in Psalmos. MUHLENBERG E., Psalmenkommentare aus der Katenenüberlieferung, 2 (Patristische Texte und Studien 16), Berlin – New York 1977. § 583 (p.16, l.15); and § 717 (p.81, l.27). This may also be in PG39, 1155-1400: I need to check.
- Chrysostom, Against the Jews, homily 1, c.5; homily 6, 1:7  There are multiple references in homily 6 to the Jews killing Christ.
Hom. 1, c.5: But I must get back again to those who are sick. Consider, then, with whom they [Judaizing Christians] are sharing their fasts. It is with those who shouted: “Crucify him, Crucify him”, with those who said: “His blood be upon us and upon our children”. If some men had been caught in rebellion against their ruler and were condemned, would you have dared to go up to them and to speak with them? I think not. Is it not foolish, then, to show such readiness to flee from those who have sinned against a man, but to enter into fellowship with those who have committed outrages against God himself? Is it not strange that those who worship the Crucified keep common festival with those who crucified him? Is it not a sign of folly and the worst madness?
Hom. 6, 1:7. … it could be that they [the martyrs] will derive great pleasure from my conflict with the Jews; they might well listen most intently to a discourse given for God’s glory. For the martyrs have a special hatred for the Jews since the Jews crucified him for whom they have a special love. The Jews said: “His blood be on us and on our children” the martyrs poured out their own blood for him whom the Jews had slain. So the martyrs would be glad to hear this discourse.
2:9-10. (9) If he turns away from you now because of your sins, he should have done so all the more in those days. If he put up with you when you were living lives of ungodliness, he ought to put up with you all the more now that you venture no such enormities. Why, then, has he not put up with you? Even if you are too ashamed to give the reason, I will state it clearly. Rather, I will not state it, but the truth of the facts will do so. (10) You did slay Christ, you did lift violent hands against the Master, you did spill his precious blood. This is why you have no chance for atonement, excuse, or defense. In the old days your reckless deeds were aimed against his servants, against Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Even if there was ungodliness in your acts then, your boldness had not yet dared the crowning crime. But now you have put all the sins of your fathers into the shade. Your mad rage against Christ, the Anointed One, left no way for anyone to surpass your sin. This is why the penalty you now pay is greater than that paid by your fathers. If this is not the reason for your present disgrace, why is it that God put up with you in the old days when you sacrificed your children to idols, but turns himself away from you now when you are not so bold as to commit such a crime? Is it not clear that you dared a deed much worse and much greater than any sacrifice of children or transgression of the Law when you slew Christ?
- Chrysostom, Contra eos qui subintroductas habent uirgines (Against those who have virgins living with them), ch. 3.. This argues that it is morally unsafe to have monks and nuns living together.
“But what does that matter?”, they say, “we are not accountable for other people’s stupidity, and if someone offends stupidly, do I deserve to pay also for that folly?” Well! Paul does not use this language: even if someone is falsely scandalized by weakness, he commands us to help him. We are freed from the penalty set, for the scandal caused, only if it results in a greater profit than the damage caused; because otherwise, if there is only scandal caused to others, whether they are scandalized wrongly or rightly or from weakness, their blood is upon our heads, and our hands must now answer to God for their souls.
- Chrysostom, Homilia dicta in templo s.Anastasiae (Novarum hom. 8), PG 63, 493-500., p.500, l.10
- Chrysostom, Homiliae 1-90 in Matthaeum (Homilies 1-90 on Matthew), homily 87.  “They” is sometimes Jews, and sometimes Romans, in what follows.
For as though they were afraid lest they should seem to fall short at all in the crime, having killed the prophets with their own hands, but this man with the sentence of a judge, so they do in every deed; and make it the work of their own hands, and condemn and sentence both among themselves and before Pilate, saying, “His blood be on us and on our children,” and insult Him, and do despite unto Him themselves, binding Him, leading Him away, and render themselves authors of the spiteful acts done by the soldiers, and nail Him to the cross. and revile Him, and spit at Him, and deride Him. For Pilate contributed nothing in this matter, but they themselves did every thing, becoming accusers, and judges, and executioners, and all.
- Chrysostom, In principium Actorum homiliae 1-4 (4 homilies on the start of Acts). Note these are not the same as the series of 51 homilies on Acts.
They say, “Are you trying to lay on us the blame for this man’s blood?” (Acts 5:28) Well if he was just a man, why are you worried about his blood? You killed many of the prophets, and cut the throats of many of the just, O Jews, nor did you shrink from the blood of any of them. So why do you shrink now? Truly the crucified frightened them, and they could not hide their fear, … Indeed until they crucified him, they shouted saying, “His blood be on us and on our children”; so they despised his blood. But after his passion, when they saw the brightness of his power, they were afraid, and worried, they said, “Are you trying to blame us for this man’s blood?” But if he was a deceiver, and an enemy of God, as you say, O wicked Jews, why are you afraid of his blood? If this was so, his murder should be a cause to glory in. But since it was not such, they trembled.
- Theodoret, Interpretatio in Esaiam. 
On Isaiah 1:15. They [Israel] are not accused of worshipping idols, nor of committing adultery, nor of giving into greed, but of staining themselves with a murder: more difficult to support than any impiety or every iniquity was their act of folly against the Lord. In fact to them belongs the saying, “His blood be upon us and our children”. This blood has deprived them of the blessings of others, it has made them the accursed of the world. All the same in His goodness He has given them a glimpse of the way of salvation, saying: 16. “Wash and be clean.”
On Isaiah 4:4. The Lord will wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Again he [Isaiah] refers to blood and purification. By “blood” he means that which they brought on themselves and their children by crying, “His blood be on us and our children.” By “purification” he predicts that which produces the bath of regeneration. However, this done, he says, “by a spirit of judgement and a spirit of fire.” because as gold is purified by being dipped in fire, those who receive baptism lay down the poison of their sins. The blessed John the Baptist said in his turn, “he will baptise you in the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
On Isaiah 5:7. Then he explains what he just said allegorically. The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. … Then he explains clearly the harvest and the thorns: And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. This passage allows us to recognise clearly that it is because they exercised their madness against the saviour that they were stripped of the divine grace. It is by the “cries” that this madness is visible. But the narrative of the holy gospels teaches precisely that they shouted as loudly as possible in turn with cries of “Put him to death! to death!” crucify him!” and “His blood be upon us and our children!” The prophet condemns still other injustices….
- Theodoret, Interpretatio in Psalmos. PG 80, 857-1997. ?
- Hilary, Commentarius in Euangelium Matthaei I-XIII. DOIGNON J., SC 254 (1978). § 6 (p.98, l.5). Inaccessible to me.
- Hilary, Commentarius in Evangelium Matthaei XIV-XXXIII. DOIGNON J., SC 258 (1979). § 1 (p.248, l.7 Inaccessible to me.
- Hilary, Tractatus mysteriorum.  The SC editor heads this section: “The crime of Cain prefigures the passion of Christ.”
The blood of Abel thus is claimed by those who, as had been prefigured in Cain, have persecuted the just and are accursed by the earth who, opening her mouth, has received the blood of his brother. In the body of Christ, in fact in which are the apostles and the church, it is the blood of all the just that their race and their entire posterity has taken upon their own heads, crying “His blood be upon us and on our sons.”
- Hilary, Tractatus super psalmos I – XCI. ZINGERLE A., CSEL 22 (1891), 3-354 ; 544-870. § 12 (p.45, l.21) & § 9 (p.103, l.24)
- Ambrosiaster, Quaestiones Veteris et Noui Testamenti (numero CXXVII). SOUTER A., CSEL 50 (1908), 3-416. § 3. p.188, l.20
- Jerome, Commentarii in Danielem (Commentary on Daniel). Here.  This discusses the chronology of the “weeks” in Daniel.
And then, after our Lord’s passion, the sacrifice and offering ceased in the middle of the week. For whatever took place in the Temple after that date was not a valid sacrifice to God but a mere worship of the devil, while they all cried out together, “His blood be upon us and upon our children” (Matt. 27:25); and again, “We have no king but Caesar.” Any reader who is interested may look up this passage in the Chronicle of this same Eusebius, for I translated it into Latin many years ago.
- Jerome, Letter 129, To Dardanus, On the Promised Land.  A hasty letter responding to the question “what is the promised land”?
6. These statements [limiting the scope of “the promised land”] are not intended to insult the country of Judea, according to the lies of a sycophant heretic, nor to destroy the historical reality, which is the foundation of spiritual interpretation, but to bring down the pride of the Jews, who prefer the narrowness of the synagogue to the width of the church. If they want to be content to follow the letter that kills, not the spirit that gives life, let them show us a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. But if they admit that these terms are used by tropology for an abundance of all things, we have the right, too, prefer the land of divine praise, land of the living, to the land of spiny bushes. …
7. You have committed, O Jew, many crimes, you have been the slave of all the surrounding nations. For what reason? Certainly, because of your idolatry. …[a list of the conquerors of Jerusalem] … It is now a little less than four hundred years after the demolition of the temple, and nothing remains of the city and temple ruins. For what great crime? Certainly you do not worship idols; even when enslaved by the Persians and the Romans, and subjected to the yoke of captivity, you rejected the foreign gods. Why has the so clement God, who has never forgotten you, now after such a long space of time, not been moved by your misfortunes to free you from your captivity – or, to speak more exactly, to send to you the Antichrist you are waiting for? For what enormous crime, I say, and for what execrable crime does he turn his eyes away from you? Don’t you know? Remember the cry of your fathers: “His blood be on us and on our children”; and “Come, let us kill him and the inheritance will belong to us”; and again: “We have no king but Caesar. “You got what you chose: until the end of the world you will serve Caesar, “until all the Gentiles be come, then Israel as a whole will be saved “, so that the which formerly was first will be last.
- Jerome, In Hieremiam prophetam libri VI. REITER S., CCL 74 (1960). § 2 (p.71, l.18 & § 3 (p.162, l.20 & § 3 (p.181, l.14
- Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses ad illuminandos 12-18. Lecture 13. 
21. The beginning of signs under Moses was blood and water; and the last of all Jesus’ signs was the same. First, Moses changed the river into blood; and Jesus at the last gave forth from His side water with blood. This was perhaps on account of the two speeches, his who judged Him, and theirs who cried out against Him; or because of the believers and the unbelievers. For Pilate said, I am innocent and washed his hands in water; they who cried out against Him said, His blood be upon us: there came therefore these two out of His side; the water, perhaps, for him who judged Him; but for them that shouted against Him the blood.
- Cyril of Jerusalem, Epistula de aedificando templo. 
12. This event took place on Monday at the third hour, and partly at the ninth hour of the night. There was great loss of life here. (It was) on 19 Iyyar of the year 674 of the kingdom of Alexander the Greek. This year the pagan Julian died, and it was he who especially incited the Jews to rebuild the Temple, since he favoured them because they had crucified Christ. Justice overtook this rebel at his death in enemy territory, and in this the sign of the power of the cross was revealed, because he had denied Him who had been hung upon it for the salvation and life of all.
- Procopius of Gaza, Catena in Esaiam, PG 87 2, 1817-2718. § 1 (p.857); § 2 (p.352); § 2 (p.600)
- Procopius of Gaza, Commentarii in Octateuchum, PG 87 1, 21-1220. (p.252); (p.491, l.46); (p.919); (p.923); § 1 (p.41)
- Origen, Contra Celsum, “SC 132, 136, 147, 150, 227. p.308, l.27″. Biblindex does not specify the volume of the SC edition; the index of that edition doesn’t reference Acts 4:10 and no reference is given in Chadwick’s translation.
- Eusebius, Commentarii in Esaiam.  Inaccessible to me.
- Athanasius, De sententia Dionysii (On the opinion of Dionysius), Here. 
But if they accuse the blessed man [Dionysius] (for the arguments of the Arians about him are in fact accusations against him) simply for writing thus, what will they do when they hear even the great and blessed Apostles in the Acts, firstly Peter saying (Acts ii. 22), `Ye men of Israel hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto us by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know: Him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay;’ and again (ib. iv. 10), `In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, even in Him doth this man stand here before you whole;’ and Paul, relating (ib. xiii. 22) in Antioch of Pisidia how God,`when He had removed Saul, raised up David to be king;…
- Epiphanius, Ancoratus, ch. 41.  Arguments about whether Christ was divine or just a man.
41. (1) Again they [the Arians] strive after other vain notions, mixing them with the divine words and thinking contrarily, and they say: so how has it been written, “accept that the high priest of our confession was faithful to the one who made him,” and “let it be known to you, all the house of Israel, that this Jesus, whom you crucified, God made him Lord and Christ” (2) And a great wonder comes upon me, how those who possess the orderings [of Scripture] are ignorant of the meaning being declared in them. For the saying, “Accept that the high priest was faithful to the one who made him,” has not been said concerning the divinity.
- Chrysostom, In Acta apostolorum homiliae 1-55 (55 Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles). 
Homily 10. C.2. … What then says Peter? “Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel.” Mark the Christian wisdom of the man; how full of confidence it is: he utters not a word of insult, but says with respect… “By what means this man is made whole: be it known unto you all, and to all the people Israel; that by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth:” – this is what would vex them most. For this was that which Christ had told the disciples, “What ye hear in the ear that preach ye upon the housetops. – That in the name of Jesus Christ,” he says, “of Nazareth, Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole.” (v. 10). (Matt. x. 27.) Think not, he says, that we conceal the country, or the nature of the death. “Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand before you whole.”
10, 3. … Do you observe too (in point of rhetoric) with what dignity they express themselves? Even in the use of words they were becoming expert by practice, and henceforth they were not to be beaten down. “Be it known unto you all,” etc. (v. 10.) Whereby he shows them that they rather do, in spite of themselves, preach Christ; themselves extol the doctrine, by their examining and questioning. O exceeding boldness – “Whom ye crucified! Whom God raised up” – this is bolder still! Think not that we hide what there is to be ashamed of.
I was unable to locate the precise reference for homily 13.
- Ambrose, Expositio de Psalmo CXVIII. PETSCHENIG M., CSEL 62 (1913, réimpr. 1962). § 43, p.64, l.20.
No doubt there are more to be found!
UPDATE 26/05/2015: I’ve translated a few more of the passages. One in Gregory Nazianzen does, I think, strike the authentic note of anti-Semitism. UPDATE: 27/05/2015. A few more added.
May 15th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
Many years ago – indeed in my last summer at Oxford – I formed a high opinion of the pre-WW1 essays of Augustine Birrell. This opinion was not founded on any great study. On the contrary: I was going punting, and looking for a book to take with me. In a shop I found a copy of the Everyman Century of English Essays. It was very cheap, for its cover was gone, and had been replaced by some careful person with a cover of brown paper. Anyway it was clearly not valuable, and so ideal for the risky environment of the punt.
The volume contained a couple of essays by Birrell, and this led me to buy some collections of his essays, and then to venture to look at some of the literary works which he discussed. Notable among these was Boswell’s Life of Johnson. This I acquired somewhere, in a two-volume Everyman, and had a local bookshop – the Amberstone bookshop in Ipswich, long since vanished alas – cover the battered dustwrappers with plastic. Consequently Birrell and Boswell have been long allied in my memory.
The reign of Charles II was not a happy one in Britain, and Johnson looks back to it often. The main consequence of that reign was to exclude by law half of England from any share in the government, if they failed to “conform”; that is, to swear oaths of their allegiance to the Church of England. The Act of Uniformity, the Test Act, and other detestable pieces of legislation were devised, not to promote national unity, but in order to push the puritans and presbyterians out of the church, thereby allowing the revenues of many valuable benefices to fall to their enemies, and allowing the latter to use the state to harass, imprison, and otherwise abuse those they hated. This process created “non-conformity”, a parallel state, which continued to exist for more than a century and a half, until the laws were entirely removed in the 19th century.
Many people will perhaps suppose that this was religious persecution, from the language used by the oppressors. But I learned yesterday that the judge who worded the Act of Uniformity of 1662, John Keeling, was himself an atheist. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilbert Sheldon, who drafted the material and was in the forefront of the persecutions, is recorded by Samuel Pepys a few years later as a wencher. These were not religious men.
In fact laws that strain mens’ consciences invariably produce governments full of liars and scoundrels. Honest men say what they mean, and so are at the mercy of wretches who will say anything, and are quite happy to draw up “tests” which will exclude those more honest than themselves. The Act of Uniformity was of this character; for it involved swearing that the Book of Common Prayer was in full accordance with scripture, when in fact almost no copies had even been made available for examination.
For many years, I was under the impression that Birrell referred to one of the drafters of these nasty pieces of legislation in the following terms: “that the wretch who drafted it boasted that it would damn one half of the country and starve the other half.” I always wondered who precisely the “wretch” was, and where Birrell found the statement.
This evening I took advantage of the digitisation of Birrell’s works at the Internet Archive to do some searches. And I found … that the words are not Birrell’s, but are found in the footnotes (by either Boswell himself, or by Malone, an early editor). The footnote is to a remark about the non-jurors, clergymen who declined to swear to William III in 1688, on the basis that they were already sworn to James II, and so were deprived of their livings.
This was not merely a cursory remark ; for in his Li/e o/ Fenten
he observes, ‘ With many other wise and virtuous men, who at that
time of discord and debate [about the beginning of this century] con-
sulted conscience well or ill informed, more than interest, he doubted
the legality of the government ; and refusing to qualify himself for
public employment by taking the oaths required, left the University
without a degree.’ This conduct Johnson calls ‘ perverseness of
The question concerning the morality of taking oaths of whatever kind, imposed by the prevailing power at the time, rather than to be excluded from all consequence, or even any considerable usefulness in society, has been agitated with all the acuteness of casuistry. It is related that he who devised the oath of abjuration, profligately boasted that he had framed a test which should ‘damn one half of the nation, and starve the other.’ Upon minds not exalted to inflexible rectitude, or minds in which zeal for a party is predominant to excess, taking that oath against conviction may have been palliated under the plea of necessity or ventured upon in heat, as upon the whole producing more good than evil.
At a county election in Scotland many years ago, when there was a warm contest between the friends of the Hanoverian succession and those against it, the oath of abjuration having been demanded, the freeholders upon one side rose to go away. Upon which a very sanguine gentleman, one of their number, ran to the door to stop them, calling out with much earnestness, ‘Stay, stay, my friends, and let us swear the rogues out of it!’ 
It is indeed hard not to be cynical about those who draft laws about what opinions may or may not be held or expressed. They are invariably rogues who seek only their own advantage by turning the natural desire of all men to do what is right into a means to harm those who possess it.
So this relates to a later oath than I had imagined. But who was the man who “profligately boasted” of the harm he had done his country?
I do not know the answer. But a search produces more information.
In Thomas Carte’s A full answer, 1742, p.87 I find the following:
I am no great Friend to Tests, but all Governments have thought it proper to take such Precautions for their Security. Thus we have seen in our Times seven excellent Bishops, and near 1000 Clergymen of the Church of England, and the whole Body of the Clergy (almost to a Man) of another Kingdom, now united to ours, turned out of their Freeholds, because they could not comply with such Tests, though their former Conduct had been in all Respects irreproachable. There have been some invented, which a Son of one of the Trustees for the Charities to the Bartholomew Divines, has been laid to glory in contriving so, as to damn one half of the Clergy and starve the other.
The “Bartholomew Divines” were the clergy ejected in 1662 by the Act of Uniformity, which took effect on St Bartholomew’s Day – itself cunningly chosen, as Bishop Burnet informs us, just before Michaelmas, when the rents for the year past were due, so that the incoming appointees could enjoy the profits for the year just gone, rather than those who had earned them. The charities, then, must be funds raised for those clergy. The reference again is to the Oath of Abjuration (of 1702), and evidently a son of one of those trustees had decided to revenge himself on the (conforming) clergy who had benefitted from those expulsions.
That the culprit was indeed a non-conformist appears also in a pro-conformist tract, written by Samuel Butler, the author of Hudibras, called The assembly-man. A 1715 3rd edition is here, and on p.109 we find the following description of the non-conformists:
But the Assembler‘s deepest, highest Abomination, is his Solemn League and Covenant, whereby he strives to damn or beggar the whole Kingdom, out doing the Devil, who only persuades, but the Assembler forces to Perjury or Starving. And this (whoever lives to observe it) will one Day sink both him and his Faction : For He and his Oath are so much one,that were he half hang’d and let down again, his first Word would be Covenant! Covenant!
This, of course, is at a time when the times have changed. The evil men who created conformity were all strong supporters of James II; and after his overthrow, had a test inflicted upon them in turn by the nonconformists, then in favour with the Whig party.
So I find that I am mistaken, and that the phrase in fact refers to the nonconformists’ revenge on the conformists, and not the evil of 1662! I still can’t put a name to the man, tho.
But so it goes in life. The wrong that you do to others will one day be done to you, and it will be justified, over your protests, by the precedents that you created.
These events are perhaps forgotten today. One can’t help wishing that they were better known.