The other day I was reading Pope Benedict’s book Jesus of Nazareth and was struck by a particular passage. In describing the calling of the apostles, Benedict notes that they represented a wide cross section of Jewish society at the time, from peasant fishermen to Hellenized Jews, from members of what we might today call a terrorist organization opposed to foreign occupation, to what we might call a collaborator with that occupier. Pope Benedict then goes on to state:
We may presume that all of the Twelve were believing and observant Jews who awaited the salvation of Israel. But in terms of their actual opinions, of their thinking about the way Israel was to be saved, they were an extremely varied group.