Trial & Death

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    Charlesworth, James H.

     (70K)

    Jesus and Jehohanan: An Archaeological Note on Crucifixion

    "...[W]e now have empirical evidence of a crucifixion. Death on a cross could be prolonged or swift. The crucifixion of Josephus' acquaintance who survived should not be projected to the crucifixion of Jesus. The major extrabiblical paradigm for crucifixion is no longer Josephus; it is the archaeological data...The crucifixion of Jesus, who did not possess a gladiator's physique and stamina, did not commence but culminated when he was nailed to the cross."
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    Goodacre, Mark

     (151K)

    When Prophecy Became Passion: The Death of Jesus and the Birth of the Gospels

    "...[T]he Gospels all remain true to their origins in the Passion story. Their narratives are driven through from beginning to end with Passion predictions, and with echoes, allusions and prefiguring of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but most importantly a narrative with a driving force that carries the reader breathlessly forward towards Calvary. This is how, when prophecy became passion, Jesus’ death sowed the seed that gave birth to the Gospels."
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    Green, Donald

     (119K)

    The Folly of the Cross

    This article has Paul's preaching of the crucifixion of Jesus as its focal point but gives a good treatment of the historical background of this mode of execution along the way: "Crucifixion was a vulgar, common execution that the Romans imposed on notorious criminals, prisoners of war, and rebellious slaves. Its harsh brutality symbolized the supremacy of the Roman government over the victim. Gentiles thus viewed crucifixion as a sure sign of the victim ’s defeat. Jews, on the other hand, held crucified men in even greater contempt because to them crucifixion was a sign of God’s curse on the victim."
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    Green, Joel B. and John T. Carroll

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    "The Gospels and the Death of Jesus in Recent Study", Chapter 1 of The Death of Jesus in Early Christianity

    "As with Gospels study more generally, so with inquiry into the death of Jesus in the Gospels, the hegemony of strictly historical methods has waned in recent decades, allowing for a wider range of questions to be addressed. Perhaps most importantly, the loss of a narrow focus on tradition- and historical-critical concerns has opened up fresh paths for exploring the significance of the crucifixion of Jesus as this event is related to the entirety of Jesus' life and mission...Our purpose in this chapter is to locate contemporary readings of the death of Jesus in the Gospels on the horizon of recent research."
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    Koester, Craig R.

     (110K)

    The Passion and Resurrection According to John

    "The story of the passion...begins with Jesus in the posture of a slave, washing his disciples’ feet (chap. 13); but concludes when Thomas recognizes that Jesus is both Lord and God (20:28), bringing the story back to the high point where it began in 1:1. Each year John’s passion account appears in the lectionary for Holy Week and his story of the resurrection is appointed for Easter and the Sunday after Easter, providing an opportunity for sustained reading and proclamation of these texts. John’s narrative is masterfully told; the drama is bold, yet subtle. Those who contemplate its message are drawn into the very heart of the Christian faith."
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    Miller, Johnny V.

     (566K)

    The Time of the Crucifixion

    "The purpose of this article is to reconcile or harmonize the apparently conflicting accounts of Mark 15:25 and John 19:14 as to the time of the crucifixion of Jesus. The primary problem is the apparent conflict between Mark 15:25 ('And it was the third hour when they crucified him') and John 19:14-16 ('Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour...And so he then delivered him up to them to be crucified'). Mark seems to say that Jesus was crucified approximately three hours earlier than John says that he was condemned by Pilate."
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    Neyrey, Jerome H.

     (212K)

    "Despising the Shame of the Cross": Honor and Shame in the Johannine Passion Narrative

    "The passion narrative in John 18-19 is profitably viewed in terms of the values of honor and shame. A model of this anthropological concept is presented, which stresses the form of the typical honor challenge (claim, challenge, riposte, and public verdict). This model then serves as a template for reading John 18-19 to surface the phenomena of honor and shame in that narrative and to interpret the endless confrontations described there in their appropriate cultural perspective. Thus from the narrator's point of view, Jesus maintains his honor and even gains more in his death; he is in no way shamed by the events."
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    Pilch, John J.

     (129K)

    Death with Honor: The Mediterranean Style Death of Jesus in Mark

    "In Mark's gospel, Jesus suffers for as long as six hours apparently without resistance or complaint and says nothing until he shrieks just before dying. The way he died makes a favorable impression on the centurion who witnessed the execution (14:39). With the aid of two social science models, it is possible to offer a plausible, Mediterranean cultural explanation for this pagan's reaction. The basic personality model (Cook) would explain that Jesus' behavior at death is the result of his training in suffering during his youth. Jesus' death proves that he was reared well. The cultural ideology model (McClelland) argues that Mediterranean ideology, that is, its norms and values reinforced by its maintenance system is the central determining factor of adult personality and child-rearing practices. Jesus dies honorably as one would expect of an adult, Mediterranean male."
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    Sandy, D. Brent

     (725K)

    John the Baptist's "Lamb of God" Affirmation in Its Cannonical and Apocalyptic Milieu

    "The designation of Jesus as the Lamb of God has become inextricably woven into the fabric of Christianity. The title has seemed especially appropriate, given Jesus' atoning death. Consequently Christians generally acclaim the foresight of John the Baptist in identifying Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God and link John's statement with Isaiah's prophecy of the suffering servant (Isaiah 53). But that conclusion is open to serious objections. Understanding the Baptist's affirmation retrospectively--that is, from a post-passion advantage and with the OT alone as the interpretive context--is insufficient and misleading."
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    Scaer, Peter J.

     (142K)

    The Gospel of Luke and the Christology of Martyrdom

    "Each of the gospels is unique. Attempts at harmonization inevitably blur their theological and literary distinctiveness. This paper will attempt to illustrate and explain one distinctive feature of the Lukan presentation of Jesus. Namely, that Luke intends his passion narrative to serve as a type of martyrdom, so that his hearers come to see the death of Jesus as an object of both admiration and emulation. 1 In order to do this, Luke draws upon motifs from the Graeco- Roman Noble Death tradition."
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    Trudinger, L. Paul

     (202K)

    "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?": A Cry of Dereliction? or Victory?

    "Several recent commentators have insisted that our Lord's words from the cross, 'My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken me?' must be read not as coming from one defeated and frustrated by despair. Rather we must read them within the context of Psalm 22 as a whole, as the confident prayer of One who did not lose faith even in the midst of his aloneness. My purpose is to make some further observations in support of this view-point, and, in particular to underscore some seldom discussed insights of a profoudn and thoroughly evangelical scholar, the late Professor Karl Bornhaeuser, of Marburg."
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    Wright, N.T.

     (170K)

    Jesus, Israel and the Cross

    "Jesus, then, believed himself called by God to announce Israel’s imminent judgment and to inaugurate in and around himself Israel’s reconstitution. He continued to pursue his vocation even when it was more than apparent where it would lead, believing that if Israel’s death could be died by her representative she might not need to die it herself. This was not out of line...with the pattern of significant actions which marked his public career as a whole, in which he constantly shared the uncleanness or stigma of the physically or socially handicapped, in order to heal and restore (or, as the evangelists often say, “save”) them."
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    Zias, Joe

     (199K)

    Crucifixion in Antiquity

    "Undoubtedly, one of the cruelest and most humiliating forms of punishment in the ancient world was, according to ancient sources, crucifixion...This form of state terror was widespread across the Roman Empire which included Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. It originated several centuries before the Common Era and continued into the fourth century AD when the practice was discontinued by Constantine, the emperor of Rome. While its origins are obscured in antiquity, it is clear that this form of capital punishment lasted for around 800 years and tens if not hundreds of thousands of individuals were subject to this cruel and humiliating death."