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May 23, 1986

On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ

JAMA. 1986;255(20):2753. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370200054011

To the Editor.—  I was astonished to read the article entitled "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ."1 It purported to "offer additional insight" based on "knowledge of science and medicine not available in the first century." I feel compelled to respond to at least a few points.I wonder about the propriety of this work appearing in this journal. The use of the name "Jesus Christ" has a specific theological connotation, namely, that Jesus is the Christ, or Messiah (ie, savior). This is a point fundamental to Christian belief; it is not merely a name but also an explicit claim. I was surprised to find it used in the title of the article.The authors admit that a major problem with attempting any analysis is that "the credibility of any discussion of Jesus' death will be determined primarily by the credibility of one's sources."1 The authors were