May 23, 1986

On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ

Author Affiliations

University of Miami School of Medicine

JAMA. 1986;255(20):2755-2756. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370200054017

To the Editor.—  I was stunned to find in the pages of JAMA the essay by Edwards et al,1 presented as "not a theological treatise but rather a medically and historically accurate [sic] account of the physical death of the one called Jesus Christ." Although the Gospels that tell the story of the passion of Jesus were compiled decades after the events described (Mark, circa 70 AD, through John, circa 110 AD), and without benefit of eyewitness or other extant records of that community, the authors nevertheless state, "The most extensive and detailed description of the life and death of Jesus are to be found in the New Testament Gospels." The reference cited is The Holy Bible.Of course, for traditional Christians the contents of the Gospels are incontrovertible articles of faith; in the context of fundamentalist religious belief the historicity, or even plausibility, of the details ("facts") becomes