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May 23, 1986

On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Hospital Houston

JAMA. 1986;255(20):2756. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370200054019

To the Editor.—  I am deeply concerned over the publication of an article entitled "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ" in JAMA.1 The article was inappropriate, unscholarly in the extreme, and offensive in its extraordinary insensitivity, and its ill effects cannot be countered by any single letter or series of letters.The inappropriateness appears in the very title. Jesus of Nazareth was an individual who is accepted as Christ or Messiah by some but by no means all of your readership. Inclusion of the name "Jesus Christ" in the title of a scientific article is, thus, lacking in propriety.It is true that "the most extensive and detailed descriptions of the life and death of Jesus" are contained in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but these are not necessarily historically accurate. Nevertheless, the authors accept and reference them, uncritically, as basic historical fact, which they are