May 23, 1986

On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ

Author Affiliations

Ventura, Calif

JAMA. 1986;255(20):2757. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370200054021

To the Editor.—  I am writing to express my surprise at your including a theological article in The Journal, "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ."1 The opening paragraphs of this article purport to present religious faith as "fact," and in so doing perpetuate negative and very possibly erroneous beliefs that have been the core of anti-Semitism through the ages, and the basis upon which terrible persecution has been visited upon people of the Jewish faith.Specifically, the authors claim that Jesus was arrested, tried, found guilty, and spat upon by Jews, who then demanded his execution by the Romans even though the Romans could find no legal basis for such a crime or punishment. They report that "the people persistently demanded" crucifixion. The authors of this article cite as the basis of historical accuracy for these assertions sources such as the New Testament Gospels, and other texts and