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May 23, 1986

On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ

Author Affiliations

Yale University New Haven, Conn

JAMA. 1986;255(20):2758-2759. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370200054023

To the Editor.—  As an archaeologist and a historian of biblical times, we must warn your readers that the purported historical and archaeological "facts" presented in the recent JAMA article, "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ,"1 are in sharp variance with the consensus among academic scholars of the New Testament and Jewish and Roman legal and political procedures in New Testament times, as we shall shortly detail. These errors on the part of the article's writers are not merely accidental oversights. The repeated claims to historical accuracy barely disguise theological, we dare say fundamentalist, biases of serious and unfortunate consequence. Curiously, not only are historians and archaeologists not represented among the "interdisciplinary" writers, but the standard scholarly historical treatments of the trial and execution of Jesus are absent from the references.To begin with an obvious example of such pseudoscholarship, it may well be, as the authors affirm,