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An Official Copy of Jesus’ Death Sentence: Another Forgery?

I have been intermittently posting accounts of modern forgeries of Gospels that provide, as a rule, sensationalized information about the “lost” records of Jesus – for example an account claiming he traveled to India as a young man to learn his wisdom from the Brahmins, or another purportedly based on an eyewitness to the crucifixion.

Here now is yet another, this one an allegedly official copy of the death sentence from his trial, written by Pontius Pilate himself, in Hebrew no less.   It’s amazing how gullible modern readers can be.  But for a long time now, many people have simply assumed that if they read something in a tabloid, hey, it must be true!

Critical scholars, however, have no trouble demonstrating when these things are forgeries.  One could only wish that such critical skills were shared by the reading public at large (and not just those interested in early Christianity!).

Again, I have taken this discussion from the final chapter of my book Forged.



The Death Sentence of Jesus Christ

One of the striking and, to many people, surprising facts about the first century is that we don’t have any …

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  1. Avatar
    cmdenton47  May 27, 2019

    As a retired high school math teacher, seeing that some of my former students in courses like Honors PreCalculus believe in such cons as Essential Oils is certainly disheartening. I wish I had a do-over.

  2. Avatar
    robgrayson  May 27, 2019

    I’m constantly surprised and perplexed by how willing many people are to accept even the most blatant “alternative facts” whenever they see them in their social media news feed. Articles that smell fake from a mile away – and whose fakeness can be confirmed by even the most cursory checking – are routinely not only accepted but shared and promoted.

    Our tendency as humans to believe that which supports or underscores our existing worldview is strong.

  3. Avatar
    AstaKask  May 27, 2019

    Is there any hint of the Harrowing of Hell in the New Testament?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 28, 2019

      Later believers certainly claimed there was. In fact, lots of hints. The most important (and possibly closest to being one) is 1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6, a passage exceedingly difficult to interpret over the years.

  4. Avatar
    NancyGKnapp  May 27, 2019

    The Goodspeed translation of the Bible was the text for a college course I took back in the 60’s, entitled the Bible as Literature. It was the first time I studied the Bible as lierature rather than as the Holy, literal word of God of the King James Version. This experience probably laid the groundwork for a later move away from fundamentalusm.

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    Leovigild  May 28, 2019

    While looking this up, I found yet another forged death sentence of Jesus, published by Edmund Sutcliffe, “AN APOCRYPHAL FORM OF PILATE’S VERDICT”, Catholic Biblical Quarterly vol 9 #4 (October 1947), 436-441, an Italian document perhaps of the 17th century.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 28, 2019

      Interesting. Can’t recall if I’ve seen that or not….

  6. Avatar
    boxwithsmiley  May 28, 2019

    Was claiming to be the Son of God considered a crime punishable by death anyway? Maybe by Jewish law, but would Roman law care?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 28, 2019

      No, not really. Romans might think you were a bit nuts, but unless you were a political nuisance, they didn’t much care.

  7. Avatar
    SkepticsRUs  May 28, 2019

    I laughed so hard when I came to the part about sending the warrant to “all the tribes of Israel” that I nearly spit out my coffee. Too bad Pilate wrote it in Hebrew rather than Reformed Egyptian.

  8. Avatar
    asnogordo  June 1, 2019

    How would Jesus have communicated with Pilate? Is it assumed that there needed to be a middleman to translate?

    • Bart
      Bart  June 2, 2019

      There either was a translator or there was no communication. Pilate may well have heard the charge and simply condemned him. May have taken 20 seconds….

  9. Avatar
    andieand77@yahoo.com  July 17, 2019

    Dr. Ehrman, I completely enjoy your verbal content, through audio books, you tube debates and presentations. I listen to you while at work so it’s easier than reading, keep the audio content coming! I’ve exhausted your debates, if you have any more to post…. patiently waiting.

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