The story of the crucifixion of Jesus is the central story for Christianity, always read at Easter, and known to countless people, whether Christian or not.
The application of the pesher technique, known for the first time from the theory found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, gives an exact account of what actually happened, down to the smallest detail of time and place.
The pesher of the gospels is, in fact, the script of a Passion play. Such plays were often written in the past, drawing selectively on the surface story, together with a large dose of religious imagination. The film industry is still producing them, making painfully apparent the absence of a believable history. If popular religion could tolerate it, there is now available an account that was intended by the participants themselves to give a total and reliable record of their experience. It moves on to the "Resurrection", which was part of the human political history, not a miracle. There are no miracles, but, when the study has been done, total historicity.
The first question that arises is: Why was Jesus crucified? Was it because he was a good man - sinless in fact- who during a very short teaching ministry said wise things that other Jews had also said? Or because he performed remarkable miracles of healing, helping many people? For no legal reason that is ever given, the Jews seized him and arranged for Pontius Pilate to crucify him. Pilate, administering Roman justice, threw in a couple of thieves and executed them also, although it would be contrary to the Roman system of law to give capital punishment for any but the most serious crimes.
That question is dealt with first, in Part A of this Section, The Political Pre-History. The application of the technique to chapters of Acts and other parts of the gospels, including the parables, gives the real causes in the intense politics of the 1st century BC, when Judaism in the Diaspora was undergoing a process of hellenisation that changed its character. It was a clash of cultures out of which Christianity finally emerged. Its rise can only be understood when this information is known.
Part B of this Section, The Crucifixion, moves on to the Crucifixion itself. The most striking thing is that all four gospels are in perfect agreement with each other, down to the smallest detail. That is quite different from what appears, that they seem to be contradicting each other, giving further reason for critics to assume that they contain a large measure of invention. They are not fiction, but a description of real events. That looks like an assumption of unthinking literalism, of the kind that can be wrongly applied to the Bible. It is not an assumption, but a conclusion. It is a conclusion in the scientific sense, the end result of a long and close study of the evidence. The evidence comes from the application of the pesher technique. The conclusion would in many ways be unwelcome to a blind faith. But it is nevertheless a complete account of precisely what took place between Thursday evening March 19, and Friday afternoon March 20, 33 AD.
In Part B an overview is first given, summaries of the essentials of each division of that night and day. The locations, which are very much part of what happened, are described next. Then all four gospels are placed side by side, with their Word-for-Word pesher.
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