Re: Jesus or Barabbas

From: Robert Schneider (
Date: Tue May 06 2003 - 14:04:01 EDT

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    It might be interesting to note that in Matthew 27:15-17, Barabbas is named "Jesus Barabbas"; and "Barabbas" is "bar abbas," meaning "son of the father." So Matthew's Pilate asks the crowd if they wish him to release "Jesus son of the father" or "Jesus called the Messiah."

    Now, some authoritative mss. of Matthew omit the "Jesus" with "Barabbas," but the NRSV translators put it in the text rather than the footnote. The editors (Kurt Aland et al.) of the UBS Greek NT, 27th edn. put "Jesus" in the text in brackets. I prefer to believe that the inclusion of "Jesus" with "Barabbas" is the more authoritative reading. If true, how delicious the irony, in a Passion Narrative, like the others, riddled with ironies.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Michael Roberts
      To: Gary Collins ;
      Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 12:14 PM
      Subject: Re: Jesus or Barabbas

      I think it is one of those questions which is answerable as there is no evidence whether they were candidates for popular release or not. The possibilities are endless but it is not important.

      Remember that the bible always gives such compressed accounts that it leaves a tremendous amount out.

      I haven't a clue about Bulgakov's ideas.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Gary Collins
        Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 2:32 PM
        Subject: Jesus or Barabbas

        Michael Roberts wrote:

        I would point out that I do have a degree in theology and have taught up to
        M.A. level. I am pretty familiar with biblical commentators from the early
        church until today.

        Hi Michael,
        It sounds as though you are just the person who might be able to answer a
        (not vastly significant) question I have. In all four gospels (I think) Pilate offers
        the people the choice of which prisoner to free - Jesus Christ or Barabbas. All
        four gospels record that two others were crucified with Jesus. What is intriguing
        me is why these two others were not also put forward as candidates for possible
        Mikhail Bulgakov, in 'The Master and Margarita' makes the suggestion that
        Jesus and Barabbas had been brought to trial by the Sanhedrin, but the other
        two by the authority of Rome. This is only a novel; but since Bulgakov undoubtedly
        used some historic material in composing it, it might be possible that his answer
        is correct. OTOH it may simply be his own fabrication.
        I would like to know if this does come from some early tradition, or from the writings
        of the church 'fathers', etc. My commentaries don't seem to make any comment
        on this.
        Hope you can help, trivial though the question is!

        "By tying up the weak case for a young earth in the same package as the strong case for creation, recent-creationists are almost asking to be defeated."
        -- Alan Hayward, "Creation and Evolution: The Facts and Fallacies," p.81

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