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Title: The crucifiable Jesus
Author: Pounds, Steven
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 1285
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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In recent decades, scholars have both used Jesus' crucifixion as a criterion of historicity and employed the rhetoric of a "crucifiable Jesus"- suggesting that some historical reconstructions of Jesus more plausibly explain his crucifixion than others. This dissertation tests the grounds of these proposals, whilst offering its own reconstruction of a crucifiable Jesus. It first investigates primary source depictions of Roman crucifixion and focuses upon the offences for which crucifixions were carried out. As a first level conclusion, it determines that, in a formal sense, a bare appeal to crucifiability or to a criterion of crucifixion does not yield what it purports to deliver because a wide range of offences were punishable by crucifixion. Moreover, sometimes victims of circumstance were crucified. However, in a less strict sense, this dissertation determines that the concept of crucifiability does retain some value if the particular situation and context of Jesus' crucifixion are taken into account. In Roman orderings of crucifixion during peacetime, consideration was usually given to culpability, and a basic hearing was often given. Accordingly, Pontius Pilate was probably a typical governor who ordered Jesus' crucifixion on the basis of a customary charge according to Roman penal convention. This dissertation goes on to propose that the types of gospel conflicts that are usually isolated by scholars in accounting for a crucifiable Jesus are better seen as complimentary rather than rival explanations for his crucifixion. The so-called temple cleansing, though not a large enough event to singularly explain the crucifixion, could plausibly fit with other economic conflicts within Jesus' life. Jesus' religious conflicts with his Jewish contemporaries perhaps explain some general animus towards him but not his Roman execution. Jesus' condemnation of élites explains the hostility of Judaean and Roman powerholders towards him but not the titulus on the cross. Lastly, it is determined that a royal messianic acclamation of Jesus inspired by the implications of his activities likely explains his crucifixion as "King of the Jews". As a final conclusion, this dissertation proposes that in the future, scholars should replace the language of 'criterion' with the language of historical 'control' when speaking of Jesus' crucifixion.
Supervisor: Head, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: historical Jesus ; crucifixion ; criteria of authenticity ; criteria of historicity ; crucifiable ; crucifiability ; trial of Jesus ; politics of Jesus ; death of Jesus