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The Final Days of Jesus

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables In Principio: Preface I. Historia: Evidence and Classical History II. Ad Fontes: Sources, Analysis, and What Classical Historians Do III. Praefectus Iudaeae: Pontius Pilatus and His World IV. Pontifices Maximi: Annas, Caiaphas, and the High Priesthood of Jerusalem V. Quaestio: The High Priests' Inquest VI. Cognitio Extra Ordinem: The Trial of the Millennium VII. Summum Supplicium: The Execution and Burial of Jesus VIII. Ad Consummationem: Conclusion Honoris Causa: Acknowledgments Appendix I: The Chronology of the Historical Jesus Appendix II: References to Synedrion in the New Testament Auctoritates: Secondary Sources for Further Reading Index

About the Author

Mark D. Smith is Professor of History at The College of Idaho and has long served on the Board of Directors for the Bethsaida Excavations Project in Israel.


"This is a rare achievement: a new angle of vision on the trial and death of Jesus: that of a classical historian of Rome with insight as well into Jewish and Christian history and Biblical scholarship. Scholars will appreciate the convincing analysis, and both scholars and lay readers will find the style clear, sensitive, and pleasing." Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor of History, emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara "Mark Smith offers readers a masterful treatment of the death of Jesus and the events that brought it about in his carefully researched and well written book. Smith treats all of the pertinent data and reaches compelling conclusions. Those who wonder what happened to Jesus and why some people wanted to kill him must read Smith's book. Although not its primary focus, The Final Days of Jesus makes some interesting comments on the theology that is at stake." Craig A. Evans, John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Baptist University "Detailing the final days of Jesus' life on earth is a theological, literary, archaeological, historical and geographical conundrum which requires many different interpretive skills to understand what really happened and how we know what we think we know about those final days. Many recent authors have tried to write about these moments that are so significant for many around the world. Mark D. Smith's training in the material culture and in the study of the classical world makes The Final Days of Jesus: The Thrill of Defeat, The Agony of Victory the closest to giving us a full rendering of what happened and why." Professor Richard Freund, Maurice Greenberg Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, University of Hartford "Mark Smith has brought vividly to life the politics that swirled around the arrest and trial of Jesus. Using insight and the latest archaeological findings, Smith explores the inter-dependence of the Roman governor Pilate and the house of the high priest Caiaphas, calling into question the standard narrative of Jesus's trial before the Sanhedrin. A thoughtful perspective, from which readers of all faiths will benefit." H.A. Drake, author of A Century of Miracles 'The result is a fresh, intriguing and compelling account of politcal and religious motivations for Jesus' death. His judicious discussion of the historian's task, make this a most readable, and important contribution to the understanding of teh gospel narratives.' Derek Tovey, Book Review Editor for Stimulus, Volume 25, Issue 1, July 18, 2018 If Smith wanted to bring a richer, more nuanced picture of the final days of Jesus, then he succeeded admirably. As a Roman Historian, looking in from the outside, so to speak, he is like a breath of fresh air. His analysis is sober, reasonable, insightful and compelling. No historical investigation of Jesus's crucifixion can proceed without having Smiths as a dialogue partner. -Markus Cromhout, University of Pretoria The Book as a whole is a refreshingly different and readable interpretation of the historical evidence, reflecting wide reading, classical expertise (reminiscent of A. N. Sherwin-White) and familirarity with Palestinian archaeology David Wenham, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 41(5) 2019

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