The Trial of Jesus: A Criminal Law Perspective

Minneapolis Criminal Law News

The Trial of Jesus is the most famous trial in history – really, two trials.  From a criminal law perspective, the trials are fascinating for many reasons, on many levels.  This article is based upon a book The Trial of Jesus of Nazareth by Law Professor Max Radin published by the University of Chicago Press in 1931.  Radin brings a lawyer’s eye to the historical record, from Christian, Roman, and Jewish sources, as well as succinctly developing the context.  A few areas of interest to be discussed here include: 
  • The Snitch identifies Jesus and betrays him, but later refuses to testify.
  • Prosecutor asks “why would they lie?”
  • Jesus pleads the Fifth
  • The Witness Corroboration Rule more stringent then, than now
  • Politics influences criminal law
  • Death Penalty for slaves and foreigners, not Romans
 The most credible Christian Gospel and likely the oldest written is “Mark.”  His account contains the most attention to detail and reflects the best…

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