Famous Trials
 The Trial of Jesus

 30 C.E.*

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Pilate presenting Jesus to the crowd.  Ecce Homo, by Antonio Ciseri (1821-91).
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The Trial of Jesus
by Douglas Linder (c) 2002 
Providing an account of the trial of Jesus presents challenges unlike that for any of the other trials on the Famous Trials Website.  First, there is the challenge of determining what actually happened nearly 2,000 years ago before the Sanhedrin and the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate.  The task is daunting because almost our entire understanding of events comes from five divergent accounts, each  of which was written by a Christian (who did not know Jesus directly) for a distinct audience from fifteen to seventy years after the trial.  Second, there is the challenge that comes from knowing that readers of this account are likely to have prior understandings of trial events that come from their own religious training--and that any account of the trial provided here that varies substantially from these prior understandings may not be easily accepted.  Nonetheless, I believe the trial of Jesus merits analysis for the simple reason that no other trial in human history has so significantly affected the course of human events....[CONT.]
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* It is possible, but less likely, that the trial of Jesus took place in 33 C.E.  "C.E." stands for  "Common Era"
(or "Christian Era")--30 C.E. is the same as A.D. 30.