If you believe that, despite the differences in the Gospel accounts, everything reported about the trial and death of

Jesus is historical and truthful, then do not read this book. The Last Days of Jesus is a learned and masterful

evaluation of all the available sources, including the apocryphal Gospel of Peter, testing carefully and critically the

historicity of the Gospel accounts of the last days of Jesus. Yes, Jesus was arrested by the Jewish Temple guard and brought

before the Sanhedrin, but he was not condemned by the court of the high priest, although this court denounced Jesus to the

Roman governor Pilate. Was their accusation that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and was thereby committing blasphemy? Not

very likely. Nor is it believable that Jesus would ever have agreed that he was the Messiah. Did Pilate give the people the

choice between Jesus and Barabbas? Perhaps. Pilate was probably puzzled by Jesus’ silence; however, the report of the

conversation between Pilate and Jesus in John’s Gospel is as unhistorical as the account of the Beloved Disciple and

Jesus’ mother standing at the foot of the cross. No words would have been uttered by a person dying of asphyxiation on

a cross.

If you hope that something historically valuable can be learned from a critical assessment of the Gospel reports, this

is the book you want to read—indeed the very best that I know. Roman law allowed an imperial governor, and only him,

to pass a sentence of death without a jury. Pilate put Jesus to death, not the Jewish authorities, whatever their complicity

might have been. The tendency of the authors of the Gospels to pass the guilt to the Jews is clearly tendentious and has no

historical foundation. The authors of the Gospels had no sources to provide accurate reports of the events; thus they turned

to the Biblical stories of the suffering Servant of God in Isaiah and in the Psalms in order to fill in the details. My

remaining question is whether even this critical assessment still finds more reliable historical information that can be

obtained. Probably everything is ultimately drawn from the prophetic writings and the Psalms of the Bible, except for the

fact that Jesus was indeed sentenced to death by Pilate and that Pilate put the mock inscription “Jesus of Nazareth

the King of the Jews” on the cross.