Hugh Fogelman



Crucifixion was the standard Roman mode of punishment for capital offenses against Rome, and hence was practiced on a large scale in Judea under the Roman occupation. All acts of rebellion against Rome were a capital offense. Josephus reports many incidents of crucifixion i.e.,

Antiochus IV crucified Jews in Jerusalem who would not relinquish their faith;

Two thousand rebels were crucified by Quintilius Varus;

Tiberius Julius Alexander ordered two rebels, sons of Judah the Galilean, to be crucified;

Seven years later (about 52 CE) there was another wholesale crucifixion of zealots at the hand of Quadratus;

Felix crucified not only zealots and rebels, but also citizens suspected of collaborating with them;

Florus had Jewish judges tortured and crucified before his eyes;

When Jerusalem was besieged, Titus ordered all Jewish prisoners of war to be crucified on the walls of the city and there were as many as 500 crucifixions a day;

Bassus erected a huge cross on the city wall for the execution of Eleazar, a young Jewish commander, whereupon the Jews surrendered to the Romans to spare Eleazar’s life, and on and on and on.  

Webster defines a “thief” as a person who steals: thief, bandit, brigand, footpad, highwayman, plunderer, robber, larcenist, mugger, pickpocket, purloiner, purse snatcher, shoplifter, or hijacker. In other words, a thief is just a lowlife common criminal. 2,000 years ago Roman citizens were not executed by crucifixion (with few, very rare exceptions). Only non-citizens were crucified. Roman citizens were usually beheaded. Crucifixion was a public display as well as a method of torturing someone to death. This does not suggest the crime for a common thief, but for a murderer or a rebel. Nowhere in Roman literature is it mentioned that a common thieve or robber was crucified. Yet according to the gospels (Christian Bible) Jesus was crucified along with two thieves; painting the picture that he died among common people.

Again; common thieves were never crucified. Crucifixion was used as a visual sign for all to see what would happen to those who rebelled against the authority of Rome. However the unknown gospel writers had to have Jesus die among common sinners; however, thievery and robbers posed no threat to the authority of Rome, as those crimes were common in this era. This posed a serious dilemma to the authors; notice how the gospel writers handled this. They simply paint a softer image as to who these two thieves were and generalized that all thieves were crucified.

Using Barabbas to make a point; was Barabbas a robber or a murderer or a seditionist? Mark and Luke (Mark 15:7 and Luke 23:19) wrote that he was a murderer, but John said that Barabbas was just a robber (John 18:40).  There is a big difference between a robber and murderer and that could be the reason why Mark and Luke added “insurrection and sedition” to the Barabbas story. A death penalty for robbers was contrary to Roman law whereas someone found guilty of sedition was automatically crucified.

Because Jewish unrest was prevalent, common sense tells you that Pilate would never have exchanged Barabbas for Jesus. Why not you ask?  If Barabbas was a threat to the Roman government as the authors of Mark and Luke wrote, he would have never been turned loose, therefore it is more believable that Barabbas was, as written in John, just a robber. So what was Barabbas’ crime? Was he a common robber as told by John, or a murderer and seditionist as told by Mark and Luke? Strange, Matthew never tells us Barabbas’ crime because Matthew was too busy putting blame on the Jews (Matthew 27:16-26).  

One important point, during those times, Galilee was a trouble spot for unrest. The air of rebellion was everywhere. According to the Book of Acts and Hebrew and Roman literature, there were at least four unsuccessful uprisings during Jesus’ time resulting in thousands of Jews dying on the cross. The New Testaments never goes into that; instead, they paint a peaceful era.

So, now you can see the image of what an honest historical backdrop would be. Therefore the thieves described on either side of Jesus would not have been non-violent common criminals.  An honest historical portrayal would show these two characters as  ruthless, throat-cutting murderers or someone who would inflame rebellion against Rome. Now, a truer picture emerges of those two with whom Jesus was supposedly crucified. This is just another example of Christian theology, not based on real history, but creating its own history to make a religious point?

The Catholic bible (the New American Bible) is correct when it states: “The writers took those narratives and frequently even remolded and refashioned them to bring out the lesson they wanted to teach” (page 25 under Theological Interpretation of History). This is also confirmed by Father Eusebius who admitted he rewrote the early books to agree with his concept of Christianity.

All of this enables an honest person, seeking truth and knowledge, to see the fiction of the New Testament.

""We are all atheists in respect to the thousands of dead gods that lie in that mass grave called mythology." -Sam Harris (1967-)



Two “thieves,” say Matthew (27.38) and Mark (15.27), were crucified with Jesus; Luke says they were simply “malefactors” (23.32); John does not know what their offence was, and to him they were merely “two other (19.18).

Both of Matthew’s “thieves” joined with the chief priests, scribes, and elders in “mocking” Jesus, and “cast the same in his teeth” (27.44), and neither of them repented, or was invited to paradise. Mark agrees that both “they that were crucified with him reviled him” (15.32).  

However unseemly it may be for those in the agony of death to engage in reproaching a fellow sufferer, but that there is honor even among dying thieves is admitted by Luke, who records that but “one of the malefactors ... railed on him,” while “the other answering rebuked” the railer (23.39,40), and “this other” did not repent of “reviling Jesus,” for he had not reviled him; but he did say: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (23.42). This dying thief being thus made to show a familiarity with the esoteric teachings of Jesus which even his own disciples did not at the time comprehend.

But, John, who was at the very foot of the cross, recorded no reviling or mocking, and the thieves, according to him, died like gentlemen, without a word.

Christians love to misread Isaiah 53 to prove Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus. Well, verse 9 says: “For they made his grave with the wicked...” Why was Jesus not buried with the wicked? Matthew 27:57-60 says Jesus was buried alone. .”..and his tomb among the rich.”

Why were there no rich people crucified with Jesus? Was this another of Matthew’s wild stories?

The New Testament specifically makes a point that Jesus died among other sinners, because Christianity makes it a point that they reach out for sinners.

If sinners can only accept Jesus as their savior and lord, they will go to heaven. On the other hand, if good people DO NOT accept Jesus as their savior and lord, they will go to the Christian invented Hell (according to the gospel of John).

Are you beginning to see the over-all Christian picture now? FICTION! FANTASY!



Citation of Hebrew scripture and sources in articles or analyses is not in any way an acceptance, approval or validation of the Jewish religion, its works or scriptures. The Hebrew bible, like the Christian New Testament, is fictitious; From a 6-day creation of the universe; a cunning, walking, talking snake; big fish tales; world flood and an "Invisible Man in the Sky" ― it is all fiction, a bold sham perpetrated on mankind.


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