The Trial of Jesus

Alan Watson


“These books will not convince everyone, but their vivid and intelligent engagement with the sources, traditions and legal background cannot fail to stimulate new thought and debate about an old but ever-fascinating topic.”
Edinburgh Law Review

“Watson brings a sharp legal mind to his analysis of the testimony in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

“This book has all the Watson hallmarks: provocative and strong-minded, with some marvelous insights; written with verve, and conclusions that will convince many.”
—Calum Carmichael, Cornell University

“Watson has done it again. His thought is original, almost invariably throwing new light on well-worn passages from the Bible. This book will undoubtedly be found controversial.”
—O. F. Robinson, University of Glasgow

“Provocative, thoroughly researched, carefully argued, and eminently readable . . . To some readers, this may be a surprising—perhaps troubling—portrait of Jesus, but it is a plausible and well-documented one, worthy of careful consideration.”

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In The Trial of Jesus Alan Watson argues that by virtue of Jesus’s conviction and crucifixion at the hands of the Romans he failed to fulfill the prophecy of his messiahship in the manner he had intended. Jesus’s destiny, as he saw it, was to be condemned by the Jewish authorities to death by stoning. This is just one of the provoking insights in Watson’s fresh interpretation of the arrest, trial, and conviction of Jesus. Drawing on the four Gospels, writings from the period, and Jewish and Roman laws and customs, Watson adds substantially to what we know about Jesus himself, his prophesies, the justness of the charges against him, his degree of guilt, and the powers, prerogatives, and motivations of his accusers. The Trial of Jesus joins three other works by Watson—Jesus and the Jews, Jesus and the Law, and Jesus: A Profile (all Georgia)—to examine the early dynamism of western religion through refocused attention on biblical texts and other historical sources.

Page count: 236
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $26.95

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Alan Watson, Distinguished Research Professor and Ernest P. Rogers Chair at the University of Georgia School of Law, is regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on Roman law, comparative law, legal history, and law and religion.