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Romans Releasing a Prisoner (Barabbas)

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I've had a google at it but precious little came up, apart from one website where Christians were debating (with each other) about the veracity of the claim that the Romans would release a prisoner (Barabbas) on some, "annual holiday" (as Richard Carrier called it). Carrier said there is no record outside the NT of this happening, but the above Christian website did pull out a few possible scenarios where this might have happened. 


If anyone is interested, the website, and possible sources from antiquity, is located here: http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.com/2012/04/would-pontius-pilate-have-released.html


I was hoping to read a scholarly secular source on the matter. Does anyone know for one?


Thanks all.  

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This isn't exactly what you asked about SeaJay, but I wondered if you were aware of the meaning of the name Barabbas?








Thank you.



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  • Super Moderator

A list and description of Roman holidays:



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     There is nothing in any known record, outside the gospels, that has the release of prisoners on Passover.


     There doesn't seem to be any sort of precedent for this event to have happened in this fashion either.  What I'm saying is there's no reason for a local or regional ruler such as Pilate to perform this action simply because of some local religious festival that had no meaning within the larger empire.


     The excuses that Pilate did this because he was afraid the Jews would rat him out to Tiberius after the plots by Sejanus are just their way of putting him in check and forcing him to do what the gospels say.  Pilate was eventually called back to Rome (Capri actually) to face Tiberius for killing a bunch of Samaritans in late 36/early 37 but Tiberius died before he arrived.  It seems like it took a massacre to get him recalled to Italy.  A small thing like not releasing a prisoner because of some unknown "tradition" seems unlikely to amount to anything.




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