The Trial of Jesus: victim of bigotry and cowardice
An analysis of the trial of Jesus, written by an Italian lawyer and professor of criminal law
The Trial of Jesus: Victim of bigotry and cowardice
By Elio Palombi
Reviewed by Pieter J. Lalleman
This short book is an analysis of the trial of Jesus, written by an Italian lawyer and professor of criminal law. Palombi takes the Gospel stories seriously and does not doubt their factual accuracy. His aim is to show that not all Jews were guilty of the death of Jesus but only the members of the Sanhedrin, as well as the Roman governor Pilate. This aim he achieves in a satisfactory way.
Palombi’s sentences are not simple and often a bit woolly; at least in the translation from Italian, they lack the exactness one would expect from a lawyer. Another disappointment is the fact that he does not quote the relevant Jewish and Roman laws but only alludes to them. He also does not shed new light on the privilege of Pilate to set a prisoner free, which is not attested in extra-biblical sources and therefore denied by critical scholars.
Furthermore, I miss references to the political situation in Rome at the time, which according to some made Pilate more vulnerable than he had been previously.
All Palombi’s sources are in Italian; the translator has added a list of sources in English, some of which go against the spirit of the book because they are Bible-critical.
I would suggest that on the same subject David Limbaugh, Jesus on Trial (2014) is a better choice. When it comes to the involvement of the Jewish people, Gerard Sloyan, Jesus on Trial (second edition 2006) can be used with care.
Dr Pieter Lalleman teaches Bible at Spurgeon's College