Original Research - Special Collection: UP Faculty of Theology Centenary Volume One

The memorable invention of the death of Jesus

Arthur J. Dewey
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3222 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3222 | © 2016 Arthur J. Dewey | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 October 2015 | Published: 08 July 2016

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Arthur J. Dewey, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, USA; Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The death story of Jesus of Nazareth has traditionally been understood as a matter of historical fact. The various versions of the story would seem to confirm a documented death scene. Nevertheless, critical appraisals of this material have raised numerous questions regarding the passion story. This article considers how the very structure of the story is a vital clue to the way in which the death of Jesus was invented. The Jewish tale of the suffering and vindication of the innocent one provides the memory locus for discovering meaning in the fate of Jesus. We find that the basic fact of the death tale of Jesus is that it was a fiction, authorising further elaborations for those who understood the craft of memory.


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