Brown Raymond - The death of the Messiah

Raymond Edward Brown - The death of the Messiah: from Gethsemane to the grave: a commentary on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels
The Passion Narrative (henceforth PN), as it proceeds from arrest through trial to condemnation, execution, and burial (thus from Gethsemane to the grave), constitutes in each Gospel the longest consecutive action recounted of Jesus. Aesthetically, more than any other section of the Gospels, indeed even more than the infancy narrative, it has captured the attention and imagination of dramatists (passion plays), artists, and musicians. Literarily, passion vignettes have left their mark on language and imagery: thirty pieces of silver, Judas kiss, cockcrow, washing one’s hands of blood. Historically, Jesus’ death was the most public moment of his life as figures known from Jewish or secular history (Caiaphas, Annas, Pilate) crossed his path. Indeed, alongside “bom of the virgin Mary,” the other phrase that made its way into the creed, “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” has become a marker anchoring Christian belief about the Son of God to a Jesus who was a human figure of actual history. Theologically, Christians have interpreted the death of Jesus on the cross as the key element in God’s plan for the justification, redemption, and salvation of all. Spiritually, the Jesus of the passion has been the focus of Christian meditation for countless would-be disciples who take seriously the demand of the Master to take up the cross and follow him. Pasto-rally, the passion is the centerpiece of Lent and Holy Week, the most sacred time in the liturgical calendar. The custom of Lenten preaching has made it a most favored subject for homilies. In sum, from every point of view the passion is the central narrative in the Christian story.
This centrality is recognizable in the immense literature devoted to the passion, studying it from every angle. Although I wrote commentaries on the Gospel and Epistles of John and on the Gospel infancy narratives, no previous work has required research so lengthy or a bibliography so ample. If I totaled my time, at least ten years of consistent work have gone into it. The bibliographies (which take up some seventy pages) constitute a testament of my gratitude to all those from whom I have learned about the PN. And yet, despite my efforts to be comprehensive in calling attention to previous work, I am certain that there are contributions I have missed—unintentional oversights for which I apologize in advance to my reviewers, who surely will render me the service of pointing them out.
Paradoxically, the very mass of PN writing creates need for a work that will bring together the scattered views and proposals, sift them for the truly worthwhile, and organize them (with new contributions, I trust). I am not aware of a full-scale commentary on the four Gospel PNs of the sort attempted here—an undertaking not without peril and perhaps even foolhardy. There have been many commentaries on the PNs of the Gospels studied individually; but instead of producing another such consecutive or “vertical” treatment of each PN, I made the controversial decision to work through the passion “horizontally,” studying each episode in all four Gospels simultaneously. Personally I found such a reading absorbing, and it brought to light important insights and nuances that I feared would be lost if I commented on one whole PN before I turned to the next. (Let me assure those alarmed by the thought of such a procedure that my “horizontal” readings have no harmonizing goal, and I have made a major effort not to lose the “vertical” chain of thought peculiar to each Gospel read consecutively.) The introductory chapter will sketch the extremely difficult problems presented by the PNs. How many of them I have solved I do not know. Nevertheless, I hope to have made available in one place insights of past and present that render study of the passion a uniquely rewarding endeavor. Despite the taxing magnitude of the project, the time consumed has been the most enriching of my life. I shall be happy if I can share my enthusiasm.

Raymond Edward Brown - The death of the Messiah: from Gethsemane to the grave: a commentary on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels - Volume 1

(The Anchor Bible reference library)
Doubleday, New York - London - Toronto - Sydney - Auckland, 1994. - 902 pp.
ISBN 0-385-19396-3 (v. 1)
ISBN 0-385-19397-1 (v. 2)

Raymond Edward Brown - The death of the Messiah: from Gethsemane to the grave: a commentary on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels - Volume 1 - Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
  • § 1. The Perspective of This Commentary
  • §2. General Gospel Issues Pertinent to the Passion Narratives
  • §3. General Bibliography
COMMENTARY (in Four Acts)
SCENE ONE: Jesus Goes to the Site and Prays There (Mark 14:26-42; Matt 26:30-46; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1)
  • §4. Sectional Bibliography: Jesus Praying in Gethsemane
  • §5. Transitional Episode: Jesus Goes with Disciples to the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:26-31; Matt 26:30-35; Luke 22:39; John 18:1a)
  • §6. Prayer in Gethsemane, Part One: Entry and Preparations (Mark 14:32-34; Matt 26:36-38; Luke 22:40; John 18:1b)
  • §7. Prayer in Gethsemane, Part Two: Jesus Prays to the Father (Mark 14:35-36; Matt 26:39; Luke 22:41-42)
  • §8. Prayer in Gethsemane, Part Three: The Strengthening Angel (Luke 22:43-44)
  • §9. Prayer in Gethsemane, Part Four: Jesus Comes Back to His Disciples the First Time (Mark 14:37-38; Matt 26:40-41; Luke 22:45-46)
  • §10. Prayer in Gethsemane, Part Five: Jesus Comes Back to His Disciples the Second and Third Times (Mark 14:39-42; Matt 26:42-46)
  • §11. Analysis Covering All Five Parts of Jesus’ Prayer in Gethsemane
SCENE TWO: Jesus Is Arrested (Mark 14:43-52; Matt 26:47-56; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-11)
  • §12. Sectional Bibliography: The Arrest of Jesus
  • §13. The Arrest of Jesus, Part One: The Initial Encounter (Mark 14:43-46; Matt 26:47-50; Luke 22:47-48; John 18:2-8a)
  • §14. The Arrest of Jesus, Part Two: Accompanying Incidents (Mark 14:47-50; Matt 26:51-56; Luke 22:49-53; John 18:8b-ll)
  • §15. The Arrest of Jesus, Part Three: Naked Flight of a Young Man (Mark 14:51-52)
  • §16. Analysis Covering All Three Parts of the Arrest of Jesus 305-310
ACT II: JESUS BEFORE THE JEWISH AUTHORITIES (Mark 14:53-15:1; Matt 26:57-27:10; Luke 22:54-23:1; John 18:12-28a)
SCENE ONE: Trial/Interrogation by Jewish Authorities (Mark 14:53-64; Matt 26:57-66; Luke 22:54-55, 66-71; John 18:12-25)
  • §17. Sectional Bibliography: The Jewish Trial/Interrogation of Jesus
  • § 18. Introduction: Background for the Jewish Trial/Interrogation of Jesus by the Priestly Authorities
  • §19. Transitional Episode: Jesus Transferred to the Jewish Authorities; Interrogated by Annas (Mark 14:53-54; Matt 26:57-58; Luke 22:54-55; John 18:12-25a)
  • §20. Sanhedrin Proceedings, Part One: The Gathered Authorities, Witnesses, and the Claim that Jesus Would Destroy the Sanctuary (Mark 14:55-59; Matt 26:59-61; Luke 22:66)
  • §21. Sanhedrin Proceedings, Part Two: Question(s) about the Messiah, the Son of God (Mark 14:60-61; Matt 26:62-63; Luke 22:67-70a)
  • §22. Sanhedrin Proceedings, Part Three: Jesus’ Response(s) and Statement about the Son of Man (Mark 14:62; Matt 26:64; Luke 22:67-70b)
  • §23. Sanhedrin Proceedings, Part Four: Reaction of the Jewish Authorities to Jesus’ Response (Mark 14:63-64; Matt 26:65-66; Luke 22:71)
  • §24. Analysis Covering the Composition of All Four Parts of the Sanhedrin Proceedings
  • SCENE TWO: Mockery/Abuse of Jesus; Denials by Peter; Judas (Mark 14:65-15:1; Matt 26:67-27:10; Luke 22:54b-65; 23:1; John 18:15-18,22-23,25-28a)
  • §25. Sectional Bibliography: Jewish Mockery; Peter’s Denials; Judas’ Suicide
  • §26. The Jewish Abuse and Mockery of Jesus (Mark 14:65; Matt 26:67-68; Luke 22:63-65; John 18:22-23)
  • §27. The Three Denials of Jesus by Peter (Mark 14:66-72; Matt 26:69-75; Luke 22:54b-62; John 18:15-18,25-27)
  • §28. End of the Sanhedrin Proceedings; Transfer to Pilate (Mark 15:1; Matt 27:1-2; Luke 23:1; John 18:28a)
  • §29. Judas, the Chief Priests, and the Price of Innocent Blood (Matt 27:3-10)
ACT III: JESUS BEFORE PILATE, THE ROMAN GOVERNOR (Mark 15:2-20a; Matt 27:ll-31a; Luke 23:2-25; John 18:28b-19:16a)
  • §30. Sectional Bibliography: The Roman Trial of Jesus
  • §31. Introduction: Background for the Roman Trial of Jesus by Pontius Pilate
  • §32. The Roman Trial, Part One: Initial Questioning by Pilate (Mark 15:2-5; Matt 27:11-14; Luke 23:2-5; John 18:28b-38a)
  • §33. The Roman Trial, Part Two: Jesus before Herod (Luke 23:6-12)
  • §34. The Roman Trial, Part Three: Barabbas (Mark 15:6-11; Matt 27:15-21; Luke 23:13-19; John 18:38b-40)
  • §35. The Roman Trial, Part Four: Condemnation of Jesus (Mark 15:12-15; Matt 27:22-26; Luke 23:20-25; John 19:l,4-16a)
  • §36. The Roman Mockery and Abuse of Jesus (Mark 15:16-20a; Matt 27:27-3la; John 19:2-3)
  • 1. The Order in Which the Gospels Describe Incidents from the Arrest of Jesus to the Transfer to Pilate
  • 2. Comparing the Vocabularies of the Various Accounts of Mockery/Abuse
  • 3. Comparing Accounts of the Three Denials of Jesus by Peter
  • 4. Comparing the Marcan/Matthean Accounts of the Roman Trial
  • 5. Chiastic Structure of John’s Account of the Roman Trial

Raymond Edward Brown - The death of the Messiah: from Gethsemane to the grave: a commentary on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels - Volume 2

(The Anchor Bible reference library)
Doubleday, New York - London - Toronto - Sydney - Auckland, 1994. - 744 pp.
ISBN 0-385-49449-1 (Volume 2)
ISBN 0-385-49448-3 (Volume 1)

Raymond Edward Brown - The death of the Messiah: from Gethsemane to the grave: a commentary on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels - Volume 2 - Contents

COMMENTARY (in Four Acts)
ACT IV: JESUS IS CRUCIFIED AND DIES ON GOLGOTHA HE IS BURIED NEARBY (Mark 15:20b-47; Matt 27:31b-66; Luke 23:26-56; John 19:16b-42)
SCENE ONE: Jesus Is Crucified and Dies (Mark 15:20b-41; Matt 27:31b-56; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:16b-37)
  • §37. Sectional Bibliography: The Crucifixion of Jesus
  • §38. Introduction: Structure of the Crucifixion and Burial Accounts 
  • §39. Transitional Episode: Jesus Led Out to be Crucified (Mark 15:20b-21; Matt 27:3lb-32; Luke 23:26-32; John 19:16b-17a)
  • §40. Jesus Crucified, Part One: The Setting (Mark 15:22-27; Matt 27:33-38; Luke 23:33-34; John 19:17b-24)
  • §41. Jesus Crucified, Part Two: Activities at the Cross (Mark 15:29-32; Matt 27:39-44; Luke 23:35-43; John 19:25-27)
  • §42. Jesus Crucified, Part Three: Last Events, Death (Mark 15:33-37; Matt 27:45-50; Luke 23:44-46; John 19:28-30)
  • §43. Jesus Crucified, Part Four: Happenings after Jesus’ Death: a. External Effects (Mark 15:38; Matt 27:51-53; [Luke 23:45b])
  • §44. Jesus Crucified, Part Four: Happenings after Jesus’ Death b. Reactions of Those Present (Mark 15:39-41; Matt 27:54-56; Luke 23:47-49; John 19:31-37)
SCENE TWO: Jesus Is Buried (Mark 15:42-47; Matt 27:57-66; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)
  • §45. Sectional Bibliography: The Burial of Jesus 
  • §46. The Burial of Jesus, Part One: Joseph’s Request for the Body (Mark 15:42-45; Matt 27:57-58; Luke 23:50-52; John 19:38a)
  • §47. The Burial of Jesus, Part Two: Placing the Body in the Tomb (Mark 15:46-47; Matt 27:59-61; Luke 23:53-56a; John 19:38b-42)
  • §48. The Burial of Jesus,1kPart Three: On the Sabbath; the Guard at the Sepulcher (Matt 27:62-66; Luke 23:56b)
  • I. The Gospel of Peter—a Noncanonical Passion Narrative 
  • II. Dating the Crucifixion (Day, Monthly Date, Year)
  • III. Pertinent Passages Difficult to Translate (Mark 14:41; Hebrews 5:7-8; Matt 26:50, John 19:13)
  • IV. Overall View of Judas Iscariot
  • V. Jewish Groups and Authorities Mentioned in the Passion Narratives
  • VI. The Sacrifice of Isaac and the Passion
  • VII. The Old Testament Background of the Passion Narratives 
  • VIII. Jesus’ Predictions of His Passion and Death
  • IX. The Question of a PreMarcan Passion Narrative, by Marion L. Soards
Bibliographical Index of Authors
Index of Subjects
Gospel Passage Index (including consecutive translation of passion narratives)
  • 6. Comparing the Synoptic Crucifixion and Burial Accounts
  • 7. Chiastic Structure of John’s Account of the Crucifixion and Burial
  • 8. The Women: on Friday (I) before or after Jesus’ death; (II) at the Burial; and on Easter (III) at the Empty Tomb
  • 9. Comparing the Matthean Birth and Burial/Resurrection Accounts
  • 10. Sequence in the Gospel of Peter and the Canonical Gospels
  • 11. Comparison of the (Qumran) Solar Calendar and the Lunar Calendar for Dating Events in the Passion Narrative
  • 12. Synoptic Gospel Predictions of Jesus’ Passion and Violent Death
  • 13. The Three Detailed Synoptic Predictions of the Passion of the Son of Man
  • 14. Theories of Various Scholars about the Composition of the Marcan Passion Narrative


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