Under what charges was Jesus sentenced to the death penalty under the Sanhedrin?

closed as off-topic by mbloch, rosends, sabbahillel, Avrohom Yitzchok, Gershon Gold May 22 '16 at 16:58

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions about comparative religion, and questions about what others have written about Judaism, are off-topic on Mi Yodeya. This includes any question that requires of its answerers any knowledge of a religion besides Judaism." – rosends, sabbahillel, Avrohom Yitzchok, Gershon Gold
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • a maisis umadiach – newcomer May 21 '16 at 23:03
  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Consider taking the following short tour to familiarize yourself with the site. Consider also editing in as many sources as possible into your questions. When users know where you are coming from they are better able to address questions. – mevaqesh May 22 '16 at 2:20
  • 1
    he was not sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin but the Roman government – Dude May 22 '16 at 4:15

Note the christian sources that claim that the Sanhedrin condemned the person to death could not have been telling the truth. The (untrustworthy) story in the christian mythology actually contain enough internal contradictions and statements to prove the Sanhedrin could not have been involved. As an example The Trial of Jesus points out that the three versions given contradict each other so that at least two are false. The Trial Before the Sanhedrin shows how none of the accounts given could have been true.

Error #1: The Sanhedrin convened at the high priest's house Mark mentioned that the Sanhedrin met in the house of the high priest while all our other sources on the Sanhedrin tells us that the council does not convene anywhere else except in the Chamber of the Hewn Stone in the Temple. [5]

Error #2: The Sanhedrin met at night The Sanhedrin was said to have conveyened immediately after Jesus was arrested and taken to the high priest's house. This was after the Passover supper and the prayer at Gethsemane which makes the council meet around 9 to 10pm at night. This is again incompatible with what we know of the procedures of the Sanhedrin which disallows nocturnal meetings. [6]

Error #3:The Sanhedrin conveyed on the passover To add to the absurdity, this night, if we are to believe the synoptic chronology, was passover eve and by Jewish reckoning already the 15th of Nisan, passover itself. As many eminent Jewish scholars have pointed out, this is simply inconceivable, given the strict ruling of no council meetings on the Sabbath, and on religious feast days, such as the passover. [7] We quote the Jewish scholar, Joseph Klausner from his book Jesus of Nazareth (New York 1925):

the Sadducees themselves would not have conducted even a simple judicial enquiry either on the night of the passover or the first day of the passover...the mishnah lays it down that capital cases may not be judged on the eve of a Sabbath or on the eve of a festival to avoid delay should the case not be finished that day, since all trials were forbidden on a Sabbath or a festival. [8]

Error #4: The Sanhedrin pronounced the death sentence immediately Another procedural impossibility is given in Mark 14:64 which includes the sentence: they all condemned him as worthy of death. This means that the sentence was passed on the same day instead of the prescribed interval of twenty four hours. [9] These procedural flaws in the Markan account weighs heavily against any claims of historicity for the episode described there.


In short almost every point in the Markan account of the nocturnal trial of Jesus is incompatible with what we know of the Jewish council. In short Mark's account is fiction; and poor fiction at that!

In Luke's account, the nocturnal trial in Mark was omitted but Luke's story of the trial in the morning is still subject to the same objection as against Mark's, for the trial was conducted on passover day itself, something we have seen as impossible. Luke's story of the trial before the Sanhedrin is as unhistorical as Mark's.

  • According to the Christian sources (that you quote) the Sanhedrin did kill him; they just did not do so in conformance with Talmudic law. – mevaqesh May 22 '16 at 3:22
  • Your wording "even according to the Christians the person referred to was not sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin" implies that only Christian sources, not Jewish sources, support the claim that the Sanhedrin killed Jesus. This is not correct. – mevaqesh May 22 '16 at 3:24
  • "all our other sources on the Sanhedrin tells us that the council does not convene anywhere else except in the Chamber of the Hewn Stone in the Temple": no, it went other places also (e.g., Yavne), right? – msh210 May 22 '16 at 4:41
  • 1
    Another problem with the account may be with "they all condemned him as worthy of death": if they all condemned him, he'd get off, right? – msh210 May 22 '16 at 4:41
  • @msh210 The Sanhedrin did not hear capital cases outside the temple and Yavne was after the destruction of the temple. You are correct that a unanimous guilty decision would let the person get off. – sabbahillel May 22 '16 at 5:40

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .