Was it a Jewish tradition in the First Century to bury a man with donned tefillin? I am asking since I am curious if it was possible that Jesus had donned tefillin before he was crucified, and whether it is possible that Jesus was buried with tefillin.

I am not asking about Jesus, but about traditional Jewish burial practices in the first century. My curiosity about Jesus is simply what led me to ask about them.

  • 3
    Where did you get the idea of being buried in tefilin from?
    – user9643
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


I don't know about the First Century, but we do not have a tradition to bury a man in his tefillin, but actually wrapped up in his tallit. In Ashkenazi circles, we also bury a man in his kittel. Although I do not have a source, I'm fairly certain it was not the custom either in the First Century to bury a man in his tefillin.

As for Jesus donning tefillin while being crucified (or donning tefillin period), I am far from a expert on Christianity. But it seems to me that most people who were crucified by the Romans were executed naked (despite the modest church renditions of the crucifixion), and the Romans would not have allowed someone to wear something like tefillin during an execution.

Another thing is that according to Jewish Law, one must maintain a clean body while wearing the tefillin. A crucified person, being both naked and bloody, would not be permitted to wear tefillin, and it would be considered both a violation and disrespect to the tefillin, a very important mitzvah.

  • References to tannaic statements regarding the proper decorum while wearing refilling would improve this answer.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 18:37
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    Conversely, burying in the tallis has none of the specific restrictions of tefillin (since it fundamentally is just a regular garment). Which means it's possible that a crucified individual would still be buried in their tallis. Possibly a source of the myth of the shroud of Turin? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 18:37
  • @IsaacKotlicky - Were Jews wearing tallitot gedolot in the First Century? I thought that was an invention of the centuries after in Babylon when the four-cornered garment was becoming a less common everyday article of clothing. In the First Century, men were most likely just buried in a burial shroud (you mentioned the legend/myth of the Shroud of Turin).
    – ezra
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 19:47
  • See my link. The shroud of Turin was carbon dated to somewhere in the 12th-14th centuries, around the time it starts appearing in Christian writings. At that time, the tallis gadol was well established universally in Jewish culture. Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 1:02

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