The Passion Narrative proceeds from arrest through trial to condemnation, execution, and burial. In each Gospel, it records the longest consecutive action of Jesus. It has captured the attention and imagination of dramatists and artists, and it has inspired the poetry and music of the church for two thousand years. Alongside “born 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.
Historically, Jesus’ death was the most public event of his life. Theologically, Christians have interpreted the death of Jesus on the cross as a key element of 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 command of the Master to take up the cross and follow him. Pastorally, the passion is the centerpiece of Lent and Holy Week, and the most sacred time in the liturgical calendar. From every point of view, the Passion is the central narrative in the Christian story.
The massive amount of material written on the Passion Narrative creates a need for a work that brings together the scattered views, proposals, and interpretations. In this 2-volume work, Raymond Brown sifts through the material to offer a full-scale commentary on the Passion Narratives of the Gospels.
The Death of the Messiah serves a variety of audiences: scholars, pastors, students of the religion and theology of the Bible, interested Christians, and those of any persuasion who seek knowledge about the passion and death of Jesus. Brown treats subjects in a readable way, even when it requires greater length or exposition.
Volume 1 covers the scenes of Jesus in Gethsemane, Jesus before the Jewish authorities, and Jesus before Pilate. This volume contains translation, commentary, and analysis of each passage.
Once again Raymond Brown has written a magnum opus. A stunning array of fresh insights into how the passion stories came into being and what—scene by scene—the four Evangelists really say about the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.
Father Raymond Brown has a strong claim to be the most distinguished of American New Testament scholars, and he has few competitors worldwide.
—New York Times
The Death of the Messiah is first of all a scholarly work, but it is also enjoyably readable and accessible to the interested layman.
Breathtaking! Raymond E. Brown's The Death of the Messiah crowns two millennia of Christian scholarship pondering the 'scandal of the crucifixion.' Brown has once again demonstrated his position as Father, Rabbi, and Teacher to us all.
—Burton L. Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary
The supreme achievement of a deeply pastoral scholar.
—Sandra M. Schneiders, Jesuit School of Theology and Graduate Theological Union
The benchmark by which any future study of the Passion Narratives will be measured.
—John P. Meier, University of Notre Dame
These volumes are a treasure that spans the ages.
—Phyllis Trible, Wake Forest University Divinity School
Raymond Edward Brown, American theologian (born May 22, 1928, New York, N.Y.—died Aug. 8, 1998, Redwood City, Calif.), was a highly regarded Roman Catholic biblical scholar. His rigorous examination of the Gospels resulted in the publication of such works as the two-volume The Gospel According to John (1966, 1970), The Birth of the Messiah (1977), and The Death of the Messiah (1994) as well as more than 35 other books. Brown’s centrist stance sometimes angered conservative Catholics, especially in 1971, when he questioned whether Mary’s virginal conception of Jesus could ever be proven historically. After receiving both a B.A. (1948) and M.A. (1949) from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., Brown entered (1951) the Society of St. Sulpice for seminary teaching and was ordained (1953) in the St. Augustine, Fla., diocese. In Baltimore, Md., he earned doctorates in sacred theology (1955) from St. Mary’s Seminary and in Semitic languages (1958) from Johns Hopkins University. While a fellow at the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, Brown worked on a Dead Sea Scrolls concordance, and in 1963 he was an adviser to Bishop Joseph Hurley at the Second Vatican Council. Brown taught at St. Mary’s Seminary from 1959 until 1971, then spent the majority of his teaching career at Union Theological Seminary in New York City until his retirement in 1990. He was the first Roman Catholic professor given tenure at the historically Protestant institution and built a reputation as an erudite and spellbinding lecturer.