Definitions for barabbasbəˈræb əs

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Random House Webster's College Dictionary

Bar•ab•basbəˈræb əs(n.)

  1. the criminal pardoned instead of Jesus to appease the mob. Mark 15:6–11, John 18:40.

    Category: Bible

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  1. Barabbas

    Barabbas or Jesus Barabbas is a figure in the account of the Passion of Christ, in which he is the insurrectionary whom Pontius Pilate freed at the Passover feast in Jerusalem, instead of Jesus Christ. The penalty for Barabbas' crime was death by crucifixion, but according to the four canonical gospels and the non-canonical Gospel of Peter there was a prevailing Passover custom in Jerusalem that allowed or required Pilate, the praefectus or governor of Judaea, to commute one prisoner's death sentence by popular acclaim, and the "crowd" — which has become "the Jews" and "the multitude" in some sources — were offered a choice of whether to have either Barabbas or Jesus Christ released from Roman custody. According to the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and the accounts in John and the Gospel of Peter, the crowd chose Barabbas to be released and Jesus of Nazareth to be crucified. A passage found only in the Gospel of Matthew has the crowd saying, "Let his blood be upon us and upon our children". The story of Barabbas has special social significances, because it has historically been used to lay the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus on the Jews, and to justify anti-Semitism—an interpretation, known as Jewish deicide, dismissed by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2011 book Jesus of Nazareth, in which he also questions the historicity of the passage in Matthew.

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