Controversies of the Paschal Pardon and Barabbas
Last week I mentioned that while doing some research I came across some controversy about Barabbas and the Paschal Pardon. Some scholars and skeptics have debated a few different issues of perceived inconsistencies and misconceptions. Honestly, I had never even heard of some of the criticisms. So that you won’t be surprised like I was when you hear them, I’ll give you a brief overview of what some of the debate has been about.
Was the Paschal Pardon fabricated by the apostles?
First, some critics argue the validity and truth of the Paschal Pardon. Some contend that it was made up and was not an actual custom. Their argument stems from the fact that the custom has not been mentioned in any historical documents outside the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). Their claim that there is no evidence of a Paschal Pardon aside from the Bible is accurate. Nowhere else is this exact practice mentioned besides the Bible.
However, scholars speculate several plausible theories explaining this perceived discrepancy. Some explanations include similar customs in Roman history, Hasmonean customs, and possibly even ancient Jewish/Talmudical customs.   According to these sources there were several events in history where pardons were offered to prisoners at festival times.
Furthermore, the Bible itself has been proven a valid historical document. Therefore, simply dismissing information because it only appears in scripture is fallacy. Even non-Christian historians recognize the validity of the Bible as a historical document. In her book, Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, Natasha Crain explains in detail why we can trust the Bible as a historically accurate document. I highly recommend her book to learn more (and teach others) about why we can trust the Bible.
Is the Paschal Pardon inconsistent with Roman authority?