Barabbas

(redirected from Barrabas)
Also found in: Dictionary.
Related to Barrabas: Barabbas

Barabbas

(bərăb`əs) [Aram.,=son of the father], bandit held in jail at the time of Jesus' arrest. Pontius Pilate, who, according to the Gospels, annually released a prisoner at Passover, offered to release Jesus, but the people demanded his death and Barabbas' delivery.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

Barabbas

The Christian Bible gives four separate accounts of Jesus' trial before Pontius Pilate. In each of these stories the assembled crowd clamors for the release of a prisoner named Barabbas. When Pilate presents them with a choice between Barabbas and Jesus, the mob chooses Barabbas.

The Bible reveals little else about this man whose escape from death by crucifixion came at Jesus' expense (for more on crucifixion, see also Cross). The four Gospels describe him as a robber (John 18:40), a man who had committed murder in a recent political uprising (Mark 15:7 and Luke 23:19), and simply as "notorious" (Matthew 27:16). Some scholars who have examined the meaning of the ancient Greek word used to describe him as a thief have argued that this word was more often used to describe political rebels than it was to describe ordinary thieves and criminals.

Another clue to Barabbas'identity lies in the meaning of his last name. In Aramaic Barabbas means "son of the father." Some scholars see in this name a potential reference to Barabbas'own father. They interpret this name as a possible indication that Barabbas' father was a rabbi. The Gospel according to Matthew records that Barabbas' first name was Jesus, the Greek version of the Hebrew name Joshua. Joshua was a fairly common name among first-century Jews.

What happened to Barabbas after Jesus' death? The Bible doesn't record this information. In 1950 Swedish novelist Pär Lagerkvist published Barabbas, a fictional account of Barabbas'life after the Crucifixion. In this story a lifelong fascination with Jesus and with Christianity takes root in Barabbas as a result of his momentary yet disturbing encounter with Christ. The English translation of this novel appeared one year later in 1951, the same year in which Lagerkvist won the Nobel Prize for literature. Some ten years Lagerkvist's novel inspired the production of the Hollywood film, Barabbas (1961), based on the book.

Further Reading

Crosson, D. M. "Barabbas." In New Catholic Encyclopedia. Volume 2. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967. Lagerkvist, Pär. Barabbas. New York: Vintage Books, 1951. Perkins, Pheme. "Barabbas." In Paul J. Achtemeier, ed. The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. Trenchard, Warren C. "Barabbas." In David Noel Freedman, ed. Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000.
Encyclopedia of Easter, Carnival, and Lent, 1st ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2002

Barabbas

robber freed in Christ’s stead. [N.T.: Matthew 27:15–18; Swed. Lit.: Barabbas]

Barabbas

thief released instead of Jesus to appease crowd. [N.T.: Matthew 27:16–26; Mark 15:7–15; John 18:40]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Barabbas

New Testament a condemned robber who was released at the Passover instead of Jesus (Matthew 27:16)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
El sanedrin pide a Pilato que lo ejecute por un crimen politico y que lo cambie por Barrabas, con el objeto de salvar el honor del mismo sanedrin y de que Jesus sea olvidado.
El 3 de octubre de 1972 aparecio, en Barcelona, una revista satirica dedicada al deporte: Barrabas que se mantuvo en el mercado hasta la primavera de 1977.
Ce Shylock, reprouve et humain, parvient meme a s'attirer par instants la compassion des spectateurs, par contraste avec le Barrabas de Marlowe.
Mientras que todos los hombres llevan sus nombres propios (Judas, Malco, Caifas, Anas, Poncio Pilato, Barrabas), a Jesus se le llama Daphnis, aludiendo a la egloga quinta de Virgilio.
Cruel Vireno, fugitivo Eneas, Barrabas te acompane, alla te avengas.
Sunday will see "o n e man whirl-w in d '" Louis Barrabas, above, take to the stage with gin-joint love songs and a dash of theatricality too.