In all 4 gospels there is the event where Pilate asks the crowd if they want him to release Jesus or Barabbas.The crowd chooses Barabbas.
In several early copies we have Pilate say if they wanted “JESUS BARABBAS or JESUS,the one called the MESSIAH?”to be released.Later copies have it only as Barabbas(no Jesus included).Scholars believe the original said Jesus Barabbas because there would have been no reason to add “Jesus” to Barabbas as an INTERPOLATION.
It is not surprising Barabbas should also have had Yeshua(Joshua,Jesus) as a name since it was a common Jewish name.
Bar-Abbas=Son of the Father
Then Jews had no last name.You were X,son of Y.The argument is the Barabbas-Jesus incident was invented or there was a confusion.The gospel writers got it confused.Or they invented the incident.Whatever happened Jesus Barabbas was simply Jesus of Nazareth,since:
1.In Aramaic Abbas means “Father” and Bar means “son”.
2.Father is also used in Judaism to refer to God(in the OT God is called Father about 15 times).
3.Jesus was the “Son of God”.
4.Jesus Son of God=Jesus Son of the Father=Jesus Bar-abbas.
So 2 scholars Hyam Maccoby (1924-2004),a Jewish NT scholar and Benjamin Urretia (born 1950,from Ecuador),in his “The Logia (sayings) of Yeshua” have said that they think when “Jesus Barabbas” was released by Pilate it was really “Jesus of Nazareth”.That Jesus was known locally as Jesus Son of the Father since Jesus often referred to God as ABBA,as appears in the gospels.Later they invented the event of 2 separate Jesuses.
Abbas as a Name
The argument would have greater strength if Abbas were ONLY used as a TITLE.But:
1.The Talmud(500 AD) has many,many examples where Abbas is used as a PERSONAL NAME in the GEMARA.The Talmud is made up of 2 parts:
b.and the Gemara(which is in Aramaic).
The word Abbas has been found as a personal name in a 1st century burial in Givat Ja-Mitvar.
3.Even in Islam
The greatest Iranian king after CYRUS,founder of the Achemenid dynasty,which was destroyed by Alexander the Great 200 years later, was SHAH ABBAS the GREAT (1571-1629),the greatest monarch of the Safavid dynasty.There was even a Shah Abbas II(1633-1666)and a Shah Abbas III(died 1740).
The argument was that Jesus Barabbas does NOT mean Jesus Son of X(whose real name is Abbas) and only Jesus Son of the Father(title),but the evidence shows Abbas was a person’s real name.
Check Out the Formidable Michael Licona
He is a great scholar and his website is:
He also writes for:
Check out his debate on the resurrection of Jesus with Bart Ehrman (very scholarly debate):