In his Preface to this book, Professor E. P. Sanders writes: 'In the last several decades the study of the New Testament has been often enriched by the contributions of Jewish scholars, who bring to it not only knowledge of Jewish material but also fresh perspectives. One thinks, for example of C. G. Montefiore, I. Abrahams, Joseph l(lausner, Paul Winter, Samuel Sandmel and Geza Vermes. Ellis Rivkin is now to be added to this distinguished list. His study deals with only one issue in the New Testament, but one of central importance: the cause or causes of the death of Jesus. The book is brilliantly conceived and admirably argued. While there are some details about which one might disagree, the overall argument is, in my judgment completely convincing. This study should help shift the discussion of the historical Jesus on to a firmer historical basis. As we understand more clearly the environment'in which he lived and what it was which led to his execution, we should also come to understand his life and message better. Professor Rivkin's book is especially welcome because it is so readable. I hope that everyone interested in the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth will give it heed.'