Yesterday I briefly outlined Martin's hypothesis that Jesus was crucified because he was the leader of a group of illegally armed disciples. Today I focus on Martin's answer to the question of why Jesus' disciples were armed in the first place. He considers the best answer to be that Jesus intended to participate in an armed battle accompanied by a heavenly army (p 15). His supporting evidences for this hypothesis are the episode of the so-called temple cleansing (p 9), the against-the-grain saying in which 'false-witnesses' indicate Jesus own intended participation in the destruction of the temple (p 10; Mark 14:58); Mark's lack of mention of sacrificing or eating lamb at the last supper indicating rejection of the Passover rite at the temple (p 16; 14:18–25), and indications of Jesus' inclusion of Samaritans (who as a group were also hostile toward the Jerusalem temple; p 15; Luke 10: 25–37; John 4:4–42). As I argued yesterday, I propose that the arm(s) carried by Jesus' disciple(s) belonged to the accoutrements of a traveller and were used spontaneously in resistance to Jesus' arrest (as Mark narrates). I view Martin's proposal as a considerably weaker hypothesis.
If Jesus and his armed band had attempted to enact a battle within the temple, they almost certainly would have been killed on the spot (the Temple police was present and a Roman cohort stood watch in the Antonia Tower during Jewish festivals just in case of seditious activity; cf. Acts 4:1–3; 5:23–24; 21:31; J.W. 2.224; 5.243–45; M. Middoth 10.1.1-2, 9). Martin offers no explanation for the escape of Jesus and the disciples .
On a side note, Martin also does not offer a plausible explanation as to why only Jesus was executed. He suggests that it was typical Roman practice to kill an insurrectionary ringleader but not his followers. Yet, this was clearly not the case in most analogous episodes narrated by Josephus. Roman forces were not hesitant in killing the followers of royal pretenders or the so-called sign prophets (J.W. 2.59, 64, 263; Ant. 17.276, 284; 20.98, 171). Martin does not discuss these examples. From Pilate's tenure, he emphasises that only the chief instigators within the Samaritan prophet's movement were executed (Ant. 18.87)– as though disciples attempting armed revolt would not have been considered instigators as well (p 18). Martin also cites the example of John the Baptist, whose followers were not executed despite Antipas' fear that his charisma might inspire insurrection ( p 18; Ant. 18.113–19). However, one must acknowledge that John did not attempt to participate in an armed revolt, and this probably indicates the same for Jesus.
My thanks to Brian Pounds for his critical and timely posts.