The death story of Jesus of Nazareth has traditionally been understood as a matter of historical
fact. The various versions of the story would seem to confirm a documented death scene.
Nevertheless, critical appraisals of this material have raised numerous questions regarding the
passion story. This article considers how the very structure of the story is a vital clue to the way
in which the death of Jesus was invented. The Jewish tale of the suffering and vindication of
the innocent one provides the memory locus for discovering meaning in the fate of Jesus. We
find that the basic fact of the death tale of Jesus is that it was a fiction, authorising further
elaborations for those who understood the craft of memory.