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David A. Shaneyfelt (’81)
David A. Shaneyfelt (’81)

This Lent alumnus attorney David A. Shaneyfelt (’81) — a regular honoree on the list of California “Super Lawyers” — has once more turned his attention to the most significant criminal proceeding in the history of jurisprudence: the trial of Jesus Christ.

Two years ago Mr. Shaneyfelt posted a series of free podcasts in which he investigated Our Lord’s trial, beginning with His arrest, and continuing all the way through the Crucifixion. Last year the Ventura County attorney added an episode to the collection, a reflection on the “Two Thieves.” And this year, he has produced yet another addition: “The Centurion,” a podcast about the Roman soldier at the foot of the Cross.

The new podcast, Mr. Shaneyfelt says, explores “everything you wanted to know about centurions from history and Scripture and the import of this Centurion’s words.” Among the questions considered are, “Who was the Centurion at the foot of the Cross?” “What do we know about centurions?” and — most poignantly of all — “What do we make of his words, ‘Truly, this was God's Son?’”

Over the course of the complete podcast series, which aims “to unpack the history and Scriptural account of Jesus and the two crucified with him,” Mr. Shaneyfelt also considers such questions as: “What are the sources of evidence at Jesus’ trial?” “What happened in the Garden of Gethsemane?” and “What is the significance of the date of the Crucifixion as it pertains to the Passover Feast?”

“A great deal of scholarship has gone into the relatively few words of the New Testament that describe the legal process employed to put to trial, convict, and execute a Jewish rabbi, whose followers for 2,000 years since then have regarded as the Eternal Son of God, the Word made flesh to dwell, and to die, among us,” writes Mr. Shaneyfelt. “My goal in this podcast series is to introduce listeners to some of this scholarship, to unpack it, and to let listeners appreciate the difficulty — and reward — of parsing Biblical texts.”

Mr. Shaneyfelt has spoken publicly about Our Lord’s trial for more than 20 years at churches, schools, and organizations throughout California. “Believers and non-believers, I think, will at least find the subject fascinating, because history offers us great insights into passages that are often short and cryptic,” he observes. “But I also think, or at least hope, that believers will come to see deeper meanings and significance in the details addressed and, in the end, will grow in faith and love for the One Who is at the central focus of this event.”

The nine, one-to-two-hour-long podcasts have generated downloads in more than a dozen countries to date. They provide an excellent source of listening for Lent and Holy Week.