In a discussion on Facebook, prof Gabriele Boccaccini describes one of the his reasons to believe that there is a historical nucleus behind the Gospel story. This is the my translation:
It is important to maintain calmness and common sense. To say that the Gospel stories are not 100% historically accurate does not mean to say that they are 100% "invented". And to say that some elements are historical does not mean that the whole is historically accurate. I would advise all members of the group to go and read the story of Jospehus concerning "Jesus the son of Ananias," who was also handed over by the religious authorities of the Temple to the Romans for having "disturbed" the peace of time with his prophetic announcement on the end of the Temple and was treated by the Romans in the same way as "Jesus son of Joseph" (even if he was not crucified, because having no followers he was considered an inoffensive "madman"). And then, as others rightly said, it is necessary to consider the nature of ancient historiography. We try to make a clear distinction between facts and their meaning; the ancients rewrite the facts to make their meaning clear. In this sense, the invention is not arbitrary but it is part of the task of the narrator who must also provide the reader with the meaning of the events. In short, it is not that the evangelists had fun telling us lies and deceiving us, they wanted to communicate the meaning (from their point of view) of what had happened. And on this the gospels pursue the goal very effectively. As historians, it is up to us to critically examine the sources. The facts are very simple. Jesus with a group of followers disturbs the peace and order of the temple. It took very little to be arrested, it did not matter to have reached Jerusalem wanting to start an armed revolt. After all, if you don't believe it, try to do the same (or even much less) today in Place Saint Peter and at Mecca and at the esplanade of the Temple or at the Wailing Wall and you will be immediately arrested ... At that point the fate of Jesus is marked: there is a size on every wanted and certain it is better to take him by night by surprise than by day in the crowd .. The operation is successful ... The temple police, thanks to the blown by an informer, surprises and captures him ... Maximum result with minimum effort ... The Sadducee authorities evaluate whether it is appropriate to "try" Jesus according to Jewish law (but conclude that any trial, that it would have been carried out according to certain rules, would have had an uncertain outcome), so they deliver him to the Romans who crucify him after a summary interrogation ... The detail of the tomb can be historic ... It was enough to pay (corruption even then was widespread in the absence of precise rules) ... From the historical point of view it is all very simple ... Then if we discuss from a religious and theological point of view the significance of the event is another matter entirely, but this is the question that is close to the heart of the evangelists, not the accuracy historical. We speak today of "trials" that never took place, because in reality Jesus was not formally tried according to Jewish or Roman law. From the point of view of the evangelists, the "processes" serve to clarify the reason for the death of Jesus, it is Jesus who processes the authorities of the Temple and the Romans ...
So it seems that according to Boccaccini, what provoked the crucifixion was the incident at the temple. If
the incident at the temple was not historical, then
the crucifixion, also, is not historical.
Apart the R.G.Price's proof of the not-historicity of the temple incident
, I am surprised to see that the temple incident is not found at all in the Marcion's gospel
. It is clearly a product of the Judaizing side. In Marcion, Jesus is arrested only because he preaches openly (without no messianic secret) that he is the Son of an Unknown God, not because he did some seditious action at the temple.