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Thieves on the Cross

jesus thief jesus’ dysmas

All four Gospels recount that Jesus was crucified along with two other men who were “thieves” or “criminals.” *Luke (23:39-43) recounts a conversation that ensued when one of the thieves affirmed Jesus’ innocence but acknowledged their guilt and asked Jesus to “remember him.” The apocryphal Acts of Pilate supplied names for the thieves: the “good” (or repentant) Dysmas and the “bad” Gestas and further described how Dysmas was later rescued by *Christ from *hell Later legends also connected these men with the bandits who had accosted the *Holy Family on their *Flight into Egypt. The two thieves appear in the earliest images of the *Crucifixion from the fifth century and frequently thereafter. The good thief is normally located on Jesus’ right. They are often depicted as slightly smaller than Jesus, or placed a bit below him compositionally. They may also be further differentiated by being shown as tied rather than nailed to their crosses. An *angel may hover over the good thief and a *demon over the bad.
Thigpen, Lynne (1948–2003) [next] [back] Thief

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