Barabbas (//; Aramaic: ישוע בר אבא Yeshua Bar ʾAbbaʾ, literally "son of the father" or "son of the teacher") is a figure mentioned in the New Testament, in which he is an insurrectionary held by the Roman governor at the same time as Jesus, and whom Pontius Pilate freed at the Passover feast in Jerusalem, while keeping Jesus as a prisoner.
According to all four canonical gospels there was a prevailing Passover custom in Jerusalem that allowed or required Pilate, the praefectus or governor of Judea, to commute one prisoner's death sentence by popular acclaim. In one such instance, the "crowd" (ochlos), "the Jews" and "the multitude" in some sources, were offered the choice to have either Barabbas or Jesus released from Roman custody. According to the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and the account in John, the crowd chose Barabbas to be released and Jesus of Nazareth to be crucified. Pilate reluctantly yields to the insistence of the crowd. A passage found only in the Gospel of Matthew has the crowd saying (of Jesus), "Let his blood be upon us and upon our children."
Matthew refers to Barabbas only as a "notorious prisoner". Mark and Luke further refer to Barabbas as one involved in a στάσις (stasis, a riot), probably "one of the numerous insurrections against the Roman power"  who had committed murder. Robert Eisenman states that John 18:40 refers to Barabbas as a λῃστής (lēstēs, "bandit"), "the word Josephus always employs when talking about Revolutionaries".
Three gospels state that there was a custom that at Passover the Roman governor would release a prisoner of the crowd's choice; Mark 15:6, Matthew 27:15, and John 18:39. Later copies of Luke contain a corresponding verse (Luke 23:17), although this is not present in the earliest manuscripts, and may be a later gloss to bring Luke into conformity.
The custom of releasing prisoners in Jerusalem at Passover is known as the Paschal Pardon, but this custom (whether at Passover or any other time) is not recorded in any historical document other than the gospels, leading some scholars to question its historicity.
Barabbas' name appears as bar-Abbas in the Greek texts of the gospels. It is derived ultimately from the Aramaic בר-אבא, Bar-abbâ, "son of the father". Some ancient manuscripts of Matthew 27:16–17 have the full name of Barabbas as "Jesus Barabbas" and this was probably the name as originally written in the text. Early church father Origen was troubled by the fact that his copies of the gospels gave Barabbas' name as "Jesus Barabbas" and declared that since it was impossible he could have had such a holy name, "Jesus" must have been added to Barabbas' name by a heretic. It is possible that later scribes, copying the passage, removed the name "Jesus" from "Jesus Barabbas" to avoid dishonour to the name of Jesus the Messiah.
Abba has been found as a personal name in a 1st-century burial at Giv'at ha-Mivtar, and Abba also appears as a personal name frequently in the Gemara section of the Talmud, dating from AD 200–400.
The story of Barabbas plays a role in antisemitism because it has historically been used to lay the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus on the Jews, and thereby used to justify antisemitic prejudice—an interpretation known as Jewish deicide. Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2011 book Jesus of Nazareth, dismisses this reading, in which he translates "ochlos" in Mark as "crowd", rather than to mean the Jewish people.
According to Jewish historian Max Dimont, the story of Barabbas as related in the gospels lacks credibility from the Roman standpoint, as it presents the Roman authority, Pontius Pilate, backed by overwhelming military might, being cowed by a small crowd of unarmed civilians into releasing a prisoner condemned to death for insurrection against the Roman Empire. A Roman governor who had done that could have faced execution himself.
Benjamin Urrutia co-author of The Logia of Yeshua: The Sayings of Jesus, agrees with a theory in biblical scholarship which says that Yeshua Bar Abba or Jesus Barabbas may have been none other than Jesus of Nazareth, and that the choice between two prisoners is not historical. Despite this, early scholars, such as Origen, found it unlikely that the story was fictional, pointing out that the incident occurred with a decision between two people with extremely similar names, as having such a similar name to Jesus by appending Yeshua to Barabbas would have been heretical, which is evidenced in some manuscripts by the removal of the common name Yeshua from Barabbas in order to differentiate between him and Jesus Christ. Scholars point out, the counter-intuitiveness of the writers to use such a similar name from the criminal, equating Christ with a mercenary if they were writing for a fictional purpose.  Urrutia opposes the notion that Jesus may have either led or planned a violent insurrection. Jesus, in this view, must have been the planner and leader of the Jewish nonviolent resistance to Pilate's plan to set up Roman Eagle standards on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The story of this successful resistance is told by Josephus—who does not say who the leader was, but does tell of Pilate's crucifixion of Jesus just two paragraphs later in a passage whose authenticity is disputed.
While the charge of collective Jewish guilt has been an important catalyst of anti-Semitic persecution throughout history, the Catholic Church has consistently repudiated this teaching since the Second Vatican Council.