Mark 15:17 says that the soldiers placed a purple
(πορφύραν) robe on Jesus, as they taunted him for claiming
to be the king of the Jews. Purple was the colour of royalty and,
in the Roman Empire, only the emperor himself was permitted to wear
a robe entirely coloured purple. The purple dye was also enormously
expensive, so that only the very rich could afford purple cloth.
This raises doubts about the historicity of this account, as the
soldiers could not have afforded a purple robe and certainly would
not have exposed such a valuable artefact to potential
The author of Matthew's Gospel (verse 27:28) recognised the incongruity of the soldiers placing a purple robe on Jesus and, in copying from Mark, altered this to a scarlet (κοκκίνην) robe.
Luke's Gospel played safe by omitting this passage and instead focusing on the soldiers sharing Jesus' clothing.
John's Gospel follows Mark by having the soldiers place a purple robe on Jesus, but intensifies the symbolism by recording them, in direct sequence as placing the crown of thorns on Jesus' head, the purple robe on him and then taunting him as king of the Jews.
The different writers of the Gospel accounts were not intending to describe a specific color. Their intent was to give an account that Jesus was given a royal robe, in an effort to mock the claim of "king of the Jews". Purple and deep red (scarlet) were royal colors in the first century. It's not important in the gospel accounts what exact color the robe was. What is important is that Jesus was dressed in a royal robe for the purpose of being mocked. Not having been there, I can't say. But do you feel that it makes a difference in what color Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for all humanity? One possible reason for the difference is that the original texts may have referred to a 'royal color' rather than a specific color. And depending on who did that translation, they may have different ideas as to what royal meant. Purple has always been associated with royalty, primarily because the dye to create the color was that for centuries it wasvery hard to make and rare. Since the bible was translated several times, the translator most probable inserted his own idea, or delete and omitted some ideas he don't agree to. And to compound the problem, the Authors of Matthew, John, Luke and Mark are not the Author themselves; The Authors of these Gospels were all anonymous and was written decades afer the fact, not an eyewitnesses, therefore hearsay. Mark: c. 68�73 Matthew: c. 70�100 as the majority view; some conservative scholars argue for a pre-70 date, particularly those that do not accept Mark as the first gospel written. Luke: c. 80�100, with most arguing for somewhere around 85 John: c. 90�110. Brown does not give a consensus view for John, but these are dates as propounded by C K Barrett, among others. The majority view is that it was written in stages, so there was no one date of composition