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View Diary: Books So Bad They're Good: The Silver Chalice and The Robe (176 comments)

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  •  Of course there were political reasons (4+ / 0-)

    to present it this way (our account is from the gospels).  It put the responsibility for the execution on the Jewish authorities clearly, even though they could not legally be the ones doing the execution.  The desire to blame them rather than the Romans was related to first century (and probably early second century) discussion about whether Christianity was a Jewish outgrowth or a religion to reach out to the gentiles.  It makes a good story, though.

    •  Josephus on Pilate (2+ / 0-)
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      Ellid, Kentucky DeanDemocrat

      The Jewish historian Josephus was not exactly sympathetic to Pilate, but the incidents of Pilate's adminitration he mentions does give an idea of what the guy was up against.  He didn't get the Jews and Jewish ideas about religion, and so kept making these terrible FUBARs.  

      He donated some shields bearing the image of Caesar to be placed in the Temple.  That's a Graven Image!  A violation of the 10 Commandments!

      Okay, so then he donates some more shields with no images but which have been dedicated to Caesar.  Just as bad!  Enormous Outrage!

      Then there was one which in any other province would have been a highlight of his resume.  He built an aquaduct to supply Jerusalem with water.  Who could complain about that?  Well... it seems he used money from the Temple to help pay for the aquaduct under the assumption that the Temple was benefitting from it too.  And he must have had the blessing of the Temple Establishment in order to get that money.  So everything is kosher right?  Damn straight it wasn't.  When word leaked out that money dedicated to the Temple had been used by Unclean Hands there were riots.

      I imagine that when Caligula floated the idea of erecting a statue of himself in the Temple in Jerusalem, Pilate must have had a panic attack.  Fortunately, the Emperor got distracted and never followed through with it.

      The incident which got Pilate recalled from his position was when a group of Samaritans wanted to hold a gathering on Mt. Gerizim, their holy mountain.  Pilate permitted it, but insisted that the pilgrims disarm before he'd allow them on the mountain.  From his point of view it looked a lot like they were plotting an uprising; but the Samaritans complained to Caesar and Caesar gave Pilate the boot.

      Now granted, Josephus had something of a political bias himself.  His histories were written for a Roman audience; and there are critics who will never forgive him for jumping sides during the Jewish Revolt of AD 70.  But he does give us a bit more of Pilate than we see in the Gospels.

      For that matter, the only other place in the Gospels I can think of that mention Pilate is a place where Jesus makes a sarcastic remark about a couple people "whose blood Pilate mixed with their offerings."  Presumably this would have been an incident the audience would have recognized; apparently a couple guys had been killed by Roman soldiers as they were on their way to the Temple.  Jesus asks rhetorically if these guys were more sinful than other people because they suffered such a fate; but I suspect that if the Gospel writers were really concerned about never putting Romans in a bad light, the author would have modified that verse.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Sun Jul 08, 2012 at 12:54:01 PM PDT

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