Category:Pilate (subject)

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Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea, from 26 CE to 36 CE, under Emperor Tiberius, at the time of John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Samaritan Prophet.

< Events: Trial of Jesus before Pilate >

< Artifacts: Pilate Inscription >

< Interpretation: Sources -- Research --Fiction -- Literature -- Music -- Cinema -- Art >


In 26 CE Pontius Pilate succeeded Valerius Gratus as the Roman Prefect of Judea. An inscription found in Caesarea Maritima in 1961 provides the earliest direct evidence of the presence of Pontius Pilate, "praefectus" of Judea.

Pilate confirmed Caiaphas, who served as High Priest during his entire mandate. Both Philo of Alexandria and Josephus mention extensively Pilate and his political role. They present him as a ruthless governor, ready to use brutal force to repress any dissent and quite insensitive to Jewish religious practice. In 36 CE Marcellus took Pilate' place.

The Trial of Jesus before Pilate

In the four gospels, Pilate plays a central role in the events surrounding the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, a role confirmed by Tacitus in the only extant reference to Pilate in Roman sources. In the Gospel of Mark, Pilate shows an ambiguous attitude toward Jesus; he does not see anything wrong in him yet is eager to "please the crowd."

In Matthew, Pilate washes his hands and blames "all the people" of Jerusalem for their decision.

In Luke, Pilate is actively engaged in the attempt to save Jesus, whom he regards as innocent; Acts, however, blames both Pilate and Herod for gathering together against Jesus (4:27).

In John, Jesus and Pilate friendly converse and the governor appear as a docile instrument of God's plan.

Later Christian tradition

Later Christian tradition was mostly engaged to supply information about Pilate's life before and after his appointment in Judea. Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica II 7) claims that Pilate suffered misfortune in the reign if Caligula, was exiled to Gaul and eventually committed suicide in Vienne [France]. Christian writers went even further than the gospels in the direction of exonerating Pilate from any responsibility in the death of Jesus, to the extent of suggesting his eventual repentance and conversion to Christianity.

In Depth

Pontius Pilate in scholarship


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Pages in category "Pilate (subject)"

The following 47 pages are in this category, out of 47 total.