Sunday, March 05, 2017

Killing Jesus: Who Was the Real Pontius Pilate?

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The life of Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in the Gospels, is bracketed by memorable actions on the part of two powerful men: a king and a Roman governor. Upon hearing of the birth of Jesus, an angry and jealous Herod ordered the massacre of young Hebrew children, an event remembered in Christian history as the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents. At the end of Jesus’ life, Pontius Pilate presided over the proceedings that culminated in Jesus’ crucifixion. Although the Roman governor has been the subject of countless sermons over the centuries, typically portrayed as dithering and reviled for posing the temporizing question “What is truth?,” he remains something of a cipher. Working both from the Gospels and from ancient texts, Aldo Schiavone, a professor of Roman law based at the University of Rome La Sapienza, provides a fresh perspective in “Pontius Pilate: Deciphering a Memory” and, in the process, offers new insights into the final days of Jesus. » | Randall Balmer | Friday, March 3, 2017