Friday, September 21, 2007

References to Pilate outside the Bible


Wars of the Jews

Book 2 Chapter 9

Pilate Brings images into Jerusalem

2. Now Pilate, who was sent as procurator into Judea by Tiberius, sent by night those images of Caesar that are called ensigns into Jerusalem. This excited a very among great tumult among the Jews when it was day; for those that were near them were astonished at the sight of them, as indications that their laws were trodden under foot; for those laws do not permit any sort of image to bebrought into the city. Nay, besides the indignation which the citizens had themselves at this procedure, a vast number of people came running out of the country. These came zealously to Pilate to Cesarea, and besought him to carry those ensigns out ofJerusalem, and to preserve them their ancient laws inviolable;but upon Pilate's denial of their request, they fell (9) downprostrate upon the ground, and continued immovable in thatposture for five days and as many nights.

3. On the next day Pilate sat upon his tribunal, in the openmarket-place, and called to him the multitude, as desirous to give them an answer; and then gave a signal to the soldiers, that they should all by agreement at once encompass the Jews with their weapons; so the band of soldiers stood round about the Jewsin three ranks. The Jews were under the utmost consternation atthat unexpected sight. Pilate also said to them that they shouldbe cut in pieces, unless they would admit of Caesar's images, and gave intimation to the soldiers to draw their naked swords.Hereupon the Jews, as it were at one signal, fell down in vastnumbers together, and exposed their necks bare, and cried outthat they were sooner ready to be slain, than that their lawshould be transgressed. Hereupon Pilate was greatly surprised at their prodigious superstition, and gave order that the ensigns should be presently carried out of Jerusalem.

More Disturbances

4. After this he raised another disturbance, by expending thatsacred treasure which is called Corban (10) upon aqueducts,whereby he brought water from the distance of four hundredfurlongs. At this the multitude had indignation; and when Pilatewas come to Jerusalem, they came about his tribunal, and made aclamor at it. Now when he was apprized aforehand of thisdisturbance, he mixed his own soldiers in their armor with themultitude, and ordered them to conceal themselves under thehabits of private men, and not indeed to use their swords, butwith their staves to beat those that made the clamor. He thengave the signal from his tribunal [to do as he had bidden them].Now the Jews were so sadly beaten, that many of them perished bythe stripes they received, and many of them perished as troddento death by themselves; by which means the multitude wasastonished at the calamity of those that were slain, and heldtheir peace.

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews

Book 18, CHAPTER 3.

The Images into Jerusalem

1. But now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, inorder to abolish the Jewish laws. So he introduced Caesar'seffigies, which were upon the ensigns, and brought them into thecity; whereas our law forbids us the very making of images; on which account the former procurators were wont to make theirentry into the city with such ensigns as had not those ornaments. Pilate was the first who brought those images to Jerusalem, andset them up there; which was done without the knowledge of thepeople, because it was done in the night time; but as soon asthey knew it, they came in multitudes to Cesarea, and interceded with Pilate many days that he would remove the images; and whenhe would not grant their requests, because it would tend to the injury of Caesar, while yet they persevered in their request, onthe sixth day he ordered his soldiers to have their weapons privately, while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat, whichseat was so prepared in the open place of the city, that itconcealed the army that lay ready to oppress them; and when the Jews petitioned him again, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them routed, and threatened that their punishment should be no less than immediate death, unless they would leaveoff disturbing him, and go their ways home. But they threwthemselves upon the ground, and laid their necks bare, and saidthey would take their death very willingly, rather than thewisdom of their laws should be transgressed; upon which Pilate was deeply affected with their firm resolution to keep their laws inviolable, and presently commanded the images to be carried backfrom Jerusalem to Cesarea.

2. But Pilate undertook to bring a current of water to Jerusalem,and did it with the sacred money, and derived the origin of the stream from the distance of two hundred furlongs. However, the Jews (8) were not pleased with what had been done about this water; and many ten thousands of the people got together, and made a clamor against him, and insisted that he should leave offthat design. Some of them also used reproaches, and abused theman, as crowds of such people usually do. So he habited a greatnumber of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers undertheir garments, and sent them to a place where they mightsurround them. So he bid the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon themmuch greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equallypunished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nordid they spare them in the least: and since the people wereunarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they wereabout, there were a great number of them slain by this means, andothers of them ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition.
Reference to Jesus

3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it belawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, ateacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drewover to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. Hewas [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of theprincipal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9)those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for heappeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divineprophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderfulthings concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named fromhim, are not extinct at this day.

The Samaritans

Book 18 Chapter4

1. But the nation of the Samaritans did not escape without tumults. The man who excited them to it was one who thought lyinga thing of little consequence, and who contrived every thing sothat the multitude might be pleased; so he bid them to gettogether upon Mount Gerizzim, which is by them looked upon as the most holy of all mountains, and assured them, that when they werecome thither, he would show them those sacred vessels which were laid under that place, because Moses put them there (12) So theycame thither armed, and thought the discourse of the manprobable; and as they abode at a certain village, which wasc alled Tirathaba, they got the rest together to them, and desired to go up the mountain in a great multitude together; but Pilate prevented their going up, by seizing upon file roads with a greatband of horsemen and foot-men, who fell upon those that weregotten together in the village; and when it came to an action,some of them they slew, and others of them they put to flight,and took a great many alive, the principal of which, and also themost potent of those that fled away, Pilate ordered to be slain.

2. But when this tumult was appeased, the Samaritan senate sentan embassy to Vitellius, a man that had been consul, and who wasnow president of Syria, and accused Pilate of the murder of thosethat were killed; for that they did not go to Tirathaba in orderto revolt from the Romans, but to escape the violence of Pilate.So Vitellius sent Marcellus, a friend of his, to take care of theaffairs of Judea, and ordered Pilate to go to Rome, to answerbefore the emperor to the accusations of the Jews. So Pilate,when he had tarried ten years in Judea, made haste to Rome, andthis in obedience to the orders of Vitellius, which he durst notcontradict; but before he could get to Rome Tiberius was dead.

Chapter 6

5.And, as afurther attestation to what I say of the dilatory nature of Tiberius, I appeal to this his practice itself; for although he was emperor twenty-two years, he sent in all but two procurators to govern the nation of the Jews, Gratus, and his successor inthe government, Pilate.

Philo of Alexandria

Legatio 299-305 (Translated by E. M. Smallwood, Philonis Alexandini Legatio ad Gaium, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1970)

Pilate was an official who had been appointed procurator of Judaea. With the intention of annoying the Jews rather than of honouring Tiberius, he set up gilded shields in Herod's palace in the Holy City. They bore no figure and nothing else that was forbidden, but only the briefest possible inscription, which stated two things - the name of the dedicator and that of the person in whose honour the dedication was made. But when the Jews at large learnt of this action, which was indeed already widely known, they chose as their spokesmen the king's four sons, who enjoyed prestige and rank equal to that of kings, his other descendants, and their own officials, and besought Pilate to undo his innovation in the shape of the shields, and not to violate their native customs, which had hitherto been invariably preserved inviolate by kings and emperors alike. When Pilate, who was a man of inflexible, stubborn and cruel disposition, obstinately refused, they shouted, `Do not cause a revolt! Do not cause a war! Do not break the peace! Disrespect done to our ancient laws brings no honour to the Emperor. Do not make Tiberius an excuse for insulting our nation. He does not want any of our traditions done away with. If you say that he does, show us some decree or letter or something of the sort, so that we may cease troubling you and appeal to our master by means of an embassy'. This last remark exasperated Pilate most of all, for he was afraid that if they really sent an embassy, they would bring accusations against the rest of his administration as well, specifying in detail his venality, his violence, his thefts, his assaults, his abusive behaviour, his frequent executions of untried prisoners, and his endless savage ferocity. So, as he was a spiteful and angry person, he was in a serious dilemma; for he had neither the courage to remove what he had once set up, nor the desire to do anything which would please his subjects, but at the same time he was well aware of Tiberius' firmness on these matters. When the Jewish officials saw this, and realized that Pilate was regretting what he had done, although he did not wish to show it, they wrote a letter to Tiberius, pleading their case as forcibly as they could. What words, what threats Tiberius uttered against Pilate when he read it! It would be superfluous to describe his anger, although he was not easily moved to anger, since his reaction speaks for itself. For immediately, without even waiting until the next day, he wrote to Pilate, reproaching and rebuking him a thousand times for his new-fangled audacity and telling him to remove the shields at once and have them taken from the capital to the coastal city of Caesarea (the city named Sebaste after your great-grandfather), to be dedicated in the temple of Augustus. This was duly done. In this way both the honour of the emperor and the traditional policy regarding Jerusalem were alike preserved.

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