Later History of Pontius Pilate
Scripture reveals nothing more concerning Pontius Pilate, but the writings of
Josephus reveal that Pilate’s fear of giving offense to Caesar did not save him
from political disaster. Josephus records that there was a rebellion in the
territory of the Samaritans. Pilate led his troops against them and defeated
them completely and quenched the rebellion. The Samaritans complained to
Vitellius, the new governor of Syria, and he sent Pontius Pilate to Rome to
answer their accusations before the emperor. When he came to Rome he found
Tiberius dead and Caius (Caligula) on the throne (36 A.D.).
Eusebius adds that not long afterward, Pilate was "wearied with misfortunes,"
and he killed himself. Regarding his death, there are various traditions. One
records that he was banished to Vienna Allobrogum (Vienne on the Rhone), where a
singular monument (a pyramid on a quadrangular base), fifty-two feet high is
called Pontius Pilate's tomb.
Another tradition is that he sought to hide his sorrows on the mountain by the
Lake of Lucerne, now called Mt. Pilatus. After spending years in remorse and
despair rather than penitence, he plunged his body into the lake.
We learn from Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Eusebius, and others that Pilate made
an official report to Tiberius of our Lord's trial and condemnation; and in a
homily ascribed to Chrysostom, though marked as spurious by his Benedictine
editors (Homilies 8, in Pasch., 8:968, D), certain hupomnemata (Acta, or
Commentarii Pilati) are spoken of as well-known documents in common circulation.
The Acta Pilati, now present in Greek, and two Latin epistles from him to the
emperor, are certainly false.
Archaeology confirms the existence of Pontius Pilate and of his chronological
placement. A. Frova, who conducted an Italian Archaeological Mission dig in the
theater of Caesarea (1959-63) found a dedicatory inscription from Pontius
Pilate, Prefect of Judea, to the Emperor Tiberius.
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The main historical sources about the life of Pontius Pilate were:
- Josephus (75-94 A.D. approx.)
- The New Testament
(50-100 A.D. approx.)
- Jewish and Christian Tradition
- Archaeology: inscriptions, coins, written text.
Bibliography on Pontius Pilate
by Wroe, 432 Pages, Pub. 2001
Pontius Pilate a Novel
by Maier, 384 Pages
Bible History Online
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