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Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate (pŏn´shəs pī´lət), Roman prefect of Judaea (AD 26–36?). He was supposedly a ruthless governor, and he was removed at the complaint of Samaritans, among whom he engineered a massacre. His attempt to evade responsibility in the trial of Jesus was caused by his fear of the high priests' power and his difficult responsibility for the peace of Palestine. According to tradition he committed suicide at Rome. He is attested in the works of Josephus and Eusebius. The Acts of Pilate, one of the Pseudepigrapha (part of the Gospel of Nicodemus) tell of him as a Christian. In the Coptic and Ethiopic churches, Pilate has been canonized. Legend connects him with Mt. Pilatus.

See study by A. Wroe (2000).

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Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate (d. c.36 ad), Roman procurator of Judaea c.26–c.36. He is remembered for presiding at the trial of Jesus Christ and authorizing his crucifixion, as recorded in the New Testament, although ritually washing his hands to show that he was innocent of Jesus's blood. Pilate appeared as a character in medieval mystery plays, and from this his name was used as a term of reproach for a corrupt or lax person, or one evading responsibility for their actions.

Pilate was later recalled to Rome following a massacre of Samaritans in 36. According to one tradition he subsequently committed suicide.

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Pilate, Pontius

Pilate, Pontius. The governor (‘prefect’) of Judaea under whom Jesus was crucified. The gospels may show him in an unduly favourable light in their insistence on blaming the Jewish mob for Jesus' death.

The apocryphal text known as the Acts of Pilate (4th cent. at the earliest) can hardly derive from any official records of Jesus' trial.

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Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate (active 1st century ad) Roman prefect. In c.ad 26, Emperor Tiberius appointed him procurator (governor) of Judaea. An arrogant and cruel ruler, Pilate is noted for his order to crucify Jesus Christ. In c.ad 36, he was recalled to Rome after sanctioning the massacre of Samaritans.

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Pilate, Pontius

Pilate, Pontius See Pontius Pilate

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