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Pontius Pilate

Roman procurator or governor of Judea beween c. a.d. 26-36, appointed by Emperor Tiberius. Jesus's trial and crucifixion took place somewhere in the middle of Pilate's tenure. His attempt to evade responsibility here (Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-19:22; and parallel passages), despite his recognition of Jesus' innocence of the Jews' charge of sedition, was caused by his fear of the high priest's power and by his difficult responsibility for the peace of Palestine. Pilate's headquarters were in Caesarea, and Herod Antipas' in Tiberias. The former usually came to Jerusalem with reinforcements at Passover to preserve order among the Jewish crowds, while the latter came to gain favor with his subjects, as the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. A ruthless ruler, Pilate caused a massacre of Galileans (Luke 13:1), was removed for this, according to Eusebius, and committed suicide at Rome. He was tactless, hot- tempered, and often weak in ruling; to cover his weakness he often resorted to brutal acts.