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  #1  
Old Apr 7, '12, 5:23 pm
ssa trad cath ssa trad cath is offline
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Default Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

Listening to the Passion Gospel on Good Friday, I was thinking of Pontius Pilate, and the reasons why he acted the way he did.

St John's Gospel says that "his fears increased" when the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy for claiming to be a Son of God. Pilate, being a Roman, would have been a pagan polytheist who believed it was possible for the gods to take human form. Is it possible that he didn't actually care whether Jesus was crucified or not - he didn't initially think Jesus important enough to care - but then got worried that Jesus micht actually be a deity in human form? Rather than not wanting to see Him crucified but then caving in under pressure, the reverse may be true - he may have been unconcerned whether he killed Jesus or not but then became superstitious about it, resulting in his attempts to free Jesus then eventually washing his hands of it. As nobody probably bothered to ask Pilate about it, that could be why it was never recorded in the Gospels. And he has a reputation in secular history for being ruthless, so it seems a bit strange that he balked at crucifying Jesus, unless something like superstition got him worried.

Just a theory of mine that's probably wrong, just wanted to see what other people thought.
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  #2  
Old Apr 7, '12, 6:44 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssa trad cath View Post
Listening to the Passion Gospel on Good Friday, I was thinking of Pontius Pilate, and the reasons why he acted the way he did.

St John's Gospel says that "his fears increased" when the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy for claiming to be a Son of God. Pilate, being a Roman, would have been a pagan polytheist who believed it was possible for the gods to take human form. Is it possible that he didn't actually care whether Jesus was crucified or not - he didn't initially think Jesus important enough to care - but then got worried that Jesus micht actually be a deity in human form? Rather than not wanting to see Him crucified but then caving in under pressure, the reverse may be true - he may have been unconcerned whether he killed Jesus or not but then became superstitious about it, resulting in his attempts to free Jesus then eventually washing his hands of it. As nobody probably bothered to ask Pilate about it, that could be why it was never recorded in the Gospels. And he has a reputation in secular history for being ruthless, so it seems a bit strange that he balked at crucifying Jesus, unless something like superstition got him worried.

Just a theory of mine that's probably wrong, just wanted to see what other people thought.
I don't know. Personally (just my opinion, mind) I think it's equally likely that Pilate was being, for lack of a better term, a crafty jerk.
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  #3  
Old Apr 9, '12, 10:01 pm
PeterK PeterK is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

@patrick,
I can't help think that is very close to the truth. I think Pilate despised the Jews and was mocking them by having Jesus scourged. There's a 'sympathy' for pilate's tough predicament that shows up - like in gibson's Passion of the Christ - that I believe is artificial. Pilate was a hardened worldly man.

Petek
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  #4  
Old Apr 9, '12, 10:09 pm
Richard320 Richard320 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

I read somewhere, and it makes sense to me, that Pilate caved in to the mob out of fear. Not fear of them. He was afraid for his job. He was essentially a bureaucrat; he had to answer to higher ups. Jerusalem was a hotbed at the time, and if a riot erupted, he would get replaced. He could see what was going on, and he couldn't care less if Jesus was blaspheming - it wasn't his problem, it was a Jewish problem. An internal matter. So he tried to appease them by having Him scourged.
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  #5  
Old Apr 10, '12, 5:17 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

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I read somewhere, and it makes sense to me, that Pilate caved in to the mob out of fear. Not fear of them. He was afraid for his job. He was essentially a bureaucrat; he had to answer to higher ups. Jerusalem was a hotbed at the time, and if a riot erupted, he would get replaced. He could see what was going on, and he couldn't care less if Jesus was blaspheming - it wasn't his problem, it was a Jewish problem. An internal matter. So he tried to appease them by having Him scourged.
It was really a chain of command: local authorities like Caiaphas and his council were answerable to the prefect (in this case, Pilate), and Pilate was answerable to his superiors (the Legate of Syria is an immediate example). Rome preferred at the time an indirect form of government, where it was the responsibility of the native officials to run daily affairs for the Romans, which includes maintenance of public order. If the magistrates didn't run things smoothly, they would get in trouble with the prefect, who would himself probably get into hot water. So all of them would have had a vested interest in removing any potential disturbance.
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  #6  
Old Apr 10, '12, 6:28 am
momof8 momof8 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

An excellent book on Jesus' Passion is "The Passion of Jesus and Its Hidden Meaning", by Rev. James Groenings, S.J. The discussions of Our Lord's hearings before Pilate are my favorite parts of the book. There were many issues at play in the events involving Pilate. What stood out to me in the book, besides the historic details, is the way that Jesus offered Pilate opportunities for grace and conversion, and I can't help wishing Pilate had taken Him up on it. Jesus would have been crucified somehow regardless, but it would have been something to see the story play out differently for Pilate.
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  #7  
Old Apr 10, '12, 9:45 am
steve53 steve53 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

Pontius was being passive-aggressive.

The temple made a lot of money, and almost certainly cut Pontius a share of it to make sure things ran smoothly.

So Pontius had to crucify Jesus, on the order of Caiaphas, but he did NOT like being used by the High Priesthood.

Pilate knew that Tiberius would not like his misuse of power as well, and was putting on a show on that account too.
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  #8  
Old Apr 10, '12, 10:11 am
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CHRISTINE77 CHRISTINE77 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

I think it was because the Jews told him that he would not honor Caesar if he did not kill Jesus, because Jesus called himself King, (although not of this world) and saying you were a king would be in direct challenge to the authority of Caesar. Therefore Pilate was fearful for his job. I do like the OP's idea that Pilate might have thought that Jesus could be a deity. He turned out to be right in so many ways, like the way he wrote KING OF THE JEWS on his cross.
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  #9  
Old Apr 10, '12, 6:26 pm
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Irishgal49 Irishgal49 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

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Originally Posted by patrick457 View Post
I don't know. Personally (just my opinion, mind) I think it's equally likely that Pilate was being, for lack of a better term, a crafty jerk.
If Pilate can't keep the annoying Jews under control he could literally lose his head. Rome was not going to tolerate having to squash another rebellion and the situation was boiling already. A man claiming to be ushering in a "kingdom" would be perceived as a possible threat.

Personally he probably didn't give diddly squat about what they said re: Jesus. Just another lousy day away from Rome as far as he's concerned. But when got all worked into a frenzy and crowds were gathering and screaming, he figured killing one man to shut them up and keep an uprising from happening was a "small price to pay". Also, Passover is a time when Jews celebrate their liberation from oppression. So you can imagine that he was probably freaking out when they started screaming and gathering in groups. This would be the end of his career and a major war would be something he wanted to avoid at all costs.

Lorrie
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  #10  
Old Apr 11, '12, 4:08 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

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Originally Posted by Irishgal49 View Post
If Pilate can't keep the annoying Jews under control he could literally lose his head. Rome was not going to tolerate having to squash another rebellion and the situation was boiling already. A man claiming to be ushering in a "kingdom" would be perceived as a possible threat.

Personally he probably didn't give diddly squat about what they said re: Jesus. Just another lousy day away from Rome as far as he's concerned. But when got all worked into a frenzy and crowds were gathering and screaming, he figured killing one man to shut them up and keep an uprising from happening was a "small price to pay". Also, Passover is a time when Jews celebrate their liberation from oppression. So you can imagine that he was probably freaking out when they started screaming and gathering in groups. This would be the end of his career and a major war would be something he wanted to avoid at all costs.

Lorrie
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  #11  
Old Apr 11, '12, 4:14 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

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Originally Posted by CHRISTINE77 View Post
I think it was because the Jews told him that he would not honor Caesar if he did not kill Jesus, because Jesus called himself King, (although not of this world) and saying you were a king would be in direct challenge to the authority of Caesar. Therefore Pilate was fearful for his job. I do like the OP's idea that Pilate might have thought that Jesus could be a deity. He turned out to be right in so many ways, like the way he wrote KING OF THE JEWS on his cross.
It's really a piece of dramatic irony, that inscription. The titulus (as it was probably known) was meant to advertise to the public exactly what crime(s) caused the condemned man to be executed. The way the charge is worded would seem to suggest that Jesus was put to death for being "King of the Judaeans," rather than styling Himself to be one. ("Do not write, 'The King of the Jews, but rather, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'") It's a rather cruel and sadistic joke, but it unwittingly proclaims the truth.
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  #12  
Old Apr 11, '12, 5:55 am
kkoleon kkoleon is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssa trad cath View Post
Listening to the Passion Gospel on Good Friday, I was thinking of Pontius Pilate, and the reasons why he acted the way he did.

St John's Gospel says that "his fears increased" when the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy for claiming to be a Son of God. Pilate, being a Roman, would have been a pagan polytheist who believed it was possible for the gods to take human form. Is it possible that he didn't actually care whether Jesus was crucified or not - he didn't initially think Jesus important enough to care - but then got worried that Jesus micht actually be a deity in human form? Rather than not wanting to see Him crucified but then caving in under pressure, the reverse may be true - he may have been unconcerned whether he killed Jesus or not but then became superstitious about it, resulting in his attempts to free Jesus then eventually washing his hands of it. As nobody probably bothered to ask Pilate about it, that could be why it was never recorded in the Gospels. And he has a reputation in secular history for being ruthless, so it seems a bit strange that he balked at crucifying Jesus, unless something like superstition got him worried.

Just a theory of mine that's probably wrong, just wanted to see what other people thought.
Pilate didn't care to much for the Jews and their request for the capital punishment of Jesus. He was happy to allow Jesus to walk free as to spite them and he really couldn't find a point of conviction breaking any roman law. He was more concerned with his relationship to caesar. He asked Jesus if he was king of the Jews and would have been happy in jesus ' response that it was not of this world. The son of god reference would have worried him as it is a title reserved for Caesar also. Being 'no friends caesars' would have been his main concern and when they threatened to make an outcry he had to react lest the multitude were to riot and cause him no end of worries in terms of his fractured relationship to the emperor.
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  #13  
Old Apr 11, '12, 6:01 am
JharekCarnelian JharekCarnelian is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

As a side point of interest Pilate is seen as a Saint in at least one apostolic Church, namely the Ethopian Orthodox Church which recognised him as such in the 6th century. His wife Claudia Procula is seen as a saint generally in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, although her husband is not seen in this manner outside of the above mentioned Church.
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Old Apr 11, '12, 3:28 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

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As a side point of interest Pilate is seen as a Saint in at least one apostolic Church, namely the Ethopian Orthodox Church which recognised him as such in the 6th century. His wife Claudia Procula is seen as a saint generally in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, although her husband is not seen in this manner outside of the above mentioned Church.
Yep. In the West though Pilate was seen in a more negative light, as various legends about his eventual fate (such as his supposed suicide) show.
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Old Apr 11, '12, 3:32 pm
JharekCarnelian JharekCarnelian is offline
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Default Re: Pontius Pilate - reason for actions?

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Yep. In the West though Pilate was seen in a more negative light, as various legends about his eventual fate (such as his supposed suicide) show.
Yes, there's one legend from Italy that says his body climbs back out of the lake it's supposed to be buried in every Good Friday and washes it's hands.
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