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Sources and Notes

Who was Pontius Pilate? - Historical Proof and Legends

Matthew Whitman

Note: I’m presenting this bibliography in a format designed for citizens of the Internet, so wherever possible I’ve cited online content for easy, linkable access. I’m also including notes on many of these citations, and all of those will be in italics.

 

RELIABLE HISTORICAL SOURCES ON PILATE’S LIFE AND WORLD

(Relevant sections in parentheses)

 

Cassius Dio, Roman History – Dio records Augustus’ rule that governors were to return to Rome and give a report within three months of finishing their term (see 53.15.6) - http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius_Dio/53*.html

 

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book XVIII (chapters 2,3 and 4) - http://penelope.uchicago.edu/josephus/ant-18.html

Josephus, The Wars of the Jews Book II (chapter 9) - http://sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/war-2.htm

Manuscript Evidence in Support of Flavius Josephus - http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/josephus_antiquities.htm

Philo’s Letter to Caligula (Section 38 starting at 299) - http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/yonge/book40.html

Pilate’s Coins - http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html

How coins like this are certified - https://www.ngccoin.com/specialty-services/ancient-coins/?utm_source=coinweek

The Pilate Stone (Found at Caesarea and mentioning Pilate by name) - http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/latin/pilate.html

The Pilate Ring (Found at the Herodium and bearing Pilate’s name) – https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/pontius-pilate-ring-herodium/

 

Tacitus’ Annals - Mention of Pilate and the crucifixion (Book 15, section 44) – http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Tacitus/Annals/15B*.html#44

 

Description of Tiberius’ revenge against Sejanus (Recorded in Book 5) - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Annals_(Tacitus)/Book_5

 

USEFUL LATER SOURCE ON PILATE’S LIFE

 

Eusebius, The History of the Church. Translated by G.A. Williamson. New York: Penguin, 1989 (Relevant sections: I.9, II.2, II.6, V.7, IX.5) http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0265339,_Eusebius_Caesariensis,_Church_History,_EN.pdf

 

THE WRITINGS THAT SPAWNED THE PILATE CYCLE

 

Celsus, On the True Doctrine – The critique of Christianity that initiated the Pilate Cycle. Among other critiques, Celsus asks why, if Jesus were deity, Pilate wasn’t killed, tortured, or driven mad in keeping with the style of Greek mythic justice to which he was accustomed.

                 Partial Internet translation - http://trisagionseraph.tripod.com/Texts/Celsus.html

  Complete treatment in print from Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/True-Doctrine-Discourse- Against-Christians/dp/0195041518

Origen quote Celsus’ passage in question can be found here in book II line 34 of Contra Celsum - http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/celsus.html

 

Myth of Pentheus and Dionysus - https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Pentheus/pentheus.html

Origen, Contra Celsum (relevant portion 2.34) – Origen here blames the Jews, not Pilate, for Jesus’ death and says they’ve suffered greatly as a result. This passage is also significant, because he doesn’t refute Celsus’ claim that Pilate wasn’t tortured and killed by God for killing Jesus; which lends a dash of evidence as to how things turned out for Pilate - http://www.documenta-catholica.eu/d_0185-0254-%20Origene%20-%20Contra%20Celsus%20-%20EN.pdf

 

Justin Martyr, First Apology (Justin references The Acts of Pilate in chapters 35 and 48) http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm

 

Tertullian, Apology (Full-Text pdf) – Section 21 (page 44 in the linked translation) has Tertullian suggesting Pilate was a Christian already before the crucifixion - http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/vc/pdfs/Apology.pdf

 

APOCRYPHAL CHRISTIAN WRITINGS RELEVANT TO THE PILATE DISCUSSION

 

The Acts of Peter and Paul – The relevant section appears about halfway through this short document – http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0815.htm

 

Cura Sanitatis Tiberii - https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/cura_sanitatis_tiberii_text.pdf

 

The Gospel of Nicodemus (Acts of Pilate) – This is one of many, many versions of this document. This example includes all the later additions including the prologue. - https://archive.org/stream/pdfy-5lijplxCkA4qdCgY/The+Gospel+Of+Nicodemus_djvu.txt

 

The Gospel of Peter – Verses 1 and 2 describe Pilate’s innocence and Herod’s guilt in the execution of Jesus. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/gospelpeter-brown.html

 

Vindicta Salvatoris

https://www.academia.edu/6453636/_Les_origines_litt%C3%A9raires_de_la_l%C3%A9gende_de_V%C3%A9ronique_et_de_la_Sainte_Face_la_Cura_sanitatis_Tiberii_et_la_Vindicta_Saluatoris_dans_A._MONACI_CASTAGNO_%C3%A9d._Sacre_impronte_e_oggetti_non_fatti_da_mano_duomo_nelle_religioni...._Turin_Edizioni_dell_Orso_2011_p._231-251

 

EARLY PILATE LITERATURE AND SELECTIONS FROM THE LATER PILATE CYCLE

 

A collection of Pilate Cycle variants including letters between Herod and Pilate, reports of Pilate, the Epistle of Pilate, two more versions of Pilate’s report, an account of his trial before Caesar, and the account of his death. https://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/lbob/lbob29.htm

 

Archbishop Adon of Vienne claimed Pilate died there of suicide (reference and quote on p. 90) - https://www.persee.fr/doc/mar_0758-4431_1990_num_18_1_1436

 

First and second Greek forms of Pilate’s apocryphal report to Emperor Claudius (from Catholic Culture.org) – https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/fathers/view.cfm?recnum=1894

 

The Death of Pilate (long version) - http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0810.htm

 

The Death of Pilate (short version) - http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0812.htm

 

The Letter of Pilate to Tiberius, translated by Alexander Walker – This concise version of the report was probably an earlier version of the much-expanded medieval forgeries from the height of the Pilate Cycle. - http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0812.htm

 

Letter of Pilate’s Wife, Claudia Procula, to Her Friend, Fulvia Romelia (Part of the Pilate’s Wife Cycle from a 17th century copy) – http://torahofyeshuah.blogspot.com/2015/04/letter-of-pilates-wife-claudia-procula.html

 

Report of Pontius Pilate to Tiberius - http://theancientbridge.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/his_letter.pdf

 

Debunking of Report of Pontius Pilate to Tiberius

https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2012/05/11/the-letter-of-pilate-to-tiberius/

 

Report to Tiberius – In this later forgery, Pilate takes credit for Jesus having the liberty to carry out his ministry without being bothered by the Jews - http://theancientbridge.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/his_letter.pdf

 

 See the section on modern scholarship for more Pilate Cycle literature

MODERN RESEARCH THAT DOCUMENT AND SUMMARIZE PILATE FACTS AND PILATE LEGENDS

Cirque Romain de Vienne – A helpful little article (in French) describing the hippodrome in Vienne, France and the pyramid monument left behind that is now associated with Pontius Pilate. - http://www.wikiwand.com/fr/Cirque_romain_de_Vienne

 

Claims that Pilate was born in Scotland - https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/p/pontiuspilate.html

 

Excellent summary of Aelius Sejanus’ influence on and plot against Tiberius and how that weakened Pilate’s position – http://www.bethlehemstar.com/the-day-of-the-cross/pilate-and-sejanus/

 

New Advent entry on Pontius Pilate – A generic article that’s a good place to start for an overview of the topic – http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

 

Pilate’s Burial Monument in Vienne, France - https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/107633698/pontius-pilate

Berlioz, Jacques. Crochet de fer et puits à tempête. La légende de Ponce Pilate à Vienne (Isère) et au mont Pilât au XIIIe siècle

This is an article discussing a hook on which Pilate was reported to have been hung in Vienne, France. In the course of the exploration, Berlioz quotes from several obscure medieval local French sources that each have their own spin on the events of Pilate’s supposed later life in and around Vienne. Several elements of more prominent rumor are present, but these accounts also offer completely unique traditions. Though the article is in French, but it’s fascinating and worth the extra effort to encounter these legends first hand. - https://www.persee.fr/doc/mar_0758-4431_1990_num_18_1_1436

 

One legend mentioned in Crochet is attached to an anonymous commentary on Godfrey of Viterbo’s Speculum regum – A scanned 1478 edition of that book is available here - https://www.loc.gov/item/49040110/

 

Bond, Helen K. The Coins of Pontius Pilate: Part of an Attempt to Provoke the People or to Integrate Them into the Empire? Found in Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman Periods.  1996. P. 241-262 (This article is important because it addresses the history surrounding the coin mentioned in the video in the context of Sejanus and his reputed anti-semitism. Bond argues that, though this anti-semitism may have existed, Pilate’s coin designs were not meant to provoke the Jewish people, but instead to bring about unity). Full text here - https://brill.com/abstract/journals/jsj/27/3/article-p241_1.xml

 

Ehrman, Bart. The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations. 2011. (See chapter 25)

                Amazon link – https://www.amazon.com/Apocryphal-Gospels-Texts-Translations-ebook/dp/B005Q8E8MM

                Ebook link - https://books.google.com/books?id=Cmbtm4ZZXF0C&pg=PA419#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Geerard, Maurice. Clavis apocryphorum Novi Testamenti, Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum. 1992 – Geerard coined the phrase “Pilate cycle” and chased down and documented several unique Pilate traditions throughout the classical and medieval world. - http://www.brepols.net/Pages/ShowProduct.aspx?prod_id=IS-9782503502502-1

 

Grull, Tibor. The Legendary Fate of Pontius Pilate. From Classica et Mediaevalia 61 (2010) 151–176.  https://www.academia.edu/2035441/The_Legendary_Fate_of_Pontius_Pilate

 

Isydorczyk, Zbigniew. The Medieval Gospel of Nicodemus: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts in Western Europe. 1997. Here Isydorczyk describes the fifteen distinct writings from The Pilate Cycle - Full text available here - https://archive.org/details/medievalgospelof00izyduoft/page/n7

 

Isydorczyk Pilate literature list and summary drawing on Geerard:

 

Episotla Pilati ad Claudium – A report from Pilate that blames the Jews, presents himself as a Christian (Greek, Latin, Syriac, medieval)

Anaphora Pilati – Works of Christ and the resurrection reported to the emperor (5th c. Greek two versions)

Paradosis Pilati – Arrest and martyrdom of Pilate for following Jesus (5th)

Tiberii rescriptum – Tiberius’ response to Pilate’s report. Tiberius is angry and condemns Pilate. (5th c. Greek and Old Slavonic)

Epistolae Pilati et Herodis – Pilate tells Herod he’s become a Christian, and Herod tells Pilate his life has been miserable. (5th c. Greek and Syriac)

Epistoa Pilati ad Tiberium – Pilate admits he sentenced Jesus because of weakness and loyalty to Tiberius (16th c. Latin)

Cura sanitates Tiberii – Tiberius gets healed by an image of Jesus. Peter confirms the details of Pilate’s report, but Nero exiles Pilate who then kills himself (5th-8th c. Latin)

Vindicta Salvatoris – Titus gets healed then Tiberius gets healed. Pilate is condemned (8th c. Latin composed in Gaul)

Mors Pilati – Tiberius healed, Pilate commits suicide, and his corpse causes a spiritual stir (M.A. Latin)

Vita Mariae Magdalenae – Mary Magdalene goes to Rome and denounced Pilate to the emperor. (M.A. Greek)

Encomium in Mariam Magdalenam – Story of the childhood of Mary Magdalene and her part in the crucifixion and resurrection (Coptic)

Maier, Paul. The Fate of Pontius Pilate. Found in Hermes number 99, 1971. Full text available through JSTOR – https://www.jstor.org/stable/4475698?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

 

Pearse, Roger. Blog Entry. 2015. Here, Pearse gives a nice summary of the swirling mass of Pilate traditions in the middle ages by relaying his experience in reading Constantins Tischendorf’s Evangelia Apocrypha - https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2015/05/06/the-death-of-pilate-a-text-and-some-notes-on-the-cura-sanitatis-tiberii/

 

Scheidweiler, Felix. The Gospel of Nicodemus: Acts of Pilate and Christ’s Descent into Hell. Found in New Testament Apocrypha: Gospels and Related Writings. 1991. (Link to the relevant chapter in ebook form) - https://books.google.com/books?id=TDW0PeFSvGEC&pg=PA501#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Smith, William. Dictionary of the Bible Comprising its Antiquities, Biography, Geography and Natural History – p. 750 https://books.google.com/books/about/A_Dictionary_of_the_Bible.html?id=iz5W7j32-7UC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Tischendorf, Constantinus. Evangelia Apocrypha. 1852. Here Tischendorf assembles all the apocryphal Pilate literature (and much more) through the centuries. - https://archive.org/search.php?query=Tischendorf%20Evangelia%20Apocrypha