Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate (pŏnˈshəs pĪˈlət) [key], Roman prefect of Judaea (A.D. 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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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