Luke 23:24

New Testament

20 But they kept on shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 21 A third time he said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I have found him guilty of no crime deserving death. I will therefore flog him and release him.” 22 But they were insistent, demanding with loud shouts that he be crucified. And their shouts prevailed. 23 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 24 He released the man they asked for, who had been thrown in prison for insurrection and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will. 25 As they led him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country. They placed the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Tacitus Annals 15.44


So far, the precautions taken were suggested by human prudence: now means were sought for appeasing deity, and application was made to the Sibylline books; at the injunction of which public prayers were offered to Vulcan, Ceres, and Proserpine, while Juno was propitiated by the matrons, first in the Capitol, then at the nearest point of the sea-shore, where water was drawn for sprinkling the temple and image of the goddess. Ritual banquets and all-night vigils were celebrated by women in the married state. But neither human help, nor imperial munificence, nor all the modes of placating Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order. Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue.

 Notes and References

"... Of all the figures that appear in the New Testament and early Christian literature, Pontius Pilate is probably the most ambiguous, and yet also the most well evidenced in non-Christian writings, importantly in Philo (Legat. 299–305), Josephus (Bell. II.117–18; 167–279; Ant. XVIII.55–64; 85–89), and in Tacitus (Ann. XV.22.4). The rhetorical aspects of the literary sources have been well discussed, notably by J. P. Lémonon1 and B. C. McGing,2 and recently by Helen Bond, who has deftly explored the historical Pilate beneath this material ..."

Taylor, Joan E. Pontius Pilate and the Imperial Cult in Roman Judea (pp. 555-582) New Testament Studies, Vol. 52, Issue 4, 2006

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