A.D. The Bible Continues— Part Four

A.D. The Bible Continues— Part Four April 26, 2015


It might be possible, through a mere reading of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ trials, to come to the conclusion that Pilate was not all bad as a procurator of the province of Judaea. But this is not the whole picture, as Josephus makes very clear indeed in his Antiquities and Jewish Wars. Pilate as anti-Semitic, and he was brutal. Two of his more infamous acts early on in his rule was the attempt to bring the Roman standards into the Temple courts in Jerusalem, and his appropriation of Temple funds to build an aqueduct, without permission from the High Priest or anyone else, it would appear. But this is not all, as Lk. 13 reminds us, where we learn that Pilate had various Jews and Samaritans killed and their blood mingled with their sacrifices. Pilate was a nasty piece of work. This being the case, the portrait of Pilate in Episode 4, is entirely in keeping with the historical record and in character, even if some of the drama is fiction. Again, we have to keep in mind that this is a historical drama which involves both fiction and fact. It is not a documentary.

Of the story lines being pursued in this episode, there is major focus on the hunt for the Zealot, Boaz, who killed the Roman officer named Drusus. The Romans did indeed give new meaning to the phrase ‘over-kill’ when it came to their violent responses to the murder of a Roman officers, so the crucifying of various Jews until the Zealot was handed over is not implausible, though 10 Jews a day on fresh crosses is over the top, to say the least More interesting is the story line of the questioning of the lame man who was healed by Peter, and then refuses to testify against Peter or claim that he was not healed. Even more important is the introduction of the antipodes of giving— namely Barnabas and Ananias and Sapphira. The depictions of the former’s generosity and the latter lies is dramatic, as is the depiction of the sudden judgments that fall on Ananias and Sapphira. Notice, that we have not gotten beyond Acts 5 yet, and Stephen has barely been mentioned.

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