Pontius Pilate in History and Legend

2000 years ago, a Roman Governor of Judaea made a decision that has lent his name to posterity.

Antonio Ciseri

The ‘irony of fate’ is a much-used, and frequently abused, expression for the unpredictable outcome of human action taken with quite different intent. The expression has never been more justified than by the consequences of an order given by the Roman Governor of Judaea at the Passover of the year a.d. 301 By sentencing to death a Galilaean Jew accused of sedition, this Governor, Pontius Pilate, unwittingly ensured that his own name should be remembered daily through nineteen subsequent centuries in all parts of the world. For the Jew, whose crucifixion he ordered, became the Saviour God of a new world-religion. Each day, at innumerable altars, that crucifixion and he who ordered it are remembered in the words of the Christian creed: ‘Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.’

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