Klio | 2019
Was Pontius Pilate a Single-Handed Prefect? Roman Intelligence Sources as a Missing Link in the Gospels’ Story
Summary The portrayal of Pontius Pilate as a single-handed prefect is one of the many incongruous and implausible elements found in the Gospel accounts of Jesus of Nazareth’s passion. Moreover, a striking imbalance in these accounts emerges: whilst Romans appear only at the last phase of the story, earlier the only people plotting against Jesus are Jews. There is every indication that some key information has been dropped. The present paper, after taking into account the traces of anti-Roman aspects in Jesus’ career, surveys what is known about the consilia of Roman provincial governors and the sources of information available to them, and, for the first time, applies this knowledge to a critical reconstruction of the story underlying the Gospels, thereby providing a missing link to understand it.