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Pilate, Who Never “Learned His Lesson”

This is the second of my two posts  from over three years ago that try to show that Pilate almost certainly would not have removed Jesus’ body from the cross on the afternoon of his death simply because not to do so would have been in violation of Jewish sensitivities.   (NOTE: Pilate is not said to have done so for the other two who were crucified with Jesus. Are we to think he made an exception in Jesus’ case, since, after all, he was far more important?)

To make the best sense of this post it is important to keep in mind what I said in the previous one.

In his response to my views of in How Jesus Became God – that Jesus most likely was not given a decent burial on the day of his crucifixion by Joseph of Arimathea – Craig Evans has maintained, among other things, that Pilate was not the kind of governor who would ignore Jewish sensitivities.   For Craig, Pilate started his rule by making a big mistake of bringing into Jerusalem the Roman standards that bore on them the image of the emperor.  But once he realized that the Jewish populace was offended, he backed down and from then on he showed that he had learned his lesson.  For that reason, Craig finds it “hard to believe” that at a later time Pilate would do something so opposed to Jewish custom as allow a body unburied on the day of a person’s death.

This view strikes me as extremely problematic, for several reasons.   To start with, it flies in the face of…

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Was Jesus Given Special Treatment?
Pontius Pilate: A Sensitive Guy….



  1. Avatar
    rburos  February 13, 2018

    Not sure where to put this question, but I thought here not too out of place–my apologies if incorrect. Would this work better as a mail bag item?

    Crossan reads Mark and says that Jesus went to Jerusalem to conduct a double demonstration against imperial oppression (the ANTI-triumphal entry) and conservative religious collaboration (the cleansing–or rather ritual destruction–of the temple). He didn’t intend to get killed, but knew what he was doing was dangerous and willingly sacrificed his life to maintain the integrity of his vision. It is a rather beautiful interpretation, though it seems to me counter to the idea of Jesus the apocalyptic prophet.

    Dale Martin says (referring to the Markan apocalypse) that Mark is trying to teach that things will get better soon, but they will definitely get much worse first, both for Jesus and for his followers. This seems to me much more in line with apocalyptic.

    But then Fredricksen writes of Mark, saying Jesus did not go to Jerusalem to confront anything, but rather because he felt the End was coming soon and Jerusalem was the place to be when it happened.

    It would take a bit of energy to conflate all of these, but it can be done. Do you feel this would be time or energy well spent? I know you subscribe to Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet (I have your book haven’t read it yet–I’m rereading How Jesus Became God before your Triumph arrives today).

    Again, thanks for all you do.

    • Bart
      Bart  February 15, 2018

      I think the final two can be reconciled; I don’t agree with Crossan on this one.

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