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Pontius Pilate (Liveright), by Aldo Schiavone

Mar. 1, 2017
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Of all the figures mentioned in the story of Jesus in the days before his execution, Pontius Pilate left the greatest mark on the non-scriptural historical record. Italian legal scholar and classicist Aldo Schiavone analyzes the Gospel accounts and combs secular sources to compose a sketch of the Roman governor and a fuller picture of what may have happened in the week before the first Easter. Eager to avoid the prejudices and preconceptions of all parties, Schiavone plausibly reconstructs events with an eye to the legal and political aspects. He finds that Pilate was a “cautious realist” with the difficult task of governing an unruly province in tandem with local theocrats whom he didn’t entirely trust or understand. Schiavone draws Pilate as the victim of the cultural incomprehension that often occurs between the conqueror and the conquered.

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