Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Review: Ann Wroe's Pontius Pilate: The Biography of an Invented Man

He was probably an equestrian -- not a member of the ruling class, but close enough to have ambitions that way.

He may have been a protege of Sejanus -- the commander of Rome's Praetorian Guard whose arrest and execution would make anyone fear the charge they were "no friend of Caesar."

And though he ordered the death of Jesus, it is easy to see him as a sympathetic figure -- so much so, that he is venerated in Ethiopia as a saint.

It's out of bits and pieces and scraps of information such as these that Ann Wroe has written a wonderful "biography" of Pontius Pilate . . . and if you're wondering why "biography" is in quotation marks, it's because we really don't know that much about him. But such as we have, Wroe develops into a fascinating picture of what it was like to be a Roman governor -- and an informed guess as to the motives behind Pilate's most infamous act.

Wroe's book is elegantly written, and well-researched -- the kind of book you could use for a study group, sermon preparation, or personal devotions.

And if Pilate emerges from this book as even more of a mystery than before . . .

It just proves that, whatever else he might have been, Pilate was human too.

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