December Books 4) Pilate

4) Pilate: The Biography of an Invented Man, by Ann Wroe

Picked this heavy hardback up for a fiver in Belfast in the summer. So little is known about the historical Pilate that Ann Wroe has bulked out the book considerably with stories told about him (the Copts seem to have had a lot). A couple of points I hadn’t realised – the image of the emperor on Roman coins made them unacceptable for use in Temple rituals, which adds extra point to “Render unto Caesar” and also explains what the money-changers were doing at the Temple. But most of the book reflects on the stories we tell about ethics and political morality. “The intriguing thing about Pilate is the degree to which he tried to do the good thing rather than the bad. He commands our moral attention not because he was a bad man, but because he was so nearly a good man.” (A quote from a 1996 interview with Tony Blair.) All very thought-provoking, though I wish it had been a little shorter.

One thought on “December Books 4) Pilate

  1. I’ve been driven past it; but only because you had to in order to get to my in-laws’ old house.

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