The Pilate Inscription


Photo from Fallen Empires DESCRIPTION
Language: Latin
Medium: limestone
Size: 82 centimeters high
65 centimeters wide
Length: 4 lines of writing
Genre: Building Dedication
Dedicator: Pontius Pilate
(praefect of Judea)
Approximate Date: 26–37 CE
Place of Discovery: Caesarea, Israel
Date of Discovery: 1961
Chief Excavator: Antonio Frova
Current Location: Israel Museum
(Jerusalem)
Inventory number: AE 1963 no. 104




TEXT
LATIN
(with suggested reconstruction)
TRANSLATION
by K. C. Hanson & Douglas E. Oakman
[DIS AUGUSTI]S TIBERIEUM
[. . . . PO]NTIUS PILATUS
[. . .PRAEF]ECTUS IUDA[EA]E
[. .FECIT D]E[DICAVIT]
To the honorable gods (this) Tiberium
Pontius Pilate,
Prefect of Judea,
had dedicated




DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What would motivate a prefect like Pilate to dedicate a temple in honor of Tiberius?

2. What terms do the gospels and Acts use for Pilate's office? Tacitus (see Annals 15.44)? Josephus (see War 2.117, 169)? Philo (see Ad Gaium 299)?
3. What were the responsibilities of a Roman prefect in an imperial province?
4. What do we know about the role of the "imperial cult" in the eastern part of the Roman Empire? How does it compare with other parts of the empire, and what accounts for the differences?
5. What was the relationship between Caesarea and Jerusalem during the first century?
6. What is the relevance of an inscription such as this one regarding the dating and identification of persons mentioned in the Bible?





SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bond, Helen K. Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 100. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998.
Hanson, K. C., and Douglas E. Oakman. Palestine in the Time of Jesus: Social Structures and Social Conflicts. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.
Jones, A. H. M. “Procurators and Prefects in the Early Principate.” In Studies in Roman Government and Law, 115-25. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1960.
Lémonon, Jean-Pierre. Pilate et le gouvernement de le Judée: Textes et monuments. Paris: Gabalda, 1981.
Maier, Paul M. Pontius Pilate. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968.
Rousseau, John J., and Rami Arav. Jesus and His World. An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary, 225-27. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.
Schwartz, Daniel R. “Pontius Pilate.” In The Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 5:395-401. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Vardaman, Jerry. “A New Inscription Which Mentions Pilate as ‘Prefect.’” Journal of Biblical Literature 81 (1962) 70-71.



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Last Modified: 19 April 2007