But the earlier Gospels, Mark and Matthew, have this scene which is inflammatory and unambigously anti-Roman. The write-up of this incident was the Abu Ghraib pics of its time. Then comes Luke, and it's 180 degrees on Roman responsibility. It'd be like the United States saying, "Yes, those are nasty pix, but that wasn't us. Those were taken while Saddam Hussein was still running the prison." And John makes it look like Pilate was doing Jesus a favor - maybe that nasty Jewish mob will grow some compassion and relent.
So, my own opinion is that this incident helps clarify the charges of Gospel anti-semitism and Roman pandering. I've always thought that both trials were depicted as unjust, in all four Gospels. And no matter how you slice it, Pilate is shown as a wuss who can't make up his mind, and it wouldn't matter much if he did make it up, because the mob is calling the shots anyway.
But the abuse of a broken man by Roman soldiers in uniform is unambiguous. Roman occupation is unjust, arbitrary and brutal. That indictment would have resonated in a lot of places besides Jerusalem. Then the Roman atrocity disappears from the later Gospels.
So, I think this is the smoking gun for charges that the Gospel writers pandered to Roman sensibilities. Not all the Gospels, and the church obviously didn't rewrite the older versions, but something like pandering does seem to have occurred. Alternatively, Luke had it right, and the early writers falsely pinned the incident on the Romans for reasons that made sense while Jerusalem was still a functioning Jewish city under Roman rule, direct or through puppet-kings.
What do you think?
Greetings 8 Bits,
Great post. Admittedly I am one who suspects much anti-Semitism in the NT regardign the judgements of Christ and the what ensues. However There also appears anti-Semitism among the Jews own ranks. Not solely Romans. But the Essenes as well and why they abandoned the rest of their nation suspecting the devil even among their ranks and thus racism, judgementalism (probably more apt) persisted in their own ranks. And we see time and time againfellow Jews condemning one another for worshiping other nations Gods or growing to other nations customs of just for flat out dissagreements. All that said, your topic pertaining to the garments Jesus wore...it seems all the more significant after reading this topic.
On a side note in regards to Pontii Pilatus (Pilate)...he's always been one of my favorite figures. Portrayed as weak and aloof. Other times portrayed as realizing the divinity in Jesus, other times a rational individual weighing heavy consequences, even up to today Pilate remains so controversial and mainly so I suspect because we have so little about him to go by. Whether it's hating or blaming him for the death of Christ of "saintifying" him as the Coptics did, he remains nonetheless mysterious. But one scene in the Bible that is so interesting...it conveys Pilate (at least to me) as his role was suited for as a dignitary in prominance maintaining a sense of peace. Pilate asks Jesus a poignant question, "What is truth?"
That question in all we have of Pilate IMO makes him the most human. Certainly the most philisophical moment we get of Pilate it seems. Jesus before him making bold, statements and so sure of himself, that Pilate is inquisitive and asks the question "what is truth?" it was like Pilatewas asking Jesus philosohically, how can you be so sure of yourself?