Crucifixion of the Jews: Book 2

Historian Jules Isaac on The Crucifixion

“A Roman punishment, the Cross erected on Calvary pointed the finger of guilt not toward Caiphas but toward Pilate. Nothing could have been more inconvenient or troublesome for the Christian apostolate, anxious at all costs to placate the Roman government. How were they to cope with the difficulty? Each of the Evangelists [i.e. Gospel Writers] did the best he could, in his own fashion—which brings us to our second example, the vital confrontation between the data of history and those of the Evangelists.

For we have historical information concerning the matter. As we have seen, we have information concerning the Jewish people who were then so passionately anti–Roman, so ripe for revolt. We have information on the procurators, and especially on Pontius Pilate, showing him for what he really was—a bloodthirsty tyrant.*A

As a witness against him we have, first of all, his contemporary (and therefore the contemporary of Jesus), the distinguished

Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, who mentions “the crimes [of Pilate], his rages, his greed, his injustices, his abuses, the citizens he has put to death without trial, his intolerable cruelty.” In the next generation the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus tells of three incidents in the governorship of Pilate, two of Which resulted in massacres.

Another witness is Luke the Evangelist himself, who mentions (13:1) a massacre of Galileans ordered by Pilate.

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