“Like Pilate made it into the Creed” – Pilate schemes (TLS, 25 March 2016)

The TLS ran a Commentary piece on the Roman trial of Jesus at Easter, 2016: David Lloyd Dusenbury, “Pilate schemes”, TLS 5895 (25 March 2016), 15. An excerpt from the author’s typescript is copied below:

“Jesus before Pilate”, 1921, by Eric Gill

I once overheard a joke in a Budapest establishment which I believe is Hungarian, or at least Middle-European: “I made it in like Pilate made it into the Creed”. This captures the improbability, or even – on the face of it – the impropriety, of Pilate’s appearance in the core profession of Christian belief.

Pontius Pilate was an emperor-worshiping Roman prefect with a reputation for cruelty. He was notorious for insults, and could not resist jabbing at Jesus, thus giving us – to his credit – the gospels’ only jest: “What is truth?” And yet his name, beside those of Jesus and Mary, is an articulus fidei. Why is this?

A legal and cultural philosopher of note, Giorgio Agamben, has made a couple of proposals in his recent essay on Pilate and Jesus (Pilato e Gesú, 2013). …


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