“Astounding, illuminating”: The Innocence of Pontius Pilate in First Things

A very generous review of my Pilate book, out this month with Oxford University Press, is up at First Things: “Dusenbury’s book would be worth a careful reading if it were no more than a monograph on a debate that flows, all but unnoticed, beneath the surface of European intellectual history. His range of reference is astounding [and] his exegesis illuminating. But The Innocence of Pontius Pilate is much more than a monograph. Dusenbury argues that debates about the Roman trial of Jesus are crucial factors in the formation of secular order … [He] traces the permutations of Jesus’s ‘great refusal’ of coercive earthly power through late medieval anti-Papalists like Dante and Marsilius to early modern theorists like Hobbes and Pufendorf … Despite their differences, each writer works out his political-religious views by expounding on the ‘spiritual,’ ‘mystical,’ or ‘angelic’ kingdom of Jesus.”

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