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Pontius Pilateby Ann Wroe
Synopses & Reviews
Praise for Pontius Pilate
"A splendid biography...meticulous and eloquent. In the course of this account, the reader discovers in a new way that evil and good are often deeply and mysteriously complementary."
"In writing about Pilate, the decisions he made and the responsibility he has since had to bear, Wroe is also writing about the nature of guilt, human uncertainty, and solitariness. It is a book which will take root inside your head and grow there."
"Ann Wroe demonstrates, with a wide range of examples and reading, how men and women dip into this story and use it as a way of understanding themselves. Wroe is a creative, even a beautiful, writer. It is a wonderfully enjoyable, rich, generous book."
-A. N. Wilson
"Ann Wroe's text crackles with millennia of moral meaning. We are made to feel for the figure who, from the balcony of his palace, may have seen Christ preach, and it is this Pilate to whom she dedicates her erudition. A remarkable book. It is an inspiration."
"Any petty ambitions of Pontius Pilate to leave some trace of his contributions to Roman imperial history as governor of Judaea were overwhelmed by his supporting role in the foundation of the Christian religion....There are far too many 'spiritual' books around which are problem-raising or problem-solving. Far too few are aware of the need to find a poetry and imagination to equip us for the spiritual quest. This book has some of that rare quality. It is free from moralizing clichéeacute;s about wishy-washy leadership and understands that our need is not so much to solve as to deepen the mysteries of faith."
-Robert Runcie, former Archbishop of Canterbury
"The trial of Jesus has absorbed the imagination of writers and theologians throughout the last two thousand years. The most human way to read the story is through the eyes of Pilate-who can thus take the place of Everyman, not just Everyruler....There are pages here that have the touch of a master novelist. This is a book that will make you think and feel in a new way about an old story which many of us think we know, but which few have ever explored so imaginatively."
Reconstructed from classical sources, the man whom the gospels report stood trial over Jesus is revealed as a fairly average Roman administrator mythologized by two thousand years of Christian history. 25,000 first printing.
Pontius Pilate arrived in Judaea in the year 26, sent to collect taxes and oversee the firm establishment of Roman law. His ten-year term was a time of relative peace in this fractious new outpost of the RomanEmpire, where violence was not uncommon. He was not loved and not quite feared, and might have vanished into obscurity had he not come to preside, with some reluctance, over the most famous trial inhistory.
In this brilliant biography, a finalist for the Samuel Johnson Prize and a masterpiece of scholarship and imagination, Ann Wroe brings Pilate and his world to life. Working from classicalsources, she reconstructs his origins and upbringing, his career in the military and life in Rome, his confrontation with Christ, and his long journey home. We catch glimpses of him pacing the marble floors in Caesarea, sharpening his stylus, getting dressed shortly before sunrise on the day that would seal his place in history. What were the pressures on Pilate that day? What did he really think of Jesus? PontiusPilate lets us see Christ's trial for the first time, in all its confusion, from the point of view of his executioner.
Pontius Pilate is a historical figure, like Cleopatra and Alexander, whohas been endlessly mythologized through the ages. For some he is a saint, for others the embodiment of human weakness, an archetypal politician willing to sacrifice one man for the sake of stability. Each generation haspressed onto Pilate the imprint of its anxieties and its faith. He has haunted-and continues to haunt--our imagination. From the Evangelists and the Copts (for whom he was a saint, martyred himself onthe Cross) to more recent philosophers, artists, novelists, and politicians, Pilate has been resurrected in different guises for two thousand years. Ann Wroe brings man and myth to life in a book that expands thepossibilities of the biographical form and deepens our understanding of the mysteries of faith.
It has often been said that Pontius Pilate was fingered by God to carry out the divine plan of salvation, just as clearly as Christ was. Ann Wroe shows how, in his hesitation before God, in his skepticism, his anxiety to do his job and exonerate himself of guilt, Pilate's story is very much our own.
About the Author
Ann Wroe wrote her first book at the age of seven. She received her doctorate in history from Oxford University, and then joined the BBC World Service to cover the last years of communism in Europe. Since 1992 she has been the editor of the American section of The Economist; before that she was its literary editor. Her books include Lives, Lies and the Iran-Contra Affair and A Fool and His Money, an account of a scandal in a French village during the Hundred Years' War. She lives in London with her husband and three sons.
Table of Contents
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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