While this TV miniseries is grounded in the Bible, some of it is pure speculation. Consider A.D.’s mostly fictional portrayal of Pilate, who orders that ten Jews be crucified for each day the zealot Boaz remains at large. How plausible is this?
Philo, a 1st-century Jewish philosopher, tells us that Pilate once received a severe reprimand from Emperor Tiberius for installing Roman shields in the temple (see previous post), thus inciting rebellion and violating Rome’s policy of peaceful subjugation. Executing ten Jews per day (and forcing Caiaphas to eat cremated remains) would certainly provoke more anti-Roman hostility, not to mention the displeasure of the emperor.
However, both Philo and Josephus (a 1st-century Jewish historian), describe Pilate as a vindictive man with a furious temper, and Luke writes about the “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices” (13:1). Pilate’s harsh retaliation to an attempted assassination is possible, although ten daily crucifixions seems to be excessive artistic license.
Still, this brutal description of Pilate better reflects the historical Pilate, and makes for better drama. That’s the Pilate you will see in episode 5.