Is A.D. The Bible Continues Biblically Accurate? (Episode 4)

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?

The Message of Pilate's Wife, by James Tissot

The Message of Pilate’s Wife, by James Tissot

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.

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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One Response to Is A.D. The Bible Continues Biblically Accurate? (Episode 4)

  1. Pingback: Is A.D. The Bible Continues Biblically Accurate? (Episode 5) | The Other Six Days

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