Sunday, May 6, 2012
Memoirs of Pontius Pilate by James R. Mills
Not something that I would normally search out, this book caught my eye when I saw it displayed near the Michelle Moran books I was looking for. It was very small and looked like an easy read, and I was intrigued by the concept of a book depicting the story of Christ from the perspective of his "political opponent" (as the book describes Pilate). I determined to set the book aside if the content was in any way disrespectful or sacrilegious, and set about reading it.
Although I can't speak to the authenticity of the characters (Pilate comes across as a benign elderly statesman, gentle husband, etc.; but then again, he is the author, so would we really expect him to portray himself as a brutal despot??), I must say that I was very intrigued by the different perspective on Christ's life and times. "Pilate" tells the story of the destruction of a town that rebelled against Rome during Christ's childhood, and this town was apparently within very short walking distance from Nazareth, so Christ would have been witness to the destruction wrought by the Roman army. "Pilate" also gives some insight into the political situation in Israel, and explains that the ruling party, the Sanhedrin, did not have any legal political authority in the area of Galilee and other regions that Christ primarily ministered in, and he implies that this lack of Sanhedrin authority may be why Jesus spent the majority of His ministry in these areas.
Although a lot of the historical and political facts are based on thorough research, the very premise of this book calls for a lot of conjecture, but overall it was an interesting and enlightening read, and it gave me a new appreciation for and some understanding of the geographical, political, and social environment in which Jesus lived His life.
An interesting read.