Biblical Archaeology Review 35:1, January/February 2009

A New Reconstruction of Paul’s Prison

Herod’s Antonia fortress

The Antonia, the palace/fortress lavishly described by the ancient Jewish historian Josephus at the northwest corner of the Herodian Temple Mount, is not mentioned by name in the New Testament. For a long time, however, it was thought to be the “praetorium” where Pilate questioned Jesus and found him innocent.

The praetorium is also mentioned in Mark 15:15–16, where Pilate, to satisfy the crowd, delivers Jesus to be crucified, and the soldiers lead him away, taking him “inside the palace (that is, the praetorium).” And in Matthew 27:27, the soldiers take Jesus into the “praetorium,” where he is mocked and hailed as King of the Jews.

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