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Both within the New Testament and in later Christian gospels, writings that describe the death of Jesus increasingly declare Pilate innocent of the whole proceeding. The logic of this exoneration gives rise to an obvious question: If Pilate is not guilty for condemning an innocent Jesus to death, then who is? The early Christian answer? “The Jews.” This lecture examines these ongoing attempts to exculpate Pilate and inculpate the Jews in the death of Jesus, paying particular attention to non-canonical gospels, some of which declared that Pilate eventually became a Christian convert and martyr.
A number of pseudepigraphic works survive from Jewish and Christian antiquity. The Hebrew Bible contains at least two instances (Daniel and Ecclesiastes); the New Testament has many more (the Pastoral Epistles, 1 and 2 Peter, etc.). In each of these examples, an author falsely claims to be a famous person. Some scholars have argued that this was an acceptable practice in the ancient world, and that such books should not be tarnished with the term “forgeries.” Is this true? Or did the ancients themselves consider such books to be deceitful lies? This presentation considers what ancient authors said about books written under a false name and about the people who wrote them.