These manuscripts are written in fifty volumes, each volume is two by four feet and is made available for reading only upon special permission and a small fee.
Submitted to the Mt. Zion Reported Dec. 1971 by Donald N. Liedmann, M.D., Ph.D.
Valleus Paterculus, a Roman historial, was nineteen years old when Jesus was born. His works have been thought to be extinct. I know of but two historians that make reference to his writings, Priscian and Tacitus, who speak of him as a descendant of an Equestran family of Campania. From what we gather from these writers, Valleus must have been a close friend of Caesar, who raised him by degrees until he became one of the great men of Rome, and for sixteen years commanded the army. He returned to Rome in the year 31 and finished his work, which was called "Historia Domania". He held the office of prater when Augustus died, and while Vinceus was consul.
Valleus says that in Judea he met a man called Jesus of Nazareth, who was one of the most remarkable characters he had ever seen; that he was more afraid of Jesus than of a whole army, for he cured all manner of diseases and raised the dead, and when he cursed the orchards of fruit-trees for their barreness, they instantly withered to their roots. After refering to the wonderful works of Jesus, he says that although Jesus had such power, he did not use it to injure any one, but seemed always inclined to help the poor. Valleus says they Jews were divided in their opinion of him, the poorer class claiming him as their king and their deliverer from Roman authority, and that if Jesus should raise an army and give it the power he could sweep the world in a single day; but the rich Jews hated and cursed him behind his back, and called him an Egyptian necromancer, though they were as afraid of him as of death ("Valleus Paterculus", B. 72, found in the Vatican, at Rome).
"To Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of Rome,
"Noble Sovereign, Greeting: The events of the last few days in my province have been of such a character that I will give the details in full as they occurred, as I should not be surprised if, in the course of time, they may change the destiny of our nation, for it seems of late that all the gods have ceased to be propitious. I am almost ready to say, Cursed be the day that I succeeded Vallerius Flaceus in the of Judea! for since then my life has been one of continual uneasiness and distress.
"On my arrival at Jerusalem I took posession of the praetrium, and ordered a splendid feast to be prepared, to which I invited the tetrarch of Galilee, with the high priest and his officers. At the appointed hour no guests appeared. This I considered an insult offered to my dignity, and to the whole government which I represent.
"A few days after the high priest deigned to pay me a visit. He pretended that his religion forbade him and his attendants to sit at the table of the Romans, and eat and offer libations with thm, but this was only a sanctimonous seeming, for his very countenance betrayed his hypocrisy.
"Although I though it expedient to accept his excue, for that moment I was convinced that the conquered had declared themselves the enemy of the conquerors; and I would warn the Romans to beware of the high priest of this country. They would betray their own mother to gain office and the luxurious living. It seems to me that, of conquered cities, Jerusalem is the most difficult to govern. So turbulent are the people that I live in momentary dread of an insurrection. I have not soldiers sufficient to suppress it. I had only one centurion and a hundred men at my command. I requested a reinforcement from the prefect of Syria, who informed me that he had scarcely troops sufficient to defend his own province. An insatiate thirst for conquest to extend our empire beyond the means of defending it, I fear, will be the cause of the final ovethrow of the whole government.
"I live secluded from the masses, for I did not what those priests might influence the rabble to do; yet I endeavour to ascertain, as far as I could, the mind and standing of the people.
"Among the various rumors that came to my ears there was one in particular that attracted my attention. One young man, it was said, had appeared in Galilee preaching with a noble unction a new law in the name of the God that his design was to stir up the people against the Romans, but my fear were soon dispelled.
"Jesus of Nazareth spoke rather as friend of the Romans that of the Jews. One day in passing by the place of Siloe, where there was a great concourse of people, I observed in the midst of the group a young man who was leaning against a tree, calmly addressing the multitude, I was told it was Jesus.
"This I could easily have suspected, so great was the difference between him and those listening to him. His golden-coloured hair and beard gave to his appearance a celestial aspect. He appeared to be about thirty years of age. Never have I seen a sweeter or more serene countenance. What a contrast between him and his hearers, with their black beards and tawny complexions!
"Unwilling to interrupt him by my presence, I continued my walk, but sigified to my secretary to join the group and listen.
"My secretary's name is Manlius. He is the grandson of the chird of the conspirators who encamped in Etruria waiting for Cataline. Manlius had been for a long time an inhabitant of Judea, and is well acquainted with the Hebrew language. He was devoted to me, and worthy of my confidence.
"On entering the praetorium I found Manlius, who related to me the words Jesus had prodounced at Siloe. Never have I read in the works of the philosphers anything that can compare to the maims of Jesus. One of the rebellious Jews, so numerous in Jerusalem, having asked Jesus it it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar, he replied: 'Render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar, and unto God the things that are God's'.
"It was on account of the wisdom of his sayings that I granted so much liberty to the Nazarene; for it was in my power to have had him arrested, and exiled to Pontius; but that would have been contrary to the justice which has always characterized the Roman government in all its reading with men; this man was neither seditious nor rebellious; I extended to him my protection, unknown perhaps to himself. He was at liberty to act, to speak, to assemble adn address the people, and to choose disciples, unrestrained by any praetorian mandate. Should it ever happen (may the gods avert the omen), should it ever happen, I say, that the religion of our forefathers will be supplanted by the religion of Jesus, it will be to this noble toleration that Rome shall owe her premature death, while I, miserable wretch, will have been the instrument of what the Jews call Providence, and we call destiny.
"This unlimited freedom granted to Jesus provoked the Jews -- not the poor, but the rich and powerful. It is true, Jesus was severe on the latter, and this was a political reason in my opinion, for not restraining the liberty of the Nazarene. 'Scribes and pharisees', he would say to them, 'you are a race of vipers; you resemble painted sepulchres; you appear well unto men, but you have death within you'. At other times he would sneer at the alms of the rich and proud, telling them the mite of the poor was more precious in the sight of God. Complaints were daily made at the praetorium against the insolence of Jesus.
"I was even informed that some misfortune would befall him; that it would not be the first time that Jerusalem had stoned those who called themselves prophets; an appeal would be made to Caesar. However, my conduct was approved by the Senate, and I was promised a reinforcement after the termination of the Parthian war.
Being too weak to suppress an insurrection, I resolved upon adopting a measure that promised to restore the tranquility of the city without subjecting the praetorium to humiliating concession. I wrote to Jesus requesting an interview with him at the praetorium. He came. You know that in my veins flows the Spanish mixed with Roman blood -- as incapable of fear as it is of weak emotion. When the Nazarene made his appearance, I was walking in my basilic, and my feet seemed fastened with an iron hand to the marble pavement, and I trembled in every limb as does a guilty culprit, though the Nazarene was as calm as innocence itself.
"When he came up to me he stopped, and by a signal sign he seemed to say to me, 'I am here', though he spoke not a word. For some time I contemplated with admiration and awe this extraordinary type of man -- a type of man unknown to our numerous painters, who have given form and figure to all the gods and the heroes. There was nothing about him that was repelling in its character, yet I felt too awed and tremulous to approach him.
"'Jesus', said I unto him at last -- and my tounge faltered -- 'Jesus of Nazareth, for the last three years I have granted you ample freedom of speech; nor do I regret it. Your words are those of a sage. I know not whether you have read Socrates or Plato, but this I know there is in your discourses a majestic simplicity that elevates you far above those philosophers. The Emperor is informed of it, and I, his humble representative in this country, am glad of having allowed you that liberty of which you are so worthy. However, I must not conceal from you that your discourses have raised up against you powerful and inveterate enemies. Nor is this surprising. Socrates had his enemies, and fell a victim to their hatred. Yours are doubly incensed -- against you on account of your discourses being so severe upon their conduct; against me on account of the liberty I have afforded you. They even accuse me of being indirectly leagued with you for the purpose of depriving the Hebrew of the little civil power which Rome has left them. My request -- I do not say my order -- is, that you will be more circumspect and moderate in your discourses in the future, and more considerate of them, lest you arouse the pride of your enemies, and they raise against you the stupid populace, and compel me to employ the instrument of law'.
"The Nazarene calmly replied: 'Prince of the earth, your words proceed not from true wisdom. Say to the torrent to stop in the midst of the mountain-gorge: it will uproot the trees of the valley. The torrent will answer you that it obeys the laws of nature and the Creator. God alone knows whither flow the waters of the torrent. Verily I say unto you, before the rose of Sharon blossoms the blood of the just shall be spilt.'
"Your blood shall not be split', said I, with deep emotion, You are more precious in my estimation on account of your wisdom than all the turbulent and proud Pharisees who abuse the freedom granted them by the Romans. They conspire against Caesar, and convert his bounty into fear, impressing the unlearned that Caesar is a tyrant and seeks their ruin. Insolent wretches! they are not aware that the wolf of the Tiber sometimes clothes himself with the skin of the sheep to accomplish his wicked designs. I will protect you against them. My praetorium shall be an asylum, sacred both day and night'.
"Jesus carelessly shook his head, and said with a grave and divine smile: 'When the day shall have come there will be no asylums for the son of man neither in the earth nor under the earth. The asylum of the just is there' pointing to the heavens. That which is written in the books of the prophets must be accomplished'.
" 'Young man', I answered, mildly, 'you will oblige me to convert my request into an order. The safety of the province which has been confined to my care requires it. You must observe more moderation in your discourses. Do not infringe my order. You know the comsequenses. My happiness attends you; farewell'.
" ' Prince of the earth', replied Jesus, 'I come not to bring war into the world, but peace, love and charity. I was born the same day of which Augustus Caesar gave peace to the Roman world. Persecutions proceed not from me. I expect it from others, and will meet it in obedience to the will of my Father, who has shown me the way. Restrain, therefore, your worldly prudence. It is not in your power to arrest the victim at the foot of the tabernacle of expiration.
"So saying, he disappeared like a bright shadow behind the curtains of the basilic -- to my great relief, for I felt a heavy burden on me, of which I could not relieve myself while in his presence.
" To Herod, who then reigned in Galilee, the enemies of Jesus addressed themselves, to wreak their vengeance on the Nazarene. Had Herod consulted his own inclinations, he would have ordered Jesus immediately to be put to death; but, though proud of his royal dignity, yet he hesitated to commit an act that might lessen his influence with the Senate, or, like me, was afraid of Jesus. But it would never do for a Roman officer to be scared by a Jew. Previously to this, Herod called on me at the praetorium, and, on rising to take leave, after some trifling conversation, asked me what was my opinion concerning the Nazarene.
"I replied that Jesus appeared to me to be one of those great philosophers that great nations sometimes produce; that his doctrines were by no means sacreligious, and tha the intentions of Rome were to leave him to that freedom of speech which was justified by his actions. Herod smiled maliciously, and saluting me with ironical respect departed.
"The great feast of the Jews was approaching, and the intention was to avail themselves of the popular exulation which always manifests itself at the solemnities of a passover. The city was overflowing with a tumultuous populace, clamoring for the death of the Nazerene. My emisssaries informed me tha the treasure of the temple had been emplyed in bringing the people.
"The danger was pressing. A Roman centurion had been insulted. I wrote to the Prefect of Syria for a hunderd foot-soliders and many cavalry. He declined. I saw myself alone with a handful of veterans in the midst of a rebellious city, too weak to suppress an uprising, and having no choice left but to tolerate it.
"They had seized upon Jesus, and the seditious rabble, although they had nothing to fear from the praetorium, believing, as their leaders had told them, that I winked at their sedition -- continued vociferating: Crucify him! Crucify him'!.
"Three powerful parties had combined together at that time against Jesus: First the herodians and the Sadducees, whose seditious conduct seemed to have proceeded from double motives: they hated the Nazarene and were impatient of the Roman yoke. They never forgave me for having entered the holy city with banners that bore the image of the Roman emperor; and although in this instance I had committed a fatal error, yet the sacrilege did not appear less heineous in their eyes.
"Another grievance also rangled in their bososm. I had proposed to employ a part of the treasure of the temple in erecting edifices for public use. My proposal was scorned. The Pharisees were the avowed enemies of Jesus. They cared not for the government. They bore with bitterness the severe reprimands which the Nazarene for three years had been continually giving them wherever he went.
"Timid and too weak to act by themselves they had embraced the quarrels of the Herodians and the Sadducees. Besides these three parties, I had to contend against the reckless and proflligate populace, always ready to join a sedition, and to profit by the disorder and confusion that resulted therefrom.
"Jesus was dragged before the High Priest and condemned to death. It was then that the High Priest, Caiaphas, preformed a divisory act of submission. He sent his prisoner to me to confirm his condemnation and secure his execution.
"I answered him that, as Jesus was a Galilean, the affair came under Herod's jurisdiction, and ordered him to be sent thither. The wily tetrach professed humility, and protesting his deference to the lieutenant of Caesar, he committed the fate of the man to my hands. Soon my palace assumed the aspect of a besieged citadel. Every moment increased the number of the malcontents. Jerusalem was inundated with crowds from the mountains of Nazareth. All Judea appeared to be pouring into the city.
"I had taken a wife from among the Gauls, who pretended to see into futurity. Weeping and throwing herself at my feet she said to me: 'Beware, beware, and touch not that man for he is holy. Last night I saw him in a vision. He was walkign on the waters; he was flying on the wings of the wind. He spoke to the tempest and to the fishes of the lake; all were obedient to him. Behold, the torrent in MountKedron flows with blood, the statues of Caesar are fillled with gemonide; the colums of the interium have given away, and the sun is veiled in mourning like a vestal in the tomb. Ah! Pilate, evil awaits thee. If thou wilt not listen to the vows of thy wife, dread the curse or a Roman Senate; dead the frowns of Caesar'.
"By this time the marble stair groaned under the weight of the multitude. The Nazarene was brought back to me. I proceeded to the halls of justice, followed by my guard, and asked the people in severe tone what they demanded.
" 'The death of the Nazarene', was the reply.
" 'For what crime'?
" ' He has blasphemed; he has prophesied the ruin of the temple; he called himelf the Son of God, the Messiah, the King of the Jews.'
" ' Roman justice', said I, 'punishes not such offenses with death.'
" 'Crucify him! Crucify him'! cried the relentless rabble. The vociferations of the infuriated mob shook the palace to its foundations.
"There was but one who appeared to be calm in the midst of the bast multitude; it was the Nazarene. After many fruitless attempts to protect him from the fury of his merciless persecutors, I adopted a measure which at the moment appeared to me to be the only one that could save his life. I proposed, as it was their custom to deliver a prisoner on such occasions, to release Jesus and let him go free, that he might be the scapegoat, as they called it; but they said Jesus must be crucified.
" I then spoke to them of the inconsistency of their course as being incompatible with their laws, showing that no criminal judge could pass sentence of a criminal unless the sentence must have consent of the Sanhedrim, and the signature of the president of that court; that no criminal could be executed on the same day his sentence was fixed, and then next day, on the day of his execution, the Sanhedrim was required to review the whole proceeding; also according to their law, a man stationed at the door of the court with a flag, and another a short way off on horseback to cry the name of the criminal and his crime, and the names of his witnesses, and to know if any one could testify in his favour; and the prisoner on his way to execution had the right to turn back three times, and to plead any new thing in his favour. I urged all these pleas, hoping they might awe them into subjection; but they still cried, 'Crucify him! Crucify him!
"I then ordered Jesus to be scourged, hoping this might satisfy them; but it only increased their fury. I then called for a basin, and washed my hands in the presence of the clamorous multitude, thus testifying that in my judgement Jesus of Nazareth had done nothing deserving of death; but in vain. It was his life these wretches thirsted for.
"Often in our civil commotions have I witnessed the furious anger of the multitude, but nothing could be compared to what I witnessed on this occasion. It might have been truly said that all the phantoms of the infernal regions had assembled at Jerusalem.
"The crowd appeared not to walk, but to be borne off and whirled as a vortex, rolling along in living waves from the portals of the praetorium even unto Mount Zion, with howling screams, shrieks, and vociferations such as were never heard in the seditions of the Pannonia, or in the tumults of the forum.
"By degree the day darkened like a winter's twilight, such as had been at the death of the great Julius Caesar. It was likewise the Ides of March. I, the continued governor of a rebellious province, was leaning against a column of my basilic, contemplaing a thwart the deary gloom these finds of Tartarus dragging to execution the innocent Nazarene.
"All around me was deserted. Jerusalem had vomited forth her indeweller through the funeral gate that lead to Gemonica. An air desolation and sadness enveloped me. My guards had joined the cavalry, and the centurion, with a display of power, was endeavouring to keep order. I was left alone, and my breaking heart admonished me that what was passing at that moment appertained rather to the history of the gods than that of men. A loud clamor was heard proceeding from Golgotha, which borne on the wind, seemed to announce an agony such as was never heard by mortal ears. Dark clouds lowered over the pinacle of the temple, and setting over the city covered it as a veil.
"So dreadful were the signs that men saw both in the heavens and on the earth that Dionysius the Aeropagite is reported to have explaimed, 'Either the author of nature is suffering or the universe is falling apart.'
"Whilst these appaling scenes of nature were transpiring, there was a dreadful earthquake in lower Egypt, which filled everybody with fear, and sacred the supersitious Jews almost to death. It is said Balthasar, and aged and learned Jews of Antioch, was found dead after the excitement was over. Whether he died from alarm or grief is not known. He was a strong friend of the Nazarene.
"Before the first hour of the night I threw my mantle around me, and went down into the city toward the gates of Golgotha. The sacrifice was consummated. The crowd was returning home, still agitated it is true, but gloomy, taciturn, and desperate. What they had witnessed had stricken them with terror and remorse. I also saw my little Roman cohort pass by mournfully, the standard-bearer having veiled his eagle in token of grief; and I overheard some of the Jewish soldiers murmurming strange words which I did not understand.
"Others were recounting miracle very like those which have so often smitten Romans by the will of the gods. Sometimes groups of men and women would halt, then, looking back toward Mount Calvary, would remain motionless in expectation of witnessing some new prodigy.
"I returned to the praetorium, sad adn pensice. On ascending the stairs, the steps of which were still stained with the blood of the Nazarene, I preceived an old man in a suppliant posture, and behind him several Romans in tears. He threw himself at my feet and wept most bitterly.
"It is painful to see an old man weep, and my heart being already overcharged with grief, we, though strangers wept together. And in truth it seemed that the tears lay very shallow that day with many whom I perceived in the vast concourse of people. I never witnessed such an extreme revulsion of feeling. Those who bertayed and sold him, those who testified against him, those who cried, 'Crucify him, we have his blood', all slunk off like cowardly curs, and washed their teeth with vinegar. As I told that Jesus taught a resurrection and a separation after death, if such should be the fact I am sure it commenced in this vast crowd.
" ' FAther', said I to him, after gaining control of my feelings, 'who are you, adn what is your request'?
"I am Joseph of Arimathea', replied he, 'and am come to beg of you upon my knees the permission to bury Jesus of Nazareth.'
" 'Your prayer is granted', said I to him; and at the same time I ordered Manlius to take some soldiers with him to superintend the interment, lest it should be profaned.
" A few days after the sepulcher was found empty. His disciples proclaimed all over the county that Jesus had risen from the dead, as He had foretold. This created more excitement even than the crucifixion. As to its truth I cannot say for certain, but I have made some investigation of the matter; so you can examine for yourself, and see if I am in fault, as Herod represents.
" Joseph buried Jesus in his own tomb. Whether he contemplated His resurrection of calculated to cut Him another, I cannot tell. The day after he was buried one of the priests came to the praetorium and said they were apprehensive that his disciples intended to steal the body of Jesus and hide it, and then make it appear that he had risen from the dead, as He had foretold, and of which they were perfectly convinced. I sent him to the captain of the royal guard (Malcus) to tell him to take the Jewish soldiers, place as many of around the sepulchre as were needed; then if anything should happen they could blame themselves, and not the Romans.
"When the great excitement arose about the sepulchre being found empty, I felt a deeper solicitude that ever.
"I sent for this man Isham, who related to me as near as I can recollect the following circumstances. 'They saw a soft and beautiful light over the sepulchre. He, at first thought that the women had come to embalm the body of Jesus, as was their custom, but he could not see how they had gotten through the guards. While these thoughts were passing through his mind, behold the whole place was lightened up and there seemed to be crowds of the dead in their grave clothes.
"All seemed to be shouting and filled with ecstacy, while all around and above was the most beautiful music he had ever heard, and the whole air seemed to be full of voices praising God. At this time there seemed to be a realing and swimming of the earth that he seemed so sick and faint that he could not stand on his feet. He said the earth seemed to swim from under him, and his senses left him, so he knew not just what did occur.
" I asked him what conditions he was in when he came to himself. He said he was lying on the gorund with his face down. I aske him if his dizziness might not have come from being wakened up and getting up too suddenly as it sometimes has that effect. He said he had not been asleep, as the penalty was death to sleep on duty. He said some of the soldiers slept at a time, and some were asleep then. I asked him how long the scene lasted. He said he did not know, but he thought nearly an hour. I asked him if he went to the sepulchre after he had come to himself. He said no, because he was afraid, that just as soon as relief came they went to their quarters.
"I asked him if he had been questioned by the priests. He said he had. The wanted him to say it was an earthquake, and that they were asleep, and offered him money if he would say the disciples came and stole Jesus, but he saw no disciples, and he did not know that the body was gone until he was told. I asked him what was the private opinion of the priests he had talked with. He said some of them thought that Yeshua was no man, that He was not a human being, and not the son of Mary, that He was not the same that was said to be born of the virgin in Bethlehem.
"It seems to me that if the Jewish theory be true, these conclusions are correct, for they are in accord with this man's life, as if known and testified by both friends and foe for the elements were in his hands the same as the clay in the hands of the potter. He could convert water to wine; He could change death into life; He could calm the sea, still the storms, call up fish with silver coin in its mouth. Now I say if He could do all of these things, which He did and many more, as the Jews all testify, and it was doing all of these things that created enmity against Him. He was not charged with criminal offense, nor was He charged with violating any law, now of wronging any individual in person, and all of these facts are known to thousands, as well as by His friends. I am almost ready to say as did Malcus at the cross: "Truly this was the son of God."
"Now, noble Sovereign, this is as near the facts in the case as I can arrive at, and I have taken pains to make the statement very full, so that you may judge of my conduct upon the whole, as I hear that Antipater has said many hard things about me in this matter. With the promise of faithfulness and good wishes to my noble Sovereign,
"I am you most obedient servant, Pontuis Pilate"
Note though, this is a different account of Jesus of Nazareth than what you got in the four Gospels. But this is as eyewitness as you can get from a Roman on the question of Jesus.
Pontius Pilate was Roman Procurator of Judea. He was not a great Statesman as mythology would have you believe, but an ordinary man thrust into unusual circumstances. However, the Roman Procurator's report to Emperor Tiberius has impressed the Emperor enough that Tiberius tried to get Jesus deified by the Roman Senate.
The Roman Senate failed in pronouncing Jesus as a God (which was a good thing, actually, for the Empire at that time).
The Procurator's report show a different side to Pontius Pilate. One where I can respect him more as man thrust into a difficult position. As far as I can tell, the English translation uses English in such a way the man who wrote it had to be a military politician. It has to be the original source.
The Greek translations and English translations of those show different versions of the same report, however.
Post Edited (12-Jul-12 15:09)
|Pilate's Report on the Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion of the Nazarene||1830||EltonJ||12-Jul-12 15:06|
|Re: Pilate's Report on the Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion of the Nazarene||350||carolb||12-Jul-12 15:21|
|Re: Pilate's Report on the Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion of the Nazarene||324||EltonJ||12-Jul-12 15:40|
|Re: Pilate's Report on the Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion of the Nazarene||311||Vanya||12-Jul-12 16:39|
|Re: Pilate's Report on the Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion of the Nazarene||310||Susan Doris||18-Jul-12 19:25|
|Re: Pilate's Report on the Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion of the Nazarene||451||carolb||18-Jul-12 20:53|
|Re: more details on B. 72 ?||417||Vanya||12-Jul-12 16:18|
|Re: Pilate's Report on the Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion of the Nazarene||287||Raja||13-Jul-12 22:06|