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New Testament Studies



Pontius Pilate and the Imperial Cult in Roman Judaea a


JOAN E. TAYLOR a1
a1 Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Waikato, P. B. 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand

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Abstract

While Pontius Pilate is often seen as agnostic, in modern terms, the material evidence of his coinage and the Pilate inscription from Caesarea indicate a prefect determined to promote a form of Roman religion in Judaea. Unlike his predecessors, in the coinage Pilate used peculiarly Roman iconographic elements appropriate to the imperial cult. In the inscription Pilate was evidently responsible for dedicating a Tiberieum to the Dis Augustis. This material evidence may be placed alongside the report in Philo Legatio ad Gaium (299–305) where Pilate sets up shields – likewise associated with the Roman imperial cult –honouring Tiberius in Jerusalem.

(Published Online October 18 2006)



Footnotes

a A first draft of this paper was read at the Institute of Classical Studies, Ancient History Seminar, 20 May 2004. I would like to thank the convenors of the seminar, John North and Bella Sandwell, for inviting me to participate, and also those who attended and contributed to the valuable discussion afterwards. I would also like to thank Holger Szesnat, David Jacobson and Judith Lieu for their help as I revised this study for publication.