Monday, August 4, 2014

I Bet You Had No Clue How Many Scholars Are Favorably Disposed Toward Dating the Beginning of Pilate's Authority in Judea to 18 CE

I have always argued on behalf of a 21 CE crucifixion.  I will take a government document (Acta Pilati) over Josephus any day of the week.  It was Robert Eisler who got the ball rolling on this one many generations ago.  But Danny Schwartz did the hard work of developing a comprehensive and credible thesis.  Then Lönnquist took it to the next level of scientific proof.  Nevertheless I bet you didn't know how many of the best known scholars of Jewish history support an 18 CE dating for Pilate.  Here is a partial list:

Craig Evans

"D. R. Schwartz ("Pontius Pilate," ABD 5:395-401) has argued compellingly that Pilate's term in office began in 19 CE, not 25 or 26, as is usually supposed."

Steve Mason

"We also have enough independent and multiform evidence, it seems to me, to declare it more probable that he took up office in 18 than in the accepted year, 26 C. E."

K. Lönnquist

Schwartz's arguments are independently supported by K. Lönnquist (2000). His “archaeometallurgical” analysis of Judean provincial coinage in the period 6-66 CE shows that in coins dated from 17/18 CE to 31/32 the lead content dropped from about 11% to virtually nil (2000: 465), then returned to its previous levels under Claudius and Nero. Although lead (a common material in Roman aqueduct construction) has not yet been found in the Jerusalem aqueducts, its discovery in the contemporary system at Panias leads Lönnquist to concluded that it was also used at crucial points in the Jerusalem system (though now lost through subsequent ravages) and that Pilate's removal of lead from his coins was for this purpose.

James H Charlesworth

"scholars usually assume that Pilate became governor in 25 or 26 c.E. Schwartz, however, has offered impressive arguments that Gratus's tenure was much shorter, that in all probability he retired to Rome not long after he appointed Caiaphas in 18 c.e. Schwartz conjecture that Pilate took off1ce in 19.35 This would mean, then, that Pilate and Caiaphas served in their respective off1ces for a lengthy and almost identical period of time, some eighteen years for Caiaphas (from 18 to early 37) and seventeen for Pilate (from 19 to early 37)."

J Vardaman

Vardaman argues for Friday Nisan 15, 21 CE (‘Jesus’ Life: A New Chronology’ in J. Vardaman and E. M. Yamauchi [eds.], Chronos, Kairos, Christos: Nativity and Chronological Studies Presented to Jack Finegan [Eisenbrauns, 1989], 55-82)

And I didn't even have to appeal to Eisenman on the list ...

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