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Pilate and Antipas


(1a) GPet 1:1; 11:46
(1b) Matt 27:24-25
(1c) Luke 23:6-16
(2) IgnSmyr 1:2
(3) Acts 4:24-28



(1a) GPet 1:1; 11:46

1:1 ... but of the Judeans no one washed his hands, neither Herod nor any one of his judges. Since they were
[un]willing to wash, Pilate stood up. 2 Then Herod the king orders the Lord to be [taken away], saying to them "Do what I commanded you to do to him." [Complete Gospels]

11:1 These men then consulted with one another about going and reporting these things to Pilate. 2 While they were still thinking about it, again the skies appeared to open and some sort of human being came down and entered the tomb. 3 When those in the centurion's company saw this, they rushed out into the night to Pilate, having left the tomb which they were supposed to be guarding. And as they were recounting everything they had seen, they became deeply disturbed and cried, "Truly, he was a son of God!" 4 Pilate responded by saying, "I am clean of the blood of the son of God; this was all your doing." 5 Then they all crowded around <Pilate> and began to beg and urge him to order the centurion and his soldiers to tell no one what they saw. 6 "You see," they said, "it is better for us to be guilty of the greatest sin before God than to fall into the hands of the Judean people and be stoned." 7 Pilate then ordered the centurion and the soldiers to say nothing. [Complete Gospels]

(1b) Matt 27:24-25

27:24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." 27:25 Then the people as a whole answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"

(1c) Luke 23:6-16

23:6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 23:7 And when he learned that he was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 23:8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. 23:9 He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. 23:10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 23:11 Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. 23:12 That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies. 23:13 Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, 23:14 and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 23:15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. 23:16 I will therefore have him flogged and release him."

(2) IgnSmyr 1:2

I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that ye are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him; and was truly, under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, nailed [to the cross] for us in His flesh. Of this fruit we are by His divinely-blessed passion, that He might set up a standard s for all ages, through His resurrection, to all His holy and faithful [followers], whether among Jews or Gentiles, in the one body of His Church. [ANF]

(3) Acts 4:24-28

4:24 When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, 4:25 it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? 4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.' 4:27 For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 4:28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.



John Dominic Crossan

Item: 65
Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
Attestation: Triple
Historicity: -

In "The Cross That Spoke" Crossan has argued that the passion narrative is derived ultimately from a creative account of Jesus' death, the Cross Gospel, that he identifies within the later GPeter. The "Herod" in these stories reflects the active leadership of Herod Agrippa as "King of the Jews," rather than Herod Antipas who was a contemporary of Pilate. Crossan considers the Cross Gospel to have been the single source of the passion narratives in the NT gospels. On the composition of this account he writes:

The author(s) of the Cross Gospel wrote from a viewpoint strongly favorable to Roman political authority and strongly critical of Jewish religious authority, blaming it, in fact, for the Jewish people's ignorance of what had really happened. But they also presumed that Herod Antipas could be in charge of a crucifixion near Jerusalem, and that people not soldiers could carry it out. I find both of those presuppositions highly unlikely, but they might well bespeak the outlook of a literate Galilean Christianity centered, say, at Sepphoris in the middle of the first century C.E. That city had been the Roman capital of Lower Galilee from 57-55 B.C.E. until 19 C.E., when Herod Antipas gave that privilege to his newly constructed Tiberias on the lake. But around 54, under the Roman procurator Felix, it was restored to its former position, and it remained firmly pro-Roman in the First Roman-Jewish War of 66, even issuing Eirenopolis or City of Peace coins in 67-68 (Meyers et al, 1986:6). For Sepphoran Christians, the emphasis was on Galilee not Jerusalem, and on Roman procurators not Herodian monarchs. They composed their story, be it politically naive or polemically astute, accordingly. [Historical Jesus, 387]


David Flusser

Flusser always gives Luke's account considerable credence. In a note on the trial of Jesus he comments:

At least the kernel of Herod's (Antipas) connection in Jesus' death is historical, because in Acts 4:25-28 a very early Christian "pesher" is quoted according to which both Herod Antipas and Pontius Pilate caused Jesus' death ... The apocryphal Gospel of Peter 1:1-2 also connects Herod Antipas with Pilate. (Jesus, p. 152 n. 20)


Jesus Seminar

The commentary in The Acts of Jesus (p. 358f) makes it clear that the Seminar considered the hearing before Herod Antipas to be a Lukan fiction:

Luke alone among the gospel writers introduces the trial before Herod (vv. 5-12). In so doing Luke achieves two things. First, he joins a king (Herod) to a governor (Pilate) in fulfillment of Psalm 2:2: kings and rulers are to be arrayed against the Lord and his Anointed. Second, he has Herod join Pilate in declaring Jesus innocent (v. 15). That is a clean sweep for the Christians: the real authorities had agreed in finding nothing with which to charge Jesus. His death is the sole responsibility of the religious authorities and the mob.


Gerd Luedemann

Luedemann [Jesus, 401] notes:

The composition of this scene is completely redactional and goes back to an early Christian exegesis of Ps. 2.1f. Luke has read the friendship between Herod and Pilate out of this psalm. Cf. especially Acts 4.27, where Ps. 2 is understood as a scriptural proof for the joint proceedings of the two against the Anointed.


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