[sword-devel] Paul's epistles

chris sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 15 Jan 2002 12:38:54 -0500

On Tuesday 15 January 2002 10:16, you wrote:
> >It is known from historical documents that Pilate never had the custom of
> >releasing a prisoner on pesach.
> >
> >>Is it possible that this information is only ``well-known'' with certain
> >>Judaic circles?
> >
> >No, it has even been reported on the discovery channel.
> Oh, well if it was on TV it MUST be right.

I think you know what i meant. 

> Josephus records a possibly similar incident. A group of Assasins
> kidnapped a scribe belonging to the retinue of the High Priest, and held
> him hostage. This happened JUST BEFORE THE FESTIVAL. They then informed
> the High Priest that they wanted him to persuade the governor to release
> ten of their number who were being held prisoner. The governor, Albinus,
> agrees, and the prisoners are released. (Josephus, 'Antiquities', XX 9.3).

This happened according to Josephus around the time of  62-65ce. The sicarii 
had kidnapped Eleazar and the whole ordeal is described as a kind of "hostage 

>       Of course, this doesn't necessarily indicate the existence of a
> regular custom during a festival, but it is possibly suggestive.

Nothing of the sort actually. I certainly wasn't the governors idea to 
release the ten prisoners.

>       Similarly, there is a mention in the Mishnah (Pes. 8.6) that a
> seder may be prepared for one 'whom they have promised to bring out of
> prison' , and  who presumably can't prepare one for  himself. Some
> scholars think this presupposes some kind of regular amnesty for
> Pesach.  So, while there isn't proof of a custom,  neither is it
> possible to assume that such a custom 'couldn't' have existed, or
> 'didn't' exist, or that the release of a prisoner by the Roman governor
> at a festival period was never practiced.

I will check this reference an let you know what it is refering to asap.

>      And one may ask why, if there was no such custom, the writer of a
> gospel should mention it, since it would be easily disproven by any of
> those alive at the time who could have very  simply refuted it.

How many years later was this written? By whom? For what audience? 

I think we'd better move this discussion to the news server.

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