Archive for Gideon Foerster

Pontius Pilate and His Ring

Posted in Trend Update with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2018 by paulthepoke

Luke 23:5-7 But they were urgent, saying, He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place. When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time.

Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor over Jerusalem and Israel from 26 AD to 36 AD. Pontius was his family name. Pilate comes from the Latin “Pilatus”. This means: one armed with a javelin.

Historically, Pilate was not kind to the Jewish people. He flaunted Roman symbols of power and authority in Jerusalem and in the Temple. He stole the Temple tax funds to build an aqueduct.

Jesus knew of Pilate and commented about his murderous actions. Pilate showed no regard for Jewish lives and Temple worship service. Tradition holds worshipping Jews were sacrificed by Romans in the Temple.

Luke 13:1-2 There were some present at that very time who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And He answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?”

In 36 AD, the Governor of Syria brought charges against Pilate. The historian Eusebius indicated Pilate committed suicide after being sent to Vienne in Gaul (modern day southeast France). -The Compact Bible Dictionary.

Drawing: J Rodman
Photo: C Amit, Hebrew University

Fifty years ago, a copper alloy ring was found. Not much attention was given to the ring until recently. In 1968 and 1969 archaeologist Gideon Foerster led the dig at Herod’s burial tomb and palace at Herodium.

Today, archeologist Roi Porat requested the ring be cleaned and re-examined. The ring is nothing fancy or regal.

The specific date of the ring is unknown. The ring was located with other artifacts including: glass, ostraca, pottery, decorated mud stoppers, and abundant metal artifacts (iron arrowheads, a large number of First Jewish Revolt coins). The find is estimated to be dated no later than 71 AD.

“It was important to publish a careful scientific article. But in practice we have a ring inscribed with the name Pilate and the personal connection just cries out,” said Roi Porat.

Historically, the last name “Pilate” was very rare in Roman culture.

“The family name Pontius was common in central and northern Italy during that era, but the name Pilatus was ‘extremely rare.’” -The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Skeptics find it hard to believe Pontius Pilate would have worn the ring of a common citizen.

“Simple all-metal rings like the Herodium ring were primarily the property of soldiers, Herodian and Roman officials, and middle-income folk of all trades and occupations. It is therefore unlikely that Pontius Pilatus, the powerful and rich prefect of Judaea, would have worn a thin, all copper-alloy sealing ring.” -skeptical authors

“There is no way of proving either theory 100% and everyone can have his own opinion. It’s a nice story and interesting to wrap your head around.” -Roi Porat

https://www.timesofisrael.com/2000-year-old-ring-engraved-with-pilate-may-have-belonged-to-notorious-ruler/

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