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Pontius Pilate Inscription

Author's Bias: Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: dispensational
Seminary: none

Emperor Tiberius, who reigned from 14 AD to 37 AD, appointed Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea in 26 AD. Pilate began his career in Caesarea Maritima, the Roman capital of Judea, and later moved to Jerusalem. He ruled as governor of Judea from 26 AD to 36 AD.

Pilate is best known as the Roman Governor who ordered Jesus Christ’s execution.

This fact was apparently worthwhile to mention in both the Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed:

"suffered under Pontius Pilate," (Apostles' Creed)

"For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;" (Nicene Creed)

Cornelius Tacitus, a well-known first century Roman historian, also mentioned Pontius Pilate in one of his well-known texts (Annals, Chapter 15, paragraphs 54 and 55):

"Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…

The Pilate Inscription is housed at the Israel Museum

In 1961, archaeologists discovered a plaque fragment at Caesarea Maritima. The plaque was written in Latin and embedded in a section of steps leading to Caesarea’s Amphitheatre.

The inscription includes the following text:

Line One: TIBERIEUM

Line Two: (PON) TIUS

Line Three: (PRAEF) ECTUS IUDA (EAE)

It is thought to be part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar:

"Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judaea, (erected) a (building dedicated) to (the emperor) Tiberius"


This artifact located at Caesarea’s theater is a replica of the original now housed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

This is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. The significance of this archeological finding, along with extrabiblical textual evidence, is that Pontius Pilate is a true historical figure whom the Bible mentions 54 times as the governor who presided over Jesus’ last day.



Related subject:

Nicene Creed

Archeology Index


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