Read Pontius Pilate by Paul L. Maier Online


First time in trade paperback! The dramatic, behind-the-scenes story of an ambitious Roman politician whose fateful decision changes the course of history....

Title : Pontius Pilate
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780825432965
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Pontius Pilate Reviews

  • Pukrufus
    2019-05-23 09:41

    Fantastic book. The only fiction he added was dialog. Every character is historically verified and everything they do has also been verified. We just don't always know what they said behind closed doors. This gives such an important glimpse into the politics behind Pilate's decision.

  • Jane
    2019-05-05 12:39

    Dr. Maier, a conservative Lutheran, has given us an enthralling history and fictional biography of Pontius Pilate. I've always been fascinated by Pilate because of his historical importance coupled with so few written sources. There's been much speculation on this controversial figure. I think Pilate would be surprised that today his name, that of a simple equestrian ex-prefect, is arguably the Roman name people remember the most, except possibly Julius Caesar or Nero. Dr. Maier has done a creditable job in taking the paucity of available material and constructing a plausible book. His writing style is not outstanding--rather pedestrian--but his use of historical material is impeccable. This 'documentary novel' traces Pilate's background, marriage to Procula, posting to Judaea as prefect, then his tenure there and subsequent recall to Rome. His administration includes: besides presiding at Jesus' trial and Pilate's sentence of crucifixion; the uproars against military standards, the golden shields in the praetorium, both of which offend the Jewish prohibition against graven images; building projects such as the Jerusalem aqueduct and the Tiberiéum basilica; and lastly, a violent confrontation with Samaritans. I give this book a 3.5. The writing style pulls it down. The book posits possible reasons for Pilate's recall to Rome after ten years in Judaea, and gives us some of his subsequent life. I feel in the Creed "suffered under Pontius Pilate" means not the man's guilt, but an attempt to fit Pilate into the chronology of events. I ended up with complete sympathy for Pilate; in troublesome situations I felt he wanted to do what was what he considered best and to follow Roman law but was caught between the vagaries of Roman politics back home and the sensibilities of his Jewish subjects in Judaea. He had to walk a thin line. How could he avoid displeasing one side or the other? I did like the speculation about Procula's horrific dream--the content--and message to Pilate, also that the Gospel accounts were viewed from a Roman perspective. There was a certain amount of Christian apologetics. There were extensive Chapter Notes and a Historical Note.

  • Matt Pitts
    2019-05-25 10:39

    Historical fiction brings history to life in a way that many other historical writings simply fail to do. The reader is able to enter into another world and live in it for a time, experiencing it rather than merely being told about it. That, it seems to me, is the real value of works like this one. Though it necessarily includes some things that cannot be proven historically (such as specific dialogue, whether a particular character may have been present at a certain event, etc.), it also communicates more than can be told in a dictionary or encyclopedia article (such as the feel of life in that world, how characters would have interacted, etc.). This particular book was written very well and was quite engaging. It covers essentially the whole life of Pontius Pilate and fills in much of the background of Pilate's life that we simply are not made aware of in Scripture. And though some of what the author suggests about Pilate's life after Judea is surely speculative, it still gives the basic idea of what Pilate's later life may have looked like.The author makes clear in the book that no character named in the novel is invented but is historically identifiable. Many Roman characters play their parts (such as Tiberius, Caligula, etc.) as do biblical ones (Cornelius, Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa, etc.). Historical notes are included at the end to indicate the source material for the events and information presented in the book. My one real complaint is that the elaboration of Herodias' appearance before Herod was unneccesary and more than I wanted to read, and there may have been one other similarly unnecessary but sketchy event. Other than that, I have no real qualms with the book and would have no trouble recommending it. It even made me want to go back and read some Roman history for myself!*note: my copy is a different edition than the one pictured.

  • Shelby
    2019-05-13 12:40

    The politics of the crucifixion were fascinating. Maier does an excellent job of writing a Historical fiction that leans heavily on the side of the historical. Some of my friends and family found in dull. But my husband and I loved it, and chalk it up as one of our favorites. Guess it all depends on what interests you. It's not Gerald Lund but that's what I liked about it. It focused less on the fictional and the sensationalized and more on history.

  • Wendy
    2019-05-10 14:57

    Paul Maier is amazing at writing an interesting story around TRUE events and people - and making it easily readable for the general public! Seeing Jesus through Pilate's eyes is an unforgettable experience.

  • Annette
    2019-05-14 16:53

    The year is A. D. 26, and Pontius Pilatus, has been summoned to a meeting with L. Aelius Sejanus, the prefect, the commander of the Roman Praetorian Guard. Sejanus is recommending Pilatus to Tiberius Caesar, to become the new prefect of Judea. Pilatus or Pilate, has dreamed of an advancement in his equestrian career. A governorship in Judea, brings him a step closer to honor and glory. Pilate is a man of average built and looks, he is not a person who stands out; however, his ambitions bring him into an arena of people who manipulate, control, and commit murder for their own advancement. Pilate and his wife Procula, relocate to Jerusalem for his new job as prefect. Their first impressions are of a city which, “seemed more like a mirage shimmering upward in the heat, a glistening sight quite painful to the eye. Its lime-white walls and buildings formed too stark a contrast in reflecting the afternoon sun against a background of brown hills and azure sky.” They are intrigued by the strange exotic city, and it is not long before Procula learns firsthand of Jewish laws. Pilate sought to “Romanize” Jerusalem, but not long after he arrives there is talk of a Jew named Jesus “the Christos.” His reputation is of being a “faith healer.” Stories are shared with Pilate about Jesus' activity, and of the Jewish leaders hatred of him. Pilate is wary of upsetting the Jews, and more importantly of not having a positive reputation with Rome.Pontius Pilate, is written in the third person, it is a “documentary novel”. Paul L. Maier, states he has not taken “liberties” in the historical facts. His aim is accuracy. His explanations about the book are written in the historical note section. The documents used in the writing of the book are from Flavius Josephus , Philo, and the New Testament Gospels.The story Pontius Pilate, cannot be told without sharing the story of Jesus' arrest, trial, flogging, crucifixion, and resurrection. Pilate's question in John 18:38, “What is truth?” is not only a foreshadowing of Jesus as the Truth, but is a dismal view into Pilate's psyche. Pilate had a conversation in the beginning of the book about truth, in regards to Roman religion and beliefs, Pilate was unwilling to commit. He is not a man who wants to rock-the-boat with anyone or any ideology, he is indifferent. Pilate was a key character in the story of Jesus Christ. He was though Roman, and his viewpoint gave the story both an advantage, and yet an awkward atmosphere. The Roman view of Jews was one of quandary. Romans did not understand why Jews did not submit to them, and why they were not able to Romanize them. The Jews worship One God; Romans worshiped many. For a Jew their entire life was lived in reference to their belief in God. Whereas Romans were secular, fleshly, carnal. To “see” the story of Jesus, the city of Jerusalem, and the historical events which unfolded during Pilate's tenure, is fascinating and demure. There is also an awkward feel to the story, because Jesus is not the main character, the story of Jesus is apart of Pontius Pilate, but not the subject.The marriage of Pilate and Procula are portrayed, their opposing beliefs which led to arguments, as well as their devotion to one another. Through them I saw Roman culture in a marriage, and it showed another contrast against the Jewish religion.Pilate is an enigma. He represents all those humans who have met Jesus, whether it was in person, or by a Gospel message; but they walk away, neither committing, nor showing any kind of response. Apathy, reflecting a dead spirit.It has been several days since I read Pontius Pilate, and I have continued to think about the story. There are strong messages, both for Christians, and for unbelievers.

  • Peggy
    2019-05-06 16:51

    This was such a useful book for me to read, because I know so little about Roman and Jewish culture in the 1st century. I don't like studying history. But Paul Maier presents a compelling historical fiction of Pontius Pilate, weaving his fiction in while staying true to actual facts known about Pilate. Reading the Bible, I've always known the list of bad guys: Herod, Pilate, Caiaphas, Judas.Now that I've read this, I understand so much more of the political and social climate that these men lived in and what their motivations were behind this pivotal point in history. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know Jesus better; for me it was a reminder that Jesus was a real man that lived in the real world. One personal note: I would NOT want to be in Caiaphas' shoes when he stands before the judgement throne!

  • Amy
    2019-05-22 11:48

    I read this book back when I was thirteen, but at Pastor Klat's urging decided to re-read it for Lent. I'm so glad I did! My vague memories of the book involved a Jewish uprising about shields, a sweet romance between Pilate and his wife, and a centurion named Cornelius.Pontius Pilateis, shock of all shocks, a novel about the live of Pontius Pilate. Well researched, it paints a fascinating picture without getting to preachy, I'd recommend it to anyone, from curious Christians to skeptic atheists. It is a unique and insightful look into the life of a man who played a huge role in history, never to be forgotten. The fictitious form removes the tedium of a normal biography. I think I will take Pasotr Klat's advice and re-read it every Lent, I can't explain it much better. Maybe next year.

  • Erin Osumi-Demotte
    2019-05-25 12:30

    Books Like This Are Hard To FingAs a fellow Lover of Jesus Christ. A fellow Born Again, Genius to Revelation- Bible Believing Christian & a lover of Ancient & Biblical Historical Fiction....And a lover of Historical Fiction from ancient Greece. Roman, Gaelic / Celtic to Early British... Then from Dark ages Britain, to Angelo-Saxon England to the Norman a Conquest of 1066 A.D. to the Plantaganet Dynasty of early Medieval Western Europe.... I've found an Author who Loves the LORD, & Keeps HIS TRUE WORD and knows History and writes the facts first then fills in the story after.I'm going to read this Lover of JESUS'S every Historical Fiction Book he writes....I give this book a 10 out of 10 and look forward to other books he writes...PS... SORRY ABOUT SOME MISSPELLED WORDS. MY AUTO CORRECT IS ON ANDPLANTAGANET IS NOT IN MY KINDLE DICTIONARY...JD

  • Sarah Welton-Lair
    2019-05-05 14:52

    This was assigned reading for my studies of the history of Christianity. Maier clearly states from the beginning that although this is classified as a historical fiction novel, it's almost a biography in that all the events, and the people he meets who are named, all really existed. The writing wasn't always so good, but Pilate's story was absolutely fascinating. I almost grew to sympathize with him by the end. He was not always fairly treated, and he had to deal with a lot of pressure. 3 stars.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-26 17:30

    Reading at the bequest of my DH who scorns the novel in favor of The Oxford Classical Dictionary and Tacitus. Though it is technically not a novel, it reads like one, which is such a nice quality in a historical book, for me at least. Eye opening reading about the events surrounding Judea in AD 20s and 30s. The author has an amazing grasp of history and presents it as a silky smooth chain of meaningful events. Dry for a non-historian, juicy for anyone whose husband has the most arid collection of dust and bones he calls books. Bless him.

  • Alida
    2019-05-25 12:50

    I normally shy away from novels about Biblical characters since most of the book will be pure fiction. This book is an exception. Maier thoroughly researched the historical records; every person named in the book is historically verified. It was very enlightening to read the account of the crucifixion in context of the times. I'm glad I read it as Easter approaches as there is a lot of food for thought. It struck me that other than Jesus, we most often mention the name of Pontius Pilate (along with the Virgin Mary) in church every week we recite the Apostles' Creed.

  • Bob
    2019-05-22 15:40

    Maier is a great historian and a very average writer of fiction. It's really too bad that he didn't just write this book as a history of Pilate instead of trying to create historical fiction. The history was fascinating, the fiction ho-hum (and fairly cheesy sometimes).That being said, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I might. Seeing the Gospels from a Roman perspective was refreshing and anchored the stories of the faith in historical time. This benefit, alone, was worth an extra star.I don't know if I'd recommend it but I'm glad I read it.

  • Mindy Peltier
    2019-05-04 14:49

    One of my favorite books EVER! Maier masterfully weaves factual historical detail and every Bible verse together to put you in the life of Pontius Pilate. He uses historical characters and adds dialogue that brings to life the historical facts and the Scriptures. The Scriptures will gain power as you understand the animosity between the Jews and the Romans and why John the Baptist's head was served up on a platter. I read this book almost every year.

  • Susan Bennett
    2019-05-19 10:35

    An excellent book for the Christian. It gives the Roman side of the crucifixion. It gives deeper insight into why things happened the way they did. Many things we think were cowardly were really politically motivated - perhaps they are one in the same - perhaps.

  • Jack Nieporte
    2019-05-02 10:47

    Maier is one of my favorite historical fiction writers. He is so accurate and fluent in superb ideas and ways of conveying the concepts and story lines of his books. This book for me was excellent.

  • Andrew Miller
    2019-05-15 16:54

    A member of the equestrian class, Pontius Pilatus has high hopes to serve in Rome’s government; and one day, that wish is granted in the form of the prefecture of Judea, a small Roman province whose people are considered quite the challenge to rule. Pontius Pilatus does not shirk from the task, however, and soon he and his young wife are residing in the sea-side town of Caesarea. But what at first appears a manageable task soon reveals itself to be quite the opposite; can the Jews be successfully ruled by a Gentile? And who is the prophet from Galilee who draws crowds like a flower draws bees? What would happen if Pilate were to meet him? A documentary novel, Pontius Pilate strives to be historically accurate while at the same time flowing like a novel. It succeeds quite well, just as well as Maier’s documentary novel The Flames of Rome, a sequel of sorts to Pontius Pilate. As one who has previously read some of Maier’s work, this book was quite an engaging read for me; I found the historicity to be quite enlightening, giving credence to a time sometimes shrouded in mystery, and often scoffed at. The life of Jesus Christ on earth does not receive much page-time, at least not directly; but at the same time, the entire book is focused on that one encounter between Roman governor and Jewish King, the event securing Pilate’s name in history. Throughout the story, Maier shows how the political climate and ideology of the time affected Pilate’s decision on that fateful Friday nearly 2000 years ago. Why did he not acquit Jesus if he believed Him truly innocent? Perhaps because he was in disfavor with the emperor at the time, and such an infraction of the Jewish will would certainly spell his doom. A supreme act of cowardice? Perhaps, and yet Maier depicts Pilate’s defense of Jesus as an admirable attempt to spare an innocent man from the jealousy of His apparent rivals. In general, that is the tone that Maier takes when dealing with Pontius Pilate; that of a rational man caught up in an irrational age (that is not to say that the time was full of nonsense, simply that reason did not play as large a role then as it does today). When dealing with the Jews, Pilate is portrayed as level-headed, full of common sense, whereas the Jews are depicted as impulsive, hot-headed, perhaps foolish fellows. That in itself is a testament to the power of good writing; generally speaking I consider myself a friend of Jews, but when reading this book, I expressed the sentiments described above, i.e. that the Jews were a stubborn people and needed a good thrashing. The point being, Pilate is portrayed in a sympathetic light, not as the cruel tyrant who executed the divine, nor as the weak-willed fool who was too timid to stand up to the mob; and the reader feels sympathy for him, and wishes for him to succeed. Unfortunately, with history the end is generally already known; if the author wishes to maintain historical integrity, he cannot give us a happy ending if the ending of the story was not happy. But in this case, as there is little historical knowledge of Pilate’s life besides his interactions with the Christ, Maier was able to give us a hopeful ending, the knowledge that perhaps Pilate did finally come to know what truth is. As some early-Christian tradition says, Pilate was already a Christian in his conscience.

  • Preston
    2019-05-04 15:55

    This book gave the Gospel a swift undercurrent of political subversion with the pantomime of those who are "Contrary to All men" - 1 Thessalonians 2:15. Through the eyes of Pilate hands tied, he had no exit other than to wash them. I really enjoyed the limited dialogue that made this historical topic come to life as all the major points are documented. It was nice to see the lack of infested propaganda and the proper blame of the crucifixion onto those "who sit in the seat of Moses" that Jesus tongue lashed at every turn; they hated Him for it-Matthew 23. If you think you know the New Testament, read this and think again. Whatever became of Pontius Pilate ? Preceding generations who knew little of a Caesar or Tiberius would confess the creed of two important names, stamped in the pages of history "I believe in Jesus Christ who who suffered under Pontius Pilate". Excellent book !

  • Dana Burns
    2019-05-04 09:50

    This novel was researched quite well, and was also entertaining. I learned a great deal about Pilate that I had never heard of. It seems he is so often painted as someone so evil, but this book paints as a true politician who wasn’t as terrible as I had previously thought. Any book that can combine Biblical events with Roman history is a book worth reading ☺️

  • Becki Basley
    2019-04-27 11:39

    I really love this author's writing style and appreciate the time he takes to research the history he is writing about. This book, at least for me, tells a more complete story of the politics and key players during the life of Jesus. It's an even more intriguing situation after reading this book. Highly recommend to anyone that loves historical novels .

  • JB Lomax
    2019-05-10 13:48

    If there is no evidence then it is purely speculation (fiction). The bible is not a book about history but is a part of history (unless you're bias). Written well enough for three stars. The majority of the latter half's source material is the bible whereas the majority of the first half's source material comes from reliable contemporary historians.

  • Sabrina
    2019-05-09 17:49

    I read this because my children are reading it for school. I was very surprised to be sucked in. If you are into historical fiction, the story of the crucifixion, Rome, etc..., this would be a good read for you.

  • Dean
    2019-05-26 12:58

    Best book so far on Pilate...If anyone knows of other books on him, that are good, please, drop me message....

  • Cole Brandon
    2019-05-08 15:53

    Not well written as a novel, but more lively than a textbook.

  • Anthony
    2019-04-27 17:36

    March 3, 2015A review by Anthony T. Riggio of the novel Pontius Pilate written by Paul L. MaierI purchased this book in the Kindle format from Amazon and read it in a couple of days. The author is Paul Maier who is a professor of history at Western Michigan University.Pontius Pilate was a Roman Praetorian Guard and a protégé of L. Aelius Sejanus who was at the time of Pontius pilot's assignment as Governor of Judea, his intermediator to Augustus Tiberius, the ruler of Rome and its empire. Tiberius assigned Pilate somewhat reluctantly. He had nothing against Pilate but his delays in making assignment was due to his extreme paranoia concerning all of his subordinates and probably due to his ever growing mental lapses.Pilate is assigned to Judea and travels there with his wife Procula and their entourage. The subjects in Judea were a difficult people and almost immediately they tested Pilates Governorship making Pilate realize that this was just the beginning of his supervision of Judea. The Jews resented the fact that their ruler Herrod and his sons were subordinate to Pilate. Between the Herrod's and the religious Pharisees and the Sanhedrin civilian managers, who made life for Pilate miserable and causing intrigues which could doom his Governorship and possibly his life as a consequence of Tiberius' unstable view of life. Procula was the steering rudder to his reign and often gave him good guidance in view of the stresses of dealing with the Jews in Judea.Of course his reign is contemporaneous with the teaching life of Jesus of Galilee and soon their pats cross and Procula senses the possible ruin of Pilate over the controversies involving Jesus' supposed violations of religious law. His accusers tried to make this a violation of Roman law and Pilate was caught in this confluence of forces. He judged Jesus as innocent but because of the troublesome Jewish leaders, he was forced to condemn Jesus to his fate.Mailer tries to paint Pilate as a hapless but tryingly well intentioned victim of events that he had no control of and in spite of Procula's warnings follow's through with the execution.A short period after, Pilate is summoned back to Rome at the demand of Tiberius and is facing certain punishment and possibly execution because of the complaints of the Jews and the Sumerians whose revolt he harshly put down. En route back to Rome, Tiberius dies and his successor is Caligula a soon to be mad emperor and who proceeds to make Pilates life miserable.I found this book very well written and researched and while certain events were filled in with the authors view of probabilities as to dialogs and certain outcome. Overall Maier presented a well written work and substantiated it with a wealth of researched sources. I totally enjoyed reading this book and learned much of Rome and Judea during this significant period in the development of these times and future consequences of events portrayed in this work.I highly recommend reading this book especially for lovers of History and a view of events we learned it the Gospels. I rated the book with five (5) stars. It was a fun learning experience.

  • Joel Julian
    2019-04-30 12:29

    A clearly well researched historical novel, speculating on the political career of Pontius Pilate.It's an interesting read and it serves to provide insight on events given little attention in the gospels. Pilates moment of infamy, in which he washes his hands of responsibility and allows for Jesus' crucifixion isn't actually covered until the second half of the book. We are shown how he comes to be prefect of Judah and his relationships with other political figures of the time, including his rivalry with Herod. It details political squabbles and ties in the events of his life with historical landmarks of the time which Pilate could well have been present at. Unfortunately, since this is the novelisation of a series of historical facts, it suffers from lack of story. Much of it is interesting and it's definitely gripping at times, but for the most part it can seem to drag and it doesn't really flow consistently. I also thought the author cheated a bit when the whole book had been focused on Pilates point of view but then suddenly shifted to the Pharisees in order to give context for Jesus' trial. I definitely think these scenes could have been handled better by the writer. Some of the dialogue also comes across as a bit contrived, clearly written only to communicate the authors historical knowledge, rather than provide realistic development for the characters or to further the plot.So, it's worth a read. I enjoyed it for the most part, but this definitely serves better as a history lesson than a gripping novel. It's well researched and interesting... but unfortunately, a book being well researched and interesting doesn't necessarily make a it good novel. It just makes it well researched and interesting.Side rant: The illusion was somewhat broken for me in a scene where pilate is considering the uncanny resemblance between two characters. Fair enough, but he is shown to be thinking about this in terms of genetics. The field of genetics (or any science similar to what pilate possibly could have been thinking about) wasn't invented, nor had the term been coined, until the 19th century.

  • Peter Mead
    2019-05-12 12:30

    I am just re-reading a book I devoured a couple of years ago. It is historical fiction, but don’t let that put you off. This historically annotated piece of work is a brilliant read. It presents a biographical insight into the life and career of Pontius Pilate–his background in Rome, his prefecture in Judea, his confrontations with the Jewish authorities, his history shaping encounter with Jesus of Nazareth.I suppose this review is a little late for this year, but if you ever preach around Easter, then you must read this book. It was originally published in the 1960′s, but the timeless content means it could have been written last week. Paul Maier is a pre-eminent historian of the first century and this makes his reconstruction of character and event particularly insightful.Why did Pontius Pilate feel so trapped? He was two strikes down with the Jewish populous when Jesus was presented to him. This man was clearly innocent, but Pilate could not afford another disaster. He could not face another report to the Emperor about his failure to manage the pesky Jewish religious affairs. His ring declared him a friend of Caesar, with all the rights that went with that. But the Sanhedrin turned the Jesus trial into an ultimatum for Pilate. Was he really a friend of Caesar, or were these Jewish leaders more concerned with peace in Judea than he was?Even if it is too late for this Easter, Christianity is an Easter faith and so I would strongly encourage you to get a copy of Pontius Pilate. Don’t read it to your children, but grab a drink, get comfortable and step back into the first century. Any preacher or Bible reader will benefit from doing so.Review originally posted on

  • Bob Collins
    2019-05-24 15:48

    Well done historical fiction, grounded in good research. Recommend.

  • Mandy
    2019-04-27 16:39

    I received this book via the first reads scheme. Thanks to Goodreads, Paul Maier and the publisher.What a great book! I do enjoy a good historical novel - the author himself describes it as such, however the author has stayed true to the known as facts and used common sense when no corrobation of facts could be found.This book paints a more rounded,convincing picture of Pontius Pilate,flawed at times but not the villain so often portrayed by others.I am not a religious person, though I am aware of the stories contained in the bible thanks to RE classes, but even so I found this a compelling read and crafted in such an easy manner. Where possible the author notes his source for events and people.I do believe anyone who enjoys history would enjoy this book. It covers the polictically and religious sensitivities of the age, and engages the reader easily. Begining with Pilate in Rome,his time as the Prefect of Judea and his time in Rome after his return. I always try to avoid spoilers in reviews but this is a pivotal character in world history it is hard to avoid it,but it was certainly for me a new look on Pilate before and after the event for which he would be forever linked with.I am now going to search for other books by Paul Maier,

  • Scott Klemm
    2019-05-24 16:52

    Paul L. Maier’s Pontius Pilate may be described as documented historical fiction. Unlike most works of this genre, the reader is able to check notes at the end of the book to see where the information came from. “Only where all evidence is lacking,” Dr. Maier states, “is ‘constructed history,’ based on probabilities, used to fill in the gaps. Even here, as much use as possible is made of authentic historical data as ballast.” Also Dr. Maier points out: “All persons named in this book are historical characters; no proper name has been invented.” The one exception is Procula, Pilate’s wife, derived from the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus, a fourth century work of dubious authenticity. Dr. Paul L. Maier, who is a Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, is well suited to add authentic details regarding the customs of Romans and Jews as well as the geography of their lands. The journey by Pilate to Palestine, for example, included descriptions of the Pharos Lighthouse, Alexandria, Caesarea and Jerusalem. Surprisingly, Maier’s book does not portray Pilate as an arch villain. It’s a somewhat sympathetic account showing how pressure from both Rome and the Jewish Sanhedrin brought about his acquiescing to demands for the execution of Jesus of Nazareth who remained silent even when given the opportunity to defend himself.