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Summary of Crucified Under Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate was prefect (governor) of Judea from 27-37 AD, during the reign of Tiberius, Emperor of Rome. Half way through his governorship he crucified Jesus Christ but, of course, had no idea of this event as he had crucified hundreds, if not thousands, of criminals during that time.

He then returned to Rome to take up a small civilian, bureaucratic job dealing with poor non-citizens who lived in northern Rome, the impoverished section of Rome. It was not much of a job and he felt rather "left out" by those in authority who seemed unimpressed with him as a governor.

As the Jews and Christians moved into northern Rome, a great deal of turmoil and civil unrest developed and both the Jews and the Christians were quick to be blamed by the news tabloids. This led to discussions at parties in Rome as to who these Christians were. It soon became well known that it was a group formed by a Jesus Christ, crucified doing the reign of Tiberius.

It did not take long for Pilate and his wife, Claudia, to conclude that he was the prefect who ordered the crucifixion and this started a long, slow development of curiosity and then guilt over why he ordered the crucifixion. The guilt became an obsession and finally resulted in his wishing to go back to Judea to find out exactly who this Jesus was and what led to the crucifixion.

Claudia and Pilatus arrived in Judea and spent several weeks meeting with Jews to find out who Jesus was. There were very mixed reactions to Jesus from the Jews. Some accepted him as a divine savior who worked miracles and then was crucified and rose from the dead. Some said he was just a great preacher and a wise man. Some felt he was a magician working fantasy miracles and some felt he was a fraud.

As time went on, Pilatus became more and more guilt-ridden as he became convinced that he, indeed, had crucified Christ. Depressed almost to the breaking point, he began to go through the trial and the crucifixion, role-playing himself as Jesus. His wife worried about a break down of his mind and emotions.

They returned to Rome. Their marriage seemed to be drifting apart as Pilate spent all of his time and emotions thinking of his new found beliefs and new-found adoration of his Master. The marriage of Pontius and Claudia, so great from the start, was on the breaking point. It was a chance meeting with St. Paul who seemed miraculously to bring them together again and they lived out their old age together. Pilate died before Claudia and she, in turn, gradually came to see something deep and truly wonderful in all that Pilatus had stood for.

This is a novel of guilt and responsibility for the death of Christ, of a cold war between two great nations, of the life of a people dominated by a great nation, of two people married for fifty years and the relationship of the two. Pilatus and Claudia are, in a real sense, everyman and every woman. Their lives, their country, their trials, their strengths and weaknesses are repeated down through the centuries even to the present time.

Excerpts from Crucified Under Pontius Pilate

Pilate Capitulates to the Will of the People
Mary Magdelene meets Pilate and Claudia
Claudia reflects on the poor state of the Roman culture
Pilate defends a young Jewish girl who's about to be raped
Claudia Recalls the surprise visit of a teen-aged Jewess girl saved from rape by Pilate many years before

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