Title: Pontius Pilate
Author: Paul L. Maier
Major Themes: 1st century, Ancient Palestine, Historical Nonfiction, Ancient Romans, Young Adult Books
Synopsis: Pontius Pilate must prove he is a good leader—but when the Jews are so rebellious, how can he ever prove his worth?
Pontius Pilate is a book that’s hard to describe. I loved it, and although the front cover says it’s a novel, I consider it more of a history book with a bit of novel-like stuff thrown in. As I read the book, I was amazed at all the detail there was—mentions of events we don’t read about in the Bible, and a fascinating all-round view of a man we usually think of as being the “bad guy” in Jesus’ trial.
Pilate is ambitious and very involved in politics. When he gets the chance to go to Judaea as procurator, he jumps at the opportunity. But life there is much different from what he ever expected, and although he tries to keep the Jews under control, they rise up in rebellion again and again. Through the narrative, we get glimpses of how he helped the Jews get fresh water in Jerusalem, how the Roman politics were working out in Rome, and overall a wonderful idea of what it took to be a procurator—a very unglamorous job.
I think the main reason I like Pontius Pilate so well is because I was able to understand how the Roman government over Judaea worked then—something that is rarely found in books. I could understand what it would have been like to some degree to be in that position of leadership. It’s great for learning that period of history, and sticks very closely to the known facts. I believe young adults aged fifteen and over would especially benefit from this book. It isn’t for younger children, because it is written from a more adult slant.
WARNING: There are two places in the book parents will want to review before allowing their children to read it. Pages 140-141 is especially needful for parental guidance—we glued the two pages together. The fifth paragraph of page 162 should also have parental reviewing.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults