Author: Giorgio Agamben, Italian philosopher
In this essay, Giorgio Agamben investigates the reason why Pontius Pilate, one of the very few historically attested figures to appear in the New Testament, is so important to the Christian and Western tradition. Pilate is, as Agamben suggests, the sole “true” figure and the first “personage” ever portrayed by the evangelists. The author offers a detailed analysis of the climactic confrontation between Pilate and Jesus (especially in the Gospel according to John), unfolding and rendering the drama into its literary, theatric, philological, jurisprudential and religious backdrops, where the term ‘tradition’ (parádosis, morphologically and semantically related to another Biblical term paradídōmi, “to hand over, to betray, or to commit treason”) is treated with great emphasis. In this process, according to Agamben, it must be Pilatus, the unredeemed mundane creature, who judges his alter ego Jesus, the mártyr or witness to the heavenly kingdom. And only in this paradoxical trial and “non liquet” case are the historic roots of Christianity found.
Pontius Pilate, Jesus, truth, parádosis, paradídōmi
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