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The Apocryphal New Testament Easy to use collection of English translations of the New Testament Apocrypha.

The Letter of Pilate to Tiberius

James suggests (p. 153) that some sort of report of Pilate to Tiberius was concocted very early. This letter represents one form of that report. The Anaphora (q.v.) is another. This letter, however, cannot be traced earlier than the Renaissance.

Tischendorf's text which is translated below is based on four manuscripts—all are in Latin, the original language of this letter.


  • Fabricius, 300–1.

  • Thilo, 801–2.

  • Giles, ii. 14.

  • Tischendorf, EA lxxvii f., 433–4.

Modern Translations


  • Cowper, 398–9.

  • Walker, 223.

  • Westcott, 119–20.

  • James, 153.


  • Migne, Dictionnaire, ii, cols. 757–60.


  • Erbetta, iii. 130.

  • Moraldi, i. 707.


  • de Santos Otero, 472–3.

Pontius Pilate to the Emperor Tiberius Caesar greeting

On Jesus Christ, of whom I told you clearly in my last letter, a cruel punishment has been inflicted by the will of the people. I was unwilling and apprehensive about it. He was a man, by Hercules, so pious and upright no age has ever had nor will ever have. But the efforts of the people themselves, and the unanimity of all the scribes, chiefs, and elders to crucify this ambassador of truth, were remarkable, even though their prophets, like the Sibyls with us, warned against it. Supernatural signs appeared when he was hanging, and in the judgement of philosophers these threatened the destruction of the whole world. His disciples flourish, and in their work and temperate life they do not belie their master, but rather in his name they are most beneficent. Had I not greatly feared an uprising of the people, who were on the point of rebelling, that man would perhaps still be alive for us. Constrained more by fidelity to your dignity than led by my own will, I did not strive to the utmost of my power to prevent the loss and suffering of righteous blood, guiltless of every accusation. It was an injustice due to the malice of men, although, as the scriptures testify, it was to their own destruction.


The Fifth of the Kalends of April

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