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

The Letter of Tiberius to Pilate

Although this is a Greek text, it has a typically Western view of Pilate regarding him as a criminal. The Eastern churches, and the Coptic in particular, regarded him as a saint and martyr. It is late in date (possibly from the eleventh century), and has affinities with the Acta Pilati (Greek B).

Although Tischendorf knew the text of the letter in two separate manuscripts (Vindobon.‐Nessel 246 and Paris 1771) according to his introduction to EA (pp. lxxix f.), he chose not to include it.


  • Birch, i. 172 f. (text of Vindobon.‐Ness. 246).

  • James, Apoc. Anec. ii. pp. lix–xl, 78–81.

Modern Translations


  • James, 156–7.


  • Erbetta, iii. 125–6.

  • Moraldi, i. 707–9.


  • de Santos Otero, 473–7.

This was delivered to Pilate by means of the messenger Raab, who was sent with 2,000 soldiers to bring him to Rome.

Since you have given a violent and iniquitous sentence of death against Jesus of Nazareth, showing no pity, and having received gifts to condemn him, and with your tongue have expressed sympathy, but in your heart have delivered him up, you shall be brought home a prisoner to answer for yourself.

I have been exceedingly distressed at the reports that have reached me: a woman, a disciple of Jesus, has been here, called Mary Magdalene, out of whom he is said to have cast seven devils, and has told of all his wonderful cures. How could you permit him to be crucified? If you did not receive him as a God, you might at least have honoured him as a physician. Your own deceitful writing to me has condemned you.

As you unjustly sentenced him, I shall justly sentence you, and your accomplices as well.

Pilate, Archelaus, Philip, Annas, and Caiaphas were arrested.

Rachaab and the soldiers slew all the Jewish males, defiled the women, and brought the leaders to Rome. On the way Caiaphas died in Crete: the earth would not receive his body, and he was covered with a cairn of stones.

It was the old law that if a condemned criminal saw the face of the emperor he was spared: so Tiberius would not see Pilate, but shut him up in a cave.

Annas was sewed into a fresh bull's‐hide, which, contracting as it dried, squeezed him to death. The other chiefs of the Jews were beheaded; Archelaus and Philip were crucified.

One day the emperor went out to hunt, and chased a hind to the door of Pilate's prison. Pilate looked out, trying to see the emperor's face, but at that moment the emperor shot an arrow at the hind, which went in at the window and killed Pilate.

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