Pontius Pilate the Man with the Great Struggle

 

I have a weird collection of books one is called “the Lost books of the Bible and the forgotten books of Eden”. I do not hold them to be equal to the Holy Bible or to be lost books of the Holy Bible. However I do think they are interesting and can shed some light on the way people thought in ancient times. In this book there is a supposed letter between Herod and Pontius Pilate, the letters occur in a Syriac manuscript dating around the time of the sixth or seventh century and is held at the British museum. This may or may not be genuine, I read somewhere that these letters came from the library of Pontius Pilate, I really don’t know. The reason why I am even writing about it is because I think the writer (whether it was Pilate himself or not) pin pointed Pilate’s feelings correctly on the matter of Jesus’ crucifixion. So here is the letter (note this is a letter between Emperor Tiberius and Pilate and is just a response from Pilate and not the entire dialogue between him and the Emperor.

 

THE EPISTLE OF PONTIUS PILATE

Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar the Emperor – Greeting:

UPON Jesus Christ, whom I fully made known to thee in my last, a bitter punishment hath at length been inflicted by the will of the people although I was unwilling and apprehensive. In good truth, no age ever had or will have a man so good and strict.

But the people made a wonderful effort, and all their scribes, chiefs and elders agreed to crucify this ambassador of truth, their own prophets, like the Sibyls with us, advising the contrary; and when he was hanged super- natural signs appeared, and in the judgment of philosophers menaced the whole world with ruin.

His disciples flourish, not belying their master by their behavior and continence of life; nay, in his name they are most beneficent. Had I not feared sedition might arise among the people, who were almost furious, perhaps this man would have yet been living with us. Although, being rather compelled by fidelity to thy dignity, than led by my own inclination, I did not strive with all my might to prevent the sale and suffering of righteous blood, guiltless of every accusation, unjustly, indeed,
through the maliciousness of men, and yet, as the Scriptures interpret, to their own destruction.

Farewell. The 5th of the Calends of April.

Now after you read this doesn’t this sound like what we read in the Four Gospels. In the Gospel of Matthew 27:11-14 we see that Pilate investigated him to see if he had done any wrong. In verse 19 Pilate’s wife tells him not to have anything to do with this man because of the dreams she was having. Verse 23 Pilate asks the Jews “Why? What crime has he committed?” verses 24- 26 Pilate sees that an uproar is coming and can get worse so he has Jesus flogged and led to be crucified. Mark tells the same story in chapter 15. In the Gospel of Luke verses 4; 13-16; 20-22 we see Pilate wanted to find a way to release Jesus, he examined Jesus and found no fault, he was hoping that if he would punish Jesus it would satisfy the people, but it doesn’t work the people still want Jesus crucified. Once more we see Pontius Pilate trying to let Jesus go in the Gospel of John 18:29- 38. According to Holy Scripture Pilate was afraid, and when he heard the Jews say: “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 19:8 says “when Pilate heard this he was even more afraid” Pilate really saw no fault in the Lord Jesus and tried to have him set free, but the people were to demanding, so Pilate not wanting a riot handed him over to be crucified. I peronally think this sheds some truth as to what may have been going on in the mind of Pntius Pilate, though we know Jesus had to be crucified for our sins and resurrected to give us life.  

Hear are the scriptures that speak on this matter. (Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15; Luke 23:4-24; John 18:29-19:16)

Hope you enjoyed this 🙂

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-Look to the Heavens-

(I am not a good writer, but I put this together because I have been think about God and his creation how wonderful He is. Probably 90-95% of this comes from the Holy Scripture. Hope you enjoy it and I hope this gets you thinking about God’s glory and the glory of Jesus Christ.)

 

 

Look to the heavens

And see the work of God

Consider the heavens and the order thereof

The moon and the stars He has made

At the sound of His mighty voice they came into being

He laid the foundation of the earth

The morning stars sang together

The sons of God all shouted for joy

The heavens declare the glory of God

And the firmament shows His handiwork

In them has He set a tabernacle for the sun

Six days of creation and the seventh day for rest

He is the blessed One in whom there is Love

Look around you

And see His eternal power and divine nature

We are without excuse for your eternal power

And divine nature are clearly seen in what you have made

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof

The world and they that dwell therein

For He has founded it upon the seas,

And established it upon the floods

The birds of the air are His

The creeping things that creepeth are His

The wild beasts are His

The cattles are His

All who dwell therein are His

Our worship belongs to the Most High

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made

Look to the heavens for He is there

Look to God for He cares.

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Matthew 7:13-23 by -Angelo Europe-

     Chapter seven is a continuance of what is known as the greatest sermon ever “the Sermon on the Mount,” that began in Matthew chapter five and ends in chapter eight. What I am specifically looking at is chapter 7:13-23 which is near the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount.

     Now in verse thirteen and fourteen of chapter seven, it says “Enter in through the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it.” Here Jesus is telling his listeners to enter through a narrow gate and urging his listeners to avoid the wide and broad gate. To go through the narrow gate would cause people to go in one at a time as though he was saying you come in alone, and with no one else but you. Then he warns his listeners about the wide gate, through this gate everyone can come in at once for it is wide and broad, there is enough room to make you feel comfortable, but there is a problem with the wide gate, it leads to destruction. The word destruction is important, in Greek it is Apwleia(apoleia) which in the New Testament refers to the state after death wherein exclusion from salvation is a realized fact, wherein man, instead of becoming what he might have been, is lost and ruined. And then he says “there are many who enter through it.” Here the Lord is saying that the majority of the people will be lost, the many seem to be those who like the comfort of the world and its pleasures, and they just go along with the crowd.

     In verse fourteen Jesus adds “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it.” Here Jesus says that the only way to life is through the narrow way and the small gate, we know from the Holy Scriptures that it says Jesus is the way (John 14:6) he is the gate or the door to eternal life. Jesus says that there are few who find it, meaning that in order to go through the narrow gate you must find it, go in search of it, this is saying it’s not easy to find the gate you can’t just stumble upon the gate, it is as when GOD told the Hebrews who were in exile in Jeremiah 29:13,14 that if they seek Him He will be found, and he him self is seeking for us. The many in verse 13 are not even willing to look for it they want a quick fix or easy religion what ever they think makes them happy.

     Now in verse fifteen Jesus gives us a warning he says “watch out for false prophets, they come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Here Jesus is saying be aware, or on alert, of false prophets, here the words false prophet in Greek yeudoprofhths (pseudoprophetes) a pretend foreteller or religious imposter, comes in unnoticed looking like a believer and even acting like one but on the inside he is a wolf and his heart is full of hate, worldliness, and sin.

     From verses sixteen through nineteen Jesus uses an analogy of good fruit and bad fruit, in other words a true convert and a false convert, and it ends with the bad tree that produces bad fruit being cut down and thrown into the fire or the false convert being thrown into the lake of fire, and in verse 20 he concludes the analogy that they can be recognized by there fruit, but we must be on the watch.

     In verses twenty one through twenty three, the Lord goes on to say “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity.” Jesus is saying just because you claim to be this or that does not mean you will enter heaven, he says only those who are obedient who does the will of the Father will enter heaven. He says ….many will say in that day, Lord, Lord …..here we have the many who were on the broad road back in verse thirteen, they will say Lord, Lord in that day, the day of judgment as they stand before the Bema seat of Christ and they will boast of them self’s saying “…did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles.” They think this is the will of GOD, but they are false converts who are dressed in sheep’s clothing, but are wolves on the inside. They boast about there works as though they can enter heaven by their own standards, almost as to say Christ isn’t sufficient enough. Then Jesus will say to them “Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity.” Here Jesus clearly says to these false believers …I never knew you… the Greek word for “knew” egnwn (egnon) is the same Greek word in the Septuagint Bible where it is talking about Adam knowing his wife Eve. He is saying I never had a personal relationship with you, telling them to depart from his presence, this is the way to destruction where man is separated from GOD’s salvation, his mercy, his kingdom, and separated from Him forever. Jesus wants a relationship with those that are his, the very ones he saved. So let us therefore go in through the small narrow gate and have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, for it is a fearful thing to have GOD says to you “I never knew you, depart from me you who work iniquity”.

     

       The rhetorical device that I used was the pentad theory that was developed by Kenneth Burke his rhetorical theory is known as his dramatistic pentad that was presented in his work, A Grammar of Motives (1945).he divides rhetorical situations in to five constituent elements for analysis. The five elements of pentad are the act, the scene, the agent, agency, and purpose. the first two elements that I used was where the scene is taking place and the act, what was done or is being done, chapter seven is a continuance of chapter five were Jesus is giving a sermon on the mount that is located in the region of Galilee this is the scene. Jesus was giving a sermon which means he was talking to his audience that came from all around the near by regions and beyond Jordan this is the act in which he was doing. The agent is the person performing the action; here Jesus is the one who is performing the action of talking. The agency is the means by which the agent performs the act, the means by which he was performing the act was that there was a large crowd who traveled to see and hear what Jesus Christ was saying. And finally the fifth element is the purpose the reason for the action and the intended goal. His purpose was that they may hear the gospel the very message that GOD wanted them to hear that they may know the truth, and his intended goal was that when they hear they listen and respond in obedience to the message that they heard and flee from all that is sinful and turn towards him for all hope, peace, love, forgiveness, for the hope of salvation. I found Kenneth Burke’s theory of rhetoric the pentad to be very helpful in interpreting this passage of the Holy Scriptures to analyze the Word of GOD to read and see all that he is saying to them and to us, but I must not forget that interpretation comes by the Holy Spirit.

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The Idea of Rhetoric

                                  THE IDEA OF RHETORIC

__________________

                                                A Paper

                                             Presented to

                                     Dr. James L. Williams

                       Southwester Baptist Theological Seminary

                                    __________________

                                         In Partial Fulfillment

                           of the Requirements for IDE 1103-A

                                       __________________

                                                       by

                                              Angelo Europe

                                             October 7, 2008

 

 


The Idea of Rhetoric

Rhetoric the art of persuasion by eloquence of speech or writing.[1] Through out history many philosophers and learned men have practiced the art; some used it for truth while others used it to gain money and status. The art of Rhetoric can be a very powerful tool to use, it is so powerful that it can change one’s belief system for the good or for the worst and can persuade them to false or true beliefs.

Rhetoric in the mind of a philosopher

There were many great philosophers who used the art of rhetoric whether they wanted to or not, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and a group called the Sophists all practiced the art of rhetoric. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle used the art of persuasion as it is sometimes called for the greater good, but however the Sophists did not use rhetoric in a worthy manner, but it must be said that not all the sophist were bad some however really strived after the truth. In one of Plato’s recordings of a Socratic dialogue between Socrates and a sophist named Gorgias, were Socrates is waiting to hear what Gorgias has to say about the art of rhetoric or as what Gorgias calls

“an art of “speech” or “discourse” and as such it makes those who posses it skilled in “speaking,” and therefore, since speech is the expression of thought or intelligence, makes them intelligent about something”.[2]

Gorgias even believed that he can teach his students the art of speech or discourse, which is why he regards his own techne as the supreme achievement of the human intelligence.[3]

In Plato’s writing of Gorgias as the dialogue between Socrates and the famous sophists Gorgias continues Socrates asks three very important questions pertaining to rhetoric that has been around since language, “What is the nature of rhetoric? Does rhetoric by its very nature tend to mislead? What happens to a society when persuasion forms the basis of law and justice?”[4] The question about rhetoric’s subject matter should be a simple one for a great master of rhetoric like Gorgias to answer. If weaving is concerned with fabrics, and music with composing songs, with what is rhetoric concerned? Gorgias replies “with words”[5] Plato’s concern of rhetoric was based on the effects of rhetoric on political life and justice in the Athenian world.

From the group of philosophers prominent in the academy at Plato’s death there gradually emerges the tremendous figure of Aristotle.[6] It is said that around the year 350 B.C. Aristotle’s teaching on rhetoric began “while still a member of Plato’s Academy”.[7] Most of Aristotle’s teachings on rhetoric was a response to Plato’s dialogue involving the sophists in which Aristotle found insufficient. The works of Aristotle on rhetoric consists of three books the first book defines and establishes the domain of rhetoric, and describes the three types of oratory. The second book discusses rhetorical proofs derived from character and emotions, while the third book deals with matters of style and arrangement.[8] In the writings of Aristotle he gives four reasons why the art of rhetoric, in his first book he writes it is useful because:

“things that are true and things that are just have a natural tendencies to prevail over their opposites, so that if the decisions of judges [audience members] are not what they ought to be, the defeat must be due to the speakers themselves, and they must be blamed accordingly”[9]

 

Aristotle’s second reason was for the utility of rhetoric comes from the nature of some audiences, he writes:

“Before some audiences”…he writes, “not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction”. Why is this? Aristotle’s answer is that “there are people whom one cannot instruct”.[10]

The third and forth reasons for rhetoric’s usefulness is reminiscent of an aspect of the sophists’ approach to rhetoric and it involves an interesting analogy to self-defense. Once again the question comes back, if rhetoric is an art then what does the study consists of? In other words what does the art teach and what does a student of rhetoric study? Aristotle puts forth his answer to the question; he gives three technical or artistic proofs that form the art of rhetoric. One of the artistic proofs is called Logos and is as defined “the study of the arguments typical of the reasoning employed in practical decision making.[11] In rhetoric Aristotle uses Logos (the logic of sound arguments) to refer to proofs available in the words, arguments, or logic of a speech.[12] The second artistic proofs is the study of human emotions, Aristotle believed this study to be essential to dealing with a systematic form of rhetoric known as Pathos (the psychology of emotions). Aristotle defines Pathos as “putting the audience in the right frame of mind”.[13] The word Pathos in the ancient world was used to the emotional appeals that gives a persuasive message its power to move the audience to perform whatever action the speaker is trying to convey. However Aristotle’s main interest in Pathos was to do with emotion’s ability to affect the judgments of the audience that is being spoken to. The third artistic proof was called Ethos (the sociology of good character) were Aristotle acknowledges the potential persuasiveness of a speakers character or the credibility of ones personality. Just as with Pathos Aristotle sought to revitalize a systematic study of Ethos from what Aristotle believed to be the abuse of earlier rhetors. Aristotle believed the art of rhetoric (art of persuasion) was a combination of the three artistic proofs; a logical study, psychological study, and a sociological study. These three artistic proofs can be employed in the three rhetorical settings in which Aristotle describes in his writings as deliberative oratory, epideictic oratory, and forensic oratory.   

Conclusion

Through out history rhetoric played a big role in society and some of the greatest thinkers used the art of rhetoric in the many dialogues they participated in. as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle used rhetoric to persuade their audience for the greater good, the sophist did the complete opposite, trying to portray themselves as good speakers and arguing for the sake of argument. Rhetoric continues to be used to this day and just as in the times of the philosophy movement where rhetoric was used for both revealing the truth and deception of the truth, it continues to be the same in this present age.

 


BIBLIOGRAPHY

H. C. Lawson-Tancred. Aristotle, the Art of Rhetoric. New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004.

Ibid 83. :.

Ibid 83. :.

Ibid 77. :.

H. C. Lawson-Tancred. Aristotle, the Art of Rhetoric. New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004.

Ibid 74. :.

 

James A. Herrick. The History and Theory of Rhetoric. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005.

A. H. Armstrong. An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld Publishing.

Ibid.(56)

James A. Herrick. The History and Theory of Rhetoric. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005.

Ibid. (107/ 108)

A. E. Taylor. Plato the man and his work. Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Company, 1966.

A. H. Armstrong. An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld.


[1] A. H. Armstrong, An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld, ), 23.

[2] A. E. Taylor, Plato the man and his work (Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Company, 1966), 107.

[3] Ibid,(107/108).

[4] James A. Herrick, the History and Theory of Rhetoric (Boston: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005), 55.

[5] Ibid (56).

[6] A. H. Armstrong, An Intoduction to Ancient Philosophy (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Allanheld Publishing, ), 66.

[7] James A. Herrick, The History and Theory of Rhetoric (Boston: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005), 74.

[8] Ibid 74

[9] H. C. Lawson-Tancred, Aristotle, the Art of Rhetoric (New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004), 68 (1355a).

[10] Ibid 77

[11]Ibid 83.

[12]Ibid 83.

[13]H. C. Lawson-Tancred, Aristotle, the Art of Rhetoric (New York: Penguin Publishing, 2004), 78 (1358a).

 

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