Barabbas or Jesus? The Book of Hours
Questions for Bible study groups
- How did the artist depict Pontius Pilate? Was it historically accurate? Does it matter?
- Why couldn’t the Jewish people go into Pilate’s judgement hall?
- Who is watching from a barred window?
Pilate, in a curving hat and safely standing well above the hoi-polloi, addresses the Jewish crowd, offering in accordance with custom to release one prisoner at Passover. They ask not for Christ but Barabbas.
One dramatic man at the center, arm ﬂung up in excitement, has his back to us, his focus entirely on Pilate.
Since the Jews could not enter Pilate’s judgment hall before the Passover for fear of ritual deﬁlement, the governor speaks from a high exterior pulpit. To accommodate it part of the ivy border has been erased.
At the barred prison window (right) there are two faced – the criminals who will share cruciﬁxion with Christ.
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