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Showing posts from December 22, 2002
Dope What would Pilate do? Well, LI learned, the other day, that we were not the first to spot the significance of Pilate in the controversy between Mill and Stephen -- a writer for the Economist, Ann Wroe, in her book on the figure of Pilate, alludes both to the controversy and to the colonial background : "With this contemporary problem [of empire] in their minds, the Victorians turned again with some interest to the trial of Jesus. Had Pilate been justified in crucifying Christ, or not? On one side stood John Stuart Mill, the great liberal thinker, who naturally took the view that the trial itself was a travesty and Pilate's sentence an outrage against freedom of speech and freedom of religion. On the other side stood James FitzJames Stephen, the uncle of Virginia Woolf, who argued that Pilate's moral absolutes would have been different. If a ruler, he argued, was charged to keep the peace, that naturally became his first priority. He was not required to be t