My kingdom is not of this world.”
—John 18:36

This short yet powerful sentence, uttered by Christ before Pontius Pilate, produced a Western world that uniquely separates the religious from the secular, the church from the state. That, at least, is the contention of this bold and far-ranging study by David Lloyd Dusenbury, entitled The Innocence of Pontius Pilate. Although Pilate is conspicuous in the title, and his innocence or guilt in the death of Jesus a recurring topic, the primary focus of this book is Christ’s renunciation of worldly power and its effect on Western civilization. According to Dusenbury, that effect was profound. “If Jesus had not been tried by Pilate, and the Pilate trial...


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