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Visiting Chicago is a pleasure. MK: When you were growing up in Chicago, did you have any opportunities to perform? BD: My mother took me to performing lessons — they called them singing lessons, but it was really more about performing than vocal technique — with these two sisters named Kirchner, I think. I was thirty-something at that point, but they remembered me and they had pictures for me to sign and everything.
My life is full of oddball twists and turns that are not typical of the path of the normal actor. MK: Tell me about your time in London. BD: I was working with a guitar player named Murray on a movie project that would hopefully bring some revenue to the Commonwealth so that we could keep our visas.
MK: There are numerous Internet sources that say you were the first person to suggest that the musical be made into a movie. So there we were in Yugoslavia; it was November and it was very cold. Do you have a phone number for these guys? That was how it all started. What is this thing? MK: As an actor, what were some of the ideas you had about the character of Pontius Pilate?
How did you prepare for the role? BD: I read several books. Then I thought a lot about how people perceive him as the villain. They are human beings. The absurdities now build to the most famous absurdity of them all: the appeal to Caesar. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die.
But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar! To Caesar you will go! The "appeal to Caesar" is pure invention, a plot device already anticipated by the very words of Jesus a few pages earlier:. Paul's rather suspect Roman citizenship, suddenly disclosed to forestall a flogging, made an "appeal to Caesar" possible but the "trial" itself did not make any such appeal necessary, advantageous or rational.
In truth, not the fabricated Paul but the author of Acts has a clear political and theological motive in mind: to move his story on towards a necessary climax in Rome. This would-be capital of the faith needed the legitimizing presence of the super apostle, however inconsequential his stay would be — in the event, another uneventful two-year prison term!
Before Paul is despatched to Rome yet a third "trial" is convened, this time before king Agrippa, who just happens to be in town. Jesus, of course, had been taken before Herod Antipas in between his two appearances before Pilate. Agrippa is keen to meet Paul as indeed Antipas had been keen to meet Jesus Luke Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul's case with the king.
He said: 'There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner.
Then Agrippa said to Festus, 'I would like to hear this man myself. How very strange that "Luke" should know what Festus and Agrippa said to each other in their private apartments! But then "Luke" also seems to know what was said in Antipas' apartments when he questioned Jesus! Luke Present at this new hearing are the "chief captains" and principal men of the city. The Jews are baying for Paul's execution Acts Before Agrippa, Paul takes the opportunity to regurgitate the resume given before the "multitude" in Jerusalem.
He is a good Jew, he insists, merely following Moses and the prophets. Like Jesus, the apostle is thought "mad" Acts We finally enter nevernever land when Agrippa, on the basis of zero evidence and Paul's feeble logic " good Jew equals Christian " , declares that he is "almost" persuaded to become a Christian and that "if only" Paul had not appealed to Caesar he might have been set at liberty. With this, the stage is set for the next fantasy — a rip-roaring voyage to Rome.
One always marvels at the "authentic details" that the author of Acts slips into his fable of Christian forbearance and evangelical triumph. And yet they are so often the same authentic details that we find in the works of Josephus! It is the "Augustan band" that is to take Paul from Caesarea to Rome, the very same military unit that Josephus happens to mention in service in Samaria!
Learning that he was from Cilicia, he said, 'I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive. Not where but when was there a Province of Cilicia?
Not, it seems, during the century before Vespasian:. That region did not come under Roman rule until Pompey's victory over the pirates [67 BC]. Soon afterwards the administration was reorganized, and Provincia Cilicia vanished from the map : it was not to reappear until Vespasian's reign in the seventies AD , this time in a more appropriate place Only with Vespasian After the civil wars, Augustus divided this huge region into several provinces but left a number of marginal territories in the hands of allied princes. In the time of Augustus, the region that would become the province of Cilicia a century later, after Vespasian's reorganization, was divided between a mountainous western region "rough Cilicia" and a fertile "flat" eastern region of Pedias aka Campestris.
In the Augustan settlement, Pedias was awarded to Archelaus, king of Cappadocia and when Archelaus died in 17 AD, his kingdom was revamped as the Roman province of Cappadocia. At that point, Pedias was detached and, along with its capital of Tarsus, transferred to the province of Syria. Meanwhile, "rough Cilicia" was entrusted to various native kings, one of whom was Polemon II, third husband of Bernice during the 50s, and subsequently deserted by her.
Polemon remained king of Cilicia until his death in 74 AD. There is thus considerable doubt regarding the claim made in Acts that Paul was a native of the "province of Cilicia" — unless, of course, the writer of this 2nd century fiction was referring to his own time! The poetic license of our writer is further illustrated by the incongruous reference to the " praetorium of Herod ", supposedly spoken by the Roman governor in Acts Some fifty articles are now available as a book.
For your copy order:. Jesus Never Existed — Paul the Apostle. Caesarea grows in the story In Acts Paul passes through Caesarea with each scene change. Paul's "flight to Caesarea" After the three failed attempts by Jews to murder Paul in Jerusalem, the clueless Roman commander, Lysias, sends Paul to Caesarea for a proper "trial", on what will be the apostle's fourth, climatic visit to the city.
The size of Paul's military escort for the journey is staggering: " Then [the tribune] called two of the centurions and said, 'Get ready two hundred soldiers , with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night [9 pm]. Paul denounces the idea of being "handed over to the Jews" but Festus has not made any such threat.
He has specifically spoken of a trial "before me" — not a Jewish court Acts And just what is Paul appealling to Caesar about — nebulous charges that have already been determined as merely a matter of religion? Acts A verdict of not guilty? An unlawful punishment which he hasn't received?
Since he acknowledges that he is already before Caesar's court, what can he possibly gain from the court of the capricious tyrant Nero — w hich, if we believe the mythology, did indeed result in his beheading! But we are not talking here of history but of theatre. Note that Paul makes no reference to Jesus in his defence before Agrippa. The " Christ that must suffer " merely paraphrases the notion of a " messiah suffering for the sins of the people " found in Jewish scripture. There is nothing said of a recently executed Jesus of Nazareth, nor does Paul remind the court of the portentous signs and wonders that accompanied his crucifixion.
Paul says nothing of the saints that came back to life and marched into Jerusalem — surely more graphic than invoking Moses? Paul makes no request for witness testimony from the " above five hundred " who saw the resurrected Jesus, " many of whom ," supposedly, " were still alive. He does not mention the baptism of "Cornelius," apparently a centurion resident in that very city; nor does he invoke the name of James, the so-called "brother of Jesus," and now, it seems, the widely respected "righteous" head of the church in Jerusalem.
Caesarea — Part 1 Miracles of Time and Space. Still holding to the idea that some sort of holy man lies behind the legend? Better check out Godman — Gestation of a Superhero. A closer look at the glib assertion that the Jesus story "got off the ground quickly and spread rapidly. Many currents fed the Jesus myth, like streams and tributaries joining to form a major river.