Text Transcribed by Hatfield, R.O., The Letters of Pontius Pilot, Edited by W. P. CROZIER, retrieved December, 18, 2001 from http://owen_eir.tripod.com/letter7.html
Transcribed by Hatfield, R.O. 'The Letters of Pontius Pilot'
"My reception was fairly good, but the non-Jews were much more cordial than the Jews. The Jews in the streets were cool and unresponsive. Marcius says that Valerius has ruled them so gently that they see no reason to hope for much from me. 'They will be more enthusiastic,' he added, 'about your successor.' When I reached the palace I found the high officials gathered to welcome me: my own staff, representatives of the two Herods, and the High Priest from Jerusalem. The High Priest is one Joseph Caiaphas. He is a tall man, imposing in appearance, suave in manner and, I should say, of supple mind. I observed that his mere presence made a great impression on every one. There had been great discussion whether he would come to Caesarea or wait at Jerusalem until I paid my first visit there. Had he not come, I should certainly have taken it amiss, for it would have been a plain sign of hostility(4)".
"On the other hand, he came alone. No ex-High Priest, and there are several living, came with him. Especially, neither Annas nor any of his sons was there. This Annas and his sons, I should tell you, are the most powerful of the priestly families at Jerusalem. For years they have either held the highest offices or made it difficult for anyone else to hold them. Old Annas himself was High Priest when Valerius came here and Valerius found him impossible; he merely wants the protection of Rome so that he can go his own way in everything. Valerius transferred the office to a member of another family, but the experiment was a failure: then he appointed one of Annas's sons, but that was like having the old man back again. Once more he appointed a rival priest and once more the rival was not strong enough. So he chose Caiaphas, who is Annas's son-in-law, hoping that the ambitious crew would regard this as enough of prestige and influence for the family and that Caiphas would be willing and able to hold his own against them. It is not, do you think? A bad arrangement. Caiaphas keeps the peace with us and the office in the family; Annas and his sons stand a little farther off and hold the support of those who think Caiaphas is too subservient. At heart, all of them alike, office-holders and office-speakers, accept the Romans - for the present. The last thing that any of them wants is a clash with Rome that would destroy their own power(4)".
"Caiaphas, at the public ceremony, merely said, 'The Jews greet the representative of Caesar.' A chilly welcome, but afterwards, in private, he was more communicative. He told me that he regarded it as his duty to work with the Romans. He said that his people, as he hoped I knew, were passionately attached to their independence, but that he and the great Jewish families recognized that they could not struggle against Rome. He said that the thing that he always feared was a popular rising which he and his friends could not check in time. 'This country,' he said, 'is very difficult to control. It is full of mountainous and desolate tracts in which evil-disposed or ambitious persons cannot be prevented from gathering together and from which they can sally out to make trouble in the towns.' There had, after the death of Herod, been several instances of adventurers who gathered a band of people about them and actually set themselves up for King. One of them might be a mere bandit; another might be a political rebel against any sort of foreign rule; a third might presume to lay down the law about religion. In any event there was danger. The common people were extremely ignorant - I was amused to see the contempt with which he spoke of them - and any sort of leader with a gift of action or of speech meant to them some one who might restore the liberties which they had once enjoyed. 'Besides,' he said, speaking very quietly, 'you have to remember that all Jews believe that some day - a distant day, I am afraid (this with a smile) - a deliverer will arise who will restore the ancient glories of our people.' I do not pretend to understand their religion, but I gathered that the coming of this deliverer (Messiah he called him) would be incompatible with government by Rome, or by any other power. I must ask Alexander about this. The voice of Caiaphas was equable, almost casual, as he talked to me. I take it that he and his friends will support no rivals, be they Kings or Messiahs, who endanger their authority under Caesar's governor. (4)".
"I thanked Caiaphas and asked him where Annas was. He replied that Annas had a cold, and in any event seldom left home. He would present himself to me at Jerusalem. I said that Annas had several sons, one of whom had been High Priest.* He answered that it would not be seemly for them to come in the absence of their father. I imagine that the old man completely overshadows them. (4)".
I have had no letter from you, my friend, since I came here. Take heed; I shall not write again until I hear from you(4)".
(4) Text Hatfield, R.O., The Letters of Pontius Pilot, Edited by W. P. CROZIER, retrieved December 18, 2001 from http://members.tripod.com/~owen_eir/letter7.html