How do you thing the gospel writer Matthew could have gotten information about Pontius Pilate wife’s dream regarding Jesus in his Gospel?  What kind of person do you think Pilate was?  For this question please see these two links:   [Editor’s note: these are two articles in which Bart Ehrman argues against the reliability of the accounts regarding what Pontius Pilate did]
Do we have any objectionable content against the New Testament’s reliability and authority from those two articles?  Can we extract any valuable information from those two articles?


The simple answer to your first question is that we do not know. The fact that she had this dream and shared it with her husband is found in Matthew 27.  I will have to say that this is a good mystery, as it is not at all clear that Pilate or his wife would have told the believers about this rather odd incident, and I can see why skeptics ask this question.  Unfortunately, the answer is that we simply do not know how this information got to the disciples.  All we can do is speculate.  The most likely means that this information got to the disciples is that Jesus told them about the dream.  It is very likely that Jesus, who was in the room at the time, heard Pilate’s wife tell him about her dream.  I cannot prove this is the case. Here is what I know. Matthew, who was part of Jesus’ inner circle, tells us that this happened.  He had no conceivable reason to make up this story.  Why would he tell us unless it actually happened?  I cannot think of a reason for him to make it up.  However, I will concede that Christians certainly cannot prove that the conversation happened or that Jesus related it to his disciples. Common sense, plus the mountain of evidence or the inspiration and reliability of the Bible tells me that this really happened, but I would not be so foolish as to claim I can prove to unbelievers that it did in fact happen.

As for the character of Pilate, I read the two articles by Ehrman.  I will have to say that I agree with Mr. Ehrman in his characterization of this procurator of Judea.  He was a hard, cruel and relatively unprincipled ruler.  Ehrman characterizes his opponent in a debate as saying that Pilate was a sensitive and wise ruler who cared about the feelings of the Jews.  I have a feeling that Ehrman is exaggerating the position of his opponent (but I cannot prove it).  However, if I were to compare Ehrman’s characterization of Pilate to his straw-man version of his opponent, I will have to agree with Ehrman. Pilate, if he was sensitive to Jewish sensibilities, was this way out of care for his own position, not because he actually cared about the Jews.   I cannot prove this, but Ehrman is a solid scholar and between his well-informed position and my own knowledge, I will have to agree with Ehrman that Pilate did not take down the bodies of Jesus and the two terrorists out of love and concern for the Jews.  I believe he did it so as to curry favor with the Jewish leaders.  However, I do believe that he did in fact order the taking down of the bodies on the eve of the Passover, as the gospel writers tell us he did and I have no reason to believe they are lying.  I believe the eye witnesses to the events, not the speculations of Bart Ehrman, writing two thousand years later.  He may be right about Pilate, but his bias is not allowing him to see the obvious, which is that the writers of the gospels could not have made a bogus claim about when the bodies were taken down. This makes no sense!  Ehrman is certainly wrong about this one.  I have said many times that Ehrman is a wonderfully well-informed scholar, so I trust his recollection of facts, but he is also an extremely biased interpreter of those facts, as is made obvious by his almost certainly incorrect conclusion about when Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross.

On your third question, that is a definite no. I have no objectionable content that shows the New Testament is not reliable!

John Oakes

Comments are closed.