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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Gab´batha occurs , where the Evangelist states that Pontius Pilate, alarmed at last in his attempts to save Jesus, by the artful insinuation of the Jews, 'If thou let this man go thou art not Caesar's friend,' went into the praetorium again, and brought Jesus out to them, and sat down once more upon the tribunal, in a place called in Greek Lithostratos, but in the Hebrew Gabbatha. The Greek word signifies literally stone-paved, and is frequently used to denote a pavement formed of ornamental stones of various colors, commonly called a tessellated or mosaic pavement. The partiality of the Romans for this kind of pavement is well known. From this fact it has been inferred by many eminent writers, that the place where Pilate's tribunal was set on this occasion, was covered by a tessellated pavement, which, as a piece of Roman magnificence, was appended to the praetorium at Jerusalem. The emphatic manner in which St. John speaks of it agrees with this conjecture, it further appears from his narrative that it was outside the praetorium; for Pilate is said to have 'come out' to the Jews, who, for ceremonial reasons, did not go into it, on this as well as on other occasions (;;; ). Besides which, the Roman governors, although they tried causes, and conferred with their council (), within the praetorium, always pronounced sentence in the open air. May not then this tessellated pavement, on which the tribunal was now placed, have been inlaid on some part of the terrace, etc. running along one side of the praetorium, and overlooking the area where the Jews were assembled, or upon a landing-place of the stairs immediately before the grand entrance?

The word Gabbatha is probably synonymous with Lithostratos.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Gabbatha'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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