A Study of Pontius Pilate (John 18:28-19:16a): Power Strategies and the Abuse of Power

  • Beate Kowalski Department of Catholic Theology, Faculty of Humanities and Theology; TU Dortmund University
Keywords: Abuse of Power, Ancient Drama, John’s Gospel, Non-Violent Communication, Passion Narrative, Power Strategies


In this essay, Marshall B. Rosenberg’s concept of ‘Non-Violent Communication’ is applied to Jesus’ questioning before Pontius Pilate in the Gospel of John. It is a masterpiece of violent communication. The following analysis intends to reveal strategies of communication and their consequences. It will become clear that violent language is a sign of human weakness, while non-violent communication points to human strength. Biblical texts are a mirror for one's behaviour since ancient dramas function as a mirror for the audience (mimesis). An interactive reading of the Bible can lead to an awareness and reflection of one own’s communication.