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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Which Written Records about Jesus Are Trustworthy?

Don Stewart :: What Is the Archko Volume?

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What Is the Archko Volume?

Which Written Records about Jesus Are Trustworthy? – Question 20

One of the most famous written hoaxes is the “Archko Volume.” The work is also known as the “Report of Pilate” or “The Archko Library.” The content of this work is an alleged report of the trial and death of Jesus made by Pontius Pilate to the Emperor Tiberius. The existence of this work can be traced back to a certain Reverend W.D. Mahan from Boonville, Missouri. In 1879, he published a thirty two-page pamphlet titled, “A Correct Transcript of Pilate’s Court.”

More Discoveries Were Made by Mahan

The success of the “Report of Pilate” led Mahan to make some more “discoveries.” These discoveries included an interview with the shepherds who were given the announcement of Christ’s birth. There is also an interview with Joseph and Mary by the famous Jewish teacher Gamaliel. Found also is Eli’s story of the Magi, and other previously unknown interviews surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus. Mahan claimed these “interviews” were translated from ancient manuscripts in Rome, or Constantinople.

The Work Contains Many Historical Errors

These other interviews are filled with historical errors. For example, he gives a number of references to Josephus’s Jewish Wars that simply do not exist.

In addition, there is the false statement that Josephus in his Antiquities refers to Jesus in more than fifty places. This work also says that Tacitus wrote the biography of Agricola, his father in law, in the year A.D. 56. This is impossible since Tacitus was born in A.D 55. Furthermore, there was no biography to write since Agricola was only nineteen at the time!

The Fraud Is Exposed

The so-called “Report of Pilate,” as well as all of these later interviews were immediately exposed as the frauds that they clearly are. Unhappily, people continue to read and believe these fraudulent works although they have no basis in fact.

To discover who Jesus Christ truly is, one need only to pick up a New Testament and start reading! This will give us the true portrait of Him as well as the circumstances around His life and ministry. The Archko Volume provides no help whatsoever.

Summary – Question 20
What Is the Archko Volume?

The Archko Volume claims to contain some incredible information surrounding the life and times of Jesus Christ. This includes a series of “interviews” with key New Testament figure. It began with a transcript of the interview Pontius Pilate had with Jesus as He was being put on trial for His life. Other “interviews” were soon discovered after this one. They include an interview with the shepherds who were given the announcement of the birth of Christ by the angel of the Lord! We are told their thoughts and feelings. An interview of Jesus’ earthly parents, Joseph and Mary, was also discovered.

It would indeed be something special if we had the transcript of Jesus’ interview with Pilate, the thoughts of those first shepherds who heard the announcement of Jesus’ birth, as well as the feelings of Joseph and Mary. However, the Archko Volume does not provide us with an accurate account of events in the first century as it claims to be. Rather, it is a poorly written hoax that dated from the nineteenth century by a certain Reverend W.D. Mahan. Consequently, it is of no help whatsoever in adding to our knowledge of Jesus, His disciples, or the world into which Jesus came.

Unfortunately, it continues to be published and read as though it give the public some trustworthy information about Jesus Christ. Yet it is historically worthless. The only accurate firsthand account of Jesus’ life in ministry is found in the New Testament.

While we may wish to have more information about what happened when Jesus stood before Pilate as well as the thoughts of those shepherds who received the announcement of Christ’s birth, and the feelings of Joseph and Mary about their Son, this information is not available to us. The Archko Volume certainly does not help fill in the blanks.

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