hands, washing of

hands, washing of
The gesture among Hebrews was not an indication that the person would have nothing more to do with the matter, but implied a renunciation of responsibility for what happened (Deut. 21:6). When Pilate [[➝ Pilate, Pontius]] is said to have washed his hands during the trial of Jesus (Matt. 27:24), this is probably a piece of Christian tradition which had developed in order to shift the main responsibility for the crucifixion from the Romans to the Jews. Such a gesture is not known to have been practised by Romans.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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