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Image © Hildesheim, St Godehard

Matthew 27:24-25

The page is unequally divided under two arches. On the left, one assistant holds Pilate’s sleeve while another washes his right hand, holding a bowl and pouring water from a bottle. Pilate is addressing the throng and visibly sprinkles water over them. The crowd is answering back.

This literal representation comes from Matthew 27:24-25. ‘When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing , but that rather a tumult was made, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be upon us and our children’.

The scene is unusual because it omits Christ who is usually bound before Pilate, and it is exclusively an altercation between Pilate and the Jews. The gesture of flicking the water transfers the blood guilt from Pilate onto the Jews. This gesture is another innovation by the St Albans artist, transferring a figure of speech into visible form.

Quire 3.
Thread or stitch holes for protective curtain

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