The notes were, of course, a fabrication and they fooled few, but their declaration of Pilate’s innocence was no innovation, being part a longstanding tradition. David Lloyd Dusenbury’s The Innocence of Pontius Pilate is, in the first instance, a forensic study of that tradition. The book traces numerous readings of the trial from its canonical origins in the gospels, and highlights the various attempts to get Pilate off the hook. The best known of these are the Christian ones, motivated by the twin desires to exonerate Rome and (further) impugn the Jews. An innocent Pilate suited those who wanted to curry favour with the authorities (in the early centuries) or demonise society’s outsiders (in the later ones).