Craig S. Keener
The passion. 18:1–19:42
THE «HOUR» JESUS ANNOUNCED as early as 2has arrived; Jesus is the paschal lamb that John announced in 1:29. Peter Ellis suggests that John's Passion Narrative fits a chiastic structure, as follows:9506
A Arrested in a garden, bound and led to trial (18:1–12)
Β True high priest tried; beloved disciple present (18:13–27)
C Jesus, king of Israel, judged by Pilate, rejected by his people (18:28–19:16)
B' True high priest carries wood of his own sacrifice (like Isaac); beloved disciple present (19:17–30)
Á Bound with burial clothes, buried in a garden (19:31–42)
Because many of the features on which he focuses to achieve this structure are so secondary and because the units мая be adapted to suit the proposed structure, the suggested chiasmus ultimately proves less than persuasive. It does, however, evidence some patterns that point to the narrative artistry of their designer.
More persuasive is the observation by Ellis and others that irony pervades the narrative. Thus Judas who went forth into «the night» in 13now returns in darkness to arrest the light of the world; Pilate the governor questions if Jesus is a king when the readers know that he is; Pilate demands, «What is truth?» when the readers know that Jesus is (14:6); the soldiers hail Jesus as «king of the Jews» in mockery, unaware that Jesus truly is the king of Israel (1:49), whose lifting up on the cross must introduce his reign.9507
Historical Tradition in the Passion Narrative
We must address some preliminary issues concerning John's narratives and the history behind them (especially as preserved in the Synoptics) before examining the specific texts in John 18–19.9508 Where John diverges from the traditions reported in the Synoptics, we do think likely that John adapts rather than contradicts the passion sequence on which they are based, probably at least sometimes on the basis of other traditions and probably at least sometimes for a measure of theological symbolism. Although, on the whole, we think John essentially independent from the Synoptics, the Passion Narrative is different; John's audience probably already knows the basic passion story from other sources (cf. 1Cor 11:23–25). Their prior knowledge would not render John's version of the story any less intriguing to his audience, however: stories were told repeatedly in the ancient Mediterranean, and a good story could build suspense even if one knew the final outcome.9509 John's very adaptations, at least wherever they might diverge from the traditions commonly known among his ideal audience, invite his audiencés special attention. Where theological symbolism guides his adaptations, it is generally in the service of Christology: Jesus is the Passover lamb (cf. 1:29), who lays down his life freely (10:17–18).
1. The Genre of the Passion Narratives
First we should address the genre ancient readers мая have recognized in the Passion Narrative. Naturally, in the Gospels readers would approach it as a common part of ancient biographies, but we must also ask about the independent passion narrative (or, perhaps more likely, various passion narrations) that stands behind this portion of the Gospels.
Because both address the unjust death of the righteous, the passion narratives repeat some themes also appearing in martyr stories (e.g., 2Macc 6–7; Wis 2:12–20),9510 as many scholars have properly emphasized.9511 Ancient moralists and historians praised honorable and heroic deaths, whether within or beyond martyr stories.9512 Writers мая have also drawn on a stock arsenal of motifs when expanding martyr stories for dramatic purposes.9513 At the same time, analogous story lines illustrate the nuances with which an ancient audience would have heard the story, but need not demonstrate dependence or genetic relationship. Those who stood against the establishment regularly invited repression.
Important as comparisons with martyr stories are for analysis of the texts, the comparisons contain some limitations. Apart from the fact that both martyr stories and Gospel passion narratives involve a righteous person's unjust death, the parallels мая be inadequate to place the Gospel passion stories fully in this genre, especially given the differences.9514 Some features characteristic of martyr stories, such as betrayal, refusal to compromise, and sentencing,9515 reflect the common pattern of ancient law and Jewish resilience rather than the borrowing of motifs. This is not to deny that the recording of such details augments the hortatory value of the narratives. For example, prior Greek thought readily supplied for Greeks intelligibility to an atoning-martyr tradition,9516 widespread among first-century Jews as wel1.9517 To a lesser degree, the ancient Mediterranean champion tradition might also provide a context for the concept.9518 More specifically, early Jewish Christians probably drew on the Isaian Servant Songs, which came to be widely applied to Jesus (e.g., Matt 12:17–21; Acts 8:32–35).9519
Of the other motifs both share, many are no more distinctively characteristic of martyr stories than of other ancient literature. For example, where possible, Diogenes Laertius ends his discussions of the lives of eminent philosophers with their death.9520 Martyr stories, of course, could vindicate their protagonist's devotion and so packed more impact than other death accounts; a legendary figure might even receive a legendary martyrdom.9521
Nevertheless, barely anyone would suggest that Jesus' execution was merely fabricated to fit this genre; early Christians had every reason to avoid fabricating a story that would bring them into repeated conflict with Roman authorities and their own Jewish elite. Further, most biographies that reported their subjects' death did not conclude with martyrdom, and nearly all scholars concur, with good reason, that the basic kerygma arose shortly after Jesus' execution. Jewish accounts stress martyrdom as an example of commitment, but despite the use of Jesus' death as a model in the Gospel narratives (12:23–33), summaries of the earliest gospel (e.g., 1Cor 15:3–4) suggest their very early kerygmatic function as wel1. In other words, martyr stories мая explain the form in which some cohesive passion narrative or narratives circulated, but would not indicate their composition as fiction.
Theissen thus concludes his own analysis: «There is no analogy to the Passion narrative in all of ancient literature. Elements of Hellenistic acts of the martyrs and Jewish tales of martyrdom have been melded into something quite new.»9522 If he overstates their uniqueness from a formal standpoint, he nevertheless corrects an overemphasis on parallels that explain less than some other scholars would claim. The vast majority of ancient biographies concluded with the subject's death, funeral, and related events.9523 Many biographies focused a significant amount of space on the conclusion of their subjects' lives, especially if the end was central to the subject's achievements.9524
If the Passion Narrative is not simply a martyr story, neither is it a typical Greek apotheosis story; the focus in the Synoptic Gospels is on Jesus' mortal suffering, not a promotion to divinity.9525 In the Fourth Gospel, however, one мая come closer to apotheosis (except for the claim that Jesus was already deity!) than in the Synoptics; his Passion Narrative underlines Jesus' control of the situation (18:4–9; cf. 10:18; 13:26–27). Mark 15:38–39 probably implies a sort of hidden theophany, and Matt 27:51–54 a more explicit one. Jesus suffers, but the focus of his mortality in John is more explicitly theophanic; in his death he is glorified (12:23–24). One might symbolically summarize the difference between Mark's passion and John's in Jesus' closing recorded words in each, whether «My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?» (Mark 15:34) or a triumphant «It has been completed!» (John 19:30; cf. Mark 15:37). Yet John hardly presents an apotheosis in the Greek sense even though the latter category includes deification in the midst of mortal suffering (as with Heracles). In contrast to Greek heroes becoming divine, Jesus is returning to his préexistent glory with the Father; here is not a mere hero among many but the image of divine Wisdom returning home (cf. 1 En. 42:2).
2. The Historical Foundation for the Passion Narratives
The extreme skepticism expressed by the most radical scholars is surely unwarranted. Burton Mack, for instance, suggests that scholars have simply gone easy on the passion narratives from faith prejudice.9526 Nevertheless, he shows little familiarity with the evidence cited by such «prejudicial» scholarship9527 and, in dismissing previous scholarship on the passion narratives as uncritical, seems unaware of his predecessors who have focused critical attention on the passion narratives.9528 In contrast to Mack's position, we have no record of any Christianity where the basic structure of the kerygma was missing, whether or not Christians had yet constructed full passion narratives.9529 Other narratives мая have figured frequently in early Christian ethical preaching, but it is likely that early Christians would have told and retold the passion story, which lay at the heart of their kerygma, and that the Gospel writers would have here a variety of oral and perhaps written traditions from which to draw.9530 Paul has a sequence similar to Mark's (1Cor 11:23; 15:3–5; cf. Jewish and Roman responsibility in 1 Thess 2:14–15; 1Cor 1:23), and if, as is probable, John represents an independent tradition,9531 it is significant that his Passion Narrative again confirms the outline Mark follows, suggesting a pre-Markan passion narrative.9532 In preaching, one could flesh out the full sequence or omit some of the stories, but the basic outline remained the same.9533
But more specific evidence than this favors the substantial reliability of the passion narratives. Theissen argues for the most part (and sufficiently) persuasively that the pre-Markan passion narrative as a whole was in use by 40 C.E. in Jerusalem and Judea.9534 Thus, for example, Mark preserves names (such as those of the sons who identify the second Mary and Simon, Mark 15:21,40,47; 16:1) that serve no recognizable function in his own narrative– but that мая well have been recognizable to those who passed on the traditions behind his early Jerusalem source (Mark 15:40, 43).9535 Place names such as Nazareth, Magdala, and Arimathea would mean nothing to audiences outside Palestine9536 (we should add here that the Galilean names мая have meant little to most of the Jerusalem church as well, who мая have preserved them for the same reasons that Mark did). Although one normally identifies local persons through their father's name, most persons in the Passion Narrative (which identifies more people «than elsewhere in the synoptic tradition») are identified by their place of origin instead. This practice makes the most sense in the church's first generation in Jerusalem, when (and where) it consisted of people from elsewhere.9537 Mark presumes his audiencés prior knowledge of Pilate and (more significantly) Barabbas and other insurrectionists. That Barabbas's name is preserved when Pilate had numerous confrontations with such revolutionaries whose names are lost to us suggests that this particular insurrectionist's name was preserved in connection with the Passion Narrative.9538 Finally, some central characters in the account remain anonymous, probably to protect living persons who could face criminal charges in Jerusalem, fitting other ancient examples of protective anonymity.9539 Taken together, these arguments seem persuasive.9540
Evidence does suggest that Mark edited his Passion Narrative,9541 but this no more denies the authenticity of the prior tradition than frequent rewriting of sources by any other ancient author, including other writers of the Gospels; thus, for example, the Passion Narrative in Matthew and Luke мая agree against Mark at points (e.g., Mark 14:72).9542 Independent tradition drawn on by Matthew, Luke, and John preserves the name of the high priest, but Mark мая follow the oldest passion account in omitting his name for political prudence, though Pilate, now deposed and despised, could easily be named in this period.9543 Brown suspects that Mark мая have acquired some of his style from frequent recitation of the passion narrative;9544 further, Mark мая have rephrased the narrative in his own words, especially where his sources were ora1. One should see most fully the 1994 essay by Marion Soards,9545 who makes a strong case both that Mark uses a source and that we probably cannot separate the tradition from the redaction.
Another line of evidence also supports the substantial reliability of the picture of Jesus' execution found in the Passion Narrative: it fits what we know of the period in question. Thus Craig Evans9546 compares the Synoptic version of the passion narrative with Josephus's account of Jesus ben Ananias, who similarly entered the temple area during a festival (Josephus War 6.300–301). Like Jesus, he spoke of doom for Jerusalem, the sanctuary, and the people, even referring (again like Jesus) to the context of Jeremiah's prophecy of judgment against the temple (Jer 7in War 6.301; cf. Jer 7in Mark 11:17).9547 The Jewish leaders arrested and beat Jesus ben Ananias (War 6.302) and handed him over to the Roman governor (6.303), who interrogated him (6.305). He refused to answer the governor (6.305), was scourged (6.304), and–in this case unlike Jesus (though cf. Mark 15:9)–released (6.305). The different outcome is not difficult to account for: unlike Jesus ben Ananias, Jesus of Nazareth was not viewed as insane and already had a band of followers plus a growing reputation that could support messianic claims.9548 Jesus ben Ananias could be simply punished; Jesus of Nazareth had to be executed.
Where John's Passion Narrative diverges from the Synoptics, it sometimes displays special Johannine interests. At the same time, D. Moody Smith argues that some of its divergences, such as Jesus carrying his own cross or the legs of the crucified men being broken, appear more historically likely than the Synoptics.9549 Thus one should not rule out historical tradition in John's Passion Narrative.
Neyrey argues plausibly that John's Passion Narrative demonstrates the sort of techniques by which honor challenges were reversed. Although mocking, beating, and execution by crucifixion were public experiences of shame, the way Jesus endures them brings him honor with the informed readers whose perspective is larger than that of a bystander inside the story world. Enduring suffering silently was a sign of honor and courage (Cicero Verr. 2.5.162; Josephus War 6.304).9550 The Synoptic Gospels provide the same reversal, however, and even leave Jesus more silent (though John portrays him as even more in control of the action; for example, he bears his own cross).9551 Especially it is noteworthy that, for all his emphasis on Jesus' honor, John mostly reinterprets rather than removes symbols of shame in the tradition.
3. The High Priests and Jerusalem's Elite
Even in the Fourth Gospel, adapted in many ways to the post-70 situation, the high priests provide part of Jesus' opposition (18:3), albeit conjoined with the «Pharisees» (7:32). It is possible that various representatives of the aristocracy, and not well-to-do Pharisaic survivors alone, found temporary influence at Yavneh; nevertheless, it would be difficult for John to omit the high priests from the traditional passion narrative or the events leading up to it. Whatever the reason, John, who focuses on the Pharisees, does not eliminate altogether the high-priestly opposition in the Jesus tradition (though he omits explicit mention of the Sadducees, the group to which most of the high priests adhered).9552
A few comments on the high priesthood, and what John's audience might know about them, are therefore in order.9553 Elsewhere in the Roman Empire, the title did not always bear the prestige it held in Palestine.9554 Perhaps under foreign influence, Jewish writers came to speak of the priestly aristocracy or high-priestly family as high priests, rather than merely the ruling chief priest, the kohen hagadol of the OT.9555
Even Pharisaic tradition respected the office of high priest,9556 though Sadducees dominated it. The priesthood as a whole reportedly included both those committed to extrabiblically stringent purity rules (probably Pharisees or their sympathizers) and those who were not (p. Ter. 6:1). Jewish high priests held considerable political authority,9557 recognized even among Gentiles (Diodorus Siculus 40.3.5–6). Contrary to Israelite law, however, Roman officials freely gave and revoked the office of high priests; thus Quirinius installed Annas (Josephus Ant. 18.26), and Vitellius retired Caiaphas after Pilatés recall to Rome (Josephus Ant. 18.95).
Josephus experienced the opposition of high priests he considered corrupt (Life 216). He especially regards the chief priests as corrupt during the period of Agrippa II (59–65 C.E.),9558 but this specification мая reflect his own uncomfortable experiences and мая suggest a broader corruption within the aristocratic ranks from which such priests were drawn.9559 Qumran and others opposed the priestly aristocracy that controlled the temple. «For many marginalized groups in this period the problem, in short, was the local leaders and politicians in Roman Palestine.»9560
The Fourth Gospel speaks of a συνέδριον only once (11:47), and there the term seems to refer to an ad hoc council, albeit gathered from among the elite and chaired by the high priest.9561 The leading players in John's account at this point are simply Pharisees and chief priests. Because the historical figures behind John's Pharisees and chief priests were Jerusalem aristocrats, however, some comments about Jerusalem's municipal aristocracy мая be in order.9562 The comments shed more light on 11:47, but because John's Passion Narrative invites comparison with those of the Synoptics, we include discussion of the Sanhédrin here.
Α συνέδριον was a ruling council, equivalent to a βουλή, or a senate.9563 Cities such as Tiberias had their own ruling senates composed of the leading citizens (Josephus Life 64, 69, 169, 313, 381); such assemblies were distinguishable from the larger citizen assembly (Life 3 00).9564 Municipal senates consisted of aristocrats the Romans called decuriones, and in the eastern Mediterranean «varied in size from thirty to five hundred members.»9565 The Jerusalem Sanhédrin was in a sense the municipal aristocracy of Jerusalem; but just as the Roman senate wielded power far beyond Rome because of Romés power, Jerusalem's Sanhédrin wielded some influence in national affairs, to the degree that Roman prefects and Herodian princes allowed.9566
The Sanhédrin мая well have held seventy-one members, as tradition indicates;9567 yet if it simply represented a body of ruling elders from the municipal aristocracy, this мая have been simply an average figure. It is, in any case, doubtful that all members were expected to be present on all occasions (especially an emergency meeting on the night when people had eaten–or in John's story world would the next evening eat–the Passover).9568 The Sanhedrin included the high priest, who according to tradition could break ties.9569 Again according to tradition, they met in the Chamber of Hewn Stone on the Temple Mount;9570 otherwise they met close to the Temple Mount (cf. Josephus War 5.144).9571 Our first-century sources, the NT and Josephus, include Sadducees and other groups in the Sanhedrin, under high-priestly control; later rabbis portray the Sanhedrin as an assembly of rabbis.9572 The later portrayals should not surprise us; rabbinic portraits of the Sanhédrin include more striking anachronisms than this, depicting leaders of the Sanhedrin in biblical times.9573
According to rabbinic (and probably Pharisaic) ideals, judges who proved themselves locally could be promoted to the Sanhedrin (t. Šeqa1. 3:27), but in actuality the Sanhedrin in Jesus' day probably consisted largely of members of the Jerusalem aristocracy and wealthy landowners in the vicinity. Rulers could use sanhedrins, or assemblies, the way some politicians today use committees: to secure the end one wants without taking full responsibility for that decision. In Josephus, rulers such as Herod appointed the Sanhedrin members they wished and obtained the results they wished.9574 Before Herod came to power, the Jerusalem Sanhedrin exercised significant authority (Josephus Ant. 14.177). In Pilatés time, without Herod the Great's interference and with the Romans expecting local aristocracies to administer the business they could (cf. Josephus War 2.331, 405; Ant. 20.11), we should not be surprised that chief priests would convene a Sanhedrin (Josephus Ant. 20.200), especially since the priestly aristocracy constituted a large portion of it.9575 We should also not be surprised if the Sanhedrin sought to please Rome.9576
Less than four decades after the events the Gospels describe, Jerusalem's aristocracy continued to act as a body. When the high priest and the leading Pharisee allegedly acted without the approval of the rest of the assembly, they provoked that assembly's anger (Josephus Life 309).
A small minority of scholars, wishing to preserve both the later rabbinic portrait of the Sanhedrin and the one found in Josephus and early Christian sources, have opted for two Sanhedrins–the religious Sanhedrin of the rabbis and the political Sanhedrin attested in first-century sources. Some of these scholars came to argue that the political Sanhédrin tried Jesus, thereby exonerating the religious Sanhedrin of the rabbis. One scholar favoring the rabbinic picture has even argued that the Gospels and Acts are late sources on this matter, with changes into the fourth century.9577 Nevertheless, even apart from textual evidence to the contrary, evidence within the early Christian texts refutes this theory: later writers fail to clear up conflicts and to impose later theology.9578 In the final analysis, it is simply anachronistic to reject all our first-century portraits on the basis of later, idealized rabbinic accounts, although reliable tradition мая remain in them at points. Few scholars have therefore accepted the double-Sanhedrin thesis.9579
After examining Josephus's three mentions of «Sanhedrin» and five of βουλή (Josephus War 2.331, 336; 5.142–144, 532; Ant. 20.11, 200–201, 216–217; Life 62), Brown concludes that Josephus's portrait of the Sanhedrin is quite close to that of the Gospels and Acts. They judge, consist of «chief priests, scribes, and rulers or influential citizens (= elders),» sentence those found guilty of crimes, and constitute the leading Jewish body with which Roman rulers would dea1. Clearly they «played a major administrative and judicial role in Jewish self-governance in Judea.»9580
Betrayal and Arrest (18:1–11)
Although the temple police had earlier refused to arrest Jesus, recognizing that no one had ever spoken like him (7:45–46), one of his own disciples now aids in his arrest. The tradition of the betrayal is certainly historical but, in the context of the whole Gospel, strikes a note of Johannine irony: after building a flat portrait of the Judean elite that is almost entirely negative (excepting the secret believers and sympathizers among them), John now reminds his audience that the most severe betrayals мая come from those once considered disciples. The emphatic warnings against apostasy in the Fourth Gospel (e.g., 8:30–32, 59; 15:6) suggest that it was a genuine threat to his audience (cf. 1 John 2:19).
1. The Setting and Betrayer (18:1–2)
If Jesus and his disciples feasted in upper-city Jerusalem, they мая have taken a staircase that descends from the Temple Mount to the Kidron Valley (18:1);9581 despite some changes in the terrain, the Kidron Valley remains known9582 and might have been known to older members of John's audience who had emigrated from Judea or who had made pilgrimage before the templés destruction. The Kidron flowed only in the rainy winter season (hence χειμάρρου here)9583 and so would not have been hard to cross at Passover in Apri1. An allusion to David's withdrawal from Jerusalem in the time of opposition and betrayal (cf. 2Sam 15:23) is also possiblé9584 though–given the topography around Jerusalem, to begin with–not necessarily clear.9585 If an allusion is intended, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Jesus himself offered it by choosing the site; the earliest Gospel writers мая not have recognized (and hence would not have invented) the allusion to the site (Mark 14:26), but it is possible that Jesus also did not (cf. Luke 22:39; John 18:2).
Only John mentions the «garden» (18:1, 26; 19:41); gardens often were walled enclosures.9586 Perhaps John alludes to the reversal of the fall (cf. Rom 5:12–21) in the garden of Eden (Gen 2:8–16);9587 but John nowhere else uses an explicit Adam Christology, and the LXX uses κήπος for the Hebrew's garden of Eden only in Ezek 36(and there omits mention of Eden, normally preferring παράδεισος), rendering the parallel less likely. (John could offer his own free translation, but the proposed allusion, in any case, lacks adequate additional support to be clear.) The Markan line of tradition suggests that perhaps olive trees grew nearby; its name, Gethsemane, suggests an olive press and hence was probably the name for an olive orchard at the base of Mount Olivet.9588 In the LXX, a κήπος appears as an agricultural unit alongside olive groves and vineyards (e.g., 1 Kgs 21:2; 2 Kgs 5:26; Song 6:11; Amos 4:9; 9:14). If the garden has symbolic import (which it might not), it мая connect Jesus' arrest with his tomb and the site of his resurrection (19:41) or perhaps allude to the seed that must die (12:24) or to the Father's pruning (15:1).
Some scholars doubt the participation of a betrayer in Jesus' arrest,9589 but Romans normally did work through local informers, including in their dealings with Christians less than a century later.9590 Further, given the shame involved, early Christians would surely not have invented the betraya1. Judas's betrayal мая also be attested in pre-Pauline tradition in 1Cor 11:23, though the phrase could (less probably) refer to Jesus' betrayal by the elite to the Romans. As elsewhere, John sometimes anticipates questions the answer to which мая have been assumed in the earliest passion traditions: that Judas knew the place because Jesus gathered his disciples there on other occasions (18:2) comports with other gospel tradition (Mark 13:3; Luke 21:37; 22:39), and this is a plausible explanation of how the authorities found Jesus.9591 By contrast, John does not dwell on disciples sleeping instead of «watching» as in Mark's line of tradition (Mark 14:34–41). This is not due to a higher opinion of the disciples' fidelity than in Mark (cf. 12:38; 16:32, though this is less John's emphasis than Mark's); perhaps John omits the «watching» because it was closely connected with the Passover, which he has apparently rescheduled (18:28).9592
2. The Troops (18:3)
That those who came to arrest Jesus brought not only weapons9593 but lanterns and torches (18:3) мая be significant. Not only Roman soldiers but also the temple police on their night watch would carry lanterns, and especially if they expected Jesus to flee into dark corners of the olive grove, they would hardly depend solely on the light of the Passover's full moon.9594 That John, alone of the Gospels, mentions this historically likely touch, however, мая suggest that he also derives symbolic, ironic import from it: the agents of darkness prove completely unaware that they are approaching the light of the world.9595
2A. Roman Participation in the Tradition?
John, like the Synoptics, мая assume a Jewish force coming to arrest Jesus; this certainly makes the most sense historically and probably represents what happened. Although they were not always efficient (except in Roman colonies such as Antioch and Philippi), local aristocracies used local watchmen to constitute their police force, and Jerusalem's temple guard (cf. Luke 22:52; Acts 4:1) fits this pattern.9596 Yet many scholars see here a Roman cohort9597 and think that John correctly preserves the tradition (against the Synoptics) that only Romans9598 or, more commonly, Romans in addition to the temple police9599 were involved in the arrest. Because of John's polemic against the Jewish authorities elsewhere, such information could appear unexpected and might well betray prior historical tradition.9600
This inference is no more necessary from John, however, than from the Synoptics, to which these interpreters oppose him on this point. Although some military terms in 18are Roman, Greek and Roman military terms had long before been transferred to Jewish soldiers (e.g., Josephus Life 242).9601 Both σπείρα (18:3, 12)9602 and χιλίαρχος (18:12)9603 appear frequently enough for Jewish soldiers. The claim that the Jewish use of such language applies only to local or rebel leaders rather than to any soldiers the priestly aristocracy would have had at their disposal could qualify the case,9604 except that it demands a far more technical use of language than is likely in John's case. When onés initial pool of evidence is limited, one can usually divide it into smaller categories that exclude the case in question; but the Jewish uses of the term would be too familiar from widely read Jewish sources such as Judith and Maccabees for John's audience to be sure of Roman involvement without further qualification.9605
Some are skeptical that Jewish officials such as the high priests or their agents would have participated,9606 but as we have argued, these were the same politically astute leaders responsible to the Romans for keeping peace; they were the ones most directly scandalized by Jesus' act in the temple; and a diversity of ancient sources testify to their abuse of power against competitors among their own people.
One could argue that the Romans lent the chief priests some troops, as they might to the temple police in quelling public disorders,9607 but this suggestion does not square with the evidence. The Roman garrison in the Antonia would have sided with the Levite police in the case of a riot, but they were not simply at the municipal aristocracy's disposa1.9608 Further, even if the municipal aristocracy could have commandeered Roman troops at other times, it is unlikely that they would do so during the festiva1. Pilate, ready to greet petitioners early in the morning, was undoubtedly already in town (albeit asleep),9609 and it is unlikely that the high priests would have secured troops for such a mission without informing him; yet even John (see esp. 18:29) reads as if Pilate has insufficient acquaintance with the case at this point to have dispatched the troops. Indeed, Pilate explicitly assigns responsibility for the arrest to Jesus' own nation and its chief priests (18:35); Jesus likewise spoke of the lack of resistance his followers had offered to «the Jews» (18:36). The proposal of Roman involvement interprets selectively even the Gospel to which its appeal is made.
The silence of the Synoptics about Roman involvement in the arrest seems striking, especially given Lukés knowledge of the Roman military and the widespread knowledge of a garrison in Jerusalem.9610 One could argue that the pre-Markan passion narrative followed in the Synoptics suppressed Roman involvement beyond the reluctant sentence of Pilate, given the political realities of their day; but the same political realities might have invited them, albeit to a lesser extent, to have exonerated the priestly aristocracy, too, especially if the passion narrative stems from Jerusalem as Theissen has argued.9611
Catchpole provides further evidence against the Roman interpretation of 18and 18:12. First, he argues, Jesus would not appeal to what he had told Romans in the temple (18:20); this argument, however, is certainly weakened by the fact that Jesus makes this statement after being brought before the high priest (the officers of 18are υπηρετών, who are certainly Jewish, as in 7:32; 18:12; 19:6). Second, he doubts that Judas would have been cooperating with the Romans. Third, would the Romans have taken Jesus to Annas, whom the Romans had deposed? Fourth, given Romés commitment to suppressing nationalists, Romans would undoubtedly have sought to arrest Peter after his action with the sword. (This presupposes that they would have caught him.) Finally, retreat before the divine name (18:4–11) мая suggest a Jewish reaction.9612 None of these arguments is completely compelling, but cumulatively they bear some weight.
2B. Roman Participation and John's Theology?
Then again, one could argue that even though the Roman involvement in the arrest is unlikely historically, John мая have portrayed genuine Roman involvement in his narrative for theological reasons. Or if John had no tradition of Roman involvement, he мая have used ambiguous language that would permit Roman involvement (for theological reasons) without requiring it (for historical ones). Because a σπείρα usually represents a cohort of roughly six hundred troops (although occasionally a manipulus of two hundred)9613 and because 18mentions a χιλίαρχος, the tribunus militum in charge of a cohort,9614 John мая envision hundreds of troops arriving to arrest Jesus in the garden. But this scenario is historically probable neither of a Jewish nor of a Roman force;9615 John мая well refer loosely to a mere detachment from the cohort,9616 but the presence of a commander suggests that John deliberately employs language that permits a larger interpretation–perhaps Johannine hyperbole to underline the greatness of Jesus' power (18:6; cf. Matt 26:53). John does distinguish these troops from other Jewish officers in 18and 18:12,9617 though this distinction need not make them Gentiles.
John мая be making a theological statement: both Romans and Jews bore responsibility for Jesus' arrest;9618 here, as in the rest of the Passion Narrative, «the Jews,» that is, the Jewish leaders, have shown their character as part of the «world.» This also fits the Gospel's setting. Yet even within the story world of John, it remains unclear that Pilate was involved at this point,9619 and hence Roman participation seems unlikely (unless the logic of the narrative, as understood within a framework intelligible to its likely first-century audience, deconstructs at this point).
2C. Judas's Responsibility
Judas «receives» the cohort in 18:3. John мая allow his language to do double duty here: first, on the historical level, Judas led the police to Jesus. Second, while John's wording does not demand that Judas himself commanded the cohort,9620 it does allow that interpretation. Such an interpretation would seem absurdly implausible to anyone familiar even exclusively with John's own narrative, whether the cohort is Jewish or Roman, if pressed literally. But the strength of John's expression makes more sense as graphic Johannine irony: those who betray God's servants are as responsible for their executions as if they had killed them themselves (16:2).
John nowhere mentions Judas's kiss, so striking in the Synoptics.9621 Instead, although Judas remains the betrayer, Jesus identifies himself for those who came to arrest him, in order to protect his followers (18:4–9); John reminds his audience that Jesus died on their behalf, and did so purposely (10:18), a theme prominent in most of John's adaptations of the traditional passion narrative.
3. Jesus' Self-Revelation (18:4–9)
Jesus is aware of all things that are coming on him (18:4);'9622 he knows «all things» (16:30; 21:17), including the «coming things» such as those the Paraclete will reveal (16:13; on implications for John's Christology, see comment on 2:24–25). John's depiction also illustrates that Jesus remained in control of the events; no one takes his life from him, but he lays it down freely (10:18). Even in the Synoptics, Jesus' responses to the Sanhédrin and to Pilate are calculated to secure his execution; here, however, Jesus theologizes on the matter (18:4–8, 36–37). This picture of Jesus' confidence in his Father's mission pervades the Fourth Gospel; thus, for example, instead of pointing out that one dipped with him in the dish (Mark 14:20), Jesus himself gives Judas the sop (John 13:26).
That Jesus reminds the guards that they have come to arrest him rather than the disciples (18:8) provides a vivid illustration of his mission to offer himself on their behalf (10:11, 15). Though Jesus' disciples мая betray, deny, or abandon him, he remains faithful to them.9623 (It also provides an example for believers to lay down their lives for one another, 15:13; 1 John 3:16.) That guards working for the chief priests or even Rome would allow Jesus' followers to escape is not surprising; Romans normally did prefer to execute ringleaders rather than all those involved in a revolt.9624
Jesus' self-revelation, «I am» (έγώ είμι, 18:5, 6, 8), can mean simply «I am (he),» that is, «I am the one you are seeking.» But the reader of the Gospel by this point understands that the Jesus of this Gospel means more than this; he is declaring his divine identity (see comment on 8:58).9625 Lest anyone fail to grasp this point, the response even of Jesus' opponents in the story world confirms it (as in 8:59; 10:31, 33,39): the divine name causes their involuntary prostration (18:6).
That this passage is Johannine theology does not render incredible the possibility that it also reflects tradition. Those familiar with the history of revivalism are aware of the frequency of involuntary motor responses to sublime encounters;9626 such phenomena also appeared in ancient Israel (1Sam 19:24). It is also possible that, given their suspicion that Jesus was a magician (7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20), they might have fallen back in terror when he pronounced the divine name.9627 Indeed, within the story world, some of these officers (18:3) мая have already been fearful of apprehending Jesus (7:45–46). But because we lack external corroboration, the historical accuracy of this report is beyond verification on purely historical grounds; what remains open to investigation is the significance John мая wish his audience to find in the event.
Other ancient texts report falling backward in terror–for instance, fearing that one has dishonored God.9628 More important, if Eusebius correctly records his words, a Hellenistic Jewish writer roughly three centuries before John reports a significant and perhaps widely known tradition about the divine name. When Moses pronounced the name of his God in Pharaoh's ear, Pharaoh fell to the ground, unable to speak until raised by Moses; a priest who ridiculed the divine name was then struck dead.9629 Thus it is likely that John provides still another hint of Jesus' deity in his narration. Likewise, that Jesus' word (referring to 17:12) had to be «fulfilled» (18:9; cf. 18:32) functionally places it on a par with Scripture; John employs the same fulfillment formula for both (12:38;13:18; 15:25; 17:12; 19:24, 28, 36).9630
4. Peter's Resistance (18:10–11)
The passion narrative followed by the Synoptics testifies that a disciple of Jesus cut off the ear of one of the high priest's servants (Mark 14:47), probably the more important right ear (Luke 22:50). Whereas the Synoptic Gospels leave the aggressor disciple anonymous, however, John reports that it was Peter (18:10). Such a description fits what we would know of Peter,9631 and the disciplés anonymity in the earliest passion narrative is not surprising if he were still alive and still in Jerusalem.9632 But the specific identification of Peter is especially striking in view of Peter's impending denia1.9633 Peter's zeal proves a positive contrast to Judas's betrayal (18:10), but his own denial will prove a negative contrast with the commitment of Jesus (18:17–27).9634 Loyalty with a weapon in onés hand and hope of messianic help is not the same as loyalty when self-defense is impossible, and in John's account Peter's act soon comes back to haunt him (18:26). The narrative leaves no doubt that for Johannine Christians Jesus must be the only real hero; even the beloved disciple who follows Jesus to the cross does not take up his own cross to die with him (12:25–26; 19:26–27).9635
The addition of names (Peter and Malchus) does not necessarily imply lateness of tradition,9636 nor should one suppose a symbolic meaning for the name Malchus.9637 Malchus was a common enough name in the Semitic East, both for Gentiles9638 and Jews;9639 if the early church had any contacts with the priesthood at all (Acts 6:7) and if this act of violence became a matter of common report, it is not implausible that the name of a highly placed person such as Malchus might be reported. Scholars have offered varied proposals for why Peter struck the ear. Daube suggests that disfigurement such as the removal of an ear rendered a member of the priestly class ceremonially unfit for service.9640 The servant of a high priest could wield considerable power and probably was wielding a prominent role in this expedition;9641 high priests often had great affection for their servants.9642 One wonders, however, whether the servant was himself necessarily a born Levite permitted to perform Levitical duties.
One might also assault the ear if it were the only organ available, as when Zeno of Elea pretended to lean toward a tyrant's ear to speak in it but bit it off instead.9643 Most likely, therefore, Peter removed Malchus's ear only because Malchus moved to avoid being hit in the neck. That Peter could intentionally remove only an ear requires us to believe either that Peter was very precise with his sword or that Malchus stood still while Peter swung. It seems unlikely that ancient readers accustomed to battle stories would readily jump to either conclusion; even in accounts of ancient epic heroes, as in the Iliad, warriors often missed their targets, killing or wounding a different person than the one for whom they aimed.
Whereas the passion narrative preserved in Mark emphasizes Jesus' reluctance for (albeit submission to) the cup his Father had given him (Mark 14:36), John, consistent with his portrayal of Jesus' willingness to lay down his life (John 10:18), emphasizes his commitment to drink it (18:11; cf. Mark 10:39; 14:36).9644 One мая compare Socrates' willingness to drink his cup of hemlock,9645 but the most likely comparison stems from the cup as a symbol of judgment in the biblical prophets.9646 This is not to imply that 18is purely a Johannine invention; John betrays no clear indication of dependence on Matthew in his Gospel, yet Matthew 26also reports Jesus' command to sheath the sword.9647 But the particular traditions John reports and the manner in which he arranges and presents them provide a different portrait of Jesus' approach to his death than the Markan stream of tradition emphasizes.
Priestly Interrogation and Peter's Denial (18:12–27)
That Jesus' enemies now have him in their power and his own most prominent disciple simultaneously denies him provides a forceful comparison for John's audience: do not join Jesus' enemies by compromising with their position, even when they hold all the political power. From what we know of John's audience, this is probably a summons to continue to confess a full Christology despite opposition from local synagogue leaders. Although Mark confirms that John follows historical tradition in linking an interrogation by the Jerusalem elite with the time of Peter's betrayal, what John records as part of his Gospel he intends to have more than merely historical significance (20:30–31).
1. Who Was Responsible for Jesus' Condemnation?
Because of the anti-Semitic use to which the account of Jesus' trial has been put, many Jewish and sensitive Gentile scholars are reluctant to suspect the Sanhédrin of condemning Jesus, especially in the unethical manner depicted in the Gospels. Thus in 1866 Rabbi Ludwig Philippson first argued that Romans but not Jews had condemned Jesus, and many subsequent Jewish scholars have agreed.9648 In examining this issue from a historical standpoint today, it is important to recall that those who tried Jesus were not the sum total of ethnic Jewry in Jesus' day; there were select members of Jerusalem's municipal aristocracy in league with the high priests and acting to keep peace between Rome and the people. Like most political elites, they gained and held power at the expense of some other people and were resented by various groups they had suppressed or marginalized. Challenges to the historical reliability of the trial segment of the Gospels' passion narrative are addressed below.9649
Some have overemphasized the Jewish leaders' responsibility.9650 One scholar even points to Jewish evidence for crucifixion on the charge of treason9651 though this was clearly normally a Roman penalty in this period9652 and Rome normally prevented its subjects from executing a person without a Roman hearing (18:31); mob lynchings occurred, but crucifixion was too slow for a secure lynching!
But neither does a total denial of involvement on the part of the Jewish officials make historical sense. What most supports the Gospel's basic description is that things were usually done as the Gospels describe. The local municipal elite would bring charges to the Roman governor, who depended on them for investigation and prosecution. As Overman notes, «That Jesus should come to the attention of [Roman officials] at all is owed, most likely, to local notables who found his group too annoying or dangerous.»9653 Workers of miracles would naturally draw crowds, inviting the concern of those the Romans had left guardians of national stability.9654 Overturning tables in the temple (2:14–16) was certain to bring Jesus into collision with the priestly aristocracy.9655 Even Winter, while skeptical of some details of the narrative–doubtful that Jewish officers participated in Jesus' arrest and doubtful of a genuine Jewish trial–admits that, as in the Fourth Gospel, Jesus мая have been «interrogated by a Jewish official before he was handed back to the Romans for tria1.»9656 The narratives make the most sense if both Jewish leaders and Romans were involved.9657
But the Fourth Gospel, despite its generally pervasive polemic against the Jewish leaders, emphasizes a Jewish trial far less than the Synoptics do, and in the Fourth Gospel the issue is political (11:48) rather than religious (Mark 14:64).9658 Moroever, in contrast to Mark and Matthew, John «gives no indication of participation by the people»; one could read John's narrative as if the priestly elite alone were guilty of Jesus' condemnation.9659
2. Historicity of the Trial Narrative
Some have assailed the historicity of the «trial» that occurs here;9660 others have shown that the arguments against authenticity are at best inconclusive and at worst fallacious.9661 Some evidence that could be adduced on the issue is questionable. Rabbinic sources acknowledge the Jewish trial of Jesus yet not the Roman trial;9662 but the former record probably derives from a response to Jewish Christian polemic whereas the latter silence мая derive from embarrassment for the need for Roman intervention9663 or from the same polemic.
2A. Violation of Legal Procedures?
Most often writers have cited against the Gospel account its incompatibility with rabbinic sources concerning proper legal procedures,9664 but this argument is difficult to defend today.9665 Although elements of the later Mishnaic code of legal conduct are probably early,9666 it is tenuous to dispute the historicity of the earlier Gospel accounts of the trials (which include traditions more contemporary than those on which the Mishnah is based) on the basis of conflicts with those rules.
First, the Mishnah reports Pharisaic idealizations of the law in its own day, at a period over a century later than Jesus' trial,9667 and the ruling council in Jesus' day was hardly dominated by Pharisees.9668 Second, rabbinic sources themselves indicate that the aristocratic priests did not always play by the rules;9669 in fact, because elements of proper legal procedure were standard throughout Mediterranean antiquity, the Gospel writers мая expect us to notice significant breaches of procedure. Unless one presupposes that the aristocratic priests (like later rabbis) would follow careful procedure even in explosive political situations–which is unlikely–an argument from Mishnaic technicalities does not work against the Gospel narrative.9670 Sanders puts the matter best:
The gospel accounts do present problems, but disagreement with the Mishnah is not one of them.... The system as the gospels describe if corresponds to the system that we see in Josephus. The trial of Jesus agrees very well with his stories of how things happened.9671
Further, the «trial» account of Matthew and Mark probably represents what was more technically a preliminary inquiry, in which Jesus' interrogators would be even less likely to regard the rules as constraining;9672 the hearing is certainly not a technical trial in John (John 18:19–24, 28; cf. Luke 22:66). At this point John's account is actually easier to envision historically without corroborative evidence than Mark's;9673 thus Sanders opines, «There is nothing intrinsically improbable about the account in John,»9674 and one specialist in the trial narrative suggests that John's account of the trial «deserves the greatest respect from the point of view of historical reconstruction.»9675 John's portrait fits his story world as well as the historical data; the Jerusalem elite had been wanting Jesus' death for some time.9676
In John, Annas and then Joseph Caiaphas privately interrogated Jesus without a mention of witnesses or charge (although some leading local citizens мая be assumed to have been present to provide support for the charge to Pilate the following morning, 18:31,35).9677 The Synoptic traditions also confirm that Jesus was first at the house of the high priest (Mark 14:53–54,66; Luke 22:54).9678 Josephus shows us that such informal trials could suffice for some high priests, who then made recommendations to the Roman governor.9679
Finally, the Gospel writers probably intended to convey breach of procedure, not to pretend that the mock trial and abuse they depict were standard Jewish custom.9680 At this point we should pause to mention possible breaches of procedure (if the laws were early and the Gospel writers or their traditions seek to portray them as breaches of procedure). To the extent that the later sources provide a reliable picture of legal ethics that the Sanhédrin would have respected (and broader Mediterranean legal ethics suggest that they would have at least regarded many of the principles later preserved in rabbinic literature as ideal), probable breaches of legal ethics indicated in the Gospel trial narratives include the following.
First, judges must conduct and conclude capital trials during daylight (m. Sanh. 4:1);9681 this мая explain a late, brief, more official meeting around 5a.m., before conducting Jesus to Pilate (cf. Luke 22:66–71; cf. John 18:24), but the high priests probably were unconcerned with such details. Further, trials should not occur on the eve of a Sabbath or festival day,9682 as this day is (18:28); but officials мая have regarded this as an emergency situation.9683 Even Pharisaic interpretation supported executing an extraordinary offender on a pilgrimage festival to warn others not to repeat the crime;9684 the offenders included those regarded as false prophets, among others.9685
Other possible breaches of judicial ethics occur. If the Mishnah provides any indication of their view, Pharisaic scruples also required a day to pass before issuing a verdict of condemnation (m. Sanh. 4:1). But the Sadducees, disinclined to share power more than necessary, мая have generally preferred speedier executions than the Pharisees thought appropriate.9686 Further, the Sanhédrin should not meet in the high priest's palace;9687 their normal meeting place (what rabbinic sources call «the chamber of hewn stone») was on or near the Temple Mount (m. Mid. 5:5; Sanh. 11:2; Josephus War 5.144).9688
Most obviously, Jewish law opposed false witnesses, reported in the Synoptic passion narratives. The biblical penalty for false witnesses in a capital case was execution (Deut 19:16–21), and later Jewish ideals, at least, continued to regard this penalty as appropriate,9689 as did Roman law.9690 Cross-examination of witnesses was standard in Jewish law,9691 and apparently the examiners did their job well enough here to produce contradictions they did not expect. In the end, these witnesses could provide only a garbled account of Jesus' proclamation of judgment against the temple (cf. John 2:19; Acts 6:14), which could have seemed to the Sanhédrin political reason enough to convict him.9692 John reports no witnesses during the passion itself except Jesus (18:37), who challenges his opponents to bear witness of any wrong he has done (18:23; cf. 8:46).
2B. Other Evidence
While one cannot prove the veracity of the contents of the trial narrative at this remove, skepticism that the first followers of Jesus would have had access to such information9693 also assumes too much. Sources for the trial narrative мая derive from Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43), from connections within the high priest's household (John 18:15–16), from others who later became disciples or sympathizers (John 19:39; cf. perhaps Acts 6:7), or Jesus himself (cf. Acts 1:3); it is unthinkable at least that the early Palestinian tradition would have neglected the witness of anyone, such as Joseph, who could have had contacts present at the tria1. That leaks from within the Jerusalem council occurred on other occasions in the first century (Josephus Life 204) does not prove that such a leak occurred in Jesus' case, but it does challenge the claims of those who suppose such a leak implausible.9694
Together the cleansing of the temple (which would offend the Sadducean aristocracy) and crucifixion by the Romans suggest the intermediary step of arrest by the priestly authorities; as Sanders observes, conflict with the Romans, crowds, or Pharisees would not explain subsequent events, but the continuing enmity of the chief priests against Jesus' followers (e.g., Acts 4:1–7; 5:17–18; 9:1–2) points to the priestly aristocracy as the main source of opposition.9695 Given high-priestly involvement, the Gospel writers are not so generous as to have alleged even the pretense of a hearing if in fact they had no tradition that one occurred. Like most modern preachers, the Gospel writers were more interested in applying their text than in creating a wholly new source to be applied.
3. Annas and Caiaphas (18:12–14)
Some writers have charged that John's use of the name Annas reflects Jewish-Christian tradition but lacks historical foundation, since Annas had long since retired from office.9696 Yet this approach reads too much into Annas's «retirement»; it is likely that he continued to exert power within his household (especially if they privately recognized the biblical tradition concerning the lifelong character of a high priest's calling), including through his son-in-law Caiaphas, until his death in 35 C.E. After Vitellius, legate of Syria, deposed Caiaphas in 36 C.E., he replaced him with Jonathan son of Annas;9697 in time all five sons of Annas followed in office, suggesting that Annas had in fact exercised considerable influence.9698 In any case, even though it was customary to refer to the entire high-priestly family by John's day as «high priests,»9699 John labels only Caiaphas here as «high priest,» not Annas (contrast Acts 4:6).
John's report about Annas мая well reflect historical tradition; it is independent from the Synoptics and not derived from John's theology.9700 John has no specific reason to preserve the names of high priests,9701 but if he would preserve any, Caiaphas, who actually was high priest at the time of the hearing, would make most sense; his audience already anticipates Jesus confronting Caiaphas (11:49). Quirinius installed Annas as high priest in 6 C.E.,9702 but Valerius Gratus deposed him in 15 C.E.9703 Because Jewish law mandated the high priesthood for life, many Jews мая have still considered Annas the appropriate official to decide important cases like this one.9704 A second hearing before Caiaphas мая correspond to the second, early-morning hearing in Mark 15:1.9705 The nature of Jesus' encounter with Annas fits the Johannine perspective on conflict with the authorities, but preservation of Annas's name and relation to Caiaphas probably suggests that the event itself, while capable of serving John's purposes, also reflects historical tradition.
Pharisaic tradition prohibited a single individual from acting as judge (m. ^Abot 4:8),9706 but Annas would have cared little for Pharisaic scruples, would have enough colleagues present to provide a semblance of communal assent (18:31,35), and could have asserted that he was conducting an informal rather than an official interrogation;9707 moreover, John is not necessarily inclined to portray Annas in a pious light, in any case. Because Annas was not officially high priest and was in no legal position to try Jesus, he was required to get the official verdict from his son-in-law Caiaphas (18:14); the behind-the-scenes maneuvering provides John with another polemical image with which to challenge the legitimacy of the Judean elite who prosecuted Jesus–and those whom he viewed as their Judean successors, who he believed were repressing his own generation of Jewish Christians.
That Caiaphas was priest «that year» (18:13) distinguishes his tenure from that of Annas, who lacked legal right to interrogate Jesus. The expression мая imply «in that fateful year of Jesus' execution» and мая also point to the instability of the priestly office and its perceived associations with Roman power. (See more fully the comment on the expression in 11:49, 51.) John recalls Caiaphas for his audience particularly by words that John interpreted as prophetically significant (18:14; 11:50).
4. Peter's First Denial (18:15–18)
An anonymous disciple introduced Peter into the high priest's household. Is the «other disciple» who was known to the high priest (18:15–16) the «beloved disciple»?9708 This was the assumption of most early Christian commentators.9709 The designation «known» could imply only a casual acquaintance, enough to get past the porter through knowledge of some of the servants.9710 Conversely, it мая imply a member of the high priest's circle, perhaps a kinsman, rather than a mere acquaintance.9711 If so, it might be counted either for or against an identification with the beloved disciple, though much more likely against. In favor of the beloved disciple, this picture would fit the author's repeated comparison of Peter and the beloved disciple, which favors the latter (13:23–24; 20:4–8)9712–here in terms of status though being «known to» Jesus is far more important (cf. 10:14). But the nearly uniform opposition of Judeans, especially those of the Jerusalem elite, earlier in the Gospel makes an identification with one of Jesus' Galilean followers more difficult to conceive, and members of John's audience with much understanding of the Gospel's geographical politics might be skeptical of it.9713 Moreover, other disciples in the Gospel are anonymous (6:9; 21:2; perhaps 1:37), and at this point in the narrative, John would probably more plainly identify this disciple as the «disciple Jesus loved» if he intended for that identification to be clear.9714
Doorkeepers were standard in any households of means.9715 In households of moderate means, a servant might fill this role among others,9716 but larger estates might employ a full-time porter. A doorkeeper's responsibility was to ask a visitor's identity, especially when one came at night,9717 and to observe who entered and exited the premises.9718 Indeed, even after entrance, anyone found in the house and not recognized as one of the servants might be asked to identify himself or herself.9719 Even if the woman trusted the first, unnamed disciple (exceptions might be made for acquaintances), her question whether this man was also (καί) one of Jesus' disciples is not likely a friendly one. Whether she discerned his Galilean accent (Mark 14:70), recalled having noticed him with Jesus in the nearby temple courts in recent days, or simply guessed on the basis of the man who introduced him to her is unclear and immaterial to the story's point.
Some suggest that Peter's denial of Jesus (18:17) would have appeared an appropriate way to maintain honor had he not thereby violated his earlier word of honor to follow Jesus even to the death (13:37–38).9720 In view of the greater potential threat to Peter (his life, not merely his honor), it would not be surprising if many of his contemporaries would have been tempted to follow the same course as Peter. But in view of the Passion Narrativés contrast between Peter's denials and Jesus' faithful confession on behalf of his followers (18:8; cf. 8:19–20),9721 Peter's denial appears shameful even had he not offered Jesus his word. Given the values of honor toward onés teacher, the view мая have been widespread that the honor of a person's teacher or disciple should be as dear to one as onés own.9722 Falsely denying onés relationship with another was shamefu1.9723 The slave demanded whether Peter was one of Jesus' disciples, and he denied it (18:17)–just as the elite did when confronted with the same question from the formerly blind man (9:27–29), though some had been more open in private (cf. 9:16). Peter thus aligns himself with the enemies of Jesus here.
Only those willing to follow to the death were full disciples (12:25–26); Jesus demanded not mere signs-faith or profession that failed to persevere (8:30–31; 15:6) but open confession (12:42–43). Peter denies being Jesus' disciple, like the Pharisees who oppressed Jesus' followers but in contrast to the formerly blind man who became a paradigm for Christian discipleship (9:27–28; cf. also 1:20); intimidated by the brute force of the Judean elite (cf. 9:20–22), Peter proved a lover of their approval more than of the Lord for whom he claimed to be ready to die (12:42–43).9724 The text strikes a note of severe warning to John's audience: regardless of the opposition, they must maintain their faith (20:31).
At the same time, Peter's later restoration (21:7,11,15–17) provides an opportunity of hope for those who have proved weak but wish to return. Of the Gospels, John alone specifies that the fire by which Peter warmed himself was a charcoal fire (άνθρακιάν, only here and in 21in the NT);9725 the term probably connects the scene of his denial with his later restoration, for it recurs in 21as part of the setting of Peter's restoration. (Some take the cold weather as symbolic in 18:18, 25, but it fits an апреля night in Jerusalem and probably simply elucidates the commitment of Peter–favorably to at least this extent–and the suffering of Jesus or explains why Peter is near those who question him; see Mark 14:54, 67.)
5. Jesus and the High Priest (18:19–24)
The scene cuts between Peter, in the process of denying Jesus (18:15–18), and Jesus' courage (18:19–24), including in protecting his disciples (18:19). In this instance the parallel with the similar Markan digression and resumption need not indicate either dependence on Mark or an independent tradition shared by both; it might simply represent a standard literary device for building suspense.9726 Immediately following the first report of Peter's denial (18:17), Jesus evades a question about his disciples (18:19–20)9727 and suffers for it (18:22), as he earlier embraced arrest to preserve his disciples (18:8).
The teachings about which they wished to question him (18:19) мая have included his public apparent threat against the temple, which had engendered some hostility (2:19–20); meanwhile the faction represented by Nicodemus, who thought Jesus' teaching was from God, has fallen silent (3:2; cf. 12:42). It is possible that Annas's line of questioning (18:19) is unethical; certainly striking a prisoner on trial was unethical (18:22). Yet apart from the well-to-do, few in the ancient world could expect justice when in conflict with the well-to-do; even ancient laws were slanted to favor the powerful,9728 and the powerful in some cases simply circumvented normal legal procedures9729 (e.g., Roman soldiers impressing animals belonging to local residents).9730 Other early Jewish reports about members of Jerusalem's priestly aristocracy (see above) suggest that others besides Jesus experienced this municipal aristocracy in a harsh way. Of course, John could have good polemical reasons for portraying Jesus' oppressors as abusing power; presenting onés opponents as at an advantage even though they have less to lose in the conflict was a useful form of argument.9731 But arguments did not have to be false to be effective. John hardly creates this charge of abuse of power from thin air; miscarriages of justice occurred frequently, and unless we think Jesus was historically a revolutionary (a thesis that does little to address the radically apolitical movement that preserved his teachings), the Romans and any elite Jewish allies they had committed such an act in Jesus' case.
5A. Interrogation and Response (18:19–21)
Some think that the high priest's line of interrogation (18:19) could have appeared unethical to some of John's audience.9732 Although Jewish law did not explicitly prohibit condemning a prisoner on his own testimony in a capital case before Maimonides, opposition to this practice, based on inference from the biblical text, мая have been more ancient.9733 Others argue, building from forensic language earlier in John and from Jewish law, that Jesus, already publicly vindicated, recognizes that he cannot be legally tried again here.9734 Either proposal might answer why Jesus refuses to answer directly (18:20–21). But perhaps both proposals require more knowledge of Jewish law, especially Pharisaic law, than most of John's audience would recognize. John's audience would, however, have been familiar with the powerful's ability to pervert justice. As already mentioned, law codes themselves favored those of higher status,9735 and municipal aristocracies acting in secret might not even answer to such law codes.9736 Given the submissive cringing expected by those who appeared before the municipal authorities (e.g., Josephus Ant. 14.172–173), Jesus' lack of fear would also strike the audience as noteworthy.9737
Jesus' response makes good sense in this context (18:20–21).9738 Many teachers offered only private teachings,9739 some sectarian Jews believed they had special insight into mysteries hidden from others,9740 and some later rabbis offered particular esoteric teachings only in private settings;9741 Jesus has in fact provided some intimate teaching for his disciples privately in this Gospel (13:31–16:33). At the same time, Jesus in this Gospel has stated his identity much more openly than is recorded in the Synoptics (e.g., 8:58–59). Challenges that Jesus' teaching was private мая have been important in John's setting (cf. 7:3–4), demanding a response.9742 If our reconstruction of the situation under Domitian is correct, some Roman officials were undoubtedly increasingly harsh with unregistered, secret religious associations.9743 Even in general, those who acted secretly were often thought to have much to hide.9744 Some later Jewish teachers also criticized false prophets as teaching secretly whereas teachers of Torah work publicly.9745 Perhaps some opponents of John's audience challenged the frequent high Christology of early Christians, especially Johannine Christians, in view of Jesus' less exalted claims in many of Jesus' public sayings–although it is admittedly unlikely that many of the opponents would have invested the time in learning much of the Jesus tradition.9746
Jesus' appeal to the public nature of his teaching (cf. 7:14, 37; 8:20) also implicitly appeals to their failure to arrest him in public (cf. 7:26, 30, 32, 44–46; 8:20, 59; Luke 22:53)9747–hence contrasting their secretive behavior with his own public behavior. In general, appeals to public knowledge strengthened onés case rhetorically (e.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.107).9748 Rather than merely appealing to two or three witnesses, Josephus points to the support of the Galilean masses as witnesses on his behalf (Life 257), noting that they can testily how he has lived (Life 258). Some Diaspora readers with a Hellenistic education might recall Socrates' reported claim before his judges never to have taught anything in private that he had not also spoken openly to the world.9749 An appeal to the public character of onés teaching, and lack of opposition at that point, would count as a strong argument against the subversiveness of onés speech–as well as an indictment of those now requiring a hasty, secret hearing (cf. John 18:13; Luke 22:53).
That Jesus spoke before the «world» in the synagogues and temple (18:20) continues John's identification of the Jewish authorities with the world.9750 The Fourth Gospel only once records Jesus' teaching in synagogues (6:59), but John's audience мая presuppose them from more widely circulated gospel traditions (cf. Mark 1:39). The one example in John, however, certainly testifies that Jesus did not withhold potentially offensive information from prospective disciples (6:52, 66), just as his teaching in the temple did not (e.g., 8:59). The other mentions of synagogues in this Gospel all portray them as the ground of conflict between the synagogue authorities and Jesus' Jewish followers (9:22; 12:42; 16:2). Ironically, while Jesus ultimately offered some of his offensive teachings publicly, some who secretly suspected he was from God remained unwilling to say so «openly» for «fear of the Jews» (7:13; cf. 12:42).
5B. Abuse of the Prisoner (18:22–24)
One of the Jewish officers present struck Jesus for his response (18:22), just as Roman representatives of the world would (19:3). The officers, or at least those present at this point, have become more hostile since their first appearance in 7:32,45–46 (cf. 18:3,12,18; 19:6). The indignation against Jesus' response мая derive in part from the biblical prohibition against cursing a ruler of the people (Exod 22:28; cf. Acts 23:3),9751 but Jesus has not cursed the high priest. By contrast, whatever else мая have violated Jewish law, striking a prisoner9752' during an informal hearing (18:22; cf. Acts 23:2) certainly would, as biblically versed prisoners seem to have understood (18:23; Acts 23:3). (Public corporal discipline after a sentence was a different matter; but that is not what this text describes.)9753 This detail continues the image of exploitation of power by the religious-political elite; such practices are attested elsewhere.9754 The detail is not a Johannine invention; the Synoptic tradition also reports abuse by Jewish captors, and the Synoptics do not simply attempt to convey Jewish responsibility, for they portray the Gentile mockers no less severely (cf. 19:2).9755 But John reports the Jewish abuse in less detail than the Synoptic line of tradition does (Mark 14:65).
Jesus' response мая allude to Exod 22:28, denying that he has cursed the authorities and inviting those present to function as witnesses.9756 (Witty retorts to such violence also appear as praiseworthy in the Greek school tradition.)9757 Jesus appears more careful to observe Jewish legal procedure than his interrogators do.9758 Lacking another advocate,9759 Jesus functions as his own παράκλητος (see comment on 14:16; 16:7–11).9760 Yet Jesus offers little defense for himself here; rather, he challenges the legal procedures of his accusers, for before God's court, it is his opposition, not himself, who stands on trial, and he exposes their sin (15:22). Likewise his followers would need to be prepared to face the world's hostility and to join their Paraclete in testifying against the world (16:7–11). Despite their inability to testify to any evil he has spoken (κακώς έλάλησα, 18:23), his opposition will accuse him to Pilate as an «evildoer» (κακόν ποιών, 18:30).
6. Peter's Final Denials (18:25–27)
Whereas Jesus proves bold, Peter's denials (18:25–27) appear shamefu1. In Jewish martyr stories, the protagonists refuse to renounce their ancestral faith even under the most terrible tortures and executions.9761 The third accusation against Peter came from a relative of Malchus, probably another important servant of the high priest (see comment on 18:10). The accusation of one of such high status would undoubtedly carry significant weight;9762 further, if he genuinely recognized Peter from the garden, he probably also recognized or would soon recall that Peter was the active aggressor with a sword. Whereas Jesus could not be justly convicted for a crime, Peter could be. The high priest's earlier inquiry about Jesus' disciples (18:19) мая have partly indicated concern about such violent and possibly revolutionary sentiments as had been directed against his own servant Malchus; the charge against Jesus was sedition (18:33–35), and if anything, Peter's act had only helped to make that charge more credible.
Whereas Jesus suffers for Peter, Peter disowns Jesus and his own responsibility. If Peter is one Johannine paradigm for discipleship (albeit less secure than the beloved disciple), it is only because the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep to restore them to the right way (10:11–15). Yet as Ridderbos points out, in this Gospel Peter's denial constitutes «the dramatic climax of Peter's recurrent... resistance to Jesus' self-humiliation (13:6ff.) and self-offering in death (13:24, 36f.; 18:10).»9763
The denial scene closes with Peter's conviction by the crowing of the cock (18:27), signaling the fulfillment of Jesus' warning that Peter would in fact deny him (13:38).
Cockcrowing was a negative omen to the superstititious in some parts of the empire,9764 but more critically here, the cockcrowing also signaled early morning,9765 when leading representatives of the municipal aristocracy could bring Jesus before Pilate (18:28). Clients could approach their patrons for legal advice at «cockcrow» (Horace Sat. 1.1.9–10).
Pilatés Inquiry (18:28–38a)
Pilatés inquiry (18:28–38a) constitutes part of a larger scene (18:28–19:16) in which Pilate plays a lead character; as a foil to Jesus, his character dominates 18:28–19:16. Pilate taunts Jewish nationalism with claims of Jesus' innocence and kingship,9766 but while not friendly to the Jewish aristocracy–the world remains divided (cf. 7:43; 9:16)–he remains a representative of the «world,» essentially hostile toward Jesus because not one of his followers.9767
A The Jewish leaders demand Jesus' execution (18:29–32)
Β Jesus and Pilate talk (18:33–38a)
C Pilate finds no reason to condemn Jesus (18:38b-40)
D The scourging and crowning with thorns (19:1–3)
C' Pilate finds no reason to condemn Jesus (19:4–8)
B' Jesus and Pilate talk (19:9–11)
Á The Jewish leaders are granted Jesus' execution (19:12–16)9768
Although the immediate opposition of John's audience seems to be the synagogue leadership, as most Johannine scholars have argued, the power of Rome stands not far in the background. The mortal threat of synagogue leadership to John's urban audience is probably their role as accusers to the Romans (see introduction; comment on 16:2). The gospel tradition makes clear that Jerusalem's aristocracy and the Roman governor cooperated on Jesus' execution even if the Jerusalem aristocracy had taken the initiative. John undoubtedly has reason to continue to highlight this emphasis, although he, too, emphasizes the initiative of the leaders of his own people because it is they who, he believes, should have known better.
1. The Setting (18:28)
The brief transition between Jesus' detention at the hands of the high priest and his betrayal to Pilate provides important chronological markers. Some of these are of primarily historical interest («early»), but the most critical are of theological import (reinforcing the Johannine portrait of Jesus' crucifixion on Passover). The former markers might have been assumed by John's audience without much comment; the latter probably challenge their expectations and, for those familiar with the Jewish reckoning of Passover chronologies (as most of his audience would be), would strike them immediately.
1A. They Came «Early»
Some scholars complain that the Gospels report too many events between Jesus' arrest and crucifixion for a short period,9769 but if some Jerusalem aristocrats met during the night, as the Gospels imply, and the hearing before Pilate took place «early» (18:28), the chronology makes sense. Indeed, πρωί could signify the final watch of the night, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.;9770 they probably brought Jesus to Pilate ca. 6 a.m. (On some other matters John's chronology differs from that of the Synoptics; see comments on John's dating of the Passover in 18and on 19:14.)
Clients approached their patrons early in the morning, those in front of the line receiving attention beginning around dawn, ca. 6 a.m.9771 For Romans, «late morning» in summer was before 8 or 9 a.m.;9772 most upper-class Romans ended their transaction of public business around noon.9773 Romans normally only slept in if they were drunkards who had partied too late and had to «sleep off their overnight excesses.»9774 Jewish people were well aware of officials' early schedule; «friends» or clients of officials could visit them even before the sunlight was widely viewed (3Macc 5:26).9775
Naturally, Roman governors followed the same pattern of early-morning meetings.9776 Like other Romans of rank, they would normally keep part of their day for leisure,9777 though Pilate would undoubtedly have less of this when he visited Jerusalem. When a Roman official came to town, he was often swamped with legal requests. In Roman Egypt a prefect came to local municipalities for only a few days each year, and fielded 700–750 petitions a day. Because regulations allowed the prefect's office to remain open only ten hours in a day, more than one petitioner would have presented a case each minute, suggesting that clerks and aides processed the less important ones.9778 In urban Jerusalem, elders from the municipal aristocracy undoubtedly judged most cases themselves, reducing the number of petitions that would be brought before the governor. But regardless of the length of line waiting to see Pilate that morning, the urgencies of the municipal aristocracy would take precedence and summon his immediate attention, especially if a prolonged detention held the potential to arouse unrest. The claim that the high priests could not have access to Pilate early in the morning unless he had earlier been apprised of Jesus' arrest and the charge against him9779 is therefore unfounded.
Historical tradition supports the correctness of John's chronological marker here (cf. Mark 15:1). It is also possible–though by no means certain–that John also emphasizes «early» either here or (more likely) in 20to connect the two passages together, stressing the urgency of the priestly aristocrats to be rid of Jesus and the urgency of Mary to find him; these are John's only two uses of πρωί (cf. also πρωία in 21:4). Still, it is possible to read too much into the perceived connection; πρωί is a common enough adverb (over 180 occurrences in the LXX) and appears at the same place in the Markan passion tradition (Mark 15:1; 16:2; cf. Mark 16:9).
1B. The Praetorium and Uncleanness
When the priestly leaders bring Jesus before Pilate, John declares that they avoided entering the «praetorium» lest they be defiled (18:28). Some earlier commentators identified the praetorium with the Fortress Antonia, adjoining the temple courts,9780 where a Roman garrison remained on the Temple Mount year-round. Some earlier and most current commentators, however, prefer the old palace of Herod the Great.9781 This palace is somewhat farther from the temple but remained in the wealthy upper city not far from the temple;9782 its lavishness suited it as a temporary residence for the governor (who would undoubtedly take the best quarters available),9783 and it better fits the direct ancient sources concerning where the governor stayed when in Jerusalem.9784 Provincial governors generally chose «for their official residence the home of the former native ruler,»9785 and Herod's old palace at Caesarea Maritima was also the Roman governor's residence there.9786
Houses of non-Jews were ritually impure;9787 by entering this residence, scrupulous Jews could contract Gentile impurity and hence prove unable to participate fully in the Passover (Num 9:6).9788 Such sensitivities would not have been unusual for the priestly aristocracy,9789 most of whom had mikvaot in their own homes;9790 John Hyrcanus had earlier wanted to avoid Herod bringing non-Jews among the people during the purification before a festival (Josephus War 1.229). Roman officials generally sought to accommodate Jewish religious sensitivities;9791 though Pilate initially proved unsympathetic toward their customs (Josephus Ant. 18.55), here he is now more inclined to work with the aristocracy (perhaps due to their past threats)9792 and hence comes out to them.
John's point, however, is hardly Pilatés generosity; it is the hypocrisy of the Judean elite, who, after they have spent the night ignoring legal ethics to secure the quick execution of an innocent man, now are concerned with ritual purity. Such ritual purity was not high on John's list of virtues (2:6–10). This blatant contrast between scrupulous observance of ritual purity and ignoring the law's ethical demands epitomizes Johannine irony,9793 though not unique to the Fourth Gospe1.9794 They wanted to «eat the Passover» but did not understand that, in having Jesus killed, they were slaying the new Passover lamb to be consumed (cf. 2:17; 6:51; 19:31).
1C. John's Passover Chronology
Some have used Passovers to reconstruct John's chronology9795 and have claimed conflicts with the Synoptics, but it seems better to read John's final Passover chronology symbolically.9796 Passover began at sundown with the Passover mea1. Whereas in the Fourth Gospel Jesus is executed on the day of the Passover sacrifice preceding the evening meal (18:28; 19:14), the Synoptics present the Last Supper as a Passover meal, presupposing that the lamb has already been offered in the temple.9797 Both traditions–a paschal Last Supper and a paschal crucifixion–are theologically pregnant,9798 but we suspect that Jesus, followed by the earliest tradition, мая have intended the symbolism for the Last Supper whereas John has applied the symbolism more directly to the referent to which the Last Supper itself symbolically pointed.
Many scholars have argued that John is historically correct,9799 noting that the Last Supper narrative does not explicitly mention a lamb9800 and that an execution on the first day of the feast was inconceivable and suggesting that the disciples could have celebrated Passover early, according to a sectarian calendar,9801 or that Mark inserted Passover references for theological reasons.9802 One could argue more reasonably that Jesus and the temple authorities followed separate calendars;9803 but our evidence for these calendars is relatively scant, and even if such separate calendars existed, why would John prefer that of the temple authorities? Other details of the passion narrative behind Mark, such as the Sanhédrin originally wishing to kill Jesus before the feast (Mark 14:1–2), Simon coming from the fields (15:21, which some take as coming from work), or burial on a «preparation day» (which in Mark 15is preparation for the Sabbath but which some take as preparation for Passover),9804 can support the Johannine chronology. The rabbis also spoke of Jesus' execution on the eve of Passover,9805 although this is a late tradition probably deriving its information from early Christian sources that мая reflect John's Gospel or its tradition.
The priestly aristocracy might act, however, even on Passover to preserve public order; Pilate would care little for calendrical matters; and an execution on the day on which the lamb had been eaten would deter crowds no less than the day on which they were being slaughtered if the site of execution were not far outside Jerusalem's walls. The minor details «behind» Mark's Passion Narrative could also be explained in other ways that fit the narrative equally wel1. Mark could simply be correct that the preparation was for the Sabbath;9806 Simon could come «from the fields» because he has spent the night in a suburb like Bethphage.9807
The main argument against the Johannine chronology in a conflict between John and the Synoptics is that on most points Mark's narrative seems more dependable for historical detail, John's more expository (although many hold John's chronology to be an exception, especially regarding the duration of Jesus' ministry). Thus many scholars suggest that the Synoptics are correct; the Synoptics certainly portray the Last Supper as a Passover meal, even on details that their audiences would no longer have recognized as relevant.9808
Those favoring the Johannine dating respond that whereas the Synoptics regard the meal as a Passover meal (this is «challenged by no one»), this does not decide the historical question.9809 But then how do Mark and Paul, writing for Gentile audiences, conform the narrative so closely to Passover traditions? And if the Synoptics report the disciples actually keeping the Passover but on a «sectarian» date, would sectarians have observed so many other paschal customs as the text suggests? Jeremias admittedly depends on later Passover traditions for his parallels with the Last Supper, but what evidence we do have fits the Gospel narratives and Jewish traditions can hardly have derived from the Gospels. As scholars commonly note,9810 John certainly had theological reasons to place the death of God's lamb (John 1:29) on Passover (19:36).
One attempt to harmonize the Johannine and Synoptic dating, originally associated with a proposal of Annie Jaubert in 1957,9811 has commended itelf to a number of scholars. According to this proposal, Jesus followed a solar calendar like the one used at Qumran, but Jerusalem's official Passover and the one followed by John occur afterward. Given sectarian calendars (cf. Jub. 49:10,14)9812 and even calendrical differences among rabbis due to different witnesses regarding the new moon (m. Roš Haš. 2:9), it is not impossible that Jesus' disciples followed an Essene, sectarian date for the Passover.9813
But scholars have raised important objections against this thesis.9814 For one, would such an important disagreement with the temple authorities have gone unnoted in the tradition? After all, calendrical matters constituted a major debate in early Judaism, and had they been central to Jesus' conflict with the authorities, one might expect mention of this point. (The exception would be if this information were suppressed by the later church, which had reverted to the common practice. But probability is against its siding with the authorities against its own teacher; other sects would not have done so.) Further, if Jesus followed a sectarian calendar at this Passover, why do John's narratives imply that he did not do so at other festivals (2:13; 7:2; 10:22)?9815 It is also possible that John followed a Palestinian, and the Synoptics the Diaspora, reckoning of Passover,9816 but this proposal fails to explain the paschal character of the Last Supper tradition, the accommodation of Diaspora pilgrims at the festival, and again the inadequacy of supporting evidence in the tradition. Calendrical differences мая allow us to harmonize John and the Synoptics, but most likely, John has simply provided a theological interpretation of Jesus' death, the way he opens Jesus' ministry with the temple cleansing so that the shadow of passion week мая cover the whole period.
If the two accounts must be harmonized, however, the simplest, Ockham's razor solution would be the best; one such possibility is that «Jesus, knowing that he would be dead before the regular time for the meal, deliberately held it in secret one day early.»9817 Another plausible suggestion is that 18refers to them eating the rest of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,9818 a solution that is linguistically defensible (though not the text's most obvious sense) but does not seem to match the other clues in John's narrative; at the very least, John retains enough ambiguity to allow the reading (and, if we lacked the Synoptic passion tradition, to assume the reading) that Jesus was crucified on Passover. John probably does know the same tradition as Mark. Whatever the traditions behind the Gospels, however, Mark's and John's approaches at least imply (perhaps for theological reasons) the Passover on different days, yet derive from it the same theology: Jesus' death is a new passover, a new act of redemption (cf. also 1Cor 5:7).
2. Pilate and the Chief Priests (18:29–32)
John focuses on the responsibility of the Judean elite; Jewish Christians in his own day felt repressed by a Jewish elite whom they viewed as analogous, and would view this elite as more culpable than the Romans precisely because they claimed to speak for Israel's God and for Judaism. While this is John's emphasis, however, he does not deny the Roman involvement; a public crucifixion in a Roman province demanded a Roman sentence.
2A. Pilatés Historical Involvement
Few historians would dispute that Jesus in fact appeared before Pilate (outside the Gospels and Acts, e.g., 1Tim 6:13; Tacitus Ann. 15.44);9819 only the governor could order a person crucified. Further, if Pilate wished some semblance of order, he would provide at least a brief hearing. True, Pilate was known for his brutality (e.g., Josephus Ant. 18.85)9820 and sometimes had reportedly executed Jews without trial (Philo Embassy 299, 302). But that Pilate executed Jesus without some form of hearing is improbable, for this is the very sort of breach of normal procedure the earliest Christian sources would be most likely to report; yet they mention nothing of the kind.9821 Likewise, Jesus' own countrymen would normally perform the function of delatores, or accusers, to charge him with sedition.9822 The substance of the events in John's account match historical expectations: «It begins with a formal delation ... and ends with a formal condemnation pro tribunali" (18:29; 19:13).9823 (The «governor» in Judea in this period was technically a «prefect,» rather than the later term «procurator» as in Tacitus Ann. 15.44; the Gospels simply use the general title «governor,» which could have covered either.)9824
That Jesus was crucified by the Romans is likewise inevitably historical;9825 Christians would hardly have invented execution at all, but certainly not Roman execution, which would have painted them thereafter as subversives in the Roman world.9826 Pilate often went to great lengths to quell so much as public complaints, including violent suppression of a crowd, leading to many deaths (Josephus War 2.176–177; Ant. 18.60–62). Romans had borrowed an earlier custom of hanging people,9827 and the victims of the punishment were disproportionately slaves9828 and the provincial poor.9829 Roman citizens could not be crucified legally, but slaves and provincials could be.9830 Although dangerous criminals (Suetonius Julius 4), like slaves, were regularly crucified, crucifixions of free persons in Palestine usually involved the charge of rebellion against Rome.9831
2B. Provincial Politics and Law (18:29–31a)
Pilatés request for a charge (18:29) reflects the standard procedure of Roman officials, who relied on local subordinates as delatores, or accusers.9832 John's informed audience мая have experienced the same sort of accusations (see introduction, ch. 5); they мая also, however, find it ironic that the accusers bring a κατηγορίαν against Jesus (18:29) yet encounter Moses' law, which they are violating (pace their claim in 19:7), as their own κατηγορών (5:45).
The leaders' attempt to secure Pilatés cooperation without further investigation (18:30) fits the known «tendency to turn the legal situation to onés maximal advantage,» as illustrated by Josephus's application of imperial edicts and other defenses of Jewish freedoms.9833 (Contrast their complaint that he is an «evildoer» here with their inability to convict him of even speaking evil in 18:23; cf. 8:46; Mark 15:14.) The Romans usually allowed internal religious matters to be handled by Jewish courts,9834 hence Pilatés reticence to accept the case at first (18:31a). (As the rest of the verse shows, he is not literally permitting them to simply execute Jesus themselves, though Roman officials occasionally handed even Romans over for execution to prevent unrest; cf. 19:6.)9835 While Pilate in the story world intends his rebuff as a refusal to enter Jewish religious disputes (cf. Acts 18:15), «Judge him according to your own law» serves an ironic function on the level that John's informed audience мая catch: the leaders neither judge rightly (7:24) nor could convict him from their own law (e.g., 10:34).
But the local leaders responded that they needed Romés approval to secure capital punishment (18:31b; cf. 19:15), implying that because of limitations Rome had placed on them, they needed Romés cooperation to keep order in such cases. On the theological level, the leaders not only misunderstand God's word but also accommodate Romés definition of what is lawful; they could not rightly execute him on their own (cf. εξεστιν in 5:10).
The narrative portrays those who brought the charge as quite insistent that Jesus be executed, and this behavior is hardly surprising given the situation portrayed. What is instead striking is Pilatés reticence to pronounce sentence; if no Roman citizens were involved, one would expect most governors to act quickly at the local aristocracy's request.9836 The Gospels show that Pilate did indeed act relatively quickly, but they also report his reluctance to do so. Thus some scholars question whether the Pilate of the Gospels is «in character» with the Pilate known to us from other sources.9837 Pilate executed people without trial; excessive use of capital punishment ultimately cost him his office (Philo Embassy 302; Josephus Ant. 18.88–89).9838 His earlier plundering of the temple treasury to support an aqueduct9839 and particularly his recent issue of coins bearing an insignia of the divine emperor9840 blatantly demonstrated his insensitivity to local Jewish concerns. (Pilate was an ethnocentric colonialist governor, but both the republic and the empire reveal even harsher cases of provincial exploitation and maladministration.)9841 From what Philo and especially Josephus show us of Pilatés character, any reticence to accept the local leaders' recommendation would be more out of spite for them than out of concern for justice.9842
Yet this reticence need not be unhistorica1.9843 As corrupt as the later governor Albinus was, he dismissed Jesus ben Hananiah from further punishment (after a scourging reportedly bared his bones) once he took him to be insane and hence harmless (Josephus War 6.305). Philo and especially Josephus are ill disposed to report good of Pilate;9844 they seem to have felt that the unrest in Judea is better blamed on deceased prefects such as Pilate (once supported by the corrupt Sejanus)9845 than left with the Judeans themselves. Even when governor, Pilate seems to have been quite unpopular.9846
Still, the narratives go to great lengths to emphasize that Pilate cooperated with Jesus' execution against his own preference, and this emphasis is understandable for apologetic reasons. Minority sects often validate themselves through reports of praises by those respected among their oppressors; those writing in socially delicate situations also must show proper deference to officials. Thus, for example, Josephus repeatedly excuses Roman rulers' motives; for instance, Titus wished to spare the temple, but some soldiers failed to cooperate (War 6.254, 258, 260–266), or Titus allowed his soldiers to torture Jews only for good reason (War 5.449–451). The Letter of Aristeas likewise defends the Ptolemaic ruler's motives against the Jews (Let. Aris. 14), and Josephus cJaims that Ptolemy Philadelphus praised the Jewish law (Ag. Ap. 2.45–47). In the same manner, early Christians commending themselves to an audience in the broader Roman world might wish to exonerate the Roman prefect9847 or even cite in their own defense Roman officials' reticence to condemn them (e.g., Acts 13:12; 18:14–15). John probably writes for a largely Jewish Christian rather than Gentile audience and probably depends on early Palestinian Jewish tradition; nevertheless he has ample reason to focus on the guilt of those of his own people who betray his Jewish Christian colleagues to the Romans, rather than on the Roman officials who execute sentences.
But while the Gospels have reason to emphasize Jewish rather than Roman responsibility, Pilatés hesitance мая have historical foundation, as we have noted above. Pilate мая have had good reason for political concern if he erred in judgment.9848 Philo notes the antiJewishness of Pilatés patron, Sejanus (Philo Flaccus 1). If Sejanus was executed on октября 19, 31 CE.,9849 some premonitions of his impending weakness might have been felt a year and a half earlier at the more likely time of Jesus' trial near Passover of 30 CE. (This is admittedly at best a guess, rather than a direct inference from our sources, which, unanimously hostile to Sejanus, suggest that most of those who disagreed with him in Rome would have been more circumspect than to say so.) If one dates the crucifixion to 33 CE., the second most accepted date, Pilatés position had certainly become much less secure. More clearly, Pilate, like most provincial officials,9850 was probably politically ambitious and hence could ill afford too many bad reports about himself.9851 In contrast with many of his peers in office, being only an equestrian left him especially vulnerable apart from Sejanus's patronage.9852 More to the point, Pilate had already incurred the hatred of the Jewish people (e.g., Josephus War 2.169–177; Ant. 18.55–62) and on some other occasions had backed down to pacify them (Philo Embassy 301–302; Josephus War 2.171–174; Ant. 18.59), especially if threatened with appeal to the emperor (Philo Embassy 304–305; cf. John 19:12). Thus Pilate was not only cruel but, like many bullies, fearful of exposure to those in authority over him.9853
If anything, this situation would probably require Pilate in time to become more, rather than less, cooperative with the more powerful of his subjects (cf. John 19:12–13); to fail to prosecute a potential revolutionary, accused by the leaders of his own people, could lay Pilate himself open to the charge of maiestas.9854 Even the suspicion of treason could be fatal under Tiberius, especially under Sejanus's influence, and despite Sejanus's patronage, he likely would not risk it.9855 Further, although Jesus мая have proved politically innocuous,9856 cooperation with the local aristocracy would be politically more advantageous; that he survived as governor until 36 C.E.,9857 long after his patron's demise, suggests that he had belatedly acquired some political savvy. Even a better governor might have executed a potential troublemaker without much evidence, especially under pressure.9858 This was, after all, the provinces, not Rome.
In any case, the hearing before Pilate is brief, and the execution swift (a few hours later). Though less explicitly than Matthew, John employs the catchword παραδίδωμι to portray a whole web of guilt implicating Judas (6:64, 71; 12:4; 13:2,11, 21; 18:2, 5, 36), the Jerusalem aristocrats (18:30,35; 19:11), and Pilate (19:16).9859 Yet in the end it is Jesus himself who hands his life over to the Father (παρέδωκεν, 19:30), as he had previously announced (10:17–18).
2C. Capital Jurisdiction (18:31b-32)
When the Judean leaders respond that they are not permitted to put anyone to death–at least not legally (18:31)–they state accurately the situation not only in John's day but probably also in that of Jesus as wel1. The local aristocracy would prepare the charges and suggest action, but Pilate had to pronounce sentence. The governor held the power of life and death in a province (Josephus War 2.117; cf. b. Šabb. 108a). Some scholars think that the Sanhédrin could execute capital sentences,9860 but this proposal does not fit what we know of the way Romans administered their provinces. Against Winter,9861 Acts 23:1–10 constitutes a preliminary inquiry to formulate a charge (22:30; 23:28–29), not evidence for capital authority, even though profanation of the temple (cf. 21:28–29) was the one charge for which the Romans permitted local executions.9862
Although Theissen recognizes that the Sanhédrin lacked capital authority in Jesus' time,9863 he thinks that the Passion Narrative presupposes this jurisdiction and thus that it reads its own milieús circumstances of 41–44 C.E., under Agrippa I, into the narrative.9864 Others might employ this approach to deny the Passion Narrativés own evidence that some of the high priests tried Jesus, but such a denial faces two major obstacles: First, the logic of the Passion Narrative actually presupposes that the Sanhedrin lacks capital authority; why else would they hand Jesus over to Pilate?9865 Second, Agrippa I, like Herod the Great, was a client king and had been on personal terms with an emperor–he was not merely the municipal aristocracy. In the last decade of the first century, Johannine tradition still preserves the Sanhedrin's lack of authority (John 18:31–32). An intermediate position is that Romans rarely delegated capital authority but Roman governors were authorized to do so;9866 but whatever governors of some provinces мая have wished to do, it is inconceivable that Pilate would have shared this authority with the local aristocracy.9867
Later rabbis discussed appropriate grounds9868 and means9869 for execution, but rabbinic literature itself shows that these discussions were primarily theoretica1.9870 Some rabbinic tradition traces the loss of Jewish courts' capital authority to 70 C.E.,9871 other tradition to no later than 30 C.E.9872 Although Josephus naturally does not report any precedents unfavorable toward Jewish autonomy, this loss of sovereignty (for so it would be viewed–Ep. Jer. 14) must have begun much earlier. Although Rome delegated the right of the sword to Herod and other client rulers and although even Diaspora Jewish communities could enforce corporal penalties on their own members,9873 Rome withheld capital jurisdiction from municipal aristocracies, who could employ it against citizens loyal to Rome, as we have noted.9874 For this, local rulers needed at least Roman ratification.
Some precedent existed for Romans overlooking past executions, or even human sacrifices, that could be justified by local custom, but they expected such practices to be discontinued,9875 so provable extrajudicial executions were not in the political interests of the priestly aristocracy. Although councils of subject territories could pronounce a death sentence, they had to bring their sentence before the governor for ratification.9876 Most scholars thus currently recognize that the Sanhedrin lacked the legal authority to execute prisoners in this period (Josephus Ant. 20.200).9877 As Roman legal scholar A. N. Sherwin-White notes,9878
When we find that capital power was the most jealously guarded of all the attributes of government, nor even entrusted to the principal assistants of the governors, and specifically withdrawn, in the instance of Cyrene, from the competence of local courts, it becomes very questionable indeed for the Sanhédrin.
The Sanhédrin could sentence offenders and recommend them for execution, but apart from violating the temple, few Jewish religious charges would receive an automatic capital sentence from the Romans (e.g., the case of Jesus ben Ananias).9879 It is not impossible that Roman officials might look the other way in the case of lynchings, but even these would be problematic if they could generate complaints to Rome.9880
Jesus' mastery over those who engineer his execution is evident in 18:31–32. Local leaders lacked capital jurisdiction and depended on Pilate for a legal execution (18:31); this, however, was not a mark of their power but a matter of Jesus' own plan. The Romans normally executed by crucifixion those accused of treason.9881 Jesus had announced that he would be executed by being lifted up (12:32–33); now he was handed over to the Romans so that his purpose could be fulfilled (cf. 19:11). Perhaps some opponents of John's audience ridiculed Christians for worshiping one whose life had ended so shamefully at the hands of others, even if Christians claimed he was innocent; John is emphatic that Jesus' death was no tragic accident but part of the divine plan (cf., e.g., 3:14; 4:4; 19:30).9882
3. The Kingdom of Truth (18:33–38a)
After Pilate speaks with the chief priests (18:29–31), he must make some inquiry from the prisoner himself (at least if he wishes to follow some semblance of Roman order, which had withheld capital jurisdiction for Roman officials precisely to prevent abuses by local muncipal aristocracies). What he finds, however, does not sit well with Roman justice for a conviction. Undoubtedly, John's audience would wish to make use of this apologetic line already figuring prominently in Acts and some other early Christian documents: despite their lack of welcome in some synagogues, Jewish Christians remained committed to their Jewish heritage; the issues of dispute between themselves and their accusers remained Jewish; and hence they should not be prosecuted in Roman lawcourts (see introduction, ch. 5).
3A. Questioning Jesus (18:33–34)
In normal judicial procedure, the accusers would speak first (18:29); Pilate is thus acquainted with the charge of treason (18:33) before he interrogates Jesus.9883 Pilatés initial interrogation of Jesus clarifies the charge the Sanhédrin has brought to Pilate, that Jesus claims to be a king; Rome, like the priestly aristocracy, would understand this claim in revolutionary terms (18:33). Whatever the possible religious motivations behind the charge, the charge against Jesus is political: by claiming to be a king, Jesus implied a worldly kingdom that would challenge Rome.9884 The political charge in Luke 23accurately summarizes the gist of the charge in Mark and Matthew: Jesus was a revolutionary.9885 This is also the most natural way to take the Johannine charge.9886 The charge is technically that of lese majesty,9887 for which the normal punishment in the provinces was crucifixion.9888 Because Pilate had authority to conduct his inquiry without a jury or dependence even on the Roman ordo, the hearing was merely a cognitio to determine the facts and inform his decision.9889 Jesus' only answer in the Markan account (Mark 15:2) affirms the charge;9890 although the Johannine Jesus clarifies the faulty basis for the charge (18:36–37), he never denies it (18:34–37).
Pilate interrogates Jesus in 18:33; a hearing could consist of a cognitio, an inquiry to determine the truth of the charges.9891 In such an inquiry, the official could consult his consilium, composed of his "accessores (junior barristers) and comites (attendants)» who functioned as knowledgeable legal aides (cf. Acts 25:12); but the final decision was his own.9892 Roman judges should attend to imperial edicts, statutes, and custom (moribus, Justinian Inst. 4.17), but provincial officials were free to follow or disregard prior customs.9893
3B. Jesus as King of the Jews (18:33–35)
Although Pilate repeats the Jewish authorities' charge (18:35), it appears fitting that he, as a representative of the Roman Empire, is the first voice in the trial narrative to announce Jesus as «king of the Jews» (18:33), a title to which the Jewish leaders object (19:21) and which they themselves never offer to Jesus.9894 On the level of the story world, Pilatés presentation of Jesus to «the Jews» as «king of the Jews» (18:39) мая be ridicule (cf. 19:3);9895 the Gospel's ideal audience, however, will catch the irony (cf. 1:49). Probably the Johannine Christians find most Roman officials more tolerant of their claims to fidelity to their ancestral faith than the synagogue leaders are (cf. 4:9; 18:35). But as in many other cases in the Gospel, John is preaching from genuine tradition rather than creating it wholesale for his purposes. The charge, «king of the Jews» (18:33), is undoubtedly historica1.9896 Jesus' triumphal entry (12:13) marked him as a royal aspirant; the priestly aristocracy would arrest, and the Romans execute, anyone who offered the slightest grounds for suspicion of treason against Rome. The title is not a traditional Christian confession; Jesus' «you say» in the tradition (Mark 15:2) suggests that it is not the title Jesus or the tradition would have emphasized, and Romans crucified many self-proclaimed kings and their followers under the Lex Iulia de maiestate (Josephus Ant. 17.285, 295).9897 Other Jewish rebels apparently hoped for kingship (Josephus War 2.443–444; Ant. 17.285),9898 but unless they desired repression, Christians would have hardly invented the claim that Jesus was crucified on these grounds (cf. Acts 17:7).9899 As broadly as «treason» could be defined in Roman law9900 and especially in Sejanus's Rome,9901 the charge of claiming to be a king on the part of an otherwise unimportant provincial might require little investigation to secure condemnation.
When Jesus asks whether Pilate says (cf. Mark 15:2, σύ λέγεις) Jesus is king of the Jews «from himself» (18:34), on the story level he asks whether Pilate has received this title from Jesus' accusers;9902 on the ironic level, however, Jesus might imply that Pilatés charge was divinely guided, even contrary to his own knowledge (11:51; cf. 19:11). Pilatés role is essential to the functioning of the plot (18:31–32), but he remains «a complete outsider to the world within which the drama moves» (18:35).9903 Pilate protests that he himself is not a «Jew» (18:35), yet, in the narrativés irony, «is forced step by step to carry out the will of 'the Jews.'»9904 «Your own nation» employs the term έθνος, which elsewhere appears in this Gospel only in the leaders' decision to hand Jesus over to Pilate for the preservation of their nation, precisely because they thought the Romans would be angry if they did not (11:48, 50–52). Most paradoxical and important of all, the two characters in this Gospel who comment on Jesus' own Jewishness are a Samaritan woman (4:9) and Pilate (18:35). In John's irony, «his own» did not receive him (1:11). This observation мая mirror also the suffering of Johannine Christians, whose fidelity to their heritage is in question primarily from their own ethnic and religious siblings.
3C. The Nature of Jesus' Kingship (18:36–37a)
Pilate repeats the question about Jesus' kingship (18:37a), following basic trial procedure: if a defendant failed to offer a defense, the judge would normally ask about the charge three times before the defendant would be convicted by default.9905 Once Jesus admits to kingship (18:37), Pilate would normally be duty-bound to have him executed; thus one Jewish scholar argues that whereas Jesus was innocent, he pleaded guilty to secure martyrdom.9906 This proposal мая be correct in some sense; nevertheless, in all our extant gospels, while Jesus is a king, he is not the sort of king whose kingship would constitute high treason.
Whereas, in other extant gospel tradition, Jesus reluctantly accepts the charge «king of the Jews» with the words «That is what you are saying» (Mark 15:2; Matt 27:11; Luke 23:3), here John transposes Jesus' response into John's own idiom, allowing him to explain the sense in which he is and the sense in which he is not «king of the Jews.»9907 In a sense, Jesus rejects the title «king of the Jews» (18:33)–in the sense in which the Fourth Gospel uses the title «Jews» (see introduction, pp. 214–28)–preferring «king of Israel» (12:13), which appears in a very different light (see introduction, pp. 280–320). Jesus' kingship мая be rejected by many of the leaders of his own people, but he is king over all who embrace his truth (18:36–37).9908 Only those born from above by God's Spirit can recognize or enter his kingdom (3:3, 5).
Jesus declares that his servants would not fight to protect him (18:36). Roman officials would have punished soldiers who did not risk their lives to protect their commander;9909 but Jesus shows Pilate that he and his followers are a different sort of kingdom. One of Jesus' servants had sought to fight the high priest's servant (18:10), but Jesus had stopped him (18:11); Jesus' way called on even his servants to die (12:26; 13:16; 15:20). If Romans had accompanied those who originally detained Jesus, Pilate мая have heard of Jesus' command not to resist (18:ll),9910 but as we noted above, Roman participation is unclear before the priestly delegation approaches Pilate in 18:28. In any case, Jesus mentions the matter now.
Romés acknowledgement of Jesus' Jewishness through the character of Pilate and the acceptance by some Gentiles that Jesus was Israel's rightful king contrasted starkly with the hostile response of synagogue leaders to this claim, allowing John's audience to identify with Jesus' situation. Jesus' definition of his kingdom in terms of fidelity to his truth rather than of ethnic allegiances or military power (18:36) also fits the Johannine portrait of the revealer.9911 Yet the theology behind this pericope is not only Johannine but also goes back to the earliest sources of Christian faith. Sanders accepts as two «firm facts» Jesus' execution by the Romans as a professed «king of the Jews» and a messianic movement of Jesus' followers who entertained no anticipation of military triumph. «Thus not only was Jesus executed as would-be king even though he had no secular ambitions, his disciples also combined the same two points: Jesus was Messiah, but his kingdom was 'not of this world.'»9912 Allegiance to such a kingdom inevitably produced conflict with excessive claims of worldly kingdoms, inviting the martyrdom of those who remained loyal to it.9913
3D. The Kingdom and Truth (18:37b-38a)
Jesus' claim that his «kingdom» had to do with «truth» would sound very different to purely hellenized ears and to those more steeped in ancient Jewish traditions although the semantic range of the word in Greek and Hebrew overlapped. (Presumably Jesus and Pilate converse in Greek, the lingua franca of the Eastern empire, known to all educated Romans.) Greek philosophy could speak of άλήθεια in terms of a true perspective on reality;9914 Romans could speak of Veritas as accurate, factual representation of events (Cicero Inv. 2.53.161).9915 In light of the Hebrew Bible and many uses in the LXX, «truth» included «God's faithfulness to His covenant of redemption,»9916 hardly a politically innocuous concept in the hands of Jewish patriots such as those involved in the recent war of 66–70 CE. At the same time, the Christian reader of the Gospel understands that Jesus means the term neither in the sense of Greek philosophers nor with connotations that Jewish patriots мая have added to it, but in terms of God's revelation of his covenant character. God had revealed this character to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exod 34:6) and had fleshed it out fully in Jesus' own life and ministry (1:14; 14:6).
Just as the ultimate expression of God's glory (1:14) would be in the cross (12:23–24), so would be the ultimate expression of God's truth, God's covenant faithfulness; thus Jesus' mission to bear witness to the truth (18:37) would require his death. Pilate had to convict him; this was the plan of the Father and the Son, not of Pilate. Those who were of the truth, like the formerly blind man, heard Jesus' voice (18:37; 10:3);9917 Pilate would not hear, but he would nevertheless carry out God's purposes. If, when facing the truth in person (14:6), Pilate asks what truth is, he is clearly not of the truth, not one of «those whom 'the Father has given to Jesus'» (10:29).9918
Jesus' nonresistance (18:36) was a striking contrast to expected models of treason. What would have been clear from Pilatés perspective was the political harmlessness of a sage whose «kingdom» consisted of truth (18:37). As Diaspora readers would readily recognize, a Gentile hearing about a «kingdom of truth» would think not of political kingship but of a kingship of philosophers (cf. Epictetus Diatr. 3.22.49; Plutarch Flatterer 16, Mor 58E). From Plato on, philosophers claimed that they were the citizens best suited to rule the state,9919 wrote essays on appropriate forms of rulership,9920 and sometimes (especially among the Cynics) spoke of themselves as ruling.9921 No one took such claims as a threat to the security of the state because such philosophers rarely if ever challenged that security. True, Cynics often criticized rulers who fell short of their ideal of true kingship, and this criticism invited suspicion of wandering preachers;9922 but Pilate could readily discern the difference between such a political troublemaker and the more common form of apolitical visionary. To a pragmatic Roman governor, Jesus was nothing more than a harmless Cynic philosopher; a nuisance, perhaps, but surely no threat. Ironically, whereas Pilate views Jesus as a harmless sage, the Jerusalem aristocracy views him as a threat to Romés interests (19:12, 15; cf. 11:49–50). From their respective inadequate conceptual frameworks, both misconstrue his identity.
Pilatés tone мая be undecipherable, but as Duke notes, John's dramatic irony here is clear: Pilate asks, «What is truth?» of the very one who is the truth (14:6).9923 The meaning of «truth» might be debatable, but Pilate was hardly interested in what appeared to him to be philosophical matters (18:38a); he was interested in politics, and from that vantage point, Jesus was «not guilty» (18:38b). Pilate thus took the matter back to Jesus' accusers (18:38b-19:16).
Pilate and the People (18:38b-19:16)
This section develops Pilatés encounter with Jesus, augmenting the (in a worldly sense) apolitical character of his kingdom stressed in 18:36–37; Jesus is no threat to Roman security (19:8–12). But the people provide Pilate other political realities to deal with, and become increasingly insistent that Jesus be handed over.
The people here are essentially the leaders of the people who bear primary responsibility for leading them to oppose Jesus: hence «the Jews» (18:38; 19:7,12,14) are the «leading priests and officers» (19:6, 15). A flat, composite character, they speak with one voice like a chorus in a Greek tragedy.9924
1. Preferring a Terrorist (18:38b-40)
Pilatés first presentation of Jesus leads to repudiation; the chief priests, who supposedly hand over Jesus for a treason charge (18:33–35) and will claim no king but Caesar (19:15), yet want freedom for an insurgent instead (18:40).9925 Their real objections to Jesus' claim to be «son of God» мая lie elsewhere (19:7; cf. 5:18; 10:33–36), but John's Asian audience will undoubtedly hear in their claim a support for the emperor cult (19:15), for lack of allegiance to which the Jewish Christians are being betrayed to the Roman authorities.
1A. Pilatés Attempt to Free Jesus (18:38b-39)
The conflict between Pilate and the Jewish leaders continues to unfold, emphasizing the responsibility of the leaders of Jesus' own people without denying that of Pilate.9926 Luke shares with John Pilatés threefold claim to find no guilt in Jesus (Luke 23:4, 14, 22; John 18:38; 19:4, 6); if John's source is not ultimately Luke, then both draw on a common passion tradition here.
If Jesus was no threat, Pilate would naturally be inclined to release him (18:39), just as an equally unscrupulous governor a few decades later would release another harmless prophet the chief priests wanted silenced (Josephus War 6.305).9927 The negative response of the priestly aristocracy is predictable, and one familiar only with this Gospel and not the rest of the gospel tradition (e.g., Mark 15:6–15)9928 might assume that the «Jews» who protest here (18:40) represent the elite with whom Pilate has been dealing (18:28, 35). But the elite often spoke for the masses who trusted and followed them, and John's audience probably already knows the basic passion story from other sources (cf. 1Cor 11:23–25).
If the Jewish officials want Jesus executed but Pilate does not, it makes some sense that he would push the responsibility off onto the people; perhaps he thought that Jesus was popular enough with the masses for them to want to release him. But in the Fourth Gospel, the «Jews» and the authorities overlap at most points, so, in the logic of the story world, Pilatés attempt to release Jesus by appealing to the «Jews» reveals only his inadequate, foreigner's understanding of the ferment taking place within the Jewish community (7:43; 9:16; 10:19).9929
1B. The Paschal Amnesty Custom (18:39)
Pilatés offer мая suggest that he thought himself indulgent on special occasions; his otherwise brutal disposition, however, colors all the other brief Jewish reports of his activity that remain extant.9930 What is the historical likelihood that he might have followed an existing amnesty custom in Judea?
Although all four gospels attest the paschal amnesty custom,9931 most scholars remain skeptical of the custom because the proposed analogies from other locations appear inadequate.9932 Yet an argument against the custom from silence (in a narrative that can be confirmed at many other points) мая not take adequate account of the burden of proof in favor of the Gospels' usual authenticity (see introduction, ch. 1).9933 One could argue that John follows a literary practice of his day in creating customs to suit his narrative,9934 but if John is independent of the Markan tradition (less likely in the Passion Narrative than elsewhere), it would testify to the pre-Johannine character of John's primary point here.
Like most customs of the Roman administration in Palestine, this one is currently unattested (a not surprising situation given the freedom of governors to ignore and supersede earlier customs),9935 but if the Gospels usually correctly report events, especially when they multiply attest them (as possibly here), the assumption should begin in favor of, rather than against, their claims if no hard evidence to the contrary is available. If the particular custom is unattested outside the Gospels, analogies suggest its general consistency with Roman policy. In tentative support of the custom, one can adduce parallels from other Roman administrations and the Gospel writers' assumption that their audiences were familiar with this practice in the gospel tradition.
Although Roman law dictated that judges should not ignore laws, decrees, or custom (Justinian Inst. 4.17), Roman provincial officials often followed, but were not bound by, «precedents of their predecessors or local customs.»9936 Prefects were, in any case, free to issue amnesties.9937 Pilatés offer of amnesty thus could be a custom Pilate himself initiated, though it is more likely an earlier one he merely decided to continue (John 18:39). Pilate could have abolished a preexisting custom, but given previous conflicts with the people (e.g., Josephus War 2.174,177) and the dangers of popular unrest at festivals (e.g., Josephus War 2.224), he probably would not have done so (though its lack of attestation in Josephus мая suggest that one of his successors eventually abolished the custom). Politically prudent rulers in the East presumably often continued festival traditions begun by their predecessors (e.g., Alexander in Diodorus Siculus 17.16.3; contrast the imprudent Verres in Cicero Verr. 18.104.22.168–52). Doing away with pardons and other civic customs was considered despicable (Cicero Rose. Amer. 1.3), and governors who wished to make a positive impression typically continued as many as possible of the precedents the people liked (Cicero Art. 6.1).
Romans sometimes deferred to local custom in forgiving an offense (e.g., Plutarch R.Q. 83, Mor. 283F); they also sometimes freed prisoners en masse on local feasts (Livy 5.13.8),9938 a custom known in various other ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures.9939 Although the later practice of pardoning criminals at Easter (Cod. theod. 9.38.3–4, 8) is probably dependent on the Gospels,9940 sometimes they also released captives because of the peoplés demands.9941 Romans usually delayed punishments during their own festivals in Rome.9942' Roman law permitted two kinds of amnesty: abolitio (acquitting a prisoner before trial–Codex 9.42 (De abolitionibus); Dig. 48.16) and indulgentia (pardoning a convicted criminal, Codex 9.43.3).9943 Since Pilate had not yet pronounced sentence against Jesus, an abolitio allowed him to easily circumvent the whole matter placed before him. We accept many ancient claims about customs that are attested in only one source, though more pleased when that source is corroborated in part or whole by other sources; the gospel tradition's account is plausible, and given the fact that it could be checked in the earliest period, appears more likely than not.
1C. Barabbas, a «Robber» (18:40)
If Pilate wished to grant any prisoner's release for the festival, it was far safer to release Jesus, whom he now supposed a harmless philosopher, than alternatives such as Barabbas, who, like those ultimately executed with Jesus, was a «robber» (18:40), the aristocracy's derisive title (shared by Josephus) for insurrectionists.9944 In the gospel tradition, those who arrested Jesus treated him as if he were a guerilla as well–a natural category in which to place many messianic pretenders, albeit not Jesus (Mark 14:48).9945
Pilate appears here as one who attempts to be politically shrewd but proves politically inept. He tries to achieve two goals simultaneously: he is willing to honor an earlier custom–which Roman law did not require him to follow–to curry more favor with the people, and at the same time he is willing to release a prisoner he wishes to release in any case. The narrative meanwhile portrays Pilate as politically inept: the «Jews» prefer Barabbas to Jesus, as Pilate should have expected had he better understood the situation. Perhaps Pilate expects the municipal aristocracy to side with Roman values over against a low-class peasant revolutionary; it was such lower-class revolutionaries who, perhaps over two decades before this Gospel was written, ultimately had slaughtered much of the priestly aristocracy in the temple area (Josephus War 4.302–334).
John's presentation of the Jerusalem leaders, however, reveals more explicit irony than his presentation of Pilate. They had handed Jesus over themselves as a political revolutionary; yet they themselves favored the real political revolutionary, and it was following his course, not that of Jesus, that would ultimately lead to Judeás demise before Roman armies (11:48).9946 If Barabbas was a «robber,» so were any who were preferred by others to Jesus; the leaders of the «Jews» themselves were «robbers» for not glorifying Jesus as the only way to the Father (10:1, 8).
Judean leaders seem to have developed the technique of large delegations, sometimes with loud demands, as the most appropriate tactic for dealing with potentially recalcitrant Roman officials.9947 Governors whose primary responsibility was public order might ultimately need to negotiate or accede to their demands (Philo Embassy 301–302, 305–6). Pilate thus proceeded to scourge Jesus (19:1) in response to (οΰν, 19:1) their demands.
2. Abusing the Prisoner (19:1–3)
As was typical in such cases, the soldiers' abuse includes ridicule and some torture. Yet the narrative is deeply ironic: the one whom they mock as king of the Jews really is king of the Jews.9948 Neither the world (1:10) nor his own (1:11) embraced him.
2A.The Scourging (19:1)
The scourging is not at all incompatible with Pilatés belief that Jesus was innocent; the procurator Albinus later reportedly flogged Joshua ben Hananiah until his bones showed, for similarly disrupting public order (Josephus War 6.304), but afterward released him as harmless (War 6.305). And as mentioned before, Roman officials sometimes delivered over even Roman soldiers to maintain public order (War 2.231); Pilate would be more concerned about keeping the peace–and his political reputation–than about a non-Roman wandering philosopher of some sort. Still, Pilate was not known for his cooperative spirit (Josephus Ant. 18.61–62; War 2.176–177) and, in appropriate character, holds out against the priestly wishes as long as he can (19:4–6; cf. Philo Embassy 302–303). Ultimately, he will do what political necessity demands: although it мая be an internal religious matter, Jesus' innocence is not absolutely clear, so Pilate might feel freer to give way to the crowd's claims, as he had on other occasions (Josephus War 2.174; Ant. 18.59).9949
The preliminary scourging here (19:1) is more serious than the maximum thirty-nine lashes allowed by the law (Deut 25:3) and administered by synagogue communities (cf. 2Cor 11:23–24). Even if its placement in the narrative would suggest to attentive first-century readers a «judicial warning» rather than a preexecution scourging as in Mark 15:15,9950 the beating could be serious; and given their knowledge of Jesus' impending crucifixion, many readers might not have noticed the distnction anyway. Like many other peoples,9951 Romans did not limit the number of lashes, and thus sometimes victims not even sentenced to death died or were disabled under cruel supervisors.9952 Indeed, Josephus had opponents scourged «until their entrails were visible» (War 2.612) and reports a procurator laying bare a man's bones, though the man survived (War 6.304). This form of scourging also proved more severe than most Roman public corporal disciplines as well (cf. Acts 16:22; 2Cor 11:25);9953 sometimes this kind of scourging caused death itself.9954 Unlike the lesser fustigatio (beating), the severer disciplines of flagellatio (flogging) and especially verberatio (scourging) accompanied the death sentence,9955 although John's audience and even John himself probably would not have recognized these fine distinctions.9956 Whereas Romans used rods on freepersons and sticks on soldiers, they used scourges on slaves or provincials of equivalent status.9957 In the Synoptic tradition Pilate orders the preliminary scourging that, whether with rods or whips, generally preceded crucifixion and other forms of capital punishment.9958 In John he offers an earlier scourging, but in light of the negative outcome of Pilatés complaint to the Jerusalem aristocracy, it will have served the same purpose.
Probably stripped9959 and tied to a pillar or post,9960 Jesus was beaten with flagella– leather whips «whose thongs were knotted and interspersed» with pieces of iron or bone, or a spike;9961 it left skin hanging from the back in bloody strips.9962 Various texts9963 attest the horror with which this punishment was viewed. Soldiers normally executed this task in the provinces.9964 Some felt that the flagellum was merciful because it so weakened the prisoner as to hasten his death on the cross.9965 That the Gospels mention but do not describe the practice makes them read more like official reports than rhetorical documents with a heavy element of pathos at this point;9966 nevertheless, John's audience would undoubtedly understand the basic procedure, for floggings and executions were generally public affairs in the Roman Empire.
The scourging is independently attested by John and the Synoptics, although the sequence differs.9967 Because John's scourging occurs earlier in the narrativés sequence, some scholars argue that John represents a lesser form of scourging than the form that took place in the Synoptics, perhaps as an inquisition rather than the first stage of execution.9968 John's readers might indeed draw this conclusion, but it is likely that whatever the nuances in the various Gospel writers' reports, the same historical event stands behind them; and the distinctions мая well have eluded the Gospel writers' original audiences anyway.9969 Accustomed to thinking of the scourging as they probably had heard it in other forms of the passion narrative, or simply from what they expected of public beatings before executions, they would recognize its severity.
Jesus' abuse fits the criterion of embarrassment; public beatings produced shame as well as physical pain.9970 Given abundant ancient attestation for the abuse of prisoners coupled with the known tendency of humans to abuse power, the account is not implausible.9971 Multiple attestation further supports the tradition of Jesus' abuse; not only John and the Synoptics but also Paul seems aware of the tradition of Jesus' abuse (Rom 15:3, citing Ps 69:9).9972 John's sequence is different,9973 but an audience familiar with the tradition of Jesus' final week would have anticipated resequencing from John's temple-cleansing scene forward. John мая include the beating here so he can retain as his climax the Jewish leaders' demands for Jesus' execution.
2B. The Mocking (19:2–3)
The ridicule of Jesus as «king of the Jews» (19:3) reinforces a title this narrative ironically grants Jesus through the mouth ofhis pagan enemies (18:33; 19:14,19);9974 for John, it is not the high priest alone who can unwittingly prophesy (11:51). Even after Jesus' flogging (19:1), physical abuse continues as part of the mockery: that the soldiers «gave» Jesus «blows» (19:3) connects them with Jesus' Jewish captors (18:22), reminding the reader that Jesus faced rejection from both his own nation and the larger «world» (1:10–11).9975 The imperfect verb έδίδοσαν probably suggests repeated blows.9976
Some soldiers guarding the Temple Mount seem to have converted to Judaism,9977 but those who abused Jesus (19:2), whether from the Antonia garrison or (perhaps more likely) the addition troops Pilate had brought in for Passover, were certainly of the majority who remained Gentile (19:3). (Although one would expect to find a larger contingent of soldiers in the Fortress Antonia,9978 Pilate brought soldiers with him at Passover and would keep his own temporary residence heavily guarded.)
That soldiers would take the opportunity to taunt a captive for entertainment should not surprise us; although one cannot prove that they did so in this case, evidence suggests that such events were not unusua1.9979 Public abuse of prisoners, even adorning one as a king and beating him, occurred on other occasions.9980 Games of mockery included the game of king,9981 and theatrical mimes were common as wel1.9982 Most daily entertainment was less dramatic. Soldiers usually had to entertain themselves by games such as tossing coins, stones, or dice;9983 tossing knuckle bones seems to have been a common game.9984
The Gospels reveal Jesus' status as a servant-king in part by revealing how unlike a king the world thought him to be: Syrian or other Eastern auxiliaries,9985 but also Romans stationed in Palestine, might be happy to ridicule the notion of a Jewish king–thereby also ridiculing the people among whom they were stationed.9986 Anti-Judaism was common in parts of the Greek East, especially Greek-speaking Egypt;9987 it also appeared in Rome, especially in response to Jewish successes in attracting Roman converts.9988 The abuse of Jesus' captivity to disdain the Jerusalemites strikes a note of irony that might recall John's audience to 11:48: whereas the aristocratic priests want Jesus executed to preserve their nation's status with Rome, Romés agents ridicule Jesus precisely because they already despise Judea.
The crown of thorns (probably woven from the branches of an available shrub such as acanthus) was probably an instrument of mockery rather than one of torture.9989 The crown recalls the garlands worn by Hellenistic vassal princes, as generally only the highest ruler wore a diadem with white woo1.9990 The long thorns мая thus have turned outward to imitate contemporary crowns rather than inward to draw blood, and the soldiers probably removed it along with the other mocking regalia before leading him to crucifixion.9991 Mark (15:17) and John (19:2) apparently independently describe the robe as «purple,»9992 reflecting the color of garments worn by Hellenistic princes (e.g., Polybius 10.26.1). Some well-to-do Romans added a cape, «fastened at the neck,» to their tunic and outer garment. Soldiers wore a sort of purple cape over the shoulders in warm weather but «wrapped around the body like a heavy shawl when necessary for warmth.»9993 Genuine purple dye was quite expensive;9994 Matthew has a «scarlet» robe, suggesting that a faded red soldier's cloak had sufficed for the ridicule (Matt 27:28).9995
Those in the East who worshiped Caesar or Hellenistic rulers would kneel and cry Ave or "Hail, Caesar!";9996 the soldiers here offer the same to Christ. One scholar points out that Jesus is claimed as king by various groups the way a new emperor might be acclaimed by the military (cf. 19:1–3), the people (19:4–7), and a representative of the senate (19:8–12);9997 although «the people» here are mainly the Jewish aristocracy and Pilatés role as a representative for the senate might not be the first feature of his office to resonate with John's audience, John surely does count on his audiencés appreciation of an image of mock acclamation. The irony of the narrative is that it inverts their own irony: he is genuinely the person whom they sarcastically claim him to be.
3. Rejecting God's Son (19:4–7)
Pilate initially (and somewhat in character with our other sources) refuses to cooperate in Jesus' condemnation, repeating his earlier invitation to Jerusalem's elite to deal with Jesus themselves if they want him dead (19:6; cf. 18:31). This underlines the primary responsibility of the leaders of Jesus,' and John's audiencés, own people. The greatest irony, however, is the claim that the law demands Jesus' execution for claiming to be God's Son (19:7) when in fact the rest of the Gospel demonstrates that Jesus provided ample evidence that he was God's Son (10:34–38) and that the law supported his claims against theirs (e.g., 5:45–47).
3A. «Behold the Man» (19:4–5)
Whether or not one accepts a proposed chiastic structure for this section,9998 these two presentations of Jesus by Pilate to «the Jews» are closely parallel, with Pilate offering titles for Jesus and with «the Jews» responding (19:4–7, 13–16; cf. 18:39).9999 Some suggest that «man» (19:5) is a messianic title;10000 the late Samaritan text Memar Marqah applies the title frequently to Moses, the Samaritan messianic prototype.10001 But the title is too rare for us to infer that it was probably known both to John and to his audience; «man» was also an occasional euphemism for «God,»10002 but it is unlikely that John alludes to that usage here. Nevertheless, in the context of the soldiers' mockery (19:2–3), «Behold the man!» probably parallels 19and functions as a mock royal acclamation; Jesus stands before them in royal apparel (not explicitly removed as in Mark 15:20), and Pilate mocks the ceremony of acclamation (acclamatio).10003 S Some sources use «That is he!» as an acclamation;10004 here John мая well expect the more biblically literate members of his audience to recall Samuel's acclamation of Israel's first king with identical words: «ιδού ό άνθρωπος» (1Sam 9LXX).10005
In the final analysis, however, John is less interested in the mocking significance of Pilatés title in his tradition than in Jesus' opponents speaking unwitting and ironic truth. Thus, in the context of the Fourth Gospel, the title «man» epitomizes Jesus' enfleshment:10006 Jesus revealed God's glory in his mortality, especially in the ultimate expression of that mortality, his death (see comment on 1:14).10007 In the same manner, Jesus will appear as «king» here (19:14) in the context of ridicule, rejection, and ultimately death (19:19). In the logic of the story, Pilate appeals not to the crowd's compassion but to their sense in recognizing that Jesus remains no threat–a serious miscalculation concerning mob psychology on his part.10008 Jesus' very mortality provokes their desire that he be executed (19:6)–but the informed reader recognizes that this constitutes an ultimate rejection of the God who had made himself vulnerable to his people (3:16).
Four acclamations frame Jesus' public ministry: two announcements of Jesus as God's lamb by John the Baptist at the beginning (1:29,36) and two announcements, one of Jesus' humanity and one of his kingship, by Romés representative at the end. John surely wanted to parallel these acclamations, whatever Pilatés own intentions мая have been.10009
3B. The Law and God's Son (19:6–7)
Pilatés response that the Judean leaders should crucify Jesus themselves (19:6) develops the earlier recognition that it is they who want Jesus dead and they are merely using Pilate to accomplish their purposes (18:31)–although this ultimately and unwittingly accomplishes God's (18:32). Pilate might have looked the other way in the case of an illegal execution, but the point is ironic both in the story world and in John's theology: it underlines the responsibility of the Judean leaders.
In Mark the Jewish crowd twice cries out, «Crucify him!» (Mark 15:13–14); here, however, the crowd who cries out for Jesus' crucifixion (twice in 19and again in 19:15) is equivalent to the Jerusalem elite. Whereas in Mark the chief priests incite the crowds who are present (Mark 15:11), the chief priests and officers (19:6; cf. 18:3) here bear full responsibility, though they are called «the Jews» in 19:7. Earlier we expressed doubt that John increased Roman involvement in the arrest of Jesus as much as some commentators think; here, however, we note that his emphasis on the Judean elite reduces his emphasis on the behavior of the people as a whole (cf. 7:12, 26, 31, 41). As we have repeatedly suggested, John is undoubtedly familiar with the more popular passion tradition, but here he focuses on the theological significance of Jesus' condemnation by the crowds: it is their elite who led Israel astray. This portrait has important implications for the identity of «the Jews» in this Gospel and the question of the Jewish commitment of John's own ideal audience.
The crowd (equivalent in John, as we have noted, to the Jerusalem elite) now explains why Jesus' execution is so urgent (19:7). Instead of regarding Jesus as no threat (19:5), the crowd responds that their law sentenced Jesus to death for making himself God's Son (19:7).10010 The response bristles with Johannine irony: Jesus' very identification with humanity (19:5) opened him to the charge of «making himself» God's Son (10:33, 36). Further, those who cry out that the law condemns Jesus have never answered Nicodemus's objection that the law does not condemn one unless he has first been heard (7:51). Yet the informed reader knows that the Father, rather than Jesus himself, has chosen this title for Jesus; and perhaps most dramatically of all, the law to which they appealed was the very word now enfleshed they sought to execute (1:1–18). The law required Jesus' death–but that he might save the world and, by their lifting him up, fulfill his mission as God's Son (8:28; 12:32–33; cf. υίόν του άνθρωπου in 3:14).
4. True Authority (19:8–11)
Jesus truly is God's Son (19:7) and king of the Jews (19:14), but he has come in obedience to his Father's mission. In submitting to his Father's authority, he therefore acknowledges the delegated authority God provided Romés representatives–which underlines all the more his rejection of the Jerusalem hierarchy's authority, likely viewing them as usurpers of Israel's rightful leadership roles (19:11).
4A. Pilatés Question and Demand (19:8–10)
That Jesus claimed to be God's «son» (19:7) could fit an occasional self-understanding of philosophers (cf. comment on 18:36–38)10011 or, more dangerously, that of rivals to the emperor.10012 But Pilatés actions in the narrative suggest that he entertains this charge on a more religious level, hence his fear (19:8). As a Roman, he would have known many stories of deities appearing in human form and of judgment coming on the mortals who rejected them.10013 Naturally, a polytheist would be more open to multiple claims of divine sonship than a monotheist, but on the level of Johannine theology as a whole, this feature of the account likewise exudes irony: the agent of Rome proves more ready to believe something divine about God's son than his own people do (cf. 1:11; Mark 15:39).
Because Pilate demands Jesus' origin (19:9) after hearing that he claimed to be God's «son» (19:7), his question мая imply an understanding of origin language that Jesus' Jewish interlocutors had earlier misapprehended: he refers to ultimate rather than geographical origin (cf. 1:46; 7:41–42,52),10014 and Jesus is from God. Jesus is «from heaven» (3:13,31; 6:32–33,38,41–42,51), «from above» (8:23; cf. 3:3; 17:14,16), «from God» (3:2; 7:28; 8:42; 13:3). Jesus' unwillingness to answer at this point (19:9) мая exemplify the ancient theme of «divine» philosophers refusing to answer worldly judges10015 but is broader than that, reminiscent of the Maccabean martyr tradition (see comment on the Passion Narrative) or anyone defying authorities for a higher cause. In this case, Jesus' silence here (although he earlier speaks more than in the Synoptics–18:36–37) fits the Markan line of tradition (Mark 15:5).
Pilate responds to Jesus' silence with hostility (19:10). Roman law did not interpret silence as a confession of guilt,10016 but failure to respond to charges could leave a case onesided and hasten conviction;10017 if a defendant failed to offer a defense, the judge would normally ask about the charge three times before the defendant would be convicted by default.10018 Neither legal custom is at issue here: as noted above, Pilate is not bound by the ordo and can act at his own discretion.10019 Rather, he seems simply exasperated that Jesus fails to recognize both his office and his attempts to act on Jesus' behalf (cf. the amazement in 4 Macc 17:16). It was appropriate to express confidence in the jurors' or judgés integrity, to secure their favor (Lysias Or. 9.21, §116; Isaeus Estate of Astyphilus 35; Cicero Verr. 22.214.171.124; Pro rege Deiotaro 15.43; Quinct. 2.1, 10; 9.34; Rosc. com. 3.7). Sometimes a legal debater might also appeal to the judgés interests; for example, the defendant is said to have slandered the judge (Cicero Verr. 126.96.36.199–41.90; 188.8.131.52).
If Pilate had wished to free Jesus, he might view Jesus' failure to cooperate in terms of the sort of philosophers (see comment on 18:37–38) who regarded death as unimportant (beginning with the Socratic tradition)–the sort of passive, harmless philosophers whose martyrdom merely multiplied them.10020 Whether he sees Jesus as a deluded philosopher, a divine man, or some sort of philosophical divine man (see introduction, pp. 268–72), he is plainly irritated by Jesus' unwillingness to cooperate with the one person who might pose a barrier to his crucifixion. Philosophers without worldly means regularly disdained the masses,10021 and Brown мая be correct that Pilate «understands that by not answering Jesus is somehow looking down on him.»10022
Pilatés claim to hold authority to execute Jesus (19:10) reaffirms the earlier portrait of Romés capital jurisdiction (18:31–32) and is not repudiated here (19:11).10023 Jewish Christians suffering at the hands of pagan Roman governors might do so respectfully (though cf. Rev 13); it was the leaders of their own people, who unexpectedly misrepresented God's will, whom they would criticize most harshly. Earlier prophets, such as Jeremiah, had also been viewed as unpatriotic (cf. Jer. 26:8, 11) for seeing God's hand behind Israel's oppressors (Jer 21:9; 29:7; 38:2) while harshly criticizing the leaders of their own people, for whom God demanded a higher standard (Jer 2:8,26; 4:9; 5:31; 10:21; 12:10; 13:13; 23:1–2; 25:34–36; 32:32). Still, Pilatés claim to authority to crucify Jesus (19:10) contrasts with Jesus' authority not only to lay down his own life (10:18) but to rule over all humanity (17:2; cf. 3:35; 13:3).
4B. Divinely Delegated Authority (19:11)
Jesus responds that Pilatés authority comes «from above» and hence the one who delivered Jesus over to Pilate has a greater sin (19:11). This text makes explicit the distribution of responsibility the rest of the passage implies: Pilate is responsible, but not as responsible as the Judean elite. It would not be impossible to read Rome, the source of Pilatés authority, as the one who delivered Jesus over;10024 but such an interpretation would ignore John's use of language elsewhere. Clearly «from above» in the Fourth Gospel means «from God» (3:3, 7, 31; 8:23), as it normally would in early Jewish literature (see comment on 3:3); even in the story world, Pilate should understand, for Greeks and Romans also recognized the importance of favor from heavenly deities.10025 Jewish people normally believed that God had authorized various angels to rule the different nations (Dan 10:13)10026 but that ultimately the authority derived from God (Dan 4:32).10027 John, like other early Christian writers, recognized that God in some sense authorized even the Roman government (Rom 13:1–4; probably 1Pet 2:13–15; cf. Jer 29:7; 38:2).10028 The Roman government's authority was permitted by God, Johannine Christians recognized, even when it became demonic (Rev 17:17; cf. Prov 21:1). Jesus thus surrendered himself willingly, not so much to Pilate as to his own Father's plan (10:18; 18:11).10029
Those who «delivered» Jesus directly to Pilate were the Jewish leaders (18:30, 35),10030 though Judas (18:2, 5, 36) and Pilate himself (19:16) provide other links in the same chain of guilt and in the end it is Jesus himself who «delivers» over his life (19:30). By declaring that those who handed Jesus to Pilate are guiltier because (διά τούτο) his authority comes from «above,» that is, from God, the text clearly implies that the high priests' authority did not come from that source. This probably represents an allusion to the Roman interference in the appointment of high priests and perhaps also to Caiaphas's participation in what appeared to many of his contemporaries unscrupulous politics (see comment on 11:49). Pilatés predecessor Valerius Gratus (15–26 C.E.) had appointed Caiaphas as a priest with whom Rome could work, and Pilate had retained him.10031
Jesus' answer reflects his willingness to face death, regularly associated with courage and virtue in ancient Mediterranean texts10032–for instance, the Spartan boy who allegedly let a fox eat its way through his abdomen to prevent capture during training exercises.10033 Yet Jesus' allusion to authority «from above» мая remind John's audience of the one whose authorization from above is beyond that of all others (3:27, 31, 35).
5. Handing Over the Jewish King (19:12–16)
Pilate мая have some interest in justice, but he exhibits greater interest in protecting himself politically (19:12). After a final repudiation of Jesus' rulership (19:14–15), he delivers Jesus «to them» (19:16). On the literal level, this handing over of Jesus means simply «handing him over to their will» (Roman soldiers remain in charge of the execution in 19:23); but on the symbolic level, John again reinforces that it was the machinations of the Judean aristocracy, not the specific hostility of Rome, that would bring about Jesus' execution (18:31–32; 19:6).
5A. Pilatés Political Dilemma (19:12)
Pilatés response to Jesus' words is striking: he seeks all the more to release him (19:12). Again the narrative seems to imply that Pilate was taking Jesus' words seriously; but John recognizes that it is possible even to believe Jesus' words yet fail to affirm them because one loves human honor more than God's (12:42–43). Provincial governors were generally politically ambitious men of senatorial rank aspiring to yet higher offices;10034 bad reports could mar onés political ambitions. Pilate, who was of lower rank by birth but had gained his office through the graces of the anti-Jewish Sejanus (Tiberius's immediate agent of government), was more politically vulnerable than most.10035 Further, more is at stake now than merely political advancement; governors who abused their power could be tried,10036 but the greatest crime for Romans, even worse than murdering onés father, was treason.10037 To release a self-proclaimed king (19:12) was to accommodate treason, hence to warrant execution oneself!10038
«Friend of the king» was a special designation for those close to the ruler.10039 Roman emperors conferred «friendship» on trusted associates, from whom they drew their primary advisors.10040 As a client of Sejanus, Pilate мая literally have been enrolled among the «friends of Caesar» (cf. Tacitus Ann. 6.8).10041 (Despite good citizens' loyalty to Caesar, however, many readers would respect a person of integrity who refused to compromise principle for the sake of friendship with a ruler.10042 Pilatés role in the narrative is not, however, fully respectable.) The threat of denunciation as unfaithful to the wishes of Caesar had made Pilate back down before, even in his most brutal stage of governorship. When he had wished to set up votive shields in Herod's palace in Jerusalem, the leaders of the people (i.e., the sort of priests he now confronted) reportedly asked if he had letters from Tiberius requesting this behavior. They implied that if he did not, he lacked authority for the act; and if he claimed to have such authority, they would appeal the matter directly to Tiberius. Fearful of trouble, Pilate quickly backed away from part of his plan (Philo Embassy 301–302). Nor was Pilate simply paranoid; when the Jewish leaders considered his response inadequate and did appeal to Tiberius, Pilate was reportedly humiliated by the emperor (Philo Embassy 304–305), undoubtedly providing him grounds for more caution by this point. Indeed, a later complaint ultimately led to «his recall, his exile in Gaul and perhaps his forced suicide.»10043 Roman governors exercised considerable freedom but could suffer if charged in Rome with abusing their position.10044 The faith (e.g., 3:16) to which the Fourth Gospel calls is not mere consideration of the truth of Jesus' claims (19:12a) but acting in a manner consistent with faith in those claims, even if the price is disgrace or death (12:24–26). Pilate prefers friendship with Caesar to friendship with Christ (19:12), but the informed audience of the Gospel recognizes how misinformed a choice this is (15:15).
5B. The Judgment Seat (19:13)
Pilate apparently responded to such threats by bringing Jesus out to the will of the people (19:13–15); he would leave the responsibility of conviction with them, unwilling to pay the price of acknowledging his own responsibility for justice. For some time scholars thought that the «pavement» referred to here was one that has been excavated at the Fortress Antonia on the Temple Mount, easily accessible to the high priests who lived and worked in the vicinity.10045 But that stone pavement now appears to be Hadrianic. Further, Pilate had been interrogating Jesus inside the procurator's Jerusalem residence, the old palace of Herod the Great,10046 and brought him to the judgment seat outside that residence.10047 This was naturally somewhat further from the temple than the Antonia (Josephus War 1.401–402) but better suits our evidence for the site of Jesus' conviction, as most recent commentators and some earlier ones recognize.10048 On the use of a Semitic term with a translation, see the introduction (esp. pp. 158–59).
Some suppose that Pilate seated Jesus in the judgment seat as part of the mockery (19:13);10049 but this act would have breached Roman protocol so thoroughly that it is inconceivable that Pilate would have done it.10050 One might argue that John left the Greek wording ambiguous to permit this interpretation theologically,10051 but while Jesus truly is the judge in this narrative, Pilate is afraid of Jesus, not mocking him, by this point in the narrative. Instead Pilate sits in the judgment seat himself because the time has arrived for him to render the judgment. A governor would issue a formal condemnation in a capital case (as opposed to other kinds of cases) only pro tribunali, from the judgment seat (19:13).10052 Pilate need not have adopted the sentence of the Sanhédrin, but as prefect he was free to do so.10053
5C. The Timing (19:14a)
The announcement of both the «day of preparation for Passover» and the «sixth hour» (19:14) is significant for developing a Johannine hermeneutic consistent with the specific character of the Fourth Gospel's intrinsic genre. This announcement signals to us that the Fourth Gospel's passion chronology differs from that of the Synoptic tradition, probably already popular in John's day (Mark 15:25). We could read John's «sixth hour» in terms of the rare reckoning of civil days from midnight, so that Jesus' condemnation would be at 6 a.m.;10054 but this reckoning also contradicts the Synoptics, allows too little time from sunrise (near 18:28) for the events preceding the condemnation, relies on a rare calculation of time that would have been in no way obvious to most ancient readers, and confuses the other references to specific hours in the Gospe1. Others have tried to harmonize Mark and John by claiming that Mark's «third hour» refers to the quarter day from ca. 9 a.m. to noon whereas John's «sixth hour» means «about» noon;10055 but such «approximations» invite us to suppose a margin of factual error so great as to render the approximations effectively worthless.
Brown thus notes that one мая regard either Mark (9 a.m.) or John (noon) as theological symbolism but one cannot reconcile them both as literally accurate chronologically.10056 Given John's Jiterary method elsewhere, we incline toward reading John symbolically rather than Mark.10057 Members of John's audience familiar with the traditional passion story presumably behind the Synoptics and Paul would have already noticed the difference at 18:28, a difference linking Jesus more directly with Passover. No longer do the symbolic bread and wine of the Last Supper represent Passover, but the death of Jesus itself does so directly (6:51–58). Biographies could exercise a degree of chronological freedom (see introduction, ch. 1), and John мая adapt the chronology to infuse it with his symbolic message. In this Gospel Jesus is delivered over for crucifixion on the day the Passover lambs are being slaughtered (18:28). Many scholars also explain the «sixth hour» in light of Passover, though the case, while intriguing, is difficult to prove.
Passover lambs for families and other groups were slaughtered during the day, but the most significant specific times remembered, if any, might be those of the daily lamb offerings in the temple, the morning and evening offerings. In the Markan tradition, Jesus died ca. 3 p.m. (Mark 15:34), roughly the time the daily evening offering was being slaughtered (ca. 2:30) and offered (ca. 3:30).10058 But if later tradition is accurate (it мая not be), it appears that on the eve of the Passover (19:14) the lamb is slaughtered an hour earlier, and an hour earlier still on a Passover eve that is also the eve of a Sabbath (19:31; m. Pesah. 5:1). Thus, in John, Jesus appears to be sentenced around noon and perhaps crucified within an hour afterward, close to the time of the evening offering.
Even if our information concerning the time of the paschal sacrifice is correct, however, it was probably not widely known to John's audience; even those who had gone as pilgrims had undoubtedly simply gotten their own lambs slaughtered when they could; to accommodate the massive number of pilgrims, priests reportedly supervised the slaughter of lambs for pilgrims from ca. 4 to ca. 6 p.m.,10059 and few would think about the hour of a «national» paschal lamb. Some begin the slaughter of lambs more helpfully around noon, providing a more specific parallel to John here.10060 Many scholars have argued, as one puts it, that «the paschal lamb of the N.T. dies, according to the Johannine chronology, just when the paschal lambs of the Jews are being slaughtered in the temple, and none of his bones are broken.»10061 Certainly John does link Jesus' death with the slaughter of Passover lambs in the temple; this is, however, a link of the day rather than of the hour, for he does not specify the precise time of Jesus' death. Further, other scholars suggest that the slaughter begins at 3 p.m.,10062 and ultimately the matter is not easily decided; the rabbinic description of the sacrifices is idealized and impractical and мая afford us few clues concerning actual priestly practice in Jerusalem's temple before 70 or views about it in Roman Asia by the 90s.
Yet in the context of the Fourth Gospel, the informed reader might catch another allusion more immediately: the sixth hour was about noon, the heat of day when many country people preferred to find shade, the same time Jesus' human mortality had been revealed in 4(«weary»). Jesus' «hour» had come (2:4; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 16:21; 17:1), the «hour» for the inbreaking of God's new era (4:21, 23; 5:25, 28).
5D. «Behold Your King» (19:14b-15)
Most significant in 19:14–15 are Pilatés presentations of Jesus to the people as their king;10063 they respond, however, that they have no king but Caesar (19:15). Within the logic of the story, they continue to claim loyalty to Rome,10064 the pretense on which Jesus as «king» should be executed (18:29–33; 19:12); their preference for the ληστής Barabbas, however, has demonstrated the insincerity of that loyalty (18:40). Nevertheless, John's description would undoubtedly evoke among his audience more-sinister thoughts concerning the speakers' meaning; the Fourth Gospel is full of ironic statements not intended by the speakers (e.g., 11:49, 50–52; 12:19). Judaism warned against any act that would profane the divine name among Gentiles10065–which in Johannine terms is precisely what these leaders do. The same set of benedictions that cursed the minim (see introduction, pp. 207–14) included a prayer for the coming of Messiah, acknowledging daily the hope for a Messiah's coming;10066 more to the point, Israel's ultimate king was God (Judg 8:23; 1Sam 8:7).10067 While it is difficult to ascertain the antiquity of most of the Passover haggadah, John's paschal context and the similarity of language do suggest an allusion to the hymn sung at the end of the Greater Hallel in the Passover haggadah:
From everlasting to everlasting thou art God;
Beside thee we have no king, redeemer, or savior,...
We have no king but thee.10068
The deliberate contrast underlines again the association of the opponents of John's audience with Romés agendas: those who effectively мая hand the Jewish Christians over to Roman discipline by denying their fidelity to Judaism function as Romés instruments the way the chief priests of Jesus' day did, leaving the Jewish Christians the faithful remnant true to the religious heritage of Israe1. (For the demands of the imperial cult in John's setting, see introduction, pp. 178–79.) As Dahl observes concerning John's portrayal of the «Jews» in this narrative, «They end up representing the world even in putting Caesar at the place of God, whereas they deny the fundamentals of their own faith and forfeit the history of Israe1.»10069
Because Jesus' primary support in the Fourth Gospel was Galilean and because Judean crowds were divided (7:12; 9:16), John appears to play less on the crowds' fickleness than the Synoptics do.10070 Because he speaks of the crowds as simply «Jews,» in fact, he makes no distinction between the crowds who now demand Jesus' execution and the authorities who delivered him to Pilate. One could argue that John views all ethnic Jews or, more reasonably, Judeans through the prism of the Jerusalem elite. But given John's Jewishness, that of his audience, and the smaller number of positive or divided Judeans in this Gospel, it is more probable that John instead lays the behavior of the passion tradition's crowds at the feet of his «Jews,» who represent primarily the elite of Jesus' day viewed through the prism of those of John's own (see more fully our introduction, pp. 214–28).
5E. Handing Jesus Over (19:16)
In delivering Jesus over (19:16), the prefect would have declared, Ibis in crucem («You will mount the cross») or a phrase much like it.10071 That he «delivered» Jesus to be crucified implicates Pilate in the chain of responsibility (18:2, 5, 30, 35–36; 19:11); he would bear the political responsibility for it, in any case (Tacitus Ann. 15.44.3). But John's ominous αύτοΐς, «to them,» reverses the direction of their delivering Jesus to him (18:30, 35), confirming Jesus' evaluation: it is the priestly aristocracy who should have perfomed God's will but instead delivered Jesus to Pilate, whose sin is greater (19:11). Historically Pilate handed Jesus over to the soldiers, as John recognizes (19:23–25); in this context, he hands him over to the will of the Judean leaders.
Though the implied subject of the third-person plural verb παρέλαβον (19:16b) from the context might again be these Judean leaders, John's audience would have to know that Roman soldiers would have to carry out the execution, even if they did not know the passion tradition attested in the Synoptics (which is unlikely), and any ambiguity in this regard is cleared up by 19:23–25. But John мая allow this ambiguity of language as another of his wordplays: for all practical purposes, the Judean leaders мая as well have crucified Jesus themselves (as Pilate ironically invited them to do in 19:6), just as, by accusing disciples to the Roman government, they were de facto killing them themselves (16:2).
Jesus' Crucifixion (19:17–37)
Finally Jesus is «lifted up» as he had predicted (12:32–33, a saying recalled in 18:31–32). But perhaps in deliberate contrast to the passion tradition preserved for us in the Markan, Synoptic line of tradition, the crucifixion in John is Jesus' triumph. Granted, it is an agony he would prefer to have foregone (12:27); but here, in contrast to the Synoptics, he carries his own cross, closes his lifés words with an announcement of completion, and (perhaps in conjunction with extant tradition) offers up his own spirit in death. No one takes Jesus' life from him; he offers it up freely (10:18).
1. The Crucifixion (19:17–18)
There is no real question that Jesus was crucified, executed at the order of Roman authorities.10072' In the Gospels, however, the event of the crucifixion itself is depicted quickly. That Jesus έξήλθεν, «went out» (19:17), is clearly historical reminiscence. Both Jewish people10073 and Romans10074 performed executions outside a town.10075 Soldiers would марта the prisoner through crowds of spectators;10076 crowds normally gathered to watch executions, especially if near the city.10077 If, as most scholars today conclude, Herod's old palace was the site of Jesus' trial, the route from there to Golgotha «led through the upper part of the city and probably out through the garden gate, which was located near the Hippicus tower.»10078
1A. Carrying His Own Cross (19:17a)
More significantly from the standpoint of Johannine theology, John is emphatic that Jesus carried έαυτώ, «his own,» cross (19:17); again he мая be adapting previously circulated images of the passion tradition to make his point.10079 Just as Jesus gave the sop (John 13:26) rather than mentioned that one had dipped «with him» (Mark 14:20), just as Jesus «laid down his life» (10:18) and «delivered up» his spirit (19:30), just as Jesus rather than his disciples «finds» the donkey (John 12:14; cf. Mark 11:2), so here he remains in control in the narrative. A condemned criminal normally carried his own patibulum, or transverse beam of the cross, to the site of the execution, where soldiers would fix the patibulum to the upright stake (palus, stipes, staticulum) that they regularly reused for executions.10080 (Prisoners were also often scourged on the way, a practice probably foregone in Jesus' case because he had been scourged so brutally beforehand.)10081
In the Synoptic tradition and probably the broader passion tradition, Jesus is too weak to carry his cross, and it is carried by Simon of Cyrene.10082 Given the unlikehilood that the soldiers would simply show mercy to a condemned prisoner, scholars are probably correct to suppose that Jesus was too weak to carry the cross and that his executioners preferred to have him alive on the cross than dead on the way.10083 Since crucifixion sometimes lasted days (Josephus Life 420–421), the quickness of Jesus' death (multiply attested, Mark 15:44; John 19:31) reinforces the notion that Jesus was already quite weak.10084 In such circumstances, that the soldiers would have drafted a bystander is not improbable;10085 one would not expect them to carry the beam themselves if they could «impress» another into service.10086
That the Synoptic report is undoubtedly historical does not render impossible a historical basis for John's account: it is in fact most likely that the soldiers would have sought to make Jesus carry his own cross at the beginning, following standard custom, until it became clear that he could not continue to do so. But merely reporting (or inferring) those initial steps is hardly John's point; by emphasizing Jesus' carrying his own cross, he emphasizes Jesus' continuing control of his passion. Just as condemned criminals must bear their own instrument of death, Jesus chose and controlled his death.10087 As Drury puts it, in lohn Jesus bears his own cross «as befits the one who alone can bear the sin of the world» (1:29).10088
1B. Golgotha (19:17b)
Golgotha (19:17) was undoubtedly near the site of the Holy Sepulchre; that traditional location was outside the city walls but only roughly a thousand feet north-northeast of Herod's palace, where Pilate was staying.10089 The traditional Protestant «Garden Tomb» is a substantially later site and cannot represent the site of Jesus' burial;10090 by contrast, the Catholic Holy Sepulcher and tombs in its vicinity date to the right period.10091 The tradition of the latter vicinity is as early as the second century (when Hadrian erected a pagan temple there; he defiled many Jewish holy sites in this manner)10092 and probably earlier. Good evidence exists, in fact, that this site dates to within the first two decades after the resurrection. This is because (1) Christian tradition is unanimous that Jesus was buried outside the city walls and no one would make up a site inside (cf. Heb 13:12; John 19:41); (2) Jewish custom made it common knowledge that burials would be outside the city walls;10093 (3) the traditional vicinity of the Holy Sepulchre is inside Jerusalem's walls; (4) Agrippa I expanded the walls of Jerusalem sometime in the 40s C.E.10094
The «place of a skull» (19:17) мая have gotten its name from the shape of the terrain,10095 but more likely from the executions carried out there. (In any event, the current terrain of the traditional Protestant Golgotha did not exist in Jesus' day.)
1C. Crucifixion (19:18)
The Gospel writers require little description of crucifixion (19:18), which was well known in their world. Jesus' crucifixion by the Romans outside Jerusalem is an «almost indisputable» historical fact;10096 early Christians would not have invented the crucifixion. The full horror of that mode of execution (e.g., Apuleius Metam. 3.9; 6.32; Chariton 3.3.12) remained vivid enough in the first century that all four evangelists hurry by the event itself quickly, Matthew, for example, «disposing of it in a participial clause.»10097 (It was established rhetorical practice to hurry most quickly over points that might disturb the audience, Theon Progymn. 5.52–56.)
Although some features of crucifixions remained common, executioners could perform them in a variety of manners, limited only by the extent of their sadistic creativity.10098 Executioners usually tied victims to the cross with ropes but in some cases hastened their death by also nailing their wrists (20:25).10099 The nails were typically five to seven inches long, enough to penetrate both the wrist and well into the wood of the cross.10100 One being executed on the cross could not swat flies from onés wounds nor withhold onés bodily wastes from coming out while hanging naked for hours and sometimes days.10101 The upright stakes were normally ten feet at the highest, more often closer to six or seven feet so that the man hung barely above the ground, with a seat (sedile) in the middle;10102 animals sometimes assaulted the feet of the crucified. Romans could employ high crosses to increase visibility for significant public executions (Suetonius Galba 9.1), and given the branch here (19:29; cf. Mark 15:36), Jesus мая have been slightly higher than usua1.10103
That Jesus was crucified with two others is not surprising,10104 given the propaganda value of public executions during festivals, when Jerusalem's crowds were the highest.10105 The later mishnaic rule against executing two persons on a day contradicted earlier practices by those in power (m. Sanh. 6:4) and would have had no effect on the Romans, in any case.10106
2. The Titulus
The charge posted above Jesus' head (19:19–22)10107 reveals the irony of the situation: Jesus is executed for being king of Israel, though the leaders of his own people reject his kingship. They might have preferred the charge of ληστής, a social bandit or revolutionary (which he applied to them, 10:8–10), but they themselves had supplied the wording for the treason charge «king of the Jews» (18:33–35), and now they cannot dismiss it.10108 Yet for all the chargés irony, it is historically quite probable.10109 Jesus' triumphal entry (12:13) marked him as a royal aspirant; the priestly aristocracy would arrest, and the Romans execute, anyone who offered the slightest grounds for suspicion of treason against Rome. The title is not a traditional Christian confession, and Romans crucified many self-proclaimed kings and their followers under the Lex Iulia de maiestate (Josephus Ant. 17.285, 295).10110 Other Jewish rebels apparently hoped for kingship (Josephus War 2.443–444; Ant. 17.285),10111 but unless they desired repression, Christians would have hardly invented the claim that Jesus was crucified on these grounds (cf. Acts 17:7).10112
A further datum supports the plausibility of the posted charge: on other known occasions, a member of the execution squad would carry in front of or beside the condemned a small tablet (tabula) declaring the charge (titulus), the cause of execution (causa poenae), which at times he might later post on the cross.10113 That Matthew and Luke (perhaps Q; «this is») and Matthew and John («Jesus») share some common elements against Mark suggests the prominence of this memory in the common passion tradition. That 19uses the Greek τίτλος, transliterating the Latin titulus, probably suggests earlier tradition as wel1.10114
John's distinctive elements are the three languages, the high priests' rejection of the posted charge, and Pilatés ironic insistence on «its irrevocability.»10115 The three languages suggest the universality of Jesus' reign;10116 these very languages all coexist on Roman Jewish burial inscriptions.10117 Many scholars take these as the major languages of the first-century Mediterranean world10118 (interpreting Hebrew as Aramaic, which мая be reasonable),10119 hence Jesus' rightful reign even over the Gentiles. On the cross, he draws all people to himself (12:32–33). One could also read them as the three major languages of Mediterranean Jewry. Some later rabbis felt that God made Torah available from Sinai in four languages (Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, and Aramaic)10120 or that four languages (Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and Hebrew) were appropriate to various occasions,10121 although only Hebrew was the divine language.10122 (John himself often offers a Semitic term with a Greek translation, as in 1:38, 41^42; 4:25; 9:7; 19:13, 17; 20:16.) Onés interpretation of the significance here will probably accord with whether one reads «Greeks» in John as Gentiles or as Diaspora Jews (see comment on 7:35; 12:20); because we have favored the former, we concur with most scholars that this passage suggests the universality of Jesus' rule. He is a king of Israel, but paradoxically for all humanity (cf. 4:42)
Brown argues that while multilingual inscriptions were common, especially in multicultural civil proclamations,10123 soldiers would not have taken the time to have recorded all three on Jesus' titulus.10124 An exception would have been had Pilate so ordered, perhaps as part of his revenge on being forced to capitulate to the leaders (a surrender Pilate rarely offered willingly; Philo Embassy 303). Perhaps even the soldiers might have been happy to supply it as mockery; if any of the soldiers were Syrian recruits, they would probably know Aramaic. But regardless of onés view on the historical merits of John's tradition on this point, his theology is clear: Jesus died for the «world» (3:16).
The finality of Pilatés claim about «what I have written» (19:22; cf. esp. γεγραμμένον in 19:19–20) мая remind the reader of every other use of «written» to this point in the Gospel–every other use refers to Scripture (2:17; 6:31, 45; 8:17; 10:34; 12:14, 16; 15:25), which cannot be broken (10:35). Thus John мая ironically suggest that Pilate, as God's unwitting agent (19:11), мая carry out God's will in the Scriptures.
3. Dividing Jesus' Property (19:23–24)
Confiscation of goods was a common penalty attending execution or other sentences of judgment,10125 but Jesus has few goods on him to confiscate. The removal of clothing (19:23–24) fits what we know of typical ancient executions;10126 Romans crucified their victims naked.10127 Although some later rabbis, explaining the proper way to carry out theoretical executions, allowed men a loincloth,10128 it is unlikely that Pilatés soldiers would have accommodated their sensitivities;10129 further, other tradition indicates that most Jewish teachers allowed men to be executed naked.10130 Public nakedness could cause shame in other settings,10131 and Romans stripped those they would punish to degrade them,10132 but it was especially shaming for Palestinian Jews.10133
The specific mention of divided clothing (19:23–24) explicitly recalls Ps 22(21LXX),10134 which plays a prominent role in the Gospels' passion traditions.10135 Although one can read the two lines of the verse as parallel, John exegetes from them as much as is possible, like Matthew in Matt 21:5.10136 (Their contemporaries also read more into texts than they required when it suited their purposes to do so.)10137 John also clearly provides fulfillment quotations in his Passion Narrative (19:24, 28, 36–37) for apologetic purposes; even details of Jesus' death, which was scandalous in the ancient Mediterranean, fulfilled the divine plan. In addition to his apologetic purpose, John seeks to bring out the symbolic spiritual significance of Jesus' death.10138
Nevertheless, the Gospels' reports of divided clothing can scarcely represent a mere accommodation to the psalm without historical substance,10139 even if pre-Christian Jewish interpreters typically understood the psalm messianically in this period10140 (which is unlikely). Roman law allowed the execution squad to seize the few possessions the condemned might have on his person (Digest 48.20.6;10141 against the Jewish custom, e.g., b. Sanh. 48b, bar.); it is doubtful that soldiers would have observed later restrictions.10142 The Roman army's basic unit was a contubernium, eight men who shared a tent; normally half of such a unit would be dispatched for a work detail such as a crucifixion,10143 thus the four soldiers in 19:23. The casting of lots (19:24) мая involve the guessing of another's hidden fingers,10144 but the bored soldiers мая have as easily brought dice to entertain themselves.10145
The «outer garments» would represent the rectangular cloth draped around the body in inclement weather; the tunic was normally «a long, tight-fitting shirt made of two pieces of cloth sewn together,» typically sleeveless, whether of «wool, linen or leather.» A seamless tunic, which would fit the neck more closely and generally have short sleeves, was of special value.10146 That Jesus' tunic was «seamless» might recall the high priest's garment,10147 as мая the failure to tear his garments (Lev 21:10).10148 The term υφαντός appears especially in conjunction with the high-priestly raiment in the LXX (Exod 28:6; 39:3, 5, 8, 22, 27 [36:10, 12, 15, 29, 34 LXX]), though also with other furniture of the tabernacle (Exod 26:31; 35:35; 38[37LXX]). In that case, the narrative would reveal Jesus as high priest while undermining the role of the official high priest (11:49–51; 18:13–24), another case of Johannine irony.10149 But the allusion remains far from certain; for example, the LXX of Exodus does not depict any of the priest's garments with ίμάτιον, the standard language for an outer cloak; it does use χίτών (Exod 28:4,39,40; 29:5,8; 35:19; 39[36LXX]; 40:14), but that term, like ίμάτιον, was the usual term.10150 More significantly, John seems to lack the sort of explicit priestly emphasis one finds in Hebrews (2:17; 3:1; 4:14–5:10; 6:20–8:4; 9:11,25; 10:21; 13:11).10151
Allegorizing the tunic's seamlessness as the unity of the church (cf. 17:11; 9:16)10152 fails at the least because Jesus is deprived of the tunic and perhaps also because John speaks of a tunic and not a robe.10153 Mention of the tunic's seamlessness мая simply signify that it is woven rather than knitted, and hence more expensive.10154 In the context of the whole Gospel, John мая emphasize simply that Jesus divests himself of all earthly possessions at the cross, as he earlier laid aside his garments to take on the role of a servant (13:4).10155 If so, the text reminds disciples of the suffering they мая also need to embrace to serve one another (13:14–16). Or John мая mention its seamlessness primarily to explain why soldiers had to draw lots for it, so fulfilling Ps 22literalistically.10156
John's most central implication at this point, however, is the fulfillment of Scripture. His ούν at the end of v. 24 ("this is why the soldiers did these things») reinforces the point: the soldiers мая have acted according to custom and мая have acted according to evil desires, but they ultimately were unwittingly fulfilling God's unbreakable word (13:18; 15:25; cf., e.g., Gen 50:20; 1 Kgs 22:30, 34–35, 38).
4. The Women at the Cross (19:25–27)
Women play significant roles in the Gospel, sometimes shaming the male disciples by the women's positive contrast with them. Thus the Samaritan woman's witness provides opportunity for Jesus' male disciples to reap (4:37–39), Mary's lavish devotion contrasts starkly with Judas (12:3–7), and now women disciples appear at the cross when, with the exception of the beloved disciple (19:26–27, 35), the male disciples appear to have scattered (16:32) and Peter has denied Jesus (18:25–27). Because human gender was most often noticed when it was feminine, in Greek thought some women could be understood as bringing shame on their entire gender;10157 John's positive portrayal of these women мая thus speak favorably of women, countering negative perceptions. At the same time, women's courage (see comment below) could be used to shame or encourage men,10158 so these women also likely function paradigmatically for genuine disciples in genera1.
4A. Women Bystanders (19:25)
On the literary level, Jesus' women supporters form a contrast to the soldiers just described (note the μεν ... δέ construction in 19:24–25); but their presence is historically likely as well as theologically suggestive (cf. Mark 15:40–41). It is not unlikely that the soldiers would have permitted women followers to remain among the bystanders.10159 First, they might not have recognized who among the crowds constituted Jesus' followers. Many people would be present merely to watch the execution;10160 the onlookers could not be immediately beside the cross, of course, but could be within hearing range. Within John's story world, if anyone pondered the details, more men might be in the temple preparing the paschal lambs, yielding a crowd with more women present; on the more historically likely Synoptic chronology, at least much of the crowd would remain women.
But second, soldiers would be less likely to punish women present for mourning; those supposed to be relatives might be allowed near an execution.10161 Ancient Mediterranean society in general allowed women more latitude in mourning,10162 and women were far less frequently executed than men, though there were plenty of exceptions.10163 The Synoptic άπό μακρόθεν must allow a range within eyesight, yet it remains unclear how distant; the Synoptic language might echo Ps 38(37LXX: άπό μακρόθεν), in which friends and neighbors remain distant from the righteous psalmist's suffering.10164 Such factors might render John's account more historically precise in this instance.10165 But in any event, John's language (παρά), if pressed literally (whatever symbolic double entendre John мая intend to evoke), requires only hearing distance, and that only for the exchange of 19:26–27.
Only historical tradition would seem to account for Jesus' «mother's sister» and probably for «Mary wife of Clopas» (though cf. a Mary in Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1). (Mary Magdalene also appears here without introduction, as if known to John's audience from other accounts.)10166 The named women present could be four in number;10167 if Jesus' mother and brothers are for some reason unnamed, it makes sense that his aunt would be for the same reason. It is also possible (though less probable) that «Mary wife of Clopas» could be Jesus' mother's sister, despite the overlap with the name of Jesus' mother in the tradition; in some Roman homes, for example, a father might give two sisters the same name.10168 It is unlikely that John simply accidentally names Jesus' mother's sister Mary through disagreement with, or ignorance of, Jesus' mother's traditional name. Although John sometimes puts a different twist on other traditions available to us in the Synoptics, these twists appear particularly in the passion tradition, where Jesus' mother does not appear in the Synoptics; nor can we surmise why he would wish to correct the Synoptics regarding the name of Jesus' mother.10169 It is otherwise difficult to believe that John does not know the name of Jesus' mother, which appears frequently in the traditions, including Mark (Mark 6:3) and specifically Matthean (e.g., Matt 1:16,18) and Lukan (e.g., Luke 2:5; Acts 1:14) traditions.
Although John alone among the canonical gospels includes the presence of a male disciple at the cross (19:26–27), he agrees with the Synoptics in emphasizing the presence of women after the male disciples had fled (16:32), although the departure of the disciples in this Gospel also reflects Jesus' plan (18:8–9). Given general perspectives on women's courage, however, this emphasis probably shames Jesus' male disciples, calling for greater courage in the future. Women were normally viewed as unequal to men in internal fortitude10170 and hence unfit for activities that required courage, such as war.10171 Granted, ancient texts regularly praise women's courage when it appears, but usually remark on how unusual it is10172 or depict it as «manliness»;10173 conversely, cowardly men were taunted as «women.»10174
4B. Jesus' Mother (19:26a)
The presence of Jesus' mother is not mentioned in the Synoptic line of tradition but is plausible and consistent with her reported presence in Jerusalem a short time later (Acts 1:14). Some suggest she merely came later to reclaim the body; returning Galilean pilgrims could have brought back word of Jesus' death, requiring her to go to Jerusalem to claim the corpse, before she received word of the resurrection.10175 It is no less likely, however, that she and Jesus' brothers were already in Jerusalem for the Passover (7:10; Luke 2:41–42); and if she was present, she would surely have heard of Jesus' crucifixion several hours before he died. If she knew of her son's execution, it is almost certain that she would have been present to mourn.10176 The beloved disciplés presence is theologically significant and proves an exception to the dispersion promised in 16(fulfilled in 18:8–9).10177
The historical evidence мая not settle the historical question, but John surely has an interest in reporting Mary's presence that both Mark and the pre-Markan passion narrative мая not have had. Scholars have offered various theological proposals as to what that interest was. Some have suggested that Jesus' mother, sometimes along with other women in the Gospel, represents a new Eve and, like the mother of Rev 12:1–3, the mother of the spiritual community of Israe1.10178 Intriguingly but less than convincingly, some even connect Jesus' title «man» (19:5) with a new Adam, and his mother's title, «woman,» here with a new Eve.10179 In this case, the new mother of the beloved disciple (who мая represent ideal discipleship, as we have mentioned elsewhere) could function as the mother of believers.10180 (Or conversely, the beloved disciple represents the authoritative interpreter, to whose care Jesus entrusts the believing community.)10181 The best argument for such a view is 16:21, as understood in light of Rev 12.10182 But had John intended such an allegorical allusion, one would have expected stronger clues in the narrative, particularly more telling parallels with Eve or with Israel (or at least the term for «garden» used in Genesis LXX in John 18:1,26; 19:41).
It therefore appears more likely that John expects the readers to draw lessons the way they normally did from straightforward narratives: to learn from and with the character of Jesus' mother. It was Jesus' answer to his mother's request, close to the opening of the Gospel narrative, that began Jesus' journey toward his «hour» (2:4); now he makes final preparations for his mother after his departure (19:26–27). When one takes the two passages together, the closing passage completes the issue introduced in the earlier one; Jesus can ultimately care for his mother's needs only in his «hour,» where he not only cares for her physically but provides for her as savior. His role as her and the world's savior must take precedence over his role as her son and material provider. Jesus' mother «learns that she is to be a mother as a disciple, not a mother and also a disciple. Discipleship must be the larger context in which her role as mother is delimited and defined.»10183
4C. Entrusting His Mother to His Disciple (19:26b-27)
Care for aged parents was part of honoring them, a requirement of piety;10184 both Luke (Acts 1:14) and John мая uphold Jesus' honor by «guarding the shame of Mary by locating her in a new family, an honorable household, the church.»10185 Jesus' γύναι мая create an aura of distance (see comment on 2:4), but Jesus cares for his mother. What we know of Jewish customs suggests that they invited a dying man, including one who was crucified, to settle the legal status of the women for whom he was responsible;10186 a crucified man could make his testament even from the cross.10187 (The soldiers would have confiscated whatever property he had with him, on the treason charge; they would not, however, have taken time to investigate and seize any minimal property he might still have had in Galilee.)
By taking over Jesus' own role of caring for his mother, normally passed on to a younger brother, the «beloved disciple» models how true disciples adopt the concerns of Jesus as their own and follow in his steps (cf. 1 John 2:6). Adoptive ties held significant legal force in Roman culture, but intimate friendships could also create functional kinship ties; in a famous Roman epic, a friend promises that if Euryalus dies, the friend will make Euryalus's mother a mother to himself just like his very own.10188 In one novel popular in late antiquity, Darius entrusted his mother to Alexander's care «as though she were your mother.»10189 A childless man facing death might also adopt a son to tend to his last days and burial and to carry on after him;10190 and given the relation between teachers and disciples, a prized disciple might do (cf. comment on 13:33; Mark 6:29; Iamblichus V.P. 30.184; 35.252). Thus an ancient audience could readily recognize the intimate bonds between individuals such as Jesus and the beloved disciple that would lead the latter to readily adopt Jesus' mother. Perhaps the passage also provides a model for caring for widows in the community (cf. Acts 6:1–3; 1Tim 5:5–10) who have been cut off from family support because of their faith in Jesus,10191 although this proposal would be at best a guess.
John appears concerned about discipleship creating familial alienation (7:5), but this passage might address primarily familial reconciliation (cf. 2:4). It мая also suggest the simplicity of Jesus' earthly lifestyle (cf. 4:31–34); his only earthly inheritance to his disciples is his responsibility to care for his mother.10192 (If 19implies the gift of his spirit, that larger spiritual legacy appears a few verses after this one.) Most important, because Jesus' brothers did not believe (7:5), Jesus entrusted his believing mother to a disciple (19:26–27). Later chuch tradition suggests that Jesus' siblings were older, children of Joseph by a marriage before his marriage to Mary; but 19simply suggests that Jesus was responsible for his mother because he was the eldest son; other references to «the Lord's brothers» (1Cor 9:5) suggest a direct relationship,10193 and literary cues in this Gospel link Jesus' mother and brothers (see comment on 7:4–5). A father might admonish a son to always care for the son's mother, going to great pains to honor her as she went to great pains to bear him (Tob 4:3–4); one might expect an elder brother to pass similar responsibility to younger family members. (A younger woman might be expected to remarry or return to her father's household, but Jesus' mother would be older and have greater independence than either of those alternatives.)10194
The theological import of Jesus' entrusting his mother to a disciple rather than to unbelieving siblings comports well with extant Jesus tradition. This model suggests that the ties of the believing community must be stronger than natural familial bonds, a moral amply illustrated by the Jesus tradition (Mark 3:33–35; 13:12). Others also described a disciplés virtue in terms of caring for the teacher's family.10195
5. Jesus' Thirst and Death (19:28–30)
Jesus' thirst is a visible symbol of his mortality, embracing the death his Father planned for him. Once he has died, his mission is complete.
5A. Jesus Drinks Sour Wine (19:28–29)
«After this» (19:28) is a customary Johannine transition (cf. 5:1; 19:38); Jesus' knowledge of his mission fits a more theological Johannine motif (13:1; cf. 2:24–25).
Jesus' statement of «thirst» (19:28) is a central affirmation at Jesus' death, framed as it is by the announcements that Jesus' work is now complete (19:28a, 30b).10196 Jesus' «thirst» is the language of mortality, emphasizing his humanity as in 4:6–7, where he requests a drink;10197 yet shortly after 4:7, Jesus promised an unending supply of living water to others (4:14).10198 Whereas the Samaritan woman enters into conversation with Jesus, bystanders respond differently to Jesus' request for drink in 19:29. Jesus was less interested in food or drink than in «finishing» the Father's will (4:34); now that the Father's will is «finished,» he expresses his thirst (19:28).10199 Most significantly, shortly after Jesus thirsts (19:28) and is given only sour wine to drink (19:29), he provides living water for all humanity (19:34).10200
Who are the bystanders who give Jesus drink in 19:29? Because John's audience probably knew the basic story of the passion in a form similar to the Synoptic passion narratives, they мая have assumed that those who offered Jesus the drink did so in mockery (Mark 15:36). It is also grammatically possible–though hardly historically conceivable, given the soldiers at the cross–that John allows his audience to think of the disciple and Jesus' mother as the subjects of the verb (John 19:26–27), in which case they seek to care for Jesus' need.10201 But on the theological as well as the historical level, John apparently expects his audience to presuppose the hostility of those providing the drink, for they fulfill the role of persecutors in the psalm to which John here alludes.
Whether the scriptural allusion is to Ps 22 or to Ps 69,10202 both place the righteous sufferer's thirst in the context of persecution. The probably widespread passion tradition followed in Mark (Mark 15:23) was understood by Matthew as a reference to Ps 69:21 (68LXX): they gave me «gall» (Matt 27:34).10203 The other line of this verse in the psalm indicates that the psalmist's persecutors gave him vinegar for his thirst.10204 Likewise, the popular passion tradition included a citation from Ps 22(Mark 15:34); because Jewish traditions could allude to a larger context by citing only a small sampling, John мая suspect (reasonably) that Jesus recited more of the psalm, including its cry of thirst (Ps 22[21LXX]).10205 That John intends an allusion to one of these verses is clear in his observation that Jesus declared his thirst so «Scripture might be fulfilled» (19:28).10206
Most significantly, those already familiar with the passion tradition would recognize once more that Jesus himself remains in control of the events surrounding his death, consciously fulfilling Scripture (10:18; 13:26). In the popular passion tradition, the sour wine lifted to Jesus' mouth is part of the ridicule heaped against him (conjoined with the skepticism that Elijah would rescue him; Mark 15:36); here, however, Jesus deliberately invites the sour wine to fulfill Scripture (19:28–29). In light of this moment, the informed reader might encounter Jesus' miracle at Cana in a new way: Jesus began the road to the cross when he turned water into wine (2:3–4, 9–10). Now he receives sour wine (19:29–30) before giving forth water (19:34). Only when he has fulfilled this final scripture does he hand over his spirit (19:30).
The «wine vinegar» (19:29) was probably "poska, wine vinegar diluted with water, the usual refreshing drink of laborers and soldiers»;10207 there should thus have been plenty on hand. Scholars have debated the force of John's ύσσώπω, «hyssop.»10208 Some have conjecturally emended the text to read ύσσω, that is, a soldier's javelin (pilum, lance), but «hyssop,» as the more difficult reading, remains the more likely one.10209 Others have identified hyssop «with the Origanum Maru L, which has a woody stem over a yard long»;10210 but the most likely meaning of «hyssop» (which lacks a stalk) prohibits the image of such a long reed.10211 A low cross10212 would not require a long reed, however; Mark мая call the instrument by the specific term «reed» (καλάμω, Mark 15:36) to recall Jesus' earlier beating and ridicule (Mark 15:19). Likewise, John мая envision the stalk of a plant that he calls «hyssop» to draw a parallel with the Passover ritual, in which hyssop played a prominent role (Exod 12:22);10213 John elsewhere portrays Jesus' death as a new Passover (18:28; 19:36; cf. 1Cor 5:7; 1Pet 1:19).10214 The very implausibility of the literal portrait reinforces the probability that John intended his audience to envision the symbolic allusion to Passover; perhaps John plays on the similar sound of «javelin» for a literal meaning but uses «hyssop» to convey his symbolic sense (cf. comment on double entendres in 3:3, 6).
5B. It Is Finished (19:30a)
Mark reports that Jesus uttered a loud, perhaps inarticulate cry (Mark 15:37); in John that note is a cry of triumph: «It has been completed!» (19:30).10215 The perfect tense most likely connotes action finished in the past with continuing effects in the present.10216 If, as we think likely, John's audience knew the basic form of the passion tradition known to us in Mark, they мая have noticed the striking contrast between the final recorded words of Jesus in John (perhaps revealing the content of the loud cry, as we have suggested) and those in Mark.
This portrayal of Jesus' triumph in death fits John's emphasis on Jesus' glorification through death and the events his death introduces (e.g., 12:23–24). The Jewish martyr tradition emphasized courageous defiance, but Mark emphasizes Jesus' brokenness at his death; John is closer to the martyr tradition here, emphasizing Jesus' commitment to his mission.10217 John of course differs from the martyr tradition as well (see pp. 1068–69 in our introduction to the Passion Narrative); his Jesus is not merely a righteous martyr but deity in the flesh. Nor is this picture of Jesus' triumph docetic, as if he were less human in the Fourth Gospel (cf. 1:14); a Jewish martyr story in the philosophic tradition could go much further in praising triumph in death, even working from an explicit dualism, without ever adopting a fully docetic understanding. Thus, for example, Eleazar in 4 Maccabees treated his torture as if it were a dream (4 Macc 6:5) and maintained the dignity of his reasoning even though his body could no longer withstand the pain (4 Macc 6:7). For all his emphasis on Jesus' deity, John's Christology appears less docetic than this Hellenistic Jewish work's anthropology, which itself cannot be properly considered docetic.
Jesus had earlier in this Gospel emphasized that he had come to «finish» the Father's work (4:34); his ministry had «finished» that work (17:4), and his death crowned his ministry as its completed act. John elsewhere discusses this completion of his work in the context of God's creative work continued even on the Sabbath (5:36). It is possible that John's audience, especially on encountering 19:31, might recall the pivotal biblical support for the Sabbath, perhaps already used in many Jewish blessings for the Sabbath:10218 God finished his creative work, and then the Sabbath began. Jesus declares, «It has been finished!» (19:30), and John reminds his audience that the Sabbath began at sundown that evening (19:31). (John does not invent this Sabbath tradition–cf. Mark 15:42–but мая make theological use of it.)10219 Or Jesus мая have «finished» «preparing» dwelling places for believers (14:2–3); or «finished» мая signify the fulfillment of Scripture (19:28) and Jesus'word (18:32).10220
5C. Handing Over His Spirit (19:30b)
Jesus bows his head, perhaps as a matter of mortal weakness (cf. 4:6) but, on the Johannine level, perhaps as an authoritative nod of approva1.10221 What invites more comment is what follows: Jesus «gave his spirit.»
John probably intends «finish» to include the work of redemption (cf. 1:29). One suggestion that might support this probability is the appearance of John's verb for the surrender of Jesus' spirit, παραδίδωμι, twice in the LXX of Isa 53(παρεδόθη).10222 By itself, such an observation would remain insignificant; the verb is frequent elsewhere. But John elsewhere portrays Jesus' death in servant language, especially «glorified» and «lifted up» (Isa 52LXX), and his proclivity toward double entendres commends for us the possibility that he reads the «betrayals» of the Passion Narrative in light of Isaiah. In Isaiah LXX as elsewhere in the Passion Narrative, the «handing over» is in the passive voice; here Jesus takes the lead in his death, consistent with John's Christology and view of Jesus' «hour» and submission to the Father's wil1.
Although the departure (often breathing out) of onés spirit appears frequently in ancient texts as a euphemism for death,10223 that Jesus gave up his spirit (19:30) is theologically significant. In Mark's tradition, Jesus breathed his final «breath» (εξέπνευσεν, Mark 15:37); here he hands over his «spirit» (πνεϋμα, John 19:30), suggesting a Johannine twist on a more familiar tradition. (What John would add to Mark мая also stem from tradition; see Luke 23:46, where Jesus «commits» his «spirit» to God before «breathing» his last breath.) The text does not clarify to whom Jesus hands over his spirit; probably the term for «hand over» here is employed for its symbolic value (see below; cf. 18:2, 30; 19:16) rather than with an indirect object in view, but if an indirect object is implied, it must be the Father (Luke 23:46). This image of handing over his spirit to his Father could evoke the Roman custom in which the nearest kin would receive in the mouth the dying person's final breath to ensure the survival of that person's spirit (spiritum).10224 But the custom seems to have been a local Italian one largely removed from John's eastern Mediterranean audience,10225 and in any case, a more typical Johannine image is likely.
Jesus gives up his πνεϋμα so that now his πνεύμα мая be multiplied and available to his followers as he had promised (7:39).10226 If 19reflects the more popular tradition of Jesus breathing his last (Mark 15:37), it links «spirit» and «breath» in a Johannine way (cf. 3:8) that climaxes in 20:22, when the glorified Jesus who gave up his spirit/breath on the cross now imparts it to his disciples. This is not to deny the distinguishability of the Spirit and Jesus,10227 which is clear in the Fourth Gospel (14:16,26; 15:26), but to suggest that John, ever quick to offer double entendres, provides symbolic import in the events of the cross.10228
Again the narrative emphasizes Jesus' control over his situation. Jesus' final words, in contrast to the last recorded words in Mark (Mark 15:34), announce the completion of his mission (John 19:30), though Mark also recognizes a theophany in Jesus' death (Mark 15:38–39). John's term παραδίδωμι («hand over,» «deliver,» «betray») in 19connects Judas (18:2, 5,36), the chief priests (18:30, 35; 19:11), and Pilate (19:16) in a chain of guilt but here reminds the informed reader that Jesus ultimately embraced his own death (10:18).10229 The departure of the spirit was a common enough Jewish expression for death; Jesus' surrender of his spirit, however, is rare language, and probably underlines the point that Jesus died voluntarily.10230 As Tertullian emphasizes (Apo1. 21), Jesus dismissed his spirit with a word, by his own wil1.
6. Breaking Bones (19:31–37)
The Roman execution squad breaks the bones of those crucified with Jesus, but not his because, in God's sovereign plan revealed in Scripture, Jesus has already died. God confirms Jesus' prior promise of the Spirit at his glorification (7:37–39) with water flowing from his wound (19:34), which provides a context for the meaning of Jesus «handing over his Spirit» (19:30).
Talbert suggests that this section parallels the activity of the previous section: (a) Jewish authorities act and request Pilate, or request Pilate that they мая act (19:31; cf. 19:17–22); (b) the soldiers act (19:32–34; cf. 19:23–25a); (c) the beloved disciplés presence (19:35–37; cf. 19:25–27); (d) those who love Jesus act (19:38–40; cf. 19:28–29); (e) Jesus' death (19:30) and burial (19:41–42).10231 By reinforcing the activities of various characters through repetition, John highlights the division in humanity (cf. 15:18–25).
6A. The Soldiers Break Bones (19:31–33)
That the soldiers act out the designs of the Judean authorities («the Jews») again reinforces John's emphasis on the Judean leaders' primary responsibility for the events that take place–which makes their unwitting fulfilment of Scripture all the more noteworthy.
Because it was widely known that crucifixion victims often took several days to die (Josephus Life 420–421), Jesus' death in a matter of hours in the passion tradition invited some explanation. Those bound with cords instead of nails probably survived longer,10232 but this seems not the whole explanation. Here the explanation is that Jesus chose to die when he had completed his mission (19:30) and that he needed to do so before his bones could be broken (19:36). That his bones were in danger of being broken likely reflects the genuine historical practice of some crucifixions, but John also derives theological mileage from this as from other traditions he employs.
The breaking of bones in this context derives from the piety of the Judean authorities, who were scrupulous about Sabbath observance (see comment on 5:9–12) and Passover (18:28) but whose piety John views negatively10233 Romans normally allowed corpses to rot on crosses; Deut 21:23, however, warned that this practice defiled the land.10234 Undoubtedly, in practice, Judean authorities' sensitivities did invite some concessions from the Romans, especially during local festival times, when Romans sought to show particular benevolence to local populations even with respect to executions (Philo Flaccus 83).10235 Even during nonfestal times, Romans appear to have normally deferred to Jewish sensitivities in the matter, for Josephus writes as if they were normally able to bury crucifixion victims before sunset (Josephus War 4.317).
Although some later rabbis could argue that the religious duty of executing a murderer overrides the Sabbath, others responded that courts should not even go into session on the Sabbath.10236 As a Sabbath during the festival time, this Sabbath was a particularly sacred one; by John's chronology, it would be the first day of the Passover festival (the second day by the Synoptic chronology).10237 Leaving the bodies hanging on any day would have violated Jewish custom; leaving them up on a Sabbath was worse; leaving them up on a festal Sabbath was unconscionable. The Judean leaders wish to safeguard the holiness of the day. Yet the passage again drips with Johannine irony, underlining a matter of serious religious incongruity (as in 18:28): those who have falsely convicted Jesus and secured his execution now express piety concerning Sabbath observance.
Early Christian sources note that on other occasions soldiers would also beat a crucified person's limbs to hasten death, sometimes with an iron club (crurifragium).10238 Roman sources, such as Cicero, also attest the use of crurifragium in breaking both legs to complete a crucifixion.10239 For some time, scholars have illustrated this practice by means of a skeleton of one Jehohanan, found in an ossuary in 1968; examiners thought that the young man had been nailed to a cross through both wrists and ankles and that his legs had been broken through the crurifragium.10240 More recent investigation allows that his legs мая have been broken during burial,10241 so we are again dependent mainly on literary sources for secure attestation of the practice. Nevertheless, Dodd is probably correct to think that John preserves historical tradition here.10242 John applies the description, however, for theological purposes (see comment on 19:36).
6B. Water from Jesus' Side (19:34)
Brown notes that execution squads sometimes pierced victims on the cross (19:34), perhaps to be sure that they were dead.10243 Certainly soldiers would have such weapons on hand; they carried both a short sword and a lance, or pilum, which was roughly «three and one-half feet long with an iron point on a long stem joined to a shaft of light wood.»10244 Dodd regards the lance thrust as genuine historical tradition rather than Johannine theology,10245 and indeed, the emphatic claim to eyewitness testimony in 19suggests that John reports what he believes to be an eyewitness account, not merely a symbolic event.10246 Insufficient historical evidence exists otherwise to prove or disprove the likelihood of historical tradition in this instance, but Dodd is surely mistaken on at least one count: the account of the lance thrust is clearly Johannine theology. John is interested in interpreting, not merely reporting, his tradition.
Some think that John responds to a docetic-type heresy in this passage, underlining the reality of Jesus' death,10247 but while this proposal is possible (especially in conjunction with the possible use of the image in 1 John 5:6),10248 it hardly fits the primary emphases of the Gospel as a whole.10249 Indeed, one could have argued in a somewhat different direction: Greeks might recall that wounded deities «bled» a sort of immortal («ambrosiac») blood called ichor,10250 a transparent substance that could appear like water. In one legend, Alexander, though deemed a god by others, observed that what flowed from his wound was blood, not ichor, signifying his mortality.10251 If one reads this passage outside its Johannine and early Jewish context, one could portray Jesus as a Greek demigod or hero; but this is not the most natural way to understand the Gospel as a whole.10252 Even a very hellenized Jewish reader speaking of ichor alongside blood might use it at most metaphorically for the divine nobility of a faithful (and quite mortal) martyr (4 Macc 9:20, ίχώρων).10253 One could also argue that the pouring forth of another substance in addition to blood would be understood by ancients as a portent of impending doom;10254 but this is not likely John's point, as he omits the very evidences that might serve that function in the wider passion tradition (Mark 15:38; Matt 27:51–54).
Others suggest more plausibly that the mingled blood alludes, like the hyssop and bones (19:29,36), to Passover tradition.10255 An allusion to Passover is plausible and possible but fails to explain the entire point of 19:34. Granted, tradition specifies that paschal lambs were hung up on iron hooks in the wall and pillars to be flayed (m. Pesah. 5:9), which might recall the crucifixion for early Jewish Christians who had been Passover pilgrims three decades before. More significantly, the paschal lamb was also «pierced,» with a piece of pomegranate wood running through its mouth and buttocks, to roast it (m. Pesah. 7:1).10256 Further, as would be fitting for most sacrifices, the blood of slaughtered paschal lambs was collected and sprinkled on the altar.10257 The Synoptics can speak of shedding «blood» as a metaphor for violent death (Mark 14:24; Matt 23:30, 35; 27:4, 6), but John here provides explicit testimony of literal blood at Jesus' cross, making further sense of Jesus' language in 6:53–56.10258 While blood in the Fourth Gospel might allude to the paschal lamb, however (cf. 6:53–56), the primary emphasis in this passage is on the anomaly of water.
The theological significance of the water from Jesus' side is clear enough in the context of the entire Gospe1. Given John's water motif (1:31,33; 2:6; 3:5; 4:14; 5:2; 9:7; 13:5) and especially its primary theological exposition (7:37–39), the water has immense symbolic value. Granted, a substance that appears like water could flow from the pericardial sac around the heart along with blood,10259 and this could explain the source of John's tradition. But he specifically records the event for theological reasons (cf. 20:30–31; 21:25), reasons clarified in his water motif, which climaxes here.10260 Now that Jesus has been glorified (7:39), the water of the Spirit of life flows from him as the foundation stone of God's eschatological temple (see comment on 7:37–38). Just as Revelation speaks of a river of water flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb in the world to come (Rev 22:1), a Johannine Christian who emphasized the realized aspect of early Christian eschatology could drink freely from that river in the present (Rev 22:17). As Jesus was enthroned by humans as «king of the Jews» (John 19:19–22) and crowned with thorns (19:2,5), the river of the Spirit began to flow in a symbolic sense from his throne.
As in 7:37–39, this passage мая suggest secondary allusions to the rock in the wilderness (cf. 1Cor 10:4), as frequently in early Christian exegesis.10261 Rabbinic tradition mentions that when Moses struck the rock twice, first blood and then water flowed from it;10262 but the tradition is of uncertain date and мая reflect the water-blood tradition from the plagues in Egypt (Exod 7:15–21; cf. Rev 8:8; 11:6; 16:3–6). Although we have expressed some skepticism concerning the degree to which John's audience would have connected the particular time of Jesus' death to the Passover sacrifice in the temple, it мая be significant that in early popular tradition the water libation for the festival of Tabernacles was poured out at the time of the daily offering.10263
Hoskyns suggests that the water of life flows from Jesus' side to recall Adam's side as the origin for Evés life (Gen 2:21–22), which he connects to his portrayal of Jesus' mother (John 19:26–27) as a new Eve.10264 Yet as widely used as the Genesis creation account was,10265 one would hope for clearer clues than this if John intended such an allusion, and we have already expressed some skepticism concerning the proposal that Jesus' mother appears as a new Eve in 19:26–27.
6C. The Witness of the Disciple and Scripture (19:35–37)
The beloved disciple (19:26–27) offers eyewitness testimony of water and blood from Jesus' pierced side (19:35); Scripture provides the meaning for that event (19:36–37). Early readers of the Gospel noted and discussed reasons for the eyewitness claim at this point; Theodore of Mopsuestia suggested that it referred to personal revelation seen only by John; John Chrysostom felt that such a degrading experience for the Lord demanded particularly documented testimony.10266 Of the two opinions, Chrysostom would be nearer the truth; but most likely John underlines the eyewitness claim here to emphasize its veracity for the sake of the symbolism he will draw from it.
The narrator10267 claims that his source, presumably the beloved disciple (19:26), is an eyewitness (19:35). Eyewitnesses, particularly participants, were considered the most reliable sources.10268 Some have argued that the use of the third person here requires a distinction between the beloved disciple (the eyewitness source of the tradition) and the narrator or author.10269 Such a distinction of language makes sense and is possible (cf. the first-person testimony in Rev 22:8) but, given John's style, is not a necessary inference from the text; Jesus speaks of himself both in the first (3:11–12; 5:24, 30–47; 12:44–50; 17:4–26) and the third person (3:13–18; 5:19–23, 25–29; 12:35–36; 17:1–3). Further, narrator-authors often described themselves in the third person (see comment on 13:23).10270 More important, the distinction мая fail to account for some of the versés language. The disciplés «witness» is in the perfect tense in 19:35, suggesting completed past action with continuing effects in the present; this could be used, however, even of a present speaker about a completed witness (1:34; cf. 3:26; 5:33).10271 Yet the present tense of λέγει probably suggests that the subject of the verb is the narrator (as in 21:24). One could argue that the witness of the beloved disciple continues to speak because inspired by the Paraclete (16:7–15), like that of John the Baptist (historical present in 1:15); but usually the Baptist's completed witness appears in the aorist (1:7–8, 32) or perfect (1:34; 3:26; 5:33) tense. One need not read λέγει as the voice of the narrator, but it seems the most natural way to take the verb here.
We argued in the introduction that the narrator appears identical with the beloved disciple (the witness in 21is said to be the writer), although dispute on the matter will surely continue (especially among those skeptical concerning the testimony of 21:24, which most regard as an addendum or an addendum to an addendum). In any case, the beloved disciple is likely the witness in this text. He appears primarily in the narrative concerning the night and day of the eve of Passover and after the resurrection (13:23; 20:2–10; 21:7,20–23, 24); most significantly, he is the only «disciple» so designated to appear in this scene (19:26–27), which supports the likelihood of his presence here.10272
John declares that Jesus had to die before the soldiers could break his legs (19:31–33) to fulfill the Scripture about none of his bones being broken (19:36); blood and water flowed from his side (19:34) to fulfill the Scripture about looking on the one whom they pierced (19:37). Once Jesus died, the Father spared his body this final indignity.
That Jesus' bones remained unbroken to fulfill Scripture (19:36) invites the informed reader to consider which text or texts John intends. Daube contends that Jesus' unbroken bones stem from pre-Johannine (but not necessarily eyewitness) tradition. He argues that the claim that Jesus' bones were not broken was essential to early Jewish Christian apologetic, since their adversaries, the Pharisees, believed that one was resurrected in the same state in which one died.10273 The Pharisees and Jewish Christians probably did not clash as much in the earliest period as Daube here assumes,10274 but this provides no fatal flaw to his case; this understanding of the resurrection body seems to have been widespread (2 Bar. 50:2–4). More important, however, one might ask why early Christians would concern themselves specifically with Jesus' bones in the resurrection body when other wounds that might also be thought to restrict mobility were not considered problematic (20:20, 25, 27; Luke 24:40).10275 Whatever John's tradition, his own emphasis lies in his assimilation of Jesus to the paschal lamb, as in the text he probably cites (see comment below), an assimilation Daube also recognizes.10276
That Jesus' bones would not be broken мая well allude to God's promise to the righteous sufferer in Ps 34:19–20 (33:20–21 LXX). That text declares concerning τά οστά αυτών (his bones) that εν εξ αυτών ού συντριβήσεται (Ps 34[33LXX]), which corresponds well with John's όστοϋν ου συντριβήσεται αύτοϋ (cf. the similar paraphrase of 13:10's negation in 13:1 1).10277 Were another source not more likely, one might have supposed this John's primary basis for the citation. John's use of the same form of the verb (third singular future passive indicative) мая suggest a secondary allusion to this text, perhaps midrashically blended with another allusion to which we now turn.10278
In a paschal context, John's predominant allusion would seem to be the prohibition in Exodus and Numbers against breaking the bones of the Passover lamb about to be eaten. The verb appears in a different form, but this allusion is otherwise closer than the language of the psalm: όστοϋν ού συντρίψετε άπ' αύτοϋ (Exod 12:46); όστοϋν ού συντρίψουσιν άπ' αύτοϋ (Num 9:12). John's citation is virtually the same, apart from the different form of the same verb and the use or omission of the preposition. The former difference мая be a midrashic adaptation based on Ps 3410279 or мая be meant to avoid citing the Exodus or Numbers text as a command (hence implying the obedience of Israel's leaders rather than the fulfillment by Jesus);10280 the latter мая be a stylistic variation. Early Judaism carefully continued to observe this prohibition against breaking the lamb's bones (Jub. 49:13); one who broke a Passover lamb's bones could incur the public discipline of forty lashes.10281 Scholars frequently recognize John's allusion to the paschal lamb in this verse.10282
In 19John uses familiar Jewish language when he declares that «Scripture says,»10283 implying an appeal to Scripturés authority even though expressing it in a manner different from its expression in 19:36. He cites Zech 12:10, which some later rabbis expounded messianically10284 but which in its context refers to the wounding of God himself by his people–a matter of no small significance given John's Christology. The verse in Zechariah also speaks of God pouring out the Spirit to turn his people to him; this fits the Johannine context (19:30, 34).10285 If John understands the text eschatologically as in Rev 1(which also universalizes the text's audience; cf. Zech 12:12–14), it could mean that those who wounded him will recognize him by his marks at the day of judgment. Even if John interprets this text eschatologically, however, it is more likely, given his emphasis on realized eschatology, that he suggests that Jesus' side was pierced so that the soldiers and Jewish leaders who handed Jesus over to them would look at him on the day of his death rather than at his second coming.
Jesus' Burial (19:38–42)
This pericope reveals Jesus' secret allies–who, though at first lacking appropriate faith (12:42–43), now show more fidelity to Jesus than those who have just celebrated their third Passover (in this Gospel's framework) with Jesus. Their role suggests that ultimate perseverance matters more than the prior duration of perseverance, and provides another invitation to secret listeners to the Christian message still in the synagogues.10286 That Joseph had remained a «secret» disciple «for fear of the Jews» (19:38) мая remind the attentive first-time reader of crowds in 7but will quickly provide a stark contrast with the disciples, who after Jesus' death became secret disciples «for fear of the Jews» until Jesus' appearance to them (20:19). (John uses δια τόν φόβον των Ιουδαίων in all three of these texts.) The parenthetical reminder that Nicodemus had come «by night» (19:39) also underlines that he had been a secret disciple with inadequate courage (3:2) who had now come out into the open.10287 This time, coming before sundown (when the festival begins and work is forbidden, 19:31,42), Nicodemus necessarily comes by day. He мая not expect reward from the now deceased teacher, but he now values honoring God above his own honor (12:43).
1. Historical Likelihood of the Burial
That Jewish officials would permit, and that some pious Jewish leader might aid in, Jesus' burial is historically reasonable. As already mentioned, the Romans normally preferred the bodies of condemned criminals to rot on crosses,10288 but Jewish custom prohibited this final indignity, demanding burial by sunset (Deut 21:23; Josephus War 4.317).10289 If a Jewish court, rather than a Roman one, rendered the verdict,10290 Jewish people мая have usually buried condemned criminals in a common grave reserved for that purpose (cf. m. Sanh. 6:5; t. Sanh. 9:8),10291 a purposely shameful buria1. Because the punishment was in Pilatés hands (and Jewish courts could not execute capital sentences; see comment on 18:31), Jewish authorities would not supervise the burial, but it is unlikely that Pilate would be unaware of the Jewish concern for buria1. Jewish law required burial even for foreigners passing through their territory (Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.211), and even the most dishonorable burial for executed, including crucified, transgressors, was burial nonetheless (Josephus Ant. 4.202, 264–265).10292 If he accommodated a demand for execution, he might also accommodate local sensitivities concerning disposal of the corpse.
Even such dishonorable burials probably did not allow authorities to lose track of the particular bodies, which would be handed over to their families a year later; if one objects that the handing-over custom is late,10293 one might suppose the same for the regular use of common graves for the executed/10294 That Jesus was buried is also attested in pre-Pauline tradition known to Paul's readers in his own and other congregations (Rom 6:4; 1Cor 15:4). That Jesus was buried thus fits the culture as well as pre-Pauline tradition (1Cor 15:4).10295
2. Joseph and Nicodemus (19:38–39)
Yet it is likely that Jesus was not only buried but buried in an honorable, distinguishable grave; the Joseph story has much to commend it.10296
2A. Joseph and History
Apart from specifying his discipleship, John provides such little introduction to Joseph of Arimathea that it sounds as if his audience is already familiar with this character,10297 probably from the early passion traditions. John and Mark independently attest Joseph's historical role: given early Christian experiences with, and feelings toward, the Sanhédrin, the invention of a Sanhedrist acting piously toward Jesus (Mark 15:43) is not likely.10298 Neither Mark nor his tradition invents many names; despite its bias against the Jewish authorities, early Christian tradition preserves burial by them (Acts 13:29; contrast Mart. Po1. 17.2); burial was part of the earliest passion tradition (1Cor 15:4).10299 The narrative is plausible for other reasons; Brown is certain that pious Jews, given their views of burial, would not have allowed Jesus to go unburied.10300 «The only surprise,» Davies and Allison note, is that Joseph buries Jesus in a family tomb rather than a criminals' burial plot.10301
That even Jesus' enemies in the Sanhédrin would have wanted him buried is clear enough; to prevent his burial would be in open defiance of Scripture (Deut 21:23), and Josephus additionally testifies to this practice (War 4.317). Although reports existed of cultures that did not bury (Sextus Empiricus Pyr. 3.226–228; Silius Italicus 13.486–487), burial was an essential duty both in Jewish10302 and in broader Mediterranean culture.10303 In Greco-Roman culture, burial societies ensured that even poor people would receive proper burial,10304 whereas the rich and well-known had elaborate public funerals10305 and other honors.10306 Like most of their contemporaries,10307 Jewish culture regarded lack of burial as a horrible fate,10308 and later rabbis demanded that even the most insignificant citizens be mourned by someone.10309 Roman authorities did withhold burial under some circumstances, however, so the most critical point in favor of arguing that Jesus' enemies would have granted his burial is the demand of Scripture, which the Jerusalem leaders would have wished to uphold. Whether Pilate would have granted the body burial (see below), it seems unlikely that any of the Jewish leaders would have opposed its burial, even if they would have expected a less honorable burial than Joseph secures for Jesus' body.
Although Brown is convinced that Jesus was buried and believes that Joseph played a role in this, he doubts that Joseph was a disciple, supposing that this is why the women did not cooperate with him in the burial;10310 but we мая well question to what degree the women would have trusted a Sanhedrist they did not know at that point in any case. The preservation of his name and other details мая suggest that Joseph either followed Jesus at this time (as we think more likely) or, as Brown thinks,10311 became a disciple later.
2B. Joseph as a Model
Attested in all four gospels (19:38; Mark 15:43; Matt 27:57; Luke 23:51), Joseph's role is secure in pre-Johannine tradition. Yet even where it is clearest that John rests on prior tradition, he also preaches through that tradition. John mentions Joseph's discipleship, which probably accurately reflects the passion tradition (Matt 27:57), but places his special mark on it: Joseph was a secret disciple «for fear of the Jews» (John 19:38). Thus he, like Nicodemus, was among those of inadequate faith in 12:42–43 but now, with Nicodemus, becomes a more public disciple. That Joseph has more reason to fear «the Jews"–the Judean authorities–than the Romans undoubtedly reflects the ironic situation of the Johannine Christians; those most committed to their demise appear to be their Jewish siblings who accuse them rather than the Romans who punish them (see comment on 16:2).
The narrative also presents Joseph's current act as a positive model for discipleship, for, in coming forward to seek Jesus' body, Joseph ceases to be merely a «secret» disciple.10312 Joseph's coming forward is significant in securing Jesus' buria1. In the case of a particularly heinous crime (or personal enmity), many sought to prohibit or prevent burial10313 or even public mourning.10314 Most important, Roman custom in this period officially prohibited burying the executed (Tacitus Ann. 6.29).10315 Nevertheless, a long history of Mediterranean tradition emphasized the need for burial, as noted above; refusal to allow burial was normally viewed as impiety,10316 and for centuries most persons in power, even those considered morally reprehensible, permitted burials even of their enemies.10317 Significantly, the Romans sometimes surrendered the corpse to friends or relatives who sought permission to bury them.10318 While Pilate would not likely hand over the corpse if he admits the charge of maiestas?10319 Pilate does not seem to take that charge seriously.10320
But Joseph could not know how Pilate would feel until he approached him, and unless he already held special favor before Pilate (cf. Josephus Life 420–421), which for an individual Jewish aristocrat would be unlikely, only a courageous ally would identify himself before the governor as «friend» or patron of one condemned for conspiracy against Rome (19:38; cf. 19:12).10321 Mere association with one condemned for treason could lead to a person's execution under paranoid rulers;10322' granted, Pilate hardly viewed Jesus as a threat, but Joseph could not be sure of this. Although Joseph's social status might have afforded him some measure of protection, the general aristocratic view in the ancient Mediterranean (although particularly severe under Pilatés patron Sejanus in Rome) was that the prominent were the most notorious targets10323 and that prominence often aroused envy, hence hostility, from others.10324 Even detention on criminal charges involved great shame, which created severe social pressure on people of status to abandon ties with the prisoner.10325 Burying the dead despite prohibitions against this practice,10326 or in the face of other dangers,10327 functions as a model of courage in ancient texts, and disciples could elsewhere perform this function (Mark 6:29; Iamblichus V.P. 30.184; 35.252). Thus the tradition prefers Joseph's devotion at this point to that of the long-term disciples,10328 though perhaps Joseph's status (like the women's gender, 19:25) would render him less vulnerable to retaliation.
But whereas tradition strongly urged some comment about Joseph, John's distinctive interest is in Nicodemus.10329 Both texts that mention Nicodemus after the first occasion explicitly recall the reader to the first occasion (7:50; 19:39). Nicodemus had come to Jesus «by night» (3:2; 19:39) but, as a ruler of the Jews (3:1; 7:48), had subtly defended him (7:50–52); now he openly risks his reputation and security to honor him. Nicodemus becomes a paradigm for the secret believers among the «Jews» (12:42–43): John invites them to go public with their confession of faith in Jesus.10330
Yet both Joseph, here said to be a «secret» disciple of Jesus (19:38), and Nicodemus, who came «by night» (19:39), now render a service to Jesus that is potentially dangerous– a service the long-term disciples were unwilling to offer (cf. 20:19).10331 Given the nature of true discipleship, the other disciples' unwillingness to follow Jesus to this extent–their attempt, by contrast, to, in a sense, become secret disciples as best they could–was an act of temporary apostasy (see 12:25–26).
3. Burial Preparations (19:39–40, 42)
Not only because few gathered to mourn but because the Sabbath would begin soon (19:42), Jesus' burial activities were incomplete. In the Synoptic chronology, Jesus died ca. 3 p.m.; after Joseph stopped to seek Pilatés permission, perhaps only an hour remained before sundown and the prohibition of work. John's chronology (which does not specify the length of the crucifixion) allows perhaps two additional hours but still does not permit full preparation for burial, hence perhaps the importance of Jesus' preliminary anointing (though note the difference between 12and Mark 14:8; the former мая mean that the full anointing was kept for the day of Jesus' burial).
Although anointing (19:39) and washing the corpse were permissible even on the Sabbath (m. Šabb. 23:5),10332 some other elements of the burial10333 could be conducted only in the most preliminary manner for the moment, though undoubtedly hastened considerably through the agency of Joseph's servants. One could not move the corpse or its members on the Sabbath (m. Šabb. 23:5). The Sabbath interrupted various activities, which could be resumed after its completion (e.g., 2Macc 8:27–28).
In a Jewish setting, linen shrouds were part of honorable burial (19:40),10334 specifically for the righteous.10335 Although the plural form of linen strips in John 19:40; 20:710336 could tell against the authenticity of the traditional shroud,10337 others have argued that the evidence fits the shroud10338 and that the shroud could be included among the grave clothes or the plural could be idiomatic for «grave clothes.»10339 (For further discussion of linen and white garments, see comment on 20:12.) They «bound» Jesus' body (19:40),but in contrast to Lazarus at his resuscitation (11:44), Jesus would require no one to loose him at his resurrection (20:6–7).
When spices were used (19:40),10340 they were important, not to preserve the corpse10341 but to diminish the stench and, in practice, to pay final respects to the deceased.10342 (Jewish burials in this period did not seek to preserve the corpse; rather, they expected the flesh to rot off the bones for one year, after which the person responsible would inter the corpse in an ossuary.)10343 Against the traditional Markan account of women coming to anoint the body after the Sabbath (Mark 16:1), some doubt that women would seek to anoint a corpse decomposing that long;10344 but Mark's account is quite credible, as William Lane Craig points out: «In point of fact, Jerusalem, being 700 meters above sea level, can be quite cool in апреля» (cf. also John 18:18); the body remained in the tomb only a day and two nights, and «a rock-hewn tomb in a cliff side would stay naturally coo1.»10345 If we accept the Johannine account, Nicodemus had already left some aromatic spices with the body at its hasty deposition in the tomb before the Sabbath.
But the amount of spices mentioned in 19is extraordinary. The Roman pound was about twelve ounces by modern standards, and hence the figure probably represents about seventy-five pounds;10346 some have proposed that if one takes the amount as a measure of volume equivalent to the biblical log, one might find an abundant but hardly impossible amount close to seventy fluid ounces.10347 In the Synoptics, no one was completely prepared for Jesus' burial; the lavish amount of spices here, however, are «as befits a king.»10348
This extravagance matches the devotion that some bestow on Jesus (12:3) and that Jesus bestows on his followers (2:6; 6:11–13; 21:11); some therefore take it symbolically for messianic abundance.10349 Whether one takes the amount literally or not, its meaning is clear enough: Nicodemus honored Jesus lavishly, as had the woman in 12:3; but if her gift had been worth 300 denarii (12:5), Nicodemus's was perhaps worth 30,000, a gift befitting «a ruler of the Jews» (3:1). Such honors were not unheard of: another story reports that a proselyte burned eighty pounds of spices to honor Gamaliel I at his death.10350 Five hundred servants carried the spices for Herod's burial (Josephus War 1.673; Ant. 17.199).10351 But the lavish sacrifice here illustrates particularly how even those whom John reproved as secret believers could emerge as disciples committed to Jesus, sometimes even more committed than those who had long followed him openly when they were not literally threatened with death (despite expectations of fidelity in 11:16; 13:37). In a setting where Jesus has been condemned for treason as a messianic claimant, Nicodemus lavishes gifts on him as a true king in his death.
4. The Tomb (19:41)
The historical tradition and probably even the site of Jesus' tomb remained known to the writer of this Gospe1. John мая emphasize the honorable nature of Jesus' burial, the genuine nature of his physical death, and that Jesus' disciples knew the site where he was buried. (Although John does not narrate the presence of others besides Joseph and Nicodemus in 19:38–42, he clearly supposes that element of the passion tradition in 20:1–11.)
4A. A New Tomb in a Garden
Only Matthew explicitly notes the use of Joseph's own family tomb (Matt 27:60), fulfilling Isa 53:12, but the tradition behind Mark 15probably presupposes it;10352' how else would Joseph acquire a tomb so quickly? (Most burial sites were private, the property of individual families.)10353 Further, archaeological evidence for the tombs in this area мая suggest that the tomb belonged to a person of some material substance.10354 The «newness» of the tomb (John 19:41) мая suggest that wealth had come into his family only in his own generation or that rising prominence had led him to move closer to Jerusalem from another home.10355
The dead were often buried in fields and gardens, so a tomb in a garden area (19:41; cf. 20:15) is not unlikely.10356 Some read the garden symbolically, as a reversal of humanity's expulsion from God's garden (Gen 3:22).10357 Those who connect Jesus' mother with the new Eve (see comment on 19:26–27) could therefore find a new Adam motif in the context. If this were the case, however, it would be surprising that John's term for garden (κήπος) differs from the common LXX rendering for the Genesis garden (see comment on 18:1, 26). More likely, if John has any symbolic meaning in view, he recalls Jesus' arrest in a garden, underlining the injustice of his execution; in the former garden, Jesus was «bound» by hostile officers (18:12), whereas here he is «bound» by allies determined to honor him posthumously (19:40).10358 By recalling the earlier section, John мая heighten the irony: gardens were normally pleasant places (e.g., Eccl 2:5; Song 4:12,15–16; 6:2,11), but there Jesus was unjustly arrested, and after his unjust execution he was deposited in one. They were appropriate places to be buried (2 Kgs 21:18,26, LXX), but the connection with the arrest мая be in the background.
Most Judean burial sites were private family tombs scattered around Jerusalem and elsewhere.10359 Often these were caves with an opening covered by a large stone rolled in a groove (20:1); such stones could not be removed from within.10360 Indeed, such stones would be cumbersome to move from the outside; people generally moved them only for reburials or new burials.10361 Because Joseph was well-to-do, he probably owned a more ornate tomb, whose disk-shaped stone would be too large (a yard in diameter) for a single man to move even from outside.10362 The practice of secondary burial–in which the corpse rots in an antechamber in the tomb for a year,10363 then the bones are gathered in a box that will be slid into a niche in the wall–is a largely first-century custom.10364 Despite some relevant pagan models, among Jews ossuaries are not yet attested outside Palestine.10365 (The story is certainly not a later Diaspora invention.) Such burial involved no shoveling of dirt as today, and often no coffin.10366
4B. The Site of the Tomb
As noted above (see comment on 19:17b), all available historical evidence favors the premise that the earliest Christians preserved the accurate site of the tomb. That Jesus' followers would forget the site of the tomb (or that officials who held the body would not think it worth the trouble to produce it after the postresurrection Jesus movement arose) is extremely improbable. James and the Jerusalem church could have easily preserved the tradition of the site in following decades,10367 especially given Middle Eastern traditions of pilgrimage to holy sites.10368 As noted in our comment on 19:17, the traditional Protestant «Garden Tomb» is a much later site and cannot represent the site of Jesus' burial;10369 by contrast, the Catholic Holy Sepulcher and tombs in its vicinity date to the right period.10370
If Joseph of Arimathea owned the ground in which he buried Jesus (Mark 15:46; more explicit in Matt 27:60),10371 the Jerusalem Christians could well have maintained the site, at least until 70, and it apparently remained known by Judeans in the early second century10372 and preserved afterward.10373 Whether the specific tomb is the precise one, the area is certainly right and the tombs from the correct period. An early-eighth-century description of a pilgrim's report of the tomb contended,
It was a vaulted chamber, hollowed out of rock. Its height was such that a person standing in the middle could touch the summit with his hand. Its entrance faced east, and the great stone about which the gospel tells us was placed over it. To the right as one enters was the place that was specially prepared as a resting place for the Lord's body, seven feet in length, about two feet above the rest of the floor. The opening was not made like that of ordinary sepulchers, from above, but entirely from the side, from which the body could be placed inside.10374
We can probably reconstruct some other details about the tomb as well, given details in 20:5–7 and what we know of various kinds of first-century tombs; see comment on 20:5–7.
* * *
Ellis, Genius, 247. For the garden inclusio, see also Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 249.
Most of this section has been adapted from Keener, Matthew, 607–11.
For the use of climax in rhetoric, see Rhet. ad Herenn. 4.34–35.
Cf. Sisti, «Figura»; Acfs of the Alexandrian Martyrs, in CP] 2:55–107, §§154–159.
E.g., Dibelius, Tradition, 201; Donahue, «Temple,» 65–66; Weeden, Mark, 66; Nickelsburg, «Genre»; Aune, Environment, 52–53; Robbins, Jesus, 173, 188). The tradition places Jesus especially within the rejected-prophet tradition (cf. Robbins, Jesus, 186).
Epameinondas 2 in Plutarch S.K., Mor. 192C; cf. accounts of Socrates' brave end (Xenophon Apo1. 1).
Compare, e.g., the mother in Maccabean accounts with the Spartan mother Argileonis in Plutarch S.S.W., Mor. 240C. Cf. Robbins, Jesus, 185, following Nickelsburg, «Genre,» 156, on the tradition of a righteous sufferer vindicated by God.
Boring et a1., Commentary, 156, lists contrasts with the Maccabean martyr accounts: the Gospels avoid sensationalistic details, interpretive speeches by Jesus, a Stoic lesson contrasting reason with emotions (Plutarch W.V.S.C.U. 2; 4 Macc 8:15; though this feature says more about the social context of the Maccabean audience than about any larger genre per se), and «vengeful threats.»
Boring et a1., Commentary, 152. On the diversity of Jewish martyr stories, see van Henten, «Prolegomena.»
Cf. Robbins, Jesus, 187, following Williams, Death, 137–254. The concept of atonement in general appears in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East (e.g., Gurney, Aspects, 48) and is widespread in apparently unrelated cultures.
See 4 Macc 6:27–30; 9:7, 24; 17:21–22; cf. 1Macc 2:50; 2Macc 7:9, 37; 1QS 8.3–4; T. Mos. 9; Mek Pisha 1.105–113; b. Ber. 62b; Gen. Rab. 44:5; Lev. Rab. 20:12; Song Rab. 1:15, §2; 4:1, §2. On vicarious atonement through other humans' judgment, e.g., Sipre Deut. 333.5.2; without human bloodshed, cf., e.g., Lev 1:4; 4:20, 26, 31, 35, and passim; Mek. Bah. 7.18–22; Sipre Deut. 1.10.2; p. Hor. 2:7, §1; 3:2, §10; Sebu. 1:6, §6; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 24:17; Ecc1. Rab. 9:7, §1; without mention of any bloodshed, e.g., Prov 16:6; Sir 3:14–15; Pss. So1. 3:8–10; 1QS 9.4; b. Ber. 17a; Num. Rab. 14:10; Deut. Rab. 3:5.
E.g., Homer 27. 3.69–70, 86–94, 253–255; 7.66–91, 244–273; Apollonius of Rhodes 2.20–21; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 3.12.3–4; Virgil Aen. 10.439–509; 11.115–118,217–221; 12.723–952; Livy 1.24.1–1.25.14; 7.9.8–7.10.14; Aulus Gellius 9.13.10; also in the Hebrew Bible (1Sam 17; 2Sam 2:14–16; cf. Gordon, Civilizations, 262).
Cf., e.g., Jeremias, Theology, 292–93; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:95–97; other references in Keener, Matthew, 487, on 20:28.
E.g., with Cleanthes in 7.5.176.
Cf. the end of Life of Aesop, in Drury, Design, 29.
Theissen, Gospels, 123.
Burridge, Gospels, 146–47, 179–80. The rest of the Gospels foreshadow this climax, and this is also the case in some contemporary biographies (p. 199).
Ibid., 198, has 26 percent for Philostratus; Mons Graupius consumes 26 percent of Tacitus Agricola, and the Persian campaign 37 percent of Plutarch Agesilaus (p. 199).
Boring, Commentary, 151, contrasting the Markan passion with Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 7.14.
Mack, Myth, 249; for his arguments, see 249–68. For a critique of Crossan's approach to the Passion Narrative (depending on the late Gospel of Peter), see Evans, «Passion,» especially analogies with Justin 1 Apo1. 16.9–13 and Mark 16:9–20 (pp. 163–65).
Mack cites Jeremias (a «conservative» scholar, Myth, 254) only three times, and never Blinzler, Hengel, or other more conservative Continental scholars.
Perry, Sources, published as early as 1920; cf. Lietzmann's skepticism on some points in 1931 («Prozess»).
Dibelius, Tradition, 178–217, thinks that «the Passion story is the only piece of Gospel tradition which in early times gave events in their larger connection.»
Thus Jewish scholars with no faith commitment to the narratives мая also suggest that other gospels draw on pre-Markan passion material (e.g., Flusser, Judaism, 575–87, though he мая presuppose Lukan priority here).
E.g., Kollmann, Kreuzigung, sees John's Passion Narrative as independent from the Synoptics, though using a tradition.
Brown, Death, 53–55, 77–80.
Theissen, Gospels, 166–99. Pesch, «Jerusalem,» argues that the passion narrative was the oldest tradition in the Jerusalem church; Hengel is right, however, that Pesch is too optimistic in his ability to reconstruct sources («Problems,» 209–10).
Theissen, Gospels, 176–77.
Ibid., 179. For excavations at Magdala, see Reich, «H'rh.»
Theissen, Gospels, 180. When a narrative introduces someone foreign, it often gives the place of birth (e.g., Appian C.W. 1.14.116); lists of names from disparate places typically list the places (e.g., Apollonius of Rhodes 1.40,49,57, 77,95,105–106, 115,118,139–140, 146–147, 151–152,161, 177, 207).
Theissen, Gospels, 171, 182–83. Livy occasionally cites a name as if familiar despite lack of previous mention (e.g., 40.55.2), perhaps incompletely following a source. Dodd, Tradition, 120, thinks the question of treason relevant in Palestine only before 70 C.E., but this argument is questionable; granted, the issue fits Tiberius's time very well, but it would remain relevant after 70.
Theissen, Gospels, 186–88. Some view the fleeing young man of Mark 14:51–52 only in terms of his symbolic significance in the narrative (Crossan, «Tomb,» 147–48; Fleddermann, «Flight»; Kelber, Story, 77), but Theissen is probably right to find genuine tradition from the early Palestinian church here (Gospels, 186; cf. Dibelius, Tradition, 182–83; Stauffer, Jesus, 121).
Some of Theissen's other arguments (Gospels, 189–97) are weaker.
For Markan structuring, see, e.g., Beavis, «Tria1.»
Dewey, «Curse,» 102–3.
Theissen, Gospels, 172–74; cf. Philo Embassy 299–304.
Brown, Death, 56 (citing the way some twentieth-century evangelists acquired their style from the KJV).
Soards, «Passion Narrative.» Brown, Death, 554 also emphatically challenges some earlier redaction-critical studies on the trial narrative in Mark 14:55–64 (cf. perhaps Donahue, «Temple»), complaining that though «Mark used earlier materia1... our best methods do not give us the ability to isolate confidently that material in its exact wording, assigning preMarkan verses and half-verses from the existing, thoroughly Markan account» (emphasis his).
Evans, «Jesus,» 108; idem, «Jesus ben Ananias.»
On the opposition Jeremiah faced for his «unpatriotic» prophecies, cf., e.g., Jer 26:6–24; Josephus Ant. 10.89–90; angry crowds could also vent their rage on any they felt brought them misfortune (Josephus Life 149). A man inside Tyre likewise reportedly prophesied its judgment and faced the charge of being a traitor (Diodorus Siculus 17.41.7–8, which мая be legendary or repeat Alexander's propaganda).
Cf. Sanders, Figure, 267. A number of followers would be deemed necessary to provide a substantial threat (Xenophon Mem. 1.2.10).
Smith, «Problem,» 263–65.
Neyrey, «Shame of Cross,» 113–14; Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 264. This is not to say that the shame of the cross was eliminated for observers in the story world; Paul мая have behaved honorably in Philippi, but he still felt he had been publicly humiliated there (1 Thess 2:2; see comment in Bruce, Thessalonians, 25); the term implies no mild insult (e.g., Euripides Tro. 69; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 10.35.3; P.Ha1. 1.210–213).
It is perhaps noteworthy that Porphyry (or whoever wrote Apocrit. 3.1–6) complained that lesus' failure to reveal himself during the passion contradicts his divinity (the opposite of the early Christian perspective).
On the Sadducees, see esp. Meier, Marginal Jew, 3:389–411 (most relevantly here, 393–99). Some, however, believe Sadducean dominance of the priestly aristocracy is generally overstated (e.g., Porton, «Sadducees,» 1052).
1 have taken these comments largely from Keener, Matthew, 613–16; cf. also comments in Basser, «Priests»; Reid, «Sacrifice,» 1048–49.
Cf. Lewis, Life, 47; Reicke, Era, 147.
E.g., 1QM 2:1; losephus War 2.243, 316, 320, 342; 410–411; 4.151, 315; Life 197; Mark 2:26; Acts 4:6; Stern, «Aspects,» 601, 603; Sanders, Figure, 327–32; Jeremias, Sayings, 51.
E.g., m. Hor. 3:1; p. Sanh. 2:1, §2; Acts 23:5–6.
See Smallwood, «Priests.»
Sanders, Figure, 324; see, e.g., Josephus Ant. 20.206–207. For Josephus's negative view of the Sadducees, see Baumbach, «Sadducees»; of some high priests (but not their office), Thoma, «Priesthood» (attributing it to Josephus's pro-Hasmonean tendencies).
Perhaps in part because I find myself skeptical that religion regularly changes human nature, especially when it is coupled with power, I am less sympathetic to their piety than is Sanders, Figure, 336. They probably acted in their own self-interest, as well as for the peace, in relations with the Romans (Horsley, «High Priests»). The charges мая be stylized, sectarian polemic, as Sanders suggests (and against the priesthood in general he мая be right [Judaism, 182–89]), but one should not dismiss too readily the reasons for the polemic (cf. 1QpHab. 9.4–5; Γ. Levi 14:1; 2 Bar. 10:18; t. Menah. 13.21, in Avigad, Jerusalem, 130; Avigad, «Burnt House,» 71; Hengel, Property, 23); corrupt priesthoods were common targets of polemic in the ancient Near East through the first century (Crocker, «Priests»; cf. Plutarch Lysander 26.1–3; Libanius Declamation 44.43). Cf., e.g., the servants of the later Ananias who beat poorer priests to seize their tithes (Josephus Ant. 20.181, 206).
Overman, Community, 329.
Key leaders might gather quickly when summoned (cf. Valerius Maximus 2.2.6 on old Rome).
We have borrowed these comments largely from Keener, Matthew, 614–16.
«Sanhedrin» is a broad rather than restrictive term, applicable also in Greek texts to an informal assembly of advisors (Diodorus Siculus 13.111.1) or frequently to Romés «senate» (e.g., Diodorus Siculus 40.1.1; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 5.70.5; 6.30.2; 6.81.1; 6.85.2; 8.69.2; 9.32.5; 10.2.6; 12.1.14; 12.6.2 ; in these texts it appears interchangeably with βουλή, a more common term, e.g., Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 5.71.1; 6.1.1; 6.21.1; 6.81.4). Usage was broad; a βουλή traditionally could constitute a local council (Aristophanes Knights 475, 653) but also a leader's war council (Homer I1. 2.84).
Officials could also assemble their own administrative «councils» from among their friends (e.g., Josephus Life 368).
Jeffers, World, 186.
Overman, Community, 372–73, 385, regards the Sanhédrin as a Roman political institution, although conceding that «some of the local Jewish elite мая have been involved.» Yet the dominance of the Jewish elite is clear; in cities like Jerusalem, Rome ruled through municipal aristocracies– here, pro-Roman Jewish aristocrats.
M. Sank 1:6; cf. later Tg. Neof. 1 on Exod 15:27. Cf. also Josephus's Galilean council of 70 in War 2.570 and Life 79, and that of the Zealots in War 4.336, both undoubtedly following the standard contemporary model; the models probably ultimately derive from Mosaic tradition (Exod 24:9; Num 11:16,24; cf. Ezek 8:11). Josephus also assumed a council of seven judges as a lower court in every city (War 2.571; Ant. 4.214). An odd number to break a tie made sense; as in Roman law (Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.64.6), a tie vote would yield acquitta1.
Brown, Death, 348–49, doubts that an exact list of seventy-one members existed in the first century, suggesting that it merely included elders from distinguished families alongside chief priests, representatives of whom were expected to appear.
Cf. Ferguson, Backgrounds, 453.
T. Seqa1. 3:27; b. Yoma 25a; Gen. Rab. 70:8; Num. Rab. 19:26; Ecc1. Rab. 1:1, §1. A location near the temple is not surprising; at times other peoples' leaders could use temples (the senate in Cicero Fam. 8.4.4).
For bibliography on the Sanhedrin, see Saffai, «Self-Government,» 418 (the section on the Sanhédrin is pp. 379–400). Josephus generally prefers the term συνέδριον, «sanhedrin,» «assembly,» in the Jewish Antiquities, and βουλή, «council,» in the Jewish War. The rabbis believed that God supported the decrees of the rabbinic Beth din hagadol, great assembly (Exod. Rab. 15:20), on which Israel rightly depended (Song Rab. 7:3, §1; Lam. Rab. 2:4, §8).
Cohen, Maccabees, 156.
E.g., b. Ber. 3b; Gen. Rab. 74:15; Exod. Rab. 1:13; Pesiq. Rab. 11:3. Some of the «scribes» мая have been Pharisees, but Pharisees were not dominant in the Sanhedrin (Brown, Death, 350–52), despite Josephus's possible favoritism toward them (Josephus Ant. 18.15, 17; cf. Life 1, 12 and Ant. passim; Brown, Death, 353–56).
See Sanders, Figure, 482–83; cf. Josephus Ant. 15.173; 20.216–218.
Cf. Sanders, Figure, 484–87; Josephus War 2.331,336; Ant. 17.160,164; 20.216–217; probably the municipal aristocracy in Ant. 14.91, 163, 167, 180; Life 62.
Cf. Kennard, «Assembly.»
See Blinzler, Trial, 15,140; Brown, Death, 343–48.
Brown, Death, 342–43. Levine, Hellenism, 88–90, argues that the Jerusalem Sanhedrin was probably simply an ad hoc group in some texts.
Yamauchi, Stones, 106. Stauffer, Jesus, 118, overestimates their sense of threat at this point when he proposes that the disciples мая have gone by different roads to prevent notice (Luke 22:39).
See, e.g., Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 127.
Brown, John, 2:806. Many rivers and wadis in the East fill or overflow during the rainy winter or (sometimes) when winter snows melt in spring (Homer 17. 5.87–88; 13.137; Od. 19.205–207; Apollonius of Rhodes 1.9; Appian R.H. 12.11.76; Livy 44.8.6–7; Herodian 3.3.7; 8.4.2–3; Arrian Alex. 7.21.2).
E.g., Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:565.
Harrison, «Garden,» 400.
See Manns, «Symbolisme»; cf. Suggit, «Gardener,» and Wyatt, «Gardener» (on 20:15).
Lane, Mark, 515. If the press originally belonged to an individual estate rather than a local village, the estate must have been sizeable (cf. Lewis, Life, 127). On the question of the Gethsemane tradition's historicity, see Green, «Gethsemane,» 268.
Cohn, Trial, 83, though citing a rabbinic tradition that «high priests were wont to engage in undercover activity.»
Pliny Ep. 10.96–97; cf. further the comment on 11:47–53.
Cf, e.g., Appian C.W. 4.4.18 on the betrayal of Annalis.
Passover was a night «watch» (שמר; προφυλακή) for the Lord (Exod 12:42); cf. t. Ketub. 5:5; Lane, Mark, 509; Keener, Matthew, 637.
Stauffer, Jesus, 120, thinks that clubs (Mark 14:43), in contrast to weapons that some would consider ornamental (m. Šabb. 6:4), violated the Sabbath. He counts this a reason against the Synoptic dating of the Last Supper, but if correct, his observation мая simply imply an early Christian charge of priestly impiety or the priests' exploitation of exemption for defensive warfare in the case of what might appear a dangerous police action.
MacGregor, John, 324; Brown, John, 2:809. Moonlight could help night vision, of course (Virgil Ken. 7.9; Ovid Fasti 2.697; Silius Italicus 15.616; Polybius 7.16.3; 9.15.12; cf. Plutarch Alc. 20.5; Plutarch's contention that tracks are harder to follow at full moon seems less persuasive, Nat. Q. 24, Mor. 917F).
Ellis, Genius, 248; cf. Luke 22:53.
Stambaugh and Balch, Environment, 34. Many scholars see the temple police instead of Romans here (e.g., Ridderbos, John, 575).
E.g., Rensberger, Faith, 90; ÓDay, «John,» 801–2; Kaufman, «Anti-Semitism.»
E.g., Cohn, Trial, 78.
E.g., Anderson, Mark, 327; Stauffer, Jesus, 119.
E.g., Winter, Trial, 44; Bruce, «Trial,» 9.
See further Catchpole, Trial, 149; Blinzler, Trial, 64–65; Bammel, «Trial,"439–40; cf. Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 126–27.
Catchpole, Trial, 149, cites here Jdt 14:11; 2 Mace 8:23; 12:20,22; Josephus Ant. 17.215.
In the LXX, twenty to thirty times (e.g., Exod 18:21, 25; Num 1:16; 31:14, 48–54; Deut 1:15; Josh 22:14,21; 1 Chr 13:1; 15:25). Catchpole, Trial, 149, cites here 1Macc 3:55; Josephus War 2.578; Ant. 17.215; Mark 6:21. Cf. also Bammel, «Trial,» 439–40. Not only Greek terminology but Western culture (including Roman artwork) was widespread in Herodian Judea (see Ovadiah, «Pavements»).
See, e.g., Rensberger, Faith, 102 n. 15.
Even when Josephus refers to a Roman σπείρα on the temple roof–the sense of which ought to be obvious–he must limit it with Ρωμαϊκή (War 2.224; 5.244; Catchpole, Trial, 149).
Cohn, Trial, 75 doubts that any but people of the «lower strata» would have joined this mission; but we suspect that the temple police would have followed the orders of the sagan, a member of the priestly aristocracy.
Cf., e.g., Hunter, John, 166; Hurtado, Mark, 233.
Pace, e.g., Bernard, John, 2:584.
The governor normally arrived with extra troops to control the Passover crowds if necessary (cf. Josephus War 2.224–226; Ant. 20.109–110); the crowds grew most restless at the pilgrimage festivals (War 1.88; cf. War 2.42, 254–256). That locals often invited governors to their festivals (Menander Rhetor 2.14,424.3–430.8) seems less relevant.
Blinzler, Trial, 64–65.
On a putative Jerusalem origin for the passion narrative, see comments above.
Catchpole, Trial, 149–50.
The numbers did vary; cf. 505 troops in BGU 696.11–15 (156 C.E.), later reinforced.
Brown, Death, 248.
Contrast Stauffer, Jesus, 119, who believes that the Jewish leaders had denounced Jesus to the Romans as commanding a large and dangerous following,
Bruce, «Trial,» 8–9.
Brown, Death, 248.
Cf. ibid., 250. Cullmann, State, 43–44, assigns legal responsibility to the Romans but moral responsibility (perhaps too much) to the Jerusalem authorities.
Brown, Death, 250–51.
Pace Winter, Trial, 45, who thus proposes that the name here is an interpolation.
Smith, John (1999), 330, suggests that this omission is to preserve the Johannine portrait of Jesus' dignity: the betrayer «does not touch–much less kiss–him.» On the significance of the kiss in heightening the betrayal's heinousness, see Keener, Matthew, 641–42; cf. Valerius Maximus 7.8.9.
Perhaps Jesus' divine knowledge in 18contrasts with Judas's limited knowledge in 18:2, but the proximity of terms мая be coincidental; it is difficult to see how else John would have explained Judas's knowledge of the site. Neyrey, «Shame of Cross,» 119, emphasizes that Jesus in 18takes the role of questioner, «the challenging or commanding position.» Their falling also signals Jesus' vindication (ibid.; cf. Rev 3:9).
Ancients regarded loyalty to friends as highly praiseworthy (e.g., Rhet. Alex. 36,1442a.11–12; see further comment on John 15:13–15), as also the preference to suffer in the stead of those one loved (e.g., Valerius Maximus 2.4.5; Rom 9:3).
E.g., Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 3.40.3; 5.43.2. This would exclude the sword wielder (18:10).
With most commentators, e.g., Lightfoot, Gospel, 135; Haenchen, John, 2:165; Longenecker. Wine, 121. Bauckham, God Crucified, 55, notes that John has seven absolute «I am» statements, with the seventh repeated twice more (18:5–8), matching the seven MT uses of ani hu plus two more emphatic forms (Isa 43:25; 51:12). But even if someone might have counted the uses in Isaianic material (six), would they have really counted through the entire MT (hence the Deuteronomy reference) without a modern concordance?
For early U.S. history, see, e.g., Synan, Tradition, 12–14; Noll, History, 167; for extreme anxiety-induced motor symptoms, see, e.g., Goldenson, Behavior, 262.
Sanders, John, 385.
Artapanus in Eusebius Praep. ev. 9.27.24–26 (OTP 2:901). Talbert, John, 233, adds later traditions in which priests fell on their faces when hearing the divine name (b. Qidd. 71a; Ecc1. Rab. 3:11. §3) and Egyptians fell forward when they heard Simeon, whom they were to arrest (Gen. Rab. 91:6).
E.g., Meeks, Prophet-King, 289. Biblical tradition applied such language to any prophetic words (e.g., 1 Kgs 8:15,20,24; Dan 4:33), but those extant in the first century were read as part of Scripture.
One can thus argue for historical verity on the basis of consistency with other tradition here, but the case is not helpful without an eyewitness tradition that could clarify the earlier protective anonymity; where information was lacking, historians sometimes filled in what seemed historically plausible, as they practiced writing «speeches-in-character.»
On the latter point, see Theissen, Gospels, 184–89 (who doubts John's identification with Peter).
Droge, «Peter,» argues that the identification fits John's negative characterization of Peter throughout the Gospe1.
Cf, e.g., Suggit, «Nicodemus,"91.
Neyrey, «Shame of Cross,» 120, argues that a disciplés militant defense of a teacher's honor (or life!) would normally be honorable in Mediterranean antiquity; but Jesus says nonresistance is honorable because he does the Father's wil1.
Bruce, «Trial,» 19 n. 10, with Sanders, Tendencies, 10, 24–25. Names often were added (e.g., Plutarch Alex. 20.4–5), but writers could also draw on more than one tradition.
Bruce, «Trial,» 10, against Guilding, Worship, 165–66 (who attributes it to Zech 11:6).
E.g., Josephus Ant. 13.132; 14.370–375; War 1.276 (Malichus); Eunapius Lives 456 (a Syrian whose name means «king»). Some thus suggest that Malchus was a Nabatean Arab or a Syrian (Lane, Mark, 526), though this surmise goes beyond the evidence.
E.g., Malichus in Josephus Ant. 14.84,273; War 1.162, 223–235.
Daube, «Notes,» 59–60 (citing t. Parah 3:8). Cf. Derrett, «Sword,» whose allegorizing here is mostly uncontrolled.
Cf., e.g., the managerial roles of some household servants (Epictetus Diatr. 3.22.3; Chariton 1.12.8; 2.2.1; 1Cor 4:1); servants of prominent individuals often wielded more social influence than free persons of some rank, so that some even married into slavery to improve their station (cf. comment on 1:27).
Cf. Josephus Ant. 20.210; for more on high priests' servants (cf. also 18:18, 26), see data in Fiensy, «Composition,» 224.
Diogenes Laertius 9.5.26.
Cf., e.g., Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 126.
It had become proverbial; e.g., Seneca Dia1. 1.3.12; Maximus of Tyre Or. 25.7.
Ps 11:6; 60:3; 75:8; Isa 29:9–10; 51:17, 21–23; 63:6; Jer 25:15–29; Lam 4:21; Zech 12:2; cf. 4Q176 frg. 6, 7, line 2 (quoting Isa 51:22–23); Pss. So1. 8:14–15; Rev 14:10; in the ancient Near East, Albright and Mann, Matthew, 327. For a fuller treatment of the «cup,» see Keener, Matthew, 637–38, cf. 486.
Brown, Death, 86. Likewise, only John and Luke note that it was the servant's right ear (18:10; Luke 22:50).
Blinzler, Trial, 9. See, e.g., Zeitlin, «Trial»; Flusser, Judaism, 588–92.
For a full summary of views until the past quarter century, see Blinzler, Trial, 3–21; Rabello, «Conditions,» 735–36 n. 295; and esp. Catchpole, Tria1.
Probably, e.g., Bammel, «Trial,» 445.
Betz, «Trial,» citing 11QT 64:6–13.
Most Jewish texts portray it as a Roman method of execution (Overman, Community, 380).
Overman, Community, 381.
Cf. Smith, Magician, 16.
E.g., Vermes, Religion, ix-x.
Winter, Trial, 30.
So also Brown, Death, 250, though basing this partly on the involvement of Roman troops in the arrest; see comment above on 18:3.
See Townsend, «Jews,» 77.
E.g., Kaufman, Disciple, 12.
E.g., Winter, Trial; idem, «Trial»; Cohn, Trial, 98; Zeitlin, «Tria1.»
Goppelt, Jesus, Paul, and Judaism, 84ff.; Sherwin-White, Society, 34ff.; cf. Sherwin-White, «Trial»; Catchpole, Trial, 271; Blinzler, Trial, 117–21; Corley, «Tria1.»
Stauffer, Jesus, 225.
So ibid., 225.
E.g., Grant, «Review»; Cohn, Trial, 98, 105.
For surveys of views concerning the legality of Jesus' trial, see, e.g., Brown, Death, 330–31.
Abrahams, Studies, 2:129.
Brown, Death, 357–63; Blinzler, Trial, 138–43.
Cf. Anderson, Mark, 326; pace Cohn, Trial, 105.
Cf. Klausner, Jesus, 337.
Those with power (Roman governors, Herod, Agrippa I) usually executed whom they chose (Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 317); others with more limited power undoubtedly exercised what they could.
Sanders, Judaism, 487.
See, e.g., Cullmann, State, 42,46; Argyle, Matthew, 206; Reicke, Era, 146; Hagner, Matthew, 797.
See Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 318; also, e.g., Meier, Matthew, 330.
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 317.
Catchpole, Trial, 271.
See Michaels, «Tria1.»
Stauffer, Jesus, 122, thinks the cognomen Caiaphas betrays skill as an inquisitor; but would he not have born this cognomen before his interrogatory activity?
For the sort of palatial homes on the eastern slope of upper-city Jerusalem owned by many members of the priestly aristocracy, see Rupprecht, «House.»
Sanders, Figure, 67. Romans regarded it a crime to try and condemn one in a private rather than a public setting, especially the judgés home rather than his tribunal (Cicero Verr. 184.108.40.206; Seneca Controv. 9.2.4).
Cf. Hooker, Message, 86; Rhoads and Michie, Mark, 120–21; Keener, «Mistria1.» Brown, Death, 433 observes that «ancient literary accounts of famous trials» usually include polemic or bias. Trial scenes can also provide suspense in a plot, e.g., in Chariton, toward the beginning and later before the king of Persia.
Cf. Pompey's interpretation of Roman law in Aulus Gellius 14.7.8.
Cf. m. Sanh. 4:1; Besah 5:2; t. Besah 4:4; Philo Migration 91. Blinzler, Trial, 143–44, thinks rules against meeting on the eve of a holy day are later. Some Roman laws opposed certain kinds of trials on holidays (Lex irnitana tablet 10 A, ch. 92; Metzger, Civil Trial, 16–17) and мая have required advance notice as well (Lex irnitana tablet 10 A, ch. 90; though Metzger, Civil Trial, 60, thinks this applies to postponements).
A festival was also the one sort of occasion when one could gather more of the Sanhedrin if members came from outside Jerusalem (Reicke, Era, 145); but as we argued above, the Sanhedrin was largely drawn from the municipal aristocracy; and the point is moot, in any case, in the Fourth Gospel's account.
Commentators (e.g., Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 98; Lane, Mark, 529–30; Stauffer, Jesus, 209) cite m. Sanh. 11:4; t. Sanh. 11:7. This differs from the Roman practice (Cicero Cae1. 1.1; Seneca Controv. 5.4; Suetonius Tib. 61; cf. Acts 12:3–4).
Hill, Prophecy, 52.
Cf. m. Mak. 1:6; the Sadducees did prefer stricter punishments (Josephus Ant. 20.199). Later rabbis preferred longer deliberation in capital cases (cf., e.g., Tg. Neof. 1 on Lev 24:12; Num 9:8; 15:34; 27:5; Tg. Ps.-J. on Lev 24:12; Num 9:8; 15:34; 27:5).
Cohn, Trial, 98, cites b. cAbod. Zar. 8b; Sanh. 41b; Sabb. 15a.
See Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 86–87; Brown, Death, 350.
Josephus Ant. 4.219; 11QT 61.7–11; m. Mak. 1:7; t. Sanh. 6:6; Sipre Deut. 190.5.1.
Ferguson, Backgrounds, 51; cf. the penalty in Seneca Controv. 5.4, if genuine. So also reportedly Egyptian custom (Diodorus Siculus 1.77.2). Diodorus Siculus 12.12.2 thus considers particularly merciful a law that merely shames false witnesses so much that they flee a city.
E.g., Sus48–62; m. ^Abot 1:9; Sanh. 5:1–4; t. Sanh. 6:3,6; Sipre Deut. 93.2.1; 149.1.1–2; 189.1.3.
Brown, Death, 458; Stanton, Gospel Truth, 180–83. Greek rhetoric often preferred arguments from probability and internal consistency (which were frequent, e.g., Demosthenes On the Embassy 120; Against Pantaenetus 23; Aristotle Rhet. 1.15.17,1376a; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 3.35.5–6; 11.34.1–6; Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.219–220, 267, 286; 2.8–27, 82, 148; Life 342, 350; Acts 26:8) to witnesses (see Kennedy, Classical Rhetoric, 20–21), but the effective testimony of witnesses was nevertheless adequate to convict (Dionysius of Halicarnassus -R.A. 8.78.3). Any proofs were, however, better than mere assertions (Josephus Ant. 17.131).
E.g., Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 299.
Those of rank, such as Joseph, would often have had friends aware of plots even if they themselves were not present (cf., e.g., Cornelius Nepos 4 [Pausanias], 5.1; 14 [Datâmes], 5.3). Even the Roman senatés inner secrets often leaked out, in contrast to the earliest times (Valerius Maximus 2.2.1a).
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 286. Rabbinic attestation of a religious trial of Jesus (Stauffer, Jesus, 225; cf. Herford, Christianity, 78–83) is late and probably derivative, and hence we do not admit it as independent evidence; but a Jewish hearing is essentia1. Even Winter, who emphasizes an arrest and agenda set by Romans (Trial, 30, 147), recognizes that Pilate would have expected the high priest's aides to prepare the case (p. 29).
Winter, Trial, 33.
losephus Ant. 18.95.
Josephus Ant. 20.198; on his power, see further Reicke, Era, 142–43.
E.g., 1QM 2:1; Josephus War 2.243, 316, 320, 342; 410–411; 4.151, 315; Life 197; Mark 2:26; 11:27; 14:1; John 7:32; Acts 4:23; 5:24; 9:14, 21.
See Blinzler, Trial, 88–89; Dodd, Tradition, 93–94.
Matt 26:3, 57 and Luke 3mention Caiaphas; Luke 3briefly mentions Annas; neither name appears in Mark. John мая mention both because the Synoptics attest two inquiries (Barrett, John, 529), but this is less probable given John's independence on the inquiries themselves.
losephus Ant. 18.26. Ananus is a variant Greek rendering of Annas; one мая survey the frequent names, both masculine and feminine, cognate to Annas in antiquity (e.g., CIJ1:62, §88; 1:228, §290; 1:244, §310; 1:314–15, §411; 2:127, §907; 2:155, §967; 2:186, §§1013, 1014; 2:195, §1066; CPJ 1:165–66, §24; Acts 9:10; see more fully CPJ 3:169).
losephus Ant. 18.34.
Ellis, Genius, 255.
The saying probably reflects mistrust for human fairness (cf. Vermes, Religion, 159).
Blinzler, Trial, 136.
So, e.g., Collins, Written, 42.
Wiles, Gospel, 9, citing Theodore of Mopsuestia 233.23; John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 83.2; Cyril of Alexandria 3.29.26–27 on John 18:15. Interestingly, Chrysostom (2.1) nevertheless thought that John must have been very poor or his father would not have allowed him to leave fishing to follow Jesus (Wiles, Gospel, 10). Fishermen could make more income if they sold directly to the rich rather than through middlemen (Alciphron Fishermen 9 [Aegialeus to Struthion], 1.9).
Ridderbos, John, 581.
Dodd, Tradition, 86–87. Dodd (p. 88) thus suggests that the Fourth Gospel provides information from a Judean disciplés source comparatively neglected by the Synoptics (though they also, he believes, show some Judean supporters of Jesus).
For this disciplés favorable comparison with Peter here, see also Haenchen, John, 2:168; see comment on 13:23–24.
Vicent Cernuda, «Desvaido,» suggests Lazarus, which could be plausible if 12is fictitious, but again, why not name him this late if John knows his identity?
See also Charlesworth, Disciple, 336–59, but his proposal that the disciple was Judas (pp. 342–59) seems unlikely though Judas was probably from Judea and handled Jesus' money (343). John would probably name Judas if he implied him, though it is possible (as ibid., 359) that Judas played this role in John's tradition but John wished not to name him.
E.g., Ovid Amores 1.6.1–2; Plutarch Cicero 15.1; 36.3; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 19.11; implied in Seneca Controv. 10.4.22. Householders who had porters had no reason to answer the door themselves (Theophrastus Char. 4.9 considers it ignorant behavior); a household member sneaking to answer the door might be suspected of mischief (Tibullus 1.2.7, 15–24, 41, 55–56). Undoubtedly porters screened unwelcome guests, provided safety, and moved the sometimes heavy doors.
E.g., Aelius Aristides Defense of Oratory 380, §127; Acts 12:13.
Cicero Phi1. 2.31.77.
E.g., Ovid Fasti 1.138, where this summarizes their job.
Plutarch Cicero 28.2.
Malina and Rohrbaugh, Commentary, 160–61.
For the contrast between Jesus and Peter in the Synoptic account, cf. Theissen, Gospels, 196, though his reconstruction of the Sitz im Leben is dubious here. Ancient readers could grasp such a contrast; leaders who charged into battle sometimes thereby shamed their retreating troops into joining them (e.g., Appian R.H. 10.4.20). For a contrast between Peter's denial and the beloved disciplés testimony in the Gospel, see Beck, Paradigm, 141 (though cf. also 6:68–69).
E.g., 'Abot R. Nat. 27A (R. Eleazar ben Shammua).
E.g., Terence Phormio 392–394.
Cf. Daube, «Limitations»: Peter's denials in Mark begin with evasion, which later rabbis considered acceptable, but escalated into open, direct renunciation although sanctifying the divine name held precedence over protecting onés life.
Presumably these servants and temple police, involved in Jesus' arrest, had not yet been dismissed because they would still need to escort Jesus elsewhere (18:24, 28).
Evans, «Warming,» noting parallel structure in, e.g., Greek romances.
Interrogation about onés disciples fits the procedure in Deut 13 as later understood by the rabbis (b. Sanh. 43b, bar., in Dodd, Tradition, 95); for the charge of Jesus as a «seducer» in view of Deut 13 and 17, see, e.g., Hill, «Sanhédrin»; Schneider, «Charge,» 414.
Gaius Inst. 4.183; P.Ha1. 1.124–127; Theissen, Setting, 97; ancient Mesopotamian legal collections such as Hammurabi, Lipit-Ishtar, and Eshnunna. Israelite and, for the most part, rabbinic law were exceptional in this regard (cf. t. Sanh. 1:8; 'Abot R. Nat. 20, §43; 33, §73B), but Jerusalem's aristocracy might interpret laws as needed for the public interest (cf. Josephus Life 189–195; t. B. Qam. 9:12; Sanh. 1:7).
Lamented, e.g., in Petronius Sat. 14.
For requisitioning, see, e.g., Dig. 220.127.116.11; 18.104.22.168–3; 50.5.11; Cod. theod. 8 passim, in Rapske, «Travel,» 14; Sallust Jug. 75.4; for abuse of this right, see, e.g., Livy 43.7.11; 43.8.1–10; Apuleius Metam. 9.39; Herodian 2.3.4; 2.5.1; P.Lond. 3.1171, IGLS 5.1998 (= SEG 17.755), in Sherk, Empire, 89,136; P.S.I. 446; Jones, History, 197; p. Hag. 2:1, §8; cf. P.Ha1. 1.166–185.
E.g., Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 17.
The rules мая be Pharisaic and later, but we should note at least in passing the later procedure that would prevent a high priest from biasing his social inferiors by giving his view first (m. Sanh. 4:2; Blinzler, Trial, 135). Annas and Caiaphas here just seek a conviction.
Barrett, John, 528; Ellis, Genius, 257.
Thom, «loodse.» One might recount onés irreproachable life instead of stooping so low as to answer critics' charges (Appian R.H. 11.7.40–41).
E.g., Gaius Inst. 4.183; Theissen, Setting, 97.
Cf. the lack of due process in Apuleius Metam. 9.42.
With Whitacre, John, 433.
For somewhat evasive answers, cf. also Luke 22:67–68. Jesus talks more in John than in Mark, but cf. the variant Socratic tradition in which Socrates remained silent instead of answering his accusers (Maximus of Tyre Or. 3.4, 7; cf. Xenophon Mem. 4.8.4).
Diogenes Laertius 3.63; 8.1.15; Aulus Gellius 13.5.5–12; even some rhetorical teachings were inappropriate for the general public or novices (Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lit. Comp. 25). Unwritten teachings provided «insiders» a superior status (see Botha, «Voice»).
E.g., lQpHab 7.4–5, 13–14; 1QH 2.13–14; 9:23–24; 11:9–10, 16–17; 12:11–13; 1QS 8.1–2, 12; 9:13,17–19; cf. 1QS 5.11–12; 11.3–5; 1QM 3:9; 17.9; 4 Ezra 14:45–47.
E.g., b. Pesah. 119a; Pesiq. Rab. 22:2; especially regarding the throne-chariot (t. Hag. 2:1; b. Hag. 13a, bar; 14b, bar; Sabb. 80b; p. Hag. 2:1, §§3–4; cf. 4Qsl40) and creation mysticism (m. Hag. 2:1; t. Hag. 2:1, 7; ^AbotR. Nat. 39A; b. Hag. 15a, bar.; p. Hag. 2:1, §15; Gen. Rab. 1:5, 10; 2:4; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 21:5; 2 En. 24:3).
Sandmel, Judaism, 476 n. 48, suggests a polemic against Gnosticism here, but this is improbable; see our introduction, pp. 168–69. More persuasive would be the possibility of apologetic against the charges of political subversion, as in Acts 26(see Malherbe, «Corner,» 203).
See our introduction; in other periods Romans also expressed concern over associations (e.g., Livy 39.15.11; Dig. 47.22.1; Judge, Pattern, 47–48), and even some earlier Greeks mistrusted the morality of some cult associations (Foucart, Associations religieuses, 153–77). Stauffer, Jesus, 122, reads distrust of secret associations into the high priest's interrogation.
E.g., Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 8.78.3; Livy 3.36.2; see comment on 3:2.
Sipre Deut. 87.2.2.
Cf. the alleged danger of contamination from even excess exposure to minuth a few decades after John (see, e.g., Herford, Christianity, 137–45,388; Moore, Judaism, 2:250; Dalman, Jesus, 36–37).
«Hour» and «darkness» in Luke 22would have fit John's usage but perhaps not his Christology (with Jesus controlling the passion). In some cases, «Why did you not take me then?» could suggest a rhetorical appeal to a statute of limitations (Hermogenes Issues 44.10–12) but here refers simply to their secretive behavior.
See also Demosthenes Against Meidias 1,80; Euripides Herac1. 219; Plato Apo1. 32E; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.43.2; Sallust Speech of Gaius Cotta 4; Josephus Life 361; Acts 26:4–5,26.
Plato Apo1. 33, in MacGregor, John, 331. Secretive action is hostile (Philodemus frg. 41.2–3).
E.g., Michaels, John, 296–97.
Brown, Death, 585; for unofficial blows for reviling leaders in another ancient Mediterranean tradition, cf. Homer Il. 2.265; on honor accruing to even a disobedient priest, e.g., Acts 23:5; p. Sanh. 2:1, §2. On the requisite formality with social superiors, see, e.g., Malina, Windows, 37–38.
Even those in authority who struck soldiers for discipline (Xenophon Anab. 5.8.12–13) might afterwards need to justify it (5.8.18). One might interpret «giving» a blow (also 19:3) as a worldly parody of the «giving» motif in John (cf. comment on 3:16), though here it мая be simply idiomatic (cf. Gen. Rab. 78:11). For ράπισμα, see Isa 50LXX.
Deut 25:2–3; Josephus Ant. 4.238,248; m. Hu1. 5:2; Ki1. 8:3; Mak. passim, e.g., 1:1–3; 3:3–5, 10–11; Naz. 4:3; Pesah. 7:11; Tern. 1:1; Sipra Qed. pq. 22.214.171.124; Sipre Deut. 286.4.1; 5.1; b. B. Mesica 115b; Ker. 15a; Ketub. 33b; Pesah. 24ab; p. Besah 5:2, §11; Naz. 4:3, §1; Ter. 7:1; Yoma 77a; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 4:3.
Cf. Brown, John, 2:827; Morris, John, 757 (citing the assault by the attendant in b. Sebu. 30b).
Brown, Death, 877.
Brown, John, 2:827.
Diogenes the Cynic, once accosted, allegedly complained that he forgot to don his helmet that morning (Diogenes Laertius 6.2.41–42). Jesus' answer with dignity here contravenes an inappropriately literalist reading of Matt 5(Vermes, Religion, 36; cf. idem, Jesus and Judaism, 53).
Stauffer, Jesus, 122, thinks 18:22–23 portrays Jesus as skilled in Jewish legal argument.
Blinzler, Trial, 135, suggests that proper public trials required an advocate, which Jesus appears to have lacked; but he also concedes (pp. 142–43) that the Mishnaic rules are late.
Cf. Leaney, «Paraclete,» 38.
Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.191, citing Hecateus of Abdera; 2.218–219,233–235. They also would die rather than disobey their laws (1.212) and wanted to kill those they thought brought harm to the nation (Josephus Life 149).
The testimony of those of higher status normally carried more weight (cf. comment on 18:19–22); in most cities, judges were chosen from among the well-to-do and respectable (MacMullen, Relations, 117).
Ridderbos, John, 584–85.
Petronius Sat. 74, mocking Trimalchiós superstition. Peter and the disciples were not above superstition (Mark 6:49), but that is not likely the point here.
E.g., Apuleius Metam. 2.26; see comment on 13:38. Some (Hunter, John, 169) think the crowing refers to the «rooster» trumpeting, the gallicinium, from the Antonia at ca. 3 a.m.; for various views, see Brown, John, 2:828.
Rensberger, Faith, 93–94.
Boismard, Prologue, 79. Ellis, Genius, 258, adds location to this arrangement: (a) request for and granting executing, outside (18:28–32; 19:12–16a); (b) Pilate questions Jesus about his kingship and power, inside (18:33–38a; 19:9–11); (c) Pilate finds no crime in him, outside (18:38b-40; 19:4–8); and (d) Jesus is scourged and mocked as «King of Jews,» inside (19:1–3; he suggests, pp. 260–61, that John moves the scourging from the end [Mark 15:15] to the middle of the trial). Others also note the alternation (Brown, John, 859; Whitacre, John, 435); cf. also Neyrey, «Shame of Cross,» 122 («outside» representing a public honor contest), though he denies that any of the scenes are private (soldiers were present).
E.g., Winter, Trial, 7.
Brown, John, 2:844.
E.g., Horace Set 1.1.9–10; Ep. 2.1.103–105; Martial Epigr. 3.36.1–3; see further Friedländer, Life, 1:86–93; Clarke, «Italy,» 475; receiving guest-clients was important to civic-minded nobles (e.g., Plutarch Cicero 8.3–4). Senators also could assemble at daybreak (Cicero Fam. 1.2.4; Plutarch Cicero 15.3; 19.1); even schools started then (Watson, «Education,» 311–12).
Carcopino, Life, 152.
Plutarch R.Q. 84, Mor. 284D. Friedländer, Life, 1:207, ends the business day in the afternoon «at the principal mea1.» Isaeus reportedly prepared his orations from dawn till noon (Philostratus Vit. soph. 1.20.514).
Carcopino, Life, 151; see esp. Seneca Ep. Luci1. 122.1–4.
Jewish schools also started early (Safrai, «Education,» 954); one offered morning prayers before work at sunrise (m. Ber. 1:2).
E.g., Cicero Verr. 126.96.36.199 (despite the exceptional circumstances–allowing one to come only at daybreak мая reflect arrogance, as it does in Theophrastus Char. 24.7); Plutarch Cicero 36.3.
Seneca Nat. 4A.pref.1.
Lewis, Life, 190.
Winter, Trial, 29.
E.g., Yamauchi, Stones, 106; cf. Josephus War 2.328–331. On the Antonia, see, e.g., Wight-man, "Baris"
E.g., Brown, Death, 705–10; Strachan, Gospel, 212; Blinzler, Trial, 173–76; Reicke, Era, 140; Benoit, Jesus, 1:167–88; idem, «Reconstitution»; Gundry, Matthew, 552; Carson, «Matthew,» 567; Schürer, History, 181; Lane, Mark, 548; Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 140.
Josephus War 1.401.
On this palace, with much archaeological commentary, see Josephus War 5.176–183; Cornfeld, Josephus, 340–43 (including comment on adjoining towers, Josephus War 5.156–175).
Pilate in Philo Embassy 299; Florus in Josephus War 2.301 (έν τοις βασιλείοις), 328.
Blinzler, Trial, 173.
Burrell, Gleason, and Netzer, «Palace.»
M. 'Oha1. 18(the custom is known by at least the time of R. Eliezer, ca. 90 C.E.; Pancaro, Law, 309); Acts 10:28; 11:3; see further Safrai, «Religion,» 829.
Damian, Jesus-Jeshua, 86, argues that John means only exclusion from the remainder of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Among Pharisees, stricter rules about Passover and Gentiles мая have obtained among Shammaites (b. Pesah. 21a, bar.), whose views probably often prevailed before 70 C.E. (see comment on 9:13–17).
E.g., Stanton, Gospel Truth, 116.
See Blinzler, Trial, 187 n. 2.
He backed down in Josephus Ant. 18.59; he later suffered politically from Judean and Samaritan accusations (18.88–89)
E.g., Barrett, «Old Testament,» 159; Bruce, «Trial,» 13; Ellis, Genius, 261.
E.g., 2Sam 11:4; Matt 27:4–7; Philo Embassy 30. Juvenal also satirizes religious hypocrisy (Stewart, «Domitian»); showing onés opponents' claims to piety to be hypocrisy was good rhetorical technique (Rhet. ad Herenn. 3.3.6).
Estimates for the year of crucifixion usually settle on 30 or 33 C.E., with preference for the former (Blinzler, Trial, 72–80; Brown, Death, 1373–76; Meier, Marginal Jew, 1:402), including by me. Still, because of potential early Jewish observational mistakes, the astronomical evidence for any date remains indeterminate (Sanders, Figure, 284).
With Borchert, «Passover,» 316; Yee, Feasts, 68. Much of what follows is adapted from Keener, Matthew, 622–23.
This makes harmonization difficult (though Story, «Chronology,» thinks John agreed with Synoptic chronology here).
Cf., e.g., Byron, «Passover»; Boring et a1., Commentary, 147.
E.g., Oesterley, Liturgy, 158–67; Stauffer, Jesus, 143; Grappe, «Essai»; Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 125; Meier, Marginal Jew, 1:395–401; Brown, Death, 1351–73.
Later tradition also permits apostates to partake of the meal except the lamb (Stauffer, Jesus, 210), but this prohibition is probably irrelevant here.
Reicke, Era, 179–82; Meier, Marginal Jew, 1:396; see our fuller discussion of Jaubert's thesis below.
Jewett, Chronology, 27; cf. Meier, Matthew, 316.
E.g., Morris, John, 785.
Theissen, Gospels, 167.
B. Sanh. 43a, bar. («on the eve of Passover»).
Despite disagreement on the relation to the festival, most commentators agree that the crucifixion occurred on a Friday (Brown, Death, 1350–51). Even by the third century, rabbis were not unanimous about trying and executing someone on a Sabbath (p. Sanh. 4:6, §2; starting Friday sundown).
On the Sanhedrin wishing to kill Jesus before the feast, see comment on Matt 26:1–2, in Keener, Matthew, 617.
Jeremias, Eucharistie Words, 20–23,62–84; Hagner, Matthew, 772–73; cf. Hill, Matthew, 336–37.
Bornkamm, Experience, 132.
E.g., Higgins, «Eucharist,» 208–9.
Jaubert, Date. (The French original of this work was published in 1957.)
Herr, «Calendar.» The calendar of Jubilees may have had some impact on public policy in the second century B.C.E. (Wirgin, Jubilees, 12–17, 42–43) and has some parallels with later rabbinic calendrical halakah (Grintz, «Jubilees,» 325), but, in contrast to what became mainstream Judaism, preserves the older solar calendar (Morgenstern, «Calendar»; cf. Marcus, «Scrolls,» 12), for which some even (probably wrongly) label it pre-Hasmonean (Zeitlin, «Jubilees,» 224; cf. idem, «Character,» 8–16). Opposition to the lunar calendar is implied even in its creation narrative (Jub. 2:9–10; cf. 6:36). This places Jubilees much closer to Qumran thought than to Pharisaism (e.g., Brownlee, «Jubilees,» 32; Baumgarten, «Beginning»; Grintz, «Jubilees,» 324); Rivkin, «Jubilees,» even thinks that Jubilees writes polemically against the Pharisaic calendar.
Cf. Driver, Scrolls, 330, 335; Simon, Sects, 151; Stauffer, Jesus, 115; Bruce, Documents, 57; Bruce, «Jesus,» 78; Morris, John, 785; cf. Svensson, «Qumrankalendern» (John tried to harmonize Qumran's with the dominant lunar calendar). One carefully researched approach too recent for discussion here is Busada, «Calendar.»
E.g., Benoit, Jesus, 1:87–93; Abegg, «Calendars,» 183.
Brown, Essays, 207–17, arguing that John reports the real date whereas the Synoptics report Jesus' Last Supper a day early.
Shepherd, «Date.» Carson, «Matthew,» 529 also mentions other proposals, e.g., that Pharisees and Sadducees followed divergent calendars (Strack-Billerbeck) or that the Galileans followed the Pharisaic (and Synoptic) one and Judeans the Sadducean (and Johannine) one (though Josephus places most Pharisees in Jerusalem). But I suspect that a major difference in observance in the temple would have left more trace in extant first-century sources concerning feasts (such as Josephus).
France, Matthew, 365. One cannot argue this, however, from the lack of mention of purification or lamb; these would be taken for granted (everyone in the Roman Empire expected animal sacrifices and purifications for festivals), and it would be their omission that would have required comment (Sanders, Figure, 251).
See Blomberg, Reliability, 238, 254 (citing esp. Smith, «Chronology of Supper»; Carson, John, 589–90, 622; Geldenhuys, Luke, 649–70; and linguistic data in Billerbeck, Kommentar, 837–38), taking the «high» Sabbath as a Sabbath that falls on a festival (19:31), and John's «preparation» (19:14) as for the Sabbath (cf. Mark 15:42) and merely during Passover (John 19:14). If we did not have the Synoptic tradition, however, no one would pursue such expedients; the language more naturally suggests the preparation was for Passover as well as the Sabbath. This is not to deny that John мая depend on historical tradition (with this as the most workable suggestion) but to suggest that he at least exploits the ambiguity to present Jesus as the Passover lamb (1:29; 19:36).
Accepted even by Crossan, Jesus, 372, as unlikely to have been invented.
Much of the following section is adapted from Keener, Matthew, 662–67.
With Harvey, History, 17.
Ibid., 16, citing, e.g., Pliny Ep. 10.97; cf. Ferguson, Backgrounds, 51. On delatores, see, e.g., ÓNeal, «Delation.»
Sherwin-White, Society, 47. More fully, the Roman trial scheme мая be summarized as arrest (18:4–11); charges (18:29–32); exam (18:33–37); verdict (18:38–40); warning (19:1–3); charges (19:4–8); exam (19:9–12); verdict (19:13–15); sentence (19:16; see Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 249).
Literary sources employ the later term «procurator,» but an inscription supports the earlier title (see Brown, Death, 336–37; Evans, «Pilate Inscription,» 804). For the responsibilities of a governor, see, e.g., Justinian Dig. 1.16.4–13, in Jones, History, 180–83.
Against the docetic idea of Jesus merely appearing to die, see comment on 19:25.
Although the severest form of execution Pharisaic law acknowledged on the basis of the Hebrew Bible was stoning (b. Sanh. 49b-50a), Jewish rulers had used crucifixion before the Roman period. Under Roman rule, however, all official, public executions belonged to the Romans. Even the Essenes toned down capital sentences from Moses' law (CD 12.2–5), while also detesting Gentile executions in the Holy Land (CD 9.1). The apparently Jewish execution in b. Sanh. 43a depends on Christian tradition, though preserving the crucifixion's association with the Passover season.
E.g., Arrian Alex. 6.30.2.
Livy 22.33.1–2; Suetonius Dom. 10; Cicero Verr. 188.8.131.52; Seneca Controv. 3.9 excerpts.
E.g., Phaedrus 3.5.10 (for throwing a stone at a rich man).
Stauffer, Jesus, 131. For the outrage at scourging, executing, and (worst of all) crucifying Roman citizens, see Cicero Verr. 1.5.13; 184.108.40.206–9; 220.127.116.11; 18.104.22.168; 22.214.171.124; 126.96.36.199).
Harvey, History, 12; Overman, Community, 380–81, 387; e.g., Josephus War 2.75, 241, 253, 306; 3.321; 5.449; Ant. 20.102. It also appears as a fitting end for other military enemies (e.g., Diodorus Siculus 2.1.10; 25.5.2; Josephus Ant. 12.256; 13.380) and for the most horrid crimes (Apuleius Metam. 3.9); it was the epitome of a horrible way to die (Seneca Ep. Luci1. 101.10–12).
See comment on 18:29–32.
Bammel, «Trial,» 419; cf. Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 249. Throughout the Roman world, social superiors could win most prosecutions against social inferiors.
See Josephus Ant. 14.235,260–261; cf. Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.73; Acts 18:13–15; Judge, Pattern, 68.
Cf. Bammel, «Trial,» 437–38.
Cf. Harvey, History, 17; Sanders, Figure, 274; for an impoverished provincial condemned to death without trial, cf., e.g., Apuleius Metam. 9.42.
Winter, Trial, 54–55, 60; Borg, Vision, 179.
Sanders, Figure, 274. On governors being tried for abusing power, especially executing innocent people (particularly Roman citizens), see Pliny Ep. 2.11, in Jones, History, 192–95.
Others viewed this act as misappropriation of funds (Josephus War 2.175–176; cf. Ant. 18.60; The Suda, Korbanas, in Sherk, Empire, 75); Pilate, however, probably assumed that he followed safe Roman precedent: Augustus and others paid for workmen on aqueducts from public and imperial treasuries (Frontinus De aquis 2.89–101, 116–118, in Jones, History, 207), and the use of public money would have been expected (Josephus Life 199) had it not been from the temple treasury. Romans themselves complained when designated funds in a public treasury were redirected (Appian C.W. 2.6.41; Lysias Or. 25.19, §173; 27.7, §178; 27.16, §179; Plutarch Cicero 17.2; Caesar 35.2–4; worse, despoiling temple treasuries, e.g., Valerius Maximus 1.1.21; see further Keener, Matthew, 557 n. 72); they would have been angriest had he profited himself, which sometimes happened (Catullus 10.7–13; cf. Jeffers, World, 111–12).
Stauffer, Jesus, 72; Thompson, Archaeology, 308–9.
E.g., Cicero Verr. 1.1.2; 1.4.12; 188.8.131.52; 184.108.40.206; Sest. 25.55; many Judean governors as presented by Josephus, e.g., Ant. 20.106–117, 162–163, 215, 253–257; War 2.223–245, 272–279.
Cf. Benoit, Jesus, 1:141–42. Some first-century writers complained about societal injustice (e.g., Seneca Ep. Luci1. 95.30).
On the consistency of Pilatés behavior, cf., e.g., Hoehner, «Significance,» 121–25.
Cf. Brown, Death, 697. Smallwood, «Historians,» concludes that Philo is even more accurate than Josephus when reporting the same historical events (in this case, concerning Caligula).
Still despised in a later period, e.g., in Juvenal Sat. 10.66, 76, 89–90, 104; Phaedrus 3.pro1.41–44; cf. also Brown, Death, 694, on Philo Flaccus 1; Embassy 160–161.
Cf. rumors circulating in Luke 13and Bailey, Peasant Eyes, 75. Brown, Death, 695–705, ultimately concludes, as we do, that most of the Gospel portrait fits what we know of Pilate from the other sources once all has been taken into account.
Cf. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 298; Cohn, Trial, 326–27.
The baraita in b. Sanh. 43a suggesting special caution regarding Jesus' conviction «because he was close to the kingdom» would be a Jewish deterrent but could have actually aggravated Roman hostility; it is, however, probably derived from later debate with Jewish Christians.
Stauffer, Jesus, 132; Lane, Mark, 556–57 n. 34; Baum, Jews, 72; cf. Sherk, Empire, 75–77.
See Reicke, Era, 138, 175.
Cf.Malina, Windows, 115–16.
On the equestrian order, see, e.g., Jones, History, 134–40.
Winter, Trial, 53–54.
Blinzler, Trial, 236; Smallwood, Jews, 169.
Although Tiberius was not the only paranoid emperor (e.g., Herodian 1.13.7), he reportedly viewed even negative remarks as maiestas (e.g., Dio Cassius R.H. 57.9.2; 57.19.1; 57.23.1–2; cf. Caligula–59.11.6), leading to many false accusations (57.4.5–6). Among Romans treason was the greatest crime (Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 8.80.1).
Cullmann, State, 46–47.
Josephus Ant. 18.89 (though Krieger, «Problematik,» doubts Josephus's reasons for Pilatés dismissal).
Harvey, History, 17. Historically and socially, one who challenged the status quo of either Jerusalem's priestly elite or the Romans would likely face such consequences (Hanson and Oakman, Palestine, 94–95).
Haenchen, John, 2:178, observes that the repetition of this catchword «has the effect of a clock sounding the death knel1.» The term is suitable for being handed over to an executioner (παρεδόθην, Chariton 4.2.7).
Winter, Trial, 10–15; Smallwood, Jews, 150.
Winter, Trial, 75–90.
Cf. ÓRourke, «Law,» 174; Sanders, Judaism, 61. Paul's Roman citizenship could shield him under normal circumstances (Rabello, «Condition,» 738), but not for profaning a temple (Josephus War 2.224; Hesiod Astron. frg. 3).
Theissen, Gospels, 191.
Ibid., Gospels, 189–93. The execution R. Eliezer ben Zadok allegedly witnessed in his childhood (m. Sanh. 7:2; t. Sanh. 9:11) probably would have stemmed from the reign of Agrippa I (Bruce, «Trial,» 12; cf. Acts 12:1–3).
Cf. also Catchpole, Trial, 247.
ÓRourke, «Law,» 174–75.
Brown, Death, 339 correctly observes that executions required ratification by the Sanhedrin in Josephus Ant. 14.167; while this datum is undoubtedly relevant, we should note that it describes the time of Herod the Great, not direct Roman rule.
E.g., Sipre Deut. 154.2.1.
E.g., b. Sanh. 49b-50a.
Unless secret executions (cf. Winter, Trial, 70–73) were practiced; but Pharisaic requirements for evidence were so strict that even capital convictions must have remained very rare under their own rules.
Sipre Deut. 154.1.1; b. Sanh. 37b. The date appears indeterminate in Sipra Qed. par. 220.127.116.11.
E.g., p. Sanh. 1:1, §3; 7:2, §3. Safrai, «Self-Government,» 398, cites also b. Sabb. 15a; cAbod. Zar. 8b. This was the widespread view at the turn of the twentieth century (Abrahams, Studies, 1:73; Sanday, Criticism, 127; Edersheim, Life, 583).
Blinzler, Trial, 164; Winter, Trial, 12–13.
E.g., Morris, Luke, 319.
Plutarch R.Q. 83, Mor. 283F (although he notes that Romans had themselves offered such sacrifices).
Blinzler, Trial, 164–68; Ramsay, Church, 293.
Benoit, Jesus, 1:135; Lane, Mark, 530; Stewart, «Procedure»; Sanders, Jesus to Mishnah, 17; Bruce, «Trial,» 12–13.
Sherwin-White, Society, 36; see more fully 32–43.
Brown, Death, 363–72.
Sanders, Jesus to Mishnah, 17.
Blinzler, Trial, 238.
Cf. Polycarp's manner of death fulfilling what God had said in Mart. Po1. 5,12 (the stabbing of Mart. Po1. 16 мая be an interpolation).
E.g., Chariton 5.4.9; Apuleius Metam. 10.7; t. Sanh. 6:3. Later rabbinic rules allowed the defendant to speak first in a capital case (t. Sanh. 7:2), but even if some Jewish teachers held this view in Jesus' day, Pilate would have operated under Roman procedure.
E.g., Bruce, History, 199.
Schneider, «Charge.» Synoptic tradition suggests that Jesus' enemies had been planning this charge; with Luke 23compare Mark 12:14.
Blinzler, Trial, 213, citing Dig. 48.4.1, 3–4; cf. Bammel, "Titulus," 357.
Blinzler, Trial, 238.
Bruce, «Trial,» 13; Ferguson, Backgrounds, 50. Neyrey, «Shame of Cross,» 123, finds in the cognitio challenges to Jesus' honor.
Wrede, Secret, 47.
Bruce, "Trial," 13.
Brown, Death, 716; Bruce, «Trial,» 13; ÓRourke, «Law,» 174–75; see further Livy 44.34.2; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.177; Acts 25:12.
Ferguson, Backgrounds, 50.
Cf. Jonge, Jesus, 67; Collins, «Speaking of Jews,» 299–300.
Michaels, John, 303.
So even Winter, Trial, 108–9.
Brown, Death, 968. As Fredriksen, Christ, 123, puts it, whether or not Jesus claimed a messianic title, «he certainly died as if he had.»
Harvey, History, 13 n. 12.
Ibid., 13–14; Stanton, Gospel Truth, 173. Surely the largely apolitical Markan community would have been an unlikely source for the invention (cf. Kee, Origins, 120–21)
Blinzler, Trial, 213, citing Dig. 48.4.1–4.
E.g., Dio Cassius 57.4.5–6; 57.9.2; 57.19.1; 57.23.1–2.
Some suggest that Jesus responds evasively in 18:34–36 because good Jews should avoid denouncing their own people (Witherington, Wisdom, 291; Blomberg, Reliability, 241); it appears unclear whether this ideology is in view here, but the ideology did exist (as in, e.g., Acts 28:19).
Robinson, «Destination,» 119.
Meeks, "Jew," 161.
Brown, John, 2:853, following Sherwin-White, «Trial,» 105.
Cohn, Trial, 328.
Bruce, «Trial,» 14; cf. Bammel, «Trial,» 420.
Pancaro, Law, 298.
Valerius Maximus 2.7.15d (15e: the senate declared that Romans should die honorably in battle rather than be captured).
Stauffer, Jesus, 129; cf. Socrates' insistence on nonviolent persuasion (Xenophon Mem. 1.2.10). Smith, John (1999), 342–43, compares Jesus' pacifism in the Q tradition (Matt 5:38–42; Luke 6:29–31). The «servants» (ύπηρέτοα) of Jesus (18:36) мая contrast with the more militant officers (ύπηρέται.) of the opposition (7:32,45–46; 18:3,12,18, 22; 19:6).
Cf. De Maria, «Regno,» for patristic views here. One might speak of one «coming into the world» (cf. comment on 1:9; cf. 16:21) or being born for a particular purpose (Seneca Ep. Luci1. 90.46, humans for virtue; Gal 1:15–16) with only missiological significance; but in view of the entire Gospel, these words have intense christological significance (3:19; 6:14; 9:39; 11:27; 12:46–47; 16:28).
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 294; the entire sentence is italicized in the origina1. A messianic claim could only be indictable if construed as treason (Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 55).
Justin 1 Apo1. 11.
Cf. comments on 1:14.
Truth мая be unattainable in its perfect form, but for Cicero it remains the object of inquiry rather than simply being persuasive (Cicero Or. Brut. 71.237; Fin. 1.5.13).
Kuyper, «Grace,» 17–19. Cf. Turner, «Thoughts,» 46.
Brown, John, 2:854, stresses the parallel with 10:3, noting that in the OT kings were «shepherds» of their people.
Haenchen, John, 2:180.
E.g., Quintilian 2.17.28; Diogenes Laertius 7.1.122; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 108.13; on Musonius Rufus, see Klassen, «Law.» In Jewish circles, cf. CD 6.6; 'AbotR. Nat. 44, §124B; Gen. Rab. 93:2; Deut. Rab. 2:33. On the need for educated rulers, see, e.g., Plutarch S.K., Cyrus 2, Mor. 172E; lined. R. passim, Mor. 779D-782F.
E.g., Dio Chrysostom On Kingship; the symposium section of Letter of Aristeas. Cf. also smaller sections on the topic of kingship, e.g., Plato Rep. 5.472; Isocrates Ad Nic. 10–11, 29, Or. 2; Plutarch S.R., Cato the Elder 8, Mor. 198F; cf. Prov 8:15; Sipre Deut. 161.2.1.
E.g., Horace Sat. 1.3.125; Plutarch Dinner 12, Mor. 155A; sources in Conzelmann, Corinthians, 87; perhaps 1Cor 4:8.
Liefeld, «Preacher,» 162.
Duke, Irony, 130. It is unlikely that we are to think of Pilate as a parody of Socrates who cross-examines people to achieve truth (Maximus of Tyre Or. 10.8); that is closer to Jesus' role (18:4, 7,21,23,34).
For «speaking with one voice,» see also Virgil Aen. 11.122–131; Apuleius Metam. 11.13; Exod 24:3; 2 Chr 5:13; 1 En. 61:11–13; Josephus Life 259; Acts 4:24; Rom 15:6.
For the irony, see also Duke, Irony, 131, who also contrasts the «robber» and good shepherd in 10:1,8, 11.
Nicholson, Death, 54, suggests this chiasm: Jesus as King (19:1–3, 17–22); Pilate and the «Jews» (19:4–7,12–16); Pilate and Jesus (19:8–11).
One could draw good examples from some behavior of even generally negative characters (see, e.g., Valerius Maximus 4.7.1; 4.2.7).
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 298, sees the condemnation by the crowds as an example of the Gospels' slant «to incriminate the Jews and exculpate the Romans,» on which see above.
On Pilatés lack of wisdom on the historical level here, see Blinzler, Trial, 209.
On the rhetorical bias of such accounts, see, e.g., Krieger, «Judenfeind»; Thatcher, «Pilate.»
See Brown, Death, 793–95. If John knows the passion tradition followed by Mark, however, the value of independent attestation is weakened.
E.g., Cohn, Trial, 166; Winter, Trial, 91; Brown, Death, 814–19. Theissen, Gospels, 196, links this story with the Caligula crisis when he thinks that more of the populace would have sided with the «bandits» than with Christians (citing Tacitus Ann. 12.54.1; Josephus Ant. 20.5,97,102); but this is hardly the only period in the first century in which that would be the case, and Jesus would be less popular than Barabbas to those prone to revolution and, probably more to the point here, less popular with most of the Jerusalem masses than the priestly authorities were.
The comments on the paschal amnesty have been adapted from Keener, Matthew, 668–69. One could at least regard the custom's historical existence as «plausible» (as in Culpepper, lohn, 225).
See Ferguson, Backgrounds, 50.
Ibid. This freedom мая call into question the supposed official report cited by Eusebius (Hist. ecc1. 2.2) and Tertullian (Apo1. 21:24; cf. 5:2), which мая depend on an earlier Christian forgery that the Christians assumed to be accurate (probably as in Justin 1 Apo1. 35, 48; pace Stauffer, Jesus, 145–46).
E.g., P.Oxy. 1668.17–19 (third century C.E., perhaps referring to a political disturbance); cf. Seneca Controv. 5.8 (hypothetical); Plutarch Caesar 67.4 (the senate).
Blinzler, Trial, 206. During local festivals Romans sought to show particular benevolence to local populations even with respect to executions (Philo Flaccus 83). They offered mass amnesties when it proved politically advantageous (Cicero Phi1. 8.9.32).
Merritt, «Barabbas»; cf. P.Tebt. 5.1–13 (118 B.C.E.); Cornelius Nepos 8 (Thrasybulus), 3.2; a fictitius example in Iamblichus Bab. St. 16 (Photius Bibliotheca 94.77a).
With Cohn, Trial, 167. Blinzler, Trial, 207,218–21, argues for the custom of a paschal release of prisoners in m. Pesah. 8(cf. also Schnackenburg, John, 3:252); but see Bammel, «Trial,» 427, who argues more persuasively that the text merely indicates the special Jewish desire to free prisoners at this time.
P.Florentinus 61.59ff., cited in Deissmann, Light, 269; Blinzler, Trial, 207; Lane, Mark, 553. Roman rulers sometimes handed over convicted persons at the peoplés request as an act of benevolence (Livy 8.35.1–9); governors might also release prisoners in acceding to terrorist demands (Josephus Ant. 20.208–210).
Seneca Controv. 5.4; Cicero Cae1. 1.1; New Year's Day in Suetonius Tib. 61.
Blinzler, Trial, 207–8.
Commentators typically note its use for insurrectionists in Josephus (Barrett, John, 539; Michaels, John, 308; cf. Malina, World, 77).
Some argue plausibly that Jesus shared the social bandits' «basic goals» while rejecting their violent means; see, e.g., Oakman, «Peasant,» 121.
That Barabbas does not appear in Josephus does not count against his historicity; many such bandits arose, and Josephus mentions even Jesus only briefly (Brown, Death, 811).
Stauffer, Jesus, 128, cites Acts 24:1; Philo, Embassy 300; Josephus Ant. 18.273.
The ironies of the soldiers' mockeries were perceived by early students of the Gospels (Cyprian Good of Patience 7; Cyril of Jerusalem Sermon on the Paralytic 12; Oden and Hall, Mark, 226–27).
Brown, Death, 722. Philo Embassy 302 provides a portrait that combines Pilatés obstinate disagreeability with his reluctance to face political repercussions, as in the Passion Narrative.
E.g., Neyrey, «Shame of Cross,» 125.
E.g., P.Ha1. 1.188–189, 196–199 (mid-third century B.C.E.; a slave who strikes a free person receives at least one hundred stripes, a penalty known for slaves [Petronius Sat. 28] but also at times for freedpersons [P.Ha1. 1.203–205] and others [Plato laws 9, 881C]).
Commentators cite Dig. 18.104.22.168; Cicero Verr. 22.214.171.124; Philo Flaccus 75 (see Blinzler, Trial, 222–23). I have borrowed most of the information on scourging from Keener, Matthew, 672–73.
T. Jos. 2:3; Dig. 47.21.2. For coercitio as part of preliminary examinations, cf. Lake and Cadbury, Commentary, 282–83. Josephus adapts such discipline (Life 335).
Bruce, Commentary, 445; cf., e.g., Cicero Pis. 34.84.
Brown, John, 2:874.
Brown, Death, 851.
Dig. 48.19.10; 68.28.2; Blinzler, Trial, 222.
E.g., Josephus War 2.306–308; 5.449; Livy 2.5.8; 9.24.15; 10.1.3; 26.40.13; 41.11.8; Appian R.H. 3.9.3; Polybius 11.30.2; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 3.40.3; 5.43.2; 7.69.1; 9.40.3–4; 12.6.7; 20.16.2; 20.17.2; Arrian Alex. 3.30.5; Cicero Verr. 5.62.162; Klausner, Jesus, 350; cf. Lucian Dead to Life/Fishermen 2.
Stripping before execution was standard (e.g., Polybius 11.30.1–2; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.69.2; Herodian 8.8.6; Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.191; 2.53; m. Sanh. 6:3; b. Sanh. 45a, bar.), as before public beatings (Longus 2.14; Aulus Gellius 10.3.3; Cicero Verr. 126.96.36.199; Herodes Mime 5.20).
Plautus Bacchides 4.7.25; Artemidorus Onir. 1.78, in Blinzler, Trial, 222; see also m. Mak. 3:12. One could also be scourged, presumably across the breast, while bound to the cross itself (Dio Cassius R.H. 49.22.6).
Apuleius Metam. 7.30.154; Cod. theod. 8.5.2; 9.35.2; Goguel, Jesus, 527; Blinzler, Trial, 222
Klausner, Jesus, 350; Blinzler, Trial, 222.
E.g., Horace Sat. 1.3.119; Cicero Rab. perd. 5.15–16; Brown, Death, 851.
Cf. Suetonius Calig. 26; Blinzler, Trial, 222.
Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 151.
Goguel, Jesus, 527.
Brown, Death, 852.
Cf. Bruce, «Trial,» 15; Blinzler, Trial, 224; Bammel, «Trial,» 440–41, though Blinzler and Bammel go too far in separating this from the crucifixion historically. Blinzler (Trial, 223) distinguishes forms of scourging thus: «an inquisitional torture (Acts 22:24; probably Josephus War 4.304), as a death sentence (fustuarium, primarily a military punishment–Horace Sat. 1.2.41–42), as an independent police chastisement (P. Flor. 61; Josephus War 2.269; cf. Dig. 48.2.6; Philo Flaccus 75), and as the introductory stage to execution after the sentence of death (War 2.306, 308; 5.449; 7.200, 202; Livy 33.36).»
Brown, Death, 851.
Dupont, Life, 126–27.
Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:600. Public abuse of prisoners, even adorning one as a king and beating him, occurred on other occasions; see comment below.
Johnson, Real Jesus, 120.
Winter, Trial, 101, argues that John 19:2–3 simply modifies the timing of Mark 15:16–20.
Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 249, point to «formal elements» of a royal coronation in 19:1–22: (1) crowning and homage (19:1–3); (2) proclamation (19:4–5); (3) acclamation (19:6–7); (4) enthronement on the judgment seat (19:13–16, assuming Jesus seated there); (5) naming and title (19:19–22); and (6) royal burial; of these, I would regard only 1–3 and 5 as persuasive, all ironic.
Possibly, though not certainly, John contrasts the world's «giving» here with God's gracious gift (e.g., 3:16; 4:10).
With, e.g., Michaels, John, 308.
Bamberger, Proselytism, 232–33.
Anderson, Mark, 335.
See Brown, Death, 877.
Commentators cite Philo Flaccus 36–39; CPJ 154, 158; Plutarch Pompey 24; Dio Cassius 15.20–21; cf. also Winter, Trial, 102–3; cf. Josephus's mock funeral (Life 323); the occasions of abuse in Alexandria were especially to be expected (cf. Herodian 4.9.2–3). Robbins, Jesus, xxvi, 189 helpfully supplies another parallel from Persian behavior at the Sacian festival (Dio Chrysostom Or. 4.67–70), though he lays too much emphasis on this to the exclusion of other parallels.
Livy 36.14.4; Cornelius Nepos 14 (Datâmes), 3.1–4; some commentators cite Pollux Onomasticon 9.110; cf. also Herodotus Hist. 1.114; Horace Carm. 1.4.18.
For a full survey of games of mockery, see Brown, Death, 874–77.
Cary and Haarhoff, Life, 149; cf. in general Martial Epigr. 4.14; 5.84; 11.6.2; 14.14–17; Ps.-Callisthenes Alex. 1.39; Philostratus Hrk. 20.2; 33.3; Carcopino, Life, 250–53, esp. 251; Grant, Christianity, 82–83; Stamps, «Children,» 198; it appears naughty (or frivolous) in Anacharsis Ep. 3.6; Aelius Aristides Defense of Oratory 380, §§126D-127D; certainly childish in Maximus of Tyre Or. 12.10. Some people gambled on dice and similar instruments (Xenophon Hel1. 6.3.16; Athenaeus Deipn. 15.666E-668B), sometimes leading to tragic results (Xenophon Hel1. 6.3.16; Alciphron Parasites 6 [Rhagostrangisus to Stemphylodaemon], 3.42; 18 [Chytroleictes to Patellocharon], 3.54; Philostratus Hrk. 22.3). Archaeology confirms that Roman soldiers probably played such games in the Fortress Antonia (see Finegan, Archeology, 161).
Martial Epig. 14.14–17; Diogenes Laertes 9.1.3; Callimachus frg. 676; Plutarch Alc. 2.2; Lysander8A; Maximus of Tyre Or. 3.5–6; 12.10; 36.5; Philostratus Hrk. 45.4.
E.g., France, Matthew, 393.
Malina and Rohrbaugh, Commentary, 163.
E.g., CPJ 1:24–25; 2:36–55, §153; 3:119–21, §520; Philo Flaccus 1,47,85; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2; Sib. Or. 3.271–372.
Horace Sat. 1.5.100–101; Juvenal Sat. 14.96–106; Quintilian 3.7.21; Tacitus Hist. 5.1–5; Persius Sat. 5.179–184; for more general Roman xenophobia, cf., e.g., Rhet. adHerenn. 3.3.4; Cicero Leg. 2.10.25. For more detail, see Whittaker, Jews and Christians, 85–91; Sevenster, Anti-Semitism; Daniel, «Anti-Semitism»; Meagher, «Twig»; and esp. Gager, Anti-Semitism.
Blinzler, Trial, 227; Haenchen, John, 2:181. Some suggest thorns from date palms, also turned outward, matching the source of fronds in 12(Whitacre, John, 447, following Hart, «Crown»); John's audience would probably not know the source of thorns, in any case.
See, e.g., Blinzler, Trial, 226–27; Jeremias, Theology, 78; Lane, Mark, 559; Anderson, Mark, 339; Hill, Prophecy, 52; Carson, «Matthew,» 573; Brown, Death, 866; cf. 1Macc 11:58; 14:43–44. Some refused a diadem in 1Macc 8:14, but cf. the gold crown in 10:20.
Blinzler, Trial, 244–45; Gundry, Matthew, 567.
«Purple» could mean scarlet (e.g., Rev 17:4; 18:16; Appian C.W. 2.21.150; cited in Brown, Death, 866; cf. Dupont, Life, 260), though the Gospel tradition probably preserves it for its symbolic value, both to the soldiers and to Jesus' later followers. Egyptian gentry in nome capitals purchased green, red, and especially blue outer apparel (Lewis, Life, 52–53).
Jeffers, World, 43.
For its association with wealth, see, e.g., Lucretius Nat. 5.1423; Horace Carm. 1.35.12, 2.18.7–8; Cicero Sen. 17.59; Athenaeus Deipn. 4.159d; Diogenes Laertius 8.2.73; 1Macc 10:20, 62, 64, 14:43–44; lQapGen 20.31; Sib. Or. 3.389, 658–659; 8.74; Petronius Sat. 38, 54; Epictetus frg. 11; Martial Epigr. 5.8.5; 8.10; Juvenal Sat. 1.106; 4.31; Apuleius Metam. 10.20; Chariton 3.2.17; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 2:7, 15:3; T. Ab. 4:2A; Jos. Asen. 2:2/3, 8/14–15; 5:5/6. Some writers complained about its extravagance (Seneca Dia1. 12.11.2; Plutarch T.T. 3.1.2, Mor. 646B; 1 En. 98MSS).
Cf. Brown, John, 2:875. Derrett, «Ruber,» suggests that the red alludes to Isa 1and (somewhat less unlikely) 63:1–2; Lukés white robe in Luke 23characterized Jewish kings as well (Hill, Prophecy, 52).
Blinzler, Trial, 227; Brown, John, 2:875.
Tilborg, Ephesus, 213–15.
See Nicholson, Death, 54.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 69 (who considers Pilatés titles throne names).
See Suggit, "Man."
E.g., Ezekiel Exagoge 70; Ecc1. Rah. 2:21, §1; 8:1, §1; Pesiq. Rab. 14:10; cf. 1QM 12.10.
Flusser, Judaism, 600 (cf. Suggit, «Man»); Flusser argues (Judaism, 602) that on the historical level it is perfectly in character to suppose that Pilate joined in the ridicule of Jesus. Cf. Smith, John, 346.
Flusser, Judaism, 601, citing Lucian Somn. 11; Persius Sat. 1.28.
For the emphasis on Jesus' humanity here, see also Sevenster, «Humanity»; Koester, Symbolism, 187; Smith, John, 346. Schwank, «Ecce Homo,» finds an answer to Pilatés own question in 18:38; but the connection, while possible, is unclear.
John elsewhere juxtaposes announcements of Jesus' humanity with his messianic identity (4:29; cf. 5:27) though more often those who do not recognize Jesus' fuller identity call him «human» (5:12; 7:46, 51; 9:16,24; 10:33; 11:47,50; 18:17,29); he мая link his humanity and mortality in 3:14; 6:53; 8:40; 12:23, 34; 13:31.
Blinzler, Trial, 228–29; cf. Haenchen, John, 2:181; Brown, Death, 828.
Brownlee, «Whence,» 174.
A familiar accusation; they мая allude in part to Jesus' claims to authority to revise the Sabbath law (5:18; cf. Wead, «Law»); but cf. esp. 10:33. Less probably, Barrett, John, 541, thinks the law of blasphemy is particularly in view.
E.g., Epictetus Diatr. 1.9.6; cf. Diogenes Laertius 6.2.77, of Diogenes.
See comments on «Son of God» Christology, pp. 291–94.
With Blinzler, Trial, 231. See, e.g., Homer Od. 17.484–487; Ovid Metam. 5.451–461; 8.618–724.
Noted also by others, e.g., Whitacre, John, 450, citing also Calvin.
See most usefully Zeller, «Philosophen.» Boring et a1., Commentary, 304, cite Maximus of Tyre Lectures 3; Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 8.2; for Socrates, see also Xenophon Mem. 4.8.4.
Bammel, «Trial,» 422, citing Sallust Cati1. 52.
E.g., Appian R.H. 11.7.41.
Brown, John, 2:853, following Sherwin-White, «Trial,» 105.
See, e.g., Ferguson, Backgrounds, 50–51; Dodd, Tradition, 105; Brown, John, 2:885.
Some philosophers were even known to end their own lives, sometimes following an Indian tradition (Cicero Div. 1.23.47; Arrian Alex. 7.3.1–6; Lucian Dialogues of the Dead 416–417; Peregr. 36–38; Greek Anth. 7.123).
E.g., Epictetus Diatr. 1.18.10; Diogenes the Cynic in Diogenes Laertius 6 passim.
Brown, Death, 841. Neyrey, «Shame of Cross,» 128–29, argues that Jesus' silence challenges Pilatés honor, but Jesus in 19acknowledges the honor of Pilatés office, securing more of his favor (19:12).
Pilate held legal authority to both condemn and acquit (Justinian Digest 50.17.37; Whitacre, John, 451).
Or Satan (cf. perhaps b. Tamid 32a).
Cf. Achilles Tatius 5.2.2; Seneca Dia1. 12.8.5.
E.g., Jub. 15:31–32; 35:17; 1QM 14.15; 15.13–14; Mek. Šir. 2.112–116.
E.g., Jub. 49:2–4; 3 En. 26:12; 30:2; Sipre Deut. 315.2.1. Cf. further references in Keener, Paul, 41,64–65.
Most commentators recognize God as the source of Pilatés authority here, e.g., Johnston, Spirit-Paraclete, 15; Pancaro, Law, 323.
Cf. accounts of Socrates' martyrdom (e.g., Maximus of Tyre Or. 3.2) and Jewish martyr stories.
As generally acknowledged, e.g., Goppelt, Jesus, Paul, and Judaism, 88.
E.g.,Reicke, Era, 175.
E.g., Musonius Rufus 3, p. 42.1–2; cf. comment on 12:25–26.
Plutarch S.S., anonymous 35, Mor. 234AB.
E.g., Reicke, Era, 138.
E.g., Schnackenburg, John, 3:262.
See Jones, History, 192–95, citing Pliny Ep. 2.11 (on executions of innocent people, especially Roman citizens). This мая also help explain Pilatés reluctance to prosecute Jesus if he thought the prosecution might yield complaints.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 8.80.1.
Cf. Smallwood, Jews, 169; Blinzler, Trial, 236.
E.g., Diodorus Siculus 17.31.6. See other texts cited under John 15:13–15.
Judge, Pattern, 33–34; see in more detail various texts cited under John 15:13–15. The term also applied to alliances with peoples (e.g., Strabo Geog. 8.5.5).
This is pointed out by Brown (Death, 843), but he warns that the connection with Sejanus is here uncertain (p. 844).
Iamblichus V.P. 31.194.
Benoit, Jesus, 1:142.
E.g., Cicero Verr. 188.8.131.52
E.g., Thompson, Archaeology, 278; Yamauchi, Stones, 108, following Albright. Cf. Josephus War 2.328–231.
Pilatés residence in Philo Embassy 299; that of Florus in Josephus War 2.301, 328.
See Josephus War 2.175–176, 301, 308.
See Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 141; Brown, Death, 705–10; Strachan, Gospel, 212; Blinzler, Trial, 173–76; Reicke, Era, 140; Benoit, Jesus, 1:167–88; Benoit, «Reconstitution.»
E.g., tentatively, MacRae, Invitation, 210. Manns, «Encore,» thinks he seated him «toward» (είς) the «pavement» of the old temple; but cf. comment on «pavement» above.
Bruce, "Trial," 17.
Trebolle Barrera, «Substrato,» citing evidence from the Hebrew Bible.
Blinzler, Trial, 240; Sherwin-White, Society, 47.
Sherwin-White, Society, 47.
Westcott, John, 282. Michaels, John, 309, entertains but ultimately rejects this view.
Morris, John, 801; Miller, «Time.» Cf. Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 117.1 (cited in Whitacre, John. 455).
Brown, Death, 958–59. Theodore of Mopsuestia (239.9–17) claimed that the Gospels could be harmonized on this point, but allowed that it would not be very problematic if they could not be (Wiles, Gospel, 19). The association of 1and 19with a Johannine community's festival calendar (Hanhart, «Tenth Hour,» 345) seems less likely.
Yee, Feasts, 68. Some have, however, found secondary schematization in Mark's account because of the three-hour intervals (cf., e.g., Hurtado, Mark, 262).
M. Pesah. 5:1; cf. Sanders, Jesus to Mishnah, 74.
Sanders, Judaism, 135, cites Josephus War 6.423. Yet even with Josephus's exaggerated numbers of pilgrims, the number of priests that could fit in the sanctuary might suggest instead a slaughtering of lambs from sunrise on.
Stauffer, Jesus, 138; Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 154; Ellis, Genius, 265–66; Beasley-Murray, John, 341; Yee, Feasts, 68. Schnackenburg, John, 3:265, claims that preparation for slaughtering the lambs began at this hour.
Schnackenburg, John, 1:299; cf. Jaubert, «Calendar,» 63; Morris, John, 785; Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 125. For John's heavy use of Passover imagery in 19:16–37, see Badiola Sâenz de Ugarte, «Tipologia.»
Safrai, «Temple,» 892. Admittedly it is difficult to envision pilgrims completing the sacrifices by sundown if the slaughter begins this late.
Pilatés question is not merely rhetorical (cf. 18:39), but speakers were accustomed to asking at least rhetorical questions of crowds, though not expecting answers contrary to their views (note anakoinōsis and aporia in Anderson, Glossary, 18, 24; Rowe, «Style,» 140–41).
Cf. the Greek epigraphic proclamation of Roman propaganda about Roman benefaction, reacting against Hellenistic kings (Erskine, «Benefactors»).
Disobeying God's will or misrepresenting it through false teaching profanes it (e.g., m. 'Abot 1:11; Num. Rab. 7:5; 8:4; Pesiq. Rab. 22:2); one must never profane God's name before Gentiles (CD 12.6–8; t. B. Mesica 5:18; Gen. Rab. 39:7). Everything is forgiveable, said some teachers, except profaning the Name (Sipre Deut. 328.1.5).
Schnackenburg, John, 3:266.
Barrett, John, 546.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 77, citing h. Pesah. 118a.
Dahl, «History,» 135; cf. also Strachan, Gospel, 216; Schnackenburg, John, 3:266; Barrett. John, 546; Meeks, «Agent,» 58.
Ancient literature is replete with examples of masses being easily swayed by leaders (e.g., Cornelius Nepos 3 [Aristides], 1.4), including these priests (Josephus War 2.237–238, 316–317. 321–325; cf. 2.406), and being fickle in the populist favor they bestowed on various figures (Livy 31.34.3; Tacitus Ann. 2.41; Hist. 1.32,45; 3.85; Lucan C.W. 3.52–56; Cornelius Nepos 10 [Dion], 10.2; 13 [Timotheus], 4.1; Ps.-Phoc. 95–96; Philo Embassy 120; Josephus Life 87,97,143–144,313–317,333; 1Sam 18:16; 25:10; 2Sam 3:36). This was always a negative trait (often used by Romans to characterize other peoples, e.g., Sallust Jug. 56.5; Cicero Pro Flacco 11.24; Caesar Gal1. W. 4.5).
Blinzler, Trial, 238, cites Petronius Sat. 137; Plautus Mostellaria 3.2.63, §850.
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 11. It is not the sort of fate one would invent for onés leader.
Artemidorus Onir. 2.53; Plautus Soldier 2.4.6–7, §359–360.
Blinzler, Trial, 251; Lane, Hebrews, 2:541. In this case, a proposed site for the execution is only about a thousand feet north to northeast of Herod's palace, where Pilate pronounced the sentence (Reicke, Era, 185).
E.g., Reicke, Era, 185.
Morris, John, 807; Whitacre, John, 460.
Gnilka, Jesus, 309. This would contradict the traditional route.
Also Brown, Death, 917; Lightfoot, Gospel, 315; Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 150. Some find Isaac typology (cf. Gen 22:6; Ellis, Genius, 268; many church fathers), but in the absence of clearer contextual allusions, the normal procedure for crucifixion obviates the need for this view.
Artemidorus Onir. 2.56; Plutarch D.V. 9, Mor. 554AB; Chariton 4.2.7; 4.3.10; also Brown, Death, 913.
E.g., Blinzler, Trial, 244, citing Valerius Maximus 1.7.4; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.69.
Some second-century gnostics had Simon die in Jesus' place (Talbert, John, 242, who sees antidocetic polemic here, cites Irenaeus Haer. 1.24.3–6; Second Treatise of the Great Seth 7.56); but that view is probably too late to have provoked Johannine polemic here (Carson, John, 609).
Cf. Goguel, Jesus, 530–31; Lane, Mark, 562; Davies, Matthew, 197; Brown, Death, 914–15.
Klausner, Jesus, 353.
Most scholars agree that Simon of Cyrene is a historical figure (Brown, Death, 913; see Sanders, «Simon,» 56–57).
Brown, Death, 914, questions whether the Romans would force someone when Josephus says they did not force subjects to break their own laws (Ag. Ap. 2.73), but this objection lays too much weight on Josephus's propaganda; Josephus employs legal precedents apologetically (cf. Rajak, «Charter»).
Crosses also became a natural metaphor for sufferings (e.g., Apuleius Metam. 7.16, cruciatibus; 10.9; cf. Seneca Dia1. 7.19.3) or the pain of grief (Apuleius Metam. 9.31) or anxiety (9.23); for other nonliteral usages, cf. Epictetus Diatr. 3.26.22. John employs βαστάζω in a fairly common figurative sense in 16:12, albeit more literally in 10:31; 12:6; 20:15.
Drury, Design, 113. The different term мая simply represent literary variation, though αϊρων мая better connote complete remova1.
Reicke, Era, 185.
Tomb architecture changed radically after Jerusalem's fall (Goodenough, Symbols, 1:84–89; Brown, Death, 938–39).
On the latter, see Brown, John, 2:899; idem, Death, 1279–83; cf. Blinzler, Trial, 251–52; Smith, «Tomb»; Ross, «Church»; Riesner, «Golgotha.»
Cf. Finegan, Archeology, 164.
4 Bar. 7:13; Wilkinson, Jerusalem, 146.
See, e.g., Brown, Death, 1281–82; cf. Blinzler, Trial, 251–52; for archaeological data, see the notes in Cornfeld, Josephus, 338–40, on Josephus War 5.148–155.
Cf. the kind of cup traditionally called a κρανίον, or skull, perhaps due to its shape (Athenaeus Deipn. 11.479–480).
Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 11. We have borrowed much of the material from Keener, Matthew, 678–79.
Bruce, «Matthew,» 328.
Hengel, Crucifixion, 25. Thus, e.g., one man is bound to a fig tree and anointed with honey so that the ants devour him, but this, too, is called a cross (cruciatum); Apuleius Metam. 8.22; cf. Prometheus's fetters (Martial Epigr. 7; Lucian Prometheus 2). Positions varied, but for evidence for one probably common position, see Tzaferis, «Crucifixion,» 52–53. Before the Roman conquest, following Hellenistic (e.g., Josephus Ant. 12.256) and Persian (Esth 9:25; De Vaux, Israel, 159) practice, Jewish executions had also adopted hanging by crucifixion (e.g., Josephus War 1.97; Ant. 13.380; 4QpNah 1.7–8; Sipre Deut. 221.1.1; p. Sanh. 6:6, §2; cf. 11QT 64); though read back into earlier times (L.A.B. 55:3), Israelites originally hanged corpses posthumously (cf. Gen 40:19) only till nightfall, limiting the shame (Deut 21:23; m. Sanh. 6:4).
See Artemidorus Onir. 2.56; Plautus Mostellaria 2.1.12–13; m. Šabb. 6.10; Lane, Mark, 564; cf. Luke 24:39; for ropes alone, see, e.g., Xenophon Eph. 4.2 (though this is convenient for the story). Cf. Diodorus Siculus 25.5.2 (if προσηλόω here means «nailed,» as it often does); also the skeleton recovered at Givat ha-Mivtar (Bruce, «Trial,» 18), though original reports about the ankle nail(s) have been revised (Stanton, Gospels, 148; Kuhn, «Gekreuzigten»); on the wrists, see Yamauchi, «Crucifixion,» 2; Tzaferis, «Crucifixion,» 52.
Klausner, Jesus, 350; cf. also Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 264 («bodily distortions, loss of bodily control, and enlargement of the penis»).
Blinzler, Trial, 249; Reicke, Era, 186.
Blinzler, Trial, 249; Brown, Death, 948–49 guesses seven feet.
The proposed typological allusion to Exod 17LXX (Glasson, Moses, 41) is fanciful, given the natural tenor of the language and the robbers in the Synoptic passion tradition. Jesus in the «midst» (19:18) could parallel 1:26; 20:19, 26 (cf. Rev 1:13; 2:1; 5:6; 7:17; Luke 24:36), though the idea clearly stems from tradition (Mark 15:27).
Brown, Death, 1026–27. The Jewish leaders мая have also preferred executions then, for their deterrent value; see Jeremias, Theology, 78; Hill, Prophecy, 52; Stauffer, Jesus, 209; m. Sanh. 11:4.
Blinzler, Trial, 253.
The location of the charge identifies the shape of the cross as in Christian tradition, rather than the T- or X-shaped crosses also used; mass executions sometimes simply employed scaffolds (on various forms of crucifixion, Brown, Death, 948 cites, e.g., Seneca Conso1. 20.3; Josephus War 5.451; on the four-armed cross, the crux immissa, Irenaeus Haer. 2.24.4; Tertullian Ad nationes 1.12.7).
Cf. also Bultmann, John, 670. On the distinction, see, e.g., Bammel, "Titulus," 357.
So even Winter, Trial, 108–9. Boring et a1., Commentary, 151–52, compares Acta Appiani 33 (second or third century C.E.), in which the martyr receives the mark of distinction «he claims, even if only mockingly.» Whereas many details of martyr stories мая be relevant, however, this one is not: in view of the many acts of martyrs with which Jesus' passion could be compared, a minor parallel involving such ridicule is easily enough coincidenta1.
Brown, Death, 968.
Harvey, History, 13 n. 12.
Ibid., 13–14; Stanton, Gospel Truth, 173.
Cullmann, State, 42–43; Blinzler, Trial, 251; Winter, Trial, 109; Reicke, Era, 186; Brown, Death, 963, cite Suetonius Calig. 32.2; Dom. 10.1; Dio Cassius 54.3.7; 54.8; Tertullian Apo1. 2.20; Eusebius Hist. ecc1. 5.1.44; cf. the herald in b. Sanh. 43a. The posting of the accusation on the cross is not well attested, either because those describing crucifixion had already mentioned it being carried (Bammel, "Titulus," 353) or because the practice was not in fact standard although, given the variations among executions, in no way improbable (Harvey, History, 13); wearing tablets around the neck was not unusual in the broader culture (students in Philostratus Vit. soph. 2.1.557). Blinzler, Trial, 254, thinks the tablets included «black or red letters on a white ground.»
So Geiger, «Titulus Crucis,» despite the more problematic three languages.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 80.
Allen, «Church,» 88; Bultmann, John, 669.
Cf. Blinzler, Trial, 255.
E.g., Allen, «Church,» 88.
Epigraphic data suggest that Aramaic probably predominated in Galilee (Horsley, Galilee, 247–49) despite Hebrew's use as a holy language and the ideal of its use (pace Safrai, «Literary Languages»; idem, «Spoken Languages»; Let. Aris. 11, 30, 38; Sipre Deut. 46.1.2).
P. Meg. 1:9, §2.
E.g., Jub. 12:25–27; p. Meg. 1:9, §1; hence its use in the Mishnah, many DSS, and the Bar Kokhba materials (cf. Carmon, Inscriptions, 73).
Brown, Death, 965; he also cites the five languages (Greek, Latin, Persian, Hebrew, and Egyptian) at Gordian Ill's tomb. Talbert, John, 243, cites these plus the Greek and Latin warnings in the temple (losephus War 5.194).
Brown, Death, 965.
Tob 1:20; Sallust Cati1. 51.43; 52.14; CPJ 2:251–52, §445; 2:255–57, §448; BGU 5.16.51–5.17.52; P.Oxy. 513; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 4.5.3; 4.15.6; Appian C.W. 4.5.31; Cornelius Nepos 7 (Alcibiades), 4.5; Herodian 7.3.2; Josephus Life 370–371; Heb 10:34.
E.g., Polybius 11.30.1–2; also in illegal lynchings (e.g., Herodian 8.8.6); also in beatings (Longus 2.14); see comment on scourging, above.
Artemidorus Onir. 2.61; Brown, Death, 870, adds Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.69.2; Valerius Maximus 1.7.4; Josephus Ant. 19.270.
M. Sanh. 6:3; Blinzler, Trial, 253.
Brown, Death, 870, thinks the Gospels might «reflect a local concession,» noting that Josephus War 2.246 and Ant. 20.136 do not mention Celer's disrobing; but this would be an argument from silence. (Brown, citing Melito of Sardis On the Pasch 97 in favor of nakedness and Acts of Pilate 10.1 in favor of a loincloth, ultimately doubts that we can know either way [p. 953].) Nakedness was probably the rule of thumb (in public Roman punishments, e.g., Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.69.2; in non-Roman executions, e.g., Josephus Ag. Ap. 1.191; 2.53).
M. Sanh. 6:3; Sotah 3:8; b. Sanh. 45a, bar.
E.g., Juvenal Sat. 1.71; Phaedrus 4.16.5–6; Plutarch R.Q. 40, Mor. 274A; Diogenes Laertius 2.73; but contrast Plato Rep. 5.452C; Dio Chrysostom Or. 13.24.
See Rapske, Custody, 297–98.
E.g., Gen 3:7, 10–11; Jub. 3:21–22, 30–31; 7:8–10, 20; 1QS 7.12; t. Ber. 2:14; Sipre Deut. 320.5.2.
Often recognized even in gospels where the psalm is not cited (e.g., Cope, Scribe, 103). Dodd, Tradition, 122, thinks John found the testimonium in a non-Markan stream of tradition. There is probably no symbolic allusion to the custom of a wearer rending garments for mourning (Plutarch Cicero 31.1; 1Macc 2:14; 4:39–40; 5:14; Keener, Matthew, 651–52).
See Brown, Death, 1455–64.
Soares Prabhu, Quotations, 158–59; Freed, Quotations, 102.
Cope, Scribe, 87; Goulder, Midrash, 22–23; cf., e.g., 3 En. 18:24; p. Meg. 1:11, §4; Gen. Rab. 51:8; Pesiq. Rab. 5:3; Gal 3:16.
See Garland, «Quotations.»
Cf. Freed, Quotations, 101.
Edersheim, Life, 608, citing Ya1. Isa. 60; cf. also Pesiq. Rab. 36:2; 37:1. Whether this interpretation existed before the time of Jesus is unclear (Longenecker, Exegesis, 156, notes its use five times in 1QH to suggest that it мая be messianic, but this is not absolutely clear), and certainly other interpretations existed (e.g., Midr. Pss. 22applies to Esther–Bowman, Gospel, 136); in any case, though many parallels with Ps 22 in the Passion Narrative are noteworthy, they also correspond with what we genuinely know of crucifixion.
With Dibelius, Tradition, 188; Sherwin-White, Society, 46; also recognized in b. Sanh. 48b, bar. This practice stemmed from the custom of plundering the slain on the battlefield (cf., e.g., 1Sam 31:8; Joel 3:2–3; 2Macc 8:27; Virgil Aen. 11.193–194; Polybius 9.26; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 3.40.3; 3.56.4; 6.29.4–5; Livy 41.11.8; Appian R.H. 4.2; Philostratus Hrk. 35.3; and throughout ancient literature).
Brown, Death, 955, notes that the law itself exempts the clothing the condemned is wearing, but acknowledges that such rules мая not have been followed in the first century. We would add doubts that anyone would have restrained provincial soldiers from such seizure (especially given the abuses of requisitioning from persons not condemned).
Jones, «Army,» 193–94.
Brown, Death, 955, reporting the suggestion of De Waa1.
Cf. Cary and Haarhoff, Life, 149. On the use of dice, see, e.g., Martial Epigr. 4.14; 14.15–16; cf. 11.6.2; for knucklebones, see Martial Epigr. 14.14; Diogenes Laertius 9.1.3; see further the comment on 19:2–3.
See Jeffers, World, 43–44; Watkins, John, 388. John leaves unstated the irony of a soldier afterward wearing (or perhaps selling) the very tunic Jesus had worn.
Stauffer, Jesus, 60; Watkins, John, 388; cf. Josephus Ant. 3.161. Dunstan, «Clothing,» prefers an allusion to the new temple by contrast with the rending of the veil (Mark 15:38), which John omits; but this seems overly subtle (cf. Mark 15:24).
Ellis, Genius, 270; cf. Mark 14:63.
Heil, «High Priest.»
Liefeld, «Preacher,» 181, finds no special garb here (vs. the philosopher's pallium).
Schnackenburg, John, 3:274.
Based on Philo Flight 110–112.
Schnackenburg, John, 3:274; Beasley-Murray, John, 347. An allegorical application of άνωθεν as a play on the tradition (Mark 15:38) or more likely on John's vertical dualism (3:3, 7, 31; 19:11) is plausible but difficult to make sense of.
See Primentas, «Χιτώνας.»
Schnackenburg, John, 3:274.
Whitacre, John, 459.
E.g., Homer Od. 11.432–434, 436–439 (even though Clytemnestra also slew Cassandra in 11.422); Euripides Orest. 1153–1154. (The subtext of the Iliad was that male warriors were fighting because of women, such as Helen and Briseis; cf. esp. I1. 9.339–342.)
E.g., Virgil Aen. 11.734; Ovid Metam. 8.380–389,392,401–402; cf. Plutarch Cam. 8.3.
Pace Barrett, John, 551. Women relatives were typically allowed, e.g, to visit a man in prison (e.g., Lysias Or. 13.39–40, §133).
On crowds present, see, e.g., Morris, John, 807.
E.g., Witherington, Women, 94, 187 n. 103.
See, e.g., Josephus Ant. 4.320 (Israelite society); Homer I1. 18.30–31, 50–51; 19.284–285; Sophocles Ajax 580; Euripides Here. fur. 536; Thucydides 2.34.4; Cicero Fam. 5.16.6; Diodorus Siculus 17.37.3; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 7.67.2; 8.39.1; Livy 26.9.7; Valerius Maximus 2.6.13; Pomeroy, Women, 44; Dupont, Life, 115. Ancients did, however, expect both parents of a crucified person to mourn (Sipre Deut. 308.2.1).
Cf., e.g., Valerius Maximus 5.4.7 (cited in Rapske, Custody, 247); 9.2.1; Polybius 5.56.15 (mob action); Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.267 (on Athenian execution of women); Ovid Metam. 13.497 (among captives; cf. Polybius 5.111.6, in a camp).
Witherington, Women, 120.
E.g., Blomberg, Reliability, 260.
Morris, John, 810.
Ilan, Women, 53, following Hallett, Fathers, 77–81. «Mary» (and variations) was «easily the most popular woman's name in lst-century Palestine» (Williams, «Personal Names,» 90–91, 107). If one sister had two names, perhaps she came to use the shared name after marriage removed her from her original home?
One could argue that one Mary in Mark 15is Jesus' mother (Mark 6:3; cf. Matt 13:55; 27:56), but if Jesus was the eldest (or even if he was not), one would expect «mother of Jesus» there unless the passion had somehow terminated that relationship (certainly not Lukés view, Luke 24:10: Acts 1:14).
E.g., Phaedrus 4.17.6.
E.g„ Homer I1. 20.251–255.
4 Macc 15:30; Aristotle Po1. 3.2.10, 1277b; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 4.82.3; 6.92.6; Diodorus Siculus 5.32.2; 10.24.2; Livy 2.13.6; 28.19.13; Appian R.H. 2.5.3; 7.5.29; Iamblichus V.P. 31.194. Some philosophers held that women were capable of courage (Musonius Rufus 4, p. 48.8 and that philosophy improved women's courage (3, p. 40.33–35).
2Macc 7:21; 4 Macc 15:23; 16:14; Diodorus Siculus 17.77.1; 32.10.9; Apuleius Metam. 5.22. «Courage» is literally «manliness» (e.g., 1Macc 2:64; Aristotle E.E. 3.1.2–4, 1228ab; Dio Cassius 58.4.6; Diodorus Siculus 17.45.6; 40.3.6; Theon Progymn. 9.22; Crates Ep. 19; Chariton 7.1.8).
E.g., Homer I1. 7.96; 8.163; 11.389; 16.7–8; Virgil Aen. 9.617; 12.52–53; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 9.7.2; 10.28.3; Diodorus Siculus 12.16.1; 34/35.2.22; Aulus Gellius 17.21.33; Ps.-Callisthenes Alex. 1.46; cf. an unarmed man in Homer I1. 22.124–125; an effeminate man in Aristophanes Lys. 98.
Cf.Malina, World, 99.
Mothers (Homer I1. 22.79–90,405–407; Euripides Supp1. 1114–1164) mourned sons; see especially a mother's mourning the death of the son who would have solaced her in old age (e.g., Virgil Aen. 9.481–484; Luke 7:12–13).
It мая support an identification with the disciple of 18:15–16. The disciple perhaps departs in 19:27, «to his own» (Michaels, John, 319).
Hoskyns, «Genesis,» 211–13; Ellis, Genius, 271; cf. Peretto, «Maria.» The specific meaning in Rev 12 is clearer, but even there the mariological reading is unclear unless one resorts to subsequent tradition; cf., e.g., Keener, Revelation, 313–14, 325–27.
Barosse, «Days,» 516.
Cf. Moloney, «Mary.» Boguslawski, «Mother,» sees this new «eschatological family» confirmed by the coming of the Spirit in 19:30.
Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 270.
Hoskyns, «Genesis,» 211–12.
Witherington, Women, 95. Cf. Jesus' mother as an example of discipleship also in Seckel, «Mère.»
For care of parents in their old age, see P.Enteux. 26 (220 B.C.E.); Hierocles Parents 4.25.53; Diogenes Laertius 1.37; Quintilian 7.6.5; Sir 3:16; Gen. Rab. 100:2. Some texts view such care as «repayment» of parents (Homer Ii. 4.477–478; 17.302; 1Tim 5:4; possibly Christian interpolation in Sib. Or. 2.273–275). More generally on honor of parents, see comment on 2:4.
Malina and Neyrey, «Shame,» 64. Mother-son bonds мая have been even closer than sibling bonds (Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 212-Th, based on knowledge of Mediterranean societies).
Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 201.
Stauffer, Jesus, 138; Witherington, Women, 95–96; Beasley-Murray, John, 349. Cf. esp. Seneca Controv. 7.7.12 (unless this means he simply wants them to hurry away because he is embarrassed by their presence, 7.7.20; but this interpretation is less likely). In earliest Rome, soldiers would name their heirs in front of witnesses before a battle (Plutarch Cor. 9.2); one might bequeath possessions as one lay dying (cf. Philostratus Hrk. 28.1).
Virgil Aen. 9.297.
Ps.-Callisthenes Alex. 2.20 (trans. Dowden, 701).
E.g., Isaeus Estate of Menecles 10, 25, 46; Estate of Astyphilus 4, 7; cf. Philostratus Vit. soph. 2.1.565 (instructions for his freedmen, but his fellow citizens buried him honorably like a father).
Stauffer, Jesus, 138, wrongly assumes that her allegiance to Jesus at the cross would cut her off from support from his brothers; 7refers to unbelief, but does not imply overt hostility.
Cf. the «similar bequest» of Eudamidas in Lucian's Toxaris, cited by MacGregor, John, 347.
Martin, James, xxxii.
Tilborg, Love, 13, suggests that Jesus frees her from dependence on a male patron here, rightly recognizing the nature of guardianship; but surely her genetic sons would have deferred to her not much less than a guardian.
E.g., Socratics Ep. 21 (Aeschines to Xanthippe, Socrates' widow, concerning her children). Cross-gender bonds (father to daughter, mother to son) were often viewed as the strongest (Plutarch Bride 36, Mor. 143B).
Cf. Brown, Death, 1077. Τελέω appears in this Gospel only in 19:28, 30, but its cognate τελειόω is more frequent (4:34; 5:36; 17:4, 23; 19:28). Luke also emphasizes Jesus completing his work (Luke 12:50; 13:32; 18:31; 22:37); for Jesus' agents, see Rev 11(for eschatological prerequisites, see Rev 10:7; 15:1; 16:17; cf. 6:11).
John limits this weakness by the priority of Jesus' devotion to the Father's will in 4:34.
lf γύναι in 4connects the Samaritan woman with Jesus' mother in 219(the expression is not incongruous for a stranger), the appearance of Jesus' mother in the context of 19(19:26–27) мая be significant.
Cf. Lightfoot, Gospel, 318.
Also others, e.g., Glasson, Moses, 53–54 (following E. A. Abbott).
Cf. the mourning women of Luke 23:27, who мая have provided a merciful narcotic (b. Sanh. 43a; Stauffer, Jesus, 135; Blinzler, Trial, 252–53). Some used pennyroyal or mint stored in vinegar to revive those who had fainted (Pliny Nat. 20.54.152); but these were probably not available. People could also use wine to deaden pain (Prov 31:6–7; Tibullus 1.2.1–4; 1.7.39–42; Ovid Her. 14.42; Silius Italicus 13.273–275).
Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 17.15.2 favors Ps 69(68LXX). Less likely, Witkamp, «Woorden,» suggests spiritual thirst in Ps 42:2–3; 63:1–2; in any case, others applied psalms in somewhat analogous manners (Ps 37:23–26 applies to the Teacher of Righteousness in 4Q171 frg. 1–2, co1. 3, lines 14–19). The righteous sufferer of Ps 69 мая portray Israel in exile (69:33, 35).
See Freed, Quotations, 106.
The όξος (Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36; John 19:29–30) and χολή (Matt 27:34) are linked together in Jewish Christian tradition in Gk. Apoc. Ezra 2:25.
Stauffer, Jesus, 140–41.
Some (e.g., van der Waal, «Gospel,» 39) apply it more generally to Israel's rejection of Jesus (1:11), but the Jewish identity of the torturer is not clear here, nor is this act the Gospel's most decisive or climactic act of repudiation.
Blinzler, Trial, 255, citing both Jewish and Greco-Roman texts; cf. Brown, John, 2:909.
Also a Semitic term (Smith, Parallels, 8).
«Javelin» appears in miniscule 476, probably accidentally; see Sanders, John, 409; Blinzler, Trial, 256 n. 38. Less probably, Schwarz, «Johannes 19.29,» suggests instead the misreading of the Aramaic 'ëz as 'êzôb, «switch» as «hyssop.»
Blinzler, Trial, 256 n. 38.
Cf., e.g., Harrison, «Hyssop»; Hepper, Plants, 70–71.
For the low cross here, see Hepper, Plants, 71; Blinzler, Trial, 249; Brown, Death, 948–49.
E.g., Lightfoot, Gospel, 318; Sanders, John, 409; Barrett, John, 553; Brown, Death, 1076. For hyssop in other sacrificial rituals, see Lev 14:4, 6, 29, 51–52; Num 19:6, 18. Cf. m. Parah 11:8–9; for detail, Beetham and Beetham, «Note.»
Clearly some Diaspora Jews applied the Passover to figurative or spiritual principles (Philo Sacrifices 63). Jewish people expected a new exodus (see comment on 1:23), which probably implied a new Passover of some sort (later, Exod. Rab. 19:6; Pesiq. Rab. 52:8).
The contrast is often observed, e.g., Goguel, Jesus, 172; Stendahl, Paul, 74; Brown, Death, 34.
See Blass, Debrunner, and Funk, Grammar, 175–76.
Cf. Boring et a1., Commentary, 157, 159–60.
So Stauffer, Jesus, 141. Later midrash could view «finished» in Gen 2in terms of dedication (Exod 39:32).
Given the multiple attestation that it was the day of preparation for the Sabbath, most commentators concur that lesus was crucified on a Friday (see Brown, Death, 1350–51).
On Scripture and Jesus' word here, see Bergmeier, «ΤΕΤΕΛΕΣΤΑΙ.»
Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 271, suggest that kings nodded approval (citing Hom. Hymn, Hymn to Aphrodite 222, where Zeus does this; we might add Zeus in Maximus of Tyre Or. 4.8; 41.2; Callimachus Hymns 3 [to Artemis], lines 39–40; Athena in Callimachus Hymn 5 [on Pallas's Bath], lines 131–136).
Noted by various commentators, e.g., Bernard, John, 2:641; Brown, John, 2:910.
E.g., Ovid Metam. 10.43 (exhalata anima); Ps.-Callisthenes Alex. 1.14; T. Ab. 17A; L.A.E. 45(«gave up the spirit,» OTP2:286); 2 En. 70:16; cf. Jas 2:26. One also breathed out (e.g., Homer I1. 13.654, άποπνείωυ; Euripides Phoen. 1454, έξέπνευσαν; Herac1. 566, έκπνευσαι) onés life, or «breathed» (exanimatus est) onés last (Cornelius Nepos 15 [Epaminondas], 9.3).
Quintilian pref.12 (and LCL 2n. 1); Virgil Aen. 4.684–685; Ovid Metam. 7.861. The soul normally escaped through the mouth unless a mortal puncture created another opening (Seneca Ep. Luci1. 76.33; Nat. 3.pref.l6; cf. Aune, Revelation, 894, for some non-Roman sources).
The mouth seems to have been a typical organ for the spirit's departure at death, however (L.A.E. 27:1).
Also, e.g., Lightfoot, Gospel, 319; Lindars, Apologetic, 58; Smith, John (1999), 361–62. Some find two gifts of the Spirit (19:30; 20:22) linked with Jesus' passion and resurrection respectively (Swetnam, «Bestowal»; Létourneau, «Don»).
Even less would John embrace a docetic distinction between Jesus and the Christ-Spirit (Irenaeus Haer. 1.26.1; cf. 1 John 2:22).
On the symbolic (rather than actual) import, see Bürge, Community, 134.
Brown, John, 2:910, also cites 19:16.
E.g., Morris, John, 816. Stoics accepted death when Nature demanded back onés breath (spiritum), and also suicide for appropriate occasions (Seneca Dia1. 7.20.5), but Jesus' acceptance of death here is at others' hands and so would not technically represent suicide.
Talbert, John, 242.
Blinzler, Trial, 250; Brown, Death, 1222.
«Preparation» here refers to the Sabbath, not to the Passover (Brown, John, 2:933; cf. Mark 15:42; Reicke, Era, 178), despite John's paschal emphasis.
E.g., Hunter, John, 181; Reicke, Era, 187. On the emphasis on rapid burial in this period, see Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 97.
See Michaels, John, 321.
R. Simeon b. Laqish and R. La in R. Yannaís name, in p. Sanh. 4:6, §2.
The second day was also very important (see Carson, «Matthew,» 532). But «great day» here (19:31) recalls Jesus' announcement of living waters in 7:37–39 on a «great day.»
Blinzler, Trial, 250–51, citing Origen Comm. Matt. 140; Gos. Pet. 4:14; cf. Schnackenburg, John, 3:288. Some regard this practice as merciful because it hastened death (e.g., Hunter, John, 181), but John's Judean authorities have other motives (19:31), and breaking legs was sometimes part of fatal torture (Polybius 1.80.13).
Tzaferis, «Tombs»; Haas, «Remains»; Brown, John, 2:934; Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 97; Bruce, «Trial,» 18.
Stanton, Gospel Truth, 119; Brown, Death, 950–51. Such breakage would have been accidental; according to the most likely Jewish custom from this period (given that the rabbis, where we can check them, often preserved more widespread early Jewish burial customs), those who buried the dead sought to keep from bending their limbs (so m. Naz. 9as understood in the Gemaras; Safrai, «Home,» 780–81).
Dodd, Tradition, 133. Breaking Jesus' bones could provide a plausible explanation for why Jesus died so quickly in the tradition, but John insists that they did not break his bones.
Brown, Death, 1177, citing Quintilian Declamationes maiores 6.9. But could this «piercing» refer to those fastened to the cross with nails? Jewish tradition also required proof of death before treating one as dead (Semahot 1; m. Šabb. 23:5; Safrai, «Home,» 773); sometimes one died as the spear was withdrawn (Valerius Maximus 3.2.ext.5). The later tradition that the piercing soldier's name was Longinus was a midrashic extrapolation from λόγχη, «spear» (as also recognized by Calvin, John, 2:239, on John 19:34).
Ferguson, Backgrounds, 40.
Dodd, Tradition, 133.
Ibid., 135. Descriptions of grotesque emissions from those violently slain can indeed serve a purely physical purpose in their narratives (e.g., Homer I1. 17.297–298).
Nunn, Authorship, 13; Allen, «Church,» 92; Talbert, John, 246 (citing Irenaeus Haer. 3.22.2); cf. Wilkinson, «Blood.»
Docetism appealed to the Greek worldview even before its developed Christian varieties (see Hippolytus Haer. 8.3–4); Greeks could praise rulers as «seeming» (δοκείν) human but really being from God (Menander Rhetor 2.1–2, 370.21–26). The docetic idea of a wraith as substituted for Jesus on the cross (critiqued in Irenaeus Haer. 1.24.4), followed in the Qur'an (cf. Cook, Muhammad, 79), derives from Hellenistic mythology, e.g., in Homer II 5.449–453; Helen in Euripides Helen (following the Recantation of Stesichorus) and Apollodorus Epitome 3.5; Iphigeneia in Lycophron Alex. 190–191 and Apollodorus Epitome 3.22; Ovid Fasti 3.701–702 (allowing Caesar's being snatched up to heaven despite his apparent death, 3.703–704); Ixion's cloud in Apollodorus Epitome 1.20; cf. the angel arrested in Moses' place in p. Ber. 9:1, §8 (third century C.E.).
Against this position is also the greater likelihood of the symbolic position articulated below (see Hunter, John, 181).
Homer Il. 5.339–342, 855–859, 870 (Diomedes at Athenés command; cf. 5.130–132, 335–339, 829–830); Apollonius of Rhodes 3.853; Apollodorus Epitome 4.2; Apollodorus 1.7.1; (metaphorically) Athenaeus Deipn. 9.399E; immortality from imbibing nectar and ambrosia (e.g., Pindar Pyth. 9.63). The bronze giant Talos, who lost all his ichor, died (Apollonius of Rhodes 4.1679–1680; Apollodorus 1.9.26); Chiron had to trade away his immortality so he could die rather than endure the pain of his wound (Apollodorus 2.5.4); cf. perhaps Polyphemus in Euripides Cyc1. 231, 321 (Kovacs, «Introduction,» 55); on the mortality of some ancient Near Eastern deities, see, e.g., ANET 139–40; UT 19.1816; Albright, Yahweh, 125–27; Gordon, «Psalm 82,» 130–31. Such «divine» mortality was rejected by Stoics (e.g., Seneca Ep. Luci1. 95.49–50).
Plutarch Alex. 28.2 (quoting Homer II. 5.340).
With or without such background, the blood would fit antidocetic polemic (some see such polemic here, e.g., Brown, Essays, 132–33); the ichor, however, would fit a demigod rather than incarnation.
Various scholars find here possible allusions to martyr language as in 4 Macc 9 (e.g., Perkins, «John,» 982, though, like us, she finds its special meaning in its Johannine context, citing 7:39).
As in Lucan C.W. 1.614–615.
The tradition seems to predate John's day; R. Jose and R. Akiba merely debate the position of the legs and entrails in this mishnah.
See Bowman, Gospel, 315. Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 274, suggest that the blood spurting out (because the death is fresh) reveals that an animal remains kosher (citing m. Hui. 2:6), comparing εύθύς.
One could speak graphically of a cross still wet with blood (Cicero Verr. 184.108.40.206), perhaps contemplating the effects of nails in the wrists in cases where that was practiced.
Association with the gift of the Spirit (whether or not proleptic) and 7:37–39 is the most common scholarly view; see Vellanickal, «Blood»; McPolin, John, 249; Brown, Death, 1178–82; Koester, Symbolism, 181.
Glasson, Moses, 52–53, cites Cyprian Epistles 63.8 (who uses Isa 48:21); Aphraates and Ephrem; Origen Hom. Exod. 11.2; Gregory of Nyssa Life of Moses 2.270.
T. Sukkah 3(the tradition appears to be early and populist; but the event is more secure than its interpretation–Josephus Ant. 13.372; m. Sukkah 4:9).
Hoskyns, «Genesis,» 213.
It is the most natural LXX allusion, even though another text spoke of pierced sides (2Sam 2:16) and a new temple allusion (Ezek 41:5,7–9) might be possible if more language in the text supported it; none of the texts conjoined πλευρά with νύσσω.
Theodore of Mopsuestia 242.27–34; John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 85.3 (noted in Wiles, Gospel, 9). Contrast Apocrit. 2.12–15, which takes John's claim (unmentioned by the Synoptics) as deliberate deception, inferring from its emphatic nature the opposite of what such a claim was meant to imply.
Because the narrator is nowhere clearly distinguished from the implied author, I believe that the burden of proof rests with those seeking to differentiate the two here; but I retain the title «narrator» because it is most relevant here.
E.g., Josephus War 1.2–3; Ant. 20.266; Ag. Ap. 1.45–49; Life 357. Even in fiction they carried special weight in the story world (Euripides Iph. au1. 1607).
E.g., Witherington, Wisdom, 17; see pp. 81–139, esp. 111–12.
E.g., Xenophon Anab. 2.5.41; 3.1.4–6; Thucydides 1.1.1; 2.103.2; 5.26.1; Caesar C.W. 1.1; Gal1. W. 7.17; Josephus War 3.171–175, 190–206, 222–226, 234, 240, 258, 262, 271, 350–408; see further the comment on 13:23. Whenever Eunapius inserts himself in the narrative (normally in the third person, «this writer») it is based on his own presence, intended to point out his direct knowledge of the events or reports (e.g., Eunapius Lives 494).
The perfect form οίδα is likewise inconclusive, as those familiar with it will immediately recognize; it regularly bears the present sense, but occurs only in this perfect form (68 times in John, including 21:24; 263 times in the NT), never in a present form.
See Smalley, John, 75 (who finds 1and 18:15–16 doubtful).
Daube, «Gospels,» 343.
See Josephus Ant. 20.200–201; cf. War 2.162; Life 191; Acts 23:9; Theissen, Gospels, 230–31; discussion in Keener, Matthew, 351–52.
Hunter, John, 182, thinks that John мая specify the Jewish method of burial (19:40) to prevent suspicion of the body's mutilation (as in Egyptian custom), but the text addresses only the wrapping custom.
Daube, «Gospels,» 343.
Dodd, Tradition, 43, thinks this psalm the more likely source for John.
Others also recognize a possible blending of texts here (e.g., Barrett, «Old Testament,» 157; Higgins, «Eucharist,» 208). Combining biblical texts was not uncommon in this period (e.g., 4Q266, 270, in Baumgarten, «Citation»; Matt 2:23).
Schuchard, Scripture, 133–40, thinks that John refers to Exod 12or 12or both but that the verb form мая recall the psalm. Grayston, Gospel, 164, sees both Ps 34and Exod 12:46; Num 9here.
Nevertheless, the Judean leaders (19:31) appear again as «the indirect and unconscious cause of the fulfilment of scripture» (Lightfoot, Gospel, 319).
M. Mak. 3:3; Pesah. 7:11; t. Pisha 6:8; cf. t. Pisha 5:2; 6:7–9.
Meeks, Prophet-King, 77; Pancaro, Law, 350. On John's Passover typology, see also comment on 18:28.
Edersheim, Life, 616, cites b. Sukkah 52a. The form of citation мая represent a standard early Christian translation (Menken, «Form»).
Malina and Rohrbaugh, John, 275, also citing Zech 13(from the immediate context) for John 19:34.
In more detailed reconstructions, perhaps still reciting a curse against schismatics even though they do not believe it themselves.
It is possible that John includes it merely to remind a first-time reader of Nicodemus's identity, but after two previous mentions, he is not easily forgotten; cf. similarly Polybius 1.23.4, whose mention of Hannibal's earlier, probably humiliating night escape provides a foil for his current confidence.
Petronius Sat. 112; Brown, Death, 962, 1208, cites also Phaedrus Fables of Aesop, Perottís Appendix 15.9; Horace Ep. 1.16.48. Llewelyn, New Documents, 8:1–3, §1, cites a slave left to hang so animals could eat him.
See further Safrai, «Home,» 774.
Cf. Josephus Ant. 5.44; b. Sanh. 47b.
Daube, Judaism, 311; Daube, «Gospels,» 342. Other places, such as Sparta, reserved special areas for burying criminals (Cornelius Nepos 4 [Pausanias], 5.5).
Honorable burials were, however, important to most people (e.g., Cornelius Nepos 10 [Dion], 10.3; Aulus Gellius 15.10.2).
A Sadducean aristocracy might have cared little for the protestations of the powerless, regardless of Pharisaic concerns for popular justice.
If the Mishnah reflects general first-century Jewish practice here (which is uncertain), Jewish courts granted criminals obscure burials in a common place but then expected the gathering of the bones to the place of onés ancestors a year later (m. Sanh. 6:6), meaning that the bones were kept track of even in the «common» grave, not scattered (Brown, Death, 1209–11; cf. Stauffer, Jesus, 209).
We would therefore question the view attributed to J. D. Crossan by Ostling, «Jesus» (as cited in Craig, «Rise?» 142), namely, that Jesus' corpse was merely covered with a little dirt and probably eaten by wild dogs (being eaten by birds or dogs was the normal fate of the unburied, e.g., Homer Il. 11.395; Aeschylus Supp1. 751–752,801–802; other sources in Keener, Matthew, 582, 695). But this view seems unduly skeptical that Pilate would have accommodated Jewish burial practices, especially if he did not insist on Jesus' guilt. (Even among Greeks, it could seem unthinkable that one would not have at least provided mass graves to enemies slain in battle, e.g., Pausanias 1.32.5.)
See also Green, «Buria1.» On Joseph rescuing Jesus' body from a common burial, cf. also Bammel, «Trial,» 444, though a Jewish execution is improbable. Change of opinion could transform a dishonorable to an honorable burial (Cornelius Nepos 10 [Dion], 10.2–3).
That John intends a connection with Jesus' reputed father (1:45; 6:42) or Jacob's son (4:5) is unlikely; the name was a common one (see CPJ 3:182–83).
Brown, Death, 1240; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:647. Although others might appreciate certain benevolent rich persons (e.g., Homer I1. 6.12–19) and early Christians had some well-to-do patrons, one wonders whether early Christians would fabricate benevolence from establishment insiders such as Joseph or Nicodemus (Jas 2:6–7, though cf. Jas 2:3).
Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:647. Acts 13can be construed as burial by his enemies among the rulers (13:27) who also sought his execution (13:28), but it is summary language; Luke also knows of Joseph as righteous (Luke 23:50–53).
Brown, Death, 1240.
Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3:648.
E.g., Gen 23:3–20; 50:12–14, 25–26; Sir 38:16–17; Tob 1:17–20; 2:7–10; 4:3–4; 6:14; 1QM 7.2; Acts 8:2; Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.205, 211; T. Job 39:10/7. According to later rabbis, failure to honorably bury a righteous person invited judgment (p. Yoma 1:1, §6).
Sophocles Ant. 43–48; Diodorus Siculus 20.84.3; Plutarch Nicias 6.5–6; Diogenes Laertius 6.2.52; Pausanias 1.32.5; Chariton 4.1.3; Philostratus Hrk. 33.33; cf. Plutarch Solon 21.1.
E.g., ILS 7360a; Sherk, Empire, 234; Cary and Haarhoff, Life, 151–52; for slaves, cf. Buckland, Slavery, 74.
E.g., Polybius 6.53; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 6.96.1; Apuleius Metam. 2.27; Herodian 4.2.2; Philostratus Hrk. 51.13; 1Macc 2:70; Josephus Ant. 9.166; 13.406; Mart. Po1. 17.
Theon Progymn. 9.4–5; cf. Josephus Ant. 4.320; b. Sabb. 153a; Gen. Rab. 100:2; Ecc1. Rab. 7:12, §1; 9:10, §3.
E.g., Homer I1. 23.65–71; Od. 11.71–76; 21.363–364; 22.476; Euripides Herac1. 588–590; Hec. 47–50; Phoen. 1447–1450; Supp1. passim; Diodorus Siculus 15.35.1; Philostratus Hrk. 19.7; it was necessary to enter the netherworld (Homer I1. 23.71; Virgil Aen. 6.365–366; Heliodorus Aeth. 6.15). Many Greek philosophers constituted notable exceptions (Seneca Ep. Luci1. 92.35; Epictetus Diatr. 4.7.31; Diogenes Laertius 6.2.79; Stowers, Letter Writing, 142–43), though even their own disciples often disobeyed their instructions (Socratics Ep. 14; Diogenes Laertius 6.2.78).
E.g., m. Ketub. 4(two flutists and one wailing woman); Gen. Rab. 100:4.
Brown, Death, 1218.
Requesting an official for a burial place, because the official controls the land (4 Bar. 7:14), is not an adequate analogy.
E.g., Homer I1. 17.126–127, 255, 272; Sophocles Ant. 21–30, 697; Euripides Phoen. 1627–1630, 1650; Virgil Aen. 9.485; Diodorus Siculus 16.16.4; 18.67.6; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 3.21.8; 4.40.5–6; 6.9.4; 20.16.2; Appian R.H. 12.8.52; 12.16.107; C.W. 1.8.73; Lucan C.W. 2.166–168; 7.825–835; Lysias Or. 19.7, §152; Thucydides 1.138.6; Seneca Controv. 1.7.2; 8.4.intr.; Suetonius Aug. 13; Valerius Maximus 1.4.2; Apol1. Κ. Tyre 50; Iamblichus V.P. 35.252; Philostratus Hrk. 21.6; Herodian 1.13.6; 8.8.7; Chariton 1.5.25; 1 En. 98:13; 2Macc 13:7; for executions in Rome, see sources in Rapske, Custody, 14. Sometimes the prohibition of honorable burial by free persons did not exclude burial altogether (carried out by slaves; Cornelius Nepos 19 [Phocion],4.4).
Euripides Phoen. 1631–1634; m. Sanh. 6:6; cf. Josephus Ant. 9.104. Jewish aristocrats apparently felt that even relatives should withhold mourning when those destroyed were wicked (Josephus Ant. 4.53); but it was normally considered heartless to forbid mourning (Cicero Pis. 8.18), and to die unmourned was a cruel fate (Ovid Tristia 3.3.45–46). Contrast public mourning for heroes (e.g., Lysias Or. 2.66, §196; Philostratus Vit. soph. 2.1.565) and expenses lavished for an official or person of wealth (Cicero Fam. 4.12.3; Statius Silvae 2.1.157–162; Alex. K. Tyre 26; disapproved in Iamblichus V.P. 27.122–123).
Cf. Petronius Sat. 112. Daube, «Gospels,» 342, thinks that Jewish custom also usually withheld anointing from corpses of the executed. Bammel, «Trial,» 444, thinks that requests for the body usually preceded the execution (as in Gos. Pet. 2:3ff).
E.g., Homer I1. 24.22–137; Sophocles Ajax 1326–1369; Ant. 278–279, 450–455, 692–695, 1348–1353; Euripides Supp1. 19; Cicero Verr. 220.127.116.11; Lucan C.W. 7.809–811; Valerius Maximus 5.3.ext.3c; Philostratus Hrk. 33.32.
E.g., Homer I1. 7.79,84,409–410; Virgil Aen. 11.100–107; Livy 38.2.14; Appian R.H. 12.9.60: Cornelius Nepos 18 (Eumenes), 13.4; Silius Italicus 10.518–520; 12.473–478; Valerius Maximus 5.1.11; 5.1.ext.6; Ps.-Callisthenes Alex. 1.14, 41; 2Sam 2:5; 21:12–14; 2Macc 4:49; Josephus Ant. 4.264–265; cf. Ps.-Phoc. 99–101.
Philo Flaccus 83–84; Taylor, Mark, 600; Gnilka, Jesus, 314; Lane, Mark, 578, cites also Cicero Phi1. 2.7.17; Plutarch Antonius 2.
Brown, Death, 1207–8, shows that Justinian Dig. 48.24 reports Roman law as early as Augustus allowing relatives to bury the corpse but refusing it for maiestas (treason); but he rightly observes that magistrates made these decisions themselves in the provinces (cf. Cicero Verr. 2.5.45, §119; Philo Flaccus 83–84).
Brown, Death, 1208–9; whether a crime was truly against the maiestas of the state was sometimes debatable (e.g., Seneca Controv. 9.2.13; cf. the wordplay in Cicero Fam. 3.11.2). The Jewish officials would surely not object to the burial, however, and without opposition Pilate was free to act as he pleased. He had settled matters adequately for the chief priests.
Also Brown, Death, 1217 (citing Cicero Phi1. 1.9, §23; Suetonius Tib. 58).
E.g., Herodian 1.13.4–6; 3.5.6; 4.6.1. Continued ties with a prisoner could be dangerous; this concern reduced Apollonius's disciples by more than three-quarters (Rapske, Custody, 388, citing Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 4.37).
E.g., Cornelius Nepos 1 (Miltiades), 7.5–6; 2 (Themistocles), 8.1–7; 3 (Aristides), 1.1–5; 7 (Alcibiades), 4.1–2; Babrius 4.6–8; 31.23–24; 64.10–11; Phaedrus 1.21.1–2; 2.7.14–15; 3.5.1; 4.6.11–13.
E.g., Cornelius Nepos 5 (Cimon), 3.1; 8 (Thrasybulus), 4.1–2; 12 (Chabrias), 3.3; 14 (Datâmes), 5.2; 15 (Epaminondas), 7.1; 18 (Eumenes), 7.2; 10.2; 19 (Phocion), 4.3; 23 (Hannibal), 1.2; Herodian 3.2.3; Plutarch Demosthenes 26.5.
See Rapske, Custody, 288–97, esp. 293, and 388–90.
Euripides Supp1. passim; Demosthenes Or. 60, Funeral Speech 8; Tob 1:17–20; 2:8; 4:3–4.
Dio Cassius R.H. 57.18.1.
John Chrysostom Hom. Matt. 88 also takes Joseph of Arimathea as a model of courage, risking enmity and death.
Suggit, «Nicodemus,» 100.
Cf. Jonge, Jesus, 29.
Pace Goulder, «Nicodemus,» Nicodemus is not negative throughout the Gospel; he grows closer to a disciple and further from the Jerusalem leaders (Dschulnigg, «Nikodemus»).
Washing the corpse was standard preburial practice in Mediterranean antiquity (e.g., Homer I1. 18.345, 350; 24.582; Euripides Phoen. 1667; Virgil Aen. 6.219; 9.487; Ovid Metam. 13.531–532; Apuleius Metam. 9.30; Acts 9:37), and anointing appears to be frequent as well (e.g., Homer I1. 18.350–351; 24.582; Virgil Aen. 6.219; Martial Epigr. 3.12; T. Ab. 20:11A); for ointments in embalming, e.g., Herodian 4.2.8; Hagner, Matthew, 758, cites P.Oxy. 736.13; Artemidorus 1.5; Gen 50LXX. For the practice in other cultures, see Mbiti, Religions, 329.
See Safrai, «Home,» 776–77, for samples of these.
Finegan, Archeology, 213. For information on wrapping in shrouds, see Safrai, «Home,» 777.
T. Ab. 20:10A; L.A.E. 48.1; Apoc. Mos. 40.1–3; b. Ber. 18b; cf. white wrappings in L.A.B. 64:6; Gen. Rab. 96:5.
Probably «bandages» as opposed to the Synoptic σιυδών (Mark 15:46; Matt 27:59; Luke 23:53), which indicates a shroud (Morris, John, 826 n. 110).
So Brown, John, 2:941–42.
E.g., Babinet, «Sindon.» Although the radiocarbon dating seems against it (Stanton, Gospel Truth, 119–20, noting the three independent carbon 14 tests, each claiming 95 percent certainty) and the colors are known from medieval artists' pigments (cf. Thompson, Debate, 238–43, who surveys both sides), traces of Palestinian plant fibers and early-first-century Judean burial customs suggest elements of accurate portrayal in the Shroud of Turin. For a thorough and well-documented survey of scientific data for the latter, as well as scientific evaluations on the contamination of the radiocarbon sample, see Borkan, «Authenticity.» If the Shroud dates from 1260 to 1390 as the radiocarbon tests suggest, it displays remarkable technology.
Thompson, Debate, 240; Ducatillon, «Linceu1.» In Death, 1264–65, Brown argues that the Synoptics probably think of a single cloth whereas John has multiple wrappings.
E.g., Virgil Aen. 6.224–225; Ovid Metam. 2.626. Aloe is a Semitic word used of perfume in the OT (Ps 45[45MT]; Prov 7:17; Song 4:14). Probably these came from the Aloe vera of southwestern Arabia (Hepper, «Aloes»).
Unlike the immortals' ambrosia in Greek myth (Homer 17. 19.37–39; 23.184–187; another temporary expedient in 23.188–191).
Spices would diminish the stench and could be sprinkled on the bier or burned during the funeral procession (Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 97–98), but were not used as preservatives. For the use of spices at funerals, see Josephus Ant. 17.199; War 1.673; m. Ber. 8:6; Safrai, «Home,» 776.
Cf. m. Sanh. 6:6; m. Pesah. 8:8; Móed Qat. 1:5; Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 28. For a possible contrast between ossuaries and Christian reliquaries, see McCane, «Bones.»
Weeden, Mark, 104.
Craig, "Tomb," 184.
Brown, John, 2:941.
Cf. Kruijf, «Hundredweight.»
Longenecker, Wine, 122.
Brown, Death, 1260; idem, 2:941.
Hunter, John, 182. That John specifically responds to this story is possible but not likely.
See Brown, Death, 1260–61, who also provides other texts.
Pace ibid., 1252. To bury Jesus in his own tomb fits the situation of haste and location but also suggests a special love normally reserved for family members or those equally esteemed (1 Kgs 13:30–31; cf. Gen 23).
Safrai, «Home,» 779–80.
Craig, "Rise?" 148.
For rabbinic regulations for new tombs, see b. Sanh. 47b. Καινός can often indicate «unused» (Barclay, «Man,» 76).
Brown, Death, 1268–70. See also Josephus Ant. 9.227; 10.46, following 2 Kgs 21:18, 26 (κήπος).
Bowman, Jews, 314.
Ellis, Genius, 247.
Safrai, «Home,» 779–80.
Reicke, Era, 187; Yamauchi, Stones, 112; Anderson, Mark, 351; cf. m. cErub. 1:7; Naz. 7:3; 'Oha1. 2:4. So commonly did Judeans use caves that Jewish immigrants in Rome probably adapted this idea in carving their subterranean catacombs (Leon, Jews, 54–55). That John can mention the stone in 20without prior introduction мая suggest his audiencés familiarity with the resurrection story (Blomberg, Reliability, 260); but it was also common on at least Judean tombs, though it might be less familiar in urban Asia Minor.
Thompson, Archaeology, 318; cf. examples in Cornfeld, Josephus, 283, 393. The use of heavy stones to cover an opening was ancient (Gen 29:8,10).
Thompson, Archaeology, 318–19; Lane, Mark, 581.
Some later rabbis opined that this decomposition effected atonement (b. Sanh. 47b). The «year» period for mourning also appears in some probably unrelated cultures (Mbiti, Religions, 197–98).
Hachlili, «Necropolis,» 239; idem, «Art and Architecture,» 127; Hachlili and Killebrew, «Customs,» suggest a window perhaps as narrow as 10–70 C.E. (cf. this older custom mentioned in p. Mo"ed Qat. 1:5, §§4–5). It is rare outside the Herodian and, irrelevant here, Chalcolithic periods (Silberman, «Ossuary»; Carmon, Inscriptions, 121); a major change occurred after the fall of Jerusalem (Goodenough, Symbols, 1:84–89; Safrai, «Home,» 780). But some evidence suggests a less significant use for more than a century later (Goodenough, Symbols, 1:114; cf. Rahmani, «Customs»; idem, «Remarks»). Palestinian Judaism in the Hasmonean period мая have already borrowed the custom of ossuaries from Roman secondary burial (of ashes in urns or boxes; Levine, Hellenism, 67; McCane, «Burial Practices,» 174). For Jewish loculi in Rome, cf. Leon, Jews, 59; for a broader sweep of archaeological data on Jewish burial customs, cf. Puech, «Nécropoles»; Goodenough, Symbols, 12:22–39.
McCane, «Burial Practices,» 174.
Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 98; Safrai, «Home,» 780–81, 786; Carmon, Inscriptions, 121.
Brown, Death, 1280–81.
Admittedly evidence for early veneration there is lacking, perhaps because the body was not there (Craig, «Rise?» 148–49, 152).
Tomb architecture changed radically after Jerusalem's fall (Goodenough, Symbols, 1:84–89), and the skull shape of the Protestant tomb is later than the first century (Brown, Death, 938–39).
See the full argument in comment on 19:17.
See further Keener, Matthew, 694; patrons would normally bury only members of their familia in their tombs, though this included their freedpersons (Jeffers, World, 45). John is the least clear of the Gospels on the tomb belonging to Joseph (19:41–42).
For Eusebius's report (believable in most of its details) that this was among the ludean holy sites desecrated by Hadrian (for whom Jewish and Christian holy sites were probably indistinguishable), see Finegan, Archeology, 164.
Talbert, John, 246, cites Eusebius Life of Constantine 3.26; Bordeaux Pilgrim; Cyril of Alexandria Catechetical Lectures 13.39; 14.5, 22; 18.
Bede Homilies on the Gospels 2.10 (trans. Oden and Hall, Mark, 243)