Mocking Jesus!

TaborBlog | 12/9/2018 | Staff
monnamonna (Posted by) Level 3
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My wife Lori often offers comments on my various blog posts, articles, and papers, as one “outside the field,” so to speak. Her field is English Literature but more often than not she sees things that I have missed. Sometimes we who are the so-called “experts” in our fields are too close and miss the forest for the trees.

The Crucifixion of Jesus and His “Royal Attendants” on the Mt of Olives. Painted by Balage Balogh.

Example - Paper - Messiahs - Pedigrees - Maccabees

For example, she was reading my paper “One, Two, or Three Messiahs: Dynastic and Priestly Pedigrees from the Maccabees to Masada,” and she made a most interesting observation. Given the notion of the three figures–with Jesus’ disciples asking about sitting at his “right and left hand” in his glorious kingdom, isn’t it likely that the Romans intended the two others crucified with Jesus, one on the right, the other on the left, to be a way of mocking him as “King of the Jews”? We know this idea is exceptionally wide-spread in Jewish texts of the period, including the more recently discovered, Dead Sea Scrolls. You can find a compilation of the major sources here.

Anyway, notice carefully the language of these two passages in Mark:

Parallel - Verses - Mark - Romans - Behold

It is hard to miss the parallel between these verses in Mark. It was as if the Romans would be saying, Behold your King! He is “reigning” on a cross, with his vice-regents at his right and left hand in his “glory.” Thus the mocking salutations (Hail King of the Jews!) and the pantomine (reed scepter, crown of thorns, and purple robe), are carried out just before Jesus is led out to be crucified (Mark 15:16-20). Although these two men are commonly described as “thieves” in our English translations that is most misleading. The Greek word, lestes(ληστής), is regularly used by Josephus,...
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