John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

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ghost
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John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by ghost » Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:22 am

Caesar is indeed said to have said he's not king but Caesar. How would you check whether this parallel is valid?

App. BC 2.16.108
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... tion%3D108
Some others who met him at the city gates as he was returning from some place greeted him as king, and when the people groaned, he said with happy readiness to those who had thus saluted him, "I am no king, I am Cæsar," as though they had mistaken his name.
Plut. Caes. 60
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... apter%3D60
[2] and as Caesar was coming down from Alba into the city they ventured to hail him as king. But at this the people were confounded, and Caesar, disturbed in mind, said that his name was not King, but Caesar, and seeing that his words produced an universal silence, he passed on with no very cheerful or contented looks.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... hn+19%3A15
http://biblehub.com/john/19-15.htm

InsiderHeadline
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by InsiderHeadline » Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:07 am

Caesar was more powerful and faithful, he definitely states it by this sentence

PhilosopherJay
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by PhilosopherJay » Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:18 pm

Hi Ghost,

Good catch.

I think the phrase formation is too similar to be just a coincidence. There is definitely a connection. Exactly how is the question.

Warmly,

Jay Raskin

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MrMacSon
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:15 am

Reference to king may be reference to King of the Jews, or another theocratic ruler?

PhilosopherJay
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by PhilosopherJay » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:01 am

Hi All,

What I think is important here is that the statement was considered a major faux pas on the part of Julius Caesar.
App. BC 2.16.108
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... tion%3D108

Some others who met him at the city gates as he was returning from some place greeted him as king, and when the people groaned, he said with happy readiness to those who had thus saluted him, "I am no king, I am Cæsar," as though they had mistaken his name. The attendants of Marullus found out which man began the shouting and ordered the officers to bring him to trial before his tribunal. Cæsar was at last vexed and accused the faction of Marullus before the Senate of conspiring to make him odious by artfully accusing him of aiming at royalty. He added that they were deserving of death, but that it would be sufficient if they were deprived of their office and expelled from the Senate. Thus he confirmed the suspicion that he desired the title, and that he was privy to the attempts to confer it upon him, and that his tyranny was already complete;

Plut. Caes. 60
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... apter%3D60

[2] and as Caesar was coming down from Alba into the city they ventured to hail him as king. But at this the people were confounded, and Caesar, disturbed in mind, said that his name was not King, but Caesar, and seeing that his words produced an universal silence, he passed on with no very cheerful or contented looks.
It appears the mistake that Caesar made was not denying the role of king. The Romans had hated kings since disposing of their last king Tarquin in 509. Instead of saying, I am not your king, as he should have done, he said, "I am not King, but Caesar." This made it appear that he was not denying his kingship, but only wishing to be called Caesar, instead of King. We should remember that Caesar was not a title until the time of Augustus.

According to a website called Male Latin Names, the name Caesar means "Severed" [from Male Latin Names at http://www.20000-names.com/male_latin_names_02.htm
CÆSAR: Ancient Roman Latin name meaning "severed." In the bible, this is the surname of Julius Caesar, which adopted by Octavius Augustus and his successors afterwards became a title, and was appointed by the Roman emperors as part of their title.]

However, Wikipedia (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaius_Iuli ... %28name%29) offers four definitions of the name, all of which is uncertain:
The original meaning of the name is unknown. The four most common derivations of the cognomen "Caesar" are given by the writer of the Historia Augusta:[8]
from caesaries, 'hair', because the founder of this branch of the family was born with a full head of hair. (Ironic, if true, because Julius Caesar himself was balding in later life.) This is the etymology favored by Festus.
from caesius, an eye color variously translated today as 'grey', 'blue-grey', and even 'blue'. (Julius Caesar himself had brown eyes.[9])
from caesum, 'cut out', because the first Caesar was cut from his mother's womb (see Caesarean section). This is the etymology favored by Pliny the Elder.[10] (Julius Caesar himself could not have been so delivered, because this dangerous operation was normally done only upon a dead woman, and his mother was known to have lived for many years after his birth.[11])
from caesai, a "Moorish" (maybe Punic) word for "elephant" because the first Caesar had killed such a beast in battle. This is the etymology favored by Gaius Julius Caesar himself.
The Jewish leaders saying "We have no King, but Caesar" would bring to mind the arrogance and ignorance of Julius Caesar in declaring the name "Caesar" equivalent to "King"
Perhaps it was meant to indicate the stupidity of the Jewish leaders in not denying Jesus as king, but accidentally calling him Caesar instead. Without a firm date for the writing of the text, a precise meaning of the line is difficult to know.

Warmly,

Jay Raskin

maryhelena
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by maryhelena » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:59 am

PhilosopherJay wrote:Hi All,

What I think is important here is that the statement was considered a major faux pas on the part of Julius Caesar.
App. BC 2.16.108
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... tion%3D108

Some others who met him at the city gates as he was returning from some place greeted him as king, and when the people groaned, he said with happy readiness to those who had thus saluted him, "I am no king, I am Cæsar," as though they had mistaken his name. The attendants of Marullus found out which man began the shouting and ordered the officers to bring him to trial before his tribunal. Cæsar was at last vexed and accused the faction of Marullus before the Senate of conspiring to make him odious by artfully accusing him of aiming at royalty. He added that they were deserving of death, but that it would be sufficient if they were deprived of their office and expelled from the Senate. Thus he confirmed the suspicion that he desired the title, and that he was privy to the attempts to confer it upon him, and that his tyranny was already complete;

Plut. Caes. 60
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... apter%3D60

[2] and as Caesar was coming down from Alba into the city they ventured to hail him as king. But at this the people were confounded, and Caesar, disturbed in mind, said that his name was not King, but Caesar, and seeing that his words produced an universal silence, he passed on with no very cheerful or contented looks.
It appears the mistake that Caesar made was not denying the role of king. The Romans had hated kings since disposing of their last king Tarquin in 509. Instead of saying, I am not your king, as he should have done, he said, "I am not King, but Caesar." This made it appear that he was not denying his kingship, but only wishing to be called Caesar, instead of King. We should remember that Caesar was not a title until the time of Augustus.

According to a website called Male Latin Names, the name Caesar means "Severed" [from Male Latin Names at http://www.20000-names.com/male_latin_names_02.htm
CÆSAR: Ancient Roman Latin name meaning "severed." In the bible, this is the surname of Julius Caesar, which adopted by Octavius Augustus and his successors afterwards became a title, and was appointed by the Roman emperors as part of their title.]

However, Wikipedia (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaius_Iuli ... %28name%29) offers four definitions of the name, all of which is uncertain:
The original meaning of the name is unknown. The four most common derivations of the cognomen "Caesar" are given by the writer of the Historia Augusta:[8]
from caesaries, 'hair', because the founder of this branch of the family was born with a full head of hair. (Ironic, if true, because Julius Caesar himself was balding in later life.) This is the etymology favored by Festus.
from caesius, an eye color variously translated today as 'grey', 'blue-grey', and even 'blue'. (Julius Caesar himself had brown eyes.[9])
from caesum, 'cut out', because the first Caesar was cut from his mother's womb (see Caesarean section). This is the etymology favored by Pliny the Elder.[10] (Julius Caesar himself could not have been so delivered, because this dangerous operation was normally done only upon a dead woman, and his mother was known to have lived for many years after his birth.[11])
from caesai, a "Moorish" (maybe Punic) word for "elephant" because the first Caesar had killed such a beast in battle. This is the etymology favored by Gaius Julius Caesar himself.
The Jewish leaders saying "We have no King, but Caesar" would bring to mind the arrogance and ignorance of Julius Caesar in declaring the name "Caesar" equivalent to "King"
Perhaps it was meant to indicate the stupidity of the Jewish leaders in not denying Jesus as king, but accidentally calling him Caesar instead. Without a firm date for the writing of the text, a precise meaning of the line is difficult to know.

Warmly,

Jay Raskin
Rather than putting negativity on Jewish leaders - I'm now in the habit of reading Herodian Jews when Jews get a bad rap in the gospel story. A Herodian Jew would easily voice such a sentiment - "we have no King but Caesar". After all, it was Rome that appointed Herod as King in 40 b.c.e. After Herod's death no son of his held the title of King - Herodian Jews falling back on Caesar as their King. No Herodian Jew is going to give a Jewish messiah figure the time of day...... ;)
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

RecoveringScot
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by RecoveringScot » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:45 am

Also notice in John the reference to 'friend of Caesar'. Not really appropriate for Pilate (who owed a duty to Caesar by his gubernatorial status), but spot-on for a King Agrippa (whose coins had the word 'philokaisar' on them, that is 'lover (or friend) of Caesar),as did Herod the Great's I believe. However I favour his grandson or great-grandson for the culprit.

Charles Wilson
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by Charles Wilson » Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:56 am

maryhelena wrote:Rather than putting negativity on Jewish leaders - I'm now in the habit of reading Herodian Jews when Jews get a bad rap in the gospel story. A Herodian Jew would easily voice such a sentiment - "we have no King but Caesar". After all, it was Rome that appointed Herod as King in 40 b.c.e. After Herod's death no son of his held the title of King - Herodian Jews falling back on Caesar as their King. No Herodian Jew is going to give a Jewish messiah figure the time of day...... ;)
MH-

I believe you are correct here. There are those who argue that Herod was "Procurator of the Syrians" but consider the Key Scene at the meeting of the Jewish Leaders with Caesar:

Antiquities..., 17, 11, 2 and 4:

"Now upon the liberty that was given to the Jewish ambassadors to speak, they who hoped to obtain a dissolution of kingly government betook themselves to accuse Herod of his iniquities; and they declared that he was indeed in name a king, but that he had taken to himself that uncontrollable authority which tyrants exercise over their subjects...
...
"that it was for this reason that they thought they might justly and gladly salute Archelaus as king, upon this supposition, that whosoever should be set over their kingdom, he would appear more mild to them than Herod had been...since the power of disposing of it belonged to Caesar, who could either give it to him or not, as he pleased...
...
"When Caesar had heard these pleadings, he dissolved the assembly; but a few days afterwards he appointed Archelaus, not indeed to be king of the whole country, but ethnarch of the one half of that which had been subject to Herod...

Our ol' friend Nicholas of Damascus stands up and states that Herod was in his proper senses:

Wars..., 2, 2, 6:

"Then stood up Nicolaus to plead for Archelaus. He alleged that the slaughter in the temple could not be avoided; that those that were slain were become enemies not to Archelaus's kingdom, only, but to Caesar, who was to determine about him. He also demonstrated that Archelaus's accusers had advised him to perpetrate other things of which he might have been accused. But he insisted that the latter testament should, for this reason, above all others, be esteemed valid, because Herod had therein appointed Caesar to be the person who should confirm the succession; for he who showed such prudence as to recede from his own power, and yield it up to the lord of the world, cannot be supposed mistaken in his judgment about him that was to be his heir; and he that so well knew whom to choose for arbitrator of the succession could not be unacquainted with him whom he chose for his successor..."

This leads to Jay's excellent points:
PhilosopherJay wrote:It appears the mistake that Caesar made was not denying the role of king. The Romans had hated kings since disposing of their last king Tarquin in 509. Instead of saying, I am not your king, as he should have done, he said, "I am not King, but Caesar." This made it appear that he was not denying his kingship, but only wishing to be called Caesar, instead of King. We should remember that Caesar was not a title until the time of Augustus.
Perhaps,"Hey, I'm not the King of Baseball...I'm Babe Ruth". Or, as the Physicist Richard Feynman said, "I'm no Dirac..." Clearly someone is telling this tale of JC for effect. Someone in Rome and for Rome. Screw the Provinces.
The Jewish leaders saying "We have no King, but Caesar" would bring to mind the arrogance and ignorance of Julius Caesar in declaring the name "Caesar" equivalent to "King"
Perhaps it was meant to indicate the stupidity of the Jewish leaders in not denying Jesus as king, but accidentally calling him Caesar instead. Without a firm date for the writing of the text, a precise meaning of the line is difficult to know.
I believe that there is historical information being passed on here. The Title "King" is given to the Ruler of the Jews - Herod - by use if not by authorization. We could argue that one would or would not have been thrown in the dungeon if one did not scream, "Long Live King Herod!" at the appropriate moment as he passed by but clearly this changes at his death. Herod leaves the decision of succession to the Lord of the World and the intent is VERY clear. This Historicism means that after the death of Herod, to the Romans and the functioning bureaucracy in Judea, "There is no King but Caesar".

As the years go by, however, and the succession of Caesars begins, "The Lord of the World" changes meanings. "OF COURSE there is no King but Caesar! How could it be possible to think otherwise?" The reduction of the Kingdom of Judea (and Greater Israel!) ends in the absorption into the Empire. This implies, Jay, that although your request for a "firm date" for this may not be had, there is a range and, at the earliest, 4 BCE would be it. I believe that it is very natural for the date to be 8/9 CE for reasons outlined many times earlier but whatever time is appropriate, it cannot be much later than 10 - 20 CE.

That also implies that Maryhelena's demands to look to the Hasmoneans is very good advice. THEY could have provided Kingship and High Priests (See Revelation 5: 10). They are a challenge to the Romans and must be crushed.

'N that means that the Time Line for a Meaning in the NT for "We have no King but Caesar" is limited to just a few years.

CW

PhilosopherJay
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by PhilosopherJay » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:27 pm

Hi CW and Mary Helena,

Julius Caesar must have said his "I am not King, but Ceasar" line around 44 B.C.E. shortly before his assassination. Enemies of Julius Caesar probably spread the line to show that he considered himself a king in all but name. It appears to me that the text, by putting the words in the mouths of the Herodian Jewish leaders wouild be making some kind of statement about them and perhaps their blind allegiance to Caesar. One would have expected the Jews to say, "We have no king, but God." By substituting Caesar for God, the Jewish leaders are made to ridicule themselves.
If this is a reference to Caesar's saying, and I think it is, we can place it around the time of the trial of Antigonus, who was tried and executed just 8 years after Caesar's statement in 37 B.C.E.
If we take it much later than 37 B.C.E., then the reference to Caesar's famous faux pas would not have made sense. After the name of Caesar started to be used as a title meaning essentially "king," probably in the time of Tiberius, it would not have been funny. Comic punchlines last for ten or twenty years, but are then forgotten. Writers can still use the Bush saying about searching for weapons of mass destruction or "I am the decider" and be sure that most of their audience will understand the reference. However, I do not think that Clinton's "I did not inhale" joke from 22 years ago would be recognized by most audiences today.

Warmly,

Jay Raskin
Last edited by PhilosopherJay on Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

maryhelena
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Re: John 19:15 "no king but Caesar"

Post by maryhelena » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:45 pm

PhilosopherJay wrote:Hi CW and Mary Helena,

Julius Caesar must have said his "I am not King, but Ceasar" line around 44 B.C.E. shortly before his assassination. Enemies of Julius Caesar probably spread the line to show that he considered himself a king in all but name. It appears to me that the text, by putting the words in the mouths of the Herodian Jewish leaders wouild be making some kind of statement about them and perhaps their blind allegiance to Caesar. One would have expected the Jews to says, "We have no king, but God." By substituting Caesar for God, the Jewish leaders are made to ridicule themselves.
If this is a reference to Caesar's saying, and I think it is, we can place it around the time of the trial of Antigonus, who was tried and executed just 8 years after Caesar's statement in 37 B.C.E.
If we take it much later than 37 B.C.E., then the reference to Caesar's famous faux pas would not have made sense. After the name of Caesar started to be used as a title meaning essentially "king," probably in the time of Tiberius, it would not have been funny. Comic punchlines last for ten or twenty years, but are then forgotten. Writers can still use the Bush saying about searching for weapons of mass destruction or "I am the decider" and be sure that most of their audience will understand the reference. However, I do not think that Clinton's "I did not inhale" joke from 22 years ago would be recognized by most audiences today.

Warmly,

Jay Raskin
Hi, PhilosopherJay

Nice tie-in of the 'no king but Caesar' with the Roman saying attributed to Julius Caesar. Placing the relevance of the gospel saying to the time of Antigonus in 37 b.c.e., leads, of course, to the execution of Antigonus being relevant to the gospel writers in their creation of the Jesus Passion Story. The gospel Jesus execution story being a flash-back to the events of 37 b.c.e. when the last King and High Priest of the Jews was executed by the Romans.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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