‘Doing evil’ as maiestas in John 18.30

Journal article


Wassell, Blake. (2020). ‘Doing evil’ as maiestas in John 18.30. Journal for the Study of the New Testament. 42(3), pp. 325-349. https://doi.org/10.1177/0142064X19890506
AuthorsWassell, Blake
Abstract

The argument of this article is that in Jn 18.30 Jesus is accused of ‘doing evil’ to Caesar – or maiestas. Johannine critics sometimes mention maiestas, but they have neither introduced the ancient and modern literature on the topic nor applied it to the interpretation of the accusation against Jesus in John’s gospel. Horace, Velleius Paterculus, the senatus consultum de Cn. Pisone patre and Suetonius, as well as various treaties and edicts, demonstrate the transference of maiestas from Rome to Caesar. So instead of slandering the people, the crime of maiestas became slandering the emperor. If an author such as Josephus seems, in his own way, to intimate the crime, then so also may John. And if ‘doing evil’ means maiestas, then Jn 18.30 fits more comfortably not only with the wider first century, but also the wider Johannine narrative.

KeywordsJohn 18.30; maiestas; Rome; Caesar; Tiberius; Josephus
Year2020
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Journal citation42 (3), pp. 325-349
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN0142-064X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0142064X19890506
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85081373498
Page range325-349
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online02 Mar 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Oct 2022
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