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Jesus’ Socratic Trial and Pilate’s Confession in Nonnus’ Paraphrasis of St John’s Gospel

Lefteratou, Anna

In: Millennium, 19 (2022), Nr. 1. pp. 219-245. ISSN 1867-030X (Druck-Ausg.); 1867-0318 (Online-Ausg.)

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Abstract: This article argues that the Paraphrasis of St John’s Gospel by Nonnus offers a response to late antique concerns as to why the salvific message of Jesus failed to be recognised by authorities of the Roman Empire in the Gospels. By reworking the portrait of Pilate found in John’s Gospel, Nonnus transforms the governor into an unambiguously late antique pepaideumenos, one who ultimately participates in the promulgation of Christian salvation and truth. The analysis shows that Nonnus accomplishes this portrait through the use of Homeric parallels and allusions to Plato’s Apology of Socrates, which transform Jesus’ trial before Pilate from John 18 into a philosophical dialogue about justice, kingship, and truth. The poem invites its late antique audience to better identify with Pilate and to see his inscription of the title (titulus) on Jesus’ cross as an early gentile confession of faith, ultimately making Pilate into an apostle avant-la-lettre and rehabilitating the role of Rome vis-à-vis Christianity for late antique audiences.¹

Document type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Millennium
Volume: 19
Number: 1
Publisher: de Gruyter
Place of Publication: Berlin [u.a.]
Edition: Zweitveröffentlichung
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2023 14:35
Date: 2022
ISSN: 1867-030X (Druck-Ausg.); 1867-0318 (Online-Ausg.)
Page Range: pp. 219-245
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Seminar für klassische Philologie
DDC-classification: 100 Philosophy
220 Bible
Additional Information: Dieser Beitrag ist aufgrund einer (DFG-geförderten) Allianz bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich. *** This publication is freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
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