055 Commentary

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This page forms part of the resources for 055 Caesar and God in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

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Commentary

John Dominic Crossan

Crossan comments as follows [Historical Jesus] (352):

... like Jesus' own reaction [to opposition, hostility, and rejection] in [055 Caesar and God] [1/3]. When the questioners sought to trap him between refusing or advocating submission to Caesar's taxation, he simply pointed to Caesar's head on the coin they held in their hands and answered with a phrase that can be as absolutely superficial or as absolutely profound as one wishes to make it.



David Flusser

Flusser [Jesus(b)] (104f) comments:

Once again Jesus had succeeded in evading capture, while at the same time making his meaning unmistakably clear. One cannot serve two masters, God and mammon. Money comes from Caesar, and so it must be handed over to him. Quite certainly the saying did not express friendship toward the Romans, but it also showed that Jesus was no supporter of revolt against them. His ethical teaching made that impossible.



Jesus Seminar

The views of the Seminar on this item can be represented as follows:

  • Thom 100:1-3
  • Mark 12:17b
  • Matt 22:21c
  • Luke 20:25b
  • Thom 100:4
  • GEger 3a [50-57a]
  • Mark 12:15,16
  • Matt 22:18,20
  • Luke 20:24


The Seminar treated the core saying differently from the narrative frameworks found in its various versions. Only six other sayings scored a higher weighted average than this saying.


Tobias Lachs

Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament], (358f) comments as follows:

The image of Caesar was a point of irritation to the Jews, especially when it threatened to invade the Temple precincts ... As to the emperor's image on the coin, this did not raise such violent objections on the part of Jews, although they most assuredly found both his image and the tax itself objectionable. Only the most scrupulously pious avoided looking on the images on coins. It is related that R. Nahum b. Simlai was known for his holiness because "he never looked upon the form of a coin."



Gerd Lüdemann

Lüdemann [Jesus] (83) comments as follows:

The saying of Jesus around which the conversation has been conceived seems to be genuine. It is stamped by an accentuation of the first commandment. ... The saying is authentic because it reflects the tendency in the proclamation of Jesus to accentuate the law (criterion of coherence). At the same time, the criterion of difference applies, because in this saying there is none of the teaching about Christ which characterized the time after the 'resurrection.'



John P. Meier

Meier does not address the core saying in the first three volumes of [A Marginal Jew] although he refers to the pericope several times in discussions of sources and the historical opponents of Jesus.