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[XTalk] Re: The Mocking

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  • David Gowler
    ... From: Andrew Smith To: crosstalk2@egroups.com Date: Sunday, October 24, 1999 5:20 PM Subject: [XTalk] The
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 24, 1999
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      The Mocking
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Andrew Smith <asmith@...>
      To: crosstalk2@egroups.com <crosstalk2@egroups.com>
      Date: Sunday, October 24, 1999 5:20 PM
      Subject: [XTalk] The Mocking

      I came across the following passage recently.

      "...Carvings in the pavement at the foot of the troops' stairways [have been
      found]. Among a variety of knuckleboards and hopscotch designs covering
      several flagstones there are the following signs: the 'B' for Basilicus,
      meaning 'king', a rough and prickly crown, and finally a sceptre. This is
      evidence for a game called 'king' described by Plautus as derived from the
      Saturnalia, in which a burlesque king is chosen, mockingly honoured and
      saluted, before being killed. So in the crucifixion squad, each soldier
      would adopt as his stake one of the condemned prisoners. The winner in the
      game of bones would crown his own 'stake' with a crown of thorns in a
      mocking guardroom ceremony. The king thus crowned would receive his
      soldier's homage, his swagger stick as sceptre and his military cloak as a
      royal robe. All the guardroom would hail him as 'Basilicus Judaiorum.' This
      indeed gives meaning to the gospel account of the mocking."

      from Who's Who in the NT by Ronald Brownrigg

      It's difficult to tell which parts are the author's reconstruction and which parts come from Plautus. Could anyone give me the reference to the passage from Plautus? The author gives no references. If his account is reliable it's difficult to see why more hasn't been made of this.

      Could anyone give me some help on this?
      My references are at the college, so this is off the top of my head.
      Look at Raymond Brown's. _The Death of the Messiah_.  He deals with the Saturnalia, mocking, "king for a day," etc. explicitly.  Also, check our Vernon Robbins's article on the crucifixion in Mark (about the reverse contextualization of Ps 22, etc.).   He cites some interesting comparative texts.  Both should mention Plautus, but I can't recall whether they do for sure.  What you quote above seems to go well beyond what Brown and Robbins note, though.
      Some interesting work could be done here utilizing Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of the "carnivalesque."  He argues that it has its roots in the Saturnalia and is reflected in the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion. 
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