Was Jesus’ crown of thorns a mockering in parody to the “radiate crowns” with spikey points which seem to ascribe divine qualities to a ruler? Larry Hurtado has a thought on that which is quite fetching.
At our recent day-conference on ancient coinage, one speaker noted the depiction of rulers as wearing a “radiate crown,” a crown with spikey points that seems intended to ascribe the ruler with divine qualities. You can see examples on coins here.
Many years ago, H. St. J. Hart proposed that the “thorny crown” placed on Jesus’ head by the Roman soldiers in the Gospels accounts was one made to mock Jesus more than particularly to inflict pain: “The Crown of Thorns in John 19, 2-5,” Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 3 (1952): 66-75. Hart’s article includes plates of coins depicting various forms of the radiant crown, and he explored also the types of plants whose spikey leaves may have been used for the crown placed on Jesus’ head. Shortly thereafter, Campbell Bonner published an article giving further support to Hart’s proposal: “The Crown of Thorns,” Harvard Theological Review 46 (1953): …
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