The Governor and the King
Irony, Hidden Transcripts, and Negotiating Empire in the Fourth Gospel
- ISBN: 9781532649936
- Published By: Wipf and Stock
- Published: April 2019
The Fourth Gospel is a political document. Although it has often been interpreted primarily as a “spiritual gospel,” it has much to offer readers engaged in the difficult task of negotiating life lived under the dominion of empire, whether in the first or twenty-first century. This book gives careful attention to the political dimensions of the Gospel’s Passion Narrative, including the arrest scene (18:1–12), the Roman show trial (18:28—19:16), and the crucifixion and burial of Jesus (19:16–40). It employs James C. Scott’s model of hidden transcripts and examines the Fourth Gospel’s use of irony as it seeks to understand the political dimensions of the Fourth Gospel and its relationship to the Roman Empire.
In this book, Wright argues that the Passion Narrative displays part of a Johannine hidden transcript that resists, contests, and at times mimics elements of Roman imperial power. The Gospel mocks the representatives of Rome, including Pilate, the Roman soldiers, and the Jewish authorities, eroding confidence in the empire and its agents. It also subverts Roman imperial claims of dominance, authority, and power. As such, the Fourth Gospel fosters an alternative worldview and community, one centered on faith in the sovereignty of Jesus and Israel’s God.