The Gospel of St John in Literature
‘Idou ho anthropos’ (Latin Ecce homo, ‘Behold the man’) are the words used by Pilate in presenting Jesus to the Jews, bound, scourged, crowned with thorns, and wearing a purple robe (John 19:15). Most interpreters of Pilate’s laconic statement have taken Ecce homo to mean, ‘Here is the poor fellow!’, the speaker’s rhetoric having the purpose of eliciting pity from the spectators, or contemptuously ridiculing the Jews for taking such a lowly and risible figure’s claim to kingship over them so seriously, or provoking them into demanding Christ’s release. Among those exegetes interested in drawing out the theological implications of Pilate’s pronouncement, some suggest that John here emphasizes the incarnation (‘the man’ reflects the messianic title ‘Son of man’), while others equate the ‘man of sorrows’ (Isaiah 53:3) with Jesus in his humanity (The Gospel According to John, xiii–xxi, Anchor Bible, 1970, 876).
KeywordsMajor Character Paradise Lost Medieval Literature Canterbury Tale Literary Allusion
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