Cross-Bearing in Luke
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, No. 278


By Sverre Boe
August 2010
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
ISBN: 9783161504198
272 pages
$117.50 Paper original

Luke records twice how Jesus called on people to “take up” or “carry” their crosses. He also reports how Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross “behind Jesus.” No metaphorical uses of the well-known phenomenon of cross-bearing were confirmed in any language prior to the Gospels.

The idiom was also unknown in Semitic languages. What did a call to become a voluntary cross-bearer sound like before the cross became kitsch? In Luke’s Gospel, cross-bearing is connected with self-denial and “hating” one’s family. Not only the disciples, but “all” are called on to take up their crosses. Since cross-bearing is a daily duty, it can hardly refer to martyrdom, and cannot be linked to imitation. Sverre Bøe argues that the cross signifies death through radical self-denial, but not as ascetic exercises. His book includes a survey of the history of scholarship on the five Synoptic texts of cross-bearing.

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