The Collapse of Society in Luke 23: A Thucydidean Take on Jesus’ Passion
Στάσις is an important theme in Luke-Acts, but one that remains understudied. Many Lukan scholars equate στάσις with Roman seditio or treason, thereby overlooking the rich philosophical reflection on στάσις in Greek political thought. In this article, I analyse Luke's use of the concept of στάσις in his depiction of Jesus’ trial against the background of Thucydides’ model of στάσις in book 3 of his history. Thucydides’ reflections on στάσις were highly influential for later historians such as Josephus, and I argue that Luke too employs the common topos of στάσις as a violent internal conflict and not an act of rebellion or insurrection to reveal how the conflict between Jesus and his opponents is symptomatic of a deeper inversion of social bonds and language within a community. He does this, I argue, to set the stage for the story of Acts where στάσεις erupt throughout the Empire wherever the gospel is preached.
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