Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation › Scientific
Something of an enigma surrounds the character and identity of Simon of Cyrene. Modern scholarship has portrayed Simon of Cyrene as a victim of imperial racism, a mock-lictor and most interestingly –and most frequently– as a surrogate-disciple. He is often characterized as a minor-character who fulfils the role of the ‘ideal’ disciple in contrast to the ‘real’ disciples: Simon carries Jesus’ cross (Mark 15:21; Matt 27:32; Luke 23:26) when all disciples have fled. This act is seen as a fulfilment of Jesus’ teaching of the discipleship requirement to carry one’s cross (Mark 8:34parr.; Matt 10:38/Luke 14:27). In particular, Luke seems to portray Simon as a disciple of Jesus, noting he went “behind” Jesus. Yet in a careful and detailed exegesis of the episode, I will show that Luke’s portrayal of Simon of Cyrene is not portraying him as a disciple, but that this episode fits the characterization of Jesus’ Passion in the ancient Graeco-Roman Noble Death tradition.