Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5

By Augustine; John W. Rettig | Go to book overview
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TRACTATE 114
On John 18.28-32

LET US NEXT SEE what was done with the Lord or concerning our Lord, Jesus Christ, before Pontius Pilate, the governor, as far as John the Evangelist indicates. For he returns to the place in his narrative where he had left it to give an account of the denial of Peter. For he had already said, "And Annas sent him bound to Caiphas, the high priest,"1. and from that point having returned where he had left Peter warming himself at the fire in the court, after he concluded his whole denial that occurred there, he says, "Then they led Jesus to Caiphas2. into the praetorium." For indeed [ John] had said that he was sent to Caiphas from Annas, his colleague and father-in-law. But if to Caiphas, why into the praetorium?3. For he intends nothing else to be understood than where the governor Pilate dwelt. Either therefore, for some pressing reason, Caiphas had proceeded from the house of Annas, where both had come for hearing Jesus, to the governor's praetorium, and left Jesus to be heard by his father-in- law, or Pilate had had his praetorium given to him in the house of Caiphas, and it was so big a house that it could hold its owner living in one part, and a judge in a separate part.

2. "Now it was morning, and they," that is, those who were leading Jesus, "went not into the praetorium," that is, into that part of the house which Pilate occupied, if this was the house

____________________
1.
Jn 18.24.
2.
Augustine's text reads ad Caipham, to Caiphas, rather than a Caipha, from Caiphas; the latter is more logical since the Jews would not enter the praetorium at the time of this important feast as the verse continues to point out (see section 2). He has the same reading in De Consensu Evangelistarum 3.7.27 ( PL 34.1174) where he gives the same explanation as here. In both Greek and Latin codices the variant readings occur, but "from Caiphas" is clearly preferable.
3.
The official praetorium of the procurator of Judaea was at Caesarea. This one at Jerusalem was a temporary residence and clearly in a building and not simply a tent. Its exact location is uncertain. See R. E. Brown, 29A.845.

-16-

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