Re: The 600 soldiers in John's gospel?

From: Kevin W. Woodruff (
Date: Thu Oct 31 1996 - 13:30:14 EST

Dear Timothy:

The word that is used (SPEIRA) was used to translate the Latin term _cohort_
which was the tenth part of a legion in the Roman army, which numbered at
6000 men. Bauer, Ardnt, Gingrinch and Danker say that the SPEIRA normally
consisted of 600 men but that the number varied.

At 10:45 AM 10/31/96 -0800, you wrote:
>Dear Friends at B-Greek,
> Today my question is from the Gospel of John 18:4-6. Don Dominic
>Crossan in a debate with Luke Johnson(See above URL) said the following
>regarding when Jesus was arrested.
> We call it the Agony in the Garden but there is no Garden in Mark and
>no Agony in John. In Mark it is Jesus who is prostrate on the ground
>(14:33-35), who asks if the cup of suffering could be avoided although
>he is willing to accept it if necessary (14:35-37), and who watches
>his disciples abandon him and flee (14:50-52). In John it is the full
>600 soldiers of Jerusalem's
> auxiliary cohort who are prostrate on the ground (18:4-6),. . . .
>Crossan's statement is interesting becuase when I read it in the GNT,
>the word for 'cohort' denotoes a small band or amry even, but my
>question is how does Crossan know that the 'cohort' consists of 600? I
>did not find an entry in Liddel-Scott-Jones that mentions '600.'
>PS Please reply back to me personally, since I am not on B-Greek but

Kevin W. Woodruff
Reference Librarian
Cierpke Memorial Library
Temple Baptist Seminary
Tennessee Temple University
1815 Union Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37404
423/493-4252 (phone) 423/493-4497 (FAX)

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