Re: PISTIS in Josephus

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Thu Mar 18 1999 - 09:10:08 EST

>I've started reading Josephus to expand my Greek horizons and I've come
>across something interesting already. Josephus uses PISTIS in a political
>sense in terms of loyalty or allegiance to Rome. I'm wondering if this
>sense of allegiance would be the more prevalent sense of the word rather
>than belief or faith, or is this just a case of one word having more than
>one meaning depending on context?

I am not surprised at all by this. PISTIS h as a broad range of meanings.
In legal speeches it can mean "proof." In Epictetus it is used of the oath
that a Roman soldier took on entering the militaryk (reference from memory)
= sacramentum in Latin. It is used of fidelity, like EMUNAH in Hebrew. It
can mean trust.

Always to translate it faith, even in the NT, can lead to misinterpretation.

Edgar Krentz
Professor of New Testament Emeritus
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 E. 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615 USA
e-mail: (Office) (Home)

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