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SUPERSCRIPTION (sū'pêr-skrĭp’shŭn, Gr. epigraphē, an inscription—so rsv, niv)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


(1) The legend on a coin designating the person in whose honor or by whose authority it is issued (Mt 22:20; Mr 12:16; Lu 20:24).

(2) The accusation on the cross of Jesus (Mr 15:26; Lu 23:38). According to Roman custom an inscription bearing the charge or ground of a criminal’s condemnation was fixed to the cross on which he was crucified. The use of such an inscription at the crucifixion of Jesus is mentioned by all four evangelists. The fullest description is that of Mark, "the superscription of his accusation" (he epigraphe tes aitias autou) (15:26). Matthew calls it more briefly "his accusation" (ten aitian autou) (27:38), while Luke styles it merely "a superscription" (epigraphe) (23:38). In the Fourth Gospel it is called a "title" (titlon) (Joh 19:19). The text of the superscription is given by the four evangelists in varying terms and with various degrees of fullness.

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  • Inscriptions
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