What’s it mean to be a king? In the study of New Testament, we encounter a lot of language about kingship.

Linguistically, we can think of the languages in use in the Early Roman period and the terms they provide for thinking about kingship.

The Greek term basileus is used in the New Testament itself (and elsewhere in Hellenistic Greek writing) to talk about a king. The mythical creature known as a basilisk is so named because it is the king of the reptiles, armed with a deadly stare.

The mouth of a basilisk (giant snake) from Harry Potter flanked by two snake head statues on each side.

In Latin, the term rex is used for king. But you likely already knew this because of your familiarity with the Tyrannosaurs Rex, the tyrant lizard king.

Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park

In both cases, we get the sense that a king is a mighty leader.

We are also introduced to some ancillary or related terms, too. For instance, we’ve talked about the Greek epitaph Ho Megas, “the great,” as in Herod the Great or Alexander the Great. It signifies someone’s major deeds.

And we’ve talked about “Augustus,” the name that Octavian was given during his rise to power in Rome.  Augustus in Latin refers to one gains a lot, improves a lot, or makes better. (Kind of like “extra.”)

Lastly, I want to bring up the Hebrew/Aramaic term moshiach, “Messiah.” We’ve already discussed this notion of anointing and how Christ is the Greek word for this term.

In the Gospel of Mathew, the notion of kingship gets meted out through an engagement of all of these concepts. And at the same time, these are put in comparison to “a mustard seed” and other curious metaphors.

In preparation for your seminar discussion, please write a 250-350 word essay that articulates your understanding of how Matthew contrasts each of these notions of kingship in relation to Matthew 13. Please limit yourselves to prior course readings from our textbook, class notes, and the biblical text.