About the Author(s)

Ernest van Eck Email symbol
Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Robert J. van Niekerk symbol
Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Van Eck, E. & Van Niekerk, R.J., 2018, ‘The Samaritan “brought him to an inn”: Revisiting πανδοχεῖον in Luke 10:34’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 74(4), a5195. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i4.5195

Research Project Registration:

Project Leader: E. van Eck

Project Number: 2400030

Description: Robert van Niekerk is participating in the research project ‘Hermeneutics and Exegesis’, directed by Prof. Dr Ernest van Eck, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Original Research

The Samaritan ‘brought him to an inn’: Revisiting πανδοχεῖον in Luke 10:34

Ernest van Eck, Robert J. van Niekerk

Received: 20 July 2018; Accepted: 12 Aug. 2018; Published: 14 Nov. 2018

Copyright: © 2018. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This article traces the meaning of κατάλυμά and πανδοχεῖον in available Roman-Egypt papyri, the LXX, early-Jewish literature, and Greek writings to determine the meaning of πανδοχεῖον [inn] used in Luke 10:34. It is argued that a lexical study of κατάλυμά and πανδοχεῖον and available information on travel in the ancient world indicate that there is no evidence for the so-called non-commercial inns in the ancient world and that commercial inns and innkeepers, in principle, were all ‘bad’. In conclusion, the implications of this understanding of πανδοχεῖον and πανδοκεύς (Lk 10:34, 35) for the possible intended meaning of the parable are discussed, a conclusion that begs further research regarding the identity of the protagonist in the parable.


It is all about the Samaritan

The interpretation of the parable of the Samaritan is well presented in parable research. In most interpretations, the focus of interpretation is on the actions of the Samaritan (Lk 10:33–35) vis-à-vis the actions of the priest and Levite (see Lk 10:31 and 32, respectively); the Samaritan, a bad character,1 surprisingly turns out to be the hero of the story. As a consequence of this focus, the ‘meaning’ or ‘moral’ of the parable is also found in the actions and character of the Samaritan. Crossan’s (2012:59–64) interpretation is more or less representative of this ‘stock interpretation’: within its cultural, social, political and religious context, the parable is about ‘good’ people (Levite and priest) who fail to help, and one of the ‘bad’ people (a Samaritan) who helps. In the parable, bad turns into good – ‘a cultural paradox, a social contradiction in terms’ (Crossan 2012:60).

Because of this focus in the interpretation of the parable, and its consequential meaning, not many interpreters have focused on two other aspects of the parable, namely, the inn and the innkeeper (respectively Lk 10:33 and 34–35; see Longenecker 2009:427; Oakman 2008:173). In most cases, because of the focus on the Samaritan, nothing is made of the inn to which the wounded man is taken, as is the case with the innkeeper in whose care the wounded man is left.2 For many, the inn and the figure of the innkeeper simply do not play any role in the meaning of the parable.

It is also about the inn and innkeeper

In a few cases, some interpreters of the Samaritan give attention to the inn and innkeeper in the parable, either believing that these two aspects of the parable do not play a role in the meaning of the parable, and if they do, the role of the inn and innkeeper is to highlight the actions of the Samaritan. Scott (1989:200, n. 53), for example, states that innkeepers were not well noted for exemplary behaviour,3 but makes nothing of this remark in his interpretation of the parable. Snodgrass (2008:347), as a second example, states that although inns were dangerous places, few options existed for travellers who needed lodging. Travellers, including Jews (including scrupulous Jews), therefore frequently stayed in inns.4 These remarks, however, play no role in his interpretation of the parable. Blomberg (2012:296) mentions that innkeepers were often nefarious characters and links this trait of innkeepers to the surprising care lavished on the victim by the Samaritan. Donahue (1988:133), in his interpretation of the exceptional actions of the Samaritan, refers to a law of the time which stated that a person with an unpaid debt could be enslaved until the debt was paid. This, he argues, was the situation of the injured man when left behind at the mercy of an innkeeper, ‘a profession that had a bad reputation in antiquity for dishonesty and violence’ (Donahue 1988:133). However, by entering into a contract with the innkeeper to pay for the other bills the injured man may incur, the Samaritan assures his freedom and independence. Thus, again, the focus is on the good Samaritan, this time in relation to a ‘bad’ innkeeper (see also McCracken 1994:138).5

A few interpreters of the parable, however, believe that the inn and innkeeper in the parable, as tropes of the negative, play an important role in the intended meaning of the parable. According to Zimmermann (2015:310–312; see also Zimmermann 2007:545–546), the importance of the inn and innkeeper with regard to the meaning of the parable lies in what we ‘know about this individual and institution in antiquity’ (Zimmermann 2015:310). In Hellenistic-Roman ancient times, Zimmerman argues, two different kinds of inns existed: non-commercial inns (known as κατάλυμάτα) and commercial inns (known as πανδοχεῖα). The first kind (a κατάλυμα), according to Zimmermann, was based on the obligation of hospitality, while the commercial kind (a πανδοχεῖον) carried a bad reputation because it was considered dishonourable to take money from a guest. In addition, persons who frequented commercial inns almost exclusively came from the lower classes, commercial inns had no hosts of their own (which influenced the standards of manners at these inns) and female employees of these inns, as a normalcy, fulfilled the sexual wishes of guests. Because of this, innkeeping was seen as a despised occupation,6 almost always practised by non-Jews. Based on this distinction, Zimmermann argues that the inn referred to in the parable is of the commercial kind; the inn and the innkeeper are, respectively, referred to as a πανδοχεῖον (Lk 10:34) and a πανδοχεῖ (Lk 10:35) and there is an emphasis on payment by the Samaritan. These aspects of the parable, Zimmermann concludes, have an important bearing on the meaning of the parable. Not only is a Samaritan (a foreigner, unbeliever and idolater from a Jewish perspective; see Zimmermann 2015:309) depicted as one who exemplifies the fulfilment of the Torah law of the love of one’s fellow man, but also, of all people, a despised non-Jewish innkeeper.

Oakman (2008:175–177), like Zimmermann, portrays commercial (public) inns in a negative light. Public inns, according to Oakman (2008:175, citing Stählin 1967:19, n. 135), were notorious in the ancient world for being ‘primitive, dirty and noisy’,7 and ‘innkeepers were not noted for their humanitarian sentiments’ (Oakman 2008:175, citing Danker). As support for his point of view, Oakman lists Strabo (Geogr. 12.8.17),8 Philo (QG4.33),9 Papyrus Egerton 2:1,10 m. cAbodah Zarah 2:1,11 b. Tacanit 21a12 and m. Yebamot 16:7,13 all texts that paint inns, innkeepers and people staying in inns in a negative light. How does this relate, for Oakman, to the meaning of the parable? More or less the same as for Zimmermann: The kingdom is found in immoral places, and in the actions of a hated foreigner.

Longenecker (2009:427) also believes that the figure of the innkeeper in the past has been overlooked in the interpretation of the parable. Although not abundant, he further believes that the evidence illustrating common attitudes to innkeepers in the ancient world is not negligible as it ‘is virtually unswerving in depicting innkeepers as widely known to be morally dubious and not to be trusted’ (Longenecker 2009:430). As evidence for this negative depiction of innkeepers, he cites Plato (Leg. 11.918), Josephus (A.J. 3.276) and m. cAbodah Zarah2:1.14 To this evidence, in using the work done by Casson on travel in the ancient world, he adds an inscription found in an inn in Pompeii, criticising an innkeeper for watering down his wine too much,15 and a remark made by the 2nd-century physician Galen that he knows innkeepers who have been caught selling human flesh as pork (see Casson 1994:214–215). How does this negative depiction of innkeepers in the ancient world contribute to the meaning of the parable, according to Longenecker (2009)? In the parable:

the innkeeper is one who notably steps out of caricature, just as the Samaritan steps out of caricature throughout 10:33-35. As one with ‘a bad reputation … for dishonesty and violence’ (so Donahue), the innkeeper of the Samaritan story shows himself to be ‘good’, like the ‘good Samaritan’ himself. (p. 443)

From the above, it is clear that a case is made for reintroducing the institution of the inn and the trait of innkeeper – as negative tropes – as important aspects that contribute to the intended meaning of the parable of the Samaritan. The question is, however, whether we have literary evidence to differentiate between non-commercial inns (κατάλυμάτα), based on the obligation of hospitality, and commercial inns (πανδοχεῖον), based on payment for services rendered. Do we have convincing literary evidence that the latter had no hosts of their own, were almost always run by non-Jews, were dangerous places, primitive, dirty and noisy, that persons who frequented these inns came almost exclusively from the lower classes and that it always was the case at all these inns that female employees offered sexual favours as services? Also, do we have convincing literary evidence that innkeepers always were dishonest and violent, morally dubious and not to be trusted, never behaved in an exemplary manner, were nefarious characters, always tried to exploit their clientele and not noted for their humanitarian sentiments? In brief, is the literary evidence we have virtually unswerving in depicting inns and innkeepers in a negative light?

In an attempt to answer these questions, attention will first be given to a lexical study of the occurrences of κατάλυμα and πανδοχεῖον (and their derivatives) in available Roman-Egypt papyri, the LXX, early-Jewish literature and the works of Greek writers. Then, the evidence used by Zimmermann, Oakman and Longenecker to depict inns and innkeepers in an exclusively negative manner will critically be discussed. The article will conclude by engaging with the suggestion of Zimmermann, Oakman and Longenecker that innkeepers and inns, because of the negative connotations these individuals and institutions carried in Hellenistic-Roman ancient times, should play a prominent role in the interpretation of the parable under discussion.

Κατάλυμα: Lexical study and possible meanings

Κατάλυμα in extant Roman-Egypt papyri

In extant papyri, dated from 275 BCE to 138 CE, there are 26 occurrences of κατάλυμα and its derivatives, of which one, SB I 5249 (dated 199–100 BCE; origin unknown)16 is too fragmented to derive any meaning from κατα]λυμάτων used in the text. For the rest of the occurrences, it seems that κατάλυμα and its derivatives are used to refer to lodging as hospitality, lodging provided for free, lodging paid for, a dwelling or house, a room or quarter in a dwelling or house, or a stable for animals.

Κατάλυμα, first, is used in extant papyri in reference to the organising or supplying of lodging for someone. P.Cair.Zen. II 59205 (dated 255–254 BCE; origin Kharabet el Gerza [ancient Philadelphia]) contains a fragment of a letter addressed to Zenon. The writer of the letter earlier wrote to Kriton, asking him to obtain lodging for him in Philadelphia and help his messenger, Herakleides, in some or other way. But, as he may have arrived in Philadelphia before Kriton, he now sends Zenon a copy of his earlier letter to Kriton, asking him to be kind enough to provide the lodging at once. In both cases, the lodging to be provided for is being referred to as ‘καταλυμάτιον’.17 In P.Cair.Zen II 59254 (dated 252 BCE; origin ancient Philadelphia), in a letter from Phanias to Zenon, Phanias informs Zenon that he is coming to Philadelphia to review all the recruits who have received allotments in the Arsinoite nome and administer the oath to them. In preparation for the trip, he asks Zenon that lodging be prepared for him, as he is in poor health and would like to be with Zenon as long as possible. Again, the lodging to be prepared is described as καταλυμάτιόν:

καλῶς οὖν ποιήσεις καταλυμάτιόν μοι ἑτοιμάσας

τῶι γὰρ σωματίωι ἐτύγχανον ἀσθενῶς διακείμενος.

Thus you must prepare suitable lodging for me

for a weak body state (sickness) have befallen me. (P.Cair.Zen. II 59254.3–4)

In P.Cair.Zen. II 59204, in a letter from Apollonios to Zenon (dated 23 May 254 BCE; origin unknown), [κ]α̣τ̣[άλυμα carries the same meaning. In the letter, Zenon is instructed by Apollonios to personally show Peton, the chremastis (i.e. a businessman, money-getter or trafficker), the room ([κ]α̣τ̣[άλυμα) prepared for him in which he will stay for one day, while attending to the case between Hephaistiados and Amenneos. Zenon must also attend to all other needs that Peton may have during his one-day stay.18 The same meaning of κατάλυμα occurs in PSI IV341 (dated 256 BCE; origin unknown). In a letter addressed to Zenon, Apollophanes and Demetrios, brothers and wool weavers, inform Zenon that they are willing to come to Philadelphia to make same items requested by Zenon, most probably in an earlier letter in which they were invited to come to Philadelphia. In their reply to this earlier invite, they also declare themselves willing to teach others in the trade of wool weaving. For this, they need a place to stay and work. They therefore request Zenon to arrange with Nikias to organise lodging (κατάλυμα; see PSI IV 341.8) for them. The use of καταλ[υ]μάτιν in SB VI 9564.8 also seems to carry the meaning of the provision of lodging. SB VI 9564 (dated 100–1 BCE; origin unknown) is a letter of recommendation for a priest in Tebtunis with regard to undergoing anti-Semitism in Memphis. In the letter, Herakles requests Ptolemaios, the dioiketes of Memphis, to find out what the situation is of a priest from Tebtunis. Recently, Memphis has been ‘nauseated by Jews’ (βδελύσονται(*) Ἰουδαίους; see SB VI 9564.9), and because of this Herakles was worried about the priest. He thus asks Ptolemaios, as he earlier did for Artemidoros, to find out how the priest was doing, to make sure he was safe, and to furnish him with the same lodging (καταλ[υ]μάτιν) as earlier. P.Cair.Zen. III 59410 (dated 275–226 BCE; origin ancient Philadelphia) also renders κατάλυμα as lodging (see P.Cair.Zen. III 59410.5 and 10). Addressed to Zenon, the document seems to be a petition from a group of farmers in Psya complaining about the lodging provided for them, including a request for better accommodation. The reason for their complaint is most probably the fact that they were staying in a σταθμός (see P.Cair.Zen. III 59410.14), that is, ‘standing place for animals’ (stable; see P.Tebt. III 1.804; P.Tebt. III 1.820).

We have, in terms of papyrological evidence, also three occurrences of καταλύματος that, in all cases, link the provision of lodging with payment. P. Petr. III 21 D (dated 27 August 225 BCE; origin Krokodilopolis in the Arsinoite nome) has as content records of legal decisions in which peaceful settlements between parties, as ordered by the judge, are noted. In one case, Nikanor Diodoros is instructed to pay Hermogenes from Syrakousai the amount of 225 drachmae for lodging (καταλύματος) provided (see P. Petr. III 21 D.14–15).19 The second instance of καταλύματος occurs in Stud. Pal. X 146 (dated 7th century; origin Arsinoite nome).20 This document is very fragmentary but seems to consist of a note in which was mentioned the amount certain persons have to pay for lodging provided to them, including a fee for passage from places such as Kerkesouchos, Embolos and Piamouei. In a third document, CPR I 220 (dated 1st-century, origin Soknopaiu Nesos in the Arsinoite nome), reference is made to a dwelling (καταλυτος[*])21 belonging to the unknown writer of the letter that was offered for lodging for a price of 400 silver drachmae.

Second, we have nine occurrences of κατάλυμα and its derivatives in extant papyri as a reference to a house or dwelling. In UPZ I 120 (dated 200–101 BCE; origin Memphis, the capital of Aneb-Hetch located in the first nome of Lower Egypt), a report on an interrogation that took place earlier, we have three occurrences of κατάλυμα and its derivatives. In all three instances, it is used in reference to the physical place (house or dwelling) in which people stay. In UPZ I 120.5–6, reference is made to the dwelling of Arsinoites from Aprhrodisieion (τὸ κατάλυμα τῶν Ἀρσινοιτῶν πρὸς τὸ Ἀφροδίσιον), the same house in which a crying woman was found (εὑρεῖν τε ἐν τῆι οἰκίαι γυναῖκας κλαούσας). When the unknown person being interrogated states that he healed in Serapeum, the interrogator asks in whose dwelling or house (ἐν ποίῳ καταλύματι) the healing(s) took place, whereupon the one being interrogated answers that it took place in the dwelling or house of Protarchos, the doorkeeper of Phlyasies (ἐν τῶι Πρωτάρχου καταλύματι, οὗ θυρουρεῖ Φλ̣υασιῆς; see UPZ I 120.9–12). In P.Cair.Zen. III 59460 (dated 242–241 BCE; origin Philadelphia), Korragos petitions king Ptolemais to help him secure a property that he bought earlier from Telestes. The property is referred to as a ‘κατα]λ̣ύματα’ (see P.Cair.Zen. III 59460.4). After he paid the full price of the house, the agents of the praktor claimed that some parts of the property he bought do not belong to him. In his petition he asks the king to order the strategos to examine the case and do justice to whichever party succeeds in proving its claim. In Stud. Pal. II 3 (dated 217 BCE; origin Soknopaiu Nesos in the Arsinoites nome in Egypt), κατάλυμα occurs three times, and καταλύματος once. This document, because of an undergoing census, is addressed to Aurelius Dionysios, the strategos of Herakleidou Meris and Isidotos, to Horigenes, the royal scribe, and to the scribe of the village Soknopaiu Nesos, and lists the belongings of Aurelius and Tapekysis. Part of their belongings constitutes several properties: a part of a house and another half of a house located south of the village, a house and a courtyard located north of the village, another house (κατάλυμα), and another house (κατάλυμα) that is falling apart, a fourth of another house (καταλύματος), a fourth part of the house (κατάλυμα) called the dovecote and a fourth part of a house of great age called Tlanta. SB XXII 15803.4–5, finally, uses καταλύμ̣(ατι) in referring to a house situated along the coast.

Interestingly, κατάλυμα and its derivatives are also used in two cases in available papyri to describe the living or sleeping quarters as part of a house or dwelling. P.Bas. 7 (dated 138 CE; place of origin the Arsinoites nome in Egypt) has as content a loan agreement between Tapiomis Ephonychos and Pakysis, son of Satabous. Pakysis has lent Tapiomis the sum of two thousand one hundred drachmas, with the interest rate of a drachma on the mina. The security for the loan provided by Tapiomis is a house located in Phamenoth, a village in the Arsinoites nome. The house is described as ‘οἰκί]α καὶ αὐλὴ, καὶ καταλυμάτω̣ν̣ δύο καὶ αὐλὰς δ̣[ύο] ἀνὰ μέσον’ (P. Bas. 7.8), which can be translated as a ‘house and courtyard, and two quarters and two courtyards each in the middle’. In P.Cair. Zen. V 59847 (dated 275–226 BCE; origin Philadelphia in the Arsinoites nome), a document in which an estimate is given of what it will cost to paint 38 windows of a house, καταλύματι is used in reference to the windows in the king’s quarters:

1. ἐν τῶι καταλύματι
τοῦ βασιλέως
τὰς θυρίδας τὰς ἐν
τοῖς παροδίοις τοί-

5. χοις οὔσας κανονω-
τὰς καὶ τὰς εἰς τὴν
αὐλὴν βλεπούσας

… in the quarters of the king the windows, in the street walls which are furnished with cross bars and are facing the courtyard (P.Cair.Zen. V 59847.1–6).

In two final uses of κατάλυμα in available papyri, κατάλυμα is used to refer to a stable for animals. In P. Cair. Zen. V 59830 (dated 11 June 248 BCE; origin ancient Philadelphia), a letter from Thoteus addressed to Zenon, Thoteus complains about an injustice he suffered at the hands of Herakleides. The papyrus is a bit fragmentary, but from that which can be translated, it seems that a herd of swine escaped from a stable (κατάλυμ[α; P.Cair.Zen. V 59830.16) and some of the pigs leaped onto Thoteus. Another possible translation is that the swine leaped onto Thoteus while being in the stable. When this happened, Thoteus complains, Herakleides did nothing to prevent this from happening. The second instance of κατάλυμα being used for a stable is found in P.Mich. II 121 (dated 30 April to 28 May 48 CE; origin Tebtynis in the Arsinoite nome). This document consists of a collection of abstracts of contracts, and records a lease (registered on 30 April 48 CE) of pasture land between Didymos and Alexandros, both sons of Telesis, and Petheus, son of Petheus, and his wife Thenphanes, daughter of Psosneus. The pasture land being leased, according to P. Mich. II 121, includes a granary with a gateway, a storeroom for wheat and a stable (κατάλυμα) in front of the granary.

Κατάλυμα in the LXX

In the LXX, κατάλυμα and its derivatives occur 14 times. The first occurrence, Exodus 4:24 LXX,22 seems to have the general meaning of places or locations (resting places at night) at which Moses stayed overnight while on his way to Egypt. Most probably, the use of καταλύματι here does not refer to a building. Sometimes, however, it is used to refer to a building, like in Ezekiel 23:21 and 1 Samuel 1:18. Ezekiel 23:21 refers to the things Israel did wrong when they stayed in their dwellings in Egypt (ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ ἐν τῷ καταλύματί σου), and in 1 Samuel 1:18 LXX κατάλυμα is used to describe the house or dwelling of Hannah and Elkanah. After meeting Eli in Shiloh, Hannah, the text reads, went her way, entered her house and ate with her husband (ἐπορεύθη ἡ γυνὴ εἰς τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτῆς καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ κατάλυμα αὐτῆς καὶ ἔφαγεν μετὰ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς; 1 Sm 1:18 LXX).

In Exodus 15:13 LXX, κατάλυμα is used as reference to the temple in Jerusalem. Exodus 15:1–18 is a song that Moses and the Israelites sang to the Lord after he led them out of Egypt. In the song, Egypt, as a place of slavery, is contrasted with the place God is leading them to, described by Exodus 15:13 as κατάλυμα ἅγιόν σου (your holy dwelling). From Exodus 15:17, where reference is made to God’s mountain of inheritance (ὄρος κληρονομίας; Ex 15:17), dwelling (κατοικητήριόν) and sanctuary (ἁγίασμα), it can be deduced that the referent of κατάλυμα ἅγιόν σου here most probably is the temple in Jerusalem.23 The use of καταλυμάτων in 1 Chronicles 28:12 LXX also relates to the temple, referring to the divisions of the priests and the Levites in the temple David was to build for the Lord. Κατάλυμα, moreover, are also used to describe the dwelling place of God before the temple was build. In 2 Samuel 7:6 LXX, the dwelling place of God is described as ‘ἐν καταλύματι καὶ ἐν σκηνῇ’, and in 1 Chronicles 17:5 LXX as ‘ἐν σκηνῇ καὶ ἐν καταλύματι’. The use of κατάλυμα in these two instances, in combination with σκηνή, is a clear reference to the tent of the tabernacle, thus, God’s dwelling place.

In the LXX, κατάλυμα is also used to refer to a room or hall adjacent to or in close proximity to a ‘high place’, most probably the local sanctuary of a town, referred to in the LXX as a Βαμα (see LXX 1 Sm 9:12; 13, 14, 19, 25; 10:5; 11:8; 1 Chr 16:39; 21:29; 2 Chr 1:13). In 1 Samuel 9, Saul and his servant went to a town in the district of Zuph, looking for a seer. In the town they met up with Samuel, who was visiting the town to attend to the sacrifice on the ‘high place’, whereafter he would eat with some invited guests. When Samuel met up with Saul, he invited Saul and his servant to go with him to the ‘high place’. On arrival, Samuel then took them to the κατάλυμα (1 Sm 9:22 LXX) to eat with 70 others who were invited. In this context, κατάλυμα most probably refers to a room or hall in close proximity to the local sanctuary (‘high place’) in which a meal was eaten after the bringing of a sacrifice.

Jeremiah LXX has three occurrences of κατάλυμα and its derivatives. Jeremiah 32:38 LXX uses κατάλυμα to refer to the lair of a lion,24 and in Jeremiah 40:12 LXX it is used to describe the places where shepherds let their flocks lie down to rest.25 In Jeremiah 14:8 LXX,26 κατάλυμα is used as a description of God’s absence. In contrast, 1 Maccabees 3:45 speaks of the presence of non-Jews in the sanctuary of the temple, referring to it as ‘ἐν τῇ ἄκρᾳ κατάλυμα τοῖς ἔθνεσιν’ (1 Macc. 3:45).

In Sirach 14:25, finally, κατάλυμα carries yet another meaning. According to Sirach, the man who mediates in wisdom is someone who pitches his tent close to her (wisdom), someone who lodges in a place (καταλύσει ἐν καταλύματι; Sirach 14:25) where he will experience good things and dwell in her glory.

Κατάλυμα in early-Jewish and Greek writings

We have one occurrence of κατάλυμα and its derivatives in early-Jewish writings. The Letter of Aristeas (also known as Aristeas to Philocrates, dated 170 BCE)27 is dedicated to Philocrates and has as content the events surrounding the efforts of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285–247 BCE) to have the laws of the Jews translated for his library. For this, he selects Aristeas to request the high priest, Eleazer, to send a body of scholars to translate their sacred scriptures into Greek (see Let. Aris. 1–8). When the translators arrive, Ptolemy orders to have them accommodated in the best apartments near the citadel (καταλύματα … τὰ κάλλιστα πλησίον τῆς ἄκρας), thus showing them great hospitality.

Between Polybius and Diodorus Siculus, two Greek historians, κατάλυμα and its derivatives are used six times. In his Historae (written between 146 and 117 BCE), Polybius uses κατάλυμα as a reference to free lodging expected and not provided,28 and as a reference to someone’s (that of Hasdrubal) house.29 Diodorus Siculus, in his Bibliotheca Historica (dated 36–30 BCE), uses the term and its derivatives four times. In one instance, κατάλυμα is used, like Polybius, to refer to someone’s house (see Diodorus Siculus, Bib. His. The three other occurrences all refer to lodging provided as an act of hospitality, that is, free lodging (see Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica,31,32 Plato, finally, in his Protagoras 315D, refers to an apartment previously used by Hipponieus as a strong-room, that was cleared out by Callias and turned into a guestroom to make more space for his numerous visitors.34

Πανδοχεῖον: Lexical study and possible meanings

The LXX has no occurrence of πανδοχεῖον, and it occurs only once in extant Roman-Egypt papyri in the form of πανδοκευτὰς. This occurrence in the papyri comes from BGU VI 1468 (dated 2nd century BCE, origin unknown), a fragmented document which reads ‘[τος -ca.?- ]. πανδοκευτὰς’ in line 3. This line can be translated as ‘the innkeepers’, from which nothing really can be derived except for the fact that innkeeping was a known trade in Roman Egypt.

Πανδοχεῖον in early-Jewish and Greek writings

In early-Jewish literature, Josephus refers to inns once. In a section on the laws which Moses prescribed, priests were submitted to a double degree of purity: they were not allowed to marry harlots, slaves, captives or those who made their living by cheating trades such as keeping inns (πανδοκεύειν; see Josephus, A.J. 3.276). This is a clear negative reference to the trade of innkeeping.

Πανδοχεῖον and its derivatives occur several times in the work of Greek writers. Aeschines, in De falsa legatione 2.97, tells of the Athenian embassy that went to see Philip, of which nobody wanted to lodge with Demosthenes at the same inn (εἰςταὐτὸνπανδοκεῖονκαταλύειν; Aeschines, Fals. Leg. 2.97) because he plotted against them during the embassy’s previous visit to Philip.35 The same neutral reference to inns (πανδοχείῳ and πανδοχεῖον) and innkeepers (πανδοχεὺς) occurs in Aesop’s Fabulae 301.1, 17 and 26, known as ‘The thief and the innkeeper’ (see Lenaghan 1967). Dionysius Halicarnassensis also has one reference to inns that seems to be neutral. In describing the city Gabii, he refers to its inns (πανδοκεύεται) that, when the city was still inhabited, were situated next to the highway (see Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ant. rom. [Cary, LCL]).

Some Greek writers, contrary to Josephus, refer to inns and innkeepers in a positive way. Polybius, in his Historiae 2.15.5–6, describes the last plain of Italy to the north, and refers not only to the abundance of food produced by this plain but also how cheap food and all other articles in this region are. This is also the case with inns in the region; innkeepers, as a rule, provide their guests with everything they need at a fourth part of an obol per day, not charging for items and services individually.36 Aeschylus, in his Choephori 660–674, also gives a positive description of inns, describing them as houses that make all visitors welcome (δ᾽ ἐμπόρους καθιέναι ἄγκυραν ἐν δόμοισι πανδόκοις ξένων; Aeschylus, Cho. 661–662). These places (inns) are then described as having hot baths, good bedding and the company of honest faces (see Aeschylus, Cho. 669–672 [Sommerstein, LCL]). Apart from two neutral references to inns,37 Epictetus, when discussing the faculty of moral purpose, argues that a moral purpose is something that has to be developed and deepened on a regular basis. One’s moral purpose in life, he argues, must always look for the right purpose; when this is set, a man becomes good (see Epictetus, Diatr. 2.23.36 [Oldfather, LCL]). A man becomes bad, however, when he thinks his moral compass is set. No good man, Epictetus argues, when traveling to his country stays at a good inn, and because he is pleased with the inn, he decides to stay there (καὶ διοδεύων πανδοκεῖον καλὸν ἀρέσαντος αὐτῷ τοῦ πανδοκείου καταμένοι ἐν τῷ πανδοκείῳ (see Epictetus, Diatr. 2.23.36 [Oldfather, LCL]). No, the good man remembers that he is always traveling and, therefore, will find many more refined inns (πανδοκεῖα κομψά; Epictetus, Diatr. 2.23.37 [Oldfather, LCL]). Clearly, for Epictetus, staying in an inn (πανδοχεῖον) can be a positive experience.

Plato, to the contrary, always refers to the trade of innkeeping and innkeepers in a negative way. In Leges 8.842d.4, innkeeping (πανδοκεύσεων) is listed with other despised traits such as shipping, being a merchant, peddling, mining or usurping.38 In Leges 11.918, he compares benefactors and those who have the power of taking much wealth but are sober and choose what is of due measure rather than what is large, indeed only a small class of men, with those who are the exact opposite of this – hirelings, peddlers, the innkeeper (πανδοκεὺς), innkeeping (πανδοκείαν) and those concerned with retail trade and commerce.39 Aeneas Tacticus also refers to innkeepers in a negative way. In his Poliorcetica, a treatise on the art of war, Aeneas Tacticus states that, in the case of martial law, strangers who arrive in the city must carry their arms openly, and nobody, not even the innkeepers (μηδὲ τοὺς πανδοκέας; Aeneas Tacticus, Pol. 10.9), can take them in without the presence of magistrates. This most probably suggests that it was customary for innkeepers to take in anybody, even those with suspect background or those suspected of distrustful behaviour. In his Ranae, Aristophanes also seems to describe inns in a negative way. Although he distinguishes between brothels (πορνεῖ) and inns (πανδοκευτρίας,), in Ranae 114–115 Dionysus asks Herakles to tell him, when he went after Cerberus, which inns he saw had the fewest bugs, as if inns always have bugs (ὅπου κόρεις ὀλίγιστοι; see Aristophanes, Ran. 114–115 [Henderson, LCL]). In Ranae 550, Pandokeutria identifies the villain (πανοῦργος) who previously ate 16 loaves in the inn (πανδοκεῖον; see Aristophanes, Ran. 550 [Henderson, LCL]). This may suggest that inns were frequented by villains and the like. Strabo, finally, as discussed by Oakman, in describing the village Carura, refers to its inns (πανδοχεῖα). He tells the story that once the owner of a brothel (pimp) took his girls to one of the inns in Carura, and that during the night he and all the women were overwhelmed by an earthquake and disappeared (see Strabo, Geogr.–6 [Jones, LCL]). For Strabo, it seems, inns are equal to brothels, frequented by prostitutes. It must be added, however, that in another reference to inns, Strabo refers to the inns of Pictae (Πικτὰς πανδοχεῖα) in a neutral manner (see Strabo, Georg. [Jones, LCL]).

Interpreting the literary evidence

The occurrences and usage of κατάλυμα and its derivatives in available papyri seem to indicate that κατάλυμα at times indeed carries the meaning of lodging provided with emphasis on hospitality, but also to lodging paid for, a dwelling or house, a room or quarter in a dwelling or house, or a stable for animals. The correspondence in P.Cair.Zen II 59254, P.Cair.Zen. II 59204 and SB VI 9564 seems to refer to accommodation provided as an act of hospitality. P.Cair.Zen. II 59205, PSI IV 341 and P.Cair.Zen. III 59410 also seem to refer to lodging provided for free, but not as an act of hospitality. P. Petr. III 21 D, Stud. Pal. X 146 and CPR I 220 use κατάλυμα and its derivatives in the context of lodging provided linked to payment. The other occurrences of κατάλυμα and its derivatives in available papyri either carry the meaning of a house or dwelling (see UPZ I 120, P.Cair.Zen. III 59460; Stud.Pal. II 3; SB XXII 15803), living or sleeping quarters as part of a house or dwelling (see P.Bas. 7; P.Cair.Zen. V 59847), or to a stable for animals (see P.Cair.Zen. V 59830; P.Mich. II 121).

In the LXX, κατάλυμα and its derivatives carry several different meanings. It is used to describe places or locations in which people stayed (Ex 4:24; Ezk 23:21; 1 Sm 1:18), the temple in Jerusalem (Ex 15:13), the divisions of the priests and the Levites in the temple yet to be built (1 Chr 28:12), the dwelling place of God before the temple was built (2 Sm 7:6; 1 Chr 17:5), a room or hall adjacent to or in close proximity to the local sanctuary of a town (1 Sm 9:12; 13, 14, 19, 25; 10:5; 11:8; 1 Chr 16:39; 21:29; 2 Chr 1:13), the lair of a lion (Jr 32:38), the places where shepherds let their flocks lie down to rest (Jr 40:12) and as description of God’s absence (Jr 14:8). In 1 Maccabees 3:45, it carries the meaning of the presence of non-Jews in the sanctuary of the temple, and in Sirach 14:25 it is used to describe the lodging of a wise man in a place close to wisdom.

In the early-Jewish writings, καταλύματα is used once in the Letter of Aristeas1–8, with the clear meaning of free lodging provided as an act of hospitality. This is also the case with Diodorus Siculus, who uses κατάλυμα three times in this context (see Bib. His.; 36.13.2) and Polybius and Plato each once (see Polybius, Hist. 2.36.1–5; Plato Prot. 315D). Both Polybius and Diodorus Siculus also use κατάλυμα once to refer to a house (see Polybius, Hist. 2.36.1–5; Diodorus Siculus, Bib. His. Polybius (Hist. 32.13.1–4), finally, uses κατάλυμα to refer to free lodging expected, but not provided.

With regard to the use of πανδοχεῖον, we have seen that it occurs only once in extant Roman-Egypt papyri in the form of πανδοκευτὰς as a reference to innkeepers. In Josephus, there is one reference to innkeepers (πανδοκεύειν; see Josephus, A.J. 3.276), where the trade is described as a way to make a living through cheating.

Plato (Leg. 8.842d.4, 11.918) and Aeneas Tacticus (Pol. 10.9), like Josephus, refer to innkeepers in a negative way. According to Plato, innkeeping is a despised trade, and Aeneas Tacticus questions the integrity of innkeepers because they take in persons with suspect backgrounds or persons known for suspicious behaviour. Aristophanes, in his turn, describes inns in a negative way. For him, all inns have bugs (Ran. 114–115). Note, however, that he distinguishes between brothels (πορνεῖ) and inns (πανδοκευτρίας).

Several Greek writers refer to inns in a non-pejorative or neutral way (see Aeschines, Fals. Leg. 2.97; Aesop, Fab. 301.1, 17, 26; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ant. rom.; Epictetus, Diatr. 1.24.14; 4.5.15; Strabo, Georg., while others refer to inns and innkeepers in a positive way. Polybius mentions the good service rendered by innkeepers in inns in some regions of Italy (see Polybius, Hist. 2.15.5–6), as is the description of Aeschylus (Cho. 669–674); inns make all visitors feel welcome, have hot baths, good bedding and the company of honest faces. Epictetus, in his turn, states that a traveller sometimes stays at a good inn, and because he is pleased with the inn, he decides to stay there (Epictetus, Diatr. 2.23.36). According to Epictetus, no good man does this. The good man rather remembers that he is always travelling and therefore will find many more refined inns (Epictetus, Diatr. 2.23.37).

Two references to inns, finally, are difficult to categorise as neutral, positive or negative. Aristophanes, in Ranae 550, tells about a villain who once ate 16 loaves in an inn, and Strabo relates the story of an owner of a brothel who once took his girls to an inn, and that during the night he and all the women were overwhelmed by an earthquake and disappeared (see Strabo, Geogr.–6). Does a villain who ate 16 loaves in an inn make inns bad in principle? And when an owner of a brothel takes his girls to an inn, does it mean that all inns are equal to brothels, frequented by prostitutes?

Revisiting πανδοχεῖον in Luke 10:34

The study of the lexical use of κατάλυμα in available literature seems to indicate that we do not have enough evidence to make a clear-cut distinction between non-commercial inns (κατάλυμα), based on the obligation of hospitality, and commercial inns (πανδοχεῖον), based on payment for services rendered. Κατάλυμα, first, carries several different meanings in available papyri, the LXX, and the writings of Greek historians (e.g. a dwelling or house, a room or quarter, a stable for animals, the temple and divisions in the temple, the dwelling place of God before the temple was built, a room or hall adjacent to a sanctuary, the lair of a lion or resting place for sheep, or a description of God’s absence). Second, κατάλυμα is used to refer to lodging paid for, that is, in Zimmermann’s terms, a commercial inn (πανδοχεῖον). It is also used, in the third place, to refer to lodging provided for free, but not as an act of hospitality. Κατάλυμα, finally, indeed is also used to refer to accommodation provided as an act of hospitality in several instances. This meaning of κατάλυμα is attested in extant papyri (P.Cair.Zen II 59254, P.Cair.Zen. II 59204 and SB VI 9564), early-Jewish writings (Let. Aris. 1–8) and in the writings of Diodorus Siculus (Bib. His.; 36.13.2), Polybius (Hist. 2.36.1–5) and Plato (Prot. 315D).

Does this latter use of κατάλυμα indicate that one of the meanings of κατάλυμα indeed is that of ‘non-commercial inn’, vis-à-vis commercial inns? The recent work of Bailey (2008:28–33) on the meaning of κατάλυμά in Luke 2:7 and Mark 14:14 (and par.)40 answers this question in the negative. According to Bailey, the use of κατάλυμ in Luke 2:7, 22:11, and Mark 14:14 refers to ‘a guest room in a private home’ (Bailey 2008:32; emphasis in the original). Simple village homes in Palestine, Bailey argues, consisted of only one room. This room was divided into an area where the family cooked, ate, slept and lived, and a lower area blocked off with heavy timbers where the family animals slept at night, with mangers normally dug out the lower end of the living room. Some homes often had an extra room exclusively for guests, attached to the end of the house, or situated on the roof (known as a κατάλυμα). This meaning of κατάλυμα, Bailey argues, makes perfect sense in the case of the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke, where Jesus was placed in the manger (in the living room), because the κατάλυμα [i.e. guest room and inn] was full. In Mark 14:14 and Luke 22:11, κατάλυμα carries the same meaning, an upper guest room in which Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover meal. Another good example of this use of κατάλυμα is Plato in Protagoras 315 D, where he reports that Callias turned an old storeroom into a guestroom to make more space for his numerous visitors.

It thus seems that κατάλυμα refers to the provision of lodging as an act of hospitality, but not in the sense of being a non-commercial inn. Also, one should remember that it is also used to refer to lodging provided for payment. Κατάλυμα carries several meanings, as the available literary evidence suggests. This evidence, however, does not suggest the meaning of non-commercial inn as opposed to a commercial inn (πανδοχεῖον). To pitch the πανδοχεῖον the injured man is taken to in the parable of the Samaritan against a κατάλυμα therefore seems to overstretch an ‘opposition’ that does not really exist.

This conclusion is supported by the above lexical study of πανδοχεῖον and its derivatives. This study of πανδοχεῖον indeed has indicated that we find negative references to inns and innkeepers in available sources. Josephus (A.J. 3.276) describes innkeepers as cheaters, Plato (Leg. 8.842d.4, 11.918) describes innkeeping as a despised trade, Aeneas Tacticus (Pol. 10.9) questions the integrity of innkeepers, while Aristophanes (Ran. 114–115) describes inns in a negative way. We do, however, have several non-pejorative or neutral references to inns and innkeepers (Aeschines, Fals. Leg. 2.97; Aesop, Fab. 301.1, 17, 26; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ant. rom.; Epictetus, Diatr. 1.24.14; 4.5.15; Strabo, Georg., as well as several positive references to inns and innkeepers (see Polybius, Hist. 2.15.5–6; Aeschylus, Cho. 669–674; Epictetus, Diatr. 2.23.36–37). The evidence in this regard is virtually not unswerving in depicting innkeepers as widely known to be morally dubious and untrustworthy (contra Longenecker 2009:430).

Apart from these neutral, negative and positive references to inns, no convincing literary evidence indicates that πανδοχεῖα never had hosts of their own, and were almost always run by non-Jews. Although it is the case that inns referred to in available literary evidence are situated in non-Jewish territories, we simply do not have enough evidence of inns in Palestine to make a case for non-Jewish owners as hosts.41 We do, however, have some evidence to question the assumption that persons who frequented these inns came almost exclusively from the lower classes, and that Jews did not frequent commercial inns. According to Snodgrass (2008:347), because sometimes very few options existed for travellers who needed lodging, Jews frequently stayed in inns. This is clear from m. Giṭṭen 8.9 (a divorced Jewish man and his wife staying at an inn; see Danby 2011:318–319), m. Yebamot 16.7 (a sick Levite left at an inn to recuperate; see Danby 2011:245) and m. Qiddušin 4:12 (a Jewish man may sleep in an inn with two women if one is his wife; see Danby 2011:329). In b. Sotah 48a, it is told that a rabbi was paid respect in an inn described by the rabbi as a beautiful place, and Tanuma Mishpatim 6.1.1 recounts a story of two Jewish donkey drivers who hated each other but made up in an inn where they ate and drank together (see Snodgrass 2008:342). These texts do not only confirm that Jews frequented inns, but also show no evidence of inns being dangerous places or that scrupulous Jews frequenting inns. In the Greek sources, also no mention is made that persons from the lower classes frequented commercial inns.

But what then about the evidence cited by Oakman (2008:175–177) that describes inns as primitive, dirty and noisy, and that of Longenecker (2009:427–443) who describes innkeepers as widely known to be morally dubious and not to be trusted? Oakman, first, cites Stählin (1967:19, n. 135) as evidence for his point of view, but Stählin in fact gives no evidence for his point of view. Next, he lists Strabo (Geogr. 12.8.17), who tells a story about a brothel-keeper who had taken lodging in inns along with a large number of women. This story simply states that brothel-keepers sometimes stayed in inns, and cannot be used to argue that it was always the case. Next he cites Philo (QG 4.33) as evidence that persons sometimes enter inns, overeat themselves and then vomit in their passions. Does this count for all persons entering inns? Papyrus Egerton 2:1 is next in Oakman’s list of evidence, the story about a leper who ate with other lepers in an inn. This, however, Stählin (1967:19, n. 135) states by citing Bell and Skeat, was not a normalcy. Because ‘lepers were usually excluded from public inns’. With regard to m. cAbodah Zarah 2:1, it can be argued that the main thrust of the tractate is rather a negative evaluation of Gentiles than inns, and b. Tacanit 21a, a story about people staying in an inn who stole precious stones and pearls, can hardly be used to claim that all people staying in inns were thieves. In brief, does this event make all inns and innkeepers bad? Finally, can it simply be inferred from m. Yebamot 16:7 that the sick Levite left at the inn passed away because he was not looked after by the innkeeper? Moreover, does the fact that the deceased was buried by the innkeeper not point to the direct opposite, namely, that the innkeeper took care of the body?

The evidence cited by Longenecker, already discussed, is his reference to an inscription found in an inn in Pompeii, criticising an innkeeper for watering down his wine too much, and a remark made by the 2nd-century physician Galen that he knows innkeepers who have been caught selling human flesh as pork. Does this by default mean that all innkeepers watered down the wine they sold too much, and that all innkeepers sold human flesh as pork? To the contrary, b. Baba Meica 86a relates the story of an innkeeper who sold bad wine and, when he realised what happened, felt sorry about it. Does this then mean that all innkeepers were persons with integrity? This would be hard to argue, as will it be to argue that all inns and innkeepers were bad because of a few negative anecdotes that can be listed.

A different lens: Travel in the ancient world

Instead of seeing a κατάλυμα and a πανδοχεῖον as two opposed options for lodging in the ancient world, Casson (1994:197–218) provides a comprehensive description of the options that were available to a traveller in the ancient world. If the traveller was in service of the government, he would have stayed over at the nearest facility maintained by the cursus publicus. If he was well-to-do, he most probably would have owned a house at the intended destination. When people with means had no such property at the intended destination, they normally arranged to stay with friends, family, business associates or other acquaintances as many houses often had separate bedrooms for guests. This kind of lodging most probably refers to a κατάλυμα – not a non-commercial inn (Zimmermann 2015:310), but free lodging based on the principle of hospitality (Bailey 2008:32).

Where such hospitality was unavailable, travellers would sometimes pack tents and camp out, or stay at an inn (πανδοχεῖον). Inns were situated along the major routes, strategically placed (a day’s travel apart), and normally a traveller could choose between two or more available inns. Inns normally provided the traveller with the basic minimum: food, a night’s lodging and if hired wagons or animals were used, a change of either or both. Some of these inns were considered respectable and, therefore, designated by the term hospitum [place of hospitality] or deversotium [place for turning aside; see Casson 1994:204], while others were distinctively low class, known as caupona. These inns catered for slaves, sailors and carters, and their dining rooms normally were basically a tavern. In both these kinds of inns, prostitutes were among the services offered, and it was the choice of the traveller to make use of this service or not.

Casson’s description of the different options for lodging, when travelling in the ancient world, fits well with the results of the lexical study on κατάλυμα and πανδοχεῖον described above. Several examples of a κατάλυμα [free lodging based on hospitality], as well as positive and negative references to inns (a πανδοχεῖον) and innkeepers, were identified.


On the basis of Casson’s comprehensive study on travel in the ancient world that inter alia focuses on inns, and the lexical study conducted above on κατάλυμα and πανδοχεῖον and their derivatives, the following conclusions can be made. First, to distinguish between a κατάλυμα as a non-commercial inn based on hospitality and a πανδοχεῖον as a commercial inn based on payment for services rendered as two opposing options for lodging – the one good and the other bad – seems to be the wrong point of departure when interpreting the parable of the Samaritan. This distinction does not seem to be supported by the evidence from available sources. Moreover, the designation ‘non-commercial inn’ seems to be a contradictio in terminis.

Second, as payment is involved, the injured man in the parable is most probably taken to an inn (πανδοχεῖον). Inns, in principle, were commercial, and commercial inns in the ancient world, the evidence suggests, sometimes were positively evaluated (as hospitum) and sometimes less positive (as caupona). It was for the traveller to decide in which inn to stay, and what services to make use of offered by the inn chosen to stay in. Not all inns were bad, not all innkeepers were dishonest and not all guests in inns were thieves. But sometimes inns were bad, innkeepers were dishonest and guests were dangerous thieves.

If it is argued that the inn the injured man was taken to by the Samaritan plays a role in the meaning of the parable, it will first have to be proved that the inn referred to in the parable was of the unrespectable kind. And this is simply not possible to prove when the available evidence, as discussed above, is taken into consideration.

There may be, however, one small clue in the parable that can help the interpreter to make some decision with regard to the standing of the inn referred to in Luke 10:34 and 35. Luke 10:33 tells us that when the Samaritan came upon the injured man and saw him, he felt compassion (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη). The word used here ‘carries the connotation of a visceral reaction (i.e. he felt it in his guts)’, indicating deep and true compassion, a reaction that ‘signals the drive to restore wholeness’ (Levine 2014:96).42 If ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, by implication, means that the Samaritan wanted the best for the injured man, would he have left him behind at a ‘bad’ inn at the mercy of a ‘bad’ innkeeper? Most probably not. Rather, because he felt compassion (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη) for the injured man, he would have left him behind at an inn in which he knew the injured man could get better, with someone he knew and trusted, and with someone who knew him well enough to know that he will pay any outstanding costs incurred on his return. For the 1st-century listener of the parable, this would not have been abnormal.

The inn (πανδοχεῖον) and innkeeper (πανδοκεύς) in the parable, therefore, do not function to show that the innkeeper, like the Samaritan, shows himself to be ‘good’, or that the kingdom is found also in immoral places. The inn and innkeeper rather function in the parable to help in identifying the Samaritan for what he is, namely, a despised merchant. This, for the 1st-century listener of the parable, would have been abnormal; a merchant, who normally exploits people, shows remarkable compassion. Herein lies the thrust of the parable, as will be argued in a follow-up to this article.


Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors’ contribution

E.v.E. and R.J.v.N. equally contributed to the research and writing of this article.


Aeschines, 1919, Speeches, transl. W.R. Paton & C.D. Adams, Harvard University Press, Cambridge. (Loeb Classical Library 106.)

Aeschylus, 2009, Oresteia: Agamemnon, Libation-Bearers, Eumenidesated, vol. II, transl. A.H. Sommerstein, Harvard University Press, Cambridge. (Loeb Classical Library 146.)

Aristophanes, 2002, Frogs, Assemblywomen, Wealth, vol. IV, transl. J.H. Henderson, Harvard University Press, Cambridge. (Loeb Classical Library 180.)

Bailey, K.E., 1983, Poet and peasant and Through peasant eyes: A literary-cultural approach to the parables in Luke, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

Bailey, K.E., 2008, Jesus through middle Eastern eyes: Cultural studies in the gospels, IVP Academic, Downers Grove, IL.

Blomberg, C.L., 2012, Interpreting the parables, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Boucher, M.I., 1981, The parables, Michael Glazier Inc., Wilmington, DE. (New Testament Message 7.)

Casson, L., 1994, Travel in the ancient world, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Crossan, J.D., 1973, In parables: The challenge of the historical Jesus, Harper & Row, New York.

Crossan, J.D., 2012, The power of parable: How fiction by Jesus became fiction about Jesus, HarperOne, New York.

Danby, H., 2011, The Mishnah: Translated from the Hebrew with introduction and brief explanatory notes, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.

Diodorus Siculus, 1954, Library of History VI: Books 14–15.19, transl. C.H. Oldfather, Harvard University Press, Cambridge. (Loeb Classical Library 399.)

Donahue, J.R., 1988, The gospel in parable: Metaphor, narrative, and theology in the Synoptic gospels, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.

Hultgren, A.J., 2000, The parables of Jesus: A commentary, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI. (The Bible in its world.)

Jeremias, J., 1972, The parables of Jesus, 3rd edn., SCM Press, London.

Lenaghan, R.T. (ed.), 1967, Aesop, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

Levine, A.-J., 2014, Short stories by Jesus: The enigmatic parables of a controversial rabbi, HarperOne, San Francisco, CA.

Linnemann, E., 1964, Parables of Jesus: Introduction and exposition, 3rd ed., SPCK, London.

Longenecker, B.W., 2009, ‘The story of the Samaritan and the innkeeper (Luke 10:30–35): A study in character rehabilitation’, Biblical Interpretation 17(4), 422–447. https://doi.org/10.1163/156851509X447645

McCracken, D., 1994, The scandal of the gospels: Jesus, story, and offense, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Miller, R.J. (ed.), 2010, The complete gospels: The Scholars version, 4th ed. Polebridge Press, Salem.

Oakman, D.E., 2008, Jesus and the peasants, Cascade Books, Eugene, OR. (Matrix: The Bible in Mediterranean Context.)

Plato, 1926, Laws: Book 7–12, vol. II, transl. R.G. Bury, William Heinemann, London. (Loeb Classical Library 192.)

Plato, 1939, Laches, Protagoras, Meno, Euthydemus, vol. II, transl. W.R.M. Lamb, Harvard University Press, Cambridge. (Loeb Classical Library 165.)

Plato, 2013, Republic VI: Books 6–10, vol. VI, transl. C. Emlyn-Jones & W. Preddy, Harvard University Press, Cambridge. (Loeb Classical Library 276.)

Royse, J.R., 1981, ‘A Philonic use of πανδοχεῖον (Luke X 34)’, Novum Testamentum 23, 193–194.

Schottroff, L., 2006, The parables of Jesus, Augsburg Books, Minneapolis, MN.

Scott, B.B., 1989, Hear then the parable: A commentary on the parables of Jesus, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Shutt, R.J.H., 1983, ‘Letter of Aristeas (Third century B.C. – First century A.D.)’, in J.H. Charlesworth (ed.), The Old Testament pseudepigrapha, Volume 2: Expansions of the ‘Old Testament’ and legends, wisdom and philosophical literature, prayers, psalms, odes, fragments of lost Judeo-Hellenistic works, pp. 7–24, Yale University Press, New York.

Snodgrass, K.R., 2008, Stories with intent: A comprehensive guide to the parables of Jesus, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

Stählin, G., 1967, ‘ξένος κτλ’, in G. Kittel & G. Friedrich (eds.), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, transl. G.W. Bromiley, W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, vol. V, pp. 1–41.

Stiller, B.C., 2005, Preaching parables to postmoderns, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN. (Fortress Resources for Preaching)

Wright, S.I., 2015, Jesus the storyteller, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, TN.

Zimmermann, R., 2007, ‘Berührende Liebe (Der marnherzige Samariter) Lk 10, 30–35’, in R. Zimmermann, D. Dormeyer, G. Kern, A. Merz, C. Münch & E.E. Popkes (eds.), Kompendium Der Gleichnisse Jesu, pp. 538–555, Gütersloher Verlagshaus, München.

Zimmermann, R., 2015, Puzzling the parables of Jesus: Methods and interpretation, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN.


1. Hultgren (2000:97), for example, describes Samaritans as apostates who were objects of contempt (see also Boucher 1981:120). According to Jeremias (1972:204), the Samaritans were a hated people and seen by the Jews as a mixed people, or, in Stiller’s (2005:77, 84) estimation, half-Jews and the most despised of all communities (see also Linnemann 1964:54). Crossan (1973:64–66) describes the Samaritans as socio-religious outcasts; in Schottroff’s view, the relationship between Jews and Samaritans as being hostile was a given (see Schottroff 2006:136); and, according to Wright, Samaritans were the sworn enemies of the Jews (Wright 2015:107; see also Blomberg 2012:299). As a final example, Scott (1989:197) states that ‘the enmity between Jew and Samaritan was proverbial’.

2. See, for example, the interpretations of Hultgren (2000:92–103), Jeremias (1972:205), Schottroff (2006:136), Boucher (1981:120), Linnemann (1964:54), Stiller (2005:77–78) and Crossan (2012:45–64).

3. As evidence, Scott cites b. Tacanit 23a, but is most probably referring to b. Tacanit 21a. b. Tacanit 21a. contains a story of innkeepers being depicted as thieves, dishonest and deceiving.

4. As evidence, Snodgrass (2008:698, n. 79) cites m. Giṭṭen 8.9, m. Yebamot 16.7, m. Qiddušin 4:12, b. Sotah 48a, b. Baba Meṣica 86a and Tanḥuma Mishpatim 6.1.1.

5. It is important to note that both Blomberg and Donahue, in their descriptions of innkeepers, provide no evidence for their negative depiction of the trait of innkeeping.

6. As evidence, Zimmermann (2015:311) cites a list of most despised professions from the poet Valerius Martialis, in which the innkeeper is named last.

7. Important to note here is that Stählin does not provide any evidence for this evaluation of public inns, except for a reference to Egerton 2:1 (see ed. Miller 2010:417).

8. ‘Carura forms a boundary between Phrygia and Caria. It is a village, and it has inns, and also fountains of boiling-hot waters, some in the Maeander River and some above its banks. Moreover, it is said that once, when a brothel-keeper had taken lodging in the inns (ἐν τοῖς πανδοχείοις) along with a large number of women, an earthquake took place by night, and that he, together with all the women, disappeared from sight’ (Strabo, Geogr.–6 [Jones, LCL]).

9. But he who is unlike this [i.e. unlike the wise man] does not have even his own house or a mind of his own but is confused and is treated contemptuously like those who, as it were, enter an inn (πανδοχεῖον) only to fill themselves and vomit in their passions (transl. of Marcus [LCL], quoted by Royse 1981:193).

10. Just then a leper comes up to him and says, ‘Teacher Jesus, in wandering around with lepers and eating with them in the inn (ἐν τῷ πανδοχειῷ), I became a leper myself. If you want to. I’ll be made’ (Papyrus Egerton 2:1).

11. Cattle may not be left in the inns of the gentiles since they are suspected of bestiality; nor may a woman remain alone with them since they are suspected of lewdness; nor may a man remain alone with them since they are suspected of shedding blood (m. cAbod. Zar. 2:1; see Danby 2011:438).

12. Once the Jews desired to send to the Emperor a gift and after discussing who should go they decided that Nahum of Gamzu should go because he had experienced many miracles. They sent with him a bag full of precious stones and pearls. He went and spent the night in a certain inn and during the night the people in the inn arose and emptied the bag and filled it up with earth (b. Tacanit 21a, transl. by Soncino 5:105).

13. Once certain Levites went to Zoar, the City of Palms, and one of them fell sick by the way, and they brought him to an inn. When they returned thither, they asked the mistress of the inn, ‘Where is our companion?’ She answered. ‘He is dead, and I buried him’ (m. Yebamot 16:7; see Danby 2011:245).

14. For the latter, see note 11. The reference to Plato and Josephus, which indeed pictures innkeepers in a negative light, is discussed below.

15. ‘May you soon, swindling innkeeper,

Feel the anger divine,

You who sell people water

And yourself drink pure wine’ (see Casson 1994:214).

16. SB 1.5249.1–6 reads as follows:

1. [ -ca.?- ] γράψω [ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]ρεως κ[ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- κατα]λυμάτων καὶ [ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ] το τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείων [ -ca.?- ]

5. [ -ca.?- ] ὡς ἐπιστολὴ γράφω [ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]κατ[ -ca.?- ].

The texts of the papyri cited and discussed in this article are all taken from www.papyri.info. All translations offered are those of the authors.

17. P.Cair.Zen. II 59205.1–7 reads as follows:

1. [ -ca.?- ] σ̣[ο]ι̣ ἧς γέγραφα Κρίτωνι ἐπιστολ̣[ῆς -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]ρ̣οπλεῖν ἡμῶν αὐτὸν ἐπιστα[ -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ] π̣οιήσει \δοὺς/ τὸ καταλυμάτιον σήμερον ̣[ -ca.?- ]
ἔρρωσο. (ἔτους) λα [ -ca.?- ]

5. [ -ca.?- λ]αβὼν ἡμῖν καταλυμάτιον ἐμ(*) Φ[ιλαδελφείαι -ca.?- ]
[κ]αὶ Ἡρακλείδηι τῶι ἀποδιδόντι τ[ὴν -ca.?- ]
[ -ca.?- ]γ̣άριον δοῦναι ὥστε ὑποζυγίωι[ -ca.?- ].

18. See P.Cair.Zen. II 59204.1–6 that reads as follows:

1. Ἀπολλώνιος Ζή̣ν̣ω̣ν̣ι̣ χαίρειν. ὡ[ς ἂ]ν παραγέ[νηται]
Πέτων ὁ χρηματιστής, παρά[δε]ιξ̣ον α̣ὐ̣τ̣ῶ̣[ι]
[κ]α̣τ̣[άλυμα παρʼ ὑ]μῖν καὶ τὰ δέο[ν]τ̣[α δὸς ε]ἰς μίαν
ἡμέραν. διακούσας γὰρ τῶν τε ἐξ Ἡφαιστιάδος

5. λαῶν καὶ Ἀμεννέως εὐθέως ἀν̣[α]κάμψε̣[ι]
πρὸς ἡμᾶς

From Apollonios to Zenon greetings. As soon as he arrived, Peton the chrematistes, you must show with your own hands to him the provision quarters among you and give to him what is bidding for one day. For after hearing the case from Hephaistiados and Amenneos immediately he will return to us.

19. P. Petr. III 21 D.14–15 reads as follows:

ἐγράψατο Νικάνωρ Διοδώ[ρου] … ̣ω̣καῖο̣ς̣ τῶν παρὰ …. [- ca.16 - ων Πτολεμαίωι] Ἑρμογένους Συρακοσίωι

τῆς ἐπιγονῆς κατὰ συ[γγραφὴν] ε ̣[- ca.27 - ου νομίσματος (δραχμ ) σκε] τ̣ο̣ῦ̣ καταλύματος.

15 [ἄ]λ̣λ̣η̣ \δίκ[η ἔ]ρημος/. κα[τεδικάσ]θη ἣ̣ν̣ ἐ[γράψατο Νίκων Διονυσίου Ἰνάχειος - ca.29 -] ̣ρας τοῦ ἱματίου τιμῆς.

20. Stud.Pal. X 146 reads as follows:

[ -ca.?- ]εαγμε(ν ) ἀπὸ τ(οῦ) Ὅρμου Φανκης
[ὀνό]μα(τα) κθ δ(ιὰ) Φλα( ) μειζ(οτέρου)
ὀνόμα(τα) κγ δ(ιὰ) Ποῦσι μειζ(οτέρου)
ὀνόμα(τα) ια δ(ιὰ) Γεωργιος(*)

5 [ -ca.?- κ]αταλ[ύμ(ατος) (καὶ) ν]αύλου ὑπόλο[ι(πα)] νο(μισμάτια) γ ἀνάλωμ(α) φ[ -ca.?- ]:
ἀπὸ χ(ωρίου) Κερκ(εσούχων) νο(μισμάτια) α
ἀπὸ χ(ωρίου) Ἐμβόλου νο(μισματίου)
δ(ιὰ) ν[α]ύτ(ου) Πιαμουε[ι] νο(μισμάτια) ιγ

21. See CPR I 220.14–16:

[ -ca.?- ]τας[ -ca.?- ]το τῆς συππεφωνημένης(*) ὑπόγυιος
(hand 2) Στοτοῆτις Στοτοῆτις(*) ὁμολογῶ πεπρακεν(*) τ[ῷ] Στοτωήτι τὸ ὑ-
πραχων(*) μοι τέτασσεν(*) μερις(*) καταλυτος(*) ὧν ινμιαυτη

15 ται ἀπέχω τὴν(*) συνπεφωνημένην <τιμὴν> ἀργυρ[ίου] δραχμὰ[ς]
τ[εσσ]εράκοντα καὶ βεβα[ι]ώσω καθ[ὼς πρόκειται]
Καταλυτος(*) in line 14 should read καταλύ<μα>τος.

22. ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐν τῷ καταλύματι συνήντησεν αὐτῷ ἄγγελος κυρίου καὶ ἐζήτει αὐτὸν ἀποκτεῖναι (Ex 4:24).

23. See also Odes 1:13: ὡδήγησας τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ σου τὸν λαόν σου τοῦτον ὃν ἐλυτρώσω παρεκάλεσας τῇ ἰσχύι σου εἰς κατάλυμα ἅγιόν σου. In Odes, Odes 1 consists of Exodus 15:1–19, therefore the parallel.

24. ἐγκατέλιπεν ὥσπερ λέων κατάλυμα αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἐγενήθη ἡ γῆ αὐτῶν εἰς ἄβατον ἀπὸ προσώπου τῆς μαχαίρας τῆς μεγάλης (Jr 32:38 LXX).

25. οὕτως εἶπεν κύριος τῶν δυνάμεων ἔτι ἔσται ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τούτῳ τῷ ἐρήμῳ παρὰ τὸ μὴ εἶναι ἄνθρωπον καὶ κτῆνος καὶ ἐν πάσαις ταῖς πόλεσιν αὐτοῦ καταλύματα ποιμένων κοιταζόντων πρόβατα (Jr 40:12 LXX).

26. ὑπομονὴ Ισραηλ κύριε καὶ σῴζεις ἐν καιρῷ κακῶν ἵνα τί ἐγενήθης ὡσεὶ πάροικος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ ὡς αὐτόχθων ἐκκλίνων εἰς κατάλυμα (Jr 14:8 LXX).

27. For a discussion of the possible date of writing of the Letter to Aristeas, see Shutt (1983:8–9).

28. See Polybius, Historae 32.13.1–4: ‘πρὸς δὲ τούτοις διεσάφουν μή(τε) κατάλυμα δοθῆναι σφίσι μήτε παροχήν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς ἵππους, οὓς εἶχον παρ’ ἑτέρας πόλεως, ἀφελέσθαι τοὺς’ (They also reported that they had neither been given a residence nor supplied with food, and that they had even taken away from them by force the horses they had brought from another town). Translation is from Polybius, Historae 32.13.1–4 (Paton, LCL).

29. See Polybius, Historae 2.36.1–5: Ἀσδρούβας δ᾽ ὁ τῶν Καρχηδονίων στρατηγός — ἀπὸ γὰρ τούτων παρεξέβημεν τῆς ἐξηγήσεως — ἔτη χειρίσας ὀκτὼ τὰ κατὰ τὴν Ἰβηρίαν ἐτελεύτησε, δο λοφονηθεὶς ἐν τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ καταλύμασι νυκτὸς ὑπό τινος Κελτοῦ τὸ γένος ἰδίων ἕνεκεν ἀδικημάτων. [This digression has led as away from the affairs of Spain, where Hasdrubal, after governing the country for 8 years, was assassinated at night in his lodging by a certain Celt owing to wrongs of a private nature]. Translation is from Polybius, Historae 2.36.1–5 (Paton, LCL).

30. Bibliotheca Historica–10 reads as follows: ‘ἐπιλέξαντες οὖν τῶν νέων τοὺς ἀλκῇ διαφέροντας ἔπεμψαν ἐπὶ τὸ κατάλυμα. οἱ δὲ ἀθρόοι προσπεσόντες τούτῳ καὶ τὸν Ἀκίλλιον ἁρπάσαντες ἔδησαν, ὡς καλλίστην τῷ βασιλεῖ καὶ κεχαρισμένην δωρεὰν ἐπέμψοντες’ [Therefore, they sent to his lodgings some youths, chosen for their strength, who all rushed inside the house, and seized Aquilius and bound him, supposing he would be a splendid present to send, and very acceptable to the king]. Translation is from Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica–10 (Walton, LCL).

31. Bibliotheca Historica–8 reads as follows: ‘διόπερ ὁ δῆμος τῶν Ῥωμαίων πυθόμενος τὴν τοῦ Τιμασιθέου καλοκἀγαθίαν, παραχρῆμα αὐτὸν ἐτίμησε δημόσιον δοὺς κατάλυμα, καὶ μετὰ ταῦτ᾽ ἔτεσιν ἑκατὸν τριάκοντα ἑπτὰ τὴν Λιπάραν ἀφελόμενος τῶν Καρχηδονίων τοὺς ἐγγόνους τοῦ Τιμασιθέου τῶν τε εἰσφορῶν ἀτελεῖς ἀφῆκε καὶ ἐλευθέρους ἐποίησεν’ [Consequently the Roman people, when they learned of this generous act of Timasitheus, honoured him at once by conferring the right to public hospitality, and one hundred and thirty-seven years later, when they took Lipara from the Carthaginians, they relieved the descendants of Timasitheus of the payment of taxes and gave them freedom]. Translation is from Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica–8 (Oldfather, LCL).

32. Bibliotheca Historica–8 reads as follows: Ὅτι ὁ Πτολεμαῖος ὁ βασιλεὺς Αἰγύπτου, ἐκπεσὼν τῆς βασιλείας παρὰ τοῦ ἰδίου ἀδελφοῦ, ἐν ἰδιώτου σχήματι οἰκτρῷ κατήντησεν εἰς τὴν Ῥώμην μετὰ σπάδωνος ἑνὸς καὶ τριῶν παίδων. πεπυσμένος δὲ κατὰ τὴν πορείαν τὸ κατάλυμα τὸ τοῦ Δημητρίου τοῦ τοπογράφου, πρὸς τοῦτον ζητήσας κατέλυσε πεφιλοξενημένον ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ πλεονάκις ἐν τῇ κατὰ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρειαν ἐπιδημίᾳ. [Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, having been driven from the kingdom by his own brother, repaired to Rome in the miserable garb of a commoner, accompanied by but one eunuch and three slaves. Discovering while still on the way the address of Demetrius the topographer, he sought him out and lodged with him, a man whom he had often entertained when he was resident in Alexandria]. Translation is from Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica–8 (Walton, LCL).

33. Bibliotheca Historica36.13.2.1–6 reads as follows: ποιησάμενος δὲ λόγους ἐπὶ τῶν ἐμβόλων ἐν τῷ δήμῳ καὶ τὸ πλῆθος εἰς δεισιδαιμονίαν ἐμβαλών, καταλύματος μὲν δημοσίου καὶ ξενίων ἠξιώθη, τὸν δὲ στέφανον ἐκωλύθη φορεῖν ὑφ’ ἑνὸς τῶν δημάρχων Αὔλου Πομπηίου. [After he had spoken to the people from the rostra, and filled the people with religious awe, he was honoured with public lodgings and hospitality: but he was forbidden to wear the crown by Aulus Pompeius, a tribune of the people]. Translation is from Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica–6 (Walton, LCL).

34. See Plato, Protagoras 315D.1–4: γὰρ ἄρα καὶ Πρόδικος ὁ Κεῖος—ἦν δὲ ἐν οἰκήματί τινι, ᾧ πρὸ τοῦ μὲν ὡς ταμιείῳ ἐχρῆτο Ἱππόνικος, νῦν δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ πλήθους τῶν καταλυόντων ὁ Καλλίας καὶ τοῦτο ἐκκενώσας ξένοις κατάλυσιν πεποίηκεν [… he was in a certain apartment formerly used by Hipponieus as a strong-room, but now cleared out by Callias to make more space for his numerous visitors, and turned into a guest-chamber]. Translation is from Plato, Protagoras 315D.1–4 (Lamb, LCL).

35. See also Demosthenes, in his De falsa Legatione 158.7, who refers to the hostelry (πανδοκείῳ) in Pherae in front of the Temple of the Twins.

36. See Polybius, Historiae 2.15.5–6: ποιοῦνται γὰρ τὰς καταλύσεις οἱ διοδεύοντες τὴν χώραν ἐν τοῖς πανδοκείοις, οὐ συμφωνοῦντες περὶ τῶν κατὰ μέρος ἐπιτηδείων, ἀλλ᾽ ἐρωτῶντες πόσου τὸν ἄνδρα δέχεται. [6]ὡς μὲν οὖν ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ παρίενται τοὺς καταλύτας οἱ πανδοκεῖς, ὡς ἱκανὰ πάντ᾽ ἔχειν τὰ πρὸς τὴν χρείαν, ἡμιασσαρίου: τοῦτο δ᾽ ἔστι τέταρτον μέρος ὀβολοῦ: σπανίως δὲ τοῦθ᾽ ὑπερβαίνουσι. [The cheapness and abundance of all articles of food will be most clearly understood from the following. Travelers in this country who put up in inns, do not bargain for each separate article, but ask what the charge per diem for one person. The innkeepers, as a rule, agree to receive guests, providing them with enough of all they require for half as per diem, i.e. the fourth part of an obol, the charge being very seldom higher]. Translation is from Polybius, Historae 2.15.5–6 (Paton, LCL).

37. In his Diatribai, Epictetus uses the example of a bed in an inn as the property of an innkeeper (κράβαττον ἐν τῷ πανδοκείῳ … ὁ πανδοκεὺς; Epictetus, Diatr. 1.24.14) as something you possess and simultaneously not possess, and property such as a house, a tavern (πανδοκεῖον; Epictetus, Diatr. 4.5.15 [Oldfather, LCL]) and slaves, which one should rather willing to loose than morals such as gentleness, generosity and patience. The reference to inns here is clearly neutral.

38. See Leges 8.842d.2–6: ‘μὲν γὰρ καὶ ἐμπορικῶν καὶ καπηλευτικῶν καὶ πανδοκεύσεων καὶ τελωνικῶν καὶ μεταλλειῶν καὶ δανεισμῶν καὶ ἐπιτόκων τόκων καὶ ἄλλων μυρίων τοιούτων τὰ πολλὰ’ [For the lawgiver of our State is rid, for the most part, of shipping and merchandise and peddling and inn-keeping and customs and mines and loans and usury, and countless matters of a like kind]. Translation is taken from Plato, Leges 8.842d.2–6 (Bury, LCL).

39. In Respublica 9.580.a.5, Plato also uses πανδοκεῖ, but in this case it is used figuratively, referring to someone who hosts (πανδοκεῖ) ‘evil’ (see Plato, Resp. 9.580.a.5 [Emlyn-Jones & Preddy, LCL]).

40. Luke 2:7 reads ‘καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι’. The same use of κατάλυμα occurs in Mark 14:14 (and Lk 22:11): ‘ποῦ ἐστιν τὸ κατάλυμά μου ὅπου τὸ πάσχα μετὰ τῶν μαθητῶν μου φάγω’.

41. Bailey, for example, is of the opinion that the inn into which the wounded man was taken was a Jewish inn, and these inns were situated in Jewish villages. The wounded man therefore most probably was taken to a Jewish inn in Jericho, run by its Jewish owner (Bailey 2008:295–296). Bailey (1983:53–54) believes that even Jewish commercial inns had very unsavoury reputations. In Targum Jonathan, for example, the word ‘prostitute’ is regularly translated as ‘woman who keeps an inn’. In scholarship on the parable of the Samaritan, it thus seems that any kind of πανδοχεῖον is seen as bad, Jewish or non-Jewish, as it enhances the unexpected actions of the Samaritan.

42. See also Luke 7:13, where ἐσπλαγχνίσθη is used to describe Jesus’ response when he saw the widow of Nain at her son’s funeral procession, and Luke 15:20, where ἐσπλαγχνίσθη is used to describe the reaction of the father to the return of his lost son.

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.