Freelance Cross-Bearers

Hadewijch claims that those who carry the cross of Christ out of some hope of reward are like “Simon [of Cyrene] who received pay because he carried our Lord’s cross” (Letter 6). I looked up Matthew 27:32 (the verse the translator cites) — just as I remembered, it said that Simon was forced to carry the cross. The Vulgate says, “exeuntes autem invenerunt hominem cyreneum nomine Simonem hunc angariaverunt ut tolleret crucem eius,” which also appears to mean that they forced Simon to bear the cross, without offering monetary compensation.

Where is Hadewijch getting this idea about Simon?

2 thoughts on “Freelance Cross-Bearers

  1. I have never heard that before. It certainly isn’t in the New Testament anywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is something that grew up in later tradition, whether in the extracanonical Gospels, sermons or other early Patristic-era Christian sources. But my field is New Testament, and in there I can say confidently there isn’t anything of this sort.

    Perhaps he confused Simon of Cyrene with Simon Magus, who offered money in the hope of purchasing the ability to bestow the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18-20).

    James McGrath

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