Talk:Render unto Caesar

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Former good article nominee Render unto Caesar was a Philosophy and religion good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
November 4, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed
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Perhaps significant...[edit]

Science vs Religion is perhaps the most significant meaning of this quote, and not mentioned at all on this Wiki page. Very important and potentially useful distinction. -Eric Higley

It is perhaps significant that Jesus did not have such a coin with him but that one of his questioners did.

John 12:4-6 may shed some light on that; Judas Iscariot carried the money bag, not Jesus. – Tintazul msg 11:26, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

It seems to me the "perhaps significant" line should be deleted. While it just might be perhaps significant, the fact that he asked for the coin was already mentioned and this line adds nothing to the article. If the comments suggestions were elaborated to say something like "Jesus carried no money" or something like that, there would be verifiability issues. If they remain un-elaborated, they certainly don't seem encyclopedic in style. (talk) 03:08, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I have read commentators who made much of this detail, but don't know off-hand of any. Perhaps this could be marked with a {who} or {Fact} tag for now. - (talk) 04:51, 20 October 2009 (UTC)


Why is the translation of the line in Latin, when the original was in Greek?

I came here to ask the same thing. The relevant Greek portion of 22:21 is Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ. (Apodote oun ta Kaisaros Kaisari kai ta tou theou tôi theôi.)—Wasabe3543 18:16, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

This page is extremely well-done[edit]

It covers everything anyone who came to this article could hope to find. Someone should nominate it. ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I agree with the anonymous comment above, and have nominated this as a Good Article on their suggestion. Terraxos 14:59, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

GA quick fail[edit]

This page does not meet the GA criteria for sourcing, among other things. Much of the text, including interpretations of the story and controversial claims, are unsourced and have no inline citations. The editors need to spend some time reading WP:V so that they understand what needs to be sourced. Also, the page does not unfold in as logical a manner as one could hope. The editors need to put themselves in the position of a reader who is unfamiliar with the material. Finally, at times the page begins to takes on a POV and a tone of colloquial writing rather than a neutral, encyclopedic tone. On pages about religious topics, it is especially important to retain as much neutrality as possible.

If you have any questions about this review, please leave a note on my talk page. Thanks. Awadewit | talk 18:27, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

Much of Render_unto_Caesar...#Interpretations is original research and the authors seems to be interpreting the New Testament. It needs to be sourced, and if necessary, attributed.Bless sins (talk) 05:02, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Graven image?[edit]

First time looking at this page, but I don't agree that the denarius in question was "doubly" blasphemous. How does it qualify as a "graven image"? I thought graven images referred to objects intended to be worshipped, not just any old picture. Tiberius certainly did not expect anyone to worship his denarii. Revising this .... Scrutchfield (talk) 21:27, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Christ’s Trial is a poor support[edit]

The fact that the charge went undisputed at Christ’s trial doesn't necessarily mean anything. The trial was full of false accusations that went unattested. -Alan Trick (talk) 16:47, 29 July 2008 (UTC)


The section on "benefits if people had followed Jesus" on this question needs, AT LEAST, some citations and supporting evidence. It is widely wide in scope and presumptuous. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:10, 1 August 2008 (UTC)


The article is written from a libertarian and evangelical perspective, which is often hostile to taxes and government authority. However, it ought to mention some more disturbing things such as the use of the statement to justify many historically authoritarian regimes and high taxes in Catholic Europe, such as Franco's Spain, the Bourbon monarchy or even the Tsars of Russia. For example, the statement might be even quoted today in order to state that it is legimitate for Christians in minority situations to obey leaders that are thought to be dictators, such as Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. ADM (talk)

Give way to what is the Truth.[edit]

The truth is that Jesus acknowledges the exsistance and uses of government on earth. As people of faith though our job is to give to God what is God's. We are the lambs of God and therefore we must render our prayers to him and let God convert our souls to him. We render ourselves to him. These machines and systems that are created to control people are only going to change when we all render to him the prayers that allow God to truly take over all systems that we as humans create. For example there is a cross in the city that is on government property. There are millions of dollars used in defense of this cross but where is the conversion of heart that must do daily as Christians and people of God. What good is a cross when we do not carry our own cross with love and sacrifice for others. Let the atheist and non-believers take down the cross when our duty is to pray for those that do not believe. We give to God those prayers and the immersion of that love will over flow and over come those that do not believe. We get so stubborn about small issues when the bigger issue is flying away in front of our eyes. Our house is burning and we are worried about our possesions. Let us see beyond the possesion and pray that our Lord gives us the strength to carry our cross in a loving and sacrificial way as he did. Jesus saw how miniscule that coin was and thought, "If they only know how small this coin is compared to what I have in store for them." Lets give those coins to Caesar because God is a treasure that has an infinite amount of more importance. Sometime we see our children drop a candy and they cry. In our minds we sympathize with them but we know we have much more to give them and in the long run that piece of candy means so little. In the eternal love of God though he has compassion for us and tries to explain how meanless Caesar's thing are. God I love you and thank you for your love and the things that belong to you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by LOKOIN (talkcontribs) 00:59, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

-um, true except jesus says when youre born again you are somehow not accepted to human ways, culture and civilization. You're you, belonging to this time, not some fake clone or imprint. That's soul.

Americans like to instigate things, except when you kill someone, you really do have a death mark on this life or the next regardless, even if its a bunch of ants there's no free ticket.

The "truth" on Wiki needs some support more than just saying it is the truth. Where in t he gospels does Jesus acknowledge the uses of government?--Ned Netterville — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ned Netterville (talkcontribs) 20:00, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Roman Tax[edit]

Consensus of Tax within the Roman Empire

Problems with monetary funding: Basically the qualms about cash flow

I have a few I noticed. I live with my mother because of the adam and eve situation the roman empire is giving to its citizens. The tax of utilities and bills. Basically, I am a nature born resident, whom rely on such instead of the nameless faces upon which I give monetary funds to. These aren't really problems, just exagerated complaints really.

First, why should I pay for technology that already exists. Eg plumbing and waterways. This should be free or have a very small tax yearly to support the technology. Water should be free basically.

Second, trash deposal services should not be free, it takes man-power to dispose of trash, but electricity should once again be free or a yearly small tax. Electricity takes small amounts of energy per household but can also be free if the right technology is available to its residents. Eg why pay for a computer without the right software? Technology causes many problems, when not available but is a source of free energy.

Third, college loans should be free or reduced if the degree is not used, food should not be free. Food should be payed for somehow but at an option for the poor. They should be able to buy easily manufactured foods with low monetary value eg a 10 cent can of soup if they need. Foodstamps are an option, but only for the disabled not the suffering and poor communities. Food is a staple of life and a certain amount a week to sustain that life should be given. Housing and shelter of course should be free if obtained. The public sector such as the roads should be free until a new technology arrives. The pavement is a crude akward backwards step to the roman style roads.

Like I said, if the technology is there it should be free or really cheap. I find it interesting that africans care nothing about the roman way of life we live today because of there untouched culture and non-relation to slavic-european history. Why pay for the cow when you can just eat the beans. Waste of energy and the life of a cow. -- (talk) 17:33, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

"Prostitutes are notorious sinners"[edit]

I edited a line that says "Jesus showed compassion for tax collectors as he did to other notorious sinners, such as prostitutes." If a wikipedia article said "prostitutes are notorious sinners" or just "prostitutes are sinners," I think that would qualify as non-neutral POV, and that is what this sentence assumes. I changed "notorious sinners" to "vilified groups", which I think is less NNPOV and more accurate. Still, I'm not sure sentence adds anything at all to the article. (talk) 03:41, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Discuss major changes to the page here[edit]

ADM, before you go deleting big hunks of the page wholesale, please discuss your proposed changes here. Your "Religious views on tax resistance" page might be a good idea, and might well absorb some of the content on this page, but I'm not convinced of the wisdom of how you divided it up and I think it needs more thought. Have you looked into Robert McGee's cross-cultural/cross-religious studies of attitudes toward tax paying and tax resistance? That might help you expand your new page beyond its current Christian-only focus. —Moorlock (talk) 16:57, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

I could expand it, it would not really be very hard to go beyond Christian perspectives. My point though is that it is wrong that the phrase render unto Caesar be understood exclusively in terms of tax resistance, because it is more than just that, it notably includes the concepts of civil allegiance, Church-State separation and political neutrality.
The part about resisting taxes is also fairly irrelevant to the article because the vast majority of Christians throughout history have accepted not what their own consciences tell them, like what the libertarians do, but what the Church teaches. The global Church has always supported paying taxes, because that's the majority position, and that's why most people have continued to pay taxes.
ADM (talk) 23:30, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't think there is such thing as "The global Church," and various Christian denominations have a variety of teachings about what constitutes a legitimate taxing authority, what taxes are legitimate, and when the obligation to pay a tax might be overridden by another obligation. Some, like the Mormons, tend to support tax-paying no matter what; while others, like the Mennonites & Quakers, believe that Christians must carefully weigh conflicting obligations before voluntarily submitting to taxation. This article tries, in part, to show how different Christians and different denominations have reconciled their understanding of Christian duties about taxation with this particular biblical episode. Please refrain from mass-deletions like the ones you have recently made. - Moorlock (talk) 01:25, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm excluding small sects and cults from my methodology, because those groups are the most likely to literally become outlawed in the real world, outside small rural regions of the United States, which is the only place where their views are given de facto attention. Also, I would like to add that if you don't like the article religious views on tax resistance, then you should propose it for deletion, because it is simply intolerable to have the same exact text in two separate entries. If you don't want it deleted, then you should accept the principle that the text should not be at two places at the same time. ADM (talk) 02:47, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Your methodology? Quakers and Mennonites being small sects and cults unworthy of interest? Whatever. If your new page does end up just being a duplication of the bulk of another page then, yeah, it probably should be axed. I was hoping you were just planning to use that information to get you started on something more substantial. I wish you luck on that project and hope it turns out well. (talk) 03:33, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not against quoting Quakers and Mennonites per se, I'm just against presenting their views as if they were very important, extremely important. They are actually less than 1 % of all Christians, and we can only present their views after we take into account the other 99 % of Christians. The Caesar page is POV because it looks like a piece of unadulerated Quaker propaganda. ADM (talk) 03:38, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Doctrinal context[edit]

I plan to delete the entire section headed "Doctrinal context," along with the sub-heading, "Further information: Pharisees and Christianity." The information in the main paragraph is manifestly erroneous. By no means does the sole reference provided therein support the intendment of this interpretation, which has no support whatsoever anywhere else within any of the canonical or extracaonnonical gospels. The author(s) of this passage says, "Jesus was asked the question about paying taxes in hope that he would answer "yes" or "no"." This statement is patently false. The render-unto-Caesar incident is recorded in all three synoptic gospels, Matthew 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20. The purpose of asking Jesus whether or not it was lawful, according to God's law, to pay Caesar's tax (in Matthew, Mark and Luke), and whether or not to pay the tax (in Mark only), is not stated in Matthew or Mark, perhaps by ellipsis because the purpose of the questions is evident from the context of all three gospels. However, it is stated unequivocally in the gospel of Luke, thus: "Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor."[1] The governor was Pontius Pilate. As procurator or prefect, Pilate was responsible to Caesar (Rome) for the collection of Roman taxes in Judea.[2] Asking the question whether or not to pay Caesar's tax for the stated intention of turning Jesus over to Pilate unquestionably proves that the questioners of Jesus anticipated one response and one only. They expected he would answer, "No, it is not lawful. Don't pay it!" They obviously knew he wouldn't endorse Caesar tax, for that answer would not give them cause to turn Jesus over to the authority of Pilate. The point I am making is further supported by the fact that when the religious authorities a few days later did in fact take Jesus by force and turn him over to Pilate for prosecution, one of the charges they made against him was, "'We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar...He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee(F) and has come all the way here.'"[3] Furthermore, it is demeaning to the character of Jesus to suggest that he would avoid answering the question(s) in the affirmative for any reason whatsoever if he believed that Caesar's tax was in accord with God's law and should be paid. Jesus was a man of impeccable integrity. The author of this erroneous section says, "Answering "yes" would have left him open to the accusation that he was in opposition to Jewish resistance to the Roman occupation and therefore (given the assumption by the Jews that they still held privileged nation status with God at this time) against God, too." Throughout the gospels Jesus demonstrated time and again that he had no fear whatsoever of any of the many (false) accusations made against him by the chief priests, Pharisees or any others. He had previously and frequently bested these adversaries,' refuted their accusations, and left them with egg on their collective faces. He most certainly wouldn't avoid answering in the affirmative if that is what he believed. Everything else in this paragraph is negated by this false interpretation of what his enemies had in mind in asking his opinion on Caesar's tax. Signed, Ned Netterville. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:45, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Yes, there are all sorts of problems with the section. There is only one reference, and that from 1839. Also, the text doesn't really match up with the heading. The bit about "in opposition to Jewish resistance to the Roman occupation and therefore against God, too" sounds like somebody's personal opinion/original research. StAnselm (talk) 20:11, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

With fair warning, and no defense of the section being offered, I deleted this today.Ned Netterville (talk) 21:55, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Ned Netterville

Ambiguity and Interpretations[edit]

It doesn't seem to me that Jesus' answer was ambiguous regarding whether the tribute should be paid or the tax resisted. His point, it seems to me, is that the question they pose pose to him is predicated on misunderstanding. It is only a dilemma to those who are not (fully) following God. For those living in the way that Jesus prescribed there is no tribute to pay to Caesar or tax to resist. Those things only emerge to the extent one subscribes to Caesar, i.e. the state and its money. One should not participate, but to the extent one does participate then one should pay the tax as the expected costs of doing so. How could his answer have been any more clear? Likewise I think the most direct interpretation of the line is that he who would follow Jesus' way avoids this dilemma by being outside the state and not using its money. Since this seems the simplest possible interpretation, I wonder why it seems to be missing from those discussed on this page? And, in this interpretation the fact that Jesus does not have the coin is quite relevant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:30, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

"Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar...etc." only appears to be ambiguous to those who don't know, as Jesus did, what belongs to God and what to Caesar. Scripture, which Jesus knew well, is not ambiguous: "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it..." (Psalm 24:1). That leaves nothing whatever to belong to and give back to Caesar, and nothing is unambiguously what Jesus meant Caesar should be given, both by those following him and others. Jesus died to save all mankind and would not abandon anyone to Caesar. Ned Netterville (talk) 21:48, 20 March 2013 (UTC)--signed, Ned Netterville

The short paragraph headed "Money is not for the people's benefit" is off the wall for this article and the only reference is an esoteric soliloquy on the web about monetary policy that has nothing to do with this article. The only connection is that the soliloquy uses the term "render unto Caesar" and references this article. Unless the author can defend the insertion of this non-germane paragraph, I will edit it to remove it entirely.Ned Netterville (talk) 04:22, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Since there has been no defense offered for including this off-the-wall paragraph, with fair warning given, I deleted this paragraph today.Ned Netterville (talk) 18:02, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Could we get this interpretation (that nothing is owed and that Christ may have been referencing scripture) in here? I'm absolutely uninformed on editing wiki articles and don't have the time to get up to speed, so I don't know if this view would or wouldn't be an appropriate addition to the article; otherwise I would try adding it myself. It seems like it would fit with the content under the "Giving God the Benefit of the Doubt" subheading. Although this view is hinted at within, or similar to, some of the other portions of the article, this specific verse and evidence in Psalms seems noteworthy and interesting to me. After a few minutes of searching I've found three sources that use the verse: two are small sites and don't seem widely known or reputable, but clearly support tax resistance. The other doesn't explicitly support the view that the tax shouldn't be payed, but it seems more reputable. I don't know what standards religious articles are held to for sources on opinions based off of religious texts like this, so I don't know if any would work very well. Here they are anyways,,%20or%20Not.html (talk) 07:44, 11 June 2014 (UTC)


I'm just curious why this exchange is being referred to as a parable?-- (talk) 13:30, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

The most significant thing is that we have exactly the same situation today. The federal reserve is printing, or "counterfeiting" money without out any backing whatsoever and then loaning it to us with the requirement that we pay interest on it by means of our hard earnings. So the more money we borrow the greater we will be obligated to the present day "Caesars". So therefore money is an earthly creation and has no divine essence or power to prosper, only God is the true source of our prosperity and faith in God as our ultimate source of life, health and prosperity is the correct way. "Caeser" can have his own, back.

Requested move ==
The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. Jenks24 (talk) 09:30, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Render unto Caesar...Render unto Caesar – Including the ellipses in the title doesn't make any more sense than including quotation marks in song titles, which of course we don't do. Other articles on phrases aren't tilted thus even when they are the beginning. See, for example, the members of Category:Sayings of Jesus, Category:Political terminology of the United States, or the broader category Category:Quotations. If nothing else, we should prefer the more concise form, and not expect readers to type in the ellipses. --Relisted. Tyrol5 [Talk] 01:51, 7 March 2013 (UTC) BDD (talk) 06:30, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Support. It doesn't even usually have the ellipsis in secondary sources. StAnselm (talk) 06:47, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose; I think most of the examples that don't use the ellipsis work as standalone phrases; this one does not. If the ellipses are a problem, maybe we should title this with the entire quotation. Powers T 01:01, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. I can see why the ellipsis is there, but disagree that the quotation does not stand alone... purists in grammar may not like it, but using just this phrase is common enough. Andrewa (talk) 14:47, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Maybe it was titled thus because the complete saying is "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." — goethean 18:48, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
    • But that's just it... the quote does stand on its own. As a result the title, whether as is or as proposed, is both recognisable and sufficiently precise. There's no more need to title this with the entire quotation (as is suggested by Powers above, and a very good point IMO) than there is to add the Bible reference Matthew 22:21 to the title, although many of us still have sufficient Sunday Schooling for it to look a bit truncated without this reference. No change of vote. Andrewa (talk) 20:24, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.