New Advent
 Home   Encyclopedia   Summa   Fathers   Bible   Library 
 A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > P > Publican

Publican

Help support New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download or CD-ROM. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more — all for only $19.99...

Publican, in the Gospels, is derived from the publicanus of the Vulgate, and signifies a member or employee of the Roman financial companies who farmed the taxes. From the time of the Republic the Roman State relieved itself of the trouble of collecting the taxes in the provinces by putting up the taxes of each in a lump sum to auction. The highest bidder received the authorization to extort the sum from the province in question. Such a system afforded ample opportunity for rapacious exactions on the part of the company and its officials, and the abuses were often intolerable. On account of these, and more, perhaps, because of the natural though impotent Jewish hatred of the Roman supremacy, those of the Jews who found it profitable thus to serve the foreign rulers were objects of execration to their countrymen. In the Gospel narrative we find them as a class habitually coupled with "sinners" and the "heathen". The attitude of Christ towards this, as well as other despised classes, was that of an uplifting sympathy. One great reproach cast upon Him by His enemies, the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees, was His friendship for, and association with publicans and sinners; and consistently with this conduct it pleased Him to choose as one of the twelve Apostles Levi or Matthew the Publican (Matthew 9:9).


Sources

MAAS, Comment. of Gospel of St. Matthew (New York, 1898); DIETRICH, Die rechtliche Natur der Societas publicanorum (Meissen, 1889); THIBAULT, Les douanes chez les Romains (Paris, 1888).

About this page

APA citation. Driscoll, J.F. (1911). Publican. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12553d.htm

MLA citation. Driscoll, James F. "Publican." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12553d.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by WGKofron. With thanks to St. Mary's Church, Akron, Ohio.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

Copyright © 2012 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

CONTACT US