JOAN, POPE: An alleged female pope, the central figure of a legend dating from the middle of the thirteenth century. The story occurs for the first time in the chronicle of Jean de Mailly, whence it was borrowed by his brother Dominican Stephen of Bourbon (d. 1261), both dating Pope Joan about 1100. The legend was chiefly disseminated, however, by the chronicle of Martinus Polonus (d. 1278). According to him, she was born either in Mainz or England, disguised as a man studied in Athens, aroused deep admiration at Rome by her learning, and was finally elected pope in 855, ruling two and a half years under the name of Johannes Angelicus. She died in childbirth in the street during a public procession and was buried where she expired. In the fifteenth century the legend of Pope Joan was regarded as a fact and was one of the main arguments in the controversies on the justification and extent of the papal power, additional credibility being given the story through its circulation by Roman Catholic historians. The legend is now regarded as based on a local Roman tradition concerning an ancient statue which has disappeared, but which seems to have represented a priest of Mithra and a child. This figure of the priest was popularly supposed to be a woman, and the unintelligible inscription on the group was taken to be the epitaph of the female pope. The name Joan (Johanna, Johannes) is obviously due to the numerous popes John, some of whom bore an indifferent reputation. The double date of 855 and 1100 originated in an attempt to fill a supposed lacuna in the list of popes at those times.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: The one book of importance is J. J. T. von Döllinger, Papstfabeln des Mittelalters, ed. Friedrich, Munich, 1890, Eng. transl., of 1st ed., pp. 3-74, New York, 1872. Consult also: E. Rhoides, La Papesse Jeanne, Paris, 1878, Eng. transl., London, 1887, Germ. transl., Leipsic, 1904; Neander, Christian Church, iii. 367, v. 285, 307; Moeller, Christian Church, ii. 159.

JOASH (JEHOASH: the two forms are used interchangeably in the sources): 1. Seventh king of Judah, son and successor of Ahaziah after the six years' usurpation of his mother Athaliah. His dates according to the old chronology are 878-838 B.C.; according to Kamphausen, 836-797 B.C.; according to Duncker, 837-797 B.C.; and according to Curtis (DB, i. 401), 836-796 B.C. He was hidden by his aunt Jehoshebah when Athaliah massacred the seed royal, and in his seventh year was brought out from his concealment and made king under the practical regency of the priest Jehoiada (q.v.). The important external event of his reign was a threatened or real attack on Jerusalem by the Arameans under Hazael, which, according to II Kings xii. 18, was averted by a heavy tribute which stripped the city of its treasures, but according to the Chronicler (II Chron. xxiv. 23-24) was consummated and proved disastrous to the kingdom. Joash's religious significance lies in his services to the temple, which, under the usurpation of Athaliah, had been allowed to fall into disrepair. This was first committed to the charge of the priests and Levites, but was neglected by them. The matter was then taken out of their hands and entrusted to the chief priest and a civil officer. The sources seem to imply a defection from religious zeal after the death of Jehoiada; both sources, Kings and Chronicles, record his death by assassination at the hand of "his servants," and the Chronicler asserts that he was not buried "in the sepulchers of the kings."

2. Twelfth king of Israel, son and successor of Jehoahaz. His dates, according to the old chronology, are 840-823 B.C.; according to Kamphausen, 797-782 B.C.; according to Duncker, 798-790 B.C.; according to Curtis, 798-782 B.C. He gained a series of victories over Ben-hadad of Damascus by which he recovered large parts of the kingdom which had been lost to Hazael under Jehoahaz--an event made possible by the fact that under Shamshi-Ramman Assyria had renewed its battering at the gates of Damascus (see ASSYRIA, VI., 3, § 9), and the Syrians were therefore fully employed guarding their eastern frontier. A second important matter was the defeat of Amaziah of Judah after the latter had wantonly provoked a conflict, and his punishment by a partial destruction of the wall of Jerusalem and reduction to vassalage. Some light is cast upon the religious status of Joash by II Kings xiii. 14 sqq., telling of a real attachment between himself and the prophet which suggests that the sentence of condemnation uttered in II Kings xiii. 11 implies a Judaic standpoint from which all the kings of Israel were regarded as recreant.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: For 1 the sources are II Kings xi-xii; 11 Chron. xxii. 11-xxiv.; and for 2, II Kings xiii. 10-25, xiv. 8-16. Besides the literature given under AHAB, consult: C. F. Burney, Notes on the Hebrew Text of . . . Kings, Oxford, 1903; DB, ii. 556-557; EB, ii. 2463.



CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely