What have these people been smoking? Here is what the Telegraph says today:
Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar
Only, that is not what the scholar said.
Jesus may not have died nailed to the cross because there is no evidence that the Romans crucified prisoners two thousand years ago, a scholar has claimed.
Only, that is not what the scholar claimed.
Other than that, the story is fine.
The scholar seems to have made the claim that Jesus may not have been attached to the cross with nails. He might have been suspended by rope, or some other means. It’s hard to tell what the guy really said because the Telegraph seems to have omitted a lot in order to make their headline seem at least plausible. So in the article, we don’t really get a good understanding of what the guy really intended. Just snatches here and there of him actually saying things, and they don’t track with the headline at all.
Notorious mass crucifixions followed the Third Servile War in 73-71 BC (the slave rebellion under Spartacus), other Roman civil wars in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, and the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. To frighten other slaves from revolting, Crassus crucified 6,000 of Spartacus’ men along the Appian Way from Capua to Rome. Josephus tells a story of the Romans crucifying people along the walls of Jerusalem. He also says that the Roman soldiers would amuse themselves by crucifying criminals in different positions. In Roman-style crucifixion, the condemned took days to die slowly from suffocation — caused by the condemned’s blood-supply slowly draining away to a quantity insufficient to supply the required oxygen to vital organs. The dead body was left up for vultures and other birds to consume.
The sub-heading to the newspaper story makes the remarkable claim that Romans did not use crucifixion. But the scholar seems to have never claimed that. It’s hard to tell from this goofy story, but it looks like the only thing he says is that OUTSIDE of the gospels, there is no evidence that Romans crucified using nails. The scholar seems to agree that he was crucified, just that he might have been suspended by rope instead of nails.
Note how condescending the Telegraph is in the first place:
The legend of his execution is based on the traditions of the Christian church and artistic illustrations rather than antique texts, according to theologian Gunnar Samuelsson.
Pecos Bill and Babe the Blue Ox are legends. There is lots of evidence that a guy named Jesus actually lived in the first century. So, it’s not a legend, little editors.
And: “Not based on antique texts”? What do they call the gospels?
After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
The ancient Greek, Latin and Hebrew literature from Homer to the first century AD describe an arsenal of suspension punishments but none mention “crosses” or “crucifixion
Crosses not used in crucifixion? Well, Josephus is ancient:
…and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified, while they were still alive, and breathed. They also strangled those women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the crosses
He claims the Bible has been misinterpreted as there are no explicit references the use of nails or to crucifixion – only that Jesus bore a “staurus” towards Calvary which is not necessarily a cross but can also mean a “pole”.
“Not necessarily” “Can also mean”? All that means there are several meanings to the word, and you must read the whole thing to get the context. And the whole context is pretty clear. The guy was crucified.
His hands and feet were fastened with nails to the cross-beam and stake (Tertullian, “Adv. Judæos,” 10; Seneca, “Vita Beata,” 19)
Mr Samuelsson said the actual execution texts do not describe how Christ was attached to the execution
But other, non execution texts make it clear. Otherwise, how was Thomas able to poke his finger in the HOLES in his hands caused by the crucifixion?
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
And: John 20:25
25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
So, let’s get real here, people.
Editors at the Telegraph: Grow up a little bit, please.