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Bible Never Said Jesus Was Crucified

The Giant Noodle

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So says a evangellical bible schollar.

There have been plenty of attacks on Christianity over the years, but few claims have been more surprising than one advanced by an obscure Swedish scholar this spring.
The Gospels do not say Jesus was crucified, Gunnar Samuelsson says.
In fact, he argues, in the original Greek, the ancient texts reveal only that Jesus carried "some kind of torture or execution device" to a hill where "he was suspended" and died, says Samuelsson, who is an evangelical pastor as well as a New Testament scholar.

"When we say crucifixion, we think about Mel Gibson's 'Passion.' We think about a church, nails, the crown of thorns," he says, referring to Gibson's 2004 film, "The Passion of the Christ."
"We are loaded with pictures of this well-defined punishment called crucifixion - and that is the problem," he says.
Samuelsson bases his claim on studying 900 years' worth of ancient texts in the original languages - Hebrew, Latin and Greek, which is the language of the New Testament.
He spent three years reading for 12 hours a day, he says, and he noticed that the critical word normally translated as "crucify" doesn't necessarily mean that.
"He was handed over to be 'stauroun,'" Samuelsson says of Jesus, lapsing into Biblical Greek to make his point.
At the time the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were writing their Gospels, that word simply meant "suspended," the theologian argues.
"This word is used in a much wider sense than 'crucifixion,'" he says. "It refers to hanging, to suspending vines in a vineyard," or to any type of suspension.
"He was required to carry his 'stauros' to Calvary, and they 'stauroun' him. That is all. He carried some kind of torture or execution device to Calvary and he was suspended and he died," Samuelsson says.


Not everyone is convinced by his research. Garry Wills, the author of "What Jesus Meant," "What Paul Meant," and "What the Gospels Meant," dismisses it as "silliness."
"The verb is stauresthai from stauros, cross," Wills said.


Samuelsson wants to be very clear about what he is saying and what he is not saying.
Most importantly, he says, he is not claiming Jesus was not crucified - only that the Gospels do not say he was.
"I am a pastor, a conservative evangelical pastor, a Christian," he is at pains to point out. "I do believe that Jesus died the way we thought he died. He died on the cross."
But, he insists, it is tradition that tells Christians that, not the first four books of the New Testament.
"I tried to read the text as it is, to read the word of God as it stands in our texts," he says - what he calls "reading on the lines, not reading between the lines."
Samuelsson says he didn't set out to undermine one of the most basic tenets of Christianity.
He was working on a dissertation at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden when he noticed a problem with a major book about the history of crucifixion before Jesus.
What was normally thought to be the first description of a crucifixion - by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus - wasn't a crucifixion at all, but the suspension of a corpse, Samuelsson found by reading the original Greek.
The next example in the book about crucifixion wasn't a crucifixion either, but the impaling of a hand.
Samuelsson's doctoral advisor thought his student might be on to something.
"He recommended I scan all the texts, from Homer up to the first century - 900 years of crucifixion texts," Samuelsson recalled, calling it "a huge amount of work."
But, he says, "I love ancient texts. They just consume me." So he started reading.
He found very little evidence of crucifixion as a method of execution, though he did find corpses being suspended, people being hanged from trees, and more gruesome methods of execution such as impaling people by the belly or rectum.
The same Greek word was used to refer to all the different practices, he found.
That's what led him to doubt that the Gospels specify that Jesus was crucified.
At the time they were written, "there is no word in Greek, Latin, Aramaic or Hebrew that means crucifixion in the sense that we think of it," he says.
It's only after the death of Jesus - and because of the death of Jesus - that the Greek word "stauroun" comes specifically to mean executing a person on the cross, he argues.
He admits, of course, that the most likely reason early Christians though Jesus was crucified is that, in fact, he was.
But he says his research still has significant implications for historians, linguists and the Christian faithful.
For starters, "if my observations are correct, every book on the history of Jesus will need to be rewritten," as will the standard dictionaries of Biblical Greek, he says.
More profoundly, his research "ought to make Christians a bit more humble," he says.
"We fight against each other," he reflects, but "the theological stances that keep churches apart are founded on things that we find between the lines.
"We have put a lot of things in the Bible that weren't there in the beginning that keep us apart. We need to get down on our knees as Christians together and read the Bible."

CONTINUED: Bible doesn't say Jesus was crucified, scholar claims – Religion - CNN.com Blogs
 
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the makeout hobo

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I could believe it. The church I grew up in believed that it wasn't a cross, it was a single upright pole, and his hands were nailed above his head. That way the pressure on his torso forced his lungs to fill up with fluid, suffocating him.
 

Geo Patric

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m. Samuelsson, for all his reading, appears to have little comprehension.

he carried a device for a particular purpose and then treated with that device FOR that purpose. So, the Gospels were written in Greek and Aramaic and they used a greek or aramaic word for the device. 'crucifix' is a latin word.

romans used crosses. this is well documented. they used them a lot. a few years after jesus' death, judea revolted. rome suppressed the revolt and killed tens of thousands in precisely the manner described. The Roman Jew Josephus, writing in Latin, said "there was not room enough for the crosses, nor crosses enough for the victims." He records that several were often nailed to one cross. And, yep, they used nails.


[crucifiction] was widespread across the Roman Empire which included Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. It originated several centuries before the Common Era and continued into the fourth century AD when the practice was discontinued by Constantine, the emperor of Rome. While its origins are obscured in antiquity, it is clear that this form of capital punishment lasted for around 800 years and tens if not hundreds of thousands of individuals were subject to this cruel and humiliating death.

- Joe Zias, Crucifiction In Antiquity
Hobo,

I am familiar withe the school that insists that Jesus was hung on a pole or a 'tree' and though it would seem an insignificant matter, the difference actually bears considerable weight.

Jews (Hebrews) DID employ a similar methodology, employing a pole or tree for execution. had Jesus been executed according to jewish law, he might have been killed in such a manner. We can say this because of the relatively short time that he hung - less than a day and was taken down at sunset. This is important as it seems to reflect jewish Law (see Deuteronomy 21:22-23: ). though probably not, as the practice does appear to have lasted into that time.

But the gospels are pretty clear. Jesus was taken to Golgotha by Roman soldiers, was executed by roman soldiers. and romans used a crucifix.

geo.
 

Mell

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Historians also doubt Jesus was crucified. Seems the crucifixion of Jesus is yet another figment of religions immagination.
 

Geo Patric

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i would suggest that no very reputable historian "doubts" it - there is simply no reason to do so and there is good reason to accept the Gospels recitation. Although there are no extra-biblical reports by persons involved, there are reliable reports by those with no reason to propagandize and good reason NOT to, including the Roman Jew Josephus:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day;
Obviously, Josephus' sources were either jesus cult followers or those very familiar with the new religion. Perhaps a more reliable writer would be the roman historian, Tacitus;
Christus, from whom the [religions] name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus
- Cornelius Tacitus, The Annals
Tacitus mentions 'Christus' as the origins of the then proliferating church which Rome was working quite hard to stamp out. Notably, the Annals was written in the First Century, within a few years of the original writing of the Bible - almost certainly they were NOT his source.

geo.
 
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The Giant Noodle

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I actually wonder if Jesus existed at all. And if so there are so many contridictions in the bible..... It all seems like some type of dream. Some type of truths mixed with falsehood.
 

Kali

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I actually wonder if Jesus existed at all. And if so there are so many contridictions in the bible..... It all seems like some type of dream. Some type of truths mixed with falsehood.
I am sure he walked this Earth but doubt he was the son of a GodHead:)
 

spud_meister

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I am sure he walked this Earth but doubt he was the son of a GodHead:)
i agree, i doubt that even gods can get pregnant from head, Zeus being the only possible exception.
 
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In the future, do you think religious scholars will waste their lives sifting through centuries of Scientologist propaganda, just like modern religious scholars waste their lives sifting through centuries of Catholic propaganda?

Will they contend that L. Ron Hubbard was merely a super guy, and not the super-duper guy they’d been told he was?
 

liblady

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I could believe it. The church I grew up in believed that it wasn't a cross, it was a single upright pole, and his hands were nailed above his head. That way the pressure on his torso forced his lungs to fill up with fluid, suffocating him.
jehovah's witness?
 

lizzie

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It wouldn't really surprise me, but frankly, what's the real difference (besides techniques) between being "suspended" and being nailed up. The end result is the same. Either way sounds pretty gruesome to me.
 

the makeout hobo

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It wouldn't really surprise me, but frankly, what's the real difference (besides techniques) between being "suspended" and being nailed up. The end result is the same. Either way sounds pretty gruesome to me.
A LOT of people would need to buy new necklaces...
 

Aleem

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" That they(i.e the Jews) said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise." (Qur'an).
 

The Giant Noodle

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" That they(i.e the Jews) said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise." (Qur'an).
The Quran is as much a fantasy as the Bible if not more so. Ironically these books seem to cause more confusion and hatred than positive things. I wish both religions converted to Budism.
 

Aunt Spiker

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in the original Greek, the ancient texts reveal only that Jesus carried "some kind of torture or execution device" to a hill where "he was suspended" and died,
So that's not a crucifixation?
if a prisoner dies during their captivity or torture - it is, essentially, an execution by proxy.
 

tacomancer

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Ultimately, it wouldn't matter how he died, only that he was killed through no fault of his own.
 

Catz Part Deux

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i would suggest that no very reputable historian "doubts" it - there is simply no reason to do so and there is good reason to accept the Gospels recitation. Although there are no extra-biblical reports by persons involved, there are reliable reports by those with no reason to propagandize and good reason NOT to, including the Roman Jew Josephus:


Obviously, Josephus' sources were either jesus cult followers or those very familiar with the new religion. Perhaps a more reliable writer would be the roman historian, Tacitus;


Tacitus mentions 'Christus' as the origins of the then proliferating church which Rome was working quite hard to stamp out. Notably, the Annals was written in the First Century, within a few years of the original writing of the Bible - almost certainly they were NOT his source.

geo.
The Josephus account was almost certainly altered to bring it into conformity with the early Catholic church. Josephus was an orthodox Jew, he would hardly refer to a teacher of heresy as "wonderful."

Tacitus was writing over 100 years after the alleged death of Christ, and recounting the scuttlebutt of the day. He was NOT an eye witness. In fact, NONE of the new testament books were written by firsthand associates of Jesus the Christ.

Historicity of Jesus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Hawkins

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It's all people's right to believe what they believe. To believe that Jesus is not crucified is just another belief in the end.

God chooses those who believe correctly. And humans need faith, one way or another.
 

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In fact, NONE of the new testament books were written by firsthand associates of Jesus the Christ
not necessarily correct. Mark was the recorded teachings of Peter, John appears to have been dictated by the apostle to his disciples, and Matthew appears to have been written by the apostle himself. Luke admits firshand that he is not an eyewitness, but records the multiple eyewitness and written accounts that he used as source material.
 

cpwill

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The Josephus account was almost certainly altered to bring it into conformity with the early Catholic church. Josephus was an orthodox Jew, he would hardly refer to a teacher of heresy as "wonderful."
it was probably altered; but by happy coincidence this passage was not the only section where Josephus mentioned Jesus, merely the one that was shifted. elsewhere Josephus refers to Jesus as one who was called Christ, and who was crucified.
 

Catz Part Deux

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not necessarily correct. Mark was the recorded teachings of Peter, John appears to have been dictated by the apostle to his disciples, and Matthew appears to have been written by the apostle himself. Luke admits firshand that he is not an eyewitness, but records the multiple eyewitness and written accounts that he used as source material.
Evidence???
 

Geo Patric

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not necessarily correct. Mark was the recorded teachings of Peter, John appears to have been dictated by the apostle to his disciples, and Matthew appears to have been written by the apostle himself. Luke admits firshand that he is not an eyewitness, but records the multiple eyewitness and written accounts that he used as source material.
sorry... no truth in that whatsoever. NONE of the gospels was written by anyone that actually KNEW Jesus of Nazareth. None was written with before 70 C.E.

Matthew, Mark and Luke, the Synoptic gospels are almost certainly based in a collection of sayings attributed to an unknown source (known as "Q") as well as oral retellings of events. The similarity of the three books almost assures a single common source.

Though Matthew and Mark are likely the 'scripts' of subsects of christians that follow in the teachings attributed to those disciples, the others are certainly not.

THe putative author of Mark was obviously not a disciple as there was no disciple named Mark. This, though, was almost certainly the first of the gospels. it would be sorta silly to accept that a disciple (Matthew) would retell the story he experienced as it was told by another who never even MET the man, Jesus. Too, though Luke notes that he gets his gospel stories from other sources, he also wrote the Book Of Acts as though he were a participant... so, which is the REAL Luke?

John's gospel is the only on that differs and sounds as though it might well have been written by the disciple John... except that it was written about 100 C.E. which would make the disciple roughly 90 years old at the time that he wrote it... in a time when the average life span of a man was about half that. In fact, the writer to whom it is attributed was not only NOT a disciple, he was likely not even a jew. His Gospel is written entirely in greek and he is the only one of the writers who refers to jews in the third person, eg: "This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?'" "
John 1:19

the gospels are ALL oral tradition.

geo.
 
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