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    • Longenecker's work is OK. I just meant that when you copied from his book, you accidentally included his correct caption for Figure 6.6, but kept it attached to Figure 6.7, which has a different caption. But back to the previous post . . . I think you misunderstand. I believe that "stauros" referred initially to a simple pole, but became associated with punishments and executions, in large part because these acts were for many years associated mostly with simple poles. (whipping posts, hanging gallows, etc.)  And even when the apparatus and contraptions for punishment and execution became a little more complex, a standing pole was still a prominent feature. This is actually about the same thing that the 1963 Awake! said about the development of the word "stauros." Note that Awake! says the Greek term "stauros" could mean not just a stake or a pole, but also a "cross." I perfectly accept that it initially meant an upright standing pole, stake, or could refer to palisade of stakes, etc. And I accept that it could very often have this meaning in Jesus' day, too. But "stauros" according to the Awake!, also had the meaning of "cross" and this was (according to the Awake!) one "modification of it [that] was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through the Greek-speaking countries." So I do not think that the association of the idea of torture and execution by a stauros means that we are only talking only about a two-beamed cross, Latin cross, Tau-shaped, or Chi-shaped cross. I think that any of these shapes were possible, even a tree with random branches. And I still think there is a good possibility that Jesus was executed on a simple, upright pole. As I've said before, in any case, I think it's good that we have pointed out to people the possibility of this possible choice, because it immediately makes people think twice about the traditional cross symbol used all over Christendom. The only thing I don't accept is the claim that the evidence is so overwhelming that we must all accept that this absolutely was the shape of the execution instrument. In fact, after a lot of study, especially over the last two years, I have finally decided that the evidence leans slightly in favor of a Tau-shaped or, even more likely, the traditional crux immissa shaped cross. This is mostly based on a common practice with the stauros/patibulum, and the Gospel writers' focus on Jesus carrying his "stauros." There are about 6 other factors (bits of evidence) which add slightly to the reasons I lean this way. I have mentioned most of them already. I believe the X shape is interesting, but I am pretty sure it survived into Christian art and symbolism mostly because of the Hebrew Tau of Ezekiel 9, and its appearance that looks like a Greek Chi ("X") that would appear to match the first initial of Christ (Xristou/Xristos). I think the symbolism of the Chi-Rho is exactly this: not Christ in an X-shaped body position, but X on the stauros. It implies an single upright pole in this case, but was also superimposed on the crux immissa to produce a "star" shape.  Longenecker explains the Ezekiel 9:4 connection where the KJV says: And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. Since the word for mark is TAU, it can be read or translated as: And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a TAU upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. I haven't seen it proven yet, but I would guess that the fact that pre-Christian Jewish ossuaries sometimes have a TAU on them in the shape of either a + or x is because this was the shape of the TAU at the time: I haven't read it anywhere yet, but I assume that some scholar somewhere has already tied this letter to ossuaries in a similar way that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. Where Omega is the LAST letter of the alphabet, and in Hebrew, TAU is the last letter, and a good letter to represent Death, מָוֶת which also ends in TAU in Hebrew.   The association of Tau with Death is also possibly done in Hebrews 2:14 which says in the KJV: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; But in Greek it uses "alliteration" with the letter T more than any other Bible verse. If you thought the English translation "fight the fine fight of the faith" was alliterative, check out this verse in Greek, keeping in mind that the subject is death, and also keeping in mind that an opening "Theta" as in the word thanatos (death) was often pronounced at the time more like the th in hot-head, not the th in "the." ἐπεὶ οὖν τὰ παιδία κεκοινώνηκεν σαρκός καὶ αἵματος καὶ αὐτὸς παραπλησίως μετέσχεν τῶν αὐτῶν ἵνα διὰ τοῦ θανάτου καταργήσῃ τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου τουτ' έστιν τὸν διάβολον The writer (Paul?) manages to keep at least one Tau in a string of 12 consecutive words, and offers a total of 19 Taus in the last 20 words. There! Figured I'd give you some "low-hanging fruit" since I'm pretty sure you already consider everything I've ever said to be fairly worthless anyway. 😉
    • Dear Mr Butler: It appears you have more than enough "suggestions" on how to handle the above problem.   Normally I wouldn't respond to a  "cheeky" ex-JW (your words not mine).   To give you some background, I am an American but I was married to an Englishman for 15yrs so I get the culture differences.  Also I don't always agree with JTR (but I do get in tongue-in-cheek delivery) BUT you would do well to take his point of view.   The main problem I see is your "trusted" friend who burdened you with this information about this boy.  This (in my opinion) would be gossip since you had no reason to know this information.   You have no idea how the Elders handled this situation, it could have been handled based on no outside parties being aware of the problem, thus privately and that's why it wasn't announced to the congregation.   The Elders could have talked to the police, the father could have talked to the police or social services and been given advice.   YOU don't know and that's the point - You have only been given the " secret" by your "trustworthy" friend.   This friend of yours has the burden, not you.  I would tell him/her he/she needs to go to the parent, Elders, police, social services or you will using him/her as your informant and then you decide the best course of whom to contact with your 2nd or 3rd hand information (well I ended up giving advice I wasn't going to). It's an unfortunate mess when gossip, it spreads like fire, people get burned whether its true or not.   We all want to protect our children, that's not the point I'm making (I'm a mother of 4 and grandmother of 5).    This boy could be a threat to the congregation or some intervention took place that will put him on the right path.  Who knows, outside of the parties involved.  It's regrettable that you are separated from the congregation so going to a trusted Elder is not an option, that would be the best way to just let them know you are aware of a situation via gossip ( I suppose you could write an anonymous letter).    Going to the police or social services may be the way to go BUT then again, it could open a can-of-worms that would be more harmful than good in the end.   Professionals are required to report these things, because they are just that, professionals.   I would chastise your friend for spreading this information and forbid him/her from gossiping to you again.  I'm sure you are aware of the seven things Jehovah hates, tread carefully. Sincerely, Your Ex-sister  
    • No correction needed when the picture is out of “Bruce W Longenecker” own book of Pompeii. It is shameful to discredit someone else’s work just because you believe it’s a mistaken representation. I will agree the X to the Tau is far apart from the original meaning of a cross-hair. Therefore, in the context of the cross-hair, the symbol would be correct for the time prior to the Latin cross. The thing still missing with your own argument, the crossbeam that was rarely used would have been tied to the prisoner, regardless if it meant a Latin Cross or a Tau cross configuration. There is no need to be repetitive with the ancient writings. It could very well be the torture pillar Jesus was tied to when he was being scourged ended up being the same Torture Stake he died on. You have made no scholastic argument. I believe this person drives the sentiment home. N.T. Wright. Snippets don’t give a full account of the author’s understanding of the author's argument. It would be silly to even try. As you stated, they are out there in google books or Amazon, the archives, etc. 3
      The Cross in Its First-Century Setting
      TO UNDERSTAND ANY event in history, you must put it firmly into that history and not rest content with what later generations have said about it. That is certainly true of the crucifixion of Jesus, and unless we allow first-century contexts and insights to surround the event, we can be sure
      we shall fail to grasp its original meaning. The horrible personal and physical aspects of crucifixion were matched by the social, communal, and political meaning. This is important not just as the
      “context” for our understanding of the Jesus’s execution (as though the barbaric practice were just a dark backdrop to a theology produced from somewhere else), but as part of the very stuff of the theology itself. We might already have figured this out from the careful placing of Philippians 2.8b, thanatou de staurou, “even the death of the cross,” at the dead center of the poem that some think antedates Paul himself So how had crucifixion come to be used in this way? The early history of the practice is lost in the mists of the pre-Roman world. The first historians, Herodotus and Thucydides, mention the execution of people on poles and
      trees, though it isn’t always clear whether this was simply hanging or impaling, both of which would have resulted in a much quicker death. Recent scholarly work has surveyed the evidence from the entire ancient world and has stressed that part of the point of crucifixion itself, as opposed to impaling or hanging, was that the victim was often able to see, to speak, to cry out in pain or protest for hours or even days. What are we to make of this? Are we to say, with some (like the great scholar Martin Hengel, in his book The Atonement, which lays out the evidence far more fully than we have done) that all this functioned as a kind of preparation for the gospel in the non-Jewish world? Are we to suppose that the Maccabean and other Jewish texts (see below) that do envisage people giving their lives for the nation are borrowing from pagan sources rather than relying on their own scriptures? Or what? Or is there a difference, and if so in what does it consist? Are we to suggest that the objection often raised to certain would-be Christian theories of the atonement, that they look like
      bloodthirsty paganism, has a certain justification? Make of it what you will. As I stated earlier, that Ottua here took offense with. Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion and veneration of the cross. This means you also believe in Christmas, happy holidays. Personally, I will accept the ancient writings as a good scholastic source.
    • That's a good idea @JOHN BUTLER. They will give you advice on what to do if you are worried about going straight to the police.
    • Not a joke and not the point. The options presented are simply that...options. The MAIN issue about moral responsibility, which remains, is not offset by others who perhaps fail to meet thiers. It does do and I can see you have a bit of a dilemna, but you seem to be second guessing what you think elders may or may not do. Also you seem to be doing the same regarding the competence of the authorities. You have understandable misgivings on the basis of what you say your experience has been, but in no way do they obviate moral responsibility in this case. Child safety is the issue here. Given your particular difficulties, the Childline number is available to anyone in Devon UK wanting to discuss problems of this nature: 0800 1111. Ambivalence in such matters seeems to be at the crux of your complaints against Jehovah's Witnesses way of doing things anyway, so why not bite the bullet?
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