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Stake or Cross? How did Jesus die? What proof do we have?

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7 hours ago, Ann O'Maly said:

Real research can be found here

 

Very thorough article with an interesting acknowledgement:

"it will never be known beyond doubt what type of instrument was used to execute Jesus." 

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27 minutes ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Very thorough article with an interesting acknowledgement:

This is pretty much the same acknowledgement made on the jw.org site:

"However, the Bible does not describe the instrument of Jesus’ death, so no one can know its shape with absolute certainty."  -- 

    Hello guest!

That was excellent research that Ann pointed to. Not so sure about how the presentation would convince anyone. Have never heard anyone tell me that Jesus must have died on the cross and one of the proofs is that the Watchtower used to believe it and has pictures of it. ????

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14 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Very thorough article with an interesting acknowledgement:

"it will never be known beyond doubt what type of instrument was used to execute Jesus." 

"It is true that it will never be known beyond doubt what type of instrument was used to execute Jesus. But there is evidence – strong evidence – that it may have been a cross." - p. 31.

13 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Not so sure about how the presentation would convince anyone. Have never heard anyone tell me that Jesus must have died on the cross and one of the proofs is that the Watchtower used to believe it and has pictures of it. ????

The Watchtower's prior beliefs about the cross and how it was depicted in the literature isn't used as a 'proof' that Jesus must have died on a cross, but is merely part of tracing Watchtower's attitudes about it. The author presents biblical, linguistic, archaeological and patristic evidence that is highly suggestive that Jesus' instrument of execution may well have been cross-shaped.

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35 minutes ago, Ann O'Maly said:

The Watchtower's prior beliefs about the cross and how it was depicted in the literature isn't used as a 'proof' that Jesus must have died on a cross, but is merely part of tracing Watchtower's attitudes about it.

I was referring to the "video" presentation that Kurt provided. Look at the point made at the 1 minute and 20 second mark in the video:  "Four main arguments used to prove Jesus died on a Cross" 1. Jehovah's Witnesses Believed in the Cross.

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

I was referring to the "video" presentation that Kurt provided. Look at the point made at the 1 minute and 20 second mark in the video:  "Four main arguments used to prove Jesus died on a Cross" 1. Jehovah's Witnesses Believed in the Cross.

Oh I seeeee. I didn't watch after 16 seconds. I'm going to have to watch the whole thing now, aren't I? :/

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Why is this topic always considered of great importance to JWs? The reason of His death is of importance. One is not a better Christian if he / she believes in a cross or not.

 

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Tiny Viking crucifix could rewrite history

By Arden Dier Published March 18, 2016 

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I should dig deep in my pile of books really before writing this but :-

The GB of the JW Org make known that Jesus was put to death on a Stake. In the NWT (JW Bible) they use the expression 'torture stake'. Which is probably not a direct translation from the Greek.

In one of their publications they use a picture that shows Jesus hanging on a stake. His hands / wrists are  crossed over and he has one nail through the both wrists. 

In God's word we read about Thomas who doubted the resurrection of Jesus. Thomas sai

But he said to them: “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and stick my finger into the print of the nails and stick my hand into his side, I will never believe it.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger where the nails have been, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, His disciples were once again inside with the doors locked, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”…

Berean Study Bible ·

Obviously there are many different translation of this scripture but it would appear that the word hands means hands, not wrists. And in some translations it uses the word nails = plural.  In the NWT it uses both, hands = plural, and nails = plural.  This refers to the hands only, not the feet.  

I wrote to the UK bethal and the reply i received was not good. Basically they told me not to bother them,  but to ask the elders.  If I can find the letter I would try to upload it but i may have binned it in disgust. 

So I am asking for people's opinions on this matter. Was Jesus killed on a stake or a cross  and how would you prove your point ?

 

 

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This is one topic that I would not be dogmatic about when @JOHN BUTLER asked about "when I go into the ministry do I tell people that I might have the truth but I might not"  because as @Outta Here rightly remarked, we cannot know it's shape with absolute certainty. So when covering the cross/stake issue in the Bible teach book with a student, I just simply say that we cannot know what it was 100% either way.

My personal view is there is no reason it couldn't have been a cross, since this is what the Romans traditionally used, but they may not have used it every time, so it easily could have been a stake as well. The early Bible students used the crown and cross emblem, until they decided the cross was not a suitable symbol. One reason why I think that was because as time went on they realized that they must distance themselves from counterfeit Christianity, and since Christendom used the cross and they did not want to be identified with anything that Christendom used,  they dug deeper and discovered its pagan origins etc. But just because it was pagan didn't mean it couldn't have been used in Jesus' execution, after all the Romans WERE pagan! In my opinion the  whole bad thing about the cross is that not only is it pagan and used by supposed Christians as a symbol of Christianity (!) but that it is used in a way which God clearly condemns. If it was a stake (or anything else for that matter) and used in the same way as a cross, it would be the same thing.

To be truthful, personally I really don't think its important to know exactly what shape the instrument of Jesus' death was.

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I love the way you both jump to the defence of the Gb and the JW Org. 

They say a picture paints a thousand words, so please look at the picture. Now tell me is this truth of lies ? Or guesswork ? 

Where is that nail ? What were Thomas' words ?  Nails in the hands.

Not using the cross because the church used it ? Um, they use Jehovah's name and wasn't it a Catholic monk that started that name ? 

The name Jehovah already occurs repeatedly in the 13th Century in the Latin form of Jehovah. The Spanish monk Raymond Mantini, translated about 1270 different parts of the Bible from the Hebrew. In his manuscripts is on the right side the Hebrew text and on the left the Latin with Iehovah.

Cardinal Nikolaus of Kues used the Tetragrammaton vocalized as Jehovah in several of his works, 1428, in his Sermon In Principio Erat Verbum.

Petrus Galatinus published in the year 1518 his work "De Arcnis catholicae veritatis".

As William Tyndale, translated the Pentateuch 1530, he transferred the Tetragrammaton also by using the word Jehovah.

So, is the name Jehovah a false name ?   It seems the Bible Students used the name Jehovah because it was already known so people could relate to it. 

But I digress, the point here is the lie that picture tells. 

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40 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

here is the lie that picture tells

"Evil be to him that evil thinks"

As the single stake is a possibility as to the method of execution Jesus experienced, we prefer to illustrate thus. Mainstream Chistendom prefers its own version. Jehovah is a pronunciation of the name of God that is widely recognised and appropriately associated. We are happy using this alternative, especially as it provides a convenient separation of the Father from the Son, something NOT preferred by mainstream Christendom.

The significance of both (far more importantly) is appropriately summed up in the commonly quoted words:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life" John 3:16

"This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ." John 17:3

 

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1 hour ago, Outta Here said:

"Evil be to him that evil thinks"

As the single stake is a possibility as to the method of execution Jesus experienced, we prefer to illustrate thus. Mainstream Chistendom prefers its own version. Jehovah is a pronunciation of the name of God that is widely recognised and appropriately associated. We are happy using this alternative, especially as it provides a convenient separation of the Father from the Son, something NOT preferred by mainstream Christendom.

The significance of both (far more importantly) is appropriately summed up in the commonly quoted words:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life" John 3:16

"This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ." John 17:3

 

A couple of points here :-

There is no mention in either of those scriptures of needing a Governing Body of 8 men to rule over others. 

And, you completely FAIL to answer the questions about THOMAS and the amount of NAILS used, and where those NAILS were PLACED. 

COMPLETE FAILURE ON YOUR PART.  

One more point. You and Anna say that it is not important 'what shape instrument was used' when Jesus was killed. However your GB must think it is important enough because they show a whole page picture of it, and even then they get it wrong.

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11 hours ago, Anna said:

My personal view is there is no reason it couldn't have been a cross,

I agree with your personal view. Give me permission to remind you how Watchtower OFFICIAL teaching is stake, torture stake and nothing else. Because cross is pagan symbol and JW not support nothing that has pagan origin.

You walking on red line of dfd. :)))  

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Reasoning from the Scriptures, page 89, Cross;
The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau·rosʹ], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux(from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.
 
Text in red color is missing text in Reasoning book. Very important CONTEXT. Oh, context always problem with you :)))
_____________________________________________________
The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau·rosʹ], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. But a modification was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through Greek speaking countries.
Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole and this always reminded the more prominent part. But from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment a transverse piece of wood was commonly added; not, however, always even than.....  The following text continues, describing the types of crosses and the ways in which the convicts were murdered...,others extending their arms on a patibulum. There can be no doubt, however, that the later sort was the more common and that about the period of the gospel age crucifixion was usually accomplished by suspending the criminal on a cross piece of wood. But this does not itself determine the precise form of the cross; ....  the text continues to describe 3 types of crosses.—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.

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7 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

They say a picture paints a thousand words, so please look at the picture.

I think you are missing the point. The simple answer is if you are going to depict Jesus at his moment of sacrificial death, then you have to decide what you are going to depict him on. The GB's preference is obviously a stake, and why not?  There is evidence that the word "stauros" could have meant just one piece of timber. So really it comes down to the interpretation of what "stauros" meant at the time it was used. As @Srecko Sostar shows; the The Imperial Bible-Dictionary talks about both possibilities, one piece of timber or two pieces of timber. Take your pic. It's quite possible that "a modification was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through Greek speaking countries" after the death of Jesus. The dictionary goes on to say that that "a cross beam was more common in Jesus day", but still, that is no proof that Jesus was indeed put on a cross. And if it was a cross, we don't even know "the precise form of the cross" as the dictionary puts. So if most of Christendom depict Jesus on a cross beam, what if in actual fact it was a T shape? 

 

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1 hour ago, Srecko Sostar said:

I agree with your personal view. Give me permission to remind you how Watchtower OFFICIAL teaching is stake, torture stake and nothing else. Because cross is pagan symbol and JW not support nothing that has pagan origin.

You walking on red line of dfd. :)))  

Unless someone shows me a photograph from the actual event from the 1st Century, and I argue about it, then there is absolutely no reason for me to be worried about treading a red line or being dfd xD. In any case, I am not even arguing now, I am just saying we can't be sure 100%. If the GB feel like they are sure 100% then that is their prerogative, but changes nothing about how I feel. I would need a lot more proof first.

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3 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

You and Anna say that it is not important 'what shape instrument was used' when Jesus was killed. However your GB must think it is important enough because they show a whole page picture of it, and even then they get it wrong.

I fail to see the relevance of your GB jibes in this.They are like a sort of phonic tic that keeps appearing in your postings, regardless of subject matter.

Anyway, what has been said is that the shape of the instrument used to torture and kill Jesus Christ is of insignificance in that it was not deemed necessary by Jehovah to have this detail preserved in his word. The account in the gospels is very particular on certain details, but this I am afraid is just not one of them. So, to say that the illustrations in various WT publications are "wrong" is just not sensible unless you can indicate with certainty what is "right " so as to draw the distinction.This has not been done as far as I can see, although there are many interesting (and uninteresting) hypotheses on the matter.

As the world is awash with depictions of Jesus nailed to a two stave instrument of execution (almost 16 million Google results on crucifixion will yield untold numbers of images), I cannot presently see a problem with presenting an alternative view. Image result for Jesus on a stake

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24 minutes ago, Anna said:

I think you are missing the point. The simple answer is if you are going to depict Jesus at his moment of sacrificial death, then you have to decide what you are going to depict him on. The GB's preference is obviously a stake, and why not?  There is evidence that the word "stauros" could have meant just one piece of timber. So really it comes down to the interpretation of what "stauros" meant at the time it was used. As @Srecko Sostar shows; the The Imperial Bible-Dictionary talks about both possibilities, one piece of timber or two pieces of timber. Take your pic. It's quite possible that "a modification was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through Greek speaking countries" after the death of Jesus. The dictionary goes on to say that that "a cross beam was more common in Jesus day", but still, that is no proof that Jesus was indeed put on a cross. And if it was a cross, we don't even know "the precise form of the cross" as the dictionary puts.

 

So you disbelieve the account of Thomas and his words ? So be it , you turn against God's word. 

The GB have obviously turned against God's word by using that picture. Remember : NAILS = PLURAL, HANDS PLURAL 

NOT WRIST WITH ONE NAIL.  HANDS  NAILS...    It could not be any clearer.  

Luke 16 v 10.

The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much. 

Have a good day. 

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On 11/9/2018 at 3:10 PM, JOHN BUTLER said:

“We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger where the nails have been, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.

Perhaps he meant; " unless I see the nail marks in his hands * (one nail would put marks in both) and put my finger where the nails have been in his hands and feet and put my hand into his side"...?

*apparently the Greek word for hand also includes the wrist.

 

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1 hour ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

@Outta Here still doesn't want to see truth.  but I've said it above for all to see. 

If you are referring to yourself as a source of spiritual truth, well yes indeed, I cannot see it.

However, the fact you have had a pretty miserable experience early on in your life does come across pretty truthfully, and I feel sorry that you have had that.  ?

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2 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

NOT WRIST WITH ONE NAIL.  HANDS  NAILS...    It could not be any clearer. 

FWIW, I believe Jesus was much more likely nailed to a two-piece stauros. If so, it would have looked like a "T" or a "t" or a "+".  Since it's more likely, it's therefore my personal preference to think it was a "cross" in the typical sense. But its physical appearance is not important to the overall understanding of the Bible. It's even less important to the understanding of what the symbolic meaning of the "cross" should be to Christians.

The fact is that it could have been an upright pole. That's a piece of information very few people know about, and it might be good to point that out to people just so such facts might "jar" them into realizing that not everything we grew up believing is necessarily so. (This is true of those who grew up on Watchtower doctrines, too, as several surprising changes to those doctrines should have recently made clear.) We should keep in mind that there are always new facts to learn and some of them will be more important than others.

I think Anna is right that the WTS chose the idea of an upright stake to differentiate itself from Christendom, or perhaps almost as likely, to differentiate itself from Bible Students who followed Russell.

The scripture in John 20:25 could be an important piece of evidence. The Watchtower has used exactly such types of scriptural evidence to adjust other doctrines in the past, even the very recent past. It might also be important to note that the WT publications rarely imply that we know for sure. It's usually not very dogmatic on the point. But I have to admit that in these discussions of whether it was a one-piece or two-piece stauros, the John 20:25 scripture is rarely mentioned, which implies that the WTS realizes this evidence is damaging to the theory.

But we also have to give the WTS position a fair shot before dismissing it as impossible. For example, what if it was thought for years that stauros had been a single upright pole, and Christendom had always pictured it this way. Let's say that a new organization called the Watch-Tau-er came along and said it was in the shape of the letter "Tau" (T). There was a ton of archaeological evidence against them but they pointed out that this verse in John 20:25 says nails and appears to refer only to the hands. The established church and many fundamentalists would come along and say that the Watch-Tau-er was misinterpreting this and the reference was to the nails, plural, but that one of these nails was stuck in the hands and one was stuck in the feet. Or that multiple nails could have been used and still they were stuck in the hands on an upright stauros. Taking any stand against the norm results in a lot of defensiveness for the position that might seem obvious, but is really based on a preconception or bias from the majority, and from having seen 1,000 pictures that showed the same thing.

However, where some Witnesses make a mistake is to say that there is no evidence that the cross ever was associated with early Christians until 300 years, or even 400 years after the first century CE. In fact, there is probable evidence that it was already associated with Christians as early as the very next century after Jesus Christ. There is excellent and, to my mind, unimpeachable evidence that the two-piece cross was in use as early as 200 years after the first century. If something of that time period is discovered in multiple places 200 years after the first century, we don't automatically assume we have discovered the first instance that evidence, but assume that it's evidence of a developing usage, and that there were very likely some earlier instances of it yet undiscovered.

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I think it should be noted that Cross came many, many years after Jesus' death and eventually was taken up as a symbol in regards to Christendom. Granted how old the story of Maryas was, back then a stake or some tree, upright, was most likely used.

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15 hours ago, Space Merchant said:

I think it should be noted that Cross came many, many years after Jesus' death

I think the idea that the the Stauros might have been just an upright pole also came many, many years after Jesus' death, long after Christendom had already taken up a two-piece Stauros as a symbol.

In another thread you mentioned that it was 400 years after Jesus' death. Did you have a specific piece of evidence in mind?

I'll bring that statement over here for reference:

On 11/9/2018 at 5:20 PM, Space Merchant said:

Stauros is an upright pole, the cross came into Christendom 400 years or so after the Christ. Stauros is deemed a upright stake of torture by many because of how vile and crazy Roman executions were, which was still in practice later later on. They added torture stake because it, ironically enough and to your surprise, with the Strong's. It is no different from the use of upright stake or tree.

To add more fuel to the fire, such a device by the Romans is used to torture even kill those hung from such a thing, they even break the legs of people to hasten ones death.

As a side note, look into The Torture/Torment  of Marsyas, he himself was on an upright stake the same one of which he was torture on.

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3 hours ago, Outta Here said:

I was just looking for a reference on that. Can you share it? ?

"The Greek word translated “hands” is cheir, which means literally “hands.” There is no Greek word for “wrists” in the New Testament, even though some versions translate

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to say that the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. But the Greek word in this verse is also cheir"

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Of course this assumption is not 100% fool proof either....

Also there is an interesting debate

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including an interesting comment "If one wants to get anatomically picky, the eight bones of the human wrist are counted among the 27 hand bones".

I can verify that in some languages there is no distinction between the whole arm or just the hand. In order to specify what one means you have to say either arm*, or forearm. Usually the context clarifies what one means; for example "wash your hands" wouldn't mean wash your whole arm, but it can get confusing  if you say you broke your arm, because that could mean your hand. Of course there are exact terms for the parts of the upper limb just as there are in English: shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. But as you can see the word arm* in English could include all those parts, excluding the hand xD. When I fractured my knee, people would say I broke my leg. Languages are interesting!

@JOHN BUTLER Bones of the hand include the wrist xD

image.png

 

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

In fact, there is probable evidence that it was already associated with Christians as early as the very next century after Jesus Christ.

It is interesting to note that the (presumably) earliest forms of Christian art (Catacombs in Rome) date from late 2nd century and there is no depiction of a cross. But there is no depiction of a upright stake either (!) It has been argued that this omission could be because the early Christians didn't want to depict anything to do with Jesus' instrument of death for fear of idolatry. Which says a lot about the "Christians" that came after. They did a 180 degree turn and put crosses everywhere.

 

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8 hours ago, Anna said:

Also there is an interesting debate

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including an interesting comment "If one wants to get anatomically picky, the eight bones of the human wrist are counted among the 27 hand bones".

This was very interesting. The reference to Matt.22:13 particularly because it says "bind him hand and foot". Now when hands are bound as a restraint, we assume it is the wrists that are tied becuse it would be easy to slip out of literal hand ties. (Similarly with feet and ankles) So this seems confirm that,  in the lack of a specific word for "wrist", the Greek word for hand has a broader application.

I like the comment that said :

"And it’s true that Luke and John imply that Jesus was nailed in His “hands,” but then again the Bible also says that Rebeka wore bracelets on her “hands” (Genesis 24:22,30, 47), that the chains fell off of Peter’s “hands”(Acts 12:7), that when Nebuzaradan declared Jeremiah freed: “I release you today from the chains on your hands” (Jeremiah 40:4), that “the ropes that were on [Samson’s] arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands” (Judges 15:14) If you’re reading a more literal translation, that is.

In Hebrew and biblical Greek, bracelets and fetters are something put on someone’s yad/cheir ‘hands’, though we might be more precise and say ‘wrist’ or ‘forearm’. (Also see Ezekiel 16:11 “And I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck”; 23:42 “And they put bracelets on the hands of the women and beautiful crowns on their heads”)

I mean, even today, handcuffs are put on the wrists, right?"

Seems that some advocates point to the "Shroud of Turin" as evidence in this matter.  ?

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15 hours ago, Anna said:

It has been argued that this omission could be because the early Christians didn't want to depict anything to do with Jesus' instrument of death for fear of idolatry.

In the first century, the Christian congregation was largely Jewish, and all the Christian Bible writers were identified as Jewish. So the longstanding tradition was to follow the practice of no images of any kind. So we might not have even expected a symbol of a fish to spread around in the first century. Some of the Christian-associated writers and books that appear to have come from the second century were also identified as Jewish. (Letter of Barnabas, Didache, Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Thomas, Egerton Gospel, the Christian redaction of Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, etc.) This could include as many as half of the 100 or so writings that many scholars think originated in the second century. See especially column 2 of the list here:

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The Jewishness of the early Christians is indicated by the extended time period of Jewish-centered writings. And, rather than attacking Judaizers, there is a pro-Jewish perspective seen in the last book of the Bible, which is quite possibly from the year 100 CE, and which would place it in the second century, too:

  • (Revelation 2:9) . . .and the blasphemy by those who call themselves Jews and really are not, but they are a synagogue of Satan.
  • (Revelation 3:9)  Look! I will make those from the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews yet are not, but are lying—look! I will make them come and bow before your feet and make them know that I have loved you.

This is meant mostly as an explanation of why we have so few images of anything from the first two centuries of Christianity. And, any solution that might overcome the lack of images, we might therefore expect to come from writing, descriptions, word pictures, or even pictographs made from written characters. If the writers had consistently gone out of their way to give special attention to the letter T, for example, this might have been evidence of a T shaped Stauros.

First of all, the Letter of Barnabas, dated 80 CE to 120 CE actually does give special attention to the letter T. And, yes, the "Letter of Barnabas" ties the letter T directly to the Stauros.

You might remember that I went so far as to contact someone at the British Museum to suggest resources on this same topic. I was told that I must read the books they had from a scholar named Larry W Hurtado, Professor Emeritus at University of Edinburgh, who studied at the the Ancient History Documentary Research Centre, at Macquarie University. I have 4 of his books including, "The Earliest Christian Artifacts -- Manuscripts and Christian Origins" (2006).

This book shows that the first symbol for the Stauros actually was drawn from characters for writing, a pictogram made up of alphabetic characters. This is what we would expect from a culture that allowed no images, per se.

The topic is fascinating. First of all, there were certain words that were given special treatment in the earliest known texts of Christianity, especially the "New Testament" Bible texts themselves. The "Divine Names" (nomina sacra) were treated with a special type of abbreviation and a kind of halo over them that connected the first and last letters of the word. The primary words that got this treatment were: God, Jesus, Lord, and Christ. In the Egerton Gospel (70 - 120 CE) we see these already in use, plus a a few more. By the 300's words like Son, Savior, Spirit, and Stauros were already treated as "Divine Names" (nomina sacra).

The oldest manuscripts of the Gospel of Thomas, Acts of Peter, Acts of John, contain them, as do all of our major Bible texts, including fragments from the second century. Even "Old Testament" texts that were copied through Christian hands were copied with consistent examples of the "nomina sacra."  The nomina sacra for "Jesus" was already discussed in both the Letter of Barnabas and by Clement of Alexandria, both from the second century, with a chance that Barnabas was written in the first century. [Epistle of Barnabas (9.7-8) and Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 6.278-80)]. So we know that the practice goes back possibly as early as the earliest Christian writings. As mentioned earlier, Barnabas discusses it with reference to T (tau) being the symbol for the "cross" or stauros, for no other reason than its shape.

But there is much more on this. Stauros got the most special kind of treatment beyond that of any other "nomina sacra."  (To be continued in another post).

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@Outta Here Quote "I fail to see the relevance of your GB jibes in this.They are like a sort of phonic tic that keeps appearing in your postings, regardless of subject matter."

I am proving that the GB are not the 'faithful and discreet slave' and therefore they cannot give the true spiritual food at  the right time. 

Myself and others on this forum are showing quite clearly that the GB very often get things wrong. it is only people such as yourself that worship the GB by not questioning them, that cannot see truth in front of your own eyes.  

Myself and others here have shown that the GB at times deliberately 'get things wrong' or more likely, deliberately tell lies. They deliberately make misquotes trying to prove false points. 

That is not just the opinion of one person (myself) but of many ex Jw's and current JW's. 

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There is an interesting linguistic phenomenon where the s sound is not perfectly mimicked when words transfer from one language to another. The shibboleth in Hebrew was an example, with sibboleth as the alternative. French is famous for this where Latin words like studium became words like étude, dropping the initial s. And French rarely pronounces a final s of a word, except through elision. In Spain many words spelled with an s are pronounced with a soft "th" which often disappears altogether. Here is a question about it with a couple examples, I saw here,

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  • Listening to a few of my songs sung by native Spanish speakers I noticed that they seem to leave the letter s out when saying some words - sounding like 'etán' instead of están or leaving i[t] off if the word ends in s - eg. Dio mío.  [instead of Dios mio].

Even between Greek and Latin, there was an evolution with the letter "s" so that for example, the numbers 6 (hex) and 7 (hepta) became 6 (sex) and 7 (septa). [heptagon, September, etc.]

There are hundreds more such examples. So speakers familiar with Mediterranean dialects probably could easily understand words that left off an initial "s" and a final "s." 

So what happens when one leaves off the initial "s" and final "s" of the word STAUROS?

You get Tau-Ro and can spell it with two Greek letters: Tau-Rho.

If there had been any tendency to want to highlight the letter T in any of the "nomina sacra" adjustments to special terms referring to either Jesus or God in the early Christian texts, then this would have been the best opportunity, because all the other major words started with Th/Theta (Theos), X (Christ), I/Iota (Jesus) K (Kurios/Lord). 

But the Tau-Rho was combined in such a way that it apparently produces a simple image of Jesus Christ on the Stauros. It's called a "Staurogram" and is the earliest known of the two best-known "Christograms." Rememer that Tau looks like a T and Rho looks like our letter P. If you put the Tau down first and then the Rho on top of it, you'd get:

Staurogram

This was a kind of stick figure drawing, and is found in very early manuscripts where either the noun stauros is intended, or the verb for "crucify" is intended. The image is taken from the Bodmer Papyrus P.75, and therefore, according to

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:

  • Staurograms serve as the earliest images of Jesus on the cross, predating other Christian crucifixion imagery by 200 years. Photo: Foundation Martin Bodmer.

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If one had wanted to spell out the initial and final S of the word (which looks like a C in Greek Uncial (or Coptic) it would be done like this:

11495

The intention of these symbols becomes clear when pictorial imagery became more widely accepted in the Christian-associated churches. Note that an "Alpha" and "Omega" are also added to the imagery in this instance. Also note that the head is always above the crossbeam of the Tau, implying that the shape used a lowered crossbeam. (Or that it was important to lift Jesus head above the cross for symbolic purposes.)

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Having read through all the comments and had a good laugh, i am now more convinced than ever of the GB not being the FDS.

It seems some people need to hang on desperately to the 'cliff edge', being frightened of losing their 'faith' in thier GB. 

The points are quite simple. The NWT is a 'readable' bible. It uses 'readable words'. The translators have a very great responsibility to God and to 'men'. Yet at John 20 v 25, it chooses to use the words HANDS and NAILS, both in the plural. I am sure it the translators felt it would be right, they would have used the word 'wrists' if that word was also a meaning of the original 'cheir' 

Another point I have just noticed and this may be important. in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greeks Scriptures.

In the GREEK writing, the word for hands at John 20 v 25 is different to the word for hands at Acts 12 v 7. 

I looked and looked at this to be sure I was right, and it is different. I do so wish I could read Greek and Hebrew. 

So back to the picture and the John 20 v 25 scripture..... And another question/s. Is the GB trying to persuade / convince people of things that they themselves do not even know for sure ?  if so is that even a spiritual thing to do ? 

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@JW Insider your information is fantastic but you are way above me on all of this. I'm such a simple man, BUT so are so many people.

My point being made is, so many people are 'simple' 'down to earth' 'not highly educated' 'not having all these Bible aids' and in honesty not capable of being able to do such research. Will none of you people understand ? Will none of you realise how much responsibility your GB has ? 

You GB sends you out to preach to people that have no knowledge or understanding of God's word. In fact as time goes on many people now have no knowledge of anything and some can barely read or write properly. Yes even here in the UK. 

You may say, it isn't the GB that sends you out, it is God through Jesus Christ. Yes of course it is, but the GB are the ones that 'feed' you the information that you should 'feed' to others. Hence the GB have people's lives in their hands. Your lives and the ones you preach to. 

If, as can be seen on the topics here, it is proved the GB tell lies, make mistakes, get things wrong. How is this being guided by God?  You  are going out with lies, false information, false hopes in some cases. Is this really how God and Jesus wants the work done ?

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Wikipedia shows a simple staurogram on an oil lamp from Caesarea, now at a museum in Israel, that could have come from the 300's CE.

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This was one of the pieces of evidence that made me think that some Christians, especially those with Jewish family backgrounds, might have found staurogram designs to be preferable to the type of graven imagery apparently forbidden in the Mosaic Law.

There is also early imagery like this:

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The graffiti is dated to the late second century, likely within 100 years of the book of Revelation. It shows a man looking up to a donkey on a cross and says in Greek: “Alexamenos worships god.”

It's polemic, of course, depicting Jesus as a donkey. The book that @indagator recommended by Frank Shaw, discussed elsewhere, helps explain why Jesus was depicted as a donkey. The word for donkey seems to be a bit like onomatopoeia, like calling a donkey a "hee-haw" or "Eeyore". In Coptic the word for "donkey/ass" was EIO and the divine name known to have been used by Jews and evidently Christians and even pagans for the Jewish God was IAO [Ya'o/Yaho], the equivalent of "Yah" or "Yaho" [cf. Jah, Jaho, Jahowa].

Jewish and perhaps even Christian writers changed the names of pagan gods slightly so that they would sound insulting. (Compare Beelzebul, "Lord of the High Place," to Beelzebub, "Lord of the Flies."). The similarity between a word for "donkey" and the Jewish God's divine name made it a prime candidate for the same type of derision. And the Jewish name for Jesus contained both the divine name "Yaho" and the connected word for "Savior" or "Salvation." (Yaho-shuah/Joshua/Jesus means "Jehovah [Yaho] is Salvation.")

It was not because of the legend that "Your Savior will come riding on the back of a donkey" is the reason for the cross on the back of so many breeds of donkeys:

image.jpeg

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43 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

In the GREEK writing, the word for hands at John 20 v 25 is different to the word for hands at Acts 12 v 7. 

I looked and looked at this to be sure I was right, and it is different. I do so wish I could read Greek and Hebrew.  

Not really. You don't have to be able to read Greek. It's the same word just inflected differently because of the way it's used in a sentence. Kind of like "He seeks" and "He sought" or "they own it" and "it is theirs" or "one child" and "two children."  A quick way to see this is to go to:

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and

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You should be looking at the "Interlinear" Greek of each verse. Just roll your cursor slowly over the Greek words in the Textus Receptus (the NWT will be closer to the GNT Morphological at the bottom of the verse, but they are usually the same). If you are looking at the Greek Interlinear tab (or the Reverse Interlinear tab) you can see that in John 20:25  χερσὶν is the same noun for "hand" but that it is in "Dative Feminine Plural" (dative is the possessive/ownership case, as in they vs. theirs). This will usually provide the answer for variations of the same word. In this particular case it doesn't help so much because the same basic reasons are true of both, and the difference is due to a writer's choice based on a prepositional inflection in this case. Biblehub provides all the variations of cheir

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2 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

I am proving that the GB are not the 'faithful and discreet slave' and therefore they cannot give the true spiritual food at  the right time. 

Well then, why not stsrt a thread on that topic and see if  you can there achieve your objective?. 

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3 hours ago, Outta Here said:

Well then, why not stsrt a thread on that topic and see if  you can there achieve your objective?. 

Because I'm showing each point on each topic individually. You actually proved that be saying i do it on every topic. But the idea is to stay on topic and prove my point at the same time. Thereby showing in each case how bad the GB is. 

 

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4 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Not really. You don't have to be able to read Greek. It's the same word just inflected differently because of the way it's used in a sentence. Kind of like "He seeks" and "He sought" or "they own it" and "it is theirs" or "one child" and "two children."  A quick way to see this is to go to:

    Hello guest!

and

    Hello guest!

You should be looking at the "Interlinear" Greek of each verse. Just roll your cursor slowly over the Greek words in the Textus Receptus (the NWT will be closer to the GNT Morphological at the bottom of the verse, but they are usually the same). If you are looking at the Greek Interlinear tab (or the Reverse Interlinear tab) you can see that in John 20:25  χερσὶν is the same noun for "hand" but that it is in "Dative Feminine Plural" (dative is the possessive/ownership case, as in they vs. theirs). This will usually provide the answer for variations of the same word. In this particular case it doesn't help so much because the same basic reasons are true of both, and the difference is due to a writer's choice based on a prepositional inflection in this case. Biblehub provides all the variations of cheir

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Wow, just wow. Great stuff but all beyond me. 

So to think that every JW does all this to prove to themselves that what they believe is true. That's amazing.  That is what you call studying God's word. 

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7 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Wikipedia shows a simple staurogram on an oil lamp from Caesarea, now at a museum in Israel, that could have come from the 300's CE.

    Hello guest!

This was one of the pieces of evidence that made me think that some Christians, especially those with Jewish family backgrounds, might have found staurogram designs to be preferable to the type of graven imagery apparently forbidden in the Mosaic Law.

There is also early imagery like this:

    Hello guest!

The graffiti is dated to the late second century, likely within 100 years of the book of Revelation. It shows a man looking up to a donkey on a cross and says in Greek: “Alexamenos worships god.”

It's polemic, of course, depicting Jesus as a donkey. The book that @indagator recommended by Frank Shaw, discussed elsewhere, helps explain why Jesus was depicted as a donkey. The word for donkey seems to be a bit like onomatopoeia, like calling a donkey a "hee-haw" or "Eeyore". In Coptic the word for "donkey/ass" was EIO and the divine name known to have been used by Jews and evidently Christians and even pagans for the Jewish God was IAO [Ya'o/Yaho], the equivalent of "Yah" or "Yaho" [cf. Jah, Jaho, Jahowa].

Jewish and perhaps even Christian writers changed the names of pagan gods slightly so that they would sound insulting. (Compare Beelzebul, "Lord of the High Place," to Beelzebub, "Lord of the Flies."). The similarity between a word for "donkey" and the Jewish God's divine name made it a prime candidate for the same type of derision. And the Jewish name for Jesus contained both the divine name "Yaho" and the connected word for "Savior" or "Salvation." (Yaho-shuah/Joshua/Jesus means "Jehovah [Yaho] is Salvation.")

It was not because of the legend that "Your Savior will come riding on the back of a donkey" is the reason for the cross on the back of so many breeds of donkeys:

image.jpeg

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Thank you. 

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13 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Larry W Hurtado

Interesting stuff, especially the difference between Chi Rho and Tau Rho.

Howeve,r he states:

"2)............the earliest uses of the tau-rho are not as such free-standing symbols, but form part of a special way of writing the Greek words for “cross” (stauros) and “crucify” (stauro-o), in NT texts which refer to the crucifixion of Jesus.

3) The tau-rho is not an allusion to the word “christos“.  Indeed, the letters have no relation to any terms in early Christian vocabulary.  Instead, the device (adapted from pre-Christian usage) seems to have served originally as a kind of pictographic representation of the crucified Jesus, the loop of the rho superimposed on the tau serving to depict the head of a figure on a cross.

4) So, contra the common assumption taught in art history courses, the earliest visual reference to the crucified Jesus isn’t 5th century intaglia, but this scribal device employed by ca. 200 CE. 

There's no denying that this scribal device is employed in some early Greek Scripture manuscripts. How early? With occurences, for example,  at Luke 9:23; 14:27,  P75 of the Bodmer Papyrii (imaged earlier) was originally dated as 175-200CE,. This early assignment has been recently challenged, where some favour a later date closer to the 4th Century. Other evidences, such as Chester Beatty's P45 manuscript is dated about 250CE, and contains this device at Matt.26:2 and also Luke 14:27. A further papyrus in the Bodmer colllection, P66, contains the staurogram in at least ten places in the papyrus (corresponding to chapter 19 of John's Gospel. Like P75, this papyrus is subject to similar discussion on it's antiquity, being more recently proposed as originating "in the early or middle part of the fourth century."

So, basically, we have a scribal insertion of a contemporary "Christian " symbol some 135-300 years after the establishing of the Christian congregation at Pentecost 33CE .

However, a disturbing comment is made regarding the staurogram on the Bible History Today page cited in the earlier post by @JWInsider at

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:

"The tau-rho staurogram, like other christograms, was originally a pre-Christian symbol. A Herodian coin featuring the Staurogram predates the crucifixion. Soon after, Christian adoption of staurogram symbols served as the first visual images of Jesus on the cross."

Larry Hurtado confirms this when discussing the Tau-Rho among other "Christian" symbols as he states: "these are all pre-Christian devices and were appropriated by early Christians." He also says "P45, P66 and P75 offer us evidence of a Christian appropriation of the tau-rho device that (whatever and whenever its origin) was already becoming familiar in Christian circles at the time that these copyists worked."  (Quotes from The Staurogram in Early Christian Manuscripts: The Earliest Visual Reference to the Crucified Jesus?)

Reference is made to Herodian coins issued about 37 BCE where the Tau Rho appears (apparently as some sort of date code?)

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Jack Finegan, (The Archaeology of the New Testament. 1969) is referenced by Hurtado. In his book section The Cross. Abbreviations and Monograms, among other things, he cited Egyptian influences on the development and use of the Staurogram, likening it to the Egyptian ankh, a symbol of life. He presents an memorial inscription from a 4th Century tomb at Armant near Luxor on the NIle. Here the staurogram symbol is presented on the bottom 3rd right in line with the ankh and the Chi Rho symbol, (another "christogram). 

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An additional aspect is the proposed influence of the use of isosephy in formulating the staurogram. This practice,  known also as gematria, seeks to find numeric relationships in words and concepts by assigning numeric values to letters and thus to words, then looking for parrallel meanings. An attempt is made to equate this to the reckoning of the wild beast's number of 666 in Rev.13:18. "Christian" Isosephists equate this number to the value determined for the name "Nero", their interpretation then misinterpreting the scripture. The staurogram is thus said by some to have a mystical significance in this regard. The whole practice has a ring of divination about it. Although Hurtado does not promote this view, it is not rejected as a contributory factor.

Whilst interesting and formidably detailed, these speculations on the early uses of staurogram symbols are not very convincing as to their relevance to genuine Christianity. It just cannot be that difficult to find the truth, if it is actually there. 

  • It seems that an early date for the use of these symbols as some propose is not clear at all, as the relevant papyrii whilst significantly old, are of disputed antiquity.
  • There appears to be a pagan and superstitious influence at work in the appropriation of these symbols, for obscure reasons.
  • It is clear from scripture that definite attempts to distort and corrupt the true Christian faith were well under way from earliest times, prior to the adoption of the "staurogram". Paul warns that "the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work", Peter warns that "the ignorant and unstable are twisting the...Scriptures", and John warns that "even now, many antichrists have appeared".  (Before we even get to Rev. Ch.2-3).
  • The scriptures have no word for cross as such. Both stauros and xylon are simple words to understand, as is the background for the necessity of the use of this method for Christ's execution. There is no definitive way to conclude the exact nature of the instrument of Christ's death.
  • The existence of the dispute complicates and obscures the very reason for Christ's sacrifice, a paucity of understanding on this matter being a prominent feature of many two-beamed cross promoters.

On that basis, I remain satisfied  with the scriptural description as far as it goes, and the conclusion we draw on the likelihood of a single stake being the instrument of Christ's death. I will not be adding an extra beam to the account at this stage. ?

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On 11/11/2018 at 4:35 PM, Outta Here said:

Interesting stuff, especially the difference between Chi Rho and Tau Rho.

You beat me to it. I had to be out for most of today, but hoped to come back to @JOHN BUTLER to remind him that this is just my opinion based on the evidence. I lean one way because the evidence I've seen is slightly more convincing to me in that direction. But this does not mean that someone else (GB?) can't see the same evidence, and the majority of them lean the other way, per our own traditional stance on it since Rutherford's time.

To John, I would say that this Staurogram, and graffiti evidence too, cannot take us back much before 200 CE even if the evidence is exactly as old as some scholars still claim. As you point out from the words of Paul, even if evidence showed that this was as early as 50 CE, it still wouldn't be "proof." It could very well have been one of the ways in which "lawlessness" was already at work. After all, there is no doubt that the veneration of a cross symbol crosses the line into idolatry. And through syncretism with older traditions, the cross would have been a much more recognizable symbol with a richer history for veneration than a plain "I" symbol. And warnings about idolatry run from Paul's letters right up through (and througout) Revelation. 

You hit upon most (perhaps all) of the weaknesses of the Staurogram evidence, and these might have already been taken into consideration by those who have researched the current position as outlined in the WT publications.

The actual earliest evidence appears to be the argumentation in the Letter of Barnabas which scholars have not tried to date much later than 120 or 130. And there is no solid evidence to claim it was later than 75 or 80 either. "Barnabas" is big on gematria, of course, and this could even be one of the areas that letters to Titus and Timothy reference when they speak of things like being "obsessed with arguments and debates about words." (1 Tim 6:4). There's even a slim chance that it was this very book (and books like it) that were being challenged here and in Titus 3:9, etc.

Even so, it would not change the fact that a T shaped stauros is built into the argument as an aside, along with this early discussion of how T and then IH would create the number 318  (T=the stauros and the IH symbol which was already in use as a reference to IHSOUS -Jesus.)  Many years later in Christian copy of Genesis, the numer 318 comes up as the number of Abram's slaves:

  • (Genesis 14:14) 14 Thus Aʹbram heard that his relative had been taken captive. With that he mobilized his trained men, 318 servants born in his household, and went in pursuit up to Dan.

The much later Genesis manuscript treats the number 318 here as a "nomina sacra" just as Barnabas had discussed upwards of 300 years earlier. BTW, I also wanted to mention that Hurtado deals with the fact that just because a scholar gave these terms the name "nomina sacra" it doesn't mean that they were all considered to be the equivalent of a Divine Name. Obviously, this is true of Stauros, which is nothing like a "divine name," but we also know that this was a development over many years, and there is no evidence that "Spirit" (pneuma) was added to the list until 400 or so. Also, there were many other names that only reminded them of Jesus or God, such as "Joshua the son of Nun" or even Moses, Abraham and David. So this wasn't intended as a complete discussion of "nomina sacra" by any means.

Although there are some weaknesses and flexibility as to the exact dates scholars try to pin on things, it doesn't (for me) change the balance of the evidence favoring one meaning over the other. And as we've already covered, there is no reason for anyone to claim proof or insist on any particular shape based on any of the evidence so far.

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9 hours ago, JW Insider said:

there is no reason for anyone to claim proof or insist on any particular shape based on any of the evidence so far.

... and here comes to surface, to day light our own, personal Conscience Integrity, Intellect Honesty, Freedom of Speech among/inside WT Organization who, with GB, are standing on Dogmatic Standpoint, dogmatic stance that is ready to declare such, a different opinion as apostasy, and to dfd person because of that. 

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With all the evidence so given, which is fantastic, Thank You all.

I come back to one of my original points please.

Why would the GB have it written in their translation of God's word that it was 'holes in the hands where the nails passed through.

Then why would the GB then have a picture showing one nail through the wrists. 

With all the evidence you give I am now totally confused as to which is correct. But no matter and as some have said is it really important.

However another of my original points is that the GB must have found it important as they gave a full page to that picture. 

In my opinion, whichever is correct, the GB have done wrong by contradicting God's word, in the picture. 

 

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2 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Why would the GB have it written in their translation of God's word that it was 'holes in the hands where the nails passed through.

Per the Greek, the translation is correct, and matches most others in this regard.

2 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Then why would the GB then have a picture showing one nail through the wrists.

They assume there were two nails, and that there was a place through "the hands" where one of those two nails passed through. The assumption about the wrist is very possible. Evidently the traditions about washing of hands refers to a practice of washing the hand and arm up to the elbow. And other examples from the Bible have already been given. From years ago, I remember discussions of an assumption that a nail in the hand(s) would not hold Jesus weight and would rip through. This is probably assumed to be true whether stretched out like a traditional cross or upright.

Personally, I think the "physics" problem goes away with two nails, one in each hand, and therefore wrists aren't a necessary assumption. I give weight to the written Biblical evidence the same as you apparently do, but it is not unusual for Christians of all backgrounds in every generation to make certain assumptions about the meaning of a word or phrase, when that meaning can vary. I think the assumptions in this case are unnecessary, but this is only one of literally hundreds of places where the meaning could be ambiguous even if it can (and should?) be read in a more straightforward way, too. 

I think about the arguments early Christians must have had over whether the Hebrew word for "young woman" needed to be translated "virgin." (LXX vs Hebrew) Or how Christians since the beginning have looked at two slightly divergent accounts and had to come up with an assumed third story to try to resolve the apparent contradiction. Assumptions and acceptance of variations in meaning have been a part of interpreting and translating since the beginning of Christianity. No one can avoid it, and it might be much more common than you think.

2 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

However another of my original points is that the GB must have found it important as they gave a full page to that picture. 

Being different is no doubt considered very important, and this was a good opportunity with some evidence behind it. The clearly correct point is that we don't venerate objects like a cross. Another point of difference is that we look for ways to see Jesus Christ himself in a different light compared to the other religions of Christendom. Others venerate Jesus himself, taking away from the devotion due to the Creator himself. Turning the ideas of Christendom "upside down" is one reason "the GB" have looked so hard for evidence that contradicts the common views of other religions.

That picture is an interpretation based on some assumptions. The assumptions might be valid.

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On 11/10/2018 at 4:38 PM, JW Insider said:

I think the idea that the the Stauros might have been just an upright pole also came many, many years after Jesus' death, long after Christendom had already taken up a two-piece Stauros as a symbol.

In another thread you mentioned that it was 400 years after Jesus' death. Did you have a specific piece of evidence in mind?

I'll bring that statement over here for reference:

 

I am referring to when the cross not even being considered in the church of Christendom until the days of Constantine whereas he himself during the Battle of the Milvian Bridge had a vision, had seen a cross in the sky. It is said that the vision was instructing him to fight in the name of Christ, with his soldiers’ shields bearing the symbol of Christ. On the other side of the spectrum, the writer Eusebius, an apologist of Constantine, described the event in the Life of Constantine, which he wrote after Constantine’s death. Eusebius wrote that Constantine saw a vision of a cross rather than the letters of Christ. That he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, which says conquer by this. At the sight of this he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this expedition, and witnessed the miracle, according to Eusebius.

 

There is more information out there, but I'd have to look some more for it.

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1 hour ago, Space Merchant said:

I am referring to when the cross not even being considered in the church of Christendom until the days of Constantine whereas he himself during the Battle of the Milvian Bridge had a vision, had seen a cross in the sky.

OK. But this was not 400 years after Christ, it was supposed to be October 27, 312, which is about 279 years after Christ and only about 213 years after the traditional death of last apostle (John).

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I thought a little about this stake or cross story today. And I came to the conclusion that Jesus has been put to death on a simple stake.
Here is my reasoning:
It seems that the Romans used to leave in the ground the stakes on which they used to hang the convicts. Indeed, why redo a hole each time? Not to mention the stony ground of Palestine and the fact that a stake planted and replanted many times would end up having trouble standing up after a while. So the theory that the stake was fixed is very plausible.
I read that generally the convict carried with him, not the entire cross, or the stake according to our beliefs, but only the crossbar, which was already weighing very heavy. Then the prisoner was nailed to this crossbar and hoisted on the stake. The crossbar was placed into a notch made on the pole. So we have, stake already in place plus crossbar = cross.
Now, if you are an inhabitant of the region and you are talking about the coming execution and you have before you the instrument where the convict will be hang, a simple piece of wood in the ground, would you speak of it as a cross or as a stake? If one shows the stake to a stranger who knows nothing about how prisoners are put to death and call it a cross, the other man would have difficulties to understand what he is talking about since he does not see any cross but a stake and can not imagine that the convict will come with the crossbar.
In my opinion, but I do not have the infused knowledge, since the crossbar was brought with the prisoner, I think it's likely that people were talking about hanging on a stake at the time, the crossbar being a simple support that was not part of the pole itself. The instrument of punishment was therefore the stake. Once the prisoner hoisted up, his hands tied to the crossbar, we had before our eyes a cross. But it is quite possible that they continued to talk about it as a stake, since that's how it was named the rest of the time.
That could reconcile the Jehovah's Witnesses with the rest of Christendom: for the first, Jesus died on a stake, since that's the name given to it and it was the instrument that was under the eyes of the inhabitants of Jerusalem night and day, for the others he died on a cross since Jesus came with the crossbar and once hoisted, we had before our eyes a cross.

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9 hours ago, BillyTheKid46 said:

Emperor Constantine not only abolished crucifixion but was the originator for the pendant cross to become a symbol for Christianity.

Do you have a citation for this? I'm not saying he didn't do this, I just never saw the evidence. It makes sense that Christians would not necessarily advertise their Christianity with an open symbol until they had a legal standing in the Roman Empire. Of course, they were also known to preach their Christian faith, so this could imply a contradiction.

9 hours ago, BillyTheKid46 said:

Did Constantine know the manner in how Christ was killed?

I suppose it's possible considering he was an Emperor and had access to all Roman records, some still written on tablets, scrolls and kept in libraries. He would have had the full works of known historians along with those long since lost and forgotten. But if he did not know, he apparently would have accepted the word of Christians like Eusebius who had himself bragged about his own large library of historical works, and that of other historians and scholars.  And potentially he still had access to speak with the very grandchildren of first century Christians. In fact, Eusebius speaks of the experiences of Papias a Christian who lived between 60 CE and 160 CE, and who made visits to Palestine for the very purpose of finding witnesses to first century events.

9 hours ago, BillyTheKid46 said:

The point of the crucifixion was to show the people the contempt and the utmost humiliation for a crime. If a crossbeam was used to show the utter discontent for a thief, then how much more of a humiliation or disgrace would it have been to display Jesus in an upright position for all to see. A position to demonstrate that Jesus didn’t have a right to be considered a murderer, and receive a murderer’s death, but to humiliate and disgrace him as the king of the Jews.

That could be true. Of course, we already have a record of what was done specifically to humiliate Jesus in great detail. If this use of an upright stauros instead of a two-beamed stauros was such a powerful symbolic feature of the humiliation, then it certainly seems worthy of recording in the Bible, rather than leaving us to speculate beyond what is written.

9 hours ago, BillyTheKid46 said:

Assumptions are a poor excuse for what the definition of a Greek word actually means.

That's exactly right. We should really explore the entire range of meaning of the Greek word, similar to how we have explored the range of meaning of the Greek word for "hand." I think that a discussion of the PDF that the Librarian referenced provides meanings and utilization of the word, in addition to the basic meanings you provided. In addition we have resources quoted that give us a better context for the rituals of execution that have been related to execution by stauros.

I hadn't seen all of this before when Ann O'maly linked it, but I just finished it, and might have time to discuss tomorrow.

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On 11/11/2018 at 4:35 PM, Outta Here said:

Howeve,r he states:

"2)............the earliest uses of the tau-rho are not as such free-standing symbols, but form part of a special way of writing the Greek words for “cross” (stauros) and “crucify” (stauro-o), in NT texts which refer to the crucifixion of Jesus.

I'm trying to figure out the reason for the word "however" as if these points indicate some potentially different conclusions.

Going to a part of his blog where some of these statements are made

    Hello guest!
I see that his first point is simple: Contrary to the idea 100 years ago when Tau-Rho was considered just another Christogram like Chi-Rho, we now have textual evidence that Tau-Rho is much older:

  • We have instances of the Christian use of the tau-rho considerably earlier than any instances of the chi-rho. These earliest uses of the tau-rho are in Christian manuscripts palaeographically dated ca. 200-250 CE.

In fact, as you quoted: tau-rho served a very different purpose from chi-rho. They are not freestanding symbols that one would use to represent a symbol for Christ, but were clearly a way to depict and represent the word for CROSS and CRUCIFY within some of the earliest texts of the Christian Greek Scriptures. This is what is significant and different about the staurogram. You quoted point #3 that stated this again more directly.

On 11/11/2018 at 4:35 PM, Outta Here said:

3 . . . . the device (adapted from pre-Christian usage) seems to have served originally as a kind of pictographic representation of the crucified Jesus, the loop of the rho superimposed on the tau serving to depict the head of a figure on a cross.

It's possible you are concerned here, as you show yourself to be later, that a superimposed tau-rho was adapted from pre-Christian usage. Of course, the dual-beamed cross itself (as an instrument of torture/execution) is well-known from pre-Christian usage. Even the "nomina sacra" were adapted from the pre-Christian usage, where Jewish copyists sometimes wrote Theos in Greek with only the beginning Theta and the closing Sigma, skipping the vowels -- or perhaps even the Yod-Yod, to abbreviate a Hebrew Tetragrammaton.This is similar to the practice some Jewish writers still follow in English when they write G-d for God. That practice predated the practice in Christian texts of doing the same for Theos, and something similar for Lord, and Jesus and Christ. And the practice of using abbreviations was most well-known on coinage where space is at a premium. I'm not sure if this bit of knowledge means something to you, one way or another. You call it "disturbing" later. Why?

On 11/11/2018 at 4:35 PM, Outta Here said:

There's no denying that this scribal device is employed in some early Greek Scripture manuscripts. How early?

I'd like to know, too. Those who actually study the age of manuscripts based on their materials and style of lettering and clues from the contents (including vocabulary and abbreviations) will put most of these examples in the 200 to 250 CE range. Some of the arguments that would place at least one of them to a later century are often the same arguments that could place them even earlier. They are often just arguments for the lack of accuracy of paleographic methods.

But the exact date of the manuscripts is not so important to the overall evidence. The point is that the shape of the stauros associated with Jesus' execution is depicted and described very few times that we know of in the first 4 centuries. Basically, it's the Letter of Barnabas, Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Eusebius, and these staurograms in texts that might date between 175 to 300 CE. In every case where the shape is discussed, the consensus is a Tau-shaped or t-shaped stauros for the execution of Jesus Christ. And this is not ALL the evidence, of course. The way that words are translated into other languages during the earliest translations of the CGS/NT can also provide good information. Archaeology can tell us a few things, including a probable cross found at Pompeii, and the graffiti depicted earlier. Even the lack of discussion or controversy about the shape can be revealing. And contemporary historical references about Roman execution practices can have a bearing, too.

Remember, too, that if it were somehow important to note that this date is closer to the fourth century than the first century, then what does this say about the earliest known discussions of a "I" shaped, or pole-shaped stauros with reference to Jesus' execution? For all I can tell, those discussions might first be known only from many centuries later than the fourth century. Therefore, whatever importance we give to the "lateness" of these depictions of a two-beamed cross only further hurts the argument for a one-beamed cross.

In addition, if the shape of the stauros were a double-beamed cross shape, then it seems very reasonable that idolatry-oriented associates of Christians would adapt it to the existing ankh symbol for life, and the existing tau-rho symbol. Related somewhat to the ankh symbol ("life" etc.) Hurtado, in the book I quoted, also believes that IH, the first two letters of Jesus in Greek formed an adaption of the Hebrew word for life which also could appear quite similar to IH, read in the opposite direction. And while Hurtado is not a promoter of gematria, he sees the possibility that it may have been intentional in some NT texts. He even mentions that Matthew's attempt to split the genealogical groups before and after David to conform to a mnemonic of 14 generations each, could very well be because "David" in Hebrew is 14.

But we  do know for sure that "Barnabas" was big on gematria, and he would have had a much easier time if the stauros could have been considered in the shape of an upright pole that would therefore represent "10". Too bad for him that he was stuck trying to fit the stauros in somewhere --anywhere!-- as a "300" instead of a "10." All he had available was an obscure reference to the number of Abram's slaves in Genesis, and he could do very little with it except make a note of it. There would have been dozens of interesting options available if the stauros were some other shape.

Beyond those points I agree with all your later points. Pushing for a specific answer one way or another is not useful as we still have no way of knowing for sure. There were already simple meanings of stauros and xylon which never got expanded upon much in the Bible text itself, and speculating in any way that insists on a specific conclusion will end up in nothing useful.

I have to admit that there is a certain iconoclastic satisfaction that I probably held inside for many years when I thought about how so many people had it wrong, and I just knew we had it right based on unquestioning acceptance of our own publications. Perhaps it would be somewhat satisfying to get that feeling back again, but it's probably for the wrong reasons. There's just a hint of pride and presumptuousness and judgmentalism, bordering on schadenfreude, in that idea that we are right about something and 99% of Christendom has been wrong about one of their major symbols. Besides, we would still know better than to make a big deal about the shape or the symbol even if we did accept that Jesus was executed on a stauros of the two-beamed variety.

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On 11/12/2018 at 12:12 PM, BillyTheKid46 said:

891 Cross     891.01 The instrument of a slave's death, associated with the ideas of pain, guilt, and ignominy. "The very name," writes Cicero (Pro Rab., 5), "ought to be excluded not merely from the body, but from the thought, eyes, and ears of Roman citizens." The Hebrews, having no term for it as not being a punishment in their nation, called it "warp and woof."

Interesting that the Hebrews would have called it "warp and woof."

Wiktionary says of this term (red emphasis mine):

  • Noun. warp and woof (countable and uncountable, plural warps and woofs) The threads in a woven fabric, composed of the warp (threads running lengthwise) and woof (threads running crosswise) to create the texture of the fabric. 

In other words criss-cross, using two different directions at 90 degrees. Makes you wonder how much experience at that time they had with crosses made of criss-crossed beams as opposed to a simple upright stake. The reference of warp and woof comes from creating cloth material on a loom, which also required conspicuous crossbeams at 90 degrees to the rest of the apparatus.

 
    Hello guest!

 

    Hello guest!
 
 
    Hello guest!

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

I'm trying to figure out the reason for the word "however"

By "however" I mean that whilst Hurtado draws strongly held conclusions from the arguments he presents, we need tp keep in mind that  he recognises that:

  • by "the earliest use"  he means "the earliest use" by Bible copyists
  • he points out that "the device (adapted from pre-Christian usage)"
  • also proposes that "this scribal device employed by ca. 200 CE"
3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

You call it "disturbing" later. Why?

Anything that implies a tampering with the Scriptural text (other than chapters and verses and obvious technical devices for ease of use), I treat with suspicion.

Christians are fully aware of the subtle strategy employed by Satan and his agents to undermine and pollute pure teachings of true Christianity through apostasy, (likened to "gangrene" 2Tim.2:17). Paul at Gal.2:4 speaks of apostates as having been  "smuggled in" (pareisaktous), having "crept in" (pareiselthon).  2Pet. 2:1 speaks of them "smuggling in" (pareisaxousin) their "sects" (haireseis). The fact that this infiltration was well under way long before the employment of "staurogram" in the Scripture text, undermines the integrity of drawing conclusions on doctorine based on what indisputedly are later additions. 

Attractive though "schadenfreude" may be to those prone to such indulgences, it is really against the sprit of true worship and has long been identified as an undesirable trait, (compare "You should not gloat over your brother’s day on the day of his misfortune" Ob.12). I am quite sure we can say in confidence that we "did not learn the Christ to be like this" Eph.4:20. 

Nevertheless, this does not detract from the fascinating nature of the detail on this topic, bearing in mind the one who is often likely to be found in there! Thanks for the research tips. ?

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13 minutes ago, Outta Here said:

Christians are fully aware of the subtle strategy employed by Satan and his agents to undermine and pollute pure teachings of true Christianity through apostasy,

If you by Christians means only JW, then i would make this kind of observation. JW members in each period of time received and accepted "The Truth" as it was in the specific moment when they became JW.

So, if someone been baptized in 1940 period, for him "The Truth" was been in one shape and form. For those in 1970 period, shape and form looks different then few decades before. For those in 1990 era, "The Truth" also changed shape and form in comparison to generations before, ....and until today same process is going on as well. We can call it "new light", "new understanding", "rowing" or with any other terminology that can arise and be invented, incorporated for justification why new interpretations are better, more accurate than old one.

To connect your comment and mine. Strategy by satan is to much perfidious for humans, to be able aware of apostasy. If JW of 1940 era thought how they clearly saw difference between two teachings and was sure how they had "The Truth", then how is possible that JW from 1970 era saw false teaching about 1940 JW brothers, and how is possible that 1990 era brothers was also been able to detected all false teaching that satan used in JW past periods for purpose to undermine and pollute previous periods of pure teachings of WT? And now modern JW also can see how his brothers from 1990 period was been under influence of teachings that was been undermined and polluted by satan, again.

What if process of never ending "new understanding" is nothing else but constantly present impact and process caused by devil and his influence by which he "poisoning" every "new understanding" in different proportions ?

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53 minutes ago, Srecko Sostar said:

If you by Christians means only JW, then i would make this kind of observation. JW members in each period of time received and accepted "The Truth" as it was in the specific moment when they became JW.

So, if someone been baptized in 1940 period, for him "The Truth" was been in one shape and form. For those in 1970 period, shape and form looks different then few decades before. For those in 1990 era, "The Truth" also changed shape and form in comparison to generations before, ....and until today same process is going on as well. We can call it "new light", "new understanding", "rowing" or with any other terminology that can arise and be invented, incorporated for justification why new interpretations are better, more accurate than old one.

To connect your comment and mine. Strategy by satan is to much perfidious for humans, to be able aware of apostasy. If JW of 1940 era thought how they clearly saw difference between two teachings and was sure how they had "The Truth", then how is possible that JW from 1970 era saw false teaching about 1940 JW brothers, and how is possible that 1990 era brothers was also been able to detected all false teaching that satan used in JW past periods for purpose to undermine and pollute previous periods of pure teachings of WT? And now modern JW also can see how his brothers from 1990 period was been under influence of teachings that was been undermined and polluted by satan, again.

What if process of never ending "new understanding" is nothing else but constantly present impact and process caused by devil and his influence by which he "poisoning" every "new understanding" in different proportions ?

Very well worded and to the point. Fabulous comment. Thank you Srecko. 

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19 hours ago, Space Merchant said:

I am referring to when the cross not even being considered in the church of Christendom until the days of Constantine whereas he himself during the Battle of the Milvian Bridge had a vision, had seen a cross in the sky. It is said that the vision was instructing him to fight in the name of Christ, with his soldiers’ shields bearing the symbol of Christ. On the other side of the spectrum, the writer Eusebius, an apologist of Constantine, described the event in the Life of Constantine, which he wrote after Constantine’s death. Eusebius wrote that Constantine saw a vision of a cross rather than the letters of Christ. That he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, which says conquer by this. At the sight of this he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this expedition, and witnessed the miracle, according to Eusebius.

 

There is more information out there, but I'd have to look some more for it.

Jesus's crucifixion being a public image an acceptable one. After 400 years this came to pass. Scholars traditionally believed that the cross didn't originally begin to function has a Christian symbol.

Guessing very later on after Constantine and only then it was accepted perhaps?

 

Your quote I looked it up once Insider mentioned it. Traced it back to Biblical Archaeology site.

The source leads to George Willard Benson, The Cross: Its History and Symbolism.  An account of the symbol for universal in its use in more important in its significance. Then any other in the world.... yada yada yada.

Other names are included. And cititaions.

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3 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

Strategy by satan is to much perfidious for humans, to be able aware of apostasy.

I think you mean that Satan is too clever for humans for them to detect his subtle "machinations?

Yes, if that is what you meant. Certainly Adam amd Eve were overcome although Adam was not deceived. Jesus was not deceived either, and his defence of "It is written" stood him in good stead. Those who acted as a restraint in the 1st Century were not deceived, thanks to Jehovah's existing word and the gift of discernment. But some others of their contemporaries and eventually the vast majority of their successors were deceived..

Your focus of 1940, 70, 90, etc is too narrow for me, although i presume you are just using those decades as an example to illustrate your point that yesterday's "truth" becomes tomorrow's "lies"?. I suppose the most prominent example would be how adherents to the Mosaic Law, once God's "chosen people", became his enemies by clinging on once that arrangement became redundant. The new system scrolls and their impact will be interesting, (Rev 20:12), and of course the implications of Christ's subjecting himself even more so. (1Cor.15:28).

I would like to see a chart indicating the relevant proportionate value of teachings whilst at the same time indicating what has changed, what has remained constant from the first Century. I might put it together myself one of these days. ?

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2 hours ago, Equivocation said:

Jesus's crucifixion being a public image an acceptable one. After 400 years this came to pass. Scholars traditionally believed that the cross didn't originally begin to function has a Christian symbol.

Guessing very later on after Constantine and only then it was accepted perhaps?

 

Your quote I looked it up once Insider mentioned it. Traced it back to Biblical Archaeology site.

The source leads to George Willard Benson, The Cross: Its History and Symbolism.  An account of the symbol for universal in its use in more important in its significance. Then any other in the world.... yada yada yada.

Other names are included. And cititaions.

 

The quote is of this website: 

    Hello guest!

Some of which has been posted is presented by several so far.

What it refers to is this:

See George Willard Benson, The Cross: Its History and Symbolism. An Account of the Symbol More Universal in Its Use and More Important in Its Significance Than Any Other in the World (Buffalo: George Willard Benson, 1934), pp. 28–29; for another opinion, see Bruce W. Longenecker, The Cross Before Constantine: The Early Life of a Christian Symbol (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015), p. 11.

 

 

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6 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Very well worded and to the point. Fabulous comment. Thank you Srecko. 

Thank you John. I was in fear of grammar. Will it be understandable enough. That worried me more than reactions of readers. :))))

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13 hours ago, JW Insider said:

the dual-beamed cross itself (as an instrument of torture/execution) is well-known from pre-Christian usage.

I have trouble finding evidence of that. Can you post some links? It interests me because so far I have seen plenty of evidence that cross like symbols (especially the Ankh and Greek) are found in ancient artifacts, of the near east, and far east, but they never seem to be connected to any type of implement for torture or execution, but rather to jewellery, decoration, literature, and ritualistic and religious aspects. If a cross was used in execution I would have expected to see at least one representation of it, since people had no qualms about representing other gruesome scenes, such as people impaled (through the body) on a stake etc. I take it back, I did see one, which is supposed to be Dionysus/Bacchus but I haven't been able to find out exact information about it only that it is supposed to be from 500 BCE.

images.jpg 

And a Vase, which is supposed to be also depicting Dionysus/Bacchus crucified. But I can't see that. I agree with the explanation given in that thread "It's significance was to antropomoriphize the idol as it would allow Dionysus to return to the world and participate in the ritual sacrifice and marriage to a queen. Before the idol are loaves of bread and jugs of wine, blessed by Dionysus himself". Also: " There's other vases from around the same period in which a choir of dithyrambs gather around a cross-shaped altar, and children carry a cross behind the carriage of the soon to be married queen". It looks like the thread has quite an interesting discussion, but I have not really had the time to read all the posts, just a couple.

    Hello guest!

vase1.jpg

So I am still looking for an artifact depicting torture/execution involving a cross or cross like shape. There seems to be plenty of talk of Romans having adopted the cross for execution from the Assyrians and Babylonians, but I can't find anything resembling a cross used in that way in those cultures.

Assyrian execution -  impalement through body on upright stakes (cir 911-612 BCE)

Tiglath-Pileser_II_-_1889_drawing.jpg

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On 11/12/2018 at 3:11 AM, Srecko Sostar said:
On 11/11/2018 at 6:01 PM, JW Insider said:

there is no reason for anyone to claim proof or insist on any particular shape based on any of the evidence so far.

... and here comes to surface, to day light our own, personal Conscience Integrity, Intellect Honesty, Freedom of Speech among/inside WT Organization who, with GB, are standing on Dogmatic Standpoint, dogmatic stance that is ready to declare such, a different opinion as apostasy, and to dfd person because of that. 

I don't know....I will have to try that. But I very much doubt if I made it known that I don't agree with the point made in the What does the Bible really teach book or the What does the Bible teach us book (which replaces the Bible teach book) where it categorically states on page 213  that Jesus did not die on a cross that I would get disfellowshipped or be declared an Apostate. In fact it would be a good idea if this statement was changed, and I may write a letter to Bethel to that effect. And not an anonymous letter, one with my name and return address on it. And I will let you know what reply I get, ok?

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10 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

What if process of never ending "new understanding" is nothing else but constantly present impact and process caused by devil and his influence by which he "poisoning" every "new understanding" in different proportions ?

What if.....

But what if the simple reason is that as we learn new evidence for things we grow in knowledge and so we are able to correct previous ideas? I agree, perhaps some of the mistakes are because of the influence of Satan, because he does not want anyone to know the TRUTH, but for me (at least) the important thing is that the fundamental truths remain he same. Those are the important truths and they are very simple. The rest is just "frills" (like frilly petticoats on a dress). If we get some "frills" wrong then to me it is not really important.

For example in this particular discussion: Knowing whether Jesus died on a cross or died on a stake is just "frills", the important fundamental truth is that we do not use whatever object we think it was in worship, because that is idolatry. 

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51 minutes ago, Anna said:

What if.....

But what if the simple reason is that as we learn new evidence for things we grow in knowledge and so we are able to correct previous ideas? I agree, perhaps some of the mistakes are because of the influence of Satan, because he does not want anyone to know the TRUTH, but for me (at least) the important thing is that the fundamental truths remain he same. Those are the important truths and they are very simple. The rest is just "frills" (like frilly petticoats on a dress). If we get some "frills" wrong then to me it is not really important.

For example in this particular discussion: Knowing whether Jesus died on a cross or died on a stake is just "frills", the important fundamental truth is that we do not use whatever object is was in worship, because that is idolatry. 

Pretty much Restorationism to the roots. You learn and apply just as the church has done in the past.

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2 hours ago, Anna said:

What if.....

But what if the simple reason is that as we learn new evidence for things we grow in knowledge and so we are able to correct previous ideas? I agree, perhaps some of the mistakes are because of the influence of Satan, because he does not want anyone to know the TRUTH, but for me (at least) the important thing is that the fundamental truths remain he same. Those are the important truths and they are very simple. The rest is just "frills" (like frilly petticoats on a dress). If we get some "frills" wrong then to me it is not really important.

For example in this particular discussion: Knowing whether Jesus died on a cross or died on a stake is just "frills", the important fundamental truth is that we do not use whatever object we think it was in worship, because that is idolatry. 

You think it is just frills because you do not understand or do not want to understand the point i was making.

Is seems that most on here have missed the whole point of it. 

In the JW bible NWT, the GB have used the words hands and nails. But in that picture they have used wrists and one nail. 

Only one of those can be right. I prefer to believe the Bible.  The GB approves the Bible translation so I presume they believe it too.

So the picture must be wrong. Artistic licence should not be used to try to pretend lies are true. GB failure.   

 

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14 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

So the picture must be wrong. Artistic licence should not be used to try to pretend lies are true. GB failure. 

I wish people could make their mind up!!!

image.pngimage.pngimage.pngimage.pngimage.pngimage.png

Where did this idea come from ?

    Hello guest!

QUIZZTIME!!

And where are these from??? EDIT: Well done @JWInsider who got the one above pretty quickly!

EDIT: And now he's got the other one (below), the old clever-cloggs!

    Hello guest!

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6 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

You think it is just frills because you do not understand or do not want to understand the point i was making.

I didn't have any of your points in mind actually

6 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

In the JW bible NWT, the GB have used the words hands and nails. But in that picture they have used wrists and one nail. 

Some years ago the WT did depict Jesus with a nail through his hands, but there has been a debate among scholars whether it could have really been the palms of the hands because they recon that the weight of the body would have ripped through the flesh as there are no transverse bones across the metacarpals, whereas if the nail was in the wrist (carpals) then there would be more resistance because it's all bone. That may be one reason why the WT changed it to the wrist. Then the other reason we already talked about on here is that the noun hand, can also include the wrist, and not only that, but biologically the wrist is part of the hand, because really it's just where the hand bends at the forearm. I don't know........were you really expecting Thomas to say " “Unless I see in his wrists the print of the nails"? Or perhaps when we say someone is bound "hand and foot" we should really say bound "wrist and foot"? Or how about "wrist cuffs" instead of "hand cuffs"?

As for the plural nails, I don't really have an answer for that one. Perhaps it was an oversight and there should be 2 nails. Perhaps one going through the wrist and one through the palm of the hand? ....Apparently sometimes the Romans used up to 14 nails (!) in an execution such as this.

If you do more research on this subject then eventually you will come to the conclusion that nowhere, absolutely nowhere is there conclusive historical proof that Jesus died on a stake with a cross beam.

 

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13 hours ago, Anna said:

I don't know....I will have to try that. But I very much doubt if I made it known that I don't agree with the point made in the What does the Bible really teach book or the What does the Bible teach us book (which replaces the Bible teach book) where it categorically states on page 213  that Jesus did not die on a cross that I would get disfellowshipped or be declared an Apostate. In fact it would be a good idea if this statement was changed, and I may write a letter to Bethel to that effect. And not an anonymous letter, one with my name and return address on it. And I will let you know what reply I get, ok?

Hi. You do not need to declare in all details how you got information's. Just say; some people around me in some situations while talking about Bible, give me some evidence and reasoning about issue, so this was disturbed me and intrigued me in measure that i have to hear from you what you thinking about it. Do you have some new historical and scientific research? Do brothers making any new research on subjects? :))))

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13 hours ago, Outta Here said:

Where did this idea come from ?

flagellation-of-christ-ethiopian.jpg

The particular artwork came from Ethiopia, probably around 1900 using a style/format for religious art that had been current since the 1500's. The idea comes from John 19:1 which says:

  • (John 19:1-2) Pilate then took Jesus and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head . . .

Then, near the end of the same chapter, John refers to a later event from the same day:

  • (John 19:25) . . .By the [STAUROS] of Jesus, however, there were standing his mother and his mother’s sister; Mary the wife of Cloʹpas and Mary Magʹda·lene.

This is depicted on the very next panel of the same folded parchment.

image.png

 

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@Anna Quote : ".were you really expecting Thomas to say " “Unless I see in his wrists the print of the nails"? 

My thoughts are that Thomas was there and he saw exactly how Jesus was killed. So if he indeed said hands then hands it would have been. (Unless you think Thomas lied ?)

However if the Greek word for hands could easily have meant wrists, then why would the GB not have it written as wrists ? After all they are 'supposed to be' guided by Holy Spirit are they not ? 

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9 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

After all they are 'supposed to be' guided Holy Spirit are they not ?

Strange comment this.

Either you know what it means to be "guided by holy spirit",  or you do not.

If you do know, then the comment is malicious. If you don't know, then how are you guided? 

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12 hours ago, Outta Here said:

And where are these from???

torture-stake.png

Based on information from one of the sources of this image collection, evidently these are "images of Christian martyrs tortured (not executed) at poles or pillars, in Migne's Patrologia Latina, vol. 60."

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7 hours ago, Anna said:

were you really expecting Thomas to say " “Unless I see in his wrists the print of the nails"?

I can not speak for the English language as it is not my mother tongue, but in both French and Italian, no one would use the word hand to talk about the wrists. The hand is one thing, the wrist is another.

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13 minutes ago, Outta Here said:

Strange comment this.

Either you know what it means to be "guided by holy spirit",  or you do not.

If you do know, then the comment is malicious. If you don't know, then how are you guided? 

It's called sarcasm O.H. 

The GB pretend to be guided by Holy Spirit and  JW's assume that the GB are guided by Holy Spirit, BUT there is quite a lot of evidence that the GB are NOT guided by God's Holy Spirit. 

You only have to look through topics on this forum to see the evidence that the GB are NOT GUIDED by GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT. 

MALICIOUS ? Um, do i intend to do harm to the GB ?  NO.......

My hope is for Almighty God our Heavenly Father to have a clean Organisation here on this Earth, for Him to work through. Whether that be a cleansed JW Org, or a different Organisation altogether is God's own choice. 

My purpose is to warn others of the   misconception that the JW org is clean and upright and is being used by God at this time............. Because there is so much proof that the JW Org is not in God's favour right now. 

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8 hours ago, Anna said:

Some years ago the WT did depict Jesus with a nail through his hands, but there has been a debate among scholars whether it could have really been the palms of the hands because they recon that the weight of the body would have ripped through the flesh as there are no transverse bones across the metacarpals, whereas if the nail was in the wrist (carpals) then there would be more resistance because it's all bone.

The PDF linked earlier, "

    Hello guest!
, speaks of semantic restriction by which some Watchtower doctrines have developed by focusing on only the simplest etymological meaning of a word like parousia or stauros or xylon, etc. In the case of "hand" there was found good reason to go with semantic expansion to fit our traditional beliefs on the subject.

Of course, this is not the only way that we (and, frankly, all Christian-associated religions  and others, too) solve problems of textual understanding. We could have used the method of resolving apparent contradictions by merely making up a third story that allows for a strict sense of the text to be true. For example, we have two versions of the death of Judas in the gospel accounts:

  • (Matthew 27:5-8) . . .So he threw the silver pieces into the temple and departed. Then he went off and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said: “It is not lawful to put them into the sacred treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 After consulting together, they used the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore, that field has been called Field of Blood to this very day.
  • (Acts 1:18, 19) 18 (This very man, [Judas] therefore, purchased a field with the wages for unrighteousness, and falling headfirst, his body burst open and all his insides spilled out. 19 This became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language A·kelʹda·ma, that is, “Field of Blood.”)

To accommodate a strict-sense reading of both versions, we merely make up a third story that makes both versions true. We say that Judas bought the field in the sense that he provided the money even though others bought it. We also say that Judas hung himself but since there is no mention of falling in the first, and no mention of hanging in the second, we say that while hanging himself the branch broke and he died from the fall when his body burst open.*

So the WTS could have solved the supposed problem created by a strict-sense use of the word "hands" by merely adding a third story, not in the text, that Jesus may also have been bound to the stake in addition to being nailed. I read of a Roman slave carrying the patibulum through the public streets on their way to execution and having that patibulum tied to the arms of the slave. The patibulum of course, could become the crossbeam of an upright stake.

The fact that no third story like this, however plausible, has been suggested tells me that "semantic expansion" has been the solution, and this is the easiest idea to support from the Greek and from Scriptural usage of "hand."

*I think it's "funny" that when Papias (60 AD - 130 AD?) went to Palestine hoping to find first-hand corroboration of some of these early accounts he discovered completely different versions. For example, Judas was supposed to have blown up so big and fat, like a balloon, that he burst asunder and all his guts (fecal matter) were spread around. (His weight could have been part of a "third story" solution that explained a breaking branch!) The versions Papias learned told of Judas in this same condition, I think, being run over by a chariot (so that his fecal matter spread around on the ground). Mentioning the spread of someone's fecal matter as a most disgusting death was not limited to pagans. It is very explicit in the account of how Ehud kills "fat king, Eglon." And it's implicit in the idea that dogs ate up the body of Jezebel in the plot of Jezreel.

I saw this at

    Hello guest!

  • While historical scholars are uncertain of the nail placement in Jesus’ crucifixion, or anyone else’s for that matter, the Bible simply says that Jesus had wounds in His hands (
      Hello guest!
    ). The Greek word translated “hands” is cheir, which means literally “hands.” There is no Greek word for “wrists” in the New Testament, even though some versions translate
      Hello guest!
    to say that the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. But the Greek word in this verse is also cheir.
  • It's possible that the nails may have been angled to enter through the hand and exit through the wrist, but it's just as likely that the nails were driven straight through the hand somewhere near the base of the thumb. Experiments have shown that both ways do work and either way could have been used in the crucifixion of Jesus.

I have also read that the "experiments" were some "scientist" nailing up cadavers to test the theory. Evidently just the hands alone actually could support the weight of any corpse he tried. Weird science.

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Well at least this topic, and in fact this forum gives many people good reasons to use their brains, do research, and get involved in deep discussions. Mental exercise is as good as physical exercise, and spiritual exercise beats all :) .. Have a great day everyone  

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On 11/14/2018 at 6:48 AM, JOHN BUTLER said:

After all they are 'supposed to be' guided by Holy Spirit are they not ? 

I suppose you are referring to the fact that most Witnesses think that "spirit-directed organization" refers to the idea that the persons responsible for directing the WT organization would therefore have a greater measure of Jehovah's holy spirit, or at least a special measure of holy spirit specifically for the work of guiding and directing what counts as "spiritual food."

*** wp17 No. 1 p. 15 Is It Just a Small Misunderstanding? ***

  • The holy spirit also moves more knowledgeable Christians to come to the aid of those seeking greater understanding.—Acts 8:26-35.

*** w17 February p. 24 par. 5, 10-14 Who Is Leading God’s People Today? ***

  • Christians in the first century recognized that the governing body was directed by Jehovah God through their Leader, Jesus. How could they be sure of this? First, holy spirit empowered the governing body. (John 16:13) Holy spirit was poured out on all anointed Christians, but it specifically enabled the apostles and other elders in Jerusalem to fulfill their role as overseers. For example, in 49 C.E., holy spirit guided the governing body . . . .  In 1919, three years after Brother Russell’s death, Jesus appointed “the faithful and discreet slave.” For what purpose? To give his domestics “food at the proper time.” (Matt. 24:45) Even in those early years, a small group of anointed brothers who served at headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, prepared and distributed spiritual food to Jesus’ followers. . . . .  the Governing Body to focus on providing spiritual instruction and direction.
  • Evidence of holy spirit. The holy spirit has helped the Governing Body to grasp Scriptural truths not previously understood. . . .  Surely, no human deserves credit for discovering and explaining these “deep things of God”! The Governing Body echoes the apostle Paul, who wrote: “These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit.” . . . . can anything other than holy spirit explain the rapid increase in spiritual understanding since 1919?
  • Evidence of angelic assistance. The Governing Body today has the colossal task of overseeing an international preaching work involving over eight million evangelizers. Why has that work been so successful? For one, angels are involved.

What I think that many persons might find confusing here is that the article specifically used examples of how wrong we have been in the past as proof of the direction of holy spirit, otherwise how would the Governing Body have been able to make so many changes to its own false doctrines. The same article included these words:

  • The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction. In fact, the Watch Tower Publications Index includes the heading “Beliefs Clarified,” which lists adjustments in our Scriptural understanding since 1870. Of course, Jesus did not tell us that his faithful slave would produce perfect spiritual food. So how can we answer Jesus’ question: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave?” (Matt. 24:45) What evidence is there that the Governing Body is filling that role? Let us consider the same three factors that directed the governing body in the first century.
  • 13 Evidence of holy spirit. The holy spirit has helped the Governing Body to grasp Scriptural truths not previously understood. For example, reflect on the list of beliefs clarified that was referred to in the preceding paragraph. Surely, no human deserves credit for discovering and explaining these “deep things of God”!

I think the biggest source of confusion is the contradiction between the idea that we don't yet have perfect knowledge and yet Jesus promised his disciples:

  • (John 15:26-16:13) 26 When the helper comes that I will send you from the Father, the spirit of the truth, which comes from the Father, that one will bear witness about me; 27 and you, in turn, are to bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. . . . . For if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you; but if I do go, I will send him to you. . . .  13 However, when that one comes, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own initiative, but what he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things to come.

The contradiction is pretty obvious:

  • The Governing Body claims to be directed by holy spirit;
  • The holy spirit was supposed to guide Christians into all the truth when it was poured out in 33 CE after Jesus was no longer present;
  • The Governing Body admits to a long list of errors going back over 100 years;
  • Many of these new errors and false doctrines were introduced after Jesus was supposed to be present again in 1914.

The Second Adventists (and Seventh Day Adventist branch) resolved the issue by calling their false doctrines "Present Truth." If doctrines were found to be false and therefore changed, then the new doctrines were "present truth" and those past false doctrines were "present truth" at the time, even if time proved them to actually be false. Clever! It was based on a mistranslation/misinterpretation of 2 Peter 1:12. But in the tradition of Second Adventists, we (Bible Students/JWs) also needed to adopt the same solution, especially because we were promoting pieces of a chronology that was continually being proven false. For many years, the Watchtower used 2 Peter 1:12 to defend the idea of "present truth." We now admit that it was based on a mistranslation/misinterpretation. But it remained in Watchtower vocabulary for many years. At one time the doctrine has been so important it was capitalized.

*** w52 4/1 p. 219 An International Assembly in Rome ***

  • those who had already come to the truth must keep up with present truth. They must appreciate what the Lord provides through his organization and study diligently.

*** yb88 p. 139 Korea ***

  • The Watch Tower of August 15, 1914, printed a fascinating letter addressed to Brother Russell, stating: “I am a stranger to you in one sense; but I came to a knowledge of Present Truth through your writings just twenty-two months ago. For some time I have been anxious to write and tell you of my special appreciation of the Truth, but circumstances did not permit until now.

The real solution, I think, is found in Jesus' words about what the "spirit of truth" would lead them to. Truth is not the same as "accurate knowledge." Jesus said it would focus on three things: the truth about sin, righteousness and judgment:

  • (John 16:7-11) . . .For if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you; but if I do go, I will send him to you. 8 And when that one comes, he will give the world convincing evidence concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment: 9 first concerning sin, because they are not exercising faith in me; 10 then concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 then concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

For other things, like this issue of cross vs stake, we should have absolutely no problem telling the truth about it. The truth is that we cannot be dogmatic. The truth is that we don't really have proof one way or another. It is NOT the truth to say that "Jesus was therefore executed on a single upright stake." But the truth is very accessible. All we have to do is say that, based on current evidence, Jesus may have been executed on a single upright stake, but there is also evidence that he may have been executed on a dual-beamed cross. It appears that both of these methods, and several others, could fall within the meaning of the term "stauros" found in the Scriptures.

So we have no reason to believe that holy spirit has not already led Christians "into all the truth." We even know the truth about cross versus stake.

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20 hours ago, Anna said:
On 11/13/2018 at 12:54 AM, JW Insider said:

the dual-beamed cross itself (as an instrument of torture/execution) is well-known from pre-Christian usage.

I have trouble finding evidence of that. Can you post some links?

Not much, so perhaps I shouldn't have said "well-known." But I think this is a place to start, based on the "Leolaia" PDF:

  • The second semantic expansion probably occurred around the second century B.C. or sometime thereafter. During the Punic Wars (264-146 B.C.), the Romans encountered the Phoenician version of crucifixion and swiftly appropriated it as a means of capital punishment for slaves. . . .  the Romans converted it into a brutal torture machine. This was accomplished by adding a second piece of wood called the patibulum to the execution stake, as well as a thorn-shaped sedile upon which the victim rested his weight. [J. B. Torrance, The New Bible Dictionary, ed. by J. D. Douglas, et. al., (Grand Rapids, M.I.: Eerdmans, 1962), p. 279.]

Then the Leolaia article gives an example of the use of the patibulum alone for a slave's torture in the first century BC from Dionysius of Halicarnassus quoted from "Roman Antiquities." (which is very similar to the  description given in the Bible about Jesus' punishment). There is no evidence here of the patibulum also being suspended on an upright pole, although the practice of displaying executed slaves and criminals on a pole as a warning for years prior to this had been known.

But Plutarch spoke of the the patibulum attached to the pole of a wagon to prop it up. This easily produces an image of a two beamed cross as a method of torture. Even though the wagon's beam is kept basically horizontal to the ground, and not upright, the slave would still need have the patibulum attached as a crossbeam. Otherwise he would need to walk sideways if his arms (stretched out on the patibulum) were attached to the wagon in the same direction, rather than nearer to a perpendicular angle.

The entire idea of the word patibulum as used in Latin implies a certain "perpendicular" use when used as a torture device, but this was probably because it is perpendicular to the upright standing body. I see that the same Leolaia author has provided a few pages worth of references on the Latin word patibulum here:

    Hello guest!

Part of the idea shows how common it was in the first centuries after Christ's execution, and then uses these proven connotations of the associated vocabulary to show how the same meaning makes perfect sense of quotes that come from a century or so prior to Christ's execution. That's not a perfect method, but the evidence favors the conclusion, especially because some of these ideas were built into the language associated with executions as far back as the third century BCE. I'll reproduce a chunk of the quotation below for those who would prefer not to go an "apostate" source. But first just three of the quotes found in the PDF. (I have not taken the time to double-check the longer quotes I added to the end of the post.)

The primary quotes to indicate a two-beamed torture device would come from Plautus who lived mostly in the third century B.C.E. The PDF contains a few quotes that give the full picture when pieced together.

  • Frateor, manus vobis do. Et post dabis sub furcis. Abi intro--in crucem.  I admit it, I hold up my hands! And later you will hold them up on a furca. Do go along in for crucifixion!
  • Credo ego istoc extemplo tibi esse eundum actutum extra portam, dispessis manibus, patibulum quom habebis. I suspect you're doomed to die outside the gate, in that position: Hands spread out and nailed to the patibulum.
  • Patibulum ferat per urbum, deinde adfigatur cruci.   I shall bear the patibulum through the city; afterwards I shall be nailed to the crux.

---------------- Here are some longer relevant quotes from jehovahs-witness.com forum to finish off this post --------------------

Thus within the story, the character threatened with patibulum-bearing understood it as pertaining to crucifixion. And just before this scene, immediately before the entrance of the character who would threaten him with patibulum punishment, Sceledrus stated his fear that his master would "put me up on the cross (sustollat in crucem)" (line 309). So it is clear here that patibulum-bearing is connected with crucifixion. The second reference to patibulum-bearing in Plautus can be found in Mostellaria, where the jealous slave Grumio threatens his rival Tranio: "Oh sieve of the executioners (carnuficium cribrum), I believe they will pierce you with goads through the streets (per vias) with you attached to a patibulum (patibulatum), as soon as the old man returns" (Mostellaria, 55-57). The reference to executioners indicates that capital punishment is in view here. Then in line 352, Tranio announces the return of his master Theopropides (the old man referred to by Grumio) and he is sure that he is doomed to execution, just as predicted by Grumio (erus advenit peregre, periit Tranio). Then he offers money to anyone at the party willing to take his place: "I’ll give a talent to that man who shall be the first to run to the cross (in crucem excucurrerit) for me but on the condition that his arms and legs are double-nailed (offigantur bis pedes bis brachia)" (lines 359-360). The context thus relates Tranio’s expected carrying of a patibulum through the streets with Tranio’s expected hastening forwards (excurrere) to the crux where his arms and legs would be nailed. And then at that end of the play, Theopropides himself declares that Tranio would be crucified: "I’ll have you carried to the cross (ego ferare faxo in crucem), as you deserve" (line 1133). All of this shows that Grumio’s reference to patibulum-bearing pertains to crucifixion. The third reference is in the play Carbonaria (Fragmenta, 2) "Let him carry his patibulum through the city (patibulum ferat per urbem), and then be fastened to the cross (deinde adfigatur cruci)". This makes explicit what was implicit in the other two passages; patibulum-bearing for the punished slave ends with crucifixion. The historian Licinius (first century BC) also made a similar comment: "Bound to patibula they are led around (deligati ad patibulos circumferuntur) and they are fastened to the cross (et cruci defigntur)" (Historiae Romanae, 21). If these people are fastened to the cross while still bound to patibula, then this implies the addition of the patibula to the cross; there is no mention here of their removal. Since Plautus describes patibulum-bearing as involving a pose of hands spread out to the side, the addition of the patibulum to the cross would produce the same pose on the cross itself, which is precisely the kind of pose described in crucifixion on a stauros or crux by Seneca, Lucian, Tertullian, and others.

The Lex Puteoli Inscription (first century BC) is somewhat ambiguous because it is unclear whether it describes patibulum-bearing or workers bringing patibula to the execution site: "Whoever will want to exact punishment on a male slave or female slave at private expense, as he who wants the punishment to be inflected, he exacts the punishment in this manner: If he wants to bring the patibulum to the cross (in crucem patibul[um] agere), the contractor will have to provide wooden beams (asseres), chains, and cords for the floggers and the floggers themselves. And anyone who will want to exact punishment will have to give four sesterces for each of the workers who bring the patibulum (patibul[um] ferunt) and for the floggers and also for the executioner. Whenever a magistrate exacts punishment at public expense, so shall he decree; and whenever it will have been ordered to be ready to carry out the punishment, the contractor will have gratis to set up crosses (cruces statuere), and will have gratis to provide nails, pitch, wax, candles, and those things which are essential for such matters" (II.8-12). As you point out, this may simply be a matter of workers bringing the patibulum along with other materials to set up the execution apparatus, in which case it wouldn't refer to patibulum-bearing. Even if this is the case, this is still a matter of the patibulum being brought to the crux, which is itself set up (statuere) at the execution site, so it is clear here that patibulum is not synonymous with crux. But John Cook (NT, 2008) makes a pretty convincing case that the inscription refers to patibulum-bearing by the victim. The verb agere, which is loosely translated "bring" by Cook, has more of a sense of "impel, push", which is intelligible in the case of forced patibulum-bearing involving floggers (indeed, it is the usual word for referring to the driving of animals under a harness or yoke). The floggers may thus have been the workers who move or impel the patibulum to the cross by flogging the slave carrying it. Since patibul[um] is incomplete in the text, it is also possible that the word was patibulatum and the sense is "If he wants to impel the person attached to the patibulum to the cross". The phrase in crucem agere, in fact, occurs elsewhere, where it pertains to the person condemned to the cross: "You dared to lead someone off to the cross (in crucem tu agere ausus es)" (Cicero, In Verram 2.5.163), "He was led off to the cross (in crucem ageretur)" (Cicero, In Verram 2.5.165), "The student is led off to the cross (agitur paedagogus in crucem)" (Calpurnius Flaccus, Declamationum 23), "A prostitute leads off to the cross her slave who is in love with her (meretrix servum suum amantem se in crucem agit)" (Calpurnius Flaccus, Declamationum 33), etc. As for Seneca, he describes (in Consolatio ad Marciam 20.3) the spreading out of the arms on a patibulum as a pose that can be beheld in crosses (cruces), and as mentioned earlier, he also mentions this same pose when referring to the crux itself (De Ira 1.2.2). In your reply to my post, you make reference to Seneca's De Vita Beata, 19.3 as using the word crux interchangeably with stipes. If true this does not militate against viewing the patibulum as an object brought to the crux, for we have already seen that Plautus, Licinius, and the Lex Puteoli speak of the patibulum being brought to the cross, whether bound to a prisoner or not, and since crucifixion did not necessarily involve crossbeams either, the simple stipes was just as legitimately a crux as a cross with a crossbeam. But as argued above, I do not believe that Seneca conceives of a simple cross in this passage nor is necessarily using the word stipes interchangeably with crux. The stipes was mentioned in a reference to the compelling of prisoners to the crucifixion site: "When brought to punishment (ad supplicium acti) they suspend each individual on a stipes (stipitibus singulis pendent)". This uses a form of agere, the same verb used in Cicero, Calpurnias Flaccus, and in the Lex Puteoli. If Seneca was thinking of the compelling of a patibulatum (a person bound to a patibulum), as suggested by the use of patibulum later in the same passage, then indeed the patibulatum would have probably been taken to a stake (stipes) set up at the execution site (cf. Cicero, In Verram 2.5.66, 169 on the rather permanent installation of crosses at execution sites outside the city). At any rate the stipes is what the person was suspended on, whether bound to a patibulum or not. And since Seneca elsewhere used the term patibulum in connection with hand-stretching and since the given passage uses the word distrahere "to draw in different directions, divide apart" to describe the stretching out of the victim on the crux (reminiscent of the use of distendere in reference to the stretching apart of limbs on the crux in De Ira), I do think indeed that Seneca is envisioning a crux that has a crossbeam in place. Finally, it is not clear that Seneca had a crux simplex in mind in Epistula 101. If he did, it would not have been a reference to suspension on a stake by nailing the hands and feet but rather a literal impaling of the body internally on a pointed stake (which Seneca did call a crux in in Consolatio ad Marciam 20.3), for Maecenas' prayer and Seneca's comment on it concern the victim sitting (sedere) on the piercing cross (acutam crucem). But Justus Lipsius' interpretation of this passage as pertaining to internal impalement on a sharpened stake is not conclusive. It is equally feasible to interpret the passage as relating to the thorn-like sedile ("seat") on which the victim rested his or her weight. Justin Martyr (Dialogue, 91) described the crucified (hoi stauroumenoi) as riding atop a horn (keras) in the middle (en tò mesò), Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses 2.24.4) similarly referred to the victim as reposed (requiescat) on one of the five points of the cross (crucis summitates habet quinque), and Tertullian (Adverses Nationes 1.12) described the cross as having both a crossbeam (antemna) and a "projecting seat" (sediles excessu). A cross with such a resting block installed would appropriately be a "piercing cross". Maecenas also uses the verb suffigere in his reference to crucifixion (suffigas licet et acutam sessuro crucem subas, "You may nail me up and set my seat upon the piercing cross"), which could feasibly refer to impalement but which normally (along with adfigere and figere) has reference to nailing in crucfixion contexts. In his comment on Maecenas, Seneca describes this kind of execution as a "lingering death" (diu mori), where one would "waste away in pain (tabescere), dying limb by limb (perire membratim), letting out his life drop by drop, rather than expiring once for all" (Epistula 101.13-14). This too seems like a more appropriate description of crucifixion (which most agree involved a rather long, gradual death) instead of internal impalement (which probably brought death quickly). The reference to "dying limb by limb" is also indicative of crucifixion, as it involves the nailing of limbs, something not involved in internal impalement.

 

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