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

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Even back in Jesus day there was controversy and dissension about was it a cross, a stake, an "X", a tree,  a hewn plank of gopher wood, or  just a 10 foot length of a section of one of the cedars of Lebanon, with or without cross arm.

When they were going to do executions people would come into town from the farm areas to watch .... especially someone as famous as Jesus had become,  and they would rent a hotel room (barn, shelter, or sleep on the town square, hoping for some hospitality to be shown at a private home, as was the custom back then.).

There is recorded in Josephus about a disciple who came into an Inn in Jerusalem, the night before Jesus was killed, the same night in another part of the city that Jesus was being arrested, placed two very large black iron nails on the night clerk's counter, and said "Can you put me up for the night?"



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I've used this argument at the door and with Bible studies, too: that supposedly Christians, even if they claim they are not worshiping the item, should still find it wrong to carry around a model of

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

Hi folks. Just breezing through.  I've not dropped off the end of the earth - I'm just *really* busy. Got a notification on my email saying the Librarian wanted to know if Leolaia's excellent article

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On 11/20/2018 at 11:18 PM, BillyTheKid46 said:

However, here is an alternative to the stauros that is seldom seen. By A.T. Fomenko. . .  there are many unbelievable areas where ancient writers compared the stauros to a simple vertical line. 😏

No one else pointed it out yet, so I thought it good to mention that A.T. Fomenko is a crackpot conspiracy theorist who came up with a theory that became surprisingly popular in Russia. He does not believe Jesus ever existed, and that all the things we know from history actually happened from the Middle Ages until now. There was no written history prior to 800 A.D. and everything we might call history: the Babylonian cuneiform tablets, Egyptian hieroglyphics, The "Old Testament" and the "New Testament" comes from about the year 1000 A.D. to 1500 A.D.

He believes that "Jesus" was actually from the 12th century AD, and died just over 800 years ago. This means that we are, in effect, now actually living in the "9th century AD." Fomenko also says that "Solomon's Temple" was built almost exactly 500 years ago. So, Solomon's Temple was about 365 years AFTER Jesus died!

Here's a summary taken from Wikipedia, with some of the dates and footnote numbers removed for readability:

  • According to Fomenko's claims, the written history of humankind goes only as far back as AD 800, there is almost no information about events between AD 800–1000, and most known historical events took place in AD 1000–1500.
  • Fomenko claims that the most probable prototype of the historical Jesus was Andronikos I Komnenos (allegedly AD 1152 to 1185), the emperor of Byzantium, known for his failed reforms; his traits and deeds reflected in 'biographies' of many real and imaginary persons. The historical Jesus is a composite figure and reflection of the Old-Testament prophet Elisha, Pope Gregory VII, Saint Basil of Caesarea, and even Li Yuanhao (also known as Emperor Jingzong or "Son of Heaven" - emperor of Western Xia, . . . ), Euclides, Bacchus and Dionysius. Fomenko explains the seemingly vast differences in the biographies of these figures as resulting from difference in languages, points of view and time-frame of the authors of said accounts and biographies. He claims that the historical Jesus may have been born in 1152 and was crucified around AD 1185 on the Joshua's Hill, overlooking the Bosphorus.

    Fomenko also merges the cities and histories of Jerusalem, Rome and Troy into "New Rome" = Gospel Jerusalem (in the 12th and 13th centuries) = Troy = Yoros Castle. To the south of Yoros Castle is Joshua's Hill which Fomenko alleges is the hill Calvary depicted in the Bible.

    Fomenko claims the Hagia Sophia is actually the biblical Temple of Solomon. He identifies Solomon as sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1494–1566).

It's true that he references "stauros" as a column, but as you saw in the quote you( @BillyTheKid46) provided he also showed that the final shape could look like a T (Tau), or even a more traditional "cross." But then he goes right on in the next paragraph to say that the Trojan War (usually dated to about 1250 BCE in the 13th century BCE), must have actually happened in the 13th century AD. That's a difference of about 2,500 years.



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10 hours ago, Anna said:

I haven't had time to read everyone's posts since the last time

This is a very interesting subject, with a lot of good research surrounding it. Much of the research actually overlaps fairly consistently, but there is always plenty to learn. From your comments and questions over the last couple of years, I can tell you have given it more thought than most of us.

I think that the David W Chapman book http://khazarzar.skeptik.net/books/crux01.pdf Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion is excellent, especially since it fills in a known gap from Hengel, that Hengel himself admitted: that he had not given so much attention to the Jewish history and perceptions. I think Chapman fills this gap well, with Hebrew language and literature from every possible relevant source. In addition to classical Latin and Greek sources, he spends much time on Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac sources.

Also, I think that BillyTheKid is correct in recommending "The Crosses of Pompeii: Jesus-Devotion in a Vesuvian Town" by Bruce W. Longenecker. It tries too hard to put Christian crosses in Pompeii itself, but it does a good job bringing in comparative ideas about how the cross symbol could likely have been used among "immature" Christians in this time and place. And it brings other known artifacts into the discussion. A pretty fair assessment of Longenecker's position on the historical development of the cross symbol is summarized here: https://www.thepostil.com/the-early-history-of-the-cross/#.W_YwbuhKjIU

There was something I was surprised at, which is related. It's the study of early Christian gemstones. I've looked at them before, but noticed something different when thinking about the history of the cross symbol. This is actually what had led me to the nearly unrelated "Biblica" article on JSTOR, The Letter Tau as the Cross: Ornament and Content in Hebrews 2,14 Thomas E. Schmidt. That's a place, of course, where the discussion of all the T's in Hebrews 2:14 comes up.

But back to gemstones.


Early Christian Gems and Their Rediscovery

Studies in the History of Art
Vol. 54, Symposium Papers XXXII: Engraved Gems: Survivals and Revivals (1997), pp. 32-43 (12 pages)
Published by: National Gallery of Art
What surprised me was the popularity of the story of Jonah, and I hadn't realized that it could have been a kind of "crucifixion" story for those who knew the significance of the execution and resurrection of Jesus, but who might not have wished to display Jesus humiliated and tortured. Of course, there is also the ship in the story (which bears the stauros) and was thought by these outsiders to have succeeded in ridding themselves of Jonah.
The following picture is from the article mentioned above, and is a sample of several gemstones from the 200's through the 300's CE.
Even the "IXTHYS" (the first one) could be just as much a Jonah reference (ixthys=fish) as a reference to Jesus' association with fishermen, the call to be fishers of men, and the miracles performed related to fish.
The third picture of the two fish on the sides of an anchor could also be a "stauros" reference, not just "Jesus the anchor of our faith." It is a bit like other images of two evildoers hanging next to Jesus.
Jonah is depicted in two of the gems. One of them has the story carved out in the way some churches depict the "stations of the cross" on stained glass. And it creates the cross-beamed stauros image with the ship.
And the last one is finally of Christ's "crucifixion" from the 300's CE.
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