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Scholars: Crucifixion Portrayal Inaccurate
AP News ^ | Feb 19th,2004 | PETER ENAV

Posted on 02/19/2004 3:40:35 PM PST by missyme

"Critics Never Stop"

JERUSALEM (AP) - The dearth of information about Jesus' crucifixion makes it impossible to describe the event in accurate detail, as Mel Gibson attempts to do in his new film, "The Passion of Christ," Bible scholars and anthropologists say.

The crucifixion is the centerpiece of the movie, set to open in U.S. theaters Feb. 25, Ash Wednesday on the Roman Catholic calendar.

People who have seen the movie say it adopts standard Christian imagery in excruciating detail: Jesus being pinioned to a Latin cross - a T-shaped device with a short upper extension - with one nail driven through both feet and one through each palm.

In a December e-mail sent to The Associated Press, Gibson said he did "an immense amount of reading" to supplement the Bible's relatively unadorned account of the crucifixion in the four Gospels.

"I consulted a huge number of theologians, scholars, priests, spiritual writers," Gibson wrote. "The film is faithful to the Gospels but I had to fill in a lot of details - like the way Jesus would have carried His cross, or whether the nails went through the palms of His hands or his wrists ... Since the experts canceled each other out, I was thrown back on my own resources to weigh the different arguments and decide for myself."

Some scholars say even the most widely recognized features of the crucifixion, such as the shape of the cross and the use of nails, are open to debate.

James F. Strange, professor of religious studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa, said 1st century historian Josephus provided only general information, probably because crucifixion was so common that details seemed superfluous.

Crucifixion was first used in the 5th century B.C., and was a widely used form of execution in Asia, Europe and Africa for the ensuing eight centuries, said Israeli anthropologist Joe Zias. Depending on technique, death could be swift or take days.

"If you suspended people by their hands and left their feet free you would kill them within an hour," Zias said. "If you suspended them in a way they couldn't exhale they'd be dead within minutes."

Zias said the question of whether Jesus was nailed to the cross or simply tied to it remains a mystery. "There is no evidence whatsoever he was nailed," he said. "The Gospels say he was crucified and leave it at that."

Zias criticized "The Passion of Christ" for accepting the standard version of three nails being used. He said experiments on cadavers carried out by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages have shown that people hanging with nails through their hands will fall to the ground within a relatively short time, pulled by gravity.

The Gospels suggest it took Jesus three to six hours to die.

"All this is Crucifixion 101," Zias said. "People who study these things understand them. But Gibson ignored them in his film."

John Dominic Crossan, emeritus professor of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago, agrees with Zias that little is known about Jesus' execution.

"Early Christians believed that Jesus was nailed to the cross," he said. "But there is absolutely no proof of this. The only skeleton of a crucified person ever recovered indicated that the two arms were tied to a crossbar, and two nails were used in either shinbone. There was no standard procedure in any of this. The only common feature in the different types of crucifixion is intense sadism."

The type of cross in Jesus' execution is also in question, Crossan said. First century Romans are known to have used both a T-shaped device, without an upper extension, and the Latin cross that is standard in Christian iconography.

Each of the four Gospels says an inscription mocking Jesus as the "king of the Jews" was affixed to the cross. Crossan said this would have made sense "because the whole point of crucifixion was to warn people through alluding to a specific crime."

Two of the Gospels say the inscription was mounted above Jesus. This presumably would strengthen the argument for a Latin cross, which would have provided space for writing about the condemned man's head.

However, the other two Gospels don't give a locator. "It (the written warning) could just as easily have hung around his neck," Crossan said.

Crossan is also uncertain whether the cross on which Jesus was crucified was carried to the execution grounds - either by Simon of Cyrene, as three of the Gospels report, or by Jesus himself, according to John's account.

It is possible that the vertical part of the cross was kept at Golgotha, the place of Jesus' death, and that the condemned person carried the crossbar, Crossan said.

"The point is we simply don't know," he said, "not in general cases and not in the case of Jesus either."


TOPICS: Announcements; Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: crucifixion; foxmanisascumbag; moviereview; thepassion; toolateabe
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1 posted on 02/19/2004 3:40:35 PM PST by missyme
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To: missyme
...and the significance of this criticism is?
2 posted on 02/19/2004 3:45:06 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: missyme

"Early Christians believed that Jesus was nailed to the cross," he said. "But there is absolutely no proof of this."

Excepting the small fact that early Christians believed it ... duh!

3 posted on 02/19/2004 3:46:51 PM PST by JmyBryan
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To: Mr. Lucky
Just to let us all know what were up agaisnt...
4 posted on 02/19/2004 3:48:32 PM PST by missyme
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To: missyme
My reading, 30 years ago, also indicated that there was no basis to conclude that Jesus was nailed to a cross.

He was likely tied, with a small platform for his feet. He died of asphyxiation.

As the scholar says, the weight of a human body pulling on nails in hands, or in wrists, would, within a very short time, tear through the tendons and muscles, and the body would fall.

Besides, tying the arms to the cross-beam would put all the pressure on the lungs, which is what made crucifixion an excruciating death: gradual suffocation.

5 posted on 02/19/2004 3:49:58 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: missyme
Guess one can't even think about it by such foolish criteria.
6 posted on 02/19/2004 3:50:34 PM PST by onedoug
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To: missyme
"The point is we simply don't know," he said, "not in general cases and not in the case of Jesus either."

So then how do they make the claim that the portrayal is "inacurrate?"

7 posted on 02/19/2004 3:50:34 PM PST by Jagdgewehr (One sword, at least, thy right shall guard, One faithful harp shall praise thee!)
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To: missyme
"Experts say....[blah blah blah]"


Well that does it...im going to turn to Islam now... *rolling eyes*
8 posted on 02/19/2004 3:50:44 PM PST by smith288 (http://www.ejsmithweb.com/FR/JohnKerry/)
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To: missyme

Maybe these guys know!

9 posted on 02/19/2004 3:51:28 PM PST by KantianBurke (Principles, not blind loyalty)
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To: JmyBryan
There is also a great deal of archaeological evidence to support the use of nails. Yes they were probably put through the wrists, but that is splitting hairs.
10 posted on 02/19/2004 3:52:17 PM PST by TheGunny (u)
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To: Mr. Lucky
Zias said the question of whether Jesus was nailed to the cross or simply tied to it remains a mystery. "There is no evidence whatsoever he was nailed," he said. "The Gospels say he was crucified and leave it at that."

Like the Jesus Seminar, so many of these people are too obvious in the laziness. The only record of Y'shua' [Jesus] crucifixion is in Scripture - but then they ignore Scripture when it speaks. Of course He was nailed!

The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

John 20:25-27


It makes you wonder about both the reporter and the so-called "expert". Hey, if they don't have a Bible, they can check their hotel drawer.
11 posted on 02/19/2004 3:53:55 PM PST by safisoft
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To: missyme
I couldn't find the story from the link. Just wondering if the "Critics Never Stop" line was in the story or something you provided. Thanks...
12 posted on 02/19/2004 3:55:19 PM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: sinkspur
Well the point is that he really did not die anyways, he suffered and lost his human body which was G-d's will and
He lives on every day and for eternity...It is truly not the killing of Jesus's human body that is the central point of faith it is the resurrection that is the focal point of Christianity.
13 posted on 02/19/2004 3:55:32 PM PST by missyme
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To: missyme
Zias said the question of whether Jesus was nailed to the cross or simply tied to it remains a mystery. "There is no evidence whatsoever he was nailed," he said. "The Gospels say he was crucified and leave it at that."

Kinda hard to show Thomas his scars, you think

John Dominic Crossan, emeritus professor of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago, agrees with Zias that little is known about Jesus' execution. "Early Christians believed that Jesus was nailed to the cross," he said. "But there is absolutely no proof of this. The only skeleton of a crucified person ever recovered indicated that the two arms were tied to a crossbar, and two nails were used in either shinbone. There was no standard procedure in any of this. The only common feature in the different types of crucifixion is intense sadism."

Crossan is one of the fringe 'theologians' of the Jesus Seminar. There is documented archaeological proof showing the wear on the bones in the wrist that resulted from the nail. How could one tell from bones if the arms were tied? You can't.

14 posted on 02/19/2004 3:55:56 PM PST by Godzilla (Nuke the whales, save the medfly.)
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To: JmyBryan
Excepting the small fact that early Christians believed it ... duh!

The early Christians also believed Christ was coming back within their lifetimes.

I don't see what difference it makes whether there were nails; the gospels do not mention nails.

Crucifixion could take days. Christ was weakened from the scourging, and had lost blood, so his death came fairly quickly.

To add to the humiliation, it was also fairly common to completely strip the person who was to be crucifed. There's no reason to think Christ was spared this insult.

And the Romans did not take the bodies down after death. If a family member didn't remove the body, it simply hung on the cross, for vultures and other vermin to pick at.

15 posted on 02/19/2004 3:56:21 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: smith288
I wonder when these critics will realize Jesus is not Dead?
16 posted on 02/19/2004 3:56:56 PM PST by missyme
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To: missyme
"The Gospels say he was crucified and leave it at that."

Then why did the risen Jesus show St. Thomas the nail prints in his hands, and asked him to touch them? Deliver me from scholars! Read your New Testament! If you can read.

17 posted on 02/19/2004 3:57:45 PM PST by swampfox98 (Beyond 2004 - Chaos)
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To: TheGunny
The liberal press is always quite selective in the 'scholars' and 'experts' they consult.
18 posted on 02/19/2004 3:57:47 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: Stone Mountain
Yes twas me :-)
19 posted on 02/19/2004 3:57:54 PM PST by missyme
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To: missyme
I wonder when these critics will realize Jesus is not Dead?

Judgement Day

20 posted on 02/19/2004 3:58:09 PM PST by So Cal Rocket
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To: sinkspur
As the scholar says, the weight of a human body pulling on nails in hands, or in wrists, would, within a very short time, tear through the tendons and muscles, and the body would fall.

Only if you consider the inaccurate depiction of the nails going thru the hand. The greek word for 'hand' includes the wrist where the bones would be able to hold without tearing.

21 posted on 02/19/2004 3:58:20 PM PST by Godzilla (Nuke the whales, save the medfly.)
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To: missyme
In a Bible Study I participated in a number of years ago, I was told that scholars thought he was nailed AND tied since the nails alone wouldn't be adequate.

Regardless - it was painful, awful, and I'm forever grateful what Jesus endured for all of us.
22 posted on 02/19/2004 3:58:22 PM PST by kemathen7
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To: sinkspur
From post 11:

The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

John 20:25-27
23 posted on 02/19/2004 3:59:09 PM PST by sharktrager (The last rebel without a cause in a world full of causes without a rebel.)
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To: KantianBurke
What I noticed is that no one quoted here disputes the crucifiction. Does the "how" really matter? All the descriptions seem excruciating to me.
24 posted on 02/19/2004 4:00:05 PM PST by GOP_Proud (Those who preach tolerance seem to have the least for my views.)
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To: Godzilla
There is documented archaeological proof showing the wear on the bones in the wrist that resulted from the nail. How could one tell from bones if the arms were tied? You can't.

If one was tied at the wrists, after hanging for some period of time, vessels could burst, and bones could even break.

Death would come quickly with nails; the Romans designed their form of crucifixion precisely so that death would NOT come quickly.

25 posted on 02/19/2004 4:00:28 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: missyme
"The dearth of information about Jesus' crucifixion makes it impossible to describe the event in accurate detail..."

So how do they know that Gibson and 2000 years of tradition are wrong?

Besides, watch the trailer: it looks like Jesus is both tied and nailed onto the cross.

26 posted on 02/19/2004 4:00:43 PM PST by Bohemund
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To: safisoft
I had thought the same thing about doubting Thomas.

Back in the 70's our Sunday School teacher was a surgeon. He was also president of the local medical society. He once told the class in detail of the medical results of crucifixion. One thing I remember was that he said the accounts in the gospels were medically accurate.

Something I particularly recall was the part where the soldier stabs him with a spear to see if he were dead and fluid came out. He told us what that indicated although I don't remember exactly what now.

27 posted on 02/19/2004 4:00:59 PM PST by yarddog
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To: missyme
These so called experts don't anymore about this subject than you or I. Much of what went on during the time of the Roman Empire is unknown. Jesus was crucified that is a fact. It could be that he was crucified like these experts are stateing. Then again the Bible is based on what was common for the things that were done in the first century AD when all four books were written. Also not many of the men exicuted in this manor were given proper burials and thus not many remains are available to confirm how the method was done. So take what these experts say with a grain of salt.
28 posted on 02/19/2004 4:02:04 PM PST by Bombard
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To: missyme
Thes ignoramusses are SMARTER than the Bible....at least theyn THINK so. Idiots....no proof Jesus was nailed, huh.....truly an IDIOTIC ANTI-CHRISTIAN statement.
29 posted on 02/19/2004 4:02:43 PM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: safisoft
The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

Gee, I'm so surprised that the "experts" missed this verse. /sarcasm

30 posted on 02/19/2004 4:02:52 PM PST by Walkin Man
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To: Bohemund
Just more slander so they can try to convince people that the Gospels are a lie.... it never stops..Gibson knew that too!
31 posted on 02/19/2004 4:03:15 PM PST by missyme
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To: sinkspur
Are you Christian or something else?
32 posted on 02/19/2004 4:03:43 PM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: missyme
John Dominic Crossan, emeritus professor of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago...

They forgot to mention, among Crossan's other titles, "Ex-Priest", and "Member of the 'Jesus Seminar'", so you wouldn't find out which side his bread is buttered on.

33 posted on 02/19/2004 4:04:09 PM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: Godzilla
The greek word for 'hand' includes the wrist where the bones would be able to hold without tearing.

Interesting, I had heard that there was a question as to whether the hand could support the weight, but had never heard that the Greek word included the wrist. What is the word?

34 posted on 02/19/2004 4:04:40 PM PST by Friend of thunder (No sane person wants war, but oppressors want oppression.)
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To: Bombard
It is just infuriating when these people get top billing on Internet News sites!
35 posted on 02/19/2004 4:05:14 PM PST by missyme
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To: missyme
Well the point is that he really did not die anyways

You are correct if you mean He is not still dead - but He did indeed die. Gnosticism did not die in the 2nd Century as it should have for anyone who can read Scripture - are you Gnostic?

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

1 Cor 15:3-4

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Messiah Y'shua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Messiah and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Messiah, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death...

Phil 3:9-10

36 posted on 02/19/2004 4:05:18 PM PST by safisoft
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To: missyme
> The dearth of information about Jesus' crucifixion makes it impossible to describe the event in accurate detail, as Mel Gibson attempts to do in his new film, "The Passion of Christ," Bible scholars and anthropologists say.

Well, duh! Yes, when you make a book into a movie you have to add details that aren't in the book so you can see what's going on. The New Testament doesn't tell us exactly how tall Jesus was, either, so I guess these "scholars" should also be complaining because Gibson picked an actor whose height wasn't historically accurate. Maybe they should take Filmmaking 101 before telling Mel Gibson how to make a movie--or perhaps they should take Theology 101 first, as it's evident they haven't even mastered their own discipline yet.
37 posted on 02/19/2004 4:05:24 PM PST by Fedora
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To: missyme
I suppose asking St. Thomas to put his hands on His wounds wouldn't count as proof?

Unbelievers, deconstructing the truth as usual.
38 posted on 02/19/2004 4:05:46 PM PST by Smocker
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To: missyme
INTREP
39 posted on 02/19/2004 4:05:49 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: safisoft
Thanks. I was just about to point out the resurrection narrative in John's Gospel. These so-called "experts" are a complete joke.
40 posted on 02/19/2004 4:05:58 PM PST by Clintons a commie
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To: sinkspur
I don't see what difference it makes whether there were nails; the gospels do not mention nails.

They don't mention nails, but they seem to be understood. As in John 20:27 where Jesus told Thomas: "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side..."

The Apostle Paul understood it as well: "...and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." Colossians 2:14b

The whole "argument" is nothing but an attempt, as it has been down through history, to make Jesus & Christianity look false. Hasn't worked, has it?

41 posted on 02/19/2004 4:06:56 PM PST by madison10
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To: sinkspur
If one was tied at the wrists, after hanging for some period of time, vessels could burst, and bones could even break.

However, the source document does not indicate that, nor has any study/reading I've done confirm this.

Death would come quickly with nails; the Romans designed their form of crucifixion precisely so that death would NOT come quickly.

Nails didn't necessarly speed up the process, the key was nailing/fixing the feet to the post. The victim would hang by their arms to relieve the pain to the feet/legs until they could not breath (the normal cause of death was asphyxiation), then push up to allow the lungs to breath for as long as possible until the pain in the feet/legs took over. This cycle would continue for days until the victim was too exhausted to continue, then they would succum to asphyxiation.

42 posted on 02/19/2004 4:06:56 PM PST by Godzilla (Nuke the whales, save the medfly.)
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To: sinkspur
I don't see what difference it makes whether there were nails; the gospels do not mention nails.

Read John Chapter 20. The pertinent quote is on this page. Jesus was nailed to the cross.

43 posted on 02/19/2004 4:09:11 PM PST by Clintons a commie
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To: sinkspur
the gospels do not mention nails.

"One of the twelve disciples Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" Thomas said to them, "Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe." John 20:24-25 (GNT)

44 posted on 02/19/2004 4:09:13 PM PST by Republican Wildcat
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To: sinkspur
I don't see what difference it makes whether there were nails; the gospels do not mention nails.

Yes, they do. John 20:24 says very clearly that Jesus was nailed through the "hands" (which could also mean that he was nailed through what we would call the wrist).

The technique was probably to nail through the space between the forearm bones next to the wrist in such a way as to sever the nerves (resulting in intense, shooting pain when the victim tried to breathe) but keep the major vessels intact (so the victim didn't bleed to death quickly).

45 posted on 02/19/2004 4:09:18 PM PST by Campion
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To: missyme
I consulted a huge number of theologians, scholars, priests, spiritual writers," Gibson wrote. "The film is faithful to the Gospels but I had to fill in a lot of details - like the way Jesus would have carried His cross, or whether the nails went through the palms of His hands or his wrists ... Since the experts canceled each other out, I was thrown back on my own resources to weigh the different arguments and decide for myself."

It seems the disputes noted in this article justifies Gibson's handling of this.
46 posted on 02/19/2004 4:09:23 PM PST by stylin19a (Is it vietnam yet ?)
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To: missyme
Oh, so the "Scholars" got to get their two cents in.

Very few "Scholars" are believers, most make their living disproving what is WRITTEN.

Christians should be very aware who does their translating and Bible studies for them. Some preachers are so lazy they must rely on the organization to pass down to them a print-out of what to preach.

Scholars have "PEER REVIEW" as well.





47 posted on 02/19/2004 4:09:35 PM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Fedora
I would like to ask them UH! So could you tell me what was the depth and the width of the Sea that G-d seperated for Moses?? also what direction were the waves going in? Uh! let's see? Oh and what kind of sand was the Israelites crossing? was it wet were there fish on the ground? any sharks? maybe they have all these cozy little details...
48 posted on 02/19/2004 4:11:01 PM PST by missyme
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To: yarddog
Back in the 70's our Sunday School teacher was a surgeon. He was also president of the local medical society. He once told the class in detail of the medical results of crucifixion. One thing I remember was that he said the accounts in the gospels were medically accurate.

I teach a Bible study class each week, and one of my students is a world-reknown heart surgeon. His research into this shows not only that the Gospel accounts accurately reflect the physiology, but that there is no worse ways to die.

Having said that, those who know Him, know full well that the struggle the night before indicated that the biggest horror for Him was not the method of torture and death - it was the weight of my sin.
49 posted on 02/19/2004 4:11:41 PM PST by safisoft
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To: missyme
The dearth of information about Jesus' crucifixion

Excuse me if ABCCBSNBCNYTLATWPCNNNPR were not on the scene to file a report.

The Bible works for me.

50 posted on 02/19/2004 4:14:32 PM PST by Rome2000 (JIHADISTS FOR KERRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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