What happened to the True Cross of Christ?
For the first time since its discovery by St. Helena during a visit to the Holy Land in 326, it is difficult to trace the exact course the True Cross of Jesus has traversed. At the time of the journey, the Church was expanding at an alarming rate. After a lengthy period of persecution, Christians were finally freed to freely practice their faith and embark on a hunt for their beloved relics. When she was 80 years old, Helena joined Christ’s faithful with her son, the Roman Emperor Constantine I, and set out in pursuit of the most sought-after relic in the world: the Crucifixion of Jesus.
After Jesus’ death, according to legend, those attempting to prevent the spread of Christianity acted quickly to remove any relics from the scene of the crucifixion, in an effort to deter people who may want to recover any of the artifacts involved. Tradition also holds that, in Golgotha, the cross, as well as the crosses on which the two thieves were crucified, were tossed into a hole in the ground and forgotten about. When the Empress arrived in the Holy Land 300 years later, she discovered the three crosses, but she couldn’t figure out which one belonged to the Lord.
Helena had no doubts about it: she had discovered the crucifixion of Jesus.
Christian legend states that the relic was well kept until 614 and was visited by a large number of Christians during that time period.
Later, the cross vanished and was found in the possession of the Persians. In the case of any discussions with the Eastern Roman Empire, the relic would serve as a “trade-off,” according to them (the Byzantines). When the Byzantine Empire won a decisive victory against the Persians in 630, Emperor Heraclius proudly returned a portion of the Cross to Jerusalem (the other portion was left in Constantinople), where he personally put it at the foot of Mount Calvary. This event is celebrated by the Church on September 14, which has been designated as the feast of “The Triumph of the Cross” or “The Exaltation of the Holy Cross,” respectively.
However, only a few years later, the Arab invasion of Jerusalem started, and the city was placed under Muslim sovereignty. The devotees of the True Cross were able to maintain their existence up to the 10th century without incurring any harm. Indeed, they grew in territory that had stayed Christian, such as Constantinople, which was particularly prosperous. In the event of problems or persecution of the Christians, the Cross was removed from its original location and concealed once more in a secret place.
In time, it came to be known as the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem’s emblem. More information may be found at: Among the relics that St. Helena brought back from the Holy Land are those housed in this cathedral.
This was only temporary, as the True Cross vanished from sight once more in 1187, this time for good, on the battlefield of Hattin, near Lake Tiberius in Galilee, and was never seen or heard from again. The crusaders had brought it with them in order to achieve victory against the Sultan Saladin of Egypt. However, they were defeated in the fight, and Jerusalem was captured by the sultan of Egypt. The Cross vanished into thin air with no trace behind it. According to legend, when Pope Urban III learned of the news, he passed away immediately.
The Fourth Crusade, which began in the Republic of Venice in an attempt to reclaim Jerusalem but was diverted to Constantinople in order to overthrow the Byzantine Empire and establish an Eastern Roman Empire in its place, had a devastating effect on the fragment preserved in Constantinople in 1203, when the city was destroyed. Both the Venetians and the nascent empire were granted access to the remnants of the Palatine Chapel of Pharos. Although pressured from all sides and on the verge of bankruptcy, this latter organization was forced to sell its treasures.
Louis purchased additional relics, which were presumed to be the Instruments of the Passion (crown of thorns, Holy Spear, Holy Sponge, and so on), which he kept in the Sainte-Chapelle, which was built specifically for this purpose on the Île de la Cité, in Paris.
A few parts and a Holy Nail have survived and are now housed in the treasury of the sacristy of Notre-Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris.
Many churches have been entrusted with the preservation of all of the pieces of wood that have been given or sold as relics across the world throughout the years (particularly since the Middle Ages). According to numerous investigations and enquiries, the claimed “authentic” portions of Jesus’ crucifixion account for barely a tenth of the total volume of the Cross; the other ninety percent was discovered to be of doubtful provenance. The most likely remnants are referred to as Lignum Crucis (Latin for “Cross Wood”).
Take a look at the slideshow below to learn more about Christ’s Relics.
Did Archaeologists Find a Piece of Jesus’ Cross?
A part of the stone casket that supposedly contained a piece of wood, which may have been a relic from Jesus’ crucifixion, has been discovered. (Image courtesy of Anadolu Agency, which was taken from YouTube.) In Turkey, archaeologists excavating the ruins of an old church think they have discovered what they believe to be a relic of the cross of Jesus. The relic was discovered within a stone box that had been recovered from the remains of Balatlar Church, a seventh-century structure located on the beaches of the Black Sea in Sinop, Turkey, and discovered by chance.
- It’s a bit of a cross, actually “Gülgün Körolu, the main archaeologist, said to the Hurriyet Daily News about the discovery.
- “This stone box holds a lot of significance for us.
- According to NBC News, the chest has been sent to a laboratory for additional examination.
- However, some opponents question whether or not the relics are genuine, pointing to a large number of churches all over the world that claim to have a little relic of the wooden cross on display.
- The ossuary, which is sometimes referred to as the “Jonah Ossuary” because one carving appears to depict a fish swallowing a man (similar to Jonah, the biblical figure who was swallowed by a whale), was initially hailed as the world’s oldest known Christian artifact.
- The findings of later investigations by classical and biblical academics, on the other hand, indicated that many of the alleged Christian symbols were either random markings or ornamental carvings that had been interpreted incorrectly.
- After that, there’s the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, which is said to have been written in the fourth century and to be the earliest known instance of Jesus referring to his wife.
- Since 2009, Körolu’s crew has been working on the Balatlar Church construction site.
- On the walls of the church, which was built in the year 660, are paintings representing Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles, among other scenes.
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- Marc Lallanilla has worked as a scientific writer and health editor for About.com, as well as a producer for ABCNews.com, among other places.
He lives in Los Angeles. In addition to holding a Master’s degree in environmental planning from the University of California at Berkeley, Marc also holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Texas at Austin.
Where Was Jesus Crucified?
The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus determine whether or not the Christian religion is valid. Understanding God’s pardon, everlasting life, and the hope we have in Christ are all built on these two historical events, which are interconnected. The faith is jeopardized if these events do not take place. However, while speaking about Christ’s resurrection, the apostle Paul emphasizes the following point: “But since it is taught that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can any of you argue that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Even if there is no resurrection of the dead, it is unlikely that Christ has been raised from the dead.
So, do we know where the Romans crucified Jesus and how we might find out?
What Scripture tells us about the crucifixion
The gospels of Matthew and Mark both inform us that the crucifixion took place at a location known as Golgotha. The Aramaic term golgotha literally translates as “skull.” And both Gospel writers provide us with their interpretations of the term: They arrived at a location known as Golgotha (which literally translates as “the site of the skull”) (Matthew 27:33, see also Mark 15:22). Luke doesn’t even bother to call it Golgotha in his gospel (Luke 23:33). And John flips Matthew and Mark’s sequence, referring to it as the “place of the Skull,” and then tells his readers of how it is translated into Aramaic by the author of the Gospel of John.
It was the Latin phrase calvaria, which means “skull” or “bald head,” that was used by the King James translators when they translated the word “skull” in Luke’s story.
Scholars, on the other hand, have some reservations about the location.
Or did it receive its moniker because of the large number of executions that took place there?
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
It is at this location, in the northwest sector of Jerusalem’s ancient city, that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located, which is one of the earliest acknowledged locations for Jesus’ crucifixion. After the storming of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, the city was transformed into a Roman colony, and its name was changed to Aelia Capitolina (Capital of the Capitol). During her journey to Aelia Capitolina, Empress Helena (Constantine’s mother) is said to have discovered a temple to Venus built over the “recognized” location of Jesus’ burial, according to legend.
They were able to select “the real cross” because of a miracle cure that occurred in connection with one of the three crosses.
It has become a must-see pilgrimage destination for many Christians of many denominations and traditions.
There appear to be some big issues with it, to put it mildly.
It appears that Jesus was crucified outside the city according to the Bible when we look at the text: Due to the fact that the site of Jesus’ crucifixion was close to the city and that the sign was written in three languages (Aramaic, Latin, and Greek), a large number of Jews were able to read it (John 19:20, emphasis added).
Likewise, Christ suffered outside the city gate in order to make the people holy via his own blood.
Let us then approach him outside the camp, carrying the dishonor he has endured in his life. In this place, we do not have an enduring city, but we are yearning for the city that is yet to be built (Hebrews 13:11–14, emphasis mine).
Gordon’s Calvary (Skull Hill)
Many evangelical Christians choose a rocky outcrop north of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, which is located north of the Old City. This barren hilltop first came to public attention in the 19th century, when a German theologian by the name of Edward Robinson proposed it as a possible location for a religious institution, according to our research. This viewpoint was adopted by Charles Gordon, a well-known British major general, in the late 1800s, and it became linked with him as a result. In what ways does it stand out as a possible place for the crucifixion?
- This helps to make sense of Mark’s words: “Some ladies were standing nearby, keeping an eye on everything.” Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome were among those who were present” (Mark 15:40).
- Some also suggest that if there were skull-like features on the site, it is more likely that it would have been known as “Golgotha” by both Romans and Jews.
- Another element that makes this a viable candidate for Jesus’ tomb is its proximity to the Garden Tomb, which is considered to be one of the possible locations of Jesus’ tomb.
- One of the most compelling reasons against it is the simple fact that it hasn’t been historically recognized.
Near the Lion’s Gate
In recent years, a missionary by the name of Rodger Dusatko has proposed an alternative location near Jerusalem. This location is located on a hill just outside of the Lion’s Gate. Furthermore, the Lion’s Gate is a symbolic representation of the area where Christians see Jesus’ final journey from the jail to His crucifixion (Via Dolorosa). 330 meters northeast of where the temple formerly stood, on a steep slope beyond the wall, there is a possibility that Golgotha will be built. According to Dusatko, the word skulla is not used to describe Golgotha, which would imply that the skull is being referred to as a whole.
- This is the origin of the word “cranium,” which refers to the top, curving portion of the head.
- When assessing a suitable location for Calvary, Dusatko believes that having a straight line of sight to the temple is critical.
- And the temple’s curtain was split in two by the earthquake.
- Upon witnessing what had occurred, the centurion expressed his gratitude to God and stated, “Surely this was a virtuous man” (Luke 23:44–47).
- Some critics of the Lion’s Gate hill argue that Luke did not specifically state that the centurion witnessed the curtain being torn in half.
Luke was most likely implying that the centurion, who had watched the events of the day, had been convinced of Jesus’s righteousness.
Jesus and Adam?
One of the most intriguing traditions about the site of the crucifixion has to do with Adam’s skull, which is said to have been found nearby. Origen (A.D. 184-A.D. 253), one of the most renowned theologians and biblical experts in the early church, was the catalyst for this transformation. It was revealed to Origen in his commentary on Matthew that the corpse of Adam had been buried there in order that, “as in Adam all perish,” so too would Adam be revived and “as in Christ all would be made alive,” as well as “as in Christ all will be made alive.” Apocalyptic writer Epiphanius of Salamis (ca.
- According to Chrysostom (349–407), in his commentary on the Gospel of John, “‘And He arrived to a spot where there was a skull,'” he adds.
- The Church of the Holy Sepulchre even contains a Chapel of Adam, which is positioned beneath the alleged rock of Golgotha, as part of its complex.
- This is one of those tales that is really intriguing to learn about yet serves no benefit whatsoever.
- I think it’s pretty doubtful that we’ll ever find out where Adam’s body is buried.
So what do we know?
After all this time, it should be clear that we are unable to pinpoint the exact place of Jesus’ crucifixion. Does this imply that it never took place? In no way, shape, or form. A large number of extra-biblical narratives show that Christ was crucified in the manner described in the Gospels. Tacitus was a Roman historian (as well as a senator) who lived in the first century. It is in the Annals of the Emperor Nero that he describes how Nero responded to the fire in Rome by persecuting Christians, and it is in this that he verifies the manner in which Jesus died: As a result, in order to get rid of the report, Nero pinned the responsibility and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class of people despised by the crowd for their abominations and referred to as Christians.
When Christus, the man who gave his name to the religion, was executed by one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, during the reign of Tiberius, an evil superstition that had been suppressed for a time erupted once more not only in Judaea, the origin of evil, but also in Rome, where all that is hideous and shameful from all over the world finds a home and becomes popular, was re-ignited.
- Their deaths were made much more miserable by mockery of every kind.
- Thallus was a first-century historian, and most of his work has been lost to history—but the second-century historian Sextus Julius Africanus makes use of his writings.
- Thallus, in the third book of his History, refers to this darkness as an eclipse of the sun, which looks to me to be without foundation (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1).
- In putting Socrates to death, what benefit did the Athenians derive from their decision?
- What benefit did the men of Samos derive from the burning of Pythagoras’ statue?
- What benefit did the Jews receive from killing their wise king?
- God justly avenged these three intelligent men.
- But Socrates did not die; he lived on through the teaching of Plato.
- Nor did the wise king die; he lived on in the teaching which he had given (Mara bar Simpson, a letter to his son) (Mara bar Simpson, a letter to his son).
- And even if we never know the exact location of Jesus’s death, we can still put our faith in the fact that:But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
- Through His death, Jesus set His plan in motion to reconcile the world to Himself, and it’s the reason why we have a message of reconciliation.
And we can have faith that God was at the cross reconciling the world to Himself. Thankfully, Jesus’s death isn’t the end of the story. Celebrate the resurrection with us by reading and sharing Why Is the Resurrection of Jesus So Important?
Where Is Golgotha, Where Jesus Was Crucified?
Is it possible that the Church of the Redeemer has the answer? Employees of the Biblical Archaeology Society, October 26, 202120 Comments149049 views What evidence is there to suggest that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the real site of Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, based on the Church of the Redeemer (as depicted here)? Where is Golgotha now in Jerusalem? It was Golgotha, according to the New Testament, that served as the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and execution. In which part of Jerusalem is Golgotha located?
- Where is Golgotha today?
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre was erected on the location of Golgotha, which was identified by Constantine’s mother, Helena, in the fourth century C.E.
- Scholars, however, began to doubt this identification as early as the nineteenth century, pointing out that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located within the city walls of the present-day Old City of Jerusalem.
- The Gospels, on the other hand, appear to imply that Jesus was crucified outside of the city (Mark 15:20; Matthew 27:31 ff; John 19:17 ff).
- What is the location of Golgotha?
- On the left is a representation of the present-day Old City of Jerusalem (which is tinted in gray), on the right is the suggested position of the so-called Second Wall, which would have existed during the time of Jesus.
- It is vital to remember that the existing Old City walls do not correspond to the walls that existed during Jesus’ time.
- Distinguished academics Conrad Schick and Louis-Hugues Vincent were certain they had discovered the Second Wall in 1893, when a wall was discovered during the construction of the Church of the Redeemer, which is located directly south of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
For over a century, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is built at Golgotha, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, appeared to provide a solution to the dilemma of authenticity.
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If you’d like to contribute to making Bible History Daily, BiblicalArchaeology.org, and our daily newsletter possible, please consider making a donation. Even a small donation of $5 is appreciated: According to Ute Wagner-Lux of the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in Jerusalem, who dug under the Church of the Redeemer in 1970, this wall could not have been the Second Wall. She concluded that this wall could not have been the Second Wall. Why? In the words of Serr and Vieweger, “this wall was just five feet thick—far too small to be used as a city wall.” As a result, the search was restarted.
There are some hints from the Church of the Redeemer that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located outside the mysterious Second Wall, according to the findings of the excavations.
– Members of the BAS Library: Learn more about Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre Church in the entire Archaeological Views column by Marcel Serr and Dieter Vieweger in the May/June 2016 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review.
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The tour takes visitors through the ruins of Herod’s Jerusalem Palace, which may have served as the site of Jesus’ trial. The Terra Sancta Museum is a new stop on the Via Dolorosa that is open to the public. And Why It Really Does Make a Difference The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Really Does Make a Difference What Day Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? During their journey to Byzantine Jerusalem, the pilgrims stop at the National Geographic Museum, where they may virtually see Jesus’ tomb.
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It is believed to be the wood from the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified, a genuine Christian relic. The True Cross, according to legend, was discovered by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, on her visit to the Holy Land in 326. The True Cross is first mentioned in history in the mid-4th century, according to the most reliable sources. When it came to the Crucifixion, the stories were embellished with mythical elements relating to the history of the cross before it was used for the Crucifixion.
When John Calvin pointed out that all of the extant fragments would fill a large ship if they were all put together, some Roman Catholic theologians regarded this as an invalid objection, claiming that the blood of Christ had given the True Cross a kind of material indestructibility, allowing it to be divided indefinitely without being diminished.
Reliquaries meant to hold the fragments increased as well, and some of these valuable artefacts have survived until the present day.
The Feast of the Finding of the Cross was observed on May 3 in the Roman Catholic Church until it was officially removed from the church calendar by Pope John XXIII in 1960.
A piece of Jesus’ cross? Relics unearthed in Turkey
Christian relic believed to be the wood from the cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. Legend has it that St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, discovered the True Cross during her visit to the Holy Land in 326 AD. According to recorded history, adoration of the True Cross began somewhere in the fourth century. When it came to the Crucifixion, the stories were embellished with mythical elements relating to the history of the wood of the cross prior to its use in the Crucifixion.
When John Calvin pointed out that all of the extant fragments would fill a large ship if they were all put together, some Roman Catholic theologians regarded this as an invalid objection, claiming that the blood of Christ had given the True Cross a kind of material indestructibility, allowing it to be divided indefinitely without diminishing in size or significance.
A similar number of reliquaries, which were intended to contain the fragments, appeared, and some of these valuable artefacts have survived to the present.
Pope John XXIII decreed that the Feast of the Finding of the Cross be removed from the church calendar on May 3, 1960, and that it would no longer be observed on that day.
In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the editors write about: In the most recent revision and update, Adam Augustyn made significant changes to the article.
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What Happened to the Cross Jesus Died On?
Christians all across the globe commemorated Jesus’ resurrection last month, marking the end of Lent. This is the most important moment in Christian history since it coincides with Jesus’ humiliated and torturous execution on a wooden cross, which occurred three days earlier. By the Middle Ages, the True Cross (as the cross of Jesus is known) would have surpassed all others as the most important relic in the Christian community. Even today, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem claims to be in possession of fragments of the relic.
It is believed that fragments of the True Cross can be found in cathedrals and basilicas all throughout Europe.
What happened to the structure that was supposed to support the most momentous event in Christian history?
In the first place, there are simply too many of them.
During a satirical piece on pilgrimage in the sixteenth century, the world-renowned humanist Erasmus wrote, “So they say of the cross of Our Lord, which is shown publicly and privately in so many places, that, if all the fragments were collected together, they would appear to form a reasonable cargo for a merchant ship.” Erasmus was a world-renowned humanist who lived during the Renaissance.
As it turns out, Erasmus was exaggerating the situation.
At this point, everything appears to be fine, but are they genuine?
What’s ‘true’ about Jesus’ cross?
- Could bits of a tree survive millennia? The genuine cross phenomenon began with Ruler Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Is it possible that these are shards of fraud that speak to our want to believe
Science and archaeology provide new insights into ancient objects that may be related to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. “Finding Jesus: Fact, Faith, and Forgery” airs on CNN US on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT and is available on demand. (CNN) In July of 2013, Turkish researchers unearthed a stone box in a 1,350-year-old church that looked to contain a piece of Jesus’ crucifixion, bringing the oldest of Jesus relics legends back to life. “We have discovered something sacred in a chest.
It’s a fragment of a cross, actually “Gülgün Körolu, an art historian and archaeologist who is in charge of the excavation crew, shared his thoughts. She believed at the time that the chest acted as a symbolic casket for relics of a holy person, specifically those associated with Jesus’ crucifixion.
And suddenly there was quiet. It was discovered later that the box that had contained allegedly holy objects had been mysteriously empty, which caused the latest relic of the cross on which Jesus died to become stuck in the middle of the process. The latest episode of the “true cross,” which serves as a powerful symbol of faith for more than two billion people around the world, is symbolic of the difficulties encountered in the search for Jesus’ relics. To state that something has the odor of the “real cross” might suggest that it is either a matter of divine certainty or a blatant forgery.
- Is it possible for tree pieces to live for millennia?
- Emperor Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, is credited with initiating the real cross phenomenon.
- 246-330 CE), with the task of locating Jesus’ relics in the Holy Land.
- Following Israel’s defeat, the Roman Emperor Hadrian constructed a pagan temple over Jesus’ tomb at Calvary, which was considered a grievous insult to the nascent faith.
- During their excavation, her team discovered three distinct crosses – a revelation that is obviously related to the Gospels, which teach us that Jesus was crucified with two other prisoners.
- 340-410), Helena arranged for a dying local woman to be brought to the site in order to determine which cross belonged to Jesus.
- Then she came into contact with the third – and she recovered.
When Helena carved it up, she left part of it in Jerusalem and transported the rest across the Mediterranean to Europe, where it multiplied to the point that Protestant reformer John Calvin observed: “If all of the pieces that could be found were gathered together, they would fill a large shipload of cargo space.
- How could we possibly know what the true cross was made of, or what it looked like, if neither the Gospels, nor the Romans, bothered to tell us what it looked like?
- A catalog of all known fragments of the true cross was created by French architect Charles Rohault de Fleury in 1870.
- He estimated that even if all of these pieces of the cross were put together, they would only amount to a third of the cross on which Jesus died, according to his calculations.
- Also examined under a microscopical microscope were four cross particles, which were part of ten pieces of the true cross that were accompanied by documentary proofs from Byzantine emperors.
- However, it was discovered that they were all made of olive wood by scientists.
- A perplexing reality for archaeologists is the scarcity of residual wood from the massive record of Roman crucifixion that has been discovered.
- In the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel Hershkovitz, who teaches anatomy and archaeology at Tel Aviv University, said that the heel bone of the crucified man was found in a Jewish burial tomb in a northern suburb of Jerusalem, near Golgotha – the hill where the Romans crucified people.
- His good teeth and lack of heavy musculature meant that he most likely came from a wealthy family, for most crucifixion victims were far too humble to wind up in tombs -save for Jesus, who was put in one by the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea.
- Yehohanan was cut down from the cross with a 4.5-inch nail still in his right heel bone, and with part of a board still attached to the head of the nail.
“The nail was too short (to go through) two heel bones, so sure enough each foot was hammered separately to the cross.” Hershkovitz is convinced that crosses were not made from olive trees because the people depended on the olive tree for food and wouldn’t be slashing them down to make crosses.
Olive trees don’t grow tall and straight, it branches everywhere, and there are a lot of holes in the wood, making it difficult to support the nails against the weight of the victim.” The olive tree is the least appropriate tree.
If you want your own sliver of the cross on which Jesus died, eBay offers several choices – with some having original wax seals preserving “integrity” and some having documents attesting to their authenticity.
The continuous emphasis on the authenticity of real cross fragments, argues Mark Goodacre, a professor in the Department of Religion at Duke University, has been detrimental to understanding the meaning of the cross, he claims. “The thing about the cross is that you always have to remember that it’s about the person who is nailed to it; the wood itself is only a tool of torment at the end of the day,” says the author. Michael McKinley and David Gibson are the co-authors of “Finding Jesus: Faith.
What Was the Shape of Jesus’ Cross?
An interesting topic regarding the form of the Crucifixion cross of Jesus came to my attention recently after I delivered a keynote address at an international conference. In an attempt to dispute the customary form of the cross, he had been approached by Jehovah’s Witnesses. As they pointed out, “cross” (stauros) is merely a Greek word that may signify any of three things: a “upright pole,” a “upright stake,” or a “torture stake.” His Jehovah’s Witness guests reported that Jesus was indeed nailed to a straight stake with a single spike through his hands and another through his feet, as described by the visitors from the organization.
There are a number of evidence indicators provided in the scripture to assist us in understanding the real form of Jesus’ crucifixion, despite the fact that the Greek terms used for the cross in the New Testament are not precise about its shape (“stauros” = stake / pole and “xulon” = timber / tree).
“(The Jews caught outside the walls of Jerusalem) were first whipped, and then tormented with all kinds of tortures, before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city.”, Josephus wrote about the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD.
The first-century Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger described crucifixion in a variety of ways, saying, “I find in front of me crosses not all alike, but made differently by different people: some hang a man head downwards, some force a stick upwards through his groin, some stretch out his arms on a forked gibbet” (Seneca the Younger, “To Marcia on Consolation,” in Moral Essays, 6.20).
- It is possible to bind or fasten the victim’s hands with a single piece of rope or a single nail if the wood is cut into this shape, as many Jehovah’s Witnesses believe.
- There are other names for this cross, including “St.
- This building was built from a horizontal beam that was joined at the top of a vertical stake, resulting in a “T” shape when assembled.
- It was either fastened jointly or individually to the bottom of the vertical pillar where their feet rested.
- Using a vertical stake, a horizontal cross beam (referred to as a “patibulum”) was put across the upper section of the stake, leaving a “tip” that extended above the patibulum to complete the construction.
- On either side of the patibulum, victims were nailed to the structure with their arms spread in front of them.
- Crux Decussata is the letter X.
Andrew’s Cross”) takes its name from the Roman numeral ten (“decussis”), which means “decus” in Latin.
Their feet were either fastened to the bottom ends of the X or tied to the bottom ends of the X separately.
Despite the fact that the data is restricted, I believe that the conventional form (the “Crux Immissa”) is the most reasonable inference from the facts because of the following reasons.
The original meaning of the terms “stauros” and “xulon,” like the meaning of other words in other languages, has evolved with time.
For him, the name “stauros” literally translated into the Greek word for “pole.” However, during the time of Christ, the Romans were still employing the Greek language, albeit with certain modifications to give the terms a larger meaning.
When the Romans utilized this kind of punishment, they had to alter the existing Greek language to make it more appropriate for their needs.
David Black explains that “(the original meaning of a word) employed alone cannot effectively account for the meaning of a word since meaning is constantly susceptible to change.
Therefore, it is essential for the New Testament student to understand if the original meaning of a term has survived to a later period.
As a result, according to Kittel’s Theological Dictionary, “stauros” is defined as follows: “There are three main types in terms of shape.
Alternatively, it was made consisting of an upright with a cross-beam above it.
Descriptions of ancient non-biblical sources include the following: An extensive collection of ancient, nonbiblical materials eliminates or at least complicates one form of the cross (“Crux Simplex”) and makes the possibility of another shape (“Crux Decussata”) highly improbable.
Having stretched out both of his arms and bound them to a piece of wood that spanned over his breast and shoulders as far as his wrists, the men who were assigned to escort the slave to his punishment trailed after him, shredding his nude body with whips.” VII, 69:1-2.) (Roman Antiquities, VII, 69:1-2) The word “xulon” was employed by Dionysius to refer to the horizontal “patibulum.” The Epistle of Barnabas is a letter written by Barnabas (90-135AD) In this pseudepigraphic letter, which was employed by many Christians in the early Church to depict the form of the cross as it was understood at that time in history, we may read: And Abraham circumcised eighteen males and three hundred females from among his family, according to the Torah.” So, what exactly was the wisdom that was imparted to him?
Understand that He says the eighteen first, and then after an interval of three hundred years, He says the three hundred years.
Here is where you will find JESUS (IHSOYS).
As a result, He reveals Jesus in the first two letters, and the crucifixion in the last letter.” (See also Barnabas 9:7) The author, in reference to the tale of Abraham in the Old Testament, made the analogy between the cross of Jesus and the letter “T.” (which had the numeric value of 300).
They were murdered with the sword whenever he brought them down from their height.” (12:2) (Barnabas 12:2) (Barnabas 12:2) In this section, the author compares the cross of Jesus to a passage from the Old Testament (this time from the story of Moses), interpreting the shape of Jesus’ cross as compelling him to “reach out his hands,” as required by the shape of the cross.
- Solomon’s Odes are a collection of eulogies (1 stto 3 rdCenturies) These odes, which are widely regarded as having Christian origins, were produced by a number of authors during the course of the first three centuries.
- “For the expansion of my hands is His sign, and my extension is the straight cross,” the author wrote.
- Justin Martyr (100–165 AD) was a Christian martyr who lived between 100 and 165 AD.
- For one, a spit is transfixed entirely through the lamb’s body from the lower regions to the head, and another is transfixed across the back, to which the lamb’s legs are linked.” The dialogue with Trypho in Chapter XL is an example of this.
- Other texts by Justin Martyr describe the cross of Jesus in a similar manner, drawing analogies between it like a sail mast and staysail, or portraying the posture of Jesus on the cross with outstretched hands.
Oneirocritica (“The Interpretation of Dreams”), a five-volume Greek book, in which he portrayed prisoners being crucified: “Because he is a criminal, his height and the extension of his hands will be used to crucify him” (Oneirocritica 1:76) In this era of time, according to Artemidorus, offenders were crucified by the Romans on a cross that was double the width of it and twice the height of it.
- Lucian(125-180AD) This early Greek rhetorician produced a multitude of aesthetic, sarcastic, and cynical works that have survived to the present day.
- The trial at the Court of Vowels took place on 12.4-13.
- In addition, the “Crux Decussata” is usually omitted because of the allusions to certain “T” forms in the literature.
- It is past time to investigate the most reliable source of knowledge we have concerning Jesus’ death on the cross: the historical record.
Here are several hints from the New Testament; arguably the most clear is Jesus’ portrayal of crucifixion in the Gospel of John, when he informs Peter how he would die in a way comparable to Jesus’ death: John 21:18-19 (KJV) As a child you used to gird yourself and go anywhere you pleased; as an adult, however, you will extend out your hands and someone else will gird you and transport you to a location you do not like to visit.” This, he explained, was a reference to the manner in which he would honor God via death.
Peter was warned by Jesus that he would die with his hands held out in front of him.
If Peter died on the crucifixion in the manner of Jesus, his cross would have to be one of three types: a “Crux Commissa,” a “Crux Immissa,” or a “Crux Decussata” in order for his hands to be spread out in prayer.
If the “Crux Simplex” had been used to crucify Jesus, it is likely that his hands were fastened in place with a single nail, according to tradition.
For the second time, this implies that Jesus’ crucifixion would have had to be either a “Crux Commissa,” a “Crux Immissa,” or a “Crux Decussata” in order for more than one nail to be used to secure Jesus’ hands together.
The location of the sign identifying Jesus at the site of crucifixion was recorded by the Gospel authors as follows: Matthew 27:37 (KJV) It was written above His head, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS,” and the allegation against Him was leveled against Him.
This can be deduced using the traditional “Crux Immissa” formula.
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The shape of the cross is not important to our Christian faith, but it does provide us with an interesting opportunity to practice our investigative Case Making skills.
This book teaches readers the ten principles of cold-case investigations and then applies these principles to the claims of the gospel authors in order to investigate them.
The book is accompanied by an eight-sessionCold-Case Christianity DVD Set (as well as a Participant’s Guide) that can be used to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make their case for Christianity.