There have always been questions when it comes to history. The more information we gather the more the past seems to change. We have found fossils to prove humans and dinosaurs never co-existed. The Earth being the center of the universe is far from correct, even if we are the center of our own existence. Now it is possible that the story of Jesus dying on a cross might not be correct. His death is not in question, just the method that killed him.

I have always wondered that if Christ had lived at another time would people be wearing electric chairs or muskets around their necks instead of a crucifix. It seems like a silly thought but it does raise an interesting question. Now it might be that a traditional crucifix was not only not the way Christ was killed, but that it didn’t exist at all.

Gunnar Samuelsson is an evangelical preacher and theologian and has spent three years scouring thousands of ancient texts to research a recent doctorial thesis called “Crucifixion in Antiquity”. Samuelsson’s research found numerous references to “suspension devices” used for executions at the time of Christ’s death, he could find no explicit references to the classic T-shaped cross. There is no distinct punishment called ‘crucifixion,’ no distinct punishment device called a ‘crucifix’ anywhere mentioned in any of the ancient texts including the Gospels.”

The issue may lay in translation. When reading the ancient Greek text that the New Testiment was written in, there is no mention of a crucifix as we recognize today. In Greek the word used for the actual wooden structre is “stauros”, which literally means a suspension device. It could be anything from a tree, pike style weapon, or pole. The issue that Samuelsson found was that there were references to killed animals and fruits “being crucified”. Obviously this doesn’t make much sense but being on a suspension device does.
There is plenty of evidence that the Romans did carry out countless executions in a hanging method, but the details don’t match up with what we see today. The Romans were very proud of their weapons and punishment and were very gruesome to the point of bragging about their exploits. They never mentioned nailing a person to a structure, or any contraption that looked like a crucifix. There are minor variotions in many eye witness accounts of Christ’s execution, but the end result is the same. While the method of how Christ died may have been changed as the story was passed down and translated, the actions and the basis for the faith remain the same.
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