July 1st, 2010
01:49 PM ET

Gospels don't say Jesus was crucified, scholar claims

Update July 2 8:04 a.m. After this article posted Gunnar Samuelsson got in touch to stress that his research focuses specifically on the narratives of Jesus's execution in the four Gospels, not on the entire New Testament, so "Gospels" has been substituted for "Bible" in the headline.

There have been plenty of attacks on Christianity over the years, but few claims have been more surprising than one advanced by an obscure Swedish scholar this spring.

The Gospels do not say Jesus was crucified, Gunnar Samuelsson says.

In fact, he argues, in the original Greek, the ancient texts reveal only that Jesus carried "some kind of torture or execution device" to a hill where "he was suspended" and died, says Samuelsson, who is an evangelical pastor as well as a New Testament scholar.

"When we say crucifixion, we think about Mel Gibson's 'Passion.' We think about a church, nails, the crown of thorns," he says, referring to Gibson's 2004 film, "The Passion of the Christ."

"We are loaded with pictures of this well-defined punishment called crucifixion - and that is the problem," he says.

Samuelsson bases his claim on studying 900 years' worth of ancient texts in the original languages - Hebrew, Latin and Greek, which is the language of the New Testament.

He spent three years reading for 12 hours a day, he says, and he noticed that the critical word normally translated as "crucify" doesn't necessarily mean that.

"He was handed over to be 'stauroun,'" Samuelsson says of Jesus, lapsing into Biblical Greek to make his point.

At the time the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were writing their Gospels, that word simply meant "suspended," the theologian argues.

"This word is used in a much wider sense than 'crucifixion,'" he says. "It refers to hanging, to suspending vines in a vineyard," or to any type of suspension.

"He was required to carry his 'stauros' to Calvary, and they 'stauroun' him. That is all. He carried some kind of torture or execution device to Calvary and he was suspended and he died," Samuelsson says.

Not everyone is convinced by his research. Garry Wills, the author of "What Jesus Meant," "What Paul Meant," and "What the Gospels Meant," dismisses it as "silliness."

"The verb is stauresthai from stauros, cross," Wills said.

Samuelsson wants to be very clear about what he is saying and what he is not saying.

Most importantly, he says, he is not claiming Jesus was not crucified - only that the Gospels do not say he was.

"I am a pastor, a conservative evangelical pastor, a Christian," he is at pains to point out. "I do believe that Jesus died the way we thought he died. He died on the cross."

But, he insists, it is tradition that tells Christians that, not the first four books of the New Testament.

"I tried to read the text as it is, to read the word of God as it stands in our texts," he says - what he calls "reading on the lines, not reading between the lines."

Samuelsson says he didn't set out to undermine one of the most basic tenets of Christianity.

He was working on a dissertation at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden when he noticed a problem with a major book about the history of crucifixion before Jesus.

What was normally thought to be the first description of a crucifixion - by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus - wasn't a crucifixion at all, but the suspension of a corpse, Samuelsson found by reading the original Greek.

The next example in the book about crucifixion wasn't a crucifixion either, but the impaling of a hand.

Samuelsson's doctoral advisor thought his student might be on to something.

"He recommended I scan all the texts, from Homer up to the first century - 900 years of crucifixion texts," Samuelsson recalled, calling it "a huge amount of work."

But, he says, "I love ancient texts. They just consume me." So he started reading.

He found very little evidence of crucifixion as a method of execution, though he did find corpses being suspended, people being hanged from trees, and more gruesome methods of execution such as impaling people by the belly or rectum.

The same Greek word was used to refer to all the different practices, he found.

That's what led him to doubt that the Gospels specify that Jesus was crucified.

At the time they were written, "there is no word in Greek, Latin, Aramaic or Hebrew that means crucifixion in the sense that we think of it," he says.

It's only after the death of Jesus - and because of the death of Jesus - that the Greek word "stauroun" comes specifically to mean executing a person on the cross, he argues.

He admits, of course, that the most likely reason early Christians though Jesus was crucified is that, in fact, he was.

But he says his research still has significant implications for historians, linguists and the Christian faithful.

For starters, "if my observations are correct, every book on the history of Jesus will need to be rewritten," as will the standard dictionaries of Biblical Greek, he says.

More profoundly, his research "ought to make Christians a bit more humble," he says.

"We fight against each other," he reflects, but "the theological stances that keep churches apart are founded on things that we find between the lines.

"We have put a lot of things in the Bible that weren't there in the beginning that keep us apart. We need to get down on our knees as Christians together and read the Bible."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Jesus

soundoff (1,530 Responses)
  1. Curiousity1234232

    Is it more important to know how He died or why he He died?

    July 6, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Eric G

      In the grand scheme of things, both of your questions are irrelevant. If he lived, he died. The thing that requires the proof is the resurection. Please provide proof that he came back and all the other claims made by christianity are now worth investigation.

      July 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  2. Shrike

    Your born, you live, then you die. The end. No "mysteries" or cults alter this.

    July 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • gerald

      Strike, do you possess even 1% of the knowledge and understanding about the earth? No. Then how can you say this with any certainty. It's a theory that could be considered but just as viable is the existence of God.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Gerald: Actually, while Shrike's description is simplistic, this is what the evidence supports. Science makes no claim of certainty unless the evidence can be verified and proved. Religion is the side of the arguement that makes claims of certainty, and they do it without evidence to support their theory.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Shrike

      Which god? There are so many to choose from.

      July 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • gerald


      I have to disagree that the exisitence of God is "without evidence" and would contend that the difference is that Christianity allows one to go beyond what is certain and probable by measured science (though not by theoretical science, the kind that that evolution allows us to delve in to, i.e. there is no proof or even evidence of species to species evolution). The scriptures tell us that the existence of God "is plain for all to see". Thus a sufficent amount of proof is contained in the natural order that one should at least come to that conclusion so that "none are without excuse". Christianity requires revation. On that I will agree.

      July 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  3. MB

    It's all fiction boys and girls. Don't get all upset about fairy tales.

    July 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • gerald

      Are u certain it's fiction MB? Do you posses even 1% of the knowledge and understanding of nature, the earth, where we came from? No and even if you did you would not have sufficient knowledge and understating to say that you can be certain of these things. Like you said "boys and girls". Now don't get upset but i don't get upset that people don't believe. What I do get upset about is that God loves you and does not want this to happen to you but if he exists, and I am quite sure he does even from looking at nature without scripture, then an eternity in hell is a sad thing for those who reject this "fiction".

      July 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • gerald

      By the way, many of us think of hell as fire. Scripture gives us that similie but it is a rather inadequate one. Hell is being out of the complete prescence of God who loves us. Why? Because we reject his love and so he does not force us to be with him like a kidnapper who loves a woman would. God is all good. There is no good except that which comes from God. Therefore hell is really outside of the prescence of God. It is the absence of God. In a sense evil does not exist much like cold does not exist in that it is only the absence of certain amounts of energy which create warmth. Darkenss does not exist except that it is where there is no light to illuminate. Likelwise hell being a place void of God, means that what can only be there is pain and misery because the good that would bring about comfort is not there.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  4. CatholicMom

    JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP ….you said…..
    ‘The Bible does not teach a literal burning Hellfire, nor does it teach we have an immortal soul, nor does it teach a trinity, nor does it teach Jesus died on a cross’…………..

    Which Blble are you talking about?
    Those are Catholic teachings and many people, even those who are non-Catholic but call themselves Christians believe in the Bible that teaches all the things you say are not biblical. Just because you do not see the word TRINITY in the bible does not mean that the bible does not speak of it…………there was a heresy [and evidently it still exists] that said that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit were not God under one Godhead yet remain as distinct Persons….so the Catholic Church named this ‘THE TRINITY’ so that all could have a word which represented this mystery. [A mystery is not called a 'mystery' out of not knowing but out of our human minds being unable to fully comprehend how this can be.] All Christians believe in the Trinity. If you do not believe in the Trinity, you cannot call yourself a Christian and certainly not a Catholic.

    There is Hell:
    Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna," of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire, and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!" Every man receives his eternal recompense in his ‘immortal soul’ from the moment of his death in a particular judgment by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

    There was a Cross….
    John 19:16
    Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus,
    and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.

    Does your bible not have these verses? Do you believe the Bible is the living Word of God? Does your bible have every Book of the Bible or have some been thrown out? Have verses and words been altered, added, or left out by your leader [the one who founded your church or beliefs]?

    July 6, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • gerald

      Kudos Catholic Mom! Though I will say if he means by "literal burning" that the fires of hell are physical fires that consume physical elements he is correct. Though I doudt that is what he means. The fires of hell are "like" physical fire but the do not consume and that is the problem with hell. "The worm never dies". Sadly it is an eternal fire. The soul in hell suffers throughout eternity because they did not love and submit to the God that created them. Pascal's wager has a point.

      July 6, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • JoeH


      I'm sure you are probably aware that Jesus did not use a Catholic Douay version of the Bible, right? Or any version for that matter. If you are reading a Bible in any language other than the original Hebrew, Greek/Aramaic, you are probably reading from a translation. Even so, no matter what translation one uses, one can still see the truth. It does appear that there is a Hellfire, Trinity, immortal soul and all that good stuff on surface; however, that really is not what it says when it is carefully examined. Most people will never know this about the Bible because they cannot see it. It is the truth and it is powerful. Just as Jesus says, "few are the ones finding it." I can talk until I'm blue in the face about it, but chances are you will not understand it, nor will anyone else who reads this. All I can do is tell you and let you make the decision because it is actually Jehovah God who draws people to the truth and most are blind to it, although they think they are not.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • Conqui

      CatholicMom, you certainly have very little understanding of your own Catholic religion. You might try comparing your statements against the articles on all these topics in the most recent (official) Catholic Encyclopedia. I am ashamed and embarrassed to hear a Catholic deny that the concept of the Holy Trinity existed before the Roman Church organized. If you were a true Roman Catholic, you would understand our blessed Pope Benedict's enthusiasm for seeking out better understanding of our Lord and Savior's words by studying more authentic and revelatory texts. Shame on you!!

      July 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
    • gerald


      I am quite sure you misread her post. No way is she denying the trinity or that the conept is not in scripture long before the word was used.

      July 7, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • CatholicMom

      I was not denying that the Holy Trinity existed before the Catholic Church gave it that name. The name 'Trinity' was used by Theophilus of Antioch 'about' A.D. 180.
      Yes,Our Holy Father wants everyone to know the Truth.

      July 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      JoelH, you say that ‘ It does appear that there is a Hellfire, Trinity, immortal soul and all that good stuff on surface; however, that really is not what it says when it is carefully examined. Most people will never know this about the Bible because they cannot see it.’ How is it written that most people will never know THIS about the Bible? What is THIS that you are referring to-
      And why is it you can see THIS but most people will never know THIS about the Bible? It is beginning to sound like you are twisting the scriptures to suit your thinking.
      Of course Jesus did not use the Douay-Rheims when He was teaching.

      July 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  5. Meg

    Crucifixion was the death sentance for murderers, thieves, adulterors in roman time. In the same way that we would use leathal injection, romans used crucifixion. Unfortunately a scholar who read the New Testament for many hours did not do his history research and study the customs of ancient rome...

    July 6, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • gerald

      I am afraind that claims like this are the result of a "bible alone" mentality that has crept in to Christianity since the reformation. Luther's "sola scriptura", nowhere claimed in scripture, brought this about. Paul says in 2 Thes 2:15 "Hold Fast to TRADITIONSSS you have recieved, whether by WORD OF MOUTH, or in writing from us". Note that scripture itself is a tradion as are some oral teachings that are only "hinted" at in scripture. There was a word of mouth component to the teachings of the apostles. John himself says that were everything written down it would fill the world with books. Don't get me wrong, scripture is great, but the historical teachings of the Church, which carry the oral portion of God's word cannot be ruled out. And in that oral teaching is the understanding that Christ was crucified. It coincides with the Bible of course. Those who ignore history come up with claims such as Peter was never in rome, when historical study shows in fact that is where he went to complete his ministry, an echo of Jesus words to him toward the end of John's gospel where it is said that he will be taken where he does not want to go and endure. Peter was crucified upside down in Rome. Early historians such as Eusibius confirm this. They also list his successors as bishop of rome.

      July 6, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      Did you even read the article? Those are exactly the types of things he studied. The question is not that he was executed, but how he was executed. If YOU had done your homework, you'd know that the word we assume means "nailed to a cross in the shape Christians hang on chains around their necks" doesn't necessarily mean that. "Crosses" could be stakes, Y-shaped, T-shaped, X-shaped...and Romans were also executed by hanging from a tree (as in, an actual tree with leaves). The shape of the cross people hang from their necks is probably the LEAST likely shape of his actual execution device...based on a study of the customs of ancient Rome.

      July 6, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • gerald

      Meg, clearly you don't know who the Church Fathers are. They did not write from 900 to 100 AD. They wrote post apostles around 80AD till 400 or so. They recorded the finding of CROSSES in the third century for instance, believed to be those of Christ and the two thieves. Relics that would have been kept by the early Christians. They record how Jesus died.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  6. Jim

    Based on the discussion, I can see how it might not be specifically stated that Jesus was crucified ON A CROSS. However, I don't see anything to dispute that he was crucified - the driving nails into hands and feet, the nail wounds in hand and feet, the discussion of his bones not being broken (something often done to speed the death of people being crucified, because they can't breath if they can't push up to expand their chest cavity), etc. Hanging or some such thing also wouldn't make sense because he'd be hard pressed to speak - "Behold thy son; behold they mother", "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."

    July 6, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  7. jim

    Why is it so difficult for so many people just to enjoy life without giving it some "cosmic meaning"?

    July 6, 2010 at 8:54 am |
    • Eric

      Jim – What kind of meaning are you ok with?

      Might I add, Dr. Samuelsson's article is not about cosmic meaning, just about the term crucifixion.
      So I admit, we can get carried away, especially with the idea that someone would purposely die on a cross (or pole).

      July 6, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  8. anon

    Does it matter? He still died for us, no matter how he died.

    July 6, 2010 at 12:57 am |
    • peace2all

      @anon...... "Does it matter? He still died for us, no matter how he died."

      Well, your religious mythic, seems to allow you to still believe in the first presuppostion of your statement..."He still died for us."
      belief DOES NOT EQUAL ABSOLUTE KNOWING....which you seem to be missing here.

      So, no....the whole issues doesn't matter at all actually........

      July 6, 2010 at 4:11 am |
    • Eric

      peace2 – So what does matter? What would you offer us?

      July 6, 2010 at 8:01 am |
    • anon

      peace2all; I agree belief does not equal to absolute knowing, but in my personal opinion if we belief that Jesus died for us it shouldn't matter how he died. Even if he died in different way shouldn't make it have less meaning than if he was crucified.

      July 6, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  9. Bible

    Yes. He was.

    July 6, 2010 at 12:32 am |
  10. verify

    If Jesus is "God" and "God" is all-knowing, he would have left us better records of his existence than this meager and debatable trail of breadcrumbs.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
    • Eric

      Seeing is not believing. Big miracles don't make a bigger faith. Those who witnessed the ten plagues and passed through the Red Sea died in the desert because they did not believe. (See verses below.) You see “bed-crumbs” are enough, if you want to get out.

      16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? Hebrews 3:16-17 (NIV)

      So – what would you have us follow? Have you a better option then Jesus?

      July 6, 2010 at 7:59 am |
    • jim

      Eric, why do you need something to "follow"?

      July 6, 2010 at 8:51 am |
    • Eric

      jim – I need something to follow because I don't want to be stagnant.
      I follow Jesus because what He teaches is pure, among other things.
      Jim, What do you follow? What influences you?

      July 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  11. NoIdols

    A heathen praying to a statue of Bal. Is he an idol worshipper? Not according to our good Christian friends so long as he is praying to what the idol represents (the god Bal) and not to the idol, itself. Kind of makes the commandment against worshipping graven images superfluous doesn't it.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  12. Mark

    No such thing as Jesus. No such thing as God. Now can we please move forward.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
    • Eric

      No such thing as Mark – you are free to move on.

      July 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
    • JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

      There is proof of the existence of Jesus, which I just mentioned. I also know there is a loving God that created us. I feel pity for those who don't really understand that fact, but I also know that false religion has done a terrible job of representing Him as well and I can actually understand why some individuals would want to doubt the existence of God because of that fact. According to Bible again, those who have misrepresented Him and continue to misrepresent Him will have no future. The Bible does not teach a literal burning Hellfire, nor does it teach we have an immortal soul, nor does it teach a trinity, nor does it teach Jesus died on a cross, nor does it teach a lot of things false religion has said it teaches. There will come a day when God's name and his sovereignty will be finally vindicated. He has promised us that in the Bible, which has never had a failed prophecy. God loves humanity and there will come a day when He will make all wars cease and no one will ever say they are sick, and no one will ever have to die. Those who have died will be brought back to life and God will bring to ruin those ruining our earth. Just read Revelation 21:1-4 along with a lot of other scriptures that support this.

      July 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
    • Mike

      @ JoeH (with all the fancy letters) –

      Pretty much every religion says stuff like that. Heck, even the Mayans' calendar runs out in 2012! What makes Christianity right over all the others, and why shouldn't I (or anyone else) believe what their version of the truth is instead of yours?

      July 6, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • briggette

      Mark..I was very disturbed by your comment that there was no Jesus...I beg to differ..My life has had new meaning since I decided to put him first..hes not only y Lord and savior but, he is also my friend..no matter what we decide to do he always gives us the choice to follow him or not but,unless you let him in your life he is a gentleman he will love you no matter what your choice may be..and if you ever find that you are alone and need a extra something that no drug,alcohol,degree,money can fulfill hes the one that fills all our needs...will be praying for you mark .....

      July 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  13. JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

    References to Jesus by secular do actually exist. Cornelius Tacitus, a respected first century Roman historian wrote: "The name Christian is derived from the man called Jesus Christ, whom the Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate had executed during the reign of Tiberius." Suetonius and Pliny the Younger, other Roman writers of the time also referred to Christ. In addition, Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian wrote of James, whom he identified as "the brother of Jesus, who some referred to as the Christ."

    The "New Encyclopedia Brittanica" thus concludes: "These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the true historicity of Jesus, which was disputed for the first time and on inadequate grounds at the end of the 18th century."

    Just because a person says something is fiction or does not exist does not make it so. Here we see the historical record speak versus what you have said. I think the record speaks better than you do.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
    • Eric

      Joe – Thanks for your comments.

      July 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  14. JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

    Keep in mind the spelling the of archeology: "ARCHAEOLOGY, or ARCHEOLOGY {it can be spelled either way correctly} (from Greek ἀρχαιολογία, archaiologia – ἀρχαῖος, arkhaīos, "ancient"; and -λογία, -logiā, "-logy"), is the study of past human societies, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data which they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes."

    July 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  15. JoeH, LCP, PsyD, MHSP

    Keep in mind when it comes to archeology and the Bible that archeology has tried to discredit the Bible on several notable occasions and the Bible was later vindicated. Just one example: archeologists said the Bible was wrong when it listed Belshazar as King of Babylonia before its fall to the Persians, as the Bible listed it in the book of Daniel and was regarded as another thing archeologists said the Bible got wrong. In the early part of the 20th century the Nabonidus stone was discovered in Iraq which plainly listed Belshazar as a co-ruler, thus vindicating the Bible. In the book of Job it said that "God was hanging the earth upon nothing," thousands of years before science proved this. God instructed the ancient Isrealites to quarantine themselves in the Bible from "uncleanness" thousands of years before science proved the link between infection and diseases. Although the Bible is not a science book, when it touched on matters of science it was correct thousands of years before it actually was empirically proven. Its many prophecies are staggering and accurate. It is the most published book in the history of mankind with literally billions of copies in print. False religion has maligned it and incorrectly understood it for ages; yet, it contains the truth about our true higher power. It has never been proven wrong by any person and its prophecies have all come true so far. I wonder why that might be?

    July 5, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • kmcwilliams

      none of which is proof of the existance of the Jesus depicted in the Bible.Even the thousands of Roman records excavated over the centuries fail to mention Jesus, who supposedly was a major thorn in their side. Caesar never mentioned Jesus in any of his writings. The Bible's works are works of fiction, as are the works of the Koran.

      July 5, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
    • TruthSeeker

      OMG, are you kidding me? All the evidence he mentioned doesn't prove the existence of Jesus Christ? Either you haven't read his post, or you're a dimwit.

      July 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  16. zann

    lol. good one.

    July 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  17. kmcwilliams

    Am I the only person here who studied history in college? There is ZERO archaeological evidence that Jesus Christ was even a real person. There is just as much evidence that the Easter Bunny is real. No wonder so many other countries are passing Americans on the intelligence scale, and subsequently taking our jobs: Americans revel in their ignorance.

    July 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      I guess "archaologists" must not study the ancient historical texts then.

      July 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  18. Mike

    Of course the words for Cross and Crucify took on new meanings after Christ was crucified. This isn't a new discovery, but well documented since at least the 4th century. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, but points more to the fact that it did happen. The word Creed took on a slightly different meaning after it was used in the Nicence (or Apostles) creed.
    Western representations aren't necessarily accurate in depicting Christ on the cross. Some ancient Greek depictions, as backed up by more modern physics analysis, indicate that the nails were through the wrists, not the hands, which could not support the weight. Again, that doesn't mean it didn't happen, just that artists took some liberties in the Renaissance.

    July 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • John Toewater

      Mike, there is not a school anywhere that can DISprove the existence of God, our Father in heaven, or, of the existence of a true, living, Resurrected Christ. (Note! 2 separate individual Beings). The Lord does not need any school, or so called scientist, to support Him through scientific evidence. All you need to do, yourself, is to PRAY, in humility, and ASK for that proof, in your HEART. I grew up without religion of any kind, but in my 30s found the truth. I don't know your age, but you may well be alive when the Resurrected Jesus Christ comes back to this earth in all His Glory. Whether that be a glorious event for you, with happiness, or a nigh disaster, and a great calamity, is largely up to you.

      July 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • Sanjose Mike

      Various scholarly and scientific articles on crucifixion all agree that putting nails in between the metacarpals or carpals (in the hand) would not be strong enough to support body weight. The executioners would have found this out very early on, and would not have made the "mistake" more than once. Ropes would be necessary to hold the hands down.

      However, if the nails were placed in between the distal aspect of the ulna and radius, body weight would have been supported. But even this would have required that ropes be installed to tie down the hands, as during the suffering, the victim undoubtedly would try to pull his/her hands free and escape. sanjosemike

      July 6, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  19. Steven

    Boy, for being "Human Mythology" the subject of Christianity certainly seems to ignite passion in Christians and non-Christians alike. And boy, does it seem to get "attacked" on a regular basis. I sure don't see this kind of emotional controversy surrounding Hinduism, Paganism, Atheism, Buddhism, or that other religion in the middle east. How come when you say "Jesus is God and the ONLY way to get to heaven" people don't just casually dismiss it as if I'm discussing the latest sun god rain dance? This thread is pretty long for a mystical human belief that doesn't really matter and is nothing more than a dance of electrochemical potential zipping around in our neurons.

    July 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  20. no POPE lover

    NO !!!! religion the church the pope allah budda jesus christ are all money making schemes and to control the minds of people thru fear of eternal punishment

    July 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.