Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fact #1: Jesus Died By Crucifixion

All we go. Fact #1 in the debate as to whether or not the Resurrection is fact or fiction:

Fact: Jesus died by crucifixion.

Four points that prove the case:

1. It is reported as a fact by Christian and non-Christian ancient sources. Besides the Christian sources, Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian and Mara bar Serapion, all non-Christians, report that Christ was crucified.

2. Chances of surviving a crucifixion were extremely slim due to extremely brutal method in which it was carried out. Josephus reports of victims being whipped to the bone. A second-century text, The Martyrdom of Polycarp, describes the crucifixion process as exposing a person's veins and arteries. Finally a first century Roman philosopher named Seneca described crucified victims as being maimed, misshapen, deformed, nailed and having difficult breathing amid prolonged torture. Only one known instance of survival is reported by Josephus and that is after an appeal to the Roman commander Titus to end three crucifixions early and the victims were attended to by Rome's best physicians, even then only one of the three survived.

3. He died from asphyxiation. This is corroborated by the writings of Cicero as the form of death on a cross and concluded as accurate by medical professionals as the way of death during crucifixion according to the book, The Death of a Messiah by Raymond Brown. This is significant in that the normal practice of breaking the legs so they die faster was not needed due to him already being dead (which by the way fulfills an Old Testament prophecy: Num 9:12 & Ps 34:20)

4. A 19th century scholar, David Stauss, noted, if Jesus did somehow survive the crucifixion, no way he could have convinced the disciples he was resurrected. In the book I mentioned yesterday, Paul Meets Muhammad, the author paints this picture, "Jesus half dead in the tomb revives from a coma, gets up and with nail-pierced hands pushes the stone away. There he is met by the guards, beats them up then walks miles on pierced feet to find the disciples. Peter opens the door and sees a completely mutilated and barely alive Jesus and proclaims he is resurrected...more likely he would have said get a doctor."

So, with this strong evidence and without good evidence to the contrary, it must be concluded that Jesus was crucified and that the process killed him. Anyone disagree with this conclusion?


The leftist southpaw said...

I do not dispute this fact, but will say this to keep in mind for the future: Josephus and his accounts of history have been widely questioned or discredited, and in my opinion is not a reliable source when it comes to history.

Wikipedia (not always a reliable source, to be sure!) states:

"Judging from Alice Whealey's 2003 survey of the historiography, it seems that the majority of modern scholars consider that Josephus really did write something here about Jesus, but that the text that has reached us is corrupt to a perhaps quite substantial extent."

From the Jewish Virtual Library:

"However, because of Josephus' proclivity to depend on hearsay and legend, scholars are never sure what to accept as fact."

Just some food for thought.

Cajun Tiger said...

Good thing then that Josephus isn't our only non-Christian source.