The Crucifixion of Christ: Seven Facts Disprove the “Absurd” Biblical Story of Jesus’ Death | Books | Entertainment

The Passion of Christ – Crucifixion and Resurrection

It is probably the most identifiable image in the world. A man nailed to two crossed pieces of wood. It can be seen in churches and monuments but also on screen in countless films, most recently and graphically in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. In recent years, a modern symbolic version of the crucifixion has taken place among devout Catholics re-enacting the Passion Play in the northern Philippines, though frowned upon by the Church. But there is no evidence or documentation that supports the crucifixion of Christ or anyone else in this area for more than three centuries after his death.

While the question of the resurrection is, of course, a matter of personal and established faith, author Julian Doyle challenges much of what is depicted in the Bible. He was the editor of the film Monthy Python’s Life of Brian, which sparked his fascination with the events. He spent years researching historical facts for his book, Crucifixion’s a Doddle, and shared seven crucial facts with Express Online.

1. The image of Jesus on the cross was invented by commissioned artists.

After realizing something was wrong, I checked to see the first pictures of Jesus crucified, but there are none. It was not until the 4th century that scenes of the crucifixion of Jesus began to appear. And this is the first. (See below).

Did the Crucifixion take place? Scene from The Passion of Christ (Picture: FS)

Crucifixion of Christ in the Church of Santa Sabina

Did the crucifixion take place? Crucifixion of Christ in the Church of Santa Sabina (Image: GETTY)

Yes, that’s it, the very first image of the Crucifixion of Christ, which appears on a small panel on a wooden side door of the Church of Santa Sabina in Rome, which was consecrated in 440 AD.

So, around 430 AD, the image we know was invented. Invented because not only is there no image of Jesus on the cross but there is no image of anyone on a cross.

The Christian Roman Emperor Constantine is said to have banned crucifixion in 337, but there is no historical text of this link to support it, only later ecclesiastical histories.

2. You cannot wear the size of the tree on which Jesus is depicted crucified.

You can see we made little crosses for the actors to wear in Life of Brian. Only an Olympic athlete could wear the trees usually depicted, but actors still struggled with them. Historically, there is evidence that convicted men could have been forced to carry the crossbeam.

Easter Passion Play crucifixions in the Philippines

Easter Passion Play re-enactments of crucifixions in the Philippines (Image: GETTY)

Easter Passion Play crucifixions in the Philippines

Easter Passion Play crucifixions in the Philippines (Image: GETTY)

3. Crucifixion was not the method of capital punishment used by the Romans.

Look at this from the Jewish historian Josephus, writing at the time: “Varus sent his army into the country, to search for the perpetrators of the revolt; he punished the most guilty: the number of those who were crucified because of this was two thousand.”

How can these numbers be? Where did all these trees come from, not to mention tons of nails (6,000)? The answer is strangely only a question of translation. The word that we always translate as crucifix, stauros does not mean crucifix at all.

Here is the full dictionary definition: “The word stauros comes from the ancient Greek histemi: “to straighten”, the same root from which comes the German Stern, or the English “stand”. In classical Greek, until the beginning of the 4th century BC. , stauros meant a vertical stake, post or that could be used for impaling. In the literature of that time, it never means two pieces of wood placed next to each other at any angle, but always one piece.

There is therefore no reason to believe that Jesus was on a cross, nor that the 2000 of the revolt were. In fact, it would be nearly impossible. They were tied or nailed to a stake or even impaled, à la Vlad the Impaler, and all of this would be translated by us centuries later as “Crucifixion”.

Jesus Christ: Experts discuss the story of the crucifixion

4. Why was Jesus crucified? If he had been killed for blasphemy, he would have been stoned.

Life of Brian’s most subversive scene is the first one we’ve actually shot, which in context completely undermines the Bible story.

HIGH PRIEST JOHN: “You have been found guilty by the elders of speaking the name of our Lord and therefore, as a blasphemer, you must be stoned to death.”

The scene is based on Jewish law as expressed in the Bible: “Then the Lord spoke to Moses: ‘He that blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be led out of the camp, and all who heard him lay down their hands on his head; while the whole congregation stones him.'” (Leviticus 24:14)

Now look at the trial of Jesus before the same Sanhedrin: “Jesus said, ‘You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power. Tearing his garments, the high priest said, “What other witnesses do we need? Have you heard the blasphemy?” And they all condemned him as deserving of death.” (Mark 14:61)

Jesus’ crime is also clearly blasphemy, so why did the Sanhedrin bring Jesus to Pilate? Blasphemy has nothing to do with the Romans. Crime is punishable, as shown in Brian’s Life by Stoning, which is clearly decided by the Jews themselves. Crucifixion/picketing is the Roman punishment for rebellion.

Crucifixion Facts: It Was a Punishment and a Warning

Crucifixion Facts: It Was a Punishment and a Warning (Image: GETTY)

5. Jesus could not have died in just 4 hours.

In the film, Eric Idle’s declaration as Mr Cheeky, the crucified guy next to Brian is telling. Eric suggests that death doesn’t come so quickly? Eric says, “We have a few days here. Lots of time. Lots of people being rescued.”

In the Bible, Jesus was resurrected on the cross at 9 or 12 a.m. and died at 3 p.m.

Every Easter in the Philippines, they perform a Passion play that culminates in the nailing of at least three penitents to crosses. Ruben Enage, fifty-three years old, was crucified twenty-seven times. He began his annual rite after surviving a fall from a three-story building. The wounds can take two weeks to heal.

So the likelihood of someone dying in such a short time seems impossible. To cover this criticism, one gospel, John, tries to suggest that Jesus was stabbed in the side to prove he was dead. The problem is that it is written: “and immediately blood and water came out”.

Which means the heart is beating, so it’s obviously not dead.

Most medical experts now estimate that it would take up to 24 hours to die. The cause of death was most likely suffocation. Criminals’ legs were usually broken so that they could not support the weight of the body, forcing the ribcage upwards.

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ;  Facts and Fiction

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ; Facts and Fiction (Image: GETTY)

6. The pole is installed in the ground as a permanent installation.

See in the photo the executioner is at the top of a ladder, which leans on the cross. The cross must be driven deep into the ground to remain upright. What happens to the cross after Jesus comes down? Is it discarded so the next victim can use their own cross? Or dug up and brought back for the next victim to bring back? No: as in the photo, it is a permanent one.

7. The main purpose of crucifixion is not to kill a criminal.

See in the photo where the executioner removes the nails of a previous victim to make the cross available for the next one. When I asked Terry Gilliam why he did something so subversive, he just said it was probably his morbid senses. But clearly, it also made so much sense.

Why does this totally undermine the Bible story?

The crosses were too heavy to carry and the nails were removed for the next crucifixion

Crucifixion Facts: The Crosses Were Too Heavy To Carry And The Nails Were Removed For The Next Crucifixion (Picture: FS)

Because, surely, the purpose of Crucifixion is to show the body, as a deterrent, for as long as possible. Standing like a banner, grappling with pain, degraded and dehumanized, until it rots.

Now consider Joseph of Arimathea’s visit to Pilate when he is told he can retrieve the body as long as it is already dead.

Are they joking? We make a cross for a man, he takes it to Golgotha, we nail him, and after a few hours he falls dead and Pilate says: “Okay, you can take him down now.”

What an absurd amount of effort and time, not to mention the ridiculous use of a precious tree, to kill a man.

Julian Doyle’s Crucifixion’s a Doddle (Clink Street Publishing: £11.99) is out now.

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