From Yahoo News
According to Britain's prestigious Royal Society of Medicine, the crucifixion may be quite erroneous because there is no evidence to prove Jesus was crucified in this manner.
Around the world, Jesus Christ is seen nailed to the cross by his hands and feet, with his head upwards and arms outstretched. But RSM says this image has never been substantiated in fact. Christ could have been crucified in any one of many ways, all of which would have affected the causes of his death.
"The evidence available demonstrates that people were crucified in different postures and affixed to crosses using a variety of means," said Piers Mitchell of Imperial College London. "Victims were not necessarily positioned head up and nailed through the feet from front to back, as is the imagery in Christian churches."
The authors do not express any doubt on the act of Jesus' crucifixion itself, but note that the few eyewitness descriptions available today of crucifixions in the 1st century AD show the Romans had a broad and cruel imagination. Their crucifixion methods probably evolved over time and depended on the social status of the victim and on the crime allegedly committed.
The cross could be erected "in any one of a range of orientations", with the victim sometimes head-up, sometimes head-down or in different postures. Sometimes he was nailed to the cross by his genitals, sometimes the hands and feet were attached to the side of the cross and not the front, or affixed with cords rather than nails.
Crucifixion was widely practised by the Romans to punish criminals and rebels, but if the empire ever circulated instructions for the soldiers who carried out the gruesome task, none has survived today. Nor is there any detailed account of the method of Jesus' crucifixion in the four Gospels of the Bible.
Only one piece of archaeological evidence has ever been found about a crucifixion, mainly because crucified people were not formally buried but left on a rubbish dump to be eaten by wild dogs and hyenas. The clue to his demise comes from an 11.5-centimetre (4.8-inch) iron nail that had been hammered through one of his heels, attaching it to the side of the cross. But there are no signs of any nail holes in the bones of the wrist or the forearm.
Over the past 150 years, there have been at least 10 books and studies to try to understand the physical causes of Jesus' death, and one US attempt, in 2005, even featured a "humane re-enactment" in which volunteers were attached to a cross in safe and temporary way, using gloves and belts.
These explorations have yielded a wide range of hypotheses, from heart failure and pulmonary embolism to asphyxia and shock induced by falling blood pressure. Excruciating pain endured over the six hours between crucifixion and death, loss of blood, dehydration and the weight of the body on the lungs are cited as contributing factors.
But these efforts have all been prejudiced by the automatic assumption, derived from religious images, that Jesus was crucified head-up. Given the uncertainty as to exactly how he was crucified, the answer may only ever come if some new archaeological evidence or piece of writing emerges from the shadows of the past.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
From Yahoo News