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Samuelsson suggests that the vagueness of the terminology may imply that there was no defined punishment of crucifixion in the time prior to Jesus The use of nails does indicate that impaling is not the punishment Samuelsson then makes the assumption that if a text does not explicitly contain all four markers mentioned by Kuhn, then almost every ancient text must be excluded.
These are left: Herodotus 7. Whether this minimalistic and atomistic assumption is justified will be further discussed below. One need only consider a text such as Josephus, A. One can conclude with a high degree of probability that this text is a depiction of crucifixion. Crux is the primary designation for a vertical suspension or torture tool. The primary designations for a carried torture device are patibulum and furca.
In Seneca, Ep. This is not correct, however, because Seneca envisions Maecenas eking out a miserable death while suspended stretched out on a patibulum patibulo pendere districtum and not the immediate death that a lengthwise impalement implies. This results in the following key errors. For Plautus, Carb. From a later text, Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis 6. This is confirmed very clearly by representations of crucifixion from the ancient world two graffiti by pagans and one by a Christian magician that show tau-shaped crosses see, e.
This is a philological impossibility due to the fact that in classical Latin no author ever writes that an individual was taken to a patibulum. One carries a patibulum, never a crux, in classical Latin texts. His chapter on the New Testament —60 displays similar minimalistic conclusions. Samuelsson ch. In addition, she is seated on a small sedile for which Samuelsson claims there is no textual evidence , although later Christian authors are witnesses to its existence, e.
His conclusion may be questioned, however, if one is willing to concede that a text such as Josephus, Bell. In other words the cruces had horizontal bars. The second edition differs from the first primarily by the addition of material in the sixth chapter with which Samuelsson challenges the characteristics of Roman crucifixion adopted by various scholars —7. There are only two clear cases of impalement in Latin literature that describe Roman executions: Seneca, Ep. Hanging was not a mode of execution in the Republic or the imperium and can be disregarded see E.
Cantarella, I supplizi capitali in Grecia e a Roma, Milan , [one among many ancient historians who have come to this conclusion].
One needs to read the Greek texts that describe Roman executions, including the Gospels, using the linguistic precision offered by the Latin texts. This is an old result, and there is no clear reason for rejecting it. The immediate corollary to the arguments made here is that we do have a fairly good idea of the shape of the cross on which Jesus was crucified since it had a patibulum. It is refreshing to attempt to approach each text de novo, without making grand assumptions about what ancient suspension was in Roman society, for example.
There is consequently no need for every text to mention all four of the markers given above. If an author indicates in a context of execution that a living individual was suspended by a Roman authority, then crucifixion is a justified inference impalement is extremely rare textually. His work is not to be ignored, despite the criticisms I have made.
It is a valuable contribution to the debate. Related Papers. By John Granger Cook. By Felicity Harley. Crucifixion in Early Christianity. Gunnar Samuelsson. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. Need an account? Click here to sign up.
Crucifixion in Antiquity
Crucifixion in Antiquity. Gunnar Samuelsson. A survey of the texts shows that there has been too narrow a view of the "crucifixion" terminology. The various terms do not only refer to "crucify" and "cross. Hence, most of the crucifixion accounts that scholars cite in the ancient literature have to be rejected, leaving only a few. Apart from the reports on subject specific blogs, the content of this thesis was being communicated through global media outlets such as CNN and Pravda.