Jesus’ crucifixion was handled by the poor?

In explaining my interpretation of Jesus’ story in a comment thread in another blog, I was being challenged about how Jesus could possibly have survived Roman-style crucifixion.  I had to brush up on that knowledge and was led to a Christian’s blog that goes into more detail about what is actually known about crucifixion.  Ironically, the author is certain that Jesus died on the cross, but presents an interesting piece of evidence that actually gives hope to the theory of his crucifix survival.

The key point?  It was likely people from the poor class who actually performed the crucifixions.

Some historian by the name of Josephus apparently shared this information.  Apparently he also shared evidence that short-term crucifixion isn’t necessarily fatal.

Link to the blog post: http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.ca/2012/01/jesus-crucifixion-roman-crucifixion.html

Anyways, Jesus cared for the poor class.  If the poor class was caring for him, surely they would be aware of what he had been doing, they would certainly find ways to improve Jesus’ situation, if not save him altogether.  Of course they would still have to perform their duties through the crucifixion, but if it was their regular job, I’d bet they knew what would look punishing but actually not be as damaging.  Chances are Jesus was aware of this too which is why he had faith that he could survive crucifixion.

And from the account in the Bible, survive he did, walking among the apostles wounds and all.

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18 Responses to Jesus’ crucifixion was handled by the poor?

  1. Arkenaten says:

    Are you suggesting that he did not die on the cross?

    • jasonjshaw says:

      Between the short time he was up there and the mercy he may have received from his handlers, yes, I am suggesting that it is reasonably possible that Jesus’ crucifixion as described in the Bible was survivable.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Some historian by the name of Josephus

        Such an ”accolade” for one of the most famous historians from antiquity. I strongly recommend you change that in case Christians or Jews see it and give you a hard time. It suggests you have little respect and haven’t done your homework if you dismiss him in such an offhand fashion and even from my perspective it diminishes your credibility somewhat. Just a thought.
        I read the article but it recounts events during Titus’ sack of Jerusalem, yes? Does the theory that:

        It was likely people from the poor class who actually performed the crucifixions.

        hold true during the time Jesus?
        Or is it mentioned in the article and I missed it?

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Well, I haven’t done my homework, that’s my first encounter with Josephus. I’m just taking that from a Christian who seems to have done his homework. From what I understood of it, there is no clear understanding of whether or not it holds true during Jesus’ time, but Josephus’ account is the closest reliable source to draw from. That indicates to me that it is a reasonable possibility, and working from an assumption that Jesus was a man seeking a way to change the way people think about things and hoping to survive doing it, it would fit as a way for Jesus to have more likelihood of succeeding in survival, thereby pushing the balance of logic and lunacy more in the direction of logic.

      • Arkenaten says:

        I’m just taking that from a Christian who seems to have done his homework.

        How many Christians do their homework either?

        I would offer than considering the trouble Jesus was supposed to have caused that the Romans would have made damn sure he was crucified until death.

        Pilate was surprised to hear of Jesus’ demise so soon, if you recall. Would he have accepted the word of a Jew?

        You hypotheses has a very good story element ( good movie even) but it makes several rather large leaps of, dare I say, faith?
        I truly believe you are reaching, based on a fanciful notion that he buggered off to India thus by backtracking you can manage to fit the pieces together.

        The lunacy still trumps the logic.

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Whether or not he went to India, I don’t think it necessarily matters. Maybe he went somewhere else. Sure, I admit my story involves leaps of faith, there is no concrete factual evidence to confirm absolutely without any doubt of what did or did not actually occur. But I attempt to keep my leaps of faith within understandings of reality rather than from within the narrative.

      • Arkenaten says:

        But you are making so many assumptions and concocting an hypothesis based upon supposition.

        1. The character was real
        2. He did not believe he was supernatural but allowed people to think he was.
        3. He manipulated circumstances to ensure he died on the eve of the Passover.
        4. He banked on poor people rescuing him from death on the cross.
        5. He had a plan set up from long before so as to be rescued from the tomb, receive medical care and then abscond with his mum (perhaps) to live in god knows where
        Cyprus?All in the name of spreading a message of peace and love that had already been codified by luminaries such as Confucius.
        The more things one adds to the list the more complicated it becomes and the more dependant on a rather large conspiracy.
        And the risk?
        Nope. ( The Ark shakes head) You truly are reaching.

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Yes, but was that message widely understood in that locale?

        How long was he preaching his stuff in that area? A couple years at least wasn’t it? I’d say that’s plenty of time to make the right connections and understand the system enough to have a general confidence of what he was getting himself into.

        Of course it is easier to simply say it was all made up. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

      • Arkenaten says:

        Of course it is easier to simply say it was all made up. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

        Then why not the resurrection?

      • jasonjshaw says:

        Let me turn that in a different direction, if the Bible is fictional or if Jesus really is God, why wouldn’t they have let Jesus hang up there on the cross a bit longer to really ensure he was good and dead?

  2. telson7@gmail.com says:

    The majority of people here on earth have heard about the Crucifixion and death of the Lord Jesus Messiah, but only a minority of all the people here on earth have understood what the crucifixion and death of the Lord Jesus Messiah means. For many, the Crucifixion and death of the Lord Jesus Messiah is just a story among other stories.

    http://www.kotipetripaavola.com/crucifixionofJesus.html

    • jasonjshaw says:

      Thank you for the comment telson7. For many, the story of Jesus is just a story. For many, it is seen as a true way to salvation. I am actually exploring the middle ground where it is about a man who embraced the religion of the time, a religion that had been infiltrated by corruption, and brought new understandings to the people in an attempt to bring the idea of humanity to the forefront of belief. This was brought on by my understandings of magic and many negative experiences with Christians that have demonstrated to me that Jesus’ message needs to be reexamined because many of those who follow it don’t seem to truly understand it.

  3. If what scripture describes really happened, it would be impossible for Jesus to survive. As soon as you drive the nails in, you introduce bacteria into the skin and soft tissue. There was no aseptic technique. Jesus would have developed gangrene and died of septic shock if he didn’t bleed to death when the nails came out. Secondly, driving a spear in the side that drew both blood and “water”. If clear fluid came out there are only a few possibilities of its source. It could be peritoneal effusion, ascites, chyle, or urine. If you poke a hole respectively in the thoracic cavity, peritoneal cavity, chyle cistern, or bladder, you will necessarily introduce bacteria leading to septic shock and death OR you will cause an internal bleed.

    The reason we think Jesus died in a matter of hours as opposed to days is because he was flogged and held prisoner beforehand. This would drain out substantial blood volume causing him to be “hypovolemic” and decreasing the threshold of death by crucifixion.

    Secondly, it doesn’t make sense for the apostles to fabricate that Jesus, the savior of the world, was crucified. Paul says, “. . . we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1 Cor 1:23). If the apostles wanted to create an appealing religion, why not say that Jesus came off the cross then was taken up to heaven? They didn’t do this though. For this reason historians of the ancient world agree, if there is one historical fact we know about Jesus, it’s that he was crucified by the Romans and this meant certain death by all notions of medical evaluation.

    • jasonjshaw says:

      I agree with your point about the unlikeliness of fabrication by the apostles. I believe they truly believed Jesus was the Messiah. Such passionate faith is the foundation for Christianity, whether it’s completely true or not.

      Yes, I understand your viewpoint of Jesus’ torture per-crucifixion and the spear described only in John’s gospel. My suggestion that it was the poor handling Jesus’ crucifixion is a suggestion that Jesus may have been shown mercy through such torture. Also, a single stab wound I hardly take as a guarantee of death if it was inflicted but neglected by the other Gospel writers.

      I also realize that Christian churches and organizations want to bring more certainty in Jesus’ death which brings added emphasis on ideas that suggest he must have died, as considering possible doubts would go against their business plan.

      The historian Josephus even wrote of crucifixion survival, whose writings seem to be widely accepted (please correct me if I’m wrong).

      • Derek says:

        2 of the 3 Josephus mentioned died after receiving treatment at the Emperor’s request. None of them were stabbed in the side.

  4. It’s good that you have approached the issue with care and an open mind. I would like to emphasize something I mentioned briefly before. For the ancients a crucified Messiah was very counterintuitive and hard to believe in. This admission by Paul fits well with the historical investigations of messianic expectations in the first century. If there was any possibility, even an inkling, that Jesus was taken down and survived, it would seem perfectly reasonable to include this as part of the narrative. It seems the apostles had no choice because Jesus was publically tortured and murdered. Modern Christians may have incentive to prove Jesus was crucified, but the ancients had incentive to say the opposite.

    Regarding Josephus, yes he does mention someone surviving after being hung and immediately taken down. But, Josephus mentions other people that died even though they were taken down. From a modern medical perspective the odds are heavily stacked against someone surviving, especially if a spear was used.

    Lastly, suppose Jesus was taken down. Would he appear as a gloriously resurrected body or a critically injured human body? How can the latter inspire the formation of Christianity?

    • *Sorry this was supposed to be a reply to your reply to me!* 😀

      • jasonjshaw says:

        No worries!

        Jesus did appear with the injuries he had sustained, from my understanding. He did have 3 days to gather the strength to appear “gloriously resurrected”.

        Also, most who are crucified likely aren’t prepared for crucifixion. If Jesus had orchestrated his own crucifixion, I would imagine it to be quite likely that he had prepared both physically and mentally to endure such an ordeal, thus increasing the likelihood of his survival.

        I’m not saying that it is what happened, but I am suggesting there is enough evidence to allow it to be seen as a possibility.

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