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Did Jesus Really Die on a Cross?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/6/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 410 times Debate No: 86182
Debate Rounds (3)
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I will present evidence that Jesus did not die on a cross. He did die for our sins, but not on a cross as the churches would teach centuries after his death.


Challenge accepted..

Jesus DID die on the cross as the scriptures claim.

Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


First off, to understand what the Bible says about Jesus' execution, do not use a translation as your source text. The reason for this is that translations may be used as tools for understanding as one who does not know the original languages, but translations fall short in conveying the true meaning of detailed text. Translators often fix the text as there may be different grammar, vocabulary, or syntax structures that cannot be fully translated. This is to be expected from any translation from one language into another. Having said this, translators sometimes will even fix the text to support their own beliefs which is contrary to the original text. A prime example iof this is in the use of the word transliterated "storos" as well as the word "cross". The Greek word translated into "cross" would be transliterated as "crux," and since the word is "storos" or "stake", the textual evidence shows that it would not have been the "cross", but a single beam, or a "stake."


Alright, I would like to thank my opponent for holding this debate.... I think this is a very good question that needs to be addressed, That is, Jesus DID die on the cross as my opponent would contend.. This is very clear when we look the historical context in comparison to the original translations.

My opponents main contention is this: The Greek word translated into "cross" would be transliterated as "crux," and since the word is "storos" or "stake", the textual evidence shows that it would not have been the "cross", but a single beam, or a "stake."

This is actually a false idea.. If we look at the word used for "cross" in modern translations.. We find the word "Stauros" not storos.. It seems that my opponent mispelled the original word

Nonetheless, I will leave an excerpt from the strong concordinace found at this link:

stauros: an upright stake, hence a cross (the Rom. instrument of crucifixion)
Original Word: σταυρa2;ς, οQ66;, P01;
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: stauros
Phonetic Spelling: (stow-ros')
Short Definition: a cross
Definition: a cross.

The literal definition of "Stauros" is this: 4716 staurós – the crosspiece of a Roman cross; the cross-beam (Latin, patibulum) placed at the top of the vertical member to form a capital "T." "This transverse beam was the one carried by the criminal" (Souter).

Similarily.. We see the same word structure to describe the device on which Jesus was crucified and also His teachings to his followers:

Matthew 16:24 N-AMS
GRK: O36;ρ^0;τω τP56;ν σταυρP56;ν αP16;τοQ66; καP54;
NAS: and take up his cross and follow
KJV: take up his cross, and follow
INT: let him take up the cross of him and

Matthew 27:32 N-AMS
GRK: O40;ρQ31; τP56;ν σταυρP56;ν αP16;τοQ66;
NAS: to bear His cross.
KJV: bear his cross.
INT: he might carry the cross of him

Matthew 27:40 N-GMS
GRK: O36;πP56; τοQ66; σταυροQ66;
NAS: of God, come down from the cross.
KJV: come down from the cross.
INT: from the cross

It is very obvious that Jesus was crucified on a literal "cross" rather than a wooden beam according to the original Greek translation..

I think my opponent is attacking the traditional view of the cross.. Were the typical view is of a perpindicular T-Shape cross that forms more of an X rather than a T shape.. Here's a picture of these 2 contrasting cross'

Now.. We know that the Romans exucted their prisioners according the the T shape cross rather than the traditional t shape that Catholics wear around their necks..

Here's a link for further inquiry on this issue:

So all in all, my opponents case that Jesus was not crucified on a cross via the scriptures in not supported.. By the original Greek translation or a historical context regarding the instruments that the Romans used to crucify their criminals

Debate Round No. 2


I will admit that I did not use the correct transliteration, however this does not change the fact that Jesus did not die on a cross as my opponent claims. To prove this I will first reiterate: The Greek word rendered "cross" in sold publications relating to the Bible and versions of the Bible that are sold, is "stauros." In Koine Greek, the kind of Greek in the New Testament, this word actually means "stake." It is noteworthy that Bible also uses the word xy'lon to identify the device used, which simply means log or beam, a post. The book The Non-Christian Cross, by J.D. Parsons (London 1896), says: "There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was anything other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but to two pieces nailed together in he form of a cross..."

The source of my opponent's argument is Strong's Concordance, as well as various translations and versions, which are not the same as the original text. Put simply, Strong's is not an authority on Greek, nor Hebrew. Furthermore, the translations cited are not the original text, nor do they have an accurate translation. In reality, Bibles that sell for money are big business. Many times the translators of both the Bibles and the Strong's Concordance fix the text so as to please the readers. They are not scholarly copies of the original text.

To further develop my thought, the Hebrew version of Matthew brings out in Hebrew that it was originally a stake. The Hebrew makes no mention of the Roman symbol of the cross which would have been seen as an idol. Also, there would be the need for a third and possibly fourth nail in the cross, which is not supported by cultural and historical evidence that show that the nails were valuable to the Jews as some sort of good luck charm. The ordinary stake would have been sufficient for execution, and would allow the Jews to retrieve the nails easier. The last point is archaeological evidence found in Caiaphas ossuary which were two nails. Not three or four which would indicate a cross, but instead proves that Jesus was executed on a single stake.

Now for why I brought up this debate. If someone you loved got killed by a 9mm bullet. Would you wear the 9mm bullet in remembrance of them? Of course not. Would you idolize it or pray to it? Of course not. Would you venerate it? Of course not. So why idolize the cross?

The final conclusion should be that it doesn't matter whether Jesus died from a cross or some kind of futuristic alien powered ray gun. It was Jesus life, ministry and death that Christ's followers should venerate. Thank you.


Ok.. In order to keep my response short, I will respond to my opponents contentions immediately..

My opponent's main issue is that term "Stauros" or "Xy'lon" do not define the traditional T-Shaped Cross but rather a stake.

The issue with this is that ALL LANGUAGES are subject to change and the original words cannot always be trusted completely.. The original Greek term does not restrict us to one particular version of the cross used in Jesus case. During Homers time in the 12th and 9th centuries B.C, the word Stauros simply meant "pole'.. But during Jesus time, the Romans were using the Greek language and modified certain words to fit their practices.. When the Romans used their methods of crucifixion.. They used the existing Greek terminology to suit their purposes.. As best stated by David Alan-

“(The original meaning of a word) used alone, cannot adequately account for the meaning of a word since meaning is continuously subject to change.… It is therefore mandatory for the New Testament student to know whether the original meaning of a word still exists at a later stage.… Hence it is not legitimate to say that the ‘original’ meaning of a word is its ‘real’ meaning”(David Alan Black Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 1988, 1995, p.122).

My opponent then states: "There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was anything other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but to two pieces nailed together in he form of a cross..."

This may be true if one only looks at the word choice used in the original Greek writings.. However my opponent completely disregards other evidence's in the Bible that point to the traditional T shaped cross that he claims "there is no evidence for".. Let me elaborate..

We find a clue in John 21 as to the manner in which Peter was going to die.. And it points to the traditional cross of antiquity..

Jesus gives Peter a glimpse of the manner of his death: “‘When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God” (verses 18–19). The fact that Peter (who tradition says was crucified) would “stretch out” his hands indicates that Roman crucifixion usually involved outspread arms such as would be positioned on a crosspiece.

Here is a picture of the "Stake cross" that my opponent claims is the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified.. Is he laying out his hands as described in the above passage? No.. It is very evident the cross Jesus was alluding to. The traditional T-Shape.

Another piece of evidence that demonstrates the traditional cross in the Bible is in John 20 were doubting Thomas examines Jesus' wounds during his resurrection appearances..

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Notice that the Greek word for nails (καρφιa)is plural in this text.. Meaning their were multiple nails used, This is not possible on a "stake cross" because only 1 nail would have been used.

We also have a plethora of historical evidence that employ the typical shape of the cross. Here is a few:

Dionysus of Halicarnassus
(60BC to sometime after 7BC)
A Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric who lived at the time of the birth of Jesus, offers the following description of how the condemned were led to execution on what appears to be a “Crux Commissa,” or “Crux Immissa”:

“A Roman citizen of no obscure station, having ordered one of his slaves to be put to death, delivered him to his fellow-slaves to be led away, and in order that his punishment might be witnessed by all, directed them to drag him through the Forum and every other conspicuous part of the city as they whipped him, and that he should go ahead of the procession which the Romans were at that time conducting in honour of the god. The men ordered to lead the slave to his punishment, having stretched out both his arms and fastened them to a piece of wood which extended across his breast and shoulders as far as his wrists, followed him, tearing his naked body with whips.” (Roman Antiquities, VII, 69:1-2)

Dionysius used the word “xulon” for the horizontal “patibulum”.

The Epistle of Barnabas (90-135AD)
This pseudepigraphic letter, used by many Christians in the early Church, described the shape of the cross as it was understood very early in history:

“For the scripture saith; And Abraham circumcised of his household eighteen males and three hundred. What then was the knowledge given unto him? Understand ye that He saith the eighteen first, and then after an interval three hundred In the eighteen ‘I’ stands for ten, ‘H’ for eight. Here thou hast JESUS (IHSOYS). And because the cross in the ‘T’ was to have grace, He saith also three hundred. So He revealeth Jesus in the two letters, and in the remaining one the cross.” (Barnabas 9:7).

Here's a link for further inquiry:

Overall, the sheer weight of the combined evidence both biblicaly and historically point to the traditional cross. My opponents arguments are not based on any historical evidence and display a specific interpretation of scripture that is not well supported.

That being said.. My goal here is not to bash another fellow Christians views.. It is however "speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. I believe that Christians can respectfully disagree with each other on certain aspects but still remain one in Christ.

That being said.. The cross to me is not only a symbol of death.. But a symbol of love.. I don't pray or worship the cross but rather, I worship the One on which the cross was used to set us free.

The cross is not on object of worship.. But a reminder, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Thanks for having this debate friend. God bless!



Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
>Reported vote: CapAhab// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Because there was two nails, I will have to give the point to pro

[*Reason for removal*] While the voter does assess a single argument and its importance in the debate, the voter does have to examine Con's arguments as well in order to compare assess the debate as a whole.
Posted by missmedic 8 months ago
If Jesus is god how can god die?
Posted by PHlLOSOPHER 8 months ago
I am a Christian versed in the Bible's original texts.
Posted by Rami 8 months ago
Hey, what's your religion? Your profile pic indicates your Jewish, but you seem to have Christian beliefs.
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