Did Jesus Really Die on a Cross?
Jesus DID die on the cross as the scriptures claim.
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: http://biblehub.com...
stauros: an upright stake, hence a cross (the Rom. instrument of crucifixion)
Original Word: σταυρa2;ς, οQ66;, P01;
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
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
Matthew 27:32 N-AMS
Matthew 27:40 N-GMS
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.”
We also have a plethora of historical evidence that employ the typical shape of the cross. Here is a few:
“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)
“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).