Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh

Scan 133200013 GolgotaCRUCIFIXION is the act of nailing or binding a person to a cross or to a  tree, whether for executing or for exposing the corpse (a dead human body).

Crucifixion was considered the cruelest and most shameful method of capital punishment.

According to ancient historians such as Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, crucification was used by the Assyrians, Schythians, Phoenicians and Persians. The practice of crucifixion was taken over by Alexander the Great and his successors, and especially by the Romans, who reserved it for slaves in cases of robbery and rebellion. Roman citizens could be punished in this way only for the crime of high treason. In the Roman provinces crucification served as a mean of punishing unruly people who were sentenced as "robbers". Before the execution, the victim was scourged. He then had to carry the transverse beam (patibulum) to the place of execution, and was nailed through hands and feet to the cross, from which a wooden peg protruded to support the body; some of these literary details are confirmed by archaeological finds of the bones of crucifixion victims.

Crucifixion, though not mentioned in the list of death penalties in Jewish law, might be suggested in Deuteronomy 21:22, which requires that a person put to death must be hung on a tree and burried on the same day. In the "Temple Scroll of Qumran", the deliquent must be hung up so that he dies, which amounts to crucification. The same source also specifies that it must be applied in case of high treason, for example, if an Israelite curses his people or delivers them to a foreign nation. Although such crime is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, it must be derived from the ambiguous term "God's curse" (Deut. 21:23). In  rabbinic writings crucifixion is the death penalty for "robbers" and martyrs. Isaac, carryng the wood for his sacrifice, was compared to a man bearing the cross on his shoulders.

Similarly, a disciple of Jesus must take up his cross and follow Him.

In His trial before the high priest and before Pilate, Jesus admitted to being the Messiah of Israel and Son of God. The members of the Sanhedrin declared that Jesus deserved death because He had uttered blasphemy; they must have understood Deuteronomy 21:22 in a way similar to the Temple Scroll. A false messiah could deliver the people of Israel and the Temple to the gentiles. According to the Babilonian Talmud, Jesus was executed because He had led Israel astray, a judgement based on Deuter 13:1.

While the crucifixion was carried out by Roman soldiers, the burial in the evening of this day was done by a Jew in accordance with Deuteronomy 21:23.

Deuteronomy 21:22 is also related to crucifixion by Paul in Galatians 3;13. Because a person hanging on a tree is cursed by God, the cross of Jesus became a stumbling block to Jews (Oto Betz).


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