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    What does the original Greek reveal as to the shape of the instrument on which Jesus was put to death? Most Bible translations say Christ was crucified
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 9, 2008
      What does the original Greek reveal as to the shape of the instrument on which Jesus was put to death?

      "Most Bible translations say Christ was "crucified" rather than "impaled." This is because of the common belief that the torture instrument upon which he was hung was a "cross" made of two pieces of wood instead of a single pale, or stake. Tradition, not the Scriptures, also says that the condemned man carried only the crossbeam of the cross, called the patibulum, or antenna, instead of both parts. In this way some try to avoid the predicament of having too much weight for one man to drag or carry to Golgotha.

      "Yet, what did the Bible writers themselves say about these matters? They used the Greek noun stau·ros´ 27 times and the verbs stau·ro´o 46 times, syn·stau·ro´o (the prefix syn, meaning "with") 5 times, and a·na·stau·ro´o (a·na´, meaning "again") once. They also used the Greek word xy´lon, meaning "wood," 5 times to refer to the torture instrument upon which Jesus was nailed.

      "Stau·ros´

      in both the classical Greek and Koine carries no thought of a "cross" made of two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile, or pole, as might be used for a fence, stockade, or palisade. Says Douglas' New Bible Dictionary of 1985 under "Cross," page 253: "The Gk. word for `cross' (stauros; verb stauroo . . . ) means primarily an upright stake or beam, and secondarily a stake used as an instrument for punishment and execution."

      "The fact that Luke, Peter, and Paul also used xy´lon as a synonym for stau·ros´ gives added evidence that Jesus was impaled on an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xy´lon in this special sense means. (Ac 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Ga 3:13; 1Pe 2:24) Xy´lon also occurs in the Greek Septuagint at Ezra 6:11, where it speaks of a single beam or timber on which a lawbreaker was to be impaled.

      "The New World Translation, therefore, faithfully conveys to the reader this basic idea of the Greek text by rendering stau·ros´ as "torture stake," and the verb stau·ro´o as "impale," that is, to fasten on a stake, or pole. In this way there is no confusion of stau·ros´ with the traditional ecclesiastical crosses. (See TORTURE STAKE.) The matter of one man like Simon of Cyrene bearing a torture stake, as the Scriptures say, is perfectly reasonable, for if it was 15 cm (6 in.) in diameter and 3.5 m (11 ft) long, it probably weighed little more than 45 kg (100 lb).—Mr 15:21.

      "Note what W. E. Vine says on this subject: "STAUROS (σταυρός) denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross." Greek scholar Vine then mentions the Chaldean origin of the two-piece cross and how it was adopted from the pagans by Christendom in the third century C.E. as a symbol of Christ's impalement.—Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 256.

      "Significant is this comment in the book The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art: "It is strange, yet unquestionably a fact, that in ages long before the birth of Christ, and since then in lands untouched by the teaching of the Church, the Cross has been used as a sacred symbol. . . . The Greek Bacchus, the Tyrian Tammuz, the Chaldean Bel, and the Norse Odin, were all symbolised to their votaries by a cruciform device."—By G. S. Tyack, London, 1900, p. 1.

      "The book The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons (London, 1896), adds: "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 other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . . It is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as `cross' when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting `cross' in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was for some reason or other assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape."—Pp. 23, 24; see also The Companion Bible, 1974, Appendix No. 162. -Insight, Vol. 1, "Impalement"

    • public_message
      Cross (click on one to view) Did Jesus really die on a Cross? JW Official Web Site responds to this
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 10, 2008
        Cross (click on one to view)
         
        Did Jesus really die on a Cross?
        JW Official Web Site responds to this question via 4/06 Awake

        Does it really make any difference if a person cherishes a cross, as long as he does not worship it?
        Response to this question.

        Should the Cross be venerated?
        Response to this question.

        What does the Cross symbolize?
        JW Official Web Site responds to this question via 4/06 Awake

        What does the original Greek reveal as to the shape of the instrument on which Jesus was put to death?
        Response to this question.

        What is more important, the shape of the instrument used on Jesus or worshipping it?
        Response to this question.

        What is some of the history of the cross?
        Response to this question.

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