Crucifixion of Jesus
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The crucifixion of Jesus occurred during the 1st century AD. According to the accounts in the New Testament, Jesus, whom Christians believe to be the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally crucified. Collectively referred to as the Passion, Jesus' suffering and redemptive death by crucifixion are the central aspects of Christian theology concerning the doctrines of salvation and atonement.
Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament Epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, though there is no consensus on the precise details of what exactly occurred.
- 1 Historicity
- 2 Gospel narratives
- 3 Other accounts and references
- 4 The Crucifixion
- 5 Reported extraordinary occurrences
- 6 Medical aspects
- 7 Theological significance
- 8 Islam
- 9 In art, symbolism and devotions
- 10 Gallery of art
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
In modern scholarship, the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion are considered to be two historically certain facts about Jesus. For example, James Dunn states that these "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent" and "rank so high on the 'almost impossible to doubt or deny' scale of historical facts" that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus. Bart Ehrman states that the crucifixion of Jesus on the orders of Pontius Pilate is the most certain element about him. John Dominic Crossan states that the crucifixion of Jesus is as certain as any historical fact can be. Eddy and Boyd state that it is now "firmly established" that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus. Craig Blomberg states that most scholars in the third quest for the historical Jesus consider the crucifixion indisputable. Christopher M. Tuckett states that, although the exact reasons for the death of Jesus are hard to determine, one of the indisputable facts about him is that he was crucified.
While scholars agree on the historicity of the crucifixion, they differ on the reason and context for it, e.g., both E. P. Sanders and Paula Fredriksen support the historicity of the crucifixion, but contend that Jesus did not foretell his own crucifixion, and that his prediction of the crucifixion is a "church creation" (p. 126). Geza Vermes also views the crucifixion as a historical event but provides his own explanation and background for it.
John P. Meier views the crucifixion of Jesus as historical fact and states that based on the criterion of embarrassment Christians would not have invented the painful death of their leader. Meier states that a number of other criteria, e.g., the criterion of multiple attestation (i.e., confirmation by more than one source), the criterion of coherence (i.e., that it fits with other historical elements) and the criterion of rejection (i.e., that it is not disputed by ancient sources) help establish the crucifixion of Jesus as a historical event.
Although almost all ancient sources relating to crucifixion are literary, the 1968 archeological discovery just northeast of Jerusalem of the body of a crucified man dated to the 1st century provided good confirmatory evidence that crucifixions occurred during the Roman period roughly according to the manner in which the crucifixion of Jesus is described in the gospels. The crucified man was identified as Yohan Ben Ha'galgol and probably died about 70 AD, around the time of the Jewish revolt against Rome. The analyses at the Hadassah Medical School estimated that he died in his late 20s. Another relevant archaeological find, which also dates to the 1st century AD, is an unidentified heel bone with a spike discovered in a Jerusalem gravesite, now held by the Israel Antiquities Authority and displayed in the Israel Museum.
In the New Testament all four Gospels conclude with an extended narrative of Jesus' arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial, and accounts of resurrection. In each Gospel these five events in the life of Jesus are treated with more intense detail than any other portion of that Gospel's narrative. Scholars note that the reader receives an almost hour-by-hour account of what is happening.:p.91 Christians have traditionally understood Jesus' death on the cross to be a knowing and willing sacrifice (in which he did not mount a defense in his trials) undertaken as an "agent of God" to atone for humanity's sin and make salvation possible. Most Christians proclaim this sacrifice through the bread and wine of the Eucharist, as a remembrance of the Last Supper, and many also commemorate the event on Good Friday each year.
The earliest detailed accounts of the death of Jesus are contained in the four canonical gospels. There are other more implicit references in the New Testament epistles. In the synoptic gospels, Jesus predicts his death in three separate episodes.
Combining statements in the canonical Gospels, as is commonly done, produces the following account. Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane following the Last Supper with the Twelve Apostles, and then stood trial before the Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate, and Herod Antipas, before being handed over for crucifixion. After being flogged, Jesus was mocked by Roman soldiers as the "King of the Jews", clothed in a purple robe, crowned with thorns, beaten and spat on. Jesus then had to make his way to the place of his crucifixion.
Once at Golgotha, Jesus was offered wine mixed with gall to drink. Matthew's and Mark's Gospels record that he refused this. He was then crucified and hung between two convicted thieves. According to Mark's Gospel, he endured the torment of crucifixion for some six hours from the third hour, at approximately 9 am, until his death at the ninth hour, corresponding to about 3 pm. The soldiers affixed a sign above his head stating "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" in three languages, divided his garments and cast lots for his seamless robe. The Roman soldiers did not break Jesus' legs, as they did to the other two men crucified (breaking the legs hastened the crucifixion process), as Jesus was dead already. Each gospel has its own account of Jesus' last words, seven statements altogether. In the Synoptic Gospels, various supernatural events accompany the crucifixion, including darkness, an earthquake, and (in Matthew) the resurrection of saints. Following Jesus' death, his body was removed from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and buried in a rock-hewn tomb, with Nicodemus assisting.
According to all four gospels, Jesus was brought to the "Place of a Skull" and crucified with two thieves, with the charge of claiming to be "King of the Jews", and the soldiers divided his clothes before he bowed his head and died. Following his death, Joseph of Arimathea requested the body from Pilate, which Joseph then placed in a new garden tomb.
The three Synoptic gospels also describe Simon of Cyrene bearing the cross, the multitude mocking Jesus along with the thieves/robbers/rebels, darkness from the 6th to the 9th hour, and the temple veil being torn from top to bottom. The Synoptics also mention several witnesses, including a centurion, and several women who watched from a distance two of whom were present during the burial.
There are several details that are only found in one of the gospel accounts. For instance, only Matthew's gospel mentions an earthquake, resurrected saints who went to the city and that Roman soldiers were assigned to guard the tomb, while Mark is the only one to state the actual time of the crucifixion (the third hour, or 9 am) and the centurion's report of Jesus' death. The Gospel of Luke's unique contributions to the narrative include Jesus' words to the women who were mourning, one criminal's rebuke of the other, the reaction of the multitudes who left "beating their breasts", and the women preparing spices and ointments before resting on the Sabbath. John is also the only one to refer to the request that the legs be broken and the soldier's subsequent piercing of Jesus' side (as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy), as well as that Nicodemus assisted Joseph with burial.
According to the canonical Gospels, Jesus rose from the dead "on the third day" (counting the day of crucifixion as the first) and appeared to his disciples on different occasions before ascending to heaven. The account given in Acts of the Apostles, which says Jesus remained with the apostles for forty days, appears to differ from the account in the Gospel of Luke, which makes no clear distinction between the events of Easter Sunday and the Ascension. However, most biblical scholars agree that St. Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles as a follow-up volume to his Gospel account, and the two works must be considered as a whole.
In Mark, Jesus is crucified along with two rebels, and the day goes dark for three hours. Jesus calls out to God, then gives a shout and dies. The curtain of the Temple is torn in two. Matthew follows Mark, adding an earthquake and the resurrection of saints. Luke also follows Mark, though he describes the rebels as common criminals, one of whom defends Jesus, who in turn promises that he (Jesus) and the criminal will be together in paradise. Luke portrays Jesus as impassive in the face of his crucifixion. John includes several of the same elements as those found in Mark, though they are treated differently.
Other accounts and references
An early non-Christian reference to the crucifixion of Jesus is likely to be Mara Bar-Serapion's letter to his son, written sometime after AD 73 but before the 3rd century AD. The letter includes no Christian themes and the author is presumed to be a pagan. The letter refers to the retributions that followed the unjust treatment of three wise men: Socrates, Pythagoras, and "the wise king" of the Jews. Some scholars see little doubt that the reference to the execution of the "king of the Jews" is about the crucifixion of Jesus, while others place less value in the letter, given the possible ambiguity in the reference.
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, ... He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles ... And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross ...
Most modern scholars agree that while this Josephus passage (called the Testimonium Flavianum) includes some later interpolations, it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus with a reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate. It is notable that Josephus and other historians didn't live during Jesus' lifetime. James Dunn states that there is "broad consensus" among scholars regarding the nature of an authentic reference to the crucifixion of Jesus in the Testimonium.
Early in the second century another reference to the crucifixion of Jesus was made by Tacitus, generally considered one of the greatest Roman historians. Writing in The Annals (c. 116 AD), Tacitus described the persecution of Christians by Nero and stated (Annals 15.44) that Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus:
Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.
Scholars generally consider the Tacitus reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate to be genuine, and of historical value as an independent Roman source. Eddy and Boyd state that it is now "firmly established" that Tacitus provides a non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.
Another possible reference to the crucifixion ("hanging" cf. Luke 23:39; Galatians 3:13) is found in the Babylonian Talmud:
On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.' But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!—Sanhedrin 43a, Babylonian Talmud (Soncino Edition)
Although the question of the equivalence of the identities of Yeshu and Jesus has at times been debated, many historians agree that the above 2nd-century passage is likely to be about Jesus, Peter Schäfer stating that there can be no doubt that this narrative of the execution in the Talmud refers to Jesus of Nazareth. Robert Van Voorst states that the Sanhedrin 43a reference to Jesus can be confirmed not only from the reference itself, but from the context that surrounds it.
In opposition to the vast majority of Biblical and mainstream scholarship, Muslims maintain that Jesus was not crucified and that those who thought they had killed him had mistakenly killed Judas Iscariot, Simon of Cyrene, or someone else in his place. They hold this belief based on various interpretations of Quran 4:157–158, which states: "they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them [or it appeared so unto them], ... Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself".
Some early Christian Gnostic sects, believing Jesus did not have a physical substance, denied that he was crucified. In response, Ignatius of Antioch insisted that Jesus was truly born and was truly crucified and wrote that those who held that Jesus only seemed to suffer only seemed to be Christians.
There is no consensus regarding the exact date of the crucifixion of Jesus, although it is generally agreed by biblical scholars that it was on a Friday on or near Passover (Nisan 15), during the governorship of Pontius Pilate (who ruled AD 26–36). Scholars have provided estimates for the year of crucifixion in the range 30–33 AD, with the majority of modern scholars favouring the date April 7, 30 AD. Another popular date is Friday, April 3, 33 AD.
Since an observational calendar was used during the time of Jesus, including an ascertainment of the new moon and ripening barley harvest, the exact day or even month for Passover in a given year is subject to speculation. . Various approaches have been used to estimate the year of the crucifixion, including the canonical Gospels, the chronology of the life of Paul, as well as different astronomical models.
The consensus of modern scholarship is that the New Testament accounts represent a crucifixion occurring on a Friday, but a Thursday or Wednesday crucifixion have also been proposed. Some scholars explain a Thursday crucifixion based on a "double sabbath" caused by an extra Passover sabbath falling on Thursday dusk to Friday afternoon, ahead of the normal weekly Sabbath. Some have argued that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, not Friday, on the grounds of the mention of "three days and three nights" in Matthew before his resurrection, celebrated on Sunday. Others have countered by saying that this ignores the Jewish idiom by which a "day and night" may refer to any part of a 24-hour period, that the expression in Matthew is idiomatic, not a statement that Jesus was 72 hours in the tomb, and that the many references to a resurrection on the third day do not require three literal nights.
In Mark 15:25 crucifixion takes place at the third hour (9 a.m.) and Jesus' death at the ninth hour (3 p.m.). However, in John 19:14 Jesus is still before Pilate at the sixth hour. Scholars have presented a number of arguments to deal with the issue, some suggesting a reconciliation, e.g., based on the use of Roman timekeeping in John but not in Mark, yet others have rejected the arguments. Several notable scholars have argued that the modern precision of marking the time of day should not be read back into the gospel accounts, written at a time when no standardization of timepieces, or exact recording of hours and minutes was available, and time was often approximated to the closest three-hour period.
Path to the crucifixion
Luke's gospel also describes an interaction between Jesus and the women among the crowd of mourners following him, quoting Jesus as saying "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
The Gospel of Luke has Jesus address these women as "daughters of Jerusalem", thus distinguishing them from the women whom the same gospel describes as "the women who had followed him from Galilee" and who were present at his crucifixion.
Traditionally, the path that Jesus took is called Via Dolorosa (Latin for "Way of Grief" or "Way of Suffering") and is a street in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is marked by nine of the fourteen Stations of the Cross. It passes the Ecce Homo Church and the last five stations are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
There is no reference to the legendary Veronica in the Gospels, but sources such as Acta Sanctorum describe her as a pious woman of Jerusalem who, moved with pity as Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha, gave him her veil that he might wipe his forehead.
The precise location of the crucifixion remains a matter of conjecture, but the biblical accounts indicate that it was outside the city walls, accessible to passers-by and observable from some distance away. Eusebius identified its location only as being north of Mount Zion, which is consistent with the two most popularly suggested sites of modern times.
Calvary as an English name for the place is derived from the Latin word for skull (calvaria), which is used in the Vulgate translation of "place of a skull", the explanation given in all four Gospels of the Aramaic word Gûlgaltâ which was the name of the place where Jesus was crucified. The text does not indicate why it was so designated, but several theories have been put forward. One is that as a place of public execution, Calvary may have been strewn with the skulls of abandoned victims (which would be contrary to Jewish burial traditions, but not Roman). Another is that Calvary is named after a nearby cemetery (which is consistent with both of the proposed modern sites). A third is that the name was derived from the physical contour, which would be more consistent with the singular use of the word, i.e., the place of "a skull". While often referred to as "Mount Calvary", it was more likely a small hill or rocky knoll.
The traditional site, inside what is now occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, has been attested since the 4th century. A second site (commonly referred to as Gordon's Calvary ), located further north of the Old City near a place popularly called the Garden Tomb, has been promoted since the 19th century, mostly by Protestants.
The Gospel of Matthew describes many women at the crucifixion, some of whom are named in the Gospels. Apart from these women, the three Synoptic Gospels speak of the presence of others: "the chief priests, with the scribes and elders"; two robbers crucified, one on Jesus' right and one on his left, whom the Gospel of Luke presents as the penitent thief and the impenitent thief; "the soldiers", "the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus"; passers-by; "bystanders", "the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle"; and "his acquaintances"
Method and manner
Whereas most Christians believe the gibbet on which Jesus was executed was the traditional two-beamed cross, debate exists regarding the view that a single upright stake was used. The Greek and Latin words used in the earliest Christian writings are ambiguous. The Koine Greek terms used in the New Testament are stauros (σταυρός) and xylon (ξύλον). The latter means wood (a live tree, timber or an object constructed of wood); in earlier forms of Greek, the former term meant an upright stake or pole, but in Koine Greek it was used also to mean a cross. The Latin word crux was also applied to objects other than a cross.
However, early Christian writers who speak of the shape of the particular gibbet on which Jesus died invariably describe it as having a cross-beam. For instance, the Epistle of Barnabas, which was certainly earlier than 135, and may have been of the 1st century AD, the time when the gospel accounts of the death of Jesus were written, likened it to the letter T (the Greek letter tau, which had the numeric value of 300), and to the position assumed by Moses in Exodus 17:11–12. Justin Martyr (100–165) explicitly says the cross of Christ was of two-beam shape: "That lamb which was commanded to be wholly roasted was a symbol of the suffering of the cross which Christ would undergo. For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb." Irenaeus, who died around the end of the 2nd century, speaks of the cross as having "five extremities, two in length, two in breadth, and one in the middle, on which [last] the person rests who is fixed by the nails." For other witnesses to how early Christians envisaged the shape of the gibbet used for Jesus, see Dispute about Jesus' execution method.
The assumption of the use of a two-beamed cross does not determine the number of nails used in the crucifixion and some theories suggest three nails while others suggest four nails. However, throughout history larger numbers of nails have been hypothesized, at times as high as 14 nails. These variations are also present in the artistic depictions of the crucifixion. In the Western Church, before the Renaissance usually four nails would be depicted, with the feet side by side. After the Renaissance most depictions use three nails, with one foot placed on the other. Nails are almost always depicted in art, although Romans sometimes just tied the victims to the cross. The tradition also carries to Christian emblems, e.g. the Jesuits use three nails under the IHS monogram and a cross to symbolize the crucifixion.
The placing of the nails in the hands, or the wrists is also uncertain. Some theories suggest that the Greek word cheir (χειρ) for hand includes the wrist and that the Romans were generally trained to place nails through Destot's space (between the capitate and lunate bones) without fracturing any bones. Another theory suggests that the Greek word for hand also includes the forearm and that the nails were placed near the radius and ulna of the forearm. Ropes may have also been used to fasten the hands in addition to the use of nails.
Another issue has been the use of a hypopodium as a standing platform to support the feet, given that the hands may not have been able to support the weight. In the 17th century Rasmus Bartholin considered a number of analytical scenarios of that topic. In the 20th century, forensic pathologist Frederick Zugibe performed a number of crucifixion experiments by using ropes to hang human subjects at various angles and hand positions. His experiments support an angled suspension, and a two-beamed cross, and perhaps some form of foot support, given that in an Aufbinden form of suspension from a straight stake (as used by the Nazis in the Dachau concentration camp during World War II), death comes rather quickly.
Words of Jesus spoken from the cross
The New Testament gives three different accounts of the words of Jesus on the cross. In Mark and Matthew Jesus utters only one saying on the cross, while Luke and John each describe three statements unique to them.
Mark / Matthew
- "E′li, E′li, la′ma sa‧bach‧tha′ni?" (Aramaic for "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?").
The only words of Jesus on the cross in the Mark and Matthew accounts, this is a quotation of Psalm 22. Since other verses of the same Psalm are cited in the crucifixion accounts, it is often considered a literary and theological creation. Geza Vermes, however, points out that the verse is cited in Aramaic rather than the Hebrew in which it usually would have been recited, and suggests that by the time of Jesus, this phrase had become a proverbial saying in common usage. Compared to the accounts in the other Gospels, which he describes as 'theologically correct and reassuring', he considers this phrase 'unexpected, disquieting and in consequence more probable'. He describes it as bearing 'all the appearances of a genuine cry'. Raymond Brown likewise comments that he finds 'no persuasive argument against attributing to the Jesus of Mark/Matt the literal sentiment of feeling forsaken expressed in the Psalm quote'.
- "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." [Some early manuscripts do not have this]
- "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
- "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!"
The Gospel of Luke does not have the cry of Jesus found within Matthew and Mark, possibly playing down the suffering of Jesus and replacing a cry of desperation with one of hope and confidence, in keeping with the message of the Gospel which Jesus as dying confident that he would be vindicated as God's righteous prophet.
- "Woman, behold, your son!"
- "I thirst."
- "It is finished."
The words of Jesus on the cross, especially his last words, have been the subject of a wide range of Christian teachings and sermons, and a number of authors have written books specifically devoted to the last sayings of Christ. The difference between the accounts is cited by James Dunn as a reason to doubt their historicity.
Reported extraordinary occurrences
The synoptics report various miraculous events during the crucifixion. Mark mentions darkness in the daytime during Jesus' crucifixion, and the Temple veil being torn in two when Jesus dies. Luke follows Mark; as does Matthew, adding an earthquake and the resurrection of dead saints. No mention of any of these appears in John.
In the synoptic narrative, while Jesus is hanging on the cross, the sky over Judea (or the whole world) is "darkened for three hours," from the sixth to the ninth hour (noon to mid-afternoon).
Some Christian writers considered the possibility that pagan commentators may have mentioned this event, mistaking it for a solar eclipse - although this would have been impossible during the Passover, which takes place at the full moon. Roman orator Julius Africanus and Christian theologian Origen refer to Greek historian Phlegon,who lived in the 2nd century AD, as having written "with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place"
Julius Africanus further refers to the writings of historian Thallus: "This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun." A solar eclipse concurrent with a full moon is a scientific impossibility. Christian apologist Tertullian wrote "In the same hour, too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world-portent still in your archives."
Humphreys and Waddington of Oxford University considered the possibility that a lunar, rather than solar, eclipse might have taken place, visible for thirty minutes after sunset. They concluded that:
"This eclipse was visible from Jerusalem at moonrise ... first visible from Jerusalem at about 6:20pm (the start of the Jewish Sabbath and also the start of Passover day in A.D. 33) with about 20% of its disc in the umbra of the earth's shadow ... The eclipse finished some thirty minutes later at 6:50pm."
Moreover, their calculations showed that the 20% umbra shadow was positioned close to the leading edge, the first visible portion at moonrise. These authors note that the Apostle Peter's reference to a "moon of blood" (a term commonly used for a lunar eclipse because of the reddish color of the light refracted onto the moon through the Earth's atmosphere) may be a reference to this eclipse. It should be noted, however, that in the preceding verse of the same passage, Peter expressly mentions that "the sun shall be turned to darkness", which would suggest a solar eclipse in conjunction with the lunar one. They claim that the failure of any of the gospel accounts to refer to a lunar eclipse is the result of a scribe wrongly amending a text, a claim historian David Henige describes as 'indefensible'. Astronomer Bradley Schaefer points out that the lunar eclipse would not have been visible during daylight hours.
Temple veil, earthquake and resurrection of dead saints
The synoptic gospels state that the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. According to Josephus, the curtain in Herod's temple would have been nearly 60 feet (18 m) high and 4 inches (100 mm) thick. According to Hebrews 9:1-10, this curtain was representative of the separation between God and man, beyond which only the High Priest was permitted to pass, and then only once each year to enter into God's presence and make atonement for the sins of Israel. Many Bible expositors agree that the rending of the veil is symbolic of Jesus establishing a new and living way of access to God, see New Covenant.
The Gospel of Matthew states that there were earthquakes, splitting rocks, and the graves of dead saints were opened (and subsequently resurrected after the resurrection of Jesus). These resurrected saints went into the holy city and appeared to many people, but their subsequent fate is never elaborated upon.
A number of theories that attempt to explain the circumstances of the death of Jesus on the cross have been proposed by a range of people, including physicians, historians and even mystics. In 2006, general practitioner John Scotson reviewed over 40 publications on the cause of death of Jesus and theories ranged from cardiac rupture to pulmonary embolism.
As early as 1847, drawing on John 19:34, physician William Stroud proposed the ruptured heart theory of the cause of Christ's death and it influenced a number of other people. The asphyxia theory has been the subject of several experiments that simulate crucifixion in healthy volunteers and many physicians agree that crucifixion causes a profound disruption of the victim's ability to breathe. A side effect of exhaustive asphyxia is that the crucifixion victim will gradually find it more and more challenging to obtain enough breath to speak. This provides a possible explanation for the accounts that the last words of Christ were short utterances.
The cardiovascular collapse theory is a prevalent modern explanation and suggests that Jesus died of profound shock. According to this theory, the scourging, the beatings, and the fixing to the cross would have left Jesus dehydrated, weak, and critically ill and that the stage was set for a complex interplay of simultaneous physiological insults: dehydration, massive trauma and soft tissue injury (especially from the prior scourging), inadequate respiration, and strenuous physical exertion, leading to cardiovascular collapse.
Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, physician William Edwards and his colleagues supported the combined cardiovascular collapse (via hypovolemic shock) and exhaustion asphyxia theories, assuming that the flow of water from the side of Jesus described in the Gospel of John was pericardial fluid. Some Christian apologists seem to favor this theory and maintain that this medical anomaly would have been a fact that the author of the Gospel of John would have been tempted to leave out, had he not been interested in accurate reporting.
In his book The Crucifixion of Jesus, physician and forensic pathologist Frederick Zugibe provides a set of theories that attempt to explain the nailing, pains and death of Jesus in great detail. Zugibe carried out a number of experiments over several years to test his theories while he was a medical examiner. These studies included experiments in which volunteers with specific weights were hanging at specific angles and the amount of pull on each hand was measured, in cases where the feet were also secured or not. In these cases the amount of pull and the corresponding pain was found to be significant.
Pierre Barbet, a French physician, and the chief surgeon at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Paris, advanced a set of detailed theories on the death of Jesus. He hypothesized that Jesus would have had to relax his muscles to obtain enough air to utter his last words, in the face of exhaustion asphyxia. Barbet hypothesized that a crucified person would have to use his pierced feet to lift his body in order to obtain enough breath to speak. Some of Barbet's theories, e.g., location of nails, are disputed by Zugibe.
In 2003, historians FP Retief and L Cilliers reviewed the history and pathology of crucifixion as performed by the Romans and suggested that the cause of death was often a combination of factors. They also state that Roman guards were prohibited from leaving the scene until death had occurred.
Christology of the crucifixion
The accounts of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Jesus provide a rich background for Christological analysis, from the canonical Gospels to the Pauline Epistles. Christians believe Jesus' suffering was foretold in the Hebrew Bible, such as in Psalm 22, and Isaiah's songs of the suffering servant.
In Johannine "agent Christology" the submission of Jesus to crucifixion is a sacrifice made as an agent of God or servant of God, for the sake of eventual victory. This builds on the salvific theme of the Gospel of John which begins in John 1:29 with John the Baptist's proclamation: "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". Further reinforcement of the concept is provided in Revelation 21:14 where the "lamb slain but standing" is the only one worthy of handling the scroll (i.e. the book) containing the names of those who are to be saved.
A central element in the Christology presented in the Acts of the Apostles is the affirmation of the belief that the death of Jesus by crucifixion happened "with the foreknowledge of God, according to a definite plan". In this view, as in Acts 2:23, the cross is not viewed as a scandal, for the crucifixion of Jesus "at the hands of the lawless" is viewed as the fulfilment of the plan of God.
Paul's Christology has a specific focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus is directly related to his resurrection and the term "the cross of Christ" used in Galatians 6:12 may be viewed as his abbreviation of the message of the gospels. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus was not an isolated event in history, but a cosmic event with significant eschatological consequences, as in 1 Corinthians 2:8. In the Pauline view, Jesus, obedient to the point of death (Philippians 2:8) died "at the right time" (Romans 4:25) based on the plan of God. For Paul the "power of the cross" is not separable from the Resurrection of Jesus.
However, the belief in the redemptive nature of Jesus' death predates the Pauline letters and goes back to the earliest days of Christianity and the Jerusalem church. The Nicene Creed's statement that "for our sake he was crucified" is a reflection of this core belief's formalization in the fourth century.
John Calvin supported the "agent of God" Christology and argued that in his trial in Pilate's Court Jesus could have successfully argued for his innocence, but instead submitted to crucifixion in obedience to the Father. This Christological theme continued into the 20th century, both in the Eastern and Western Churches. In the Eastern Church Sergei Bulgakov argued that the crucifixion of Jesus was "pre-eternally" determined by the Father before the creation of the world, to redeem humanity from the disgrace caused by the fall of Adam. In the Western Church, Karl Rahner elaborated on the analogy that the blood of the Lamb of God (and the water from the side of Jesus) shed at the crucifixion had a cleansing nature, similar to baptismal water.
Jesus' death and resurrection underpin a variety of theological interpretations as to how salvation is granted to humanity. These interpretations vary widely in how much emphasis they place on the death of Jesus as compared to his words. According to the substitutionary atonement view, Jesus' death is of central importance, and Jesus willingly sacrificed himself as an act of perfect obedience as a sacrifice of love which pleased God. By contrast the moral influence theory of atonement focuses much more on the moral content of Jesus' teaching, and sees Jesus' death as a martyrdom. Since the Middle Ages there has been conflict between these two views within Western Christianity. Evangelical Protestants typically hold a substitutionary view and in particular hold to the theory of penal substitution. Liberal Protestants typically reject substitutionary atonement and hold to the moral influence theory of atonement. Both views are popular within the Roman Catholic church, with the satisfaction doctrine incorporated into the idea of penance.
In the Roman Catholic tradition this view of atonement is balanced by the duty of Roman Catholics to perform Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ which in the encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor of Pope Pius XI were defined as "some sort of compensation to be rendered for the injury" with respect to the sufferings of Jesus. Pope John Paul II referred to these Acts of Reparation as the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified."
Among Eastern Orthodox Christians, another common view is Christus Victor. This holds that Jesus was sent by God to defeat death and Satan. Because of his perfection, voluntary death, and Resurrection, Jesus defeated Satan and death, and arose victorious. Therefore, humanity was no longer bound in sin, but was free to rejoin God through faith in Jesus.
Islamic texts categorically deny the idea of crucifixion or death attributed to Jesus (Isa) by the New Testament. The Quran states that people (i.e., the Jews and Romans) sought to kill Jesus, but they did not crucify or kill him, although "this was made to appear to them".
"And they said we have killed the Messiah Isa son of Maryam, the Messenger of God. They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him. On the contrary, God raised him unto himself. God is almighty and wise."
Contrary to Christian teachings, Islam teaches Jesus ascended to Heaven without being put on the cross, but that God transformed another person to appear exactly like him and to be then crucified instead of him. (According to Irenaeus, the 2nd-century Alexandrian Gnostic Basilides gave a similar account.) Isa ascended bodily to Heaven, there to remain until his Second Coming in the End Days.
In art, symbolism and devotions
Since the crucifixion of Jesus, the cross has become a key element of Christian symbolism, and the crucifixion scene has been a key element of Christian art, giving rise to specific artistic themes such as Ecce Homo, The Raising of the Cross, Descent from the Cross and Entombment of Christ.
The symbolism of the cross which is today one of the most widely recognized Christian symbols was used from the earliest Christian times and Justin Martyr who died in 165 describes it in a way that already implies its use as a symbol, although the crucifix appeared later. Masters such as Caravaggio, Rubens and Titian have all depicted the in their works.
Devotions based on the process of crucifixion, and the sufferings of Jesus are followed by various Christians. The Stations of the Cross follows a number of stages based on the stages involved in the crucifixion of Jesus, while the Rosary of the Holy Wounds is used to meditate on the wounds of Jesus as part of the crucifixion .
The presence of the Virgin Mary under the cross has in itself been the subject of Marian art, and well known Catholic symbolism such as the Miraculous Medal and Pope John Paul II's Coat of Arms bearing a Marian Cross. And a number of Marian devotions also involve the presence of the Virgin Mary in Calvary, e.g., Pope John Paul II stated that "Mary was united to Jesus on the Cross". Well known works of Christian art by masters such as Raphael (e.g., the Mond Crucifixion), and Caravaggio (e.g., his Entombment) depict the Virgin Mary as part of the crucifixion scene.
Gallery of art
- For larger galleries, please see: and
Michelangelo: Crucifixion of Christ, 1540
- Acts of Reparation
- Dismas and Gestas, the two thieves crucified alongside Jesus
- Empty tomb
- Feast of the Cross
- Feast of the Sacred Heart
- Good Friday
- Life of Jesus in the New Testament
- Seven Sorrows of Mary
- Stations of the Cross
- Swoon hypothesis
- Eddy & Boyd (2007) The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127 states that it is now "firmly established" that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.
- Christopher M. Tuckett in The Cambridge companion to Jesus edited by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 Cambridge Univ Press ISBN 978-0-521-79678-1 pages 123–124
- Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
- Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 211–214
- Jesus of Nazareth by Paul Verhoeven (Apr 6, 2010) ISBN 1-58322-905-1 page 39
- A Brief Introduction to the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman 2008 ISBN 0-19-536934-3 page 136
- Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145.
- Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127
- The Cambridge Companion to Jesus by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 ISBN 0-521-79678-4 page 136
- A Century of Theological and Religious Studies in Britain, 1902–2007 by Ernest Nicholson 2004 ISBN 0-19-726305-4 pages 125–126 Link 126
- John P. Meier "How do we decide what comes from Jesus" in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 pages 126–128
- John P. Meier "How do we decide what comes from Jesus" in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 pages 132–136
- David Freedman, 2000, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, ISBN 978-0-8028-2400-4, page 299.
- Crucifixion Article
- Article on the Crucifixion of Jesus
- Powell, Mark A. Introducing the New Testament. Baker Academic, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8010-2868-7
- Johannine Christology and the Early Church by T. E. Pollard 2005 ISBN 0-521-01868-4 page 21
- Calvin's Christology by Stephen Edmondson 2004 ISBN 0-521-54154-9 page 91
- Studies in Revelation by M. R. DeHaan, Martin Ralph DeHaan 1998 ISBN 0-8254-2485-2 page 103
- The Lamb of God by Sergei Bulgakov 2008 ISBN 0-8028-2779-9 page 129
- The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology by Alan Richardson, John Bowden 1983 ISBN 0-664-22748-1 page 189
- Worshiping with the Church Fathers by Christopher A. Hall 2009 ISBN 0-8308-3866-X page 65
- St Mark's Gospel and the Christian faith by Michael Keene 2002 ISBN 0-7487-6775-4 pages 24–25
- , Vol. 11 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911)The Catholic EncyclopediaArthur Barnes, "The Passion of Christ in the Four Gospels" in
- Risto Santalan, "The Story of Jesus' Suffering"
- Mark 15:25
- Mark 15:34-37
- Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus, Interrupted, HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN 0-06-117393-2
- Matthew 27:33 - "place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull)"; Mark 15:22 (same as Matthew); Luke 23:32-33 - "place that is called The Skull"; John 19:17 - "place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha"
- Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27-28; Luke 23:33; John 19:18
- Matthew 27:37 - "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."; Mark 15:26 - "The King of the Jews."; Luke 23:38 - "This is the King of the Jews." Some manuscripts add in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew; John 19:19-22 - "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." "... it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek."
- Matthew 27:35-36; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:23-24
- Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30
- Matthew 27:57-58; Mark 15:42-43; Luke 23:50-52; John 19:38
- Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53; John 19:41-42
- Matthew 27:31-32; Mark 15:20-21; Luke 23:26
- Matthew 27:39-43; Mark 15:29-32; Luke 23:35-37
- Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32; Luke 23:39
- Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-45
- Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45
- Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47
- Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 23:49
- Matthew 27:61; Mark 15:47; Luke 23:54-55
- Matthew 27:34; ; Mark 15:23; ; John 19:29-30
- Mark 15:45; John 19:38
- Matthew 27:51;
- Mark 15:25;
- Luke 23:27-32; ; ;
- John 19:31-37;
- John 19:30–31; Mark 16:1; Mark 16:6
- Geza Vermes, The Resurrection, (Penguin, 2008) page 148.
- E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, (Penguin, 1993), page 276.
- Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, (Intervarsity, 1990) pages 125, 366.
- Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "Mark," p. 51–161 ISBN 978-0060629786
- Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "Matthew," p. 129–270 ISBN 978-0060629786
- Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "Luke," p. 267–364 ISBN 978-0060629786
- Ehrman, Bart D.. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4
- Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "John" pp. 365–440 ISBN 978-0060629786
- Evidence of Greek Philosophical Concepts in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian by Ute Possekel 1999 ISBN 90-429-0759-2 pages 29–30
- Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research edited by Bruce Chilton, Craig A. Evans 1998 ISBN 90-04-11142-5 pages 455–457
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 110
- Jesus outside the New Testament: an introduction to the ancient evidence by Robert E. Van Voorst 2000 ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 53–55
- Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 978-0-391-04118-9 page 41
- Theissen 1998, pp. 81–83
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 104–108
- Evans, Craig A. (2001). Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 316
- Wansbrough, Henry (2004). Jesus and the oral Gospel tradition ISBN 0-567-04090-9 page 185
- Dunn, James (2003). Jesus remembered ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 141
- Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39–42
- Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-2221-5 page 116
- Green, Joel B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke : new international commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. p. 168.
- Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 33
- Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 42
- Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293
- Tacitus' characterization of "Christian abominations" may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the symbolic ritual as cannibalism by Christians. References: Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293 and An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0-521-00720-8 page 485
- Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi
- Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schäfer (Aug 24, 2009) ISBN 0-691-14318-8 page 141 and 9
- Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 177–118
- George W. Braswell Jr., What You Need to Know about Islam and Muslims, page 127 (B & H Publishing Group, 2000). ISBN 978-0-8054-1829-3
- Dunderberg, Ismo, Christopher Mark Tuckett, Kari Syreeni (2002). Fair play: diversity and conflicts in early Christianity : essays in honour of Heikki Räisänen. Brill. p. 488.
- (Westminster John Knox Press 2001 ISBN 978-0-664-22385-4), p. 41Great Themes of the New TestamentWilliam Barclay,
- Letter to the Smyrnaeans, II
- Lémonon, J.P. (1981). Pilate et le gouvernement de la Judée: textes et monuments, Études bibliques. Paris: Gabalda. pp. 29–32.
- Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pages 113–129
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 114
- Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett 2002 ISBN 0-8308-2699-8 pages 19–21
- Rainer Riesner, Paul's Early Period: Chronology, Mission Strategy, Theology (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1998), page 58.
- Josef Blinzler, Der Prozess Jesu (Pustet, 1960) cited in Colin J. Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus (Cambridge University Press, 2011) page 14.
- Maier, P.L. (1968). "Sejanus, Pilate, and the Date of the Crucifixion". Church History 37 (1): 3–13.
- Fotheringham, J.K. (1934). "The evidence of astronomy and technical chronology for the date of the crucifixion". Journal of Theological Studies 35: 146–162.
- "Tractate Sanhedrin 10b", Babylonian Talmud
- "Tractate Sanhedrin 11b", Babylonian Talmud
- New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 pages 167–168
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 142–143
- Cyclopaedia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature: Volume 7 John McClintock, James Strong - 1894 "... he lay in the grave on the 15th (which was a 'high day' or double Sabbath, because the weekly Sabbath coincided ..."
- by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3, footnote on page 225Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey
- The Gospel of Mark, Volume 2 by John R. Donahue, Daniel J. Harrington 2002 ISBN 0-8146-5965-9 page 442
- Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2007 Harmony of the Gospels ISBN 0-8054-9444-8 pages 323–323
- Death of the Messiah, Volume 2 by Raymond E. Brown 1999 ISBN 0-385-49449-1 pages 959–960
- Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-521-73200-0, pages 188–190
- New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 pages 173–174
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 538
- Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26
- Luke 23:46 and 23:55
- Lavinia Cohn-Sherbok, Who's who in Christianity, (Routledge 1998), page 303.
- Notes and Queries, Volume 6 July–December 1852, London, page 252
- The Archaeological journal (UK), Volume 7, 1850 page 413
- Saint Veronica at the Catholic encyclopedia
- Alban Butler, 2000 Lives of the Saints ISBN 0-86012-256-5 page 84
- Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33; John 19:17
- "General Charles Gordon's Letters Discussing His Discovery of "Cavalry" in Jerusalem". SMF Primary Source Documents. Shapell Manuscript Foundation.
- Matthew 27:41; cf. Mark 15:31, Luke 23:35
- Mark 15:27; Matthew 27:38
- Luke 23:39-43
- Luke 23:36
- Matthew 27:54; cf. Mark 15:39
- Mark 15:29; Matthew 27:39
- Mark 15:35; Matthew 27:45; cf. Luke 23:35
- Luke 23:48
- Luke 23:49
- John 19:23-24, 19:32-34
- John 19:26-27
- Mark 16:43-46, Matthew 27:57-50, Luke 23:50-53, John 19:38
- John 19:39
- Liddell and Scott: σταυρός
- A Latin DictionaryCharlton T. Lewis, Charles Short,
- For a discussion of the date of the work, see Information on Epistle of Barnabas and Andrew C. Clark, "Apostleship: Evidence from the New Testament and Early Christian Literature," Evangelical Review of Theology, 1989, Vol. 13, p. 380
- John Dominic Crossan, The Cross that Spoke (ISBN 978-0-06-254843-6), p. 121
- Epistle of Barnabas, 9:7-8
- "The Spirit saith to the heart of Moses, that he should make a type of the cross and of Him that was to suffer, that unless, saith He, they shall set their hope on Him, war shall be waged against them for ever. Moses therefore pileth arms one upon another in the midst of the encounter, and standing on higher ground than any he stretched out his hands, and so Israel was again victorious" (Epistle of Barnabas, 12:2-3).
- Dialogue with Trypho, chapter XL
- Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, II, xxiv, 4
- The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1988 ISBN 0-8028-3785-9 page 826
- Encyclopedia of Biblical Literature, Part 2 by John Kitto 2003 ISBN 0-7661-5980-9 page 591
- Renaissance art: a topical dictionary by Irene Earls 1987 ISBN 0-313-24658-0 page 64
- The visual arts: a history by Hugh Honour, John Fleming 1995 ISBN 0-8109-3928-2 page 526
- The Crucifixion and Death of a Man Called Jesus by David A Ball 2010 ISBN 1-61507-128-8 pages 82–84
- The Chronological Life of Christ by Mark E. Moore 2007 ISBN 0-89900-955-7 page 639–643
- Holman Concise Bible Dictionary Holman, 2011 ISBN 0-8054-9548-7 page 148
- Crucifixion and the Death Cry of Jesus Christ by Geoffrey L Phelan MD, 2009 ISBN pages 106–111
- Thomas W. Walker, Luke, (Westminster John Knox Press, 2013) page 84.
- Geza Vermes, The Passion (Penguin, 2005) page 75.
- Geza Vermes, The Passion (Penguin, 2005) page 114.
- Geza Vermes, The Passion (Penguin, 2005) page 122.
- Raymond Brown, The Death of the Messiah Volume II (Doubleday, 1994) page 1051
- John Haralson Hayes, Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook (Westminster John Knox Press, 1987) page 104-5.
- David Anderson-Berry, 1871 The Seven Sayings of Christ on the Cross, Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis Publishers
- Rev. John Edmunds, 1855 The seven sayings of Christ on the cross Thomas Hatchford Publishers, London, page 26
- Arthur Pink, 2005 The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross Baker Books ISBN 0-8010-6573-9
- Simon Peter Long, 1966 The wounded Word: A brief meditation on the seven sayings of Christ on the cross Baker Books
- John Ross Macduff, 1857 The Words of Jesus New York: Thomas Stanford Publishers, page 76
- Alexander Watson, 1847 The seven sayings on the Cross John Masters Publishers, London, page 5
- James G. D. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, (Eerdmans, 2003) page 779–781.
- Scott's Monthly Magazine. J.J. Toon; 1868. The Miracles Coincident With The Crucifixion, by H.P.B. p. 86–89.
- Richard Watson. An Apology for the Bible: In a Series of Letters Addressed to Thomas Paine. Cambridge University Press; 29 March 2012. ISBN 978-1-107-60004-1. p. 81–.
- Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. "John" p. 302–310
- Donaldson, Coxe (1888). The ante-Nicene fathers 6. New York: The Christian Literature Publishing Co. p. 136.
- Colin J. Humphreys and W. G. Waddington, The Date of the Crucifixion Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 37 (March 1985)
- Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-521-73200-0, p. 193 (However note that Humphreys places the Last Supper on a Wednesday)
- Schaefer, B. E. (1990, March). Lunar visibility and the crucifixion. Royal Astronomical Society Quarterly Journal, 31(1), 53-67
- Schaefer, B. E. (1991, July). Glare and celestial visibility. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 103, 645-660.
- John Scotson Medical theories on the cause of death in Crucifixion Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Aug 2006. .pdf
- William Stroud, 1847, Treatise on the Physical Death of Jesus Christ London: Hamilton and Adams.
- William Seymour, 2003, The Cross in Tradition, History and Art ISBN 0-7661-4527-1
- Columbia University page of Pierre Barbet on Crucifixion
- BYU StudiesThe Search for the Physical Cause of Christ's Death
- The Physical Death Of Jesus Christ, Study by The Mayo Clinic citing studies by Bucklin R (The legal and medical aspects of the trial and death of Christ. Sci Law 1970; 10:14–26), Mikulicz-Radeeki FV (The chest wound in the crucified Christ. Med News 1966; 14:30–40), Davis CT (The Crucifixion of Jesus: The passion of Christ from a medical point of view. Ariz Med 1965; 22:183-187), and Barbet P (A Doctor at Calvary: The Passion of Out Lord Jesus Christ as Described by a Surgeon, Earl of Wicklow (trans) Garden City, NY, Doubleday Image Books 1953, pp 12–18, 37–147, 159–175, 187–208).
- Edwards, William D.; Gabel, Wesley J.; Hosmer, Floyd E; On the Physical Death of Jesus, JAMA March 21, 1986, Vol 255, No. 11, pp 1455–1463 
- Jesus Died on the Cross
- Frederick Zugibe, 2005, The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry Evans Publishing, ISBN 1-59077-070-6
- JW Hewitt, The Use of Nails in the Crucifixion Harvard Theological Review, 1932
- Crucifixion experiments
- New Scientist Oct 12, 1978, page 96
- Barbet, Pierre. Doctor at Calvary, New York: Image Books, 1963.
- A medical explanation of what Jesus enduredC. Truman Davis
- Keith Maxwell MD on the Crucifixion of Christ
- Jesus' Suffering and Crucifixion from a Medical Point of View-From-a-Medical-Point-of-View/Page1.html
- Catholic Medical Association, Linacre Quarterly, August 2006
- FP Retief and L Cilliers The history and pathology of Crucifixion South African medical journal, 2003.
- Who do you say that I am? Essays on Christology by Jack Dean Kingsbury, Mark Allan Powell, David R. Bauer 1999 ISBN 0-664-25752-6 page 106
- Cross, Frank L.; Livingstone, Elizabeth A. (2005). "The Passion". The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press.
- The Christology of the New Testament by Oscar Cullmann 1959 ISBN 0-664-24351-7 page 79
- The Johannine exegesis of God by Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda 2005 ISBN 3-11-018248-3 page 281
- Studies in Early Christology by Martin Hengel 2004 ISBN 0-567-04280-4 page 371
- New Testament christology by Frank J. Matera 1999 ISBN 0-664-25694-5 page 67
- The speeches in Acts: their content, context, and concerns by Marion L. Soards 1994 ISBN 0-664-25221-4 page 34
- Christology by Hans Schwarz 1998 ISBN 0-8028-4463-4 pages 132–134
- Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity by Larry W. Hurtado (Sep 14, 2005) ISBN 0-8028-3167-2 pages 130–133
- Christian Theology by J. Glyndwr Harris (Mar 2002) ISBN 1-902210-22-0 pages 12–15
- The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures by Hughes Oliphant Old 2002 ISBN 0-8028-4775-7 page 125
- Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 page 74
- For example, see Matthew 6:14–15. See also Sermon on the Mount
- "Doctrine of the Atonement". Catholic Encyclopedia.
- A. J. Wallace, R. D. Rusk Moral Transformation: The Original Christian Paradigm of Salvation, (New Zealand: Bridgehead, 2011) ISBN 978-1-4563-8980-2
- Ball, Ann (2003). Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor.
- "Miserentissimus Redemptor". Encyclical of Pope Pius XI.
- "Vatican archives".
- See Development of the Christus Victor view after Aulén
- Johnson, Alan F., and Robert E. Webber (1993). What Christians Believe: A Biblical and Historical Summary. Zondervan. pp. 261–263.
- "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam
- For instance; Matthew chapter 27, Mark chapter 15, Luke chapter 23, and John chapter 19
- "Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and, standing by, laughed at them. For since he was an incorporeal power, and the Nous (mind) of the unborn father, he transfigured himself as he pleased, and thus ascended to him who had sent him, deriding them, inasmuch as he could not be laid hold of, and was invisible to all" (, book I, ch. 24, 4Against HeresiesIrenaeus, ).
- James Tissot: the Life of Christ by Judith F. Dolkart 2009 ISBN 1-85894-496-1 page 201
- Rookmaaker, H. R. (1970). Modern Art and the Death of a Culture. Crossway Books. p. 73.
- Catholic encyclopedia on Symbolism
- Catholic encyclopedia on Veneration of Images
- Mary was United to Jesus on the CrossEWTN:
- Behold Your Mother!Vatican website on
- Cousar, Charles B. (1990). A Theology of the Cross: The Death of Jesus in the Pauline Letters. Fortress Press.
- Dennis, John (2006). "Jesus' Death in John's Gospel: A Survey of Research from Bultmann to the Present with Special Reference to the Johannine Hyper-Texts".
- Dilasser, Maurice (1999). The Symbols of the Church.
- Green, Joel B. (1988). The Death of Jesus: Tradition and Interpretation in the Passion Narrative. Mohr Siebeck.
- Humphreys, Colin J.; W. G. Waddington (December 1983). "Dating the Crucifixion". Nature 306 (5945): 743–746.
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