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Confirmation Regarding the Crucifixion

All four Gospels give details of the crucifixion of Christ. Their accurate portrayal of this Roman practice has been confirmed by archaeology. In 1968, building contractors found four cave-tombs at Giv'at ha-Mivtar (Ras el-Masaref), which is just north of Jerusalem near Mount Scopus and immediately west of the road to Nablus was uncovered.  Within the caves were found fifteen limestone ossuaries which contained the bones of thirty-five individuals. Nine of the thirty-five individuals had met violent death. One of these, a man between twenty-four and twenty-eight years of age was crucified.

The name of the man was incised on his ossuary in letters 2 cm high: Jehohanan. He was crucified probably between A.D. 7, the time of the census revolt, and 66, the beginning of the war against Rome.

Heelbones found

The practice dates back to at least 500 B.C., first coming into use in the Middle East via Persia and Egypt. The Romans, who may have borrowed it from Carthage, reserved it for slaves and despised malefactors.  Crucifixion was particularly effective in sending a message to seditious populations concerning the likely fate of those who tamper with authority.  It was common practice among the Romans to scourge the prisoner and to require him to carry his cross to the place of crucifixion. The prisoner was either nailed or tied to the cross, and, to induce more rapid death, his legs were often broken.

Maxtin Mengel, wrote what is perhaps the definitive scholarly report of the subject of Crucifixion in antiquity, argues that nailing the victim by both hands and feet was the rule and tying the victim to the cross was the exception. During the first revolt of the Jews against the Romans in AD 66-73, Josephus mentions that in the fall of Jerusalem (AD 70), "the soldiers out of rage and hatred amused themselves by nailing their prisoners in different postures."


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