Crucifixion Discussion June 2
If you followed the posts and responses under the article on a Pro-Israel piece (May 17), you will know that a question from Scandinavia came about a dissertation just defended in Sweden that argues that much of what we think know about the crucifixion needs to be unlearned. Gunnar Samuelsson has written Crucifixion in Antiquity.
As a way to get our hands around this claim, I am posting the citation on crucifixion from Josephus that describes a death on the cross as a horrible death. I will let you be the judge. The text is War 7.200-203. I have the Greek as well and the term for cross is our NT term stauros. It clearly involves a hanging in public and is described as a most miserable death.
War 7:200 (188.8.131.52) So the general of the Romans ordered that he should be taken up naked, set before the city to be seen, and sorely whipped before their eyes. Upon this sad accident that befell the young man, the Jews were terribly confounded, and the city with one voice sorely lamented him, and the mourning proved greater than could well be supposed upon the calamity of a single person.
War 7:201 (184.108.40.206) When Bassus perceived that, he began to think of using a stratagem against the enemy and was desirous to aggravate their grief, in order to prevail with them to surrender the city for the preservation of that man. Nor did he fail of his hope;
War 7:202 (220.127.116.11) for he commanded them to set up a cross, as if he were just going to hang Eleazar upon it immediately: the sight of this occasioned a sore grief among those that were in the citadel, and they groaned vehemently, and cried out that they could not bear to see him thus destroyed.
War 7:203 (18.104.22.168) Whereupon Eleazar besought them not to disregard him, now he was going to suffer a most miserable death, and exhorted them to save themselves, by yielding to the Roman power and good fortune, since all other people were now conquered by them.