The Bible Doesn’t Say Jesus was Crucified, Christian Scholar Claims

Historical Jesus

I’ve read before that although the Romans kept meticulous records of crucifixions, there is no surviving record of a Jewish radical from Nazareth being crucified in the claimed time period. I don’t have references handy, but I can dig some up if anyone’s interested. Christian scholars, when presented with this lack of evidence, have sometimes argued the lack of a record is due to the fact that Jesus was crucified by Jews, not by Romans. However, this Christian scholar actually argues that Jesus wasn’t crucified at all:

The legend of his execution is based on the traditions of the Christian church and artistic illustrations rather than antique texts, according to theologian Gunnar Samuelsson.

He claims the Bible has been misinterpreted as there are no explicit references the use of nails or to crucifixion – only that Jesus bore a “staurus” towards Calvary which is not necessarily a cross but can also mean a “pole”. […]

The ancient Greek, Latin and Hebrew literature from Homer to the first century AD describe an arsenal of suspension punishments but none mention “crosses” or “crucifixion.”

Mr Samuelsson, of Gothenburg University, said: “Consequently, the contemporary understanding of crucifixion as a punishment is severely challenged.

“And what’s even more challenging is the same can be concluded about the accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. The New Testament doesn’t say as much as we’d like to believe.”

Telegraph: Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar

(via Dangerous Meme)

However, I would expect the Romans would have kept records of all executions, crucifixions or not, though I suppose the “he was executed by Jews” caveat would still apply.

Samuelsson also claims “That a man named Jesus existed in that part of the world and in that time is well-documented. He left a rather good foot-print in the literature of the time.” My understanding is that there are no surviving contemporary accounts of Jesus, but I could be wrong.

(I still subscribe the “composite character” theory of Jesus – he was based on several historical Jewish radicals, not a historical single person, and later sexed up with Pagan mythology to make Christianity more palatable)

See also:

Paul Verhoeven’s book on Jesus

The God Who Wasn’t There

Jesus Never Existed

What Did Jesus Do?

The Historical Jesus FAQ


  1. Does the Nag Hammadi library count as “surviving contemporary accounts of Jesus”?

  2. If I’m not mistaken, even the earliest of the Nag Hammadi’s texts are believed to have been written decades after Jesus supposedly lived.

  3. Yup. I believe you are correct.

  4. Trevor – I already linked to Jesus Never Existed above, but it’s a good site. Worth re-emphasizing.

  5. Gnostic and Islamic scriptures claim that Jesus was never crucified.

  6. This is so sad… I mean, what about the story is so threatening to your way of life that you must try to discount the man’s very existence? Could it be that you cannot possibly conceive of such things in your limited and repeatable-proof-based world view which leaves no room for the miraculous, nay, even anything which you do not yet know? Come now. Even as a myth, much of the story resonates deep within each of us even now. It is timeless. It is living. I am not even a Christian, and this much is obvious.

    If you want to criticize the crucifixion, criticize the fact that it is fixated upon while the rest of the story is largely overlooked. There is a VERY good reason for this…


  7. J ~ The only thing ‘threatening’ about ANY story is its inherent truth or lack thereof.

    Can you imagine all of the sick and twisted things people have done to one another, because they be’lie’ve in a lie? Take the bubonic plague for example…think how it may have exploded in the population by fanatics whipping themselves, walking from town to town in crazed attempts to glorify or remember the alleged crucifixion.

    If only history reminded us of the true martyrs in history, those who died for expressing their thirst for truth.

  8. And let’s not forget the sick things people do to themSELVES, because they believe in their own original sin. The belief in a necessity to be ‘saved’ by another’s self-sacrifice can lead to all sorts of megalomania and emotional complexes.

    No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. -Buddha

  9. This isn’t a new idea. I was a Jehovah’s Witness growing up, and part of their doctrine is that Jesus died on a stake, not a cross. The picture of it in My Book of Bible Stories was fairly graphic. I partially believe that this was one more idea developed to keep Jehovah’s Witnesses set apart from other Christian denominations.

    As for the actual existence of a historical Jesus, I seem to remember reading about a couple graves dated to his period labeled “Jesus.” Maybe one of them was a Jewish radical. Ironically, this would counter the belief systems of some, since a huge sticking point of the Christian resurrection myth is that Jesus didn’t leave behind a body.

  10. Just letting you know, you will find out soon who Jesus is. Even if you do not believe in him, he loves you.

  11. Jesus exists and he is currently sucking my cock.

  12. That doesn’t mean he loves you, Danny

  13. wow is he now? you have issues my friend. well i hope you find out who Jesus is before you die.

  14. He doesn’t love me, he just gets paid to pretend he does.

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