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Help Me Nail Down A Thorny Issue


Shyone
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This may seem like the most elementary of questions, and I would have sworn the answer would be immediately evident, but I'm stumped.

 

I can't find anywhere in the Gospels that Jesus was nailed to the cross. I see where Thomas doubted and the disciples saw the injuries in the hands and feet, but I can't find the passage that says nails were used to fasten his hands to the cross. Sheesh! It's got to be in there, right?

 

Anyway, The reason I was looking for it was to see if it specifically mentioned nails in the hands instead of the wrists. I had read that the hands did not have sufficient supporting tissue to hold a body even if also suspended at the feet. But there I was looking, and I can't find the passage! I suppose the Passage about Thomas is enough (John 20:25-28), but I'd like to have the actual passages describing the crucifixion that mention nails.

 

Thanks.

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Hmmm...interesting. John 20:25 has the only reference to any specific nail wounds and it says "hands". All of the Gospels only refer to Jesus being crucified, but no mention of the specific method.

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Hmmm...interesting. John 20:25 has the only reference to any specific nail wounds and it says "hands". All of the Gospels only refer to Jesus being crucified, but no mention of the specific method.

So you notice that too? It's not just me?

 

Weird.

 

Of all the things I thought I knew, this was something I hadn't expected to find that I didn't know.

 

Oh, well, whatever.

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I suspect it's because everyone at the time knew what "crucified" meant. Like we don't need to specify the hospital gurney or the restraining straps when we say "lethal injection," because those things are a given.

 

The reference to "hands" in G-John is an odd one. In Hebrew, there is a single word, "yad," which denotes the lower arm from the elbow to the fingertips. The hand does not get it's own separate word - you have to specify it with a modifier, "kaf" (which happens to be the word for "spoon"). A Hebrew speaker would refer to holes in the wrist as being in the "yad." A Greek or English speaker would likely translate this word as "hand."

 

All of this makes some scholars wonder wtf is up with G-John. Some of the NT writings look like they were written in Hebrew and then clumsily translated into Greek, but G-John rather ostentatiously starts out with the whole "in the beginning was the logos" thing, which is a sort of re-working of Genesis in Greek. So why the stupid mistake about the location of the wounds in a crucifixion victim's wrists?

 

The obvious answer is that G-John was written by a Greek speaker, but was related to that person in Hebrew. Which raises the question: who wrote the thing, anyways? And who were they talking to? Is this a post-mortem memoir of John the Apostle?

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I suspect it's because everyone at the time knew what "crucified" meant. Like we don't need to specify the hospital gurney or the restraining straps when we say "lethal injection," because those things are a given.

I was taught that tying was the usual method of crucifixion, and that Jesus was nailed unlike the two that were with him. His crucifixion, therefore, was unusually cruel.

 

Was it instead just an ordinary crucifixion like everyone else?

 

And the nails, were they in the hands (anatomically not feasible to support the body) or the wrists?

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The only way to keep him from pitching forward and bruising his nose on the base of the cross would have been to nail through his wrists. Hands are durable, but they're not that durable.

I was standing right next to someone as they caught a football during a pick-up game. They caught it badly, between the middle and ring finger. The result wasn't pretty. It split their hand about two inches into their palm and up the back of their hand.

Now imagine hanging all your weight on a couple of nails.

 

You're right Shyone, the most common practice was to tie them there with rope, though nails were also used. Often enough that the people of the times wouldn't think another thing about it.

More often than not, the legs were also broken to hasten the process.

 

Somewhere, I've got a great link that explains crucifixions in detail.

If nailed down (< LOL ), I'm sure I could find it.

It's a great refutation to the crucifiction.

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This may seem like the most elementary of questions, and I would have sworn the answer would be immediately evident, but I'm stumped.

 

I can't find anywhere in the Gospels that Jesus was nailed to the cross. I see where Thomas doubted and the disciples saw the injuries in the hands and feet, but I can't find the passage that says nails were used to fasten his hands to the cross. Sheesh! It's got to be in there, right?

 

Anyway, The reason I was looking for it was to see if it specifically mentioned nails in the hands instead of the wrists. I had read that the hands did not have sufficient supporting tissue to hold a body even if also suspended at the feet. But there I was looking, and I can't find the passage! I suppose the Passage about Thomas is enough (John 20:25-28), but I'd like to have the actual passages describing the crucifixion that mention nails.

 

Thanks.

It wouldn't surprise me if the nails in the hands were a function of the need to fulfill this type of translation:

Psa 22:16(KJV)

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

 

A Jewish translation renders:

For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evil-doers have inclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet.

 

The reference to "like a lion" is also found in Isa 38:13, which Christian Bibles managed to leave unchanged.

Isa 38:13(NIV)

I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me.

 

When Christians take this out of context, as they do, it serves their agenda by becoming an amazing fulfillment of scripture.

The NIV and NLT make use of this by rendering the following translation which specifically says Jesus was nailed to the cross:

Acts 2:23(NIV)

This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

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In Wars Josephus mentions "and nailed to the cross" and "nailed those they ... to the crosses" (I just did a quick search for "nailed" so I don't have to the exact reference in the text but I can post them if anyone wants them).

 

It doesn't say where they were nailed (ie. part of the body) but it does indicate being nailed. I'd have to look at the Greek to see what word is really being translated "nailed" here. A quick scan of the rest of those being crucified in Wars doesn't mention a method (ie. nails, ropes, etc.).

 

mwc

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Yeah, the Greek term for nail, "helos," used in John 20:25 appears nowhere else in the NT.

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