A 'scholar' from a Swedish University has suggested that Our Lord may not have died (which is a somewhat different construction on his view than the headline makes out) nailed to a Cross because there is 'no evidence' that the Romans crucified prisoners two thousand years ago.
According to a rather ropey report in The Telegraph, with my comments in bold...
'The legend (King Arthur, Robin Hood, Atlantis, Our Lord Jesus Christ) 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 (Something always gets lost in translations...) as there are no explicit references to the use of nails or to crucifixion (Oh, really?) - only that Jesus bore a "staurus" towards Calvary which is not necessarily a cross but can also mean a "pole".(Perhaps He did, but does it actually say that Our Lord carried a pole in any of the Gospel narratives, or, actually, anywhere?)
Mr Samuelsson, who has written a 400-page thesis (Is this 'thesis' intended for sale, by any chance?) after studying the original texts, said: "The problem is descriptions of crucifixions are remarkably absent in the antique literature (Is this guy an antique dealer or a theologian?). The sources where you would expect to find support for the established understanding of the event really don't say anything." (Did he think of asking a theologian from, say, the Vatican for some pointers? I sink not!)
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."
The article continues...('...And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; but he took it not. And crucifying him, they divided his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.', Gospel of St Mark, Douay-Rheims)
It is actually a rather misleading headline for the anonymously penned article since the author of the 'thesis', a 'theologian', suggests that Our Lord may have died upon a staurus or pole. It is plausible and many respected theologians, I think, hold the view that Our Blessed Lord carried a staurus or pole to the site of His Crucifixion, but it is unlikely that on his arrival there that He was not crucified as the Evangelists make plain. All of the Gospel narratives, I think, testify to Our Lord's Passion and Crucifixion. The Gospel of St Matthew further testifies...Any evidence that Jesus was left to die after being nailed to a cross is strikingly sparse - both in the ancient pre-Christian and extra-Biblical literature as well as The Bible.
What is more, proper historians rather than opportunistic chancers are in little doubt as to the use of crucifixion by the Roman authorities in putting down Jewish rebellion while also using it as a off-putting punishment for a range of crimes, like those of Barrabas who got let off only for the Son of God to take his place. Seneca the Younger, Josephus, Cicero and Tacitus all wrote about crucifixion as you will see by this nicely written Wikipedia article. How did this guy miss them? He needs to go online more!'And they put over his head his cause written: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then were crucified with him two thieves: one on the right hand, and one on the left.' (Douay-Rheims)
What Gunnar is saying is that despite the Gospel accounts of Our Lord's Death on the Cross and the historical evidence at our disposal for crucifixion being a common form of torturous execution by the Romans of the time, all of which he has chosen to ignore totally, Our Blessed Lord may have died on a pole. Well, the man is welcome to his opinion but where is his evidence? Anyway, I'm off now to bash my Bible some more! Everything the Catholic Church understands about the Life, Ministry, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ has been passed down by the Apostles to their Successors to their Successors to their Successors unto today and that includes the Holy Gospels which include narratives of the Passion of Our Saviour. If you ignore the Holy Tradition of the Church then everything is most certainly in doubt and I mean everything. Any thoughts?