"a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifixion"

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MrMacSon
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"a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifixion"

Post by MrMacSon »

I was doing some reading up on the staurogram the glyph [said to have been formed] from the combination of the Greek letters tau (Τ) and rho (Ρ). It's found in Papyrus Bodmer XIV (P75) which uses a staurogram in Luke 14:27, for example, in Ϲ⳨ΟΝ with a superlinear above. A ⳨ also appears in Papyrus Bodmer XIV in Luke 9:23 and 24:7 (though I haven't looked them up yet).

But I've come across this series of commentaries -

Larry Hurtado, 2013 -
It is a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifixion and that this did not change until the late fourth or fifth century. Crucifixion was shameful, and so (so the theory goes) Christians would have been hesitant to draw attention to the crucified Jesus. Indeed, some scholars have inferred from this the notion that pre-Constantinian Christianity avoided depictions of Jesus’ crucifixion. https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-arc ... iew/39/2/5

  • .
    That brief web-article^ alludes to and a fuller article (indeed, there's a url link on the image but it goes to a dud page), and the 3rd quoted article below cites it; but doesn't really clarify whether the statement in the title - a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifixion - is true. We know Galatians 3:1 has

    .. You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified

    and 1 Cor 2:2 has

    .. I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

    And there are, of course, the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion (including the soldiers and people in the crowd mocked him, saying, “Save yourself, and come down from the cross!”- Mark 15:30; Matthew 27:40–44; Luke 23:37–39).
    .

Then there's this, dated August 30, 2020, -

most scholars believe that early Christians did not use the cross as an image of their religion because crucifixion evoked the shameful death of a slave or criminal.1

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/dai ... the-cross/

1. For an overview of the literature and history of crucifixion, see the excellent study by John Granger Cook, Crucifixion in the Mediterranean World (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014); also the classical study by Martin Hengel, Crucifixion (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977).
.
and this, dated January 17, 2021 -
... Some believe the early church avoided images of Jesus on the cross until the fourth or fifth century. In “The Staurogram: Earliest Depiction of Jesus’ Crucifixion” in the March/April 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Larry Hurtado highlights an early Christian crucifixion symbol that sets the date back by 150–200 years.

The tau-rho staurogram is one of several christograms, or monogram-like devices, used by ancient Christians to refer to Jesus. However, Larry Hurtado points out that the staurogram only refers to the crucifixion, unlike others, which mention Jesus’ other characteristics ...

The tau-rho staurogram, like other christograms, was originally a pre-Christian symbol. A Herodian coin featuring the Staurogram predates the crucifixion. Soon after, Christian adoption of staurogram symbols served as the first visual images of Jesus on the cross.

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/dai ... taurogram/
That last article quotes more of Hurtado but I don't think it clarifies anything for me either ie. about early Christian - Church Fathers' - accounts of or depictions of the crucifixion.

As some will know, I started a thread, Outstretched hands and The Cross, but it didn't address depictions or accounts of the the crucifixion other than references to Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus (On the Antichrist 61), Tertullian (Ad nationes XI, Minucius Felix (Octavius 29) - but most if not all of those are to signs of the cross.

There's also -
  • Tertullian, in (Contra Marcionem 3.22, explains the Tau as a symbol of salvation by identification with the sign which in Ezekiel 9:4 was marked on the forehead of the saved ones.
  • Ephrem the Syrian (4th century) discusses a Christian symbol, apparently combining the Tau-Rho with Alpha and Omega placed under the left and right horizontal arms of the Tau. Ephrem says that the Tau represents the cross of Jesus (prefigured by the outstretched hands of Moses in Exodus 17:11), the Alpha and Omega signify that the crucified Christ is "the beginning and end", and the Rho, finally, signifies "Help" (βοήθια [sic]; classical spelling: βοήθεια).
Do any of the Church Fathers talk about Jesus crucified?
bbyrd009
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

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well, No son of man may die for another's sins, and it might be interesting to note that "Jesus died for our sins" cannot be Quoted
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MrMacSon
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

Post by MrMacSon »

bbyrd009 wrote: Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:56 pm well, No son of man may die for another's sins
Ezekiel 18:20ff ?

bbyrd009 wrote: Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:56 pm it might be interesting to note that "Jesus died for our sins" cannot be Quoted
cannot be quoted anywhere (in the NT? in the Church Fathers?)
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MrMacSon
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

Post by MrMacSon »

Also the Crucifixion Gem viewtopic.php?p=115496#p115496

(in respect of one of the earliest if not the earliest depictions of crucifixion)
Last edited by MrMacSon on Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MrMacSon
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

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bbyrd009 wrote: Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:56 pm well, No son of man may die for another's sins, and it might be interesting to note that "Jesus died for our sins" cannot be Quoted
fwiw, -
GakuseiDon wrote: Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:03 pm
I've reproduced Earl Doherty's thoughts on the Shepherd of Hermas from his "Jesus: Neither God Nor Man" ...

Page 271

The central section of the Shepherd discusses a great list of moral rules, some resembling the teachings of the Gospels, but no attribution is made to Jesus. A passage in the Fifth Parable (6:3) has the Son "cleansing the sins of the people," but this precedes his "showing them the ways of life and giving them the Law," and the former is never presented in terms of sacrifice or atonement. The 'giving of the Law' is through spiritual channels, for a later Parable states that the angel Michael (who in Parable 9 is yet another figure equated with the Son of God) has "put the Law into the hearts of those who believe." There is no preaching by an historical Son in evidence anywhere in this work... [/#efe]

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mlinssen
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

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The shamefulness is a dumb argument and a red herring, of course.
Tell me of one death that is not shameful

Stoning? Drowning? Burning? Burning whitout panicking perhaps, but that really wouldn't be realistic.
Falling from a cliff? Hanging?

Give me a sensible argument. Sure the crucifixion wasn't emphasised but is there a clear cross in Mark, Luke or Matthew?

What's there to emphasise then?
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GakuseiDon
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

Post by GakuseiDon »

I think that it was partly because the charge was that Christians actually worshipped the cross used in crucifixion. Not the sign of the cross, but the actual cross itself. From Minucius Felix's Octavius: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... avius.html

The antagonist of the text charges the Christians with the following regarding crosses:

... he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men, that they may worship what they deserve... Lo, for you there are threats, punishments, tortures, and crosses; and that no longer as objects of adoration, but as tortures to be undergone

In response to that charge, the protagonist says:

For in that you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross, you wander far from the neighbourhood of the truth, in thinking either that a criminal deserved, or that an earthly being was able, to be believed God...Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for.

I think that early Christians walked a thin line between (a) seeming to worship a man (though the protagonist there hints that it wasn't an "earthly being") whom was crucified and (b) giving significance to the sign of the cross. Pagans thought that if Christians worshipped actual crosses, then they were "reprobate and wicked men". Emphasizing Jesus being crucified on a cross would have fed into that misconception.
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MrMacSon
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

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mlinssen wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:06 am The shamefulness is a dumb argument and a red herring, of course.
Essentially.
mlinssen wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:06 am ... Sure the crucifixion wasn't emphasised but is there a clear cross in Mark, Luke or Matthew?
But that's the discrepancy: there's a clear cross in Mark 15, Matthew 27 and Luke 23, but the Church Fathers hardly emphasis the cross or the events of the crucifixion (or the events after)
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

Post by mlinssen »

MrMacSon wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:35 am
mlinssen wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:06 am ... Sure the crucifixion wasn't emphasised but is there a clear cross in Mark, Luke or Matthew?
But that's the discrepancy: there's a clear cross in Mark 15, Matthew 27 and Luke 23, but the Church Fathers hardly emphasis the cross or the events of the crucifixion (or the events after)
Wait what, w00t? Where?!
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Re: "a commonplace belief among historians of the early church that early Christianity did not emphasize Jesus’ crucifix

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You know I have special and warm feelings for you Mac, but sometimes - I wonder when you last went to the optometrist.
Here's a fun one: I have replaced "crucify" by "Impale" and "cross" by "Stake". Go on, shoo - tell me that it clearly, obviously, evidently is very different this way

Berean Literal Bible

Mark Chapter 15 Jesus Delivered to Pilate
1 And early in the morning, having formed a counsel, the chief priests, with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, having bound Jesus, led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate.
2 And Pilate questioned Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And answering, He says to him, “You have said.”
3 And the chief priests were accusing Him harshly.
4 And Pilate began to question Him again, saying, “Do You not answer? See how many things they testify against You!”
5 But Jesus answered no further, so as to amaze Pilate. The Crowd Chooses Barabbas
6 And at the feast, he used to release to them one prisoner, whom they requested.
7 And the one called Barabbas was there, having been bound with the rebels who had committed murder in the insurrection.
8 And the crowd having cried out, began to beg him to do as usually he did for them.
9 But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you wish that I should release to you the King of the Jews?”
10 For he was aware that the chief priests had delivered Him up because of envy.
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, that he might release to them Barabbas instead. Pilate Delivers up Jesus
12 And Pilate answering was saying to them again, “Then what do you wish that I should do to Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
13 And they cried out again, “Impale Him!”
14 And Pilate was saying to them, “Why? What evil did He commit?” But they shouted much more, “Impale Him!”
15 And Pilate, desiring to do that which was satisfactory to the crowd, released Barabbas to them. And having flogged Him, he delivered Jesus that He might be Impaled. The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16 And the soldiers led Him away into the palace, that is the Praetorium, and they call together the whole cohort.
17 And they put on Him purple, and having twisted together a crown of thorns, they placed it on Him,
18 and they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
19 And they kept striking His head with a reed and spitting on Him; and bending the knees, they were kneeling down to Him.
20 And when they had mocked Him, they took off Him the purple and put on Him His own garments. And they are leading Him out, that they might Impale Him. The Crucifiction / Impaling
21 And they compel one passing by, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, coming from the country, that he might carry His Stake.
22 And they bring Him to a place, Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.
23 And they were offering Him wine, having been mixed with gall; but He did not take it.
24 And having Impaled Him, they also divided His garments, casting lots for them, who should take what.
25 And it was the third hour, and they Impaled Him.
26 And there was the inscription of the accusation against Him, having been written: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
27 And with Him they Impale two robbers, one at the right hand, and one at His left.
29 And those passing by were railing at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! The One destroying the temple and building it in three days,
30 save Yourself, having descended from the Stake!”
31 Likewise also the chief priests, with the scribes, mocking among one another, were saying, “He saved others; He is not able to save Himself.
32 The Christ, the King of Israel, let Him descend now from the Stake, that we might see and believe!” And those being Impaled with Him were upbraiding Him. The Death of Jesus
33 And the sixth hour having arrived, darkness came over the whole land, until the ninth hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” Which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
35 And some of those standing by, having heard, were saying, “Behold, He calls Elijah.”
36 And one having run and having filled a sponge with vinegar, having put it on a reed, gave Him to drink, saying, “Let be; let us see if Elijah comes to take Him down.”
37 But Jesus, having uttered a loud cry, breathed His last.
38 And the veil of the temple was torn into two from top to bottom.
39 And the centurion standing opposite of Him, having seen that He breathed His last,c thus said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
40 And there were also women looking on from afar off, among whom also were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the least and of Joseph, and Salome,
41 who had been following Him and had been ministering to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other ones having come up with Him to Jerusalem. The Burial of Jesus
42 And evening having arrived already, since it was the Preparation, that is, the day before Sabbath,
43 having come, Joseph from Arimathea, a prominent Council member, who was also himself waiting for the kingdom of God, having boldness, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
44 And Pilate wondered if already He were dead. And having summoned the centurion, he questioned him whether He had died already.
45 And having known it from the centurion, He granted the body to Joseph.
46 And having bought a linen cloth, having taken Him down, he wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which was cut out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the tomb.
47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph were watching where He was laid.

6 hours total, 6 hours of boredom - even a teenager would survive longer than that.
Where is the state of unconsciousness, the slumber, the fatigue? This dude is as fit as a fiddle and if we wouldn't know any better, a second before that last cry he gets shot by a bullet or an arrow - straight through the heart, not juts in the buttocks or somewhere

This entire scene is wholly and utterly inconsistent with hanging from a cross, but some people just seem to not be able at all to unprogram the lies inside their head.
Just KNOW one thing: whatever you think, feel, believe - it is all in your head. I am not talking about getting your hand cut off and feeling pain, I am solely talking about the World you live in: that World is not out there, it only resides inside your head.
All your values, your norms, your Law: all of that is inside your head, and it doesn't matter how it got inthere - ALL THAT MATTERS IS WHY AND HOW ON EARTH IT IS POSSIBLE THAT IT STAYS THAT WAY IN THERE, GIVEN THE FACT THAT YOU ARE THE SOLE KEEPER OF IT ALL

Wake up. Observe. See - and perceive
Last edited by mlinssen on Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
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