Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Crucifixion of Jesus: Scientific Evidence?

Another student question needs answering this week, and this time it's on the crucifixion of Our Lord:

"What are some facts known about the details of the crucifixion of Jesus that have been scientifically proven?"

To begin with, we know that there is documented historical evidence [outside the Gospels] that shows that a man by the name of Jesus was crucified while Jerusalem was occupied by the Romans around or during the year 33AD just outside the city of Jerusalem. The first century historian for the Jews, Josephus, in his work The Antiques of the Jews, wrote this on the person of Jesus (translated from Greek):

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

It's very important to note that Josephus himself was not a Christian but a conventional Jew. Since this particular work was written around 97AD, had he been a Christian he would have been persecuted and killed. Life for a Christian in the first century was extremely difficult, i.e. you had to either hide or constantly be on the move. But on to the scientific evidence...

Have you heard of the Shroud of Turin? This thing is the real deal! Here's some video explaining it in deeper detail:

The following video is also very, very insightful:

... And if I could also recommend listening to this encore episode of Catholic Answers Live, where convert to the Catholic faith and apologist, Steve Ray, discusses the pain of crucifixion: http://www.zshare.net/audio/737686383d1f148c/

Listen to the whole program; it is very well worth it.

* * * * *
Further reading:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/crucified.htm (non-Catholic Christian site)

http://www.creatingfutures.net/crucifixion.html (non-Catholic Christian site)

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