The Stoning of Jesus

By Marilyn Burge
23 Jul 94 @ 11:18

Marilyn Burge observed:

That isn't so. He was stoned, then hung from a tree, contrary to later writings that blamed the whole thing on the Romans.

Jesse C Jones queried:

What's your source for this?

Marilyn Burge replied:

Acts 5:30 - "Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."

Acts 10:39 - "whom they slew and hanged on a tree." Acts 13:29 - "they took him down from the tree."

1 Peter 2:24 - "who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree." Galatians 3:13: - "Christ . . . being made a curse for us . . .

Cursed is evry one that hangeth on a tree."

Those are the NT canonized citations. There are also OT citations that said that under Jewish Law, this is what the Sanhedrim MUST do in cases of blasphemy, which is what Jesus was tried and convicted of. Also, under Jewish Law the execution must take place the same day as the conviction, and the body must be cut down from the tree in which it hung at sundown. Under Roman Law, the person often languished in a dungeon for weeks -- or even months -awaiting a Roman decision that the populace needed another spectacle, at which time the prisoner would be crucified and LEFT TO HANG ON THE CROSS UNTIL THE BUZZARDS HAD DONE THEIR DASTARDLY DEED! That was the reason a soldier was posted at each cross: to ensure that no family member or friend would cut the body down and give it a more respectable end.

Marcion and a number of early "heretics" (especially Gnostics) denied the reality of Jesus' crucifixion, on grounds that are somewhat vague and are traditionally interpreted as implying that a God cannot suffer and die. In many cases, the only knowledge we have of these early writings are their refutation by the more orthodox writers of the time, as the texts were conveniently destroyed by the early Christians (and perhaps by the Council of Nicea in some cases).

Deuteronomy is the source of Jewish Law that proclaimed the manner in which somebody guilty of blasphemy MUST be punished. Even in John 8:3-11, it is clear that stoning was the means of execution by the Jews. There are numerous references to stoning in the OT; the KJ Concordance lists 29 references in the OT to offenders being stoned or the bery "to stone." The reference for hanging the offender on a tree afterward, this is approved in Deuteronomy 21:22-23, with the stipulation that the body be taken down by nightfall. It was a long-standing practice to not mete out any punishment unless it was sanctioned in the Scriptures, and there is ample precedent for offenders being dealth with this way. Esther 2:23, two men who have plotted against the king are hanged in a tree. Others in the OT were also hanged, but not necessarily in trees. The victim is not hanged by the neck, as he is already dead, but is suspended by his hands, which are tied together above his head. If the Jews had executed Jesus by crucifying him, they did so in repudiation of their own Law..

Although some accounts say that he was convicted and turned over to the Romans for execution, 1 Thess. 2:14- 15, an undoubtedly genuine letter of Paul, and probably the oldest book in the entire NT, plainly states that Jesus was killed by the Jews. Assuming this to be correct, Jesus could not possibly have been crucified.

The above text has been paraphrased from a book called The Making of the Messiah, by Robert Sheaffer, 1991, Prometheus Books, ISBN 0-87975-691-8.

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