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Adam and Eve and Bryan College: BioLogos strikes

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Some say 20% of faculty are leaving.

Students and faculty at Bryan are upset at a move last month by the school’s board of trustees to “clarify” that the college believes Adam and Eve were historical figures created directly by God. The board says the clarification does not change the school’s historical position on origins. But some at Bryan believe the board’s action was intended to force out professors who may be sympathetic to evolution, and think it was unfair to do so at a time when faculty contracts are due for renewal. …

An English professor at the school, Whit Jones, said the timing of the clarification had been a “puzzle” to many on faculty, but might have been sparked by recent writings from two of his colleagues: Kenneth Turner, a Bible professor, and Brian Eisenback, an associate professor of biology who graduated from Bryan College in 2002. Together, Turner and Eisenback are writing science education materials under a grant from The BioLogos Foundation, an organization in Grand Rapids, Mich., that promotes theistic evolution.

Theistic evolution, also called “evolutionary creation,” posits God used evolution to create biological life, including humans. Bryan’s original belief statement would seem to preclude theistic evolution for humans because it says mankind’s sin “incurred physical … death”—death being a necessary component for evolution.

Though some proponents of creationism or intelligent design would argue the case for evolution is flimsy, Turner and Eisenback wrote otherwise in a two-part article that appeared on the BioLogos website in December: “Macroevolution is robust and has multiple lines of evidence in support of it, including the fossil record and molecular biology. … The reality is that evolution is not a theory teetering on the edge of collapse. More.

The obvious problem, for a person who has been following the news stream, is that the fossil record and molecular biology so often do not agree. And “evolution” is not so much “a theory teetering on the edge of collapse” as a theory that doesn’t explain anything. That is, we say “evolved to do” when we really mean “does.”

Darwin’s followers, including BioLogians, get marks for their Darwinian piety, talking this way.

Laszlo BenczeBut Laszlo Bencze comments:

Apparently some former graduates of Bryan College are writing a science curriculum that will cover the full spectrum of views from hard core evolution to hard core creation. As best I can tell, the authors favor “theistic evolution” although they prefer the term “evolutionary creationism” which is the same thing. Here’s a definition from the article: “Theistic evolution, also called ‘evolutionary creation,’ posits God used evolution to create biological life, including humans.”

Let’s translate that into straightforward English. “God used a process which works perfectly without any intelligent agent to create biological life.” Another way of saying it is “God used a completely self-contained process which is not accessible to any agent to create life.”

We start to see the problem with these statements. The problem is God. The statements work so much better if we simply eliminate God, whose role seems limited to creating a contradiction.

“A process which works perfectly without any intelligent agency created life.” There. Now there’s no contradiction and the statement makes sense.

Or, if you prefer, “God, an agent of unlimited intelligence and act, created life.” That statement, too, is shorn of contradiction and makes sense.

But there’s no way to combine these two statements into a coherent and logical proposition.

Like a figure which is both a circle and a square at the same time in the same way, theistic evolution is a flat out contradiction and makes no sense.

Maybe that’s what makes it somehow feel so right to so many people these days. 😉
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215 Replies to “Adam and Eve and Bryan College: BioLogos strikes

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    I’m sorry for any professors who lost their job, but part of the fault must lie with themselves as they knew the position of the school when they signed on. And if their position changed over time, then they needed to be honest and make that clear to the school. A Christian school has every right to require agreement with the school’s statement of faith for all of it’s professors. I, for one, am encouraged to see that there are some schools around that are willing to stick up for their beliefs and not cave in to the intelligentsia who ridicule God’s Word.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Of all the areas of evidence that Darwinists are misleading with the evidence, the one area they are most severely misleading is in the area of human origins. This is not that surprising since the question human origins, i.e. ‘where did I come from?’ is the one question that is near and dear to most everyone’s heart. So it is understandable that Darwinists would try to establish their theory there. I think that Phillip Johnson did an excellent job of exposing the unfair bias that Darwinists impose on the supposed evidence for human evolution in the following quote:

    “What I saw about the fossil record again,, was that Gould and Eldridge were experts in the area where the animal fossil record is most complete. That is marine invertebrates.,, And the reason for this is that when,, a bird, or a human, or an ape, or a wolf, or whatever, dies,, normally it does not get fossilized. It decays in the open, or is eaten by scavengers. Things get fossilized when they get covered over quickly with sediments so that they are protected from this natural destructive process. So if you want to be a fossil, the way to go about it is to live in the shallow seas, where you get covered over by sediments when you die,,. Most of the animal fossils are of that kind and it is in that area where the fossil record is most complete. That there is a consistent pattern.,, I mean there is evolution in the sense of variation, just like the peppered moth example. Things do vary, but they vary within the type. The new types appear suddenly, fully formed, without an evolutionary history and then they stay fundamentally stable with (cyclical) variation after their sudden appearance, and stasis (according) to the empirical observations made by Gould and Eldridge. Well now you see, I was aware of a number of examples of where evolutionary intermediates were cited. This was brought up as soon as people began to make the connection and question the (Darwinian) profession about their theory in light of the controversy. But the examples of claimed evolutionary transitionals, oddly enough, come from the area of the fossil record where fossilization is rarest. Where it is least likely to happen.,,,
    One of things that amused me is that there are so many fossil candidates for human ancestorship, and so very few fossils that are candidates for the great apes.,, There should be just as many. But why not? Any economist can give you the answer to that. Human ancestors have a great American value and so they are produced at a much greater rate.,,
    These also were grounds to be suspicious of what was going on,,,
    ,,,if the problem is the greatest where the fossil record is most complete and if the confirming examples are found where fossils are rarest, that doesn’t sound like it could be the explanation.”
    – Phillip Johnson – April 2012 – audio/video – 15:05 minute mark to 19:15 minute mark
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....age#t=903s

    And indeed there are numerous examples of Darwinists ‘shoehorning’ fossils into their narrative:

    Hominid Hype and the Election Cycle – Casey Luskin – September 2011
    Excerpt: Ignoring fraudulent fossils like Piltdown man, the last 50 years have seen a slew of so-called human ancestors which initially produced hype, and were later disproven.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50801.html

    “One famous fossil skull, discovered in 1972 in northern Kenya, changed its appearance dramatically depending on how the upper jaw was connected to the rest of the cranium. Roger Lewin recounts an occasion when paleoanthropologists Alan Walker, Michael Day, and Richard Leakey were studying the two sections of skull 1470. According to Lewin, Walker said: You could hold the [upper jaw] forward, and give it a long face, or you could tuck it in, making the face short…. How you held it really depended on your preconceptions. It was very interesting watching what people did with it. Lewin reports that Leakey recalled the incident, too: Yes. If you held it one way, it looked like one thing; if you held it another, it looked like something else.”
    Roger Lewin, Bones of Contention, Second Edition (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997), p 160

    “Dr. Leakey produced a biased reconstruction (of 1470/ Homo Rudolfensis) based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that violated principles of craniofacial development,” Dr. Timothy Bromage
    http://www.geneticarchaeology......lieved.asp

    DeWitt’s digital manipulation of skull 1470 – August 13, 2012
    Excerpt: The skull as presented in the news websites has some significant issues that suggests that the facial reconstruction is seriously off.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....kull-1470/

    Contemplating Bill Nye’s 51 skulls slide – February 10, 2014 – with video
    Excerpt: David A. DeWitt, Biology & Chemistry chair at Liberty, knows a thing or two about skulls, and writes to say,
    “This afternoon and evening I tracked down 46 of the 51 skulls that were on the slide Nye showed in the Ken Ham debate (at about 1:05 on the Youtube video).
    This was a challenge because some of them are not very well analyzed, partial skulls, etc. While some of them are well known, others are rarely discussed. I believe only a well-trained anthropologist would have been able to address that slide in the very brief time that it was visible. It was especially confusing because the skulls are in different orientations (including one that is viewed from the bottom and one that is just a jaw). They were not shown with the same scale so the relative sizes are wrong, and they are not grouped or lined up in any clear order. They are mixed up by type of skull and by date, and the only label is the name of the individual skull. I suspect that this was deliberate.,,,”
    “I can only conclude that the sole purpose of showing such a slide was to confuse and obfuscate, not educate.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....lls-slide/

    Hominids, Homonyms, and Homo sapiens – 05/27/2009 – Creation Safaris:
    Excerpt: Homo erectus is particularly controversial, because it is such a broad classification. Tattersall and Schwartz find no clear connection between the Asian, European and African specimens lumped into this class. “In his 1950 review, Ernst Mayr placed all of these forms firmly within the species Homo erectus,” they explained. “Subsequently, Homo erectus became the standard-issue ‘hominid in the middle,’ expanding to include not only the fossils just mentioned, but others of the same general period….”. They discussed the arbitrariness of this classification: “Put together, all these fossils (which span almost 2 myr) make a very heterogeneous assortment indeed; and placing them all together in the same species only makes any conceivable sense in the context of the ecumenical view of Homo erectus as the middle stage of the single hypervariable hominid lineage envisioned by Mayr (on the basis of a much slenderer record). Viewed from the morphological angle, however, the practice of cramming all of this material into a single Old World-wide species is highly questionable. Indeed, the stuffing process has only been rendered possible by a sort of ratchet effect, in which fossils allocated to Homo erectus almost regardless of their morphology have subsequently been cited as proof of just how variable the species can be.” By “ratchet effect,” they appear to mean something like a self-fulfilling prophecy: i.e., “Let’s put everything from this 2-million-year period into one class that we will call Homo erectus.” Someone complains, “But this fossil from Singapore is very different from the others.” The first responds, “That just shows how variable the species Homo erectus can be.”
    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20090527a

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

    etc.. etc..

    But perhaps the clearest way to demonstrate how misleading Darwinists can be with the fossil evidence is with the iconic ‘march to man’ cartoon:

    “We have all seen the canonical parade of apes, each one becoming more human. We know that, as a depiction of evolution, this line-up is tosh (i.e. nonsense). Yet we cling to it. Ideas of what human evolution ought to have been like still colour our debates.”
    Henry Gee, editor of Nature (478, 6 October 2011, page 34, doi:10.1038/478034a),

    “National Geographic magazine commissioned four artists to reconstruct a female figure from casts of seven fossil bones thought to be from the same species as skull 1470. One artist drew a creature whose forehead is missing and whose jaws look vaguely like those of a beaked dinosaur. Another artist drew a rather good-looking modern African-American woman with unusually long arms. A third drew a somewhat scrawny female with arms like a gorilla and a face like a Hollywood werewolf. And a fourth drew a figure covered with body hair and climbing a tree, with beady eyes that glare out from under a heavy, gorilla-like brow.”
    “Behind the Scenes,” National Geographic 197 (March, 2000): 140
    picture – these artists “independently” produced the 4 very “different” ancestors you see here
    http://www.omniology.com/JackalopianArtists.html

    One can see that ‘artistic license’ for human evolution being played out on the following site.

    10 Transitional Ancestors of Human Evolution by Tyler G., March 18, 2013
    http://listverse.com/2013/03/1.....evolution/

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Please note, on the preceding site, how the sclera (white of the eye), a uniquely human characteristic, was brought in very early on, in the artists’ reconstructions, to make the fossils appear much more human than they actually were, even though the artists making the reconstructions have no clue whatsoever as to what the colors of the eyes, of these supposed transitional fossils, actually were.

    Evolution of human eye as a device for communication – Hiromi Kobayashi – Kyoto University, Japan
    Excerpt: The uniqueness of human eye morphology among primates illustrates the remarkable difference between human and other primates in the ability to communicate using gaze signals.
    http://www.saga-jp.org/coe_abst/kobayashi.htm

    Anatomically, chimps and humans are far more different than most people realize:

    “Humans and chimpanzees also differ significantly in many other anatomical respects, to the extent that nearly every bone in the body of a chimpanzee is readily distinguishable in shape or size from its human counterpart (38).”
    Evolution at Two Levels in Humans and Chimpanzees Mary-Claire King; A. C. Wilson – 1975

    The Red Ape – Cornelius Hunter – August 2009
    Excerpt: “There remains, however, a paradoxical problem lurking within the wealth of DNA data: our morphology and physiology have very little, if anything, uniquely in common with chimpanzees to corroborate a unique common ancestor. Most of the characters we do share with chimpanzees also occur in other primates, and in sexual biology and reproduction we could hardly be more different. It would be an understatement to think of this as an evolutionary puzzle.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....d-ape.html

    Mona Lisa smile: The morphological enigma of human and great ape evolution – 2006
    Excerpt: The quality and scope of published documentation and verification of morphological features suggests there is very little in morphology to support a unique common ancestor for humans and chimpanzees.,,,
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.....7/abstract

    In fact so great are the anatomical differences between humans and chimps that a Darwinist actually proposed that a chimp and pig mated with each other and that is what ultimately gave rise to humans:

    A chimp-pig hybrid origin for humans? – July 3, 2013
    Excerpt: Dr. Eugene McCarthy,, has amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that human origins can be best explained by hybridization between pigs and chimpanzees. Extraordinary theories require extraordinary evidence and McCarthy does not disappoint. Rather than relying on genetic sequence comparisons, he instead offers extensive anatomical comparisons, each of which may be individually assailable, but startling when taken together.,,,
    The list of anatomical specializations we may have gained from porcine philandering is too long to detail here. Suffice it to say, similarities in the face, skin and organ microstructure alone is hard to explain away. A short list of differential features, for example, would include, multipyramidal kidney structure, presence of dermal melanocytes, melanoma, absence of a primate baculum (penis bone), surface lipid and carbohydrate composition of cell membranes, vocal cord structure, laryngeal sacs, diverticuli of the fetal stomach, intestinal “valves of Kerkring,” heart chamber symmetry, skin and cranial vasculature and method of cooling, and tooth structure. Other features occasionally seen in humans, like bicornuate uteruses and supernumerary nipples, would also be difficult to incorporate into a purely primate tree.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-c.....umans.html

    Moreover, Physorg published a subsequent article showing that the pig-chimp hybrid theory for human origins is much harder to shoot down than Darwinists had first supposed it would be:

    Human hybrids: a closer look at the theory and evidence – July 25, 2013
    Excerpt: There was considerable fallout, both positive and negative, from our first story covering the radical pig-chimp hybrid theory put forth by Dr. Eugene McCarthy,,,By and large, those coming out against the theory had surprisingly little science to offer in their sometimes personal attacks against McCarthy.
    ,,,Under the alternative hypothesis (humans are not pig-chimp hybrids), the assumption is that humans and chimpanzees are equally distant from pigs. You would therefore expect chimp traits not seen in humans to be present in pigs at about the same rate as are human traits not found in chimps. However, when he searched the literature for traits that distinguish humans and chimps, and compiled a lengthy list of such traits, he found that it was always humans who were similar to pigs with respect to these traits. This finding is inconsistent with the possibility that humans are not pig-chimp hybrids, that is, it rejects that hypothesis.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-h.....dence.html

    The obvious question for me is, of course, since Darwinists are having such a hard time proving that we did not come from pig-chimp hybrids, what makes Darwinists so sure that we evolved from apes or anything else in the first place? Any reasonable person would realize that if such a dubious theory as the pig-chimp hybrid theory can cause such havoc, for what was suppose to be such well established science, then perhaps the Darwinian theory for human origins is not nearly as strong as Darwinists have dogmatically held it to be in the first place. Some might even hold that such ‘flimsiness’ would clearly indicate the original theory was rubbish as to being hard science.

    Moreover, Darwinists have been pretty effective at, purposely or not, deceiving people into believing we are 99% genetically identical to chimps, but the same unfair bias that is seen in how Darwinists handle the fossil fossil record appears to also be rampant in how Darwinists interpret the genetic evidence:

    Guy Walks Into a Bar and Thinks He’s a Chimpanzee: The Unbearable Lightness of Chimp-Human Genome Similarity – Sternberg – 2009
    Excerpt: One can seriously call into question the statement that human and chimp genomes are 99% identical. For one thing, it has been noted in the literature that the exact degree of identity between the two genomes is as yet unknown (Cohen, J., 2007. Relative differences: The myth of 1% Science 316: 1836.). ,,, In short, the figure of identity that one wants to use is dependent on various methodological factors.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....think.html

    The Chimp-Human 1% Difference: A Useful Lie – 06/29/2007
    Excerpt: But truth be told, Wilson and King also noted that the 1% difference wasn’t the whole story. They predicted that there must be profound differences outside genes—they focused on gene regulation—to account for the anatomical and behavioral disparities between our knuckle-dragging cousins and us. Several recent studies have proven them perspicacious again, raising the question of whether the 1% truism should be retired.
    “For many, many years, the 1% difference served us well because it was underappreciated how similar we were,” says Pascal Gagneux, a zoologist at UC San Diego. “Now it’s totally clear that it’s more a hindrance for understanding than a help.”,,,
    This is a very disturbing article. We have basically caught the Darwinists in a bald lie that has hoodwinked the world for over 30 years. Gagneux says, “For many, many years, the 1% difference served us well” – stop right there! Who is “us”? Was it the millions of school children and laymen who were lied to? Was it the majority of people who believe God created mankind, suffering under an onslaught of lies told in the name of science? No! “Us” refers to the members of the Darwin Party,,,
    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20070629a

    Does Genome Evidence Support Human-Ape Common Ancestry? – Casey Luskin – March 13, 2014 (references on page)
    Excerpt: (1) Dr. Venema argues that high human-chimp genetic similarity is at least 95%, and that this shows common our ancestry.
    Response: Dr. Venema overstates the degree of human-chimp similarity and seems to disregard the obvious the possibility of common design for human-chimp functional genetic similarities.,,,
    (2) Dr. Venema argues that redundancy in codon-use (e.g., reuse of synonymous codons) is far in excess of what is required for functionality, suggesting common ancestry.
    Response: Dr. Venema’s argument depends on the standard evolutionary presumption that synonymous mutations are phenotypically equivalent. This is a good example of how evolutionary biologists use molecular biology that is outdated; while synonymous codons do encode the same amino acids, they can have different, and important phenotypic or functional effects relating to gene expression.,,,
    (3) He argues that the highly similar spatial organization of the genes (synteny) across different species suggests common ancestry.
    Response: Again, Dr. Venema’s molecular biology is outdated. He assumes the ordering of genes (or chromosomal structure) is functionally unimportant, but molecular biology has discovered that nothing could be further from the truth. As the revolution in epigenetics has taken hold, molecular biologists now know that the structure of chromosomes, and their 3-dimensional arrangement(s) within a cell, are important parts of genomic regulation.,,,
    (4) Dr. Venema argues that shared pseudogenes suggest common ancestry.
    Response: Here Dr. Venema is assuming that what we don’t understand is functionless. in this case, we have lots of evidence that many pseudogenes — including pseudogenes that are prominent examples used by ID-critics — are likely functional.,,,
    in each of these four areas, Dr. Venema’s argument depends on the presumption that the similarity between humans and chimps (whether [1] protein sequence or overall genome similarity; [2] similar use of synonymous codons; [3] synteny; and [4] shared “pseudogenes”) is functionally unimportant–i.e., it’s a “junk” property of the genome. And in each of these four areas, the latest findings of molecular biology show that the property is not “junk” or unimportant, but in fact represents newly discovered important functional elements of molecular biology.
    As time goes on, ID’s predictions are being confirmed. Meanwhile, Darwinian presumptions — that many aspects of genomes exist for no reason other than “they were put there by unguided evolutionary mechanisms” — are turning out to be wrong.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....83181.html

    Comprehensive Analysis of Chimpanzee and Human Chromosomes Reveals Average DNA Similarity of 70% – by Jeffrey P. Tomkins – February 20, 2013
    Excerpt: For the chimp autosomes, the amount of optimally aligned DNA sequence provided similarities between 66 and 76%, depending on the chromosome. In general, the smaller and more gene-dense the chromosomes, the higher the DNA similarity—although there were several notable exceptions defying this trend. Only 69% of the chimpanzee X chromosome was similar to human and only 43% of the Y chromosome. Genome-wide, only 70% of the chimpanzee DNA was similar to human under the most optimal sequence-slice conditions. While, chimpanzees and humans share many localized protein-coding regions of high similarity, the overall extreme discontinuity between the two genomes defies evolutionary timescales and dogmatic presuppositions about a common ancestor.
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....chromosome

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    Like a figure which is both a circle and a square at the same time in the same way, theistic evolution is a flat out contradiction and makes no sense.

    What are the alternatives to theistic evolution?

    A mechanical God who wound things up at the beginning and now let’s everything take it’s natural course?

    God the programmer who wrote a magnificent piece of software, and as long as the hardware doesn’t fail or the power doesn’t go out it just chugs along on it’s own?

  5. 5
    Laszlo says:

    The most congenial alternative to that contradiction known as “theistic evolution” is clearly stated in the Bible which says that God creates within the confines of time successively and according to a plan. Another term for this would be “progressive creation.”

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    If, unbeknownst to us, God created all life on earth by using the ‘bottom up’ materialistic processes of Darwinian evolution then, at least, should not the ‘bottom up’ materialistic processes be able to explain the origination of ‘form’:

    Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth — visualized – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70
    Comment on preceding video: Mathematician and medical image maker Alexander Tsiaras offers a stunning visualization of the process that in nine months takes an emerging human life from conception to birth. He speaks of “the marvel of this information,” “the mathematical models of how these things are done are beyond human comprehension,” “even though I look at this with the eyes of mathematician I look at this and marvel. How do these instruction sets not make mistakes as they build what is us?”

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”. And further: “It’s almost as if every mRNA [an intermediate between a gene and a corresponding protein] coming out of the nucleus knows where it’s going” (Travis 2011),,,
    Further, the billion protein molecules in a cell are virtually all capable of interacting with each other to one degree or another; they are subject to getting misfolded or “all balled up with one another”; they are critically modified through the attachment or detachment of molecular subunits, often in rapid order and with immediate implications for changing function; they can wind up inside large-capacity “transport vehicles” headed in any number of directions; they can be sidetracked by diverse processes of degradation and recycling… and so on without end. Yet the coherence of the whole is maintained.
    The question is indeed, then, “How does the organism meaningfully dispose of all its molecules, getting them to the right places and into the right interactions?”
    The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.
    Two systems biologists, one from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany and one from Harvard Medical School, frame one part of the problem this way:
    “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells. These cells work together with remarkable precision, first forming an adult organism out of a single fertilized egg, and then keeping the organism alive and functional for decades. To achieve this precision, one would assume that each individual cell reacts in a reliable, reproducible way to a given input, faithfully executing the required task. However, a growing number of studies investigating cellular processes on the level of single cells revealed large heterogeneity even among genetically identical cells of the same cell type. (Loewer and Lahav 2011)”,,,
    And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

    If DNA really rules (morphology), why did THIS happen? – April 2014
    Excerpt: Researchers implanted human embryonic neuronal cells into a mouse embryo. Mouse and human neurons have distinct morphologies (shapes). Because the human neurons feature human DNA, they should be easy to identify.
    Which raises a question: Would the human neurons implanted in developing mouse brain have a mouse or a human morphology?
    Well, the answer is, the human neurons had a mouse morphology. They could be distinguished from the mouse ones only by their human genetic markers.
    If DNA really ruled, we would expect a human morphology.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....is-happen/

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    https://vimeo.com/91322260

    Dr. Stephen Meyer comments at the end of the preceding video,,,
    ‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does not insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’
    Stephen Meyer – (excerpt taken from Meyer/Sternberg vs. Shermer/Prothero debate – 2009)

  7. 7
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @tiguy:

    A Christian school

    I, for one, am encouraged to see that there are some schools around that are willing to stick up for their beliefs and not cave in to the intelligentsia who ridicule God’s Word.

    I am discouraged to see that people in a CHRISTIAN school have to subscribe to the Trinitarian falsehoods, to work there. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Darwinism or Trinitarian idolworshipping. Both are false religions and they will be destroyed by God:

    What does the future hold for religions that produce rotten fruit? Jesus warned: “Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19) Yes, false religion will be chopped down and destroyed! But how and when will this happen? A prophetic vision recorded in the Bible book of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, provides the answer.
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102006290

  8. 8
    tjguy says:

    JW says:

    I am discouraged to see that people in a CHRISTIAN school have to subscribe to the Trinitarian falsehoods, to work there. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Darwinism or Trinitarian idolworshipping. Both are false religions and they will be destroyed by God.”

    That the JWs do not agree with Christianity is no modern secret. You have made that very clear in many ways. This statement is another example. That’s fine. You are welcome to your own opinion.

    And of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses are more than welcome to create their own university and teach their own doctrines there. No one can stop you. You will have complete freedom to teach whatever you want to there.

    However, in such a school, do you think they would allow any trinitarian professors? I highly doubt it!

    And rightly so! They need to require their professors to hold to what their religion teaches. How could anyone criticize such a thing?

    I wouldn’t criticize it. It is perfectly natural and normal. So please give us the same freedom to require adherence to Christian doctrine in our schools.

  9. 9
    Robert Byers says:

    Evolution is teetering on the edge of disaster.
    If not why is it so famous and common for everyone to defend or attack creationism these days. Somebody smells a problem.

  10. 10
    udat says:

    As best I can tell, the authors favor “theistic evolution” although they prefer the term “evolutionary creationism” which is the same thing.

    I prefer the term “theistic atheist”.

  11. 11
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @tiguy

    That the JWs do not agree with Christianity is no modern secret.

    It certainly is a secret to all JWs.
    We do our best to imitate Jesus Christ and are proud to be called Christians.

    However, in such a school, do you think they would allow any trinitarian professors? I highly doubt it!

    I can’t speak for all JWs, so I don’t even try. If I were to create an academic teaching facility, I’d call it UAF (University of AF… I’ll let you figure out what AF stands for.)

    Another point is: It doesn’t even make sense to require the staff of a Christian university to subscribe to the trinitarian party line.

  12. 12
    JLAfan2001 says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….Adam & Eve never existed. Even a growing body of christian academics are realizing this. They are idiots to think that their theology can be reconciled with science once the first couple are removed. A majority of the early church fathers believed in a literal six day creation, a young earth and a first couple. THEY WERE WRONG!!!! but the less intelligent among us refuse to accept that. Instead of being honest and rejecting their faith, they try to read things into the text that were never meant to be there. At least fundies recognize this.

    Science has shown repeatedly that Genesis is wrong. If Adam never existed then sin never entered the world and no need for a saviour. Christianity is essentialy falsified.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note: Are Humans Ever Born with “Perfectly Formed” Tails? – Casey Luskin – May 2014
    Excerpt: Human tails are extremely rare, with perhaps only a few hundred cases documented worldwide over the past half-century. Medical researchers who have had the lucky opportunity to study a human tail (state),,,
    “In all reported cases, the vestigial human tail lacks bone, cartilage, notochord, and spinal cord. It is unique in this feature”,,,
    “never contains vertebrae in contrast to other vertebrate animals”,,,
    “there are major morphologic differences between the caudal appendage and the tails of other vertebrates”,,,
    “there is no zoological precedent for a vertebral tail without caudal vertebrae”,,,
    “Bona-fide cases of human tails containing bone have not been documented.”
    But what about “pseudotails” — can’t they contain bone? Yes, sometimes they can, but pseudotails don’t contain vertebrae (as all other mammalian tails do), and they’re not located at the base of the coccyx, where a “true tail” ought to be — they are found in various other places along the lower back, and may even be off to the side from the backbone.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....85411.html

  14. 14
    Kajdron says:

    But some at Bryan believe the board’s action was intended …

    Is this design inferrence? 😉

  15. 15
    Barb says:

    tjguy writes,

    That the JWs do not agree with Christianity is no modern secret.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses do not agree with the doctrine of the Trinity. They are Christians. Many scholars also believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly taught in scripture.

  16. 16
    Barb says:

    JLAfan2001 continues,

    Adam & Eve never existed.

    And you absolutely know this for a fact? Oh wait. That’s right. You don’t.

    Even a growing body of christian academics are realizing this.

    There are Christian theologians and academics who believe that Adam and Eve are allegorical figures. Not all Christian religions agree, however.

    They are idiots to think that their theology can be reconciled with science once the first couple are removed.

    And science states that we all have a common ancestor. Your point is…?

    A majority of the early church fathers believed in a literal six day creation, a young earth and a first couple. THEY WERE WRONG!!!! but the less intelligent among us refuse to accept that.

    Science has also been wrong about various concepts including phlogiston, the bodily humors, and the aether. Do you still accept those concepts? No? Did you throw all of science out because they were wrong in certain instances? No? Then don’t expect religious people to do the same. Nobody–no scientist and no theologian–has all the answers.

    Instead of being honest and rejecting their faith, they try to read things into the text that were never meant to be there. At least fundies recognize this.

    You’re right, some religious people do that. Not all do. You’re committing the fallacy of equivocation. Because some religious beliefs are wrong it does not hold that they all are wrong. Because some scientific beliefs (like phlogiston) were wrong, it does not hold that all scientific beliefs are wrong.

    Science has shown repeatedly that Genesis is wrong. If Adam never existed then sin never entered the world and no need for a saviour. Christianity is essentialy falsified.

    No, it’s not. Christianity would be falsified by finding Jesus’ bones.

  17. 17
    OldArmy94 says:

    Theistic evolutionists = “useful idiots”

    They are like the kids who always want to be in the cool crowd, despite the fact that the cool crowd is full of snobs, condescension and gossips. Rather than take a stand against the peer pressure, they would rather find a way to try to go along yet also simultaneously try to maintain their allegiance to better values. What they end up doing is bringing contempt upon themselves and merely serve as the mascots for a cause, all the while getting the laughed at behind their backs.

  18. 18
    JLAfan2001 says:

    Barb

    “And you absolutely know this for a fact? Oh wait. That’s right. You don’t.”

    For the 100th time, yes we do. It’s called population genetics and anthropology. This is is why increasing christian academics are having to revise the theology because the data increasingly shows there was never a first copule. This is a good example of the less intelligent refusing to accept it. You should stop believing all the jehovie science. It’s getting you nowhere.

    “There are Christian theologians and academics who believe that Adam and Eve are allegorical figures. Not all Christian religions agree, however.”

    And the ones that don’t agree are wrong. I thought I made that clear. The ones that try to re-interpret the texts are also wrong. Christians are just wrong across the board.

    “And science states that we all have a common ancestor. Your point is…?”

    I’m not even sure what you are trying to say here. I guess you are saying that common ancstry is false and so is the science that shows it. Why don’t you dispute this with your christian brothers gpuccio, vjtorley and nussalus. I’m sure they would mop the floor with you and your science even though their theology is ridiculous.

    “Science has also been wrong about various concepts including phlogiston, the bodily humors, and the aether. Do you still accept those concepts? No? Did you throw all of science out because they were wrong in certain instances? No? Then don’t expect religious people to do the same. Nobody–no scientist and no theologian–has all the answers.”

    That’s the beauty of science, Barb. It changes to reflect the evidence. Religion doesn’t nor can it. Religion posits that their holy books are true and unchanging. If they have to change the interpretations then it is no longer truth but their bastardized version of it.

    “You’re right, some religious people do that. Not all do. You’re committing the fallacy of equivocation. Because some religious beliefs are wrong it does not hold that they all are wrong.”

    How do you determine which ones are wrong and which aren’t? By the bible? If the bible is incorrect and you have to change the meaning then you can no longer judge the truth by it. Religious truth becomes subjective. Hence the reason why these academics are idiots.

    “No, it’s not. Christianity would be falsified by finding Jesus’ bones.”

    I know that you don’t believe that Jesus was god but for those who do, christianity can be falsified in other ways. Jesus or the epistles spoke about moses, jonah, david, adam and abraham. We have little to no evidence that any of these people existed. We have evidence against adam. If that is the case then jesus was not divine so who cares about not finding his bones. He couldn’t have come back to life since he and the bible got so many things wrong.

    Think for yourself, Barb.

  19. 19
    Barb says:

    JLAfan2001:

    For the 100th time, yes we do. It’s called population genetics and anthropology. This is is why increasing christian academics are having to revise the theology because the data increasingly shows there was never a first copule.

    The data can be interpreted many ways. Anthropology isn’t an exact science. I’m actually curious as to why scientists who disdain the Bible and religion use the term “mitochondrial Eve” when discussing the common ancestor of mankind. Why allude to something that they think is fictitious?

    This is a good example of the less intelligent refusing to accept it. You should stop believing all the jehovie science. It’s getting you nowhere.

    What’s “jehovie science”? I believe in the same science that Galileo, Newton, Mendelev, and Copernicus did. Religion and science are not and have never been at odds no matter how desperately you atheists want to believe they are.

    And the ones that don’t agree are wrong. I thought I made that clear. The ones that try to re-interpret the texts are also wrong. Christians are just wrong across the board.

    Logical fallacy: equivocation. Try again.

    I’m not even sure what you are trying to say here. I guess you are saying that common ancstry is false and so is the science that shows it. Why don’t you dispute this with your christian brothers gpuccio, vjtorley and nussalus. I’m sure they would mop the floor with you and your science even though their theology is ridiculous.

    And I stated, quite clearly, that nobody has all the answers. Please stop pretending that you have more knowledge than anyone else here. It’s obvious that you don’t.

    That’s the beauty of science, Barb. It changes to reflect the evidence.

    Not necessarily. Science does to be sure, but scientists don’t.

    Religion doesn’t nor can it.

    Who says? You? You have little knowledge of religion in general, so excuse me if I don’t believe your statement. Any religious belief system can change if it chooses to do so.

    Religion posits that their holy books are true and unchanging. If they have to change the interpretations then it is no longer truth but their bastardized version of it.

    Religion posits that their holy books were written by an intelligence greater than that of all humankind put together, so if humans don’t interpret or understand something, the fault is generally theirs and not the author’s.

    What is wrong, though with changing the interpretation of something? Don’t scientists do that all the time when revised data is brought to their attention? You mentioned earlier that science is self-correcting. Why can’t religion also be self-correcting?

    How do you determine which ones are wrong and which aren’t?

    By using your brain.

    By the bible? If the bible is incorrect and you have to change the meaning then you can no longer judge the truth by it. Religious truth becomes subjective. Hence the reason why these academics are idiots.

    Logical fallacy: ad hominem.

    It would depend on how you wanted to approach the study of religion. You could start with the Bible, or with any other holy book. You’d have to have a set of standards by which to judge each religion to determine truthfulness. And you’d have to do so with an open mind, which you clearly do not have.
    <blockquoteI know that you don’t believe that Jesus was god but for those who do, christianity can be falsified in other ways.
    Do tell.

    Jesus or the epistles spoke about moses, jonah, david, adam and abraham. We have little to no evidence that any of these people existed.

    The “apostles”, not the epistles. Please try to get the correct terminology before insulting anyone. It only makes you look stupid.

    We do have evidence of their existence. That you are ignorant of it is no surprise.

    Moses
    Now, while no archaeological evidence has been found to confirm the existence of Moses, this is hardly proof that he is mythological. Skeptics once argued that others mentioned in the Bible, such as Babylonian King Belshazzar and Assyrian King Sargon, were likewise myths—until archaeology later confirmed their historicity. Author Jonathan Kirsch (writing in Moses: A Life) reminds us: “The remnants and relics of biblical Israel are so sparse that the utter absence of Moses in any source except the Bible itself is neither surprising nor decisive.”

    According to Kirsch, some thus argue that it is unlikely that Moses could be a mere figment of someone’s imagination, since “a life story so rich in detail and dialogue, so complex . . . , could not have been made up.”
    The book Moses—A Life reports: “The biblical account of the oppression of the Israelites appears to be corroborated in one often-reproduced tomb painting from ancient Egypt in which the making of mud bricks by a gang of slaves is depicted in explicit detail.” Also remember where Moses grew up; the Egyptians were not above altering historical records when the truth proved to be embarrassing or went against their political interests.

    Jonah
    In the book Naming and Necessity, author Saul Kripke acknowledges the existence of the historical Jonah. Most Biblical scholars also acknowledge his existence. See also The Five Megilloth and Jonah, 1969, by H.L. Ginsberg.

    Abraham
    That Abraham is a historical person is borne out by clay tablets from the early second millennium B.C.E. list cities that match the names of Abraham’s relatives. These cities include Peleg, Serug, Nahor, Terah, and Haran.—Genesis 11:17-32. At Genesis 11:31, we read that Abraham and his family emigrated from “Ur of the Chaldeans.” The ruins of this city were discovered in southeastern Iraq. The Bible also states that Abraham’s father, Terah, died in the city of Haran, which probably now lies in Turkey, and that Abraham’s wife, Sarah, died in Hebron, one of the oldest still-inhabited cities of the Middle East.—Genesis 11:32; 23:2.

    David
    Before 1993, there was no proof outside the Bible to support the historicity of David, the brave young shepherd who later became king of Israel. That year, however, archaeologists uncovered in northern Israel a basalt stone , dated to the ninth century B.C.E., that experts say bears the words “House of David” and “king of Israel.” This victory stela, with the inscription “House of David,” is one of the sources that mention kings who descended from Abraham and ruled in Israel or Judah. It’s located in Jerusalem, at the Israel Musuem. Regarding this finding, Israel Finkelstein, of Tel Aviv University, observed: “Biblical nihilism collapsed overnight with the discovery of the David inscription.”

    Adam
    The Bible’s internal evidence gives weight to the thought that Adam was a real, historical person. Consider, for example, the Jewish ancestral lists recorded in the Bible book of First Chronicles chapters 1 to 9 and in the Gospel of Luke chapter 3. These remarkably detailed genealogical records span 48 and 75 generations respectively. Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus Christ, while Chronicles records the royal and priestly ancestral lines for the nation of Israel. Both lists include the names of such well-known figures as Solomon, David, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Noah, and finally Adam. All the names in the two lists represent real people, and Adam was the original real person on each list.

    Summing up the Scriptural evidence, The New Bible Dictionary concludes: “The New Testament confirms the historicity of the account given in the early chapters of Genesis.” While the Adam and Eve account may not agree with the theory of evolution, it matches what is known to science.

    And even if there is some skepticism as to whether or not these persons existed, I agree with the words of Professor Albright: “Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition of the value of the Bible as a source of history.”—Professor William F. Albright

    We have evidence against adam.

    We have evidence for him, too.

    If that is the case then jesus was not divine so who cares about not finding his bones.

    If that is not the case, then you need to seriously reconsider your atheism.

    He couldn’t have come back to life since he and the bible got so many things wrong.

    Says the atheist who’s never read it.

    Think for yourself, Barb.

    I do, which is far more than I can say for you.

  20. 20
    bevets says:

    The actual toll is probably lower

    Here is a little tidbit for the detractors who insists YECs dont know ‘science

  21. 21
    Mung says:

    Mung (moi):

    What are the alternatives to theistic evolution?

    Laszlo:

    The most congenial alternative to that contradiction known as “theistic evolution” is clearly stated in the Bible which says that God creates within the confines of time successively and according to a plan. Another term for this would be “progressive creation.”

    I used to be a progressive creationist.

    But then I came to believe it was a misnomer, because somehow God and/or his creation stopped progressing. Non-progressive non-YEC creationist was just too much of a mouthful.

    So I return to my (modified) earlier questions:

    What are the alternatives to theistic evolution?

    A mechanical God who wound things up at their various beginnings and then let them take their “natural” course?

    God the programmer who wrote some magnificent pieces of software, and as long as the hardware doesn’t fail or the power doesn’t go out they just chug along on their own?

    So according to YEC’ism God created everything in six literal days and then was done. After that it was all “evolution” All downhill.

    And according to progressive creationism it took God a bit longer than six literal days to finish the creation, but it’s still done. And now it’s still just all downhill from here.

    According to progressive creationism, when was the last time God “created” something new?

    Now I don’t want to be called a Christian Darwinist, because I think it would be improper. I believe Darwin was wrong.

    But say someone believes that the creation continues to evolve and that this evolution continues to be brought about by God, what other term than “theistic evolutionist” should we apply to that person?

    Heretic? Intelligent Design theorist?

    😉

  22. 22
    tjguy says:

    JW says:

    Another point is: It doesn’t even make sense to require the staff of a Christian university to subscribe to the trinitarian party line.

    It sure does make sense if that is what you believe the Bible teaches.

    Barb says:

    Jehovah’s Witnesses do not agree with the doctrine of the Trinity. They are Christians. Many scholars also believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly taught in scripture.

    Barb, this is a bit off topic, but is important. I guess that would depend on how you define the word “Christian”. It is my understanding that to become a true child of God, one must believe in the divinity of God’s Son, in his physical substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection. The JWs do not believe in the divinity of Christ, nor do they believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus.

    They may call themselves Christian and they may seek to follow the teachings of Jesus, and they may even be included in the “Christian” population figures of the US, but without an inward transformation that comes by faith in Jesus, in the eyes of many, the JWs are a Christian cult. I respect them, but unfortunately, I do not believe they are true Christians.

    Sorry. Just had to clarify that. By the way, I think they also do not view us as true Christians either. They only have ears for the official interpretation of their Bible because they believe their organization is the one and only true Spokesman for God. So their organization’s teachings are literal Truth in their eyes. So in their eyes, I, and you too – to the extent that you disagree with them, are preaching a false gospel!

  23. 23
    Barb says:

    tjguy @ 22:

    It is my understanding that to become a true child of God, one must believe in the divinity of God’s Son, in his physical substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection. The JWs do not believe in the divinity of Christ, nor do they believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus.

    Not exactly. We do believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God (as he referred to himself in the Bible). And we most certainly do believe in the resurrection of Christ, but not bodily. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom, as Paul pointed out in his letter to Corinthians. Jesus was raised as a spirit.

    They may call themselves Christian and they may seek to follow the teachings of Jesus, and they may even be included in the “Christian” population figures of the US, but without an inward transformation that comes by faith in Jesus, in the eyes of many, the JWs are a Christian cult.

    Cult implies following a human. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not claim to follow any man or any man made organization. If that were the case, they’d call themselves the Watchtower Society.

    And how would you know, exactly, whether or not any of the 7 million Witnesses have had an internal transformation from learning and studying the Bible and following Christ?

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    And we most certainly do believe in the resurrection of Christ, but not bodily. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom, as Paul pointed out in his letter to Corinthians. Jesus was raised as a spirit.

    Orthodox Christians, when they speak of the resurrection of Christ, mean his bodily resurrection.

    So no, you don’t believe in the resurrection of Christ in the same way as orthodox Christians.

    And when you say you believe in the resurrection of Christ you’re either equivocating over the meaning of resurrection or you’re contradicting yourself.

    That said, why would the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ prevent him from inheriting the Kingdom of God as a spirit? There’s no logical reason that I can think of that his being raised bodily from the dead would prevent his inheriting the kingdom.

    Jesus was raised as a spirit.

    So how do you explain his bodily appearances post-resurrection?

  25. 25
    Barb says:

    Tjguy writes,

    Orthodox Christians, when they speak of the resurrection of Christ, mean his bodily resurrection. So no, you don’t believe in the resurrection of Christ in the same way as orthodox Christians.

    The problem with bodily resurrection is that scripture does not appear to support such a belief. The question becomes, “Does Jesus have his fleshly body in heaven?”

    Take a look at what some Bible translations say:

    1 Cor. 15:42-50, [RS, Revised Standard]: “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. . . . Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam [Jesus Christ, who was a perfect human as Adam had been at the start] became a life-giving spirit. . . . I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”

    1 Pet. 3:18, RS: “Christ also died for sins once for all, . . . being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit [“in the spirit,” NE, AT, JB, Dy].”

    Think of it this way: If a man pays a debt for a friend but then promptly takes back the payment, obviously the debt continues. Likewise, if, when he was resurrected, Jesus had taken back his human body of flesh and blood, which had been given in sacrifice to pay the ransom price, what effect would that have had on the provision he was making to relieve faithful persons of the debt of sin?

    It is true that Jesus appeared in physical form to his disciples after his resurrection. But on certain occasions, why did they not at first recognize him? (Luke 24:15-32; John 20:14-16) On one occasion, for the benefit of Thomas, Jesus appeared with the physical evidence of nail prints in his hands and a spear wound in his side. But how was it possible on that occasion for him suddenly to appear in their midst even though the doors were locked? (John 20:26, 27) Jesus evidently materialized bodies on these occasions, as angels had done in the past when appearing to humans.

    Disposing of Jesus’ physical body at the time of his resurrection presented no problem for God. Interestingly, although the physical body was not left by God in the tomb (evidently to strengthen the conviction of the disciples that Jesus had actually been raised), the linen cloths in which it had been wrapped were left there; yet, the resurrected Jesus always appeared fully clothed.—John 20:6, 7.

    And when you say you believe in the resurrection of Christ you’re either equivocating over the meaning of resurrection or you’re contradicting yourself.

    See above. Resurrection means “coming back to life.” Jesus did just that.

    That said, why would the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ prevent him from inheriting the Kingdom of God as a spirit? There’s no logical reason that I can think of that his being raised bodily from the dead would prevent his inheriting the kingdom.

    Again, take a look at what various Bible translations say about the subject:

    1 Pet. 3:18: “Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but ing made alive in the spirit [“by the Spirit,” KJ; “in the spirit,” RS, NE, Dy, JB].” (At his resurrection from the dead, Jesus was brought forth with a spirit body. In the Greek text the words “flesh” and “spirit” are put in contrast to each other, and both are in the dative case; so, if a translator uses the rendering “by the spirit” he should also consistently say “by the flesh,” or if he uses “in the flesh” he should also say “in the spirit.”)

    Acts 10:40, 41: “God raised this One [Jesus Christ] up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God.” (Why did not others see him too? Because he was a spirit creature and when, as angels had done in the past, he materialized fleshly bodies to make himself visible, he did so only in the presence of his disciples.)

    1 Cor. 15:45: “It is even so written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam [Jesus Christ, who was perfect as was Adam when created] became a life-giving spirit.”

    Also see what Luke 24:36-39 says:

    Luke 24:36-39: “While they [the disciples] were speaking of these things he himself stood in their midst and said to them: ‘May you have peace.’ But because they were terrified, and had become frightened, they were imagining they beheld a spirit. So he said to them: ‘Why are you troubled, and why is it doubts come up in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; feel me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you behold that I have.’”

    Humans cannot see spirits, so the disciples evidently thought they were seeing an apparition or a vision. (Compare Mark 6:49, 50.) Jesus assured them that he was no apparition; they could see his body of flesh and could touch him, feeling the bones; he also ate in their presence. Similarly, in the past, angels had materialized in order to be seen by men; they had eaten, and some had even married and fathered children. (Gen. 6:4; 19:1-3)

    Following his resurrection, Jesus did not always appear in the same body of flesh (perhaps to reinforce in their minds the fact that he was then a spirit), and so he was not immediately recognized even by his close associates. (John 20:14, 15; 21:4-7) However, by his repeatedly appearing to them in materialized bodies and then saying and doing things that they would identify with the Jesus they knew, he strengthened their faith in the fact that he truly had been resurrected from the dead.

    If the disciples had actually seen Jesus in the body that he now has in heaven, Paul would not later have referred to the glorified Christ as being “the exact representation of [God’s] very being,” because God is a Spirit and has never been in the flesh.—Heb. 1:3; compare 1 Timothy 6:16.
    When reading the reports of Jesus’ postresurrection appearances, we are helped to understand them properly if we keep in mind 1 Peter 3:18 and; 1 Corinthians 15:45.

    So how do you explain his bodily appearances post-resurrection?

    In the book of Acts, the Gospel writer Luke stated: “To [the apostles] also by many positive proofs [Jesus] showed himself alive after he had suffered, being seen by them throughout forty days and telling the things about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:2, 3) A number of disciples saw the resurrected Jesus on various occasions—in a garden, on a road, during a meal, by the Sea of Tiberias.—Matthew 28:8-10; Luke 24:13-43; John 21:1-23.

    Critics question the veracity of these appearances. They say that the writers fabricated the accounts, or they cite seeming discrepancies in them. Actually, minor variations in the Gospel accounts prove that there was no collusion involved. Our knowledge of Jesus is broadened when one writer supplies details that supplement other accounts of certain incidents in the earthly life of Christ.

    Were Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances hallucinations? Any argument along those lines is implausible, since he was seen by so many people. Among them were fishermen, women, a civil servant, and even the doubting apostle Thomas, who was convinced only when he saw the irrefutable proof that Jesus had been raised from the dead. (John 20:24-29) On several occasions, disciples of Jesus did not at first recognize their resurrected Lord. Once, over 500 people saw him, most of whom were still alive when the apostle Paul used that incident as evidence in his defense of the resurrection.—1 Corinthians 15:6.

    It can be explained simply. Jesus materialized into a fleshly body. If he can be resurrected either bodily or in spirit, then logically he can appear either bodily or in spirit to his followers.

  26. 26
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    It can be explained simply. Jesus materialized into a fleshly body. If he can be resurrected either bodily or in spirit, then logically he can appear either bodily or in spirit to his followers.

    But you deny he was resurrected bodily. You claim he merely “came back to life,” without a body.

    Why is it that if a body was required for him to die, why wasn’t a body required for him to “come back to life.”?

    And if he appeared bodily, post-resurrection, why couldn’t have appeared bodily in the body that was placed in the tomb?

    And if he could appear bodily, why didn’t that prevent him from inheriting the kingdom?

    IOW, even if he was raised bodily, as orthodox Christians believe, he could still inherit the kingdom, and your “proof text” turns out to be no such thing.

    So why do JW’s deny his bodily resurrection? It’s not because of anything written in Scripture. Where did the JW’s doctrine come from?

  27. 27
    Barb says:

    Mung, did you even read my post? Your questions were answered in there.

    But you deny he was resurrected bodily. You claim he merely “came back to life,” without a body.

    He was resurrected as a spirit, as the scriptures I quoted clearly show. Read my post.

    Why is it that if a body was required for him to die, why wasn’t a body required for him to “come back to life.”?

    Acts 10:40, 41: “God raised this One [Jesus Christ] up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God.” (Why did not others see him too? Because he was a spirit creature and when, as angels had done in the past, he materialized fleshly bodies to make himself visible, he did so only in the presence of his disciples.)

    1 Cor. 15:45: “It is even so written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam [Jesus Christ, who was perfect as was Adam when created] became a life-giving spirit.”

    What does the Bible say, Mung? Read my post.

    And if he appeared bodily, post-resurrection, why couldn’t have appeared bodily in the body that was placed in the tomb?

    Following his resurrection, Jesus did not always appear in the same body of flesh (perhaps to reinforce in their minds the fact that he was then a spirit), and so he was not immediately recognized even by his close associates. (John 20:14, 15; 21:4-7) However, by his repeatedly appearing to them in materialized bodies and then saying and doing things that they would identify with the Jesus they knew, he strengthened their faith in the fact that he truly had been resurrected from the dead.

    What does the Bible say, Mung? You are asking questions that have already been answered by the Bible.

    And if he could appear bodily, why didn’t that prevent him from inheriting the kingdom?

    What does materializing in a fleshly body have to do with inheriting the Kingdom? It’s a non sequitur. He showed himself to his disciples to reinforce the fact that he’d been resurrected. He didn’t show himself to anyone else.

    Again, Mung, what does the Bible say? Why are you ignoring what the Bible says on the matter?

    1 Cor. 15:42-50, [RS, Revised Standard]: “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. . . . Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam [Jesus Christ, who was a perfect human as Adam had been at the start] became a life-giving spirit. . . . I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”

    1 Pet. 3:18, RS: “Christ also died for sins once for all, . . . being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit [“in the spirit,” NE, AT, JB, Dy].”

    IOW, even if he was raised bodily, as orthodox Christians believe, he could still inherit the kingdom, and your “proof text” turns out to be no such thing.

    The Bible very clearly, and in multiple translations as noted above, states that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Is the Bible wrong?

    Think about the concept of resurrecting someone; we know that all persons, heavenly or earthly, possess bodies. To be again a person (resurrected), one who has died would have to have a body, either a physical or a spiritual body. The Bible says: “If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one.”—1Co 15:44.

    But is the old body reassembled in the resurrection? or is it a precise replica of the former body, made exactly as it was when the person died? The Scriptures answer in the negative when they deal with the resurrection of Christ’s anointed brothers to life in the heavens: “Nevertheless, someone will say: ‘How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what sort of body are they coming?’ You unreasonable person! What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies; and as for what you sow, you sow, not the body that will develop, but a bare grain, it may be, of wheat or any one of the rest; but God gives it a body just as it has pleased him, and to each of the seeds its own body.”—1Co 15:35-38.

    Those resurrected to heaven as Paul mentions here receive a spiritual body, for it pleases God for them to have bodies suitable for their heavenly environment.

    So why do JW’s deny his bodily resurrection? It’s not because of anything written in Scripture. Where did the JW’s doctrine come from?

    You are unbelievable. I QUOTED SCRIPTURE TO SHOW WHERE THESE BELIEFS CAME FROM, AND YOU DENY IT. How incredibly stupid of you to ask this. What did my previous post contain? Scriptures to back up the points I was making.

    Paul then says: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:42) A human body, even when perfect, is corruptible. It can be killed. For example, Paul said that the resurrected Jesus was “destined no more to return to corruption.” (Acts 13:34) He would never return to life in a corruptible, even though perfect, human body. The bodies that God gives to resurrected anointed ones are incorruptible—beyond death or decay.

    Paul continues: “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised up in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:43, 44) Further, Paul says: “This which is mortal must put on immortality.” Immortality means endless, indestructible life. (1 Corinthians 15:53; Hebrews 7:16) In this way, the resurrected ones bear “the image of the heavenly one,” Jesus, who made their resurrection possible.—1 Corinthians 15:45-49.

    Is there any part of the above-cited scriptures that you don’t comprehend? Our doctrine came directly from the scriptures. Try reading them sometime. Your reading comprehension is either very, very off or you simply don’t care enough about the subject to objectively examine the facts.

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Mung, did you even read my post? Your questions were answered in there.

    Mung:

    But you deny he was resurrected bodily. You claim he merely “came back to life,” without a body.

    Barb:

    He was resurrected as a spirit, as the scriptures I quoted clearly show. Read my post.

    I read your post. Your response indicates you understood perfectly what you were claiming and what I was challenging.

    For you, “as a spirit,” means “without a body.” Correct?

    So now you have to make up some story about what happened to the body. My how history repeats itself.

    But your view is not orthodox Christianity.

    Will you at least grant that?

    Or do you believe that it’s the JW’s who are orthodox and all the rest of Christianity is mistaken?

  29. 29
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Acts 10:40, 41: “God raised this One [Jesus Christ] up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God.” (Why did not others see him too? Because he was a spirit creature and when, as angels had done in the past, he materialized fleshly bodies to make himself visible, he did so only in the presence of his disciples.)

    That’s not in my Bible.

    Sometimes I forget that JW’s have their own “translation.”

    New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013 Revision)

    Barb, do you know of any other sect that uses this “translation” of the Scriptures, other than JW’s?

    Another JW translation without all the gratuitous commentary:

    40 This the God raised up the third day, and gave him manifest to become, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses to those having been chosen before by the God, to us, who ate with and drank with him after that to have raised him out of the dead ones.

    Wow, not even the NWT has the comments that Barb added:

    40 God raised this one up on the third day+ and allowed him to become manifest,* 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after his rising from the dead.

    What commentary are you quoting from Barb?

  30. 30
    Ted Davis says:

    It’s ironic that the headline for this story explicitly blames BioLogos for what we now know to be a mass exodus on the part of Bryan College’s faculty, including (according to some sources) the whole science faculty.

    The ironies are at least two:
    (1) When Turner and Eisenback said, “The reality is that evolution is not a theory teetering on the edge of collapse,” they were saying something that YEC Todd Wood, himself a former Bryan College professor, has said often and quite loudly. I won’t take time to find a few links to document this, b/c I don’t need to: those readers of UD who know Wood or his ideas (and many probably do) know that this is accurate.

    In other words, they are hardly the first at Bryan to hold that evolution is strongly supported by the evidence, whether or not they conclude that evolution is actually true. THIS CAN’T BE BLAMED ON BIOLOGOS.

    (2) You can fairly sat that BioLogos is funding a project by Turner and Eisenback, but you can’t fairly imply that BioLogos should be blamed for what’s happened at Bryan. Perhaps publicity over the BioLogos grant motivated some people at Bryan to clean house–I have no idea about that, I am simply offering what I see as a reasonable speculation that remains a speculation. But, BioLogos did not have anything to do with Bryan hiring and then firing lots of faculty–far more than the two grant recipients–who don’t agree with what has been clearly stated by the college to be an addendum to a statement of faith that, by its own bylaws, cannot be amended. That is plainly an act of bad faith.

    What’s visible at Bryan is the tip of the iceberg. Scads of evangelical scholars and scientists want to do precisely what UD wants them to do: think for themselves and follow the evidence where it leads. At a significant number of evangelical colleges and seminaries, however, they can’t do that without risking their jobs. UD ought to be far more sympathetic: you know and I know that in many secular settings Christian scholars and scientists face the same conundrum. You should be applauding these legally-hired, illegally fired faculty for doing what you want ID people to be able to do in their own academic settings. In short: it works both ways.

    I teach at an evangelical college myself, and I affirm annually our statement of faith (the Apostles’ Creed) without an ounce of hesitation and with personal joy. As many here also know, I publicly chastised Iowa State University for allowing a witch hunt against Guillermo Gonazalez. So, no one can claim hypocrisy on my part in this particular instance.

  31. 31
    Barb says:

    Mung writes,

    I read your post. Your response indicates you understood perfectly what you were claiming and what I was challenging.
    For you, “as a spirit,” means “without a body.” Correct?

    Yes.

    So now you have to make up some story about what happened to the body. My how history repeats itself.

    Not necessarily. Remember, God disposed of Moses’ body in an undisclosed manner so that he wouldn’t be worshipped by the Israelites. Why couldn’t he have done the same with Jesus? The Bible doesn’t specify what happened to Jesus’s fleshly body.

    But your view is not orthodox Christianity.

    But it is in harmony with biblical Christianity, as evidenced from the scriptures cited.

    Will you at least grant that?

    Yes, and? Orthodox Christianity includes many beliefs and traditions not found in scripture. What did Jesus say about traditions? “You have made the word of God invalid by your tradition,” is what he told the Pharisees.

    Or do you believe that it’s the JW’s who are orthodox and all the rest of Christianity is mistaken?

    I believe the Bible is right. If Orthodox Christianity disagrees with what the Bible says, then its adherents have a problem.

    Acts 10:40, 41: “God raised this One [Jesus Christ] up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God.” (Why did not others see him too? Because he was a spirit creature and when, as angels had done in the past, he materialized fleshly bodies to make himself visible, he did so only in the presence of his disciples.)
    That’s not in my Bible.

    That scripture isn’t in your Bible? Really? If you’re referring to the words in parentheses, those are my comments. Did this somehow confuse you?

    Sometimes I forget that JW’s have their own “translation.”
    New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013 Revision)
    Barb, do you know of any other sect that uses this “translation” of the Scriptures, other than JW’s?

    And you appear to be inferring that this is somehow an inferior translation. You would be wrong in that case. Consider these comments from scholars:

    Dr. Benjamin Kedar, a Hebrew scholar in Israel, made a similar comment concerning the New World Translation. In 1989 he said: “This work reflects an honest endeavor to achieve an understanding of the text that is as accurate as possible. . . . I have never discovered in the New World Translation any biased intent to read something into the text that it does not contain.”

    In answer to your question, no, but I do know that a professor of religion, Jason David BeDuhn, wrote a book about Bible translations and praised the NWT for being closely aligned with the Hebrew and Greek texts available. It’s called “Truth in Translation”. Check it out sometime, it’s a pretty good read. Here’s an except of BeDuhn’s commentary from an article:

    “Some linguists have examined modern Bible translations—including the New World Translation—for examples of inaccuracy and bias. One such scholar is Jason David BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University in the United States. In 2003 he published a 200-page study of nine of “the Bibles most widely in use in the English-speaking world.” His study examined several passages of Scripture that are controversial, for that is where “bias is most likely to interfere with translation.” For each passage, he compared the Greek text with the renderings of each English translation, and he looked for biased attempts to change the meaning. What is his assessment?

    BeDuhn points out that the general public and many Bible scholars assume that the differences in the New World Translation (NW) are due to religious bias on the part of its translators. However, he states: “Most of the differences are due to the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation.” While BeDuhn disagrees with certain renderings of the New World Translation, he says that this version “emerges as the most accurate of the translations compared.” He calls it a “remarkably good” translation.”

    British Bible scholar Alexander Thomson noted that the New World Translation is outstanding in accurately rendering the Greek present tense. To illustrate: Ephesians 5:25 reads “Husbands, continue loving your wives” instead of saying merely “Husbands, love your wife.” (King James Version) “No other version appears to have exhibited this fine feature with such fulness and frequency,” said Thomson regarding the New World Translation.

    If you’re going to insinuate that this translation is inferior to others, please refute the comments from the scholars quoted above first. And, unless you really didn’t read my post, I did quote from other Bible translations. You did notice the letters in italics (KJ, RSV, etc), right?

    40 This the God raised up the third day, and gave him manifest to become, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses to those having been chosen before by the God, to us, who ate with and drank with him after that to have raised him out of the dead ones.

    And? This translation doesn’t specify whether he was raised bodily or spiritually. But it does note, as I noted earlier, that Jesus’s appearances were only to his followers.

    Wow, not even the NWT has the comments that Barb added:
    40 God raised this one up on the third day+ and allowed him to become manifest,* 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after his rising from the dead.
    What commentary are you quoting from Barb?

    I should have specified. It’s from a book published by the Witnesses called Reasoning from the Scriptures.

  32. 32
    Mung says:

    Hi Ted,

    Thanks for you comment. News often goes over the top here, presumably in an effort to generate hits.

    And for that, who needs facts?

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    Barb

    And you appear to be inferring that this is somehow an inferior translation. You would be wrong in that case.

    Yes of course it’s inferior. It tweaks the translation of the original languages to give them the JW’s very own spin.

    You can even track this throughout it’s various editions.

    But it is in harmony with biblical Christianity, as evidenced from the scriptures cited.

    Cited from a translation specifically skewed to match the JW’s teaching. I’m not impressed.

    So you can’t know if your position is Scriptural or not.

    Take for instance the JW’s insistence in translating cross as stake.

    NWT:

    And we are witnesses of all the things he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; but they did away with him by hanging him on a stake.

    The Emphatic Diaglott:

    39 and we witnesses of all, which he did in both the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom also they killed having hanged on a cross.

    Have you ever heard of this translation?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emphatic_Diaglott

    After Wilson’s death in 1900, the plates and copyright were inherited by his heirs. Charles Taze Russell, then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, approached Wilson’s family via a third party and obtained the copyright, and at some later point, the plates. The Society published the Diaglott in 1902, and later had the type reset for publication on its own presses in 1927, with an additional printing in 1942.

    In 1952 the copyright to the Diaglott expired and it fell into the public domain. The Watch Tower Society’s sold the Diaglott inexpensively (offering it free of charge from 1990), making it non-viable for others to print until the depletion of that inventory.

    Let me suggest that you use this translation from now on instead of the NWT. It’s obviously approved of by the JW’s.

    cheers

  34. 34
    Barb says:

    Mung continues,

    Yes of course it’s inferior. It tweaks the translation of the original languages to give them the JW’s very own spin.

    No, it is not inferior. Did you refute the arguments made by the biblical scholars I posted earlier? No? Come back when you have. Until then, I’ll take their opinions over yours. They, at least, appear to be objective.

    You can even track this throughout it’s various editions.

    To my knowledge, there have only been a few. There’s actually a newer version that was released in 2013.

    Cited from a translation specifically skewed to match the JW’s teaching. I’m not impressed.

    Is your reading comprehension seriously impaired? I quoted specifically from other translations. Look at my post again. See the letters in italics next to the verses? Those aren’t from the NWT. I think this is all the proof I need that you didn’t even bother to read my post before replying. You—and your argument—both fail.

    So you can’t know if your position is Scriptural or not.

    What part of comparing scripture with scripture are you failing to understand? My position is scriptural because I USED SCRIPTURES FROM THE BIBLE—INCLUDING VARIOUS TRANSLATIONS—to back up my argument. Can you really not comprehend this point?

    Take for instance the JW’s insistence in translating cross as stake.
    NWT:
    And we are witnesses of all the things he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; but they did away with him by hanging him on a stake.
    The Emphatic Diaglott:
    39 and we witnesses of all, which he did in both the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom also they killed having hanged on a cross.
    Have you ever heard of this translation?

    Yes, I have.

    Let me suggest that you use this translation from now on instead of the NWT. It’s obviously approved of by the JW’s.
    Cheers

    Let me suggest to you that your arguments be based on facts, not innuendo and bias.

  35. 35
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Did you refute the arguments made by the biblical scholars I posted earlier? No? Come back when you have. Until then, I’ll take their opinions over yours. They, at least, appear to be objective.

    “argument” 1:

    Dr. Benjamin Kedar, a Hebrew scholar in Israel, made a similar comment concerning the New World Translation. In 1989 he said: “This work reflects an honest endeavor to achieve an understanding of the text that is as accurate as possible. . . . I have never discovered in the New World Translation any biased intent to read something into the text that it does not contain.”

    Which version of the NWT was he talking about Barb?

    Certainly not the 2013 version, it wasn’t around in 1989.

    And his statement does not constitute an argument, so there’s nothing there to refute.

    What’s your source for this quote?

    If you expect me to refute “arguments” I need to know the source of those arguments. Are they from some Watchtower publication? Is the source accurately represented?

    For example, one online source admits that Kedar’s quote can’t be applied to the entire NWT. That’s not readily apparent from the source you quoted.

  36. 36
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Let me suggest to you that your arguments be based on facts, not innuendo and bias.

    I fail to see the innuendo. You asked a question and I gave an honest answer. The NWT is not reliable. It’s inferior. I even provided an example of how it is inferior compared to another JW approved translation.

    And bias? You quoting other translations does not transform the NWT into a reliable and unbiased source, in fact, it tends to emphasize the differences.

    Why do JW’s need their own translation?

    Is it because other previous translations were inferior?

    Apparently so.

  37. 37
    Mung says:

    Lest we lose sight of where this debate with Barb began.

    Barb began by asserting that if Jesus had been raised along with the body that was buried in the tomb that it would have prevented him from inheriting the kingdom, because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom.”

    She therefore reasons that Jesus cannot have been bodily raised from the dead.

    When asked what happened to the body, she offers that perhaps God hid it.

    And yet she also admits that Jesus appeared bodily after his resurrection. She reasons it must have been in some other body, some body other than that which was buried.

    Based on what? Where did Jesus’ post-resurrection bodies come from?

    And she has still failed to address the central question that was posed to her.

    If Jesus can appear post-resurrection in various different bodies, and yet still inherit the kingdom, how is it that he could not have been raised bodily and still inherit the kingdom?

  38. 38
    Barb says:

    Oh, and let’s discuss translating “Cross” as “stake”, shall we?

    The instrument of torture which the Greeks called staurós, and the Latins crux, was originally only a stake without a crossbeam at any angle. Consult an International Encyclopedia or other exhaustive reference work upon the subject for yourself. There is no factual, historical proof that Jesus was nailed to a cross such as Roman Catholics idolize.

    The New World Translation is not alone in maintaining that Jesus was executed upon a stake. If you have a copy of The Companion Bible Part V. The Gospels, published by the Oxford University Press, then turn to its Appendix No. 162 entitled “The Cross and Crucifixion” (page 186). After a lengthy discussion of considerable evidence the article concludes: “The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed at any angle.” Evidently you, in your reading of the Bible, have failed to attach due significance to the fact that the apostle Peter speaks of it only as a “tree” (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 1 Peter 2:24), and the apostle Paul speaks of it also as a “tree”, at Acts 13:29 and Galatians 3:13.

    The Greek word rendered “cross” in many modern Bible versions (“torture stake” in NW) is stau·ros?. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece. The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau·ros?], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.

    It is noteworthy that the Bible also uses the word xy?lon to identify the device used. A Greek-English Lexicon, by Liddell and Scott, defines this as meaning: “Wood cut and ready for use, firewood, timber, etc. . . . piece of wood, log, beam, post . . . cudgel, club . . . stake on which criminals were impaled . . . of live wood, tree.” It also says “in NT, of the cross,” and cites Acts 5:30 and 10:39 as examples. (Oxford, 1968, pp. 1191, 1192) However, in those verses KJ, RS, JB, and Dy translate xy?lon as “tree.” (Compare this rendering with Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:22, 23.)

    The book The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons (London, 1896), says: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . . It is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as ‘cross’ when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting ‘cross’ in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was for some reason or other assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape.” (Pages 23-4) Thus the weight of the evidence indicates that Jesus died on an upright stake and not on the traditional cross.

    There is another Greek word, xy?lon, that Bible writers used to describe the instrument of Jesus’ execution. A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament defines xy?lon as “a piece of timber, a wooden stake.” It goes on to say that like stauros?, xy?lon “was simply an upright pale or stake to which the Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified.”

    In line with this, we note that the King James Version reads at Acts 5:30: “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree [xy?lon].” Other versions, though rendering stauros? as “cross,” also translate xy?lon as “tree.” At Acts 13:29, The Jerusalem Bible says of Jesus: “When they had carried out everything that scripture foretells about him they took him down from the tree [xy?lon] and buried him.”

    Would you care to argue that the KJV and JB are wrong?

    In view of the basic meaning of the Greek words stauros? and xy?lon, the Critical Lexicon and Concordance, quoted above, observes: “Both words disagree with the modern idea of a cross, with which we have become familiarised by pictures.” In other words, what the Gospel writers described using the word stauros? was nothing like what people today call a cross.

    Appropriately, therefore, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures uses the expression “torture stake” at Matthew 27:40-42 and in other places where the word stauros? appears. Similarly, the Complete Jewish Bible uses the expression “execution stake.”

    Feel free to refute any of the translations or scholars quoted above.

  39. 39
    Barb says:

    Mung,

    I fail to see the innuendo. You asked a question and I gave an honest answer. The NWT is not reliable. It’s inferior. I even provided an example of how it is inferior compared to another JW approved translation.

    The other scholars I quoted do not believe it’s inferior. Their opinion trumps yours. Your “honest” answer is, unfortunately, clouded by your prejudice against the Witnesses. That is obvious enough from your comments.

    And bias? You quoting other translations does not transform the NWT into a reliable and unbiased source, in fact, it tends to emphasize the differences.

    So, if I quote from the NWT it’s inferior. If I quote from other translations, it’s also a problem for you.

    What a completely illogical line of thinking, Mung.

    Quoting from other translations does show some translational differences (usually just in words or phrases), yes, but if the translators are reliable, the gist of the scripture should be clear. Comparing translations also shows which translators did their homework, so to speak, and accurately translated the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic words. Again, please feel free to refute the biblical scholars mentioned above, all of whom do not view the NWT as inferior.

    Why do JW’s need their own translation?

    The truth is, the Witnesses utilize whatever translation is easily available in their language. For many years, they used the King James Version.

    Is it because other previous translations were inferior? Apparently so.

    It’s helpful here to understand that Bible translations cover a broad spectrum of styles, but they fall into three basic categories. Interlinear translations are at one end of the spectrum. These translations contain the original-language text along with a word-for-word rendering into the target language. Paraphrase translations fall at the other end of the spectrum. Translators of these versions freely restate the message of the Bible as they understand it in a way that they feel will appeal to their audience.

    The NWT falls into the third category: one that embraces translations that endeavor to strike a balance between these two extremes. These versions of the Bible strive to convey the meaning and flavor of the original-language expressions while also making the text easy to read.

    Other previous translations may or may not have captured accurately what the Bible writers were trying to convey. One of the much older KJV translations renders a Hebrew word as “bat” when “bird” would have been more appropriate.

    I’m going to continue quoting some of the scholars I mentioned earlier: note what Hebrew and Greek commentator Alexander Thomson had to say in his review on the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures: “The translation is evidently the work of skilled and clever scholars, who have sought to bring out as much of the true sense of the Greek text as the English language is capable of expressing. The version aims to keep to one English meaning for each major Greek word, and to be as literal as possible. . . . The word usually rendered ‘justify’ is generally translated very correctly as ‘declare righteous.’ . . . The word for the Cross is rendered ‘torture stake’ which is another improvement. . . . Luke 23:43 is well rendered, ‘Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.’ This is a big improvement upon the reading of most versions.” On the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, the same reviewer made this comment: “The New World Version is well worth acquiring. It is lively and lifelike, and makes the reader think and study. It is not the work of Higher Critics, but of scholars who honour God and His Word.”—The Differentiator

    Again, refute what Thomson says about the NWT. Try using some form of evidence, as I have, instead of your own opinion.

    Lest we lose sight of where this debate with Barb began.
    Barb began by asserting that if Jesus had been raised along with the body that was buried in the tomb that it would have prevented him from inheriting the kingdom, because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom.”
    She therefore reasons that Jesus cannot have been bodily raised from the dead.

    A point that I might add is backed up by numerous scriptural references.

    When asked what happened to the body, she offers that perhaps God hid it.

    Good question: what happened to Jesus’ fleshly body? Did not the disciples find his tomb empty? They did, because God removed Jesus’ body. Why did God do this? It fulfilled what had been written in the Bible. (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:31) Thus Jehovah saw fit to remove Jesus’ body, even as he had done before with Moses’ body. (Deuteronomy 34:5, 6) Also, if the body had been left in the tomb, Jesus’ disciples could not have understood that he had been raised from the dead, since at that time they did not fully appreciate spiritual things.
    Jehovah God evidently disposed of Jesus’ fleshly body in his own way (possibly disintegrating it into the atoms of which it was constituted). (Lu 24:2, 3, 22, 23; Joh 20:2)

    And yet she also admits that Jesus appeared bodily after his resurrection. She reasons it must have been in some other body, some body other than that which was buried.

    Jesus, having been resurrected as a spirit (1Pe 3:18), could materialize a body for the occasion as the angels did in past times, when they appeared as messengers. (Ge 18:2; 19:1, 12; Jos 5:13, 14; Jg 13:3, 6; Heb 13:2) During the days before the Flood, the angels that “did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place” performed an incarnation and married human wives. That these angelic sons of God were not truly human but had materialized bodies is shown by the fact that the Flood did not destroy these angels, but they dematerialized and returned to the spirit realm.—Jude 6; Ge 6:4; 1Pe 3:19, 20; 2Pe 2:4.

    Based on what? Where did Jesus’ post-resurrection bodies come from?

    Based on (1) that the Bible states clearly that he was resurrected as a spirit, as noted in the scriptures cited above in a previous post, and (2) materializing into a fleshly body would not be a problem for the Son of God.
    Jesus evidently materialized bodies on these occasions, as angels had done in the past when appearing to humans.

    Disposing of Jesus’ physical body at the time of his resurrection presented no problem for God. Interestingly, although the physical body was not left by God in the tomb (evidently to strengthen the conviction of the disciples that Jesus had actually been raised), the linen cloths in which it had been wrapped were left there; yet, the resurrected Jesus always appeared fully clothed. (I’m repeating what I posted earlier, since Mung apparently hasn’t read most of what I’ve posted here).

    You believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. Yet you do not believe that God could provide a human body for him. What an odd contradiction of beliefs you have, Mung.

    Again, do you have anything to say about the scriptural references here? They do prove my point for me.

    And she has still failed to address the central question that was posed to her. If Jesus can appear post-resurrection in various different bodies, and yet still inherit the kingdom, how is it that he could not have been raised bodily and still inherit the kingdom?

    Because the scriptures clearly state that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

    The Bible is very clear when it says: “Christ died once for all time concerning sins . . . , he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)

    What part of that scripture do you not understand?

    Humans with flesh-and-blood bodies cannot live in heaven. Of the resurrection to heavenly life, the Bible says: “It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. . . . flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 15:44-50) Only spirit persons with spiritual bodies can live in heaven.

    Again, what part of that scripture do you not understand?

    Jesus did not take back his fleshly body and thereby cancel out the ransom for which it was given. Emphasis mine. If Jesus continued to use his fleshly body, was the ransom for mankind’s sin really paid? If not, then what was the point of his death?

  40. 40
    Barb says:

    Which version of the NWT was he talking about Barb?
    Certainly not the 2013 version, it wasn’t around in 1989.

    Originally, it was published in sections starting in 1950. A version with references was produced in 1984.

  41. 41
    Barb says:

    What’s your source for this quote?

    If you expect me to refute “arguments” I need to know the source of those arguments. Are they from some Watchtower publication? Is the source accurately represented?
    Yes, I expect you to refute arguments. That’s the whole point of debating.

    My initial source was a publication produced by the Witnesses entitled All Scripture is Inspired of God The quote is from an interview Dr. Kedar had with a Witness in June 1989.

    However, a couple of online searches turned up a letter written by Dr. Kedar years later. You’ll note that while he has no love for the Witnesses themselves, he still states that the NWT is an accurate translation.

    He has been quoted as saying;
    “Since several individuals and institutions have addressed me concerning the following matter, I make this statement; henceforth it will be sent instead of a personal letter to anyone appealing to me to clarify my position.

    1) Several years ago I quoted the so-called New World Translation among several Bible versions in articles that dealt with purely philological [pertaining to the study/science of languages] questions (such as the rendition of the causative hiphil, of the participle qotel). In the course of my comparative studies I found the NWT rather illuminating: it gives evidence of an acute awareness of the structural characteristics of Hebrew as well as an honest effort to faithfully render these in the target [English] language. A translation is bound to be a compromise, and as such its details are open to criticism; this applies to the NWT too. In the portion corresponding to the Hebrew Bible, however, I have never come upon an obviously erroneous rendition which would find its explanation in a dogmatic bias. Repeatedly I have asked the antagonists of the Watchtower-Bible who turned to me for a clarification of my views, to name specific verses for a renewed scrutiny. This was either not done or else the verse submitted (e.g. Genesis 4:13, 6:3, 10:9, 15:5, 18:20 etc.) did not prove the point, namely a tendentious[with a purposed aim/biased] translation.

    2) I beg to make clear that I do not feel any sympathy for any sect and this includes Jehovah’s Witnesses. Of course, my mistrust is not directed against the individual member of such sect but rather against the organization that manipulates him and puts forward its dogmas and rules as the ultimate truth. It should be conceded, however, that the groups and organizations that fiercely oppose the witnesses do not behave any better. On the whole, synagogue, church and mosque also tend to exhibit dogmatic arrogance coupled with intolerance of and enmity with other confessions.

    3) I cannot help expressing my deep conviction that the search for truth will never benefit by linguistic quibble. Whether the author using the word naephaesh denoted ‘soul’ as opposed to body(Lev 17:11) or meant something else, whether ‘almah’ means ‘virgin’ or ‘young woman'(Is 7:14) is of great interest to philologists and historians of religion; an argument for or against blood transfusion or the virgin-birth of Jesus respectively, cannot be derived from it.

    4) Obviously, it is man’s destiny to make the choice of his way a matter of conscience and to the best of his knowledge. There exists no simple set of rules such as could be learned from the mouth of a guru or the pages of an ancient venerable book. Those who pretend to act according to an infallible guide, more often than not interpret the texts in accordance with their preconceived wishes and notions.”

    The letter is dated 1995.

    From here: http://www.answerbag.com/q_vie.....z31wDQMDMF

    It’s also quoted on this blog as well: http://www.belovedjerusalem.com/

  42. 42
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    The other scholars I quoted do not believe it’s inferior.

    The other scholars you quoted were not asked it if was inferior.

  43. 43
    Mung says:

    Gal 3:13 NASB

    Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE “

    NWT:

    Christ purchased us, releasing us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: “Accursed is every man hung upon a stake.”

    NWT:

    Thus Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.+

    NWT sez:

    his dead body should not remain all night on the stake. Instead, you should be sure to bury him on that day, because the one hung up is something accursed of God, and you should not defile your land that Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance.

    But contrary to the NWT:

    And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:

    His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

    What’s the Hebrew word for tree?

    What’s the Hebrew word for stake?

    Why does the NWT translate the same Hebrew word differently?

  44. 44
    Axel says:

    Barb @39:

    ‘Jesus, having been resurrected as a spirit (1Pe 3:18), could materialize a body for the occasion as the angels did in past times, when they appeared as messengers. (Ge 18:2; 19:1, 12; Jos 5:13, 14; Jg 13:3, 6; Heb 13:2).

    Resurrection as a spirit makes no sense. True, the spirit leaves the body when we die, but when Paul spoke of Christ being raised from the dead, he was clearly speaking about his glorified body; ‘glorified’ here being the operative word. You yourself quote a relevant passage of scripture:

    ‘Humans with flesh-and-blood bodies cannot live in heaven. Of the resurrection to heavenly life, the Bible says: “It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. . . . flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 15:44-50) Only spirit persons with spiritual bodies can live in heaven.’

    A body is more than a spirit or ghost. Christ’s Spirit is the Holy Ghost, is it not? If as you claim, he merely assumed a physical body, out of any number he might have chosen, as a mere simulacrum of his own body while on earth, why did he tell Thomas to look at the wounds in his hands and feet and to put his hand in the hole in his side? were they no more than serviceable teaching aids he co-opted?

    The glorification of Christ’s body, whereby, like a spirit, he was able to walk through walls, for example, is the template for the glorification of our bodies, when we die and are resurrected. So, forget the ‘flesh and blood’ qua the normal sentient, mortal, human body and blood. Christ and the Evangelists were talking about a spiritualised body, but a body, not a spirit. Indeed, I believe that blood is a symbol of the spirit in christian lore.

    Certainly, we know little to nothing beyond the fact that our bodies will be glorified, other than the fact that ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard’ what we shall encounter in heaven.

    What is your ‘take’ on the Shroud of Turin? It strikes me that the evidence is as ‘finely tuned’ to what we know of Christ’s death and burial, as the cosmos is to viability on earth; particularly in conjunction with the Sudarium of Oviedo?

  45. 45
    Axel says:

    As regards the cross. It might just as easily be argued that ‘tree’ would seem to imply branches (cross-beam), rather than a mere tree trunk.

    Moreover, Christ – like the bronze serpent held up on a staff during the sojourn of the Hebrews in the desert – having been made sin for our sakes, the Cross seems to have notable resonances with the tree from which Absolom, the treacherous son of David, was accidentally caught up and suspended by his head, between its boughs, when Absolom killed him with three darts. (Incidentally, it has been suggested that a Y-shaped cross might have been used for Christ’s crucifixion).

    It also struck me recently that the reference to the cross of crucifixion as a ‘tree’, might also reflect an, at best, rudimentary planing of the timbers. I suspect, other than what might have been required as essential for the practical purpose of the nailing, scant energy, if any, would have been expended on its fabrication: as disposable as their unfortunate victims.

    In conclusion, I think it unwise to question very ancient lore of the church that has survived to the present day, particularly when it is so closely associated with veneration of Holy Trinity, in the sign of the cross.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Barb says:

    Mung,

    The other scholars you quoted were not asked it if was inferior.

    No, Mung, they did an honest, unbiased comparison of the NWT with other versions and came away with their conclusions. Which apparently went right over your head.

    What’s the Hebrew word for tree?

    In Hebrew, ?ets and in Greek, den?dron. But you’re asking about Hebrew words for a scripture that comes from the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek.

    What’s the Hebrew word for stake?

    We’re not dealing with the Hebrew language, we’re dealing with the Greek language, which is what Galatians is translated from. In classical Greek the word (stau•ros?) rendered “torture stake” in the New World Translation primarily denotes an upright stake, or pole, and there is no evidence that the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures used it to designate a stake with a crossbeam.
    The Hebrew word for tree is also used with regard to the stake or post on which a body was hung. (Ge 40:19; De 21:22, 23; Jos 8:29; Es 2:23) In applying Deuteronomy 21:23, the apostle Paul used the Greek word xy?lon (wood) at the scripture you cited, Galatians 3:13. This clearly refers to a stake (or upright pole) and not a cross.

    Explaining why a simple stake was often used for executions, the book Das Kreuz und die Kreuzigung (The Cross and the Crucifixion), by Hermann Fulda, states: “Trees were not everywhere available at the places chosen for public execution. So a simple beam was sunk into the ground. On this the outlaws, with hands raised upward and often also with their feet, were bound or nailed.”

    The Companion Bible points out: “[Stau•ros?] never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle . . . There is nothing in the Greek of the [New Testament] even to imply two pieces of timber.”

    Why does the NWT translate the same Hebrew word differently?

    You are confused. Hebrew isn’t the language that the Greek scriptures (like Galatians 3:13) were written in. That would be translated from the Greek. Again for emphasis: the Greek word generally translated “cross” is stau•ros?. It basically means “an upright pale or stake.”

    This is where translations can get confusing when the words aren’t translated accurately. Most Bible translations say Christ was “crucified” rather than “impaled.” This is because of the common belief that the torture instrument upon which he was hung was a “cross” made of two pieces of wood instead of a single pale, or stake. Tradition, not the Scriptures, also says that the condemned man carried only the crossbeam of the cross, called the patibulum, or antenna, instead of both parts.

    Yet, what did the Bible writers themselves say about these matters? They used the Greek noun stau•ros? 27 times and the verbs stau•ro?o 46 times, syn•stau•ro?o (the prefix syn, meaning “with”) 5 times, and a•na•stau•ro?o (a•na?, meaning “again”) once. They also used the Greek word xy?lon, meaning “wood,” 5 times to refer to the torture instrument upon which Jesus was nailed. Stau•ros? in both the classical Greek and Koine carries no thought of a “cross” made of two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile, or pole, as might be used for a fence, stockade, or palisade. Says Douglas’ New Bible Dictionary of 1985 under “Cross,” page 253: “The Gk. word for ‘cross’ (stauros; verb stauroo . . . ) means primarily an upright stake or beam, and secondarily a stake used as an instrument for punishment and execution.”

    The fact that Luke, Peter, and Paul also used xy?lon as a synonym for stau•ros? gives added evidence that Jesus was impaled on an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xy?lon in this special sense means. (Ac 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Ga 3:13; 1Pe 2:24) Xy?lon also occurs in the Greek Septuagint at Ezra 6:11, where it speaks of a single beam or timber on which a lawbreaker was to be impaled.

    The New World Translation, therefore, faithfully conveys to the reader this basic idea of the Greek text by rendering stau•ros? as “torture stake,” and the verb stau•ro?o as “impale,” that is, to fasten on a stake, or pole. In this way there is no confusion of stau•ros? with the traditional ecclesiastical crosses. The matter of one man like Simon of Cyrene bearing a torture stake, as the Scriptures say, is perfectly reasonable, for if it was 15 cm (6 in.) in diameter and 3.5 m (11 ft) long, it probably weighed little more than 45 kg (100 lb) (see also Mark 15:21).

    Note what W. E. Vine says on this subject: “STAUROS (???????) denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross.” Greek scholar Vine then mentions the Chaldean origin of the two-piece cross and how it was adopted from the pagans by Christendom in the third century C.E. as a symbol of Christ’s impalement.—Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

    Significant is this comment in the book The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art: “It is strange, yet unquestionably a fact, that in ages long before the birth of Christ, and since then in lands untouched by the teaching of the Church, the Cross has been used as a sacred symbol. . . . The Greek Bacchus, the Tyrian Tammuz, the Chaldean Bel, and the Norse Odin, were all symbolised to their votaries by a cruciform device.”—By G. S. Tyack, London, 1900, p. 1.

  48. 48
    CentralScrutinizer says:

    Come on people, the New Testament is to the Old Testament is what the Book of Mormon is to the New Testament. If you approach the subject in all honesty how can you not see the NT is a cultic aberration to the OT. The NT characterization of the OT is completely at odds with the OT itself.

    First rule, be consistent

  49. 49
    Mung says:

    At times the gibbet was only one vertical stake, called in Latin crux simplex. This was the simplest available construction for torturing and killing the condemned. Frequently, however, there was a cross-piece attached either at the top to give the shape of a T (crux commissa) or just below the top, as in the form most familiar in Christian symbolism (crux immissa). Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that Jesus was crucified on a crux simplex, and that the crux immissa was an invention of Emperor Constantine

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....ross_shape

  50. 50
    Mung says:

    Particularly associated today with the idea of a stake are Jehovah’s Witnesses, who assert that the device used for Jesus’ execution was a simple upright stake, while mainstream Christians picture the device as having a transverse beam in addition to the upright.

    In line with their belief about the shape of the device, Jehovah’s Witnesses support earlier claims that the cross was adopted as a Christian symbol only under the 4th-century emperor Constantine the Great.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses’ publications have argued that the use of the Greek word stau·ros? in the Gospel accounts when referring to the instrument of execution on which Jesus died refers to an upright pole, stake, or post without a crossbeam. Their New World Translation of the Bible therefore uses the phrase “torture stake” to translate the Greek word ??????? (stauros) in the three passages cited: Matthew 27:40, Mark 15:30 and Luke 23:26.

    As shown above, both those claims are debated by scholars. The words by which the Gospels referred to the gibbet on which Jesus died did not necessarily mean a stake, nor did it necessarily mean a cross with cross-bar, but Christian writers long before AD 300 specifically spoke of that gibbet as having a cross-bar, being either cross-shaped or T-shaped.

    A study edition of the New World Translation supports the religion’s belief by reproducing an illustration from a work by 16th century philologist Justus Lipsius showing a man suspended by the wrists on a crux simplex or upright pole. The image is given at the head of this article, along with Justus Lipsius’s illustration of the gibbet used for Jesus, which shows a traditional-style cross with cross-bar. James Penton, who was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness but was expelled from the religion on grounds of apostasy in 1981, has claimed that the use of the single illustration by the Watch Tower Society “demonstrates so clearly how much their scholarship is affected by dogmatism“. “Watch Tower scholars falsely leave the impression that Lipsius thought that Jesus was put to death in that way”, he wrote. “In fact, Lipsius gives sixteen illustrations of impalement, thirteen of which show stakes with some sort of cross member.”

    In their book, Reasoning From the Scriptures, Jehovah’s Witnesses also reinforce their doctrine with a partial quote from The Imperial Bible-Dictionary (edited by Patrick Fairbairn, 1874) that states the crux “appears to have been originally an upright pole”. In the original text, however, the dictionary continued, “… and this always remained the most prominent part. But from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment, a transverse piece of wood was commonly added: not, however, always, even then.”

    Instrument of Jesus’ crucifixion

    You’re being lied to and misled, Barb.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung:

    The general and early consensus was, t or Tau . . . T . . . cross (if the latter, with an inscription up over the head making it look like a t).

    Relevant, C1 NT evidence, superscription over the head. I, T or t.

    2nd relevant evidence, Thomas speaks of nails piercing hands (which in that time included wrists) . . . Y, X, T or t.

    3rd evidence . . . decisive, Jesus carried cross-beam until he could go no farther, and someone was impressed to carry it for him, Simon from Cyrenica. T or t.

    Try carrying a 4″ x 6″, 6-ft long beam on shoulders after you have been badly whipped and probably deprived of sleep and nourishment for a full night. Then think of dragging a 6″ square ~ 10 ft long beam (2′ in the post-hole, leaves 8′ to work with, I suspect 12′ is more reasonable) with the same cross-piece on one end. The first is barely possible, the second just does not work. The conclusion is, as various sources say, carrying your cross meant being forced to carry the perhaps 6′ cross-piece as a part of the ritual of degradation. Again, T or t.

    Overlap zone, T or t.

    No reason to conclude other than t (the traditional Latin cross), which is from old traditions.

    People have made too much of “stauros,” stake. That is the main, upright member that in Gk probably stands for the whole a la all hands on deck.

    KF

  52. 52
  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Recall, the placard over the head identifying the crime that led to such a shameful end, was a key part of the whole business so far as the Romans were concerned — especially for one in the “place of chief dishonour” as ringleader as alleged (he probably got the cross intended for Barabbas). In this case, Pilate took advantage to give a dig at the Jewish leaders by refusing to amend from King of the Jews to he said he was king of the Jews. That makes the classic t-cross the most reasonable shape, as that projecting upright is the easiest way to attach it. (Cf. illustrations of typical crosses here.)

  54. 54
    Mung says:

    Indeed it is a mystery to me why a group who would deny that Jesus was hung on a cross and was raised bodily from the dead would want to call themselves Christian.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: The sign-board would have likely been of significant size, 2″ letters being legible at 50 ft. Assuming one-liners and that the Latin would be the usual INRI as official charge and the others being cut down to fit, we can see 10-12″ high or maybe 15″, and easily 24 – 30″ wide. This was no little scrap of paper. 1/2″ or more thick would be reasonable, and given wind gusts, substantial nailing work. This tends to support the t-cross, sticking up maybe 24 – 30″ above the cross-beam. 2′ in the hole, doubtless either set in or wedged in, 10′ high, with 2′ above and 6′ for the victim leaves feet maybe only 2′ above ground with 12′. 14′ is looking more likely.

  56. 56
    Mung says:

    WLC:

    Thus, the details of the Gospel crucifixion narratives are all consistent with the traditional understanding that Jesus was crucified on a cross-shaped frame.

    This is how the early church understood the crucifixion narratives, as evident from the earliest engravings and pictographs of the cross going all the way back to the first century. Samuelsson’s dissertation focuses exclusively on philology (linguistics) and takes no cognizance of archaeology or art history.

  57. 57
    Barb says:

    Mung,
    You’re being lied to and misled, Barb.
    Says the person who hasn’t refuted a single point I’ve made in this thread, either from scripture quotations or comments from biblical scholars.

    So all the other Bible translations that render “stauros” as stake are also wrong? W.E. Vine, the writer and scholar of a biblical commentary on Hebrew and Greek words, is also wrong?

    Or are you wrong, Mung? Which is it?

    Indeed it is a mystery to me why a group who would deny that Jesus was hung on a cross and was raised bodily from the dead would want to call themselves Christian.
    Because they are following the teachings of Christ, not the traditions of men. Don’t take my word for it. Look up the scriptures cited.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb, it is a common figure of speech to name the part . . . esp a major one . . . to signify the whole, e,g, all hands on deck or Holland for the Netherlands. Attending to context, you will see the history gives several candidate shapes, but circumstantial details of the C1 reports as above narrow this to to T or t, and the sign board overhead generally points to t. Cf my notes addressed to Mung. KF

  59. 59
    Mung says:

    Here they admit to doctoring the text to fit their doctrine:

    The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures does not follow this common practice. It uses the name Jehovah a total of 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. In deciding to do this, the translators took into consideration two important factors: (1) The Greek manuscripts we possess today are not the originals. Of the thousands of copies in existence today, most were made at least two centuries after the originals were composed. (2) By that time, those copying the manuscripts either replaced the Tetragrammaton with Ky?ri·os, the Greek word for “Lord,” or they copied from manuscripts where this had already been done.

    The New World Bible Translation Committee determined that there is compelling evidence that the Tetragrammaton did appear in the original Greek manuscripts.

    http://www.jw.org/en/publicati.....ptures/#p1

    So yes, it’s inferior. The translators render in English not what the text says, but what they wish the text said.

    So what’s the point of arguing with a JW over Greek words when their practice is to make the Greek text say whatever they want it to say?

  60. 60
    Mung says:

    In Romans 14:8 (NWT) Kurios (Lord) is translated as Jehovah three times:

    For if we live, we live to Jehovah, and if we die, we die to Jehovah. So both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah.

    But here’s one they missed:

    Next he said to Thomas: “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop doubting* but believe.” 28 In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!

    Oh well, there’s always the next edition of the NWT to look forward to!

    Is Jesus Christ Lord?

    Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity

  61. 61
    Mung says:

    Barb, you should check this out:
    KINGDOM INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION OF THE GREEK SCRIPTURES

    If you can find it at your local Kingdom Hall.

    “Sincere seekers for eternal, life-giving truth desire an accurate understanding of the faith-inspiring Greek Scriptures, an understanding that is fortified by the knowledge of what the original language says and means. The purpose behind the publishing of The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures is to aid such seekers of truth and life. Its literal interlinear English translation is especially designed to open up to the student of the Sacred Scriptures what the original koine Greek basically or literally says.”

  62. 62
  63. 63
  64. 64
  65. 65
    Mung says:

    John 17:3 (NWT)

    This means everlasting life, their coming to know you,

    Any thoughts in why this verse got changed in the latest revision of the NWT?

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Mass estimate of cross-piece, at 6 x 4, 6 ft long:

    Wood density ranges typically 0.4 – 1.3, and olive wood — used for the cross in the case that has been archaeologically recovered — seems to range 0.72 – 0.99; let’s use 0.7.

    At 2.54 cm/in, a cubic inch is 16.39 cc, or mass in grams 11.5.

    6 x 4 x 72 = 1,728 cu in . . . 1 cu ft

    Mass: 19.8 kg, 43.7 lb (and no I am not going to bother with mass in slugs vs weight in lb, let’s use the lb as a mass unit)

    (And a 6 x 4 is a low estimate on dimensions, we can see 50 – 100 lb as reasonable.)

    A badly beaten man [the beatings with the multi-thong wips with bone or metal in the ends often left the victim half dead with internal organs etc exposed . . . ~ 100 stripes of the comparable Russian knout were “equivalent” to a death sentence . . . ] may lug a weight like that for a while, but collapse, perhaps repeated, is understandable.

    The text, of course supports both the carrying of such a cross-piece and the collapses leading to impressing Simon of Cyrenica to carry the cross.

    The implications for how the Roman officers, troops and auxiliaries acted towards the colonised people of Judaea, are plain.

    (NB: The use of a “Lancia” — a typical spear not the pilum — to pierce Jesus’ side points to an auxiliary unit, not the main Legions. It is reasonable to infer that Roman Officers would be integrated with such units, to give a bit of stiffening and discipline. A Centurion, in charge of the execution squad [and four is typical], is in reality a sort of super NCO, a warrant officer not generally promotable beyond that level. The callous crudity implicit in gambling at the foot of the cross over the dying man’s woven one-piece underclothes speaks understated volumes.)

    Even at 6 x 6, 10 ft long [4320 cu in] . . . a low estimate [8 x 8 is probably more reasonable], at the same density, the upright would weigh in at 49.7 kg, or 109.5 lb.

    The two together, would weigh in at 150 lb.

    So, we have some rough but reasonable ideas of what we are dealing with here. A T or t cross is what is compatible with what the text speaks of when context is read with understanding, and the historical reports of carrying the cross-piece (and not the upright) are compatible with the weights we just saw.

    Given the pattern in language known as metonymy:

    METONYMY: a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (as “crown” in “lands belonging to the crown”) [Merriam-Webster online]

    . . . the use of “Stauros” — lit. stake — for crosses of diverse shape is consistent with the known shapes of crosses. No elaborate stories of crosses in the t or T sense being a late insertion is reasonable or required.

    And, underlying, we see that the historic tradition is reasonable, not yet another sign of alleged syncretism with pagan elements or the like; a common dismissive accusation. Yes, some of that happened, but that is not the case with everything. Nor is everything that is pagan in roots automatically wrong or suspect . . . try the alphabet we are using, the roots of the language we are using, and the system of decimal numbers we are using.

    Even, something that is almost certainly in error, the date of Christmas, becomes reasonable. Once, we see that a king or queen may have an official birthday that is not his/her personal one [as is the case with the current Queen in Britain], and when one realises that in the temperate northern zone, the shortest . . . darkest . . . day of the year is the winter solstice c. Dec 23 and light then begins to increase all the way to the summer solstice c June 23 [near enough to when Pentecost is celebrated], that makes a church calendar of activities that moves from nativity to passion and to the celebration of the descent of the Spirit in a way that links to that astronomical pattern a reasonable decision. That Christmas would then have been an alternative to Saturnalia, and Easter to Pagan Spring Festivals, would have been a reasonable response to cultural challenges. (Here, it is a challenge to have to keep out of a Saturnalia-tinged Christmas festival period that traces to the old Slavery period nine days Christmas holiday. A sound, socially positive Christmas festive season as an alternative that is clean of the problems, is a significant issue.)

    Finally, a bit of attention to context [which will often come through in translation quite well thank you] and some reasonable estimation will often help us understand more clearly what is going on.

    KF

  67. 67
    Barb says:

    Mung continues,

    Here they admit to doctoring the text to fit their doctrine:
    The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures does not follow this common practice. It uses the name Jehovah a total of 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. In deciding to do this, the translators took into consideration two important factors: (1) The Greek manuscripts we possess today are not the originals. Of the thousands of copies in existence today, most were made at least two centuries after the originals were composed. (2) By that time, those copying the manuscripts either replaced the Tetragrammaton with Ky-ri-os, the Greek word for “Lord,” or they copied from manuscripts where this had already been done>
    The New World Bible Translation Committee determined that there is compelling evidence that the Tetragrammaton did appear in the original Greek manuscripts.
    http://www.jw.org/en/publicati…..ptures/#p1
    So yes, it’s inferior. The translators render in English not what the text says, but what they wish the text said.

    It’s already been established that it’s not inferior. Refute the scholars who agree with me, and then we’ll talk.

    I love how you quote from an article written by the Witnesses and fail to see the point.

    The entire point of that article was that the Tetragrammaton, God’s name, was found in early manuscripts but was taken out by translators. The Witnesses restored what had been removed. Did you bother reading the article? No?

    Here are quotes from the article Mung cites:

    Recently, the 2004 edition of the popular New Living Translation made this comment in its preface under the heading “The Rendering of Divine Names”: “We have generally rendered the tetragrammaton (YHWH) consistently as ‘the LORD,’ utilizing a form with small capitals that is common among English translations. This will distinguish it from the name ?adonai, which we render ‘Lord.’” Then when commenting on the New Testament, it says: “The Greek word kurios is consistently translated ‘Lord,’ except that it is translated ‘LORD’ wherever the New Testament text explicitly quotes from the Old Testament, and the text there has it in small capitals.” (Italics ours.) The translators of this Bible therefore acknowledge that the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) should be represented in these New Testament quotes.

    Interestingly, under the heading “Tetragrammaton in the New Testament,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary makes this comment: “There is some evidence that the Tetragrammaton, the Divine Name, Yahweh, appeared in some or all of the O[ld] T[estament] quotations in the N[ew] T[estament] when the NT documents were first penned.”

    And scholar George Howard says: “Since the Tetragram was still written in the copies of the Greek Bible [the Septuagint] which made up the Scriptures of the early church, it is reasonable to believe that the N[ew] T[estament] writers, when quoting from Scripture, preserved the Tetragram within the biblical text.”

    The only thing that is inferior, Mung, is your reading comprehension level. The article proves my point, so thanks for linking to it!

    So what’s the point of arguing with a JW over Greek words when their practice is to make the Greek text say whatever they want it to say?

    Here are a few more translators that did exactly what the Witnesses did (and this is from an appendix in the 2013 edition of the NWT):

    Recognized Bible translators have used God’s name in the Christian Greek Scriptures
    Some of these translators did so long before the New World Translation was produced. These translators and their works include:
    A Literal Translation of the New Testament . . . From the Text of the Vatican Manuscript, by Herman Heinfetter (1863)
    The Emphatic Diaglott, by Benjamin Wilson (1864)
    The Epistles of Paul in Modern English, by George Barker Stevens (1898)
    St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, by W. G. Rutherford (1900)
    The New Testament Letters, by J.W.C. Wand, Bishop of London (1946)

    In addition, in a Spanish translation in the early 20th century, translator Pablo Besson used “Jehová” at Jude 14, and nearly 100 footnotes in his translation suggest the divine name as a likely rendering. Long before those translations, Hebrew versions of the Christian Greek Scriptures from the 16th century onward used the Tetragrammaton in many passages. In the German language alone, at least 11 versions use “Jehovah” (or the transliteration of the Hebrew “Yahweh”) in the Christian Greek Scriptures, while four translators add the name in parentheses after “Lord.” More than 70 German translations use the divine name in footnotes or commentaries.

    Are all these translators wrong for using God’s name, Mung? Can you prove that?

    I have the Kingdom Interlinear translation. Linking to “Crisis of Conscience” proves nothing. Reading only one side of the argument isn’t objective, and you know it. Try being open-minded for a change.

    John 17:3 (NWT)
    This means everlasting life, their coming to know you,
    Any thoughts in why this verse got changed in the latest revision of the NWT?

    Previously, the text stated “their taking in knowledge of you”. The Watchtower of October 15, 2013, explains: “According to Greek-language scholars, the Greek expression translated “taking in knowledge” can also be translated “should keep on knowing” or “should continue knowing.” The two meanings are complementary, and both are important. The footnote to John 17:3 in the Reference Bible gives the alternative rendering “their knowing you.” Thus, “taking in knowledge” refers to an ongoing process that results in the privileged state of “knowing” God. Knowing the greatest Person in the universe, however, involves much more than having a mental grasp of God’s qualities and purpose. Knowing Jehovah includes having a close bond of love with him and with fellow believers.”

  68. 68
    Mung says:

    Are you a JW? Did the end come in 1975?

    From 1966 to 1975, the Watchtower regularly implied that Armageddon would arrive in 1975. However, ask one of Jehovah’s Witnesses about this date and they will invariably deny there ever being such statements. The following exhaustive list of quotes show the Watchtower left little to the imagination regarding 1975.

    1975 – Watchtower Quotes

    Was the 1975 date wrong because the 1914 date was wrong?

    Do false dates arise from false doctrines?

  69. 69
    Mung says:

    Since its 1879 inception, Watchtower has preached “the End” is soon, originally predicting it would occur in 1914 and then 1925. This claim was subsequently adjusted to say the End will be very shortly, culminating in billions of humans being killed at God’s war of Armageddon. Only Jehovah’s Witnesses will be saved, surviving to live forever on this earth. It is common for leaders of fundamentalist religions to teach that only they know truth and their followers alone are worthy of salvation.

    JWfacts makes it as simple as possible to determine if Jehovah’s Witnesses have “the truth.”

    One true irony is that as a JW Barb must accept these false teachings of the JW leadership, but deny that the same words meant the very same thing when spoken by Jesus and the apostles!

    When Jesus and the apostles said “soon” it did not mean soon, but when the JW leadership says “soon” it means soon.

    When Jesus and the apostles said “this generation” it did not mean “this generation” but when the JW leadership says “this generation” it means this generation.

  70. 70
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    It’s already been established that it’s not inferior.

    No such thing has been established, that’s just your wishful thinking. Prima facie, the JW’s themselves admit it’s inferior, that’s why they keep revising it.

    http://www.jw.org/en/publicati.....-features/

    Religious cults are known for fabricating their own versions of the Bible or altering the Scriptures to support their own doctrines. The Watchtower Society is perhaps the most prime example of this cult characteristic. Through the Watchtower publication “The New World Translation”, loyal followers are tricked into believing this uneducated fabrication is scholarly and accurate, restoring Jehovah’s name where the rest of “Christendom” has changed it to Lord. Referred to as “the Bible”, Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced their translation is extremely accurate, in the belief that God only speaks through the Watchtower Society. As we examine this publication, our intent is not to discourage individuals from reading God’s Word the Holy Bible. However, we need to inform all to pay close attention to the peculiar method of writing, the sinister motive, and the deliberate manipulation used by the Watchtower Society to trick Jehovah’s Witnesses into believing that the New World Translation is the Holy Bible when it is not.

    Six Screens of the Watchtower – New World Translation

  71. 71
    Mung says:

    The Watchtower Society first published the New World Translation of the New Testament in 1950. Their complete Bible was published first in 1961, with subsequent revisions published in 1970 and 1984. The Watchtower was always quite secretive about the composition of their translation committee, claiming that credit should be given to God and the truth, rather than the translators. In the October 22, 1989 issue of Awake!, the Watchtower Society’s magazine publication, the society recited the words of their founder Charles T. Russell, “It is the truth rather than its servant that should be honored…” However, former members of the Society revealed the identities of the translation committee members as Frederick W. Franz, Nathan H. Knorr, George D. Gangas, Albert D. Schroeder, Milton G. Henschel, and Karl Klein. A review of their qualifications is disturbing:

    The New World Translation: The Watchtower Society’s Corrupt Bible

    Gangas, George: No training in biblical languages. Gangas was a Turkish national who knew Modern Greek. Translated Watchtower publications into Modern Greek.

    Henschel, Milton: No training in biblical languages.

    Klein, Karl: No training in biblical languages.

    Knorr, Nathan: No training in biblical languages

    Schroeder, Albert: No training in biblical languages. Schroeder majored in mechanical engineering for three years before dropping out.

    No wonder it’s inferior.

  72. 72
    VunderGuy says:

    @Mung

    Don’t you think you’re being a little too harsh?

  73. 73
    Optimus says:

    @ Mung & Onlookers for the record

    I’ve noted with considerable unease this argument unfolding over the last few days. My unease arises from the tone and polemical slant, especially arising from Mung, who though no doubt sincere in his defense of what he would consider “correct” Biblical theology, has made a number of statements harshly critical of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Normally I would ignore such statements, but as UD is a public discussion forum that I enjoy commenting at, I felt a sense of responsibility to set the record straight. A few statements are in order:

    (1) I have little to no interest in arguing with anyone. Arguments aren’t productive; they tend to increase fervor and minimize reason.

    (2) Internet discussions of theology tend toward being of poor quality because persons often feel as if they can treat others with a lack of restraint and basic human decency that would simply be unacceptable in a face-to-face context.

    (3) It’s very easy to find biased appraisals of any religious group on the Internet – that’s the nature of the beast. Religion tends to be controversial, and there’s no shortage of sites that target Mormons, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, various Protestant denominations, etc.

    (4) Since some of this unfortunate episode is due at least in part to the odious behavior of a commenter who uses the moniker “JWTruthinLove”, let this serve as a public rebuke:

    Your behavior on UD has consistently been boorish, unseemly, and, regrettably, in some instances bordering on unchristian. While your motives are likely sincere, your approach to discussing serious matters of Scripture has been needlessly inflammatory and insensitive. You would do well to meditate on the counsel of Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 15:1,28; James 1:19, 20; and perhaps of most import Matthew 7:12 – taking note of the example and direct counsel of our Lord and King Jesus Christ. Never forget that every human, Witness or not, is made in the image of Jehovah God, and thus possesses intrinsic dignity. It is also generally true of people that they hold their religious beliefs, whatever these may be, in sincerity – not out of injurious motives. Please give these reminders careful thought before engaging in any further reckless posting.

    (5) Mung, you are entirely welcome to hold and express your own view of what constitutes correct theology. But I’m genuinely shocked by your aggressive attitude. It’s one thing to be confident in your views – I am certainly confident in my own. But to accuse people of abject deceitfulness and contempt for truth because they hold a minority view is uncharitable, to say the least.

    (6) I am proud to be part of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have spent decades engaged in serious reading and careful study of various Bible translations. My personal collection includes the King James Version, The Revised Standard Version, The Douay Bible, An American Translation, Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, The Living Bible, and The New World Translation. I have read the Bible in its entirety more times than I’ve kept count of – last year alone I read the New Testament in its entirety, much of it twice, using different translations to improve comprehension. This year I’ve read through the Torah once already and will likely do so twice. I say this not to boast of my own knowledge, but merely to establish that I, as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, have a deep and abiding love for Scripture and have nothing to fear from using many different translations of the Bible. I have made a good faith effort to ground my theology solidly on a painstaking reading of Scripture.

    (7) Mung, you would do well to carefully consider this Bible principle:

    “To answer before one hears is one’s folly and shame.”
    Proverbs 18:13 An American Translation

    In other words, being quick to judgement is not a virtue. Listen before criticizing. It may be that what seems to be a hard and fast disagreement may turn out to be a mere misunderstanding. I’ve often found this to be the case in speaking to people about matters of theology. And be careful about what sources on the internet you trust. As it is written in Proverbs 14:15 “The simple man trusts everything; but the sensible man pays heed to his steps.”

    (8) Your appraisal of the New World Translation is unfair. As Barb has correctly pointed out, numerous scholars have praised the work for its conservativeness, care in rendering verb tenses, and modern English. Its most prominent feature – usage of the Divine Name in its common English form – is in no way inappropriate or wholly unique. Byington, the American Standard Version, the Living Bible, old King James Bibles (in four places), the Emphatic Diaglott (ironically – since you attempted to use it in critique of the New World Translation), and numerous other Bibles feature some form of the Divine Name. Furthermore, it is indisputable that the Name appears literally thousands of times in the Masoretic Text and is frequent in the Dead Sea Scrolls (see the Isaiah and Psalms scrolls). If you have a genuine interest in reading the text, you can do so online for free at jw.org. Additionally, if you want a balanced, scholarly comparison of the New World Translation with other modern translations, see the book Truth in Translation by Jason BeDuhn. You can buy it on Amazon or check it out from a library.

    (9) This is already overlong, so I’ll say this in closing, Mung et al: If anyone wants to have a good-faith, civilized, adult conversation about Biblical scholarship and theology, I’m more than happy to oblige. Biblical theology is my passion. But I ask as a courtesy that you stop trashing my beliefs on a site that I enjoy reading primarily for science and philosophy discussions. Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Thanks

  74. 74
    Mung says:

    Optimus:

    In other words, being quick to judgement is not a virtue.

    Physician, heal thyself.

    If anyone wants to have a good-faith, civilized, adult conversation about Biblical scholarship and theology, I’m more than happy to oblige. Biblical theology is my passion.

    Are you in possession of the relevant texts?

  75. 75
    Barb says:

    Mung continues on his quixotic quest:

    Are you a JW? Did the end come in 1975?
    From 1966 to 1975, the Watchtower regularly implied that Armageddon would arrive in 1975. However, ask one of Jehovah’s Witnesses about this date and they will invariably deny there ever being such statements. The following exhaustive list of quotes show the Watchtower left little to the imagination regarding 1975.
    1975 – Watchtower Quotes
    Was the 1975 date wrong because the 1914 date was wrong?
    Do false dates arise from false doctrines?

    Yes, I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you never will.

    I love it when people who are completely uneducated about what the Witnesses believe trot out things such as “1975!” The fact that you have no clue what the Witnesses actually believe makes your argumentation in this thread amusing, to say the least.

    You have not refuted one biblical scholar that I quoted who thinks that the NWT is a good translation.

    You have not refuted one scripture that I cited showing that (a) Jesus rose in spirit form to heaven upon his resurrection or that (b) he was impaled upon a stake, not a cross. And I cited scriptures from other translations, not just the NWT.

    If you want to have a serious discussion about theology, you need to address these issues first.

    The simple truth is according to biblical chronology, 1975 would have marked 6,000 years of mankind’s existence on the earth. There is absolutely no reference to Armageddon in any Watchtower article anywhere that relates it to 1975. I’ve read it. You haven’t. If some witnesses—and I do know some personally who believed the end would come in 1975—believed this, then they weren’t following Bible chronology. They were making up their own minds about what the significance of that year was.

    This comes from The Watchtower of January 1, 2013. It says all that needs to be said on the matter:
    Jehovah’s Witnesses have had wrong expectations about when the end would come. Like Jesus’ first-century disciples, we have sometimes looked forward to the fulfillment of prophecy ahead of God’s timetable. (Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2) We agree with the sentiment of longtime Witness A. H. Macmillan, who said: “I learned that we should admit our mistakes and continue searching God’s Word for more enlightenment.”

    Why, then, do we continue to highlight the nearness of the end? Because we take seriously Jesus’ words: “Keep looking, keep awake.” The alternative, to be found “sleeping” by Jesus, would prevent us from gaining his favor. (Mark 13:33, 36) Why?

    Consider this example: A lookout in a fire tower might see what he thinks is a wisp of smoke on the horizon and sound what proves to be a false alarm. Later, though, his alertness could save lives.

    Likewise, we have had some wrong expectations about the end. But we are more concerned with obeying Jesus and saving lives than with avoiding criticism. Jesus’ command to “give a thorough witness” compels us to warn others about the end.—Acts 10:42.

    We believe that even more important than focusing on when the end will come, we must be confident that it will come, and we must act accordingly. We take seriously the words of Habakkuk 2:3, which says: “Even if [the end] should delay [compared to what you thought], keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.”

    Mung then goes on to cite several non-Witness websites that claim to have information about what the Witnesses believe. This is patently stupid, and Mung should know better. Using references with an obvious axe to grind against a particular group proves nothing. It’s like using Pharyngula to prove evolution is true without bothering to consult any other websites, like UD.

    If anyone wants to know what the Witnesses actually believe, they should visit http://www.jw.org, which is the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Don’t bother with websites run by people who have an agenda against the Witnesses. That only proves that your prejudice is clouding your thinking skills.

    One true irony is that as a JW Barb must accept these false teachings of the JW leadership, but deny that the same words meant the very same thing when spoken by Jesus and the apostles!

    When Jesus and the apostles said “soon” it did not mean soon, but when the JW leadership says “soon” it means soon.
    When Jesus and the apostles said “this generation” it did not mean “this generation” but when the JW leadership says “this generation” it means this generation.

    Note that Mung hasn’t cited any scriptures relating to Jesus’s speaking of the “generation” that would see the end. I wonder why. Is it because he hasn’t read them?
    Anyhow, the Witnesses freely admit that their beliefs have been clarified throughout the years. I mentioned this upthread or in another thread—if science is self-correcting, then religion also can be self-correcting. The Catholic Church acknowledged its mistake regarding Galileo. The Witnesses acknowledge that they aren’t prophets. However, they do spend far more time studying the Bible and attempting to understand its message than Mung ever has.

    From the Watchtower of April 15, 2010:
    For example, consider our understanding of those who make up “this generation” mentioned by Jesus. (Read Matthew 24:32-34.) To what generation did Jesus refer? The article “Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You?” explained that Jesus was referring, not to the wicked, but to his disciples, who were soon to be anointed with holy spirit.* Jesus’ anointed followers, both in the first century and in our day, would be the ones who would not only see the sign but also discern its meaning—that Jesus “is near at the doors.”

    What does this explanation mean to us? Although we cannot measure the exact length of “this generation,” we do well to keep in mind several things about the word “generation”: It usually refers to people of varying ages whose lives overlap during a particular time period; it is not excessively long; and it has an end. (Ex. 1:6) How, then, are we to understand Jesus’ words about “this generation”? He evidently meant that the lives of the anointed who were on hand when the sign began to become evident in 1914 would overlap with the lives of other anointed ones who would see the start of the great tribulation. That generation had a beginning, and it surely will have an end. The fulfillment of the various features of the sign clearly indicate that the tribulation must be near.

    This understanding was again clarified in July 2013.

    No such thing has been established, that’s just your wishful thinking. Prima facie, the JW’s themselves admit it’s inferior, that’s why they keep revising it.

    The King James version was recently re-issued and revised; is it also wrong. You haven’t refuted any scholar who suggests that the NWT is a good translation. Why don’t you get back to me when you’ve done so? You might take note that the NKJV uses the name Jehovah (http://www.clevelandbanner.com.....in_article).

    Go ahead and explain, using non-biased references, why this is wrong.

    Gangas, George: No training in biblical languages. Gangas was a Turkish national who knew Modern Greek. Translated Watchtower publications into Modern Greek.
    Henschel, Milton: No training in biblical languages.
    Klein, Karl: No training in biblical languages.
    Knorr, Nathan: No training in biblical languages
    Schroeder, Albert: No training in biblical languages. Schroeder majored in mechanical engineering for three years before dropping out.
    No wonder it’s inferior.

    It’s not inferior according to a professor of religion (BeDuhn) or a biblical scholar (Kedar). You have absolutely no knowledge of what level of education these men have had. Even if their training wasn’t in Koine Greek, they do have the one thing that all the Bible writers had: God’s holy spirit. Remember, the Bible was itself written by humans, including a tax collector (Matthew), a shepherd-king (David), a well-educated tentmaker (Paul), fishermen (Peter and James), a wise king (Solomon), and a person who harvested figs (Amos). None had any special training in writing or languages, yet they wrote what God told them under inspiration to write.

    As of 2013, The New World Translation is now available, in whole or in part, in over 116 languages, and more than 178,545,862 copies have been printed. And just in case anyone is wondering, here are the texts used to translate the NWT:

    Hebrew Text: The New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (1953-1960) was based on Biblia Hebraica, by Rudolf Kittel. Since that time, updated editions of the Hebrew text, namely, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and Biblia Hebraica Quinta, have included recent research based on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient manuscripts. These scholarly works reproduce the Leningrad Codex in the main text along with footnotes that contain comparative wording from other sources, including the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek Septuagint, the Aramaic Targums, the Latin Vulgate, and the Syriac Peshitta. Both Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and Biblia Hebraica Quinta were consulted when preparing the present revision of the New World Translation.

    Greek Text: In the late 19th century, scholars B. F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort compared existing Bible manuscripts and fragments as they prepared the Greek master text that they felt most closely reflected the original writings. In the mid-20th century, the New World Bible Translation Committee used that master text as the basis for its translation. Other early papyri, thought to date back to the second and third centuries C.E., were also used. Since then, more papyri have become available. In addition, master texts such as those by Nestle and Aland and by the United Bible Societies reflect recent scholarly studies. Some of the findings of this research were incorporated into this present revision.

    Note that these texts have also been used by other translators. Also note that “The BHS is in worldwide use today and is esteemed among all denominations as a highly reliable edition of the Hebrew Bible. It provides the basis both for clerical training and for all reputable biblical translations.” (http://www.academic-bible.com/.....bible/bhs/)

    That Mung has chosen not to directly refute any statements I’ve made regarding the Bible—or even cited scriptures from other translations of the Bible—shows his scholarship is lacking. He refuses to debate the real issues because he cannot. It’s right there in black and white, clear as crystal. So instead he takes a cowardly way out: by attacking the beliefs of the person he’s debating. This is both sad and pathetic.

  76. 76
    Barb says:

    KF writes,

    And, underlying, we see that the historic tradition is reasonable, not yet another sign of alleged syncretism with pagan elements or the like; a common dismissive accusation. Yes, some of that happened, but that is not the case with everything. Nor is everything that is pagan in roots automatically wrong or suspect . . . try the alphabet we are using, the roots of the language we are using, and the system of decimal numbers we are using.

    Your quote mentions that “Not everything that is pagan is automatically wrong..” Really? So Paganism and Christianity are both true? That’s not what John 17:17 states. You cannot combine paganism and Christianity; you end up with flawed versions of both religions. And the cross does have pre-Christian origins, as I noted earlier.

    My previous post noted that even the ancient Egyptians used a cross, known commonly as an ankh, which was a symbol of life. Eventually, this cross was adopted and used extensively by the Coptic Church.

    According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, “the primitive form of the cross seems to have been that of the so-called ‘gamma’ cross (crux gammata), better known to Orientalists and students of prehistoric archæology by its Sanskrit name, swastika.” This sign was widely used among Hindus in India and Buddhists throughout Asia and is still seen in decorations and ornaments in those areas.

    Continuing through history, we find that Constantine had a lot to do with the cross being adopted as a symbol of Christianity: in 312 C.E., while on one of his military campaigns, he had a vision of a cross superimposed on the sun along with the motto in Latin “in hoc vince” (by this conquer). Some time later, a “Christian” sign was emblazoned on the standards, shields, and armor of his army. Constantine purportedly converted to Christianity, though he was not baptized until 25 years later on his deathbed. His motive was questioned by some. “He acted rather as if he were converting Christianity into what he thought most likely to be accepted by his subjects as a catholic [universal] religion, than as if he had been converted to the teachings of Jesus the Nazarene,” says the book The Non-Christian Cross.

    Since then, crosses of many forms and shapes have come into use. For example, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary tells us that what is called St. Anthony’s cross “was shaped like a capital T, thought by some to be derived from the symbol of the [Babylonian] god Tammuz, the letter tau.” There was also the St. Andrew’s cross, which is in the shape of the letter X, and the familiar two-beamed cross with the crossbar lowered. This latter type, called the Latin cross, is erroneously “held by tradition to be the shape of the cross on which our Lord died.”

    Historians and researchers have found no evidence to validate the use of the cross among the early Christians. Interestingly, the book History of the Cross quotes one late 17th-century writer who asked: “Can it be pleasing to the blessed Jesus to behold His disciples glorying in the image of that instrument of capital punishment on which He [supposedly] patiently and innocently suffered, despising the shame?”

    Most importantly, worship acceptable to God does not require objects or images. “What agreement does God’s temple have with idols?” Paul asked. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16) Nowhere do the Scriptures suggest that a Christian’s worship should include the use of a likeness of the instrument used to impale Jesus.—Compare Matthew 15:3; Mark 7:13.

  77. 77
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Yes, I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you never will.

    I warned you to flee that cult. So you ignored my clear warning to you that you were in a cult, and that you should flee that cult, and now attempt to make it appear that I had not figured out that you are in that cult.

    You have been lied to. Do not make yourself a party to their lies. Do not become a liar in defense of their lies. Flee.

  78. 78
    Barb says:

    I warned you to flee that cult. So you ignored my clear warning to you that you were in a cult, and that you should flee that cult, and now attempt to make it appear that I had not figured out that you are in that cult.

    You have been lied to. Do not make yourself a party to their lies. Do not become a liar in defense of their lies. Flee.

    Giving me warnings to flee a “cult” (which is nothing of the sort, not that you’d know that) without giving me good reason to do so is pointless. You haven’t answered any of my points regarding the NWT or the scholars who agree with its translation. You haven’t answered any of the cited scriptures that prove my points.

    If I’ve been lied to, Mung, it’s by you and nobody else. You really have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to my religious beliefs.

  79. 79
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    If I’ve been lied to, Mung, it’s by you and nobody else. You really have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to my religious beliefs.

    Being lied to and lying to yourself are quite different, wouldn’t you agree?

    How do you propose to tell the difference?

    I can quote all your favorite watchtower mags and all your favorite watchtower “translations.” What you are allowed to believe as a JW is not up to you, not if you want to remain in that cult.

  80. 80
    Mung says:

    Barb, why did the Watchtower Cult predict the end of the world in 1975? Were they wrong?

    Why did the Watchtower Cult claim that Jesus returned in 1914? Were they wrong?

  81. 81
    Barb says:

    Mung continues,

    Being lied to and lying to yourself are quite different, wouldn’t you agree?

    Lying is lying, no matter who does it.

    How do you propose to tell the difference?

    That would all depend on what the lie involves. This is where religion has the upper hand, so to speak, over materialism because religion can point to an objective standard of right and wrong. For me, and for many Christians, it’s what the Bible states. If the Bible states that murder is wrong, then murder is wrong. Most countries agree with this, and have passed laws making murder illegal.

    I can quote all your favorite watchtower mags and all your favorite watchtower “translations.” What you are allowed to believe as a JW is not up to you, not if you want to remain in that cult.

    The only things you have quoted are books written more than 50 years ago. What I believe as a Jehovah’s Witness comes from the Bible. That’s why I’ve quoted it and used translations other than the NWT. But you conveniently ignored that point.
    And what you are allowed to believe comes from where? Creeds, for example? Church fathers, maybe?

    Barb, why did the Watchtower Cult predict the end of the world in 1975? Were they wrong?

    I already explained that they didn’t predict the end of the world. You have also not cited any WTs proving this (patently false) statement. Why? Because there aren’t any. Try again.

    Why did the Watchtower Cult claim that Jesus returned in 1914? Were they wrong?

    For a few years leading up to 1914, they felt that something was going to happen, but they weren’t sure exactly what. They do believe that Jesus was enthroned as king of God’s kingdom in 1914, based on biblical chronology as well as secular history which shows that 1914 was a turning point in human history. Try reading a non-apostate site if you want accurate information (http://www.jw.org) about what the Witnesses believe about 1914.

    I won’t hold my breath, though, you seem perfectly happy believing lies about the Witnesses and what they believe.

    Question for you: being lied to about the Witnesses…is that different than lying to yourself about the Witnesses?

    Ooh, “watchtower cult”…how edgy.

  82. 82
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    The only things you have quoted are books written more than 50 years ago.

    That’s simply false.

    Not only is it false it deserves a big so what. Even you say the “torture stake” doctrine didn’t come along until 1936 and later, so if I want to quote the doctrine from the JW’s own writings what’s wrong with a quote from 1936?

    And if we want to show that the doctrine arose before W.E Vine’s Expository Dictionary was even published, so we know that your reliance on the quote from Vine is anachronistic, we’ll need to go back before 1940/1948.

    And if we want to show that the doctrine was not always part of the JW’s beliefs, we’ll need to go back to before it arose, won’t we?

    And if we want to document the JW’s false prophecies about the end of the world, we’ll need to go back to when they were made, wouldn’t we? And even to discuss the 1975 date requires we go back at least 40 years, not to mention the 1925 date, the 1918 date, and the 1894 date.

    For a few years leading up to 1914, they felt that something was going to happen, but they weren’t sure exactly what.

    Again, false. But I’d need to quote JW documents more than 50 years old. Is that ok with you?

  83. 83
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    For a few years leading up to 1914, they felt that something was going to happen, but they weren’t sure exactly what.

    Like I said, this is false, and can be shown to be false from the JW’s own website.

    One Hundred Years Ago – ?1914

    The year that the Bible Students had been anticipating for decades had finally arrived, and they were hard at work in the ministry.

    The End of the Gentile Times

    The Bible Students believed that “the times of the Gentiles,” spoken of in Luke 21:24 (King James Version), would end about October 1, 1914. As October drew near, anticipation increased. Some Bible Students even carried a countdown card so that they could mark off each passing day. Many felt that they would be called beyond the veil, or to heaven, on that date.

    On the morning of October 2, 1914, Brother Russell entered the Bethel dining room and announced to the Bethel family: “The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day.” Some of those present would have recognized those words, which were based on song 171 in their songbook Hymns of the Millennial Dawn. Since 1879, the Bible Students had been singing “The Gentile times are closing,” but those words were no longer true, since the Gentile Times, or “the appointed times of the nations,” had indeed ended. (Luke 21:24) In time, our songbooks reflected this important change.

    And be sure to check out the “countdown card:”

    The “Be Thou Faithful Unto Death” countdown card was used by some in their resolve to remain faithful to the end.

    Note also the section:

    The “Photo-Drama” Attracts Millions

    See the cross and crown (not a stake) at about 38 seconds in.

  84. 84
    Mung says:

    The JW’s own history shows Jesus on a cross.

    Photo-Drama: A 100-Year-Old Epic of Faith

    See page 69 (PDF):
    Scenario of the Photo Drama of Creation

    So it’s plain to see that in the Charles Taze Russell era the Bible Students understood stauros to mean a cross. It was only later that this was changed by the JW’s and their need to find a “scholarly” basis for the change arose.

    So where did the change come from, and why?

  85. 85
    Barb says:

    Mung,

    Not only is it false it deserves a big so what. Even you say the “torture stake” doctrine didn’t come along until 1936 and later, so if I want to quote the doctrine from the JW’s own writings what’s wrong with a quote from 1936?
    And if we want to show that the doctrine arose before W.E Vine’s Expository Dictionary was even published, so we know that your reliance on the quote from Vine is anachronistic, we’ll need to go back before 1940/1948.
    And if we want to show that the doctrine was not always part of the JW’s beliefs, we’ll need to go back to before it arose, won’t we?

    Do you actually have a point to make? No?

    And if we want to document the JW’s false prophecies about the end of the world, we’ll need to go back to when they were made, wouldn’t we? And even to discuss the 1975 date requires we go back at least 40 years, not to mention the 1925 date, the 1918 date, and the 1894 date.
    For a few years leading up to 1914, they felt that something was going to happen, but they weren’t sure exactly what.
    Again, false. But I’d need to quote JW documents more than 50 years old. Is that ok with you?

    Here’s an explanation for you, from the Awake! Magazine of March 22, 1993:

    “Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus’ second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions ‘in the name of Jehovah.’ Never did they say, ‘These are the words of Jehovah.’ The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah’s Witnesses, has said: “We have not the gift of prophecy.” (January 1883, page 425) “Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible.” (December 15, 1896, page 306) The Watchtower has also said that the fact that some have Jehovah’s spirit “does not mean those now serving as Jehovah’s witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes.” (May 15, 1947, page 157) “The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic.” (August 15, 1950, page 263) “The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)”—February 15, 1981, page 19.”

    That should clear things up.

    Like I said, this is false, and can be shown to be false from the JW’s own website.
    One Hundred Years Ago – ?1914
    The year that the Bible Students had been anticipating for decades had finally arrived, and they were hard at work in the ministry.
    The End of the Gentile Times
    The Bible Students believed that “the times of the Gentiles,” spoken of in Luke 21:24 (King James Version), would end about October 1, 1914. As October drew near, anticipation increased. Some Bible Students even carried a countdown card so that they could mark off each passing day. Many felt that they would be called beyond the veil, or to heaven, on that date.

    On the morning of October 2, 1914, Brother Russell entered the Bethel dining room and announced to the Bethel family: “The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day.” Some of those present would have recognized those words, which were based on song 171 in their songbook Hymns of the Millennial Dawn. Since 1879, the Bible Students had been singing “The Gentile times are closing,” but those words were no longer true, since the Gentile Times, or “the appointed times of the nations,” had indeed ended. (Luke 21:24) In time, our songbooks reflected this important change.

    Yes, and…? They knew that the gentile times were ending, but they weren’t sure exactly what was going to happen on the world scene.

    The JW’s own history shows Jesus on a cross.
    Photo-Drama: A 100-Year-Old Epic of Faith
    See page 69 (PDF):
    Scenario of the Photo Drama of Creation
    So it’s plain to see that in the Charles Taze Russell era the Bible Students understood stauros to mean a cross. It was only later that this was changed by the JW’s and their need to find a “scholarly” basis for the change arose.
    So where did the change come from, and why?

    I believe this was answered on the other thread. Unlike many major religions, the Witnesses’ beliefs are dynamic. They seek to understand and comprehend the Bible. This has, over time, necessitated changes in their beliefs as they sought a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

    Here’s the article referenced in the other thread: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/.....=0:0-12:50

    From the book Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom (published in 1993): “For years, Bible Students wore a cross and crown as a badge of identification, and this symbol was on the front cover of the “Watch Tower” from 1891 to 1931. But in 1928 it was emphasized that not a decorative symbol but one’s activity as a witness showed he was a Christian. In 1936 it was pointed out that the evidence indicates that Christ died on a stake, not a two-beamed cross.”

    And again note that the scholars cited here and in the other thread agree that stauros properly translated means stake or pole and not cross. If orthodox Christianity claims that Jesus died on a cross and their Bible translations reflect this belief, then they’re going to have to explain why they chose to translate the word stauros as “cross” instead of “pole”, which is its true definition.

  86. 86
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    That should clear things up.

    Hardly. You cite a document that admits to the claims but says that they were not made in Jehovah’s name so you can safely pretend they didn’t happen? What do you think that clears up?

    Unlike many major religions, the Witnesses’ beliefs are dynamic. They seek to understand and comprehend the Bible. This has, over time, necessitated changes in their beliefs as they sought a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

    Then perhaps they, and you, should exhibit a bit more humility and a little less dogmatism about these beliefs, as what you believe today could change tomorrow.

    Tomorrow the organization might change their mind about stauros and you would have to go along, after arguing here (rather strenuously I might add) that the current doctrine is “the truth.”

    Well, it may be true for today, but that doesn’t mean it was true in the past, nor does it mean that it will be true in the future.

    Imagine believing that Jesus was crucified on a cross and arguing strenuously for that position only to have It snatched out from under you by “new light,” and then arguing strenuously that Jesus was hung on a tree and arguing strenuously for that position only to have It snatched out from under you by yet more “new light,” and then arguing strenuously that Jesus was crucified on a stake… and on it goes … what will it be next? Jesus was never crucified at all?

  87. 87
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    If orthodox Christianity claims that Jesus died on a cross and their Bible translations reflect this belief, then they’re going to have to explain why they chose to translate the word stauros as “cross” instead of “pole”, which is its true definition.

    Even the Watchtower doesn’t translate it as pole. It translates it as “torture stake.” So much for “true definitions.”

    And see my above post as to what’s true today may not be true tomorrow.

  88. 88
    Mung says:

    Well Barb, I made a bet with myself and you lost.

    Let us by all means preach a full-orbed Gospel and declare to the perishing what God in the Person of His Son has done for them through His death upon the Cross

    – W.E. Vine

    From The Collected Writings of W.E Vine, Volume 4, p.129

    Also, a footnote from page 128 reads:

    “He is not merely a spirit, as the International Bible Students’ Association teaches.”

  89. 89
    Mung says:

    The Gospel of the Bible
    Chapter Four: The Cross of Christ

    “The preaching of the Cross!” What heights and depths of Gospel grace and truth lie enfolded in that phrase! “The word of the Cross,” as the Revisers literally and rightly put it–that gives, in one terse expression, the sum and substance of the divine evangel.

    – W.E. Vine

  90. 90
    Mung says:

    The Cross is the center of all Gospel preaching guided, approved, and owned of God.”

    – W.E. Vine

  91. 91
    Barb says:

    Mung,

    Hardly. You cite a document that admits to the claims but says that they were not made in Jehovah’s name so you can safely pretend they didn’t happen? What do you think that clears up?

    It should clear up your confusion as to why and when the Witnesses clarified their doctrinal understanding of the cross, among other things.

    Then perhaps they, and you, should exhibit a bit more humility and a little less dogmatism about these beliefs, as what you believe today could change tomorrow.

    I’m not the one who repeatedly posts the same thing in different threads because I don’t like somebody’s religion. And I would personally rather be a part of a religion that is humble enough to acknowledge its mistakes and correct them than a religion that arrogantly assumes that others are part of a “cult”.

    Tomorrow the organization might change their mind about stauros and you would have to go along, after arguing here (rather strenuously I might add) that the current doctrine is “the truth.”

    Doubtful, since the definition of stauros is pretty clear. It has been translated as cross but its true meaning is “upright stake or pole”.
    Imagine believing that Jesus was crucified on a cross and arguing strenuously for that position only to have It snatched out from under you by “new light,” and then arguing strenuously that Jesus was hung on a tree and arguing strenuously for that position only to have It snatched out from under you by yet more “new light,” and then arguing strenuously that Jesus was crucified on a stake… and on it goes … what will it be next? Jesus was never crucified at all?
    That Jesus died for our sins is not up for debate. How he was executed is the current debate. And why the Witnesses often clarify their positions on doctrinal matters has also been explained.

    Here’s a question that’s answered for you in the publication Reasoning from the Scriptures (1985):

    Have not Jehovah’s Witnesses made errors in their teachings?

    Jehovah’s Witnesses do not claim to be inspired prophets. They have made mistakes. Like the apostles of Jesus Christ, they have at times had some wrong expectations.—Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6.

    The Scriptures provide time elements related to Christ’s presence, and Jehovah’s Witnesses have studied these with keen interest. (Luke 21:24; Dan. 4:10-17) Jesus also described a many-featured sign that would tie in with the fulfillment of time prophecies to identify the generation that would live to see the end of Satan’s wicked system of things. (Luke 21:7-36) Jehovah’s Witnesses have pointed to evidence in fulfillment of this sign. It is true that the Witnesses have made mistakes in their understanding of what would occur at the end of certain time periods, but they have not made the mistake of losing faith or ceasing to be watchful as to fulfillment of Jehovah’s purposes. They have continued to keep to the fore in their thinking the counsel given by Jesus: “Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”—Matt. 24:42.

    Matters on which corrections of viewpoint have been needed have been relatively minor when compared with the vital Bible truths that they have discerned and publicized. Among these are the following: Jehovah is the only true God. Jesus Christ is not part of a Trinitarian godhead but is the only-begotten Son of God. Redemption from sin is possible only through faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice. The holy spirit is not a person but is Jehovah’s active force, and its fruitage must be evident in the lives of true worshipers. The human soul is not immortal, as the ancient pagans claimed; it dies, and the hope for future life is in the resurrection. God’s permission of wickedness has been because of the issue of universal sovereignty.
    God’s Kingdom is the only hope for mankind. Since 1914 we have been living in the last days of the global wicked system of things. Only 144,000 faithful Christians will be kings and priests with Christ in heaven, whereas the rest of obedient mankind will receive eternal life on a paradise earth.

    Another factor to consider regarding the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses is this: Have these truly uplifted people morally? Are those who adhere to these teachings outstanding in their communities because of their honesty? Is their family life beneficially influenced by applying these teachings? Jesus said that his disciples would be readily identified because of having love among themselves. (John 13:35) Is this quality outstanding among Jehovah’s Witnesses? We let the facts speak for themselves.

    Even the Watchtower doesn’t translate it as pole. It translates it as “torture stake.” So much for “true definitions.”

    What part of “upright stake” did you not understand?
    The rendering of the Greek word stau•ros?, meaning an upright stake or pole, such as the one on which Jesus was executed. There is no evidence that the Greek word meant a cross, such as the pagans used as a religious symbol for many centuries before Christ. “Torture stake” conveys the full intent of the original word, since Jesus also used the word stau•ros? to indicate the torture, suffering, and shame that his followers would face. (Mt 16:24; Heb 12:2)

    Don’t take my word for it; read what the scholars have to say. And, more importantly, read what the Bible actually states.

    Well Barb, I made a bet with myself and you lost.

    Actually, I didn’t. I have provided abundant proof and evidence for my beliefs. You have not. But think whatever you want, dear.

    Let us by all means preach a full-orbed Gospel and declare to the perishing what God in the Person of His Son has done for them through His death upon the Cross
    – W.E. Vine
    From The Collected Writings of W.E Vine, Volume 4, p.129
    Also, a footnote from page 128 reads:
    “He is not merely a spirit, as the International Bible Students’ Association teaches.”

    Yes, and W. E. Vine also wrote a concordance that explained that the true meaning of the word stauros is “upright stake or pole.” He’s contradicting himself here. How is that a victory for you?

    Let’s also examine why the cross is so important to orthodox Christianity. Again, from Reasoning from the Scriptures (1985):

    What were the historical origins of Christendom’s cross?

    “Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world. India, Syria, Persia and Egypt have all yielded numberless examples . . . The use of the cross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times and among non-Christian peoples may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship.”—Encyclopaedia Britannica (1946), Vol. 6, p. 753.

    “The shape of the [two-beamed cross] had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ.”—An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (London, 1962), W. E. Vine, p. 256. [Here Vine acknowledges that veneration of the cross is first and foremost a pagan practice. So why bring it into Christianity?]

    “It is strange, yet unquestionably a fact, that in ages long before the birth of Christ, and since then in lands untouched by the teaching of the Church, the Cross has been used as a sacred symbol. . . . The Greek Bacchus, the Tyrian Tammuz, the Chaldean Bel, and the Norse Odin, were all symbolised to their votaries by a cruciform device.”—The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art (London, 1900), G. S. Tyack, p. 1.

    “The cross in the form of the ‘Crux Ansata’ . . . was carried in the hands of the Egyptian priests and Pontiff kings as the symbol of their authority as priests of the Sun god and was called ‘the Sign of Life.’”—The Worship of the Dead (London, 1904), Colonel J. Garnier, p. 226.

    “Various figures of crosses are found everywhere on Egyptian monuments and tombs, and are considered by many authorities as symbolical either of the phallus [a representation of the male sex organ] or of coition. . . . In Egyptian tombs the crux ansata [cross with a circle or handle on top] is found side by side with the phallus.”—A Short History of Sex-Worship (London, 1940), H. Cutner, pp. 16, 17; see also The Non-Christian Cross, p. 183.

    “These crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian sun-god, [See book], and are first seen on a coin of Julius Cæsar, 100-44 B.C., and then on a coin struck by Cæsar’s heir (Augustus), 20 B.C. On the coins of Constantine the most frequent symbol is [See book]; but the same symbol is used without the surrounding circle, and with the four equal arms vertical and horizontal; and this was the symbol specially venerated as the ‘Solar Wheel’. It should be stated that Constantine was a sun-god worshipper, and would not enter the ‘Church’ till some quarter of a century after the legend of his having seen such a cross in the heavens.”—The Companion Bible, Appendix No. 162; see also The Non-Christian Cross, pp. 133-141.

    The Gospel of the Bible
    Chapter Four: The Cross of Christ
    “The preaching of the Cross!” What heights and depths of Gospel grace and truth lie enfolded in that phrase! “The word of the Cross,” as the Revisers literally and rightly put it–that gives, in one terse expression, the sum and substance of the divine evangel.
    – W.E. Vine
    “The Cross is the center of all Gospel preaching guided, approved, and owned of God.”
    – W.E. Vine

    The center of all gospel preaching is the Kingdom of God. That is what the Bible teaches, and I’ll take the words of Jesus himself over the words of W. E. Vine any day. Any true Christian would (Matthew 6:9,10).

    Once again, back to the Reasoning book:

    Is veneration of the cross a Scriptural practice?

    1 Cor. 10:14: “My beloved ones, flee from idolatry.” (An idol is an image or symbol that is an object of intense devotion, veneration, or worship.)

    Ex. 20:4, 5, JB: “You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.” (Notice that God commanded that his people not even make an image before which people would bow down.)

    What does the Bible say, Mung?

    Of interest is this comment in the New Catholic Encyclopedia: “The representation of Christ’s redemptive death on Golgotha does not occur in the symbolic art of the first Christian centuries. The early Christians, influenced by the Old Testament prohibition of graven images, were reluctant to depict even the instrument of the Lord’s Passion.”—(1967), Vol. IV, p. 486.

    Concerning first-century Christians, History of the Christian Church says: “There was no use of the crucifix and no material representation of the cross.”—(New York, 1897), J. F. Hurst, Vol. I, p. 366.

    So, yeah, I didn’t lose. You have to justify your veneration for what is essentially a pagan symbol in light of (a) scholarship that suggests otherwise, and (b) the words found in the Bible, which is what Christians should be following.

    You have failed to refute a single scholar who explains, rather clearly, that the word stauros means stake or pole and not cross.

    You have failed to refute a single scholar who explains that veneration of the cross is not found in the Bible or in the early Christian congregations (see above).

    You have failed to refute scholars who show by means of exegesis that the NWT is a scholarly translation.

    You have failed to refute a single scriptural citation proving my point that Jesus did not die on cross.

    You have failed to refute…well, anything.

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb:

    Pardon a few points:

    1 –> The alphabet and the Greek/Cyrillic and Roman alphabets, the Hindu decimal number system, the idea and divisions of the academy and its major disciplines, our basic Calendar (a modified Julian Calendar) etc etc are all pagan in roots, as is the Corpus Juris Civilis that is the basis for law in much of the world outside the English Common Law system. That should serve, again . . . I pointed this out in outline already, to highlight that being pagan in roots does not equate to being suspect.

    2 –> On the Ankh, BTW, it is NOT a cross. It is a stylised womb, with its entrance and doorway. Just as the symbol for the male in biology points to a phallus.

    3 –> While we are at it X-P superposed . . . Chi-Rho . . . is the first two Greek letters of Christ, equivalent to Ch + r. FYI, there were special abbreviations for Divine references in the Biblical text, and Theos, Christos, Kyrios, etc received them. There is even a rendering on an eight-spiked wheel that makes it an ICTHUS, the Fish, standing for Jesus Christos, Huius Theos, Soter. Beyond, lies the triquetra, the triple fish and the Scutum Fide.

    4 –> I again point out the importance of doing what you apparently simply will not do, read the text in light of its import on context. Of the major shapes of crosses, only two are consistent with the text, a T or a t, with the sign-placard over Jesus’ head (not hands) making t much more reasonable. Don’t forget, he carried his patibulum.

    5 –> Notice, nails in his hands (X, Y, T or t), carrying a cross beam, a fairly large sign board above his head (not hands), thus T or t with t more likely.

    6 –> Moreover, whatever other religions may have done, in the region and time where Christianity began, the cross was the worst and most shameful — in a shame-honour culture — of forms of execution meted out to the worst of the worst, the lowest of the low. Jews saw it as a form of the hanging denounced in Deut as a sign of being under God’s curse.

    7 –> You could not come up with something more foolish and discrediting to preach about, that is why Paul wrote to the Corinthians c. 55 AD, as follows . . . and as was pointed out to you previously:

    1 Cor 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ [–> remember, we know t or T to be the shape based on the texts already discussed, and we know that stauros and xulon do not forbid but on examples given in a linked discussion do include T and t] be emptied of its power.

    18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    8 –> it is the power of eyewitness tot he resurrection as a testimony of God’s vindication, backed up by the manifest power in the church, that reversed that almost insuperable status.

    9 –> And, from Ossuaries from the 40’s on near Jerusalem [including one that seems to be that of the Sapphira of the NT . . . a fairly unique name it seems], there is no doubt that the Christian faith has been associated with the t-form cross.

    10 –> So, while the exact shape of that cross is not a make-break issue for the Christian faith, it is not at all a reasonable position to try to argue that it can be dismissed as a C3 – 4 pagan import.

    KF

  93. 93
    Mung says:

    kf @ 92:

    1-> also known as the genetic fallacy

    p.s. Where did JW’s get the idea that orthodox Christians worship the cross?

  94. 94
    Mung says:

    10 –> So, while the exact shape of that cross is not a make-break issue for the Christian faith, it is not at all a reasonable position to try to argue that it can be dismissed as a C3 – 4 pagan import.

    What Barb does not seem to realize is that it is the JW’s who are taking an unbending stand on the shape of the cross. I’m merely hoisting them on their own stake.

    This is something they just cannot afford to be wrong about, as is evidenced by the constant waffling seen in this thread.

    Barb, did I miss something? Didn’t you earlier admit that stauros could mean a two beamed cross, T or t?

    Are you now back to claiming it cannot mean a two-beamed cross, that it can only mean an upright stake or pole?

    And how did you get from arguing that this was it’s primary meaning to now arguing that this is it’s one and only “true” meaning? What does that even mean?

    I take it the hypocrisy was lost on you in that not even the New World Translation translates it that way. Apparently it’s “true” meaning is now “torture stake.”

    IOW, they admit to the word stauros having more than just a literal “basic” meaning.

  95. 95
    Barb says:

    Kairosfocus,

    1 –> The alphabet and the Greek/Cyrillic and Roman alphabets, the Hindu decimal number system, the idea and divisions of the academy and its major disciplines, our basic Calendar (a modified Julian Calendar) etc etc are all pagan in roots, as is the Corpus Juris Civilis that is the basis for law in much of the world outside the English Common Law system. That should serve, again . . . I pointed this out in outline already, to highlight that being pagan in roots does not equate to being suspect.

    Paganism has nothing at all to do with Christianity. It cannot—and should not—be combined with the teachings of Christ. Paul asked, “what sharing does light have with darkness?”

    2 –> On the Ankh, BTW, it is NOT a cross. It is a stylised womb, with its entrance and doorway. Just as the symbol for the male in biology points to a phallus.

    The ankh (/?æ?k/ or /????k/; Egyptian: IPA), also known as key of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata (Latin meaning “cross with a handle”), was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read “life”, a triliteral sign for the consonants ?-n-?. (from Wikipedia)
    Crux ansata was explained above, in a previous post of mine. “Cross with a handle”.

    3 –> While we are at it X-P superposed . . . Chi-Rho . . . is the first two Greek letters of Christ, equivalent to Ch + r. FYI, there were special abbreviations for Divine references in the Biblical text, and Theos, Christos, Kyrios, etc received them. There is even a rendering on an eight-spiked wheel that makes it an ICTHUS, the Fish, standing for Jesus Christos, Huius Theos, Soter. Beyond, lies the triquetra, the triple fish and the Scutum Fide.

    There is no evidence that for the first 300 years after Christ’s death, those claiming to be Christians used the cross in worship.

    And while we’re at it: : a representation of a fish used in ancient times as a pagan fertility talisman or amulet or as a Christian symbol for the Greek word ichthys interpreted as an acrostic in which the Greek letters are the initials of the words I ?sous Ch ristos th eou hy ios s ?t?r meaning Jesus Christ Son of God Savior (Merriam-Webster Dictionary online). Again, what does paganism have to do with Christianity?

    4 –> I again point out the importance of doing what you apparently simply will not do, read the text in light of its import on context. Of the major shapes of crosses, only two are consistent with the text, a T or a t, with the sign-placard over Jesus’ head (not hands) making t much more reasonable. Don’t forget, he carried his patibulum.

    I have read the text in light of its import on context. You and Mung are apparently refusing to read or consider anything that might disagree with your personal views. I may try to post a little from this book (http://www.amazon.com/Your-Wor.....0950621269)– it’s a collection of essays written by Witnesses that explain many doctrinal matters.

    1 Cor 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ [–> remember, we know t or T to be the shape based on the texts already discussed, and we know that stauros and xulon do not forbid but on examples given in a linked discussion do include T and t] be emptied of its power.

    Interestingly, the Mounce Reverse Interlinear translation renders “cross” as “stauros”, which has been established as meaning stake or pole, not cross. The Complete Jewish Bible version reads “execution-stake”. The Orthodox Jewish Bible states “HaEtz HaKelalat Hashem (the Tree of the Curse of G-d—Dt 21:23), using the term “tree”. “Cross” is not an accurate translation of the word “stauros”.

    23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    See above. Concerning first-century Christians, History of the Christian Church says: “There was no use of the crucifix and no material representation of the cross.”—(New York, 1897), J. F. Hurst, Vol. I, p. 366.

    9 –> And, from Ossuaries from the 40?s on near Jerusalem [including one that seems to be that of the Sapphira of the NT . . . a fairly unique name it seems], there is no doubt that the Christian faith has been associated with the t-form cross.

    Which, as has been explained above, is a pagan symbol adopted by Christianity long after the death of Christ.

    10 –> So, while the exact shape of that cross is not a make-break issue for the Christian faith, it is not at all a reasonable position to try to argue that it can be dismissed as a C3 – 4 pagan import.

    Yes, it can. And it has. And by scholars.
    Mung continues,

    p.s. Where did JW’s get the idea that orthodox Christians worship the cross?

    Roman Catholic writer and archaeologist Adolphe-Napoleon Didron stated: “The cross has received a worship similar, if not equal, to that of Christ; this sacred wood is adored almost equally with God Himself.”

    What Barb does not seem to realize is that it is the JW’s who are taking an unbending stand on the shape of the cross. I’m merely hoisting them on their own stake.

    And failing miserably, I might add. Refute some of scholars quoted here who explain that Jesus was not crucified. Refute the words of historians who explain the difference between impalement and crucifixion.

    This is something they just cannot afford to be wrong about, as is evidenced by the constant waffling seen in this thread.

    And, based on the fact that you haven’t refuted a single point I’ve made, I’d say that the Witnesses weren’t in the wrong.

    Barb, did I miss something? Didn’t you earlier admit that stauros could mean a two beamed cross, T or t?

    No, I don’t believe so. I’ve posted the definition of stauros several times. Re-read the thread if you’re confused.

    Are you now back to claiming it cannot mean a two-beamed cross, that it can only mean an upright stake or pole?

    See above. Also see what I posted earlier, repeated here for your benefit: The Companion Bible points out: “[Stau•ros?] never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle . . . There is nothing in the Greek of the [New Testament] even to imply two pieces of timber.”

    And how did you get from arguing that this was it’s primary meaning to now arguing that this is it’s one and only “true” meaning? What does that even mean?

    See above. What do the scholars say “stauros” means?

    I take it the hypocrisy was lost on you in that not even the New World Translation translates it that way. Apparently it’s “true” meaning is now “torture stake.”

    Again, repeated for the benefit of the confused Mung: “The rendering of the Greek word stau•ros?, meaning an upright stake or pole, such as the one on which Jesus was executed. There is no evidence that the Greek word meant a cross, such as the pagans used as a religious symbol for many centuries before Christ. “Torture stake” conveys the full intent of the original word, since Jesus also used the word stau•ros? to indicate the torture, suffering, and shame that his followers would face. (Mt 16:24; Heb 12:2).

  96. 96
    Mung says:

    Here it is 2014 and I am listening to the album Millions Now Living Will Never Die

    How odd is that?

    Did I place the wrong order by mistake?

    A public talk titled “The World Has Ended; Millions Now Living May Never Die” was first delivered on February 24, 1918 in Los Angeles, California. Just five weeks later, on March 31, 1918 the title was changed to indicate absolute certainty and the word “May” was substituted by the word “Will”. So the new title became “The World Has Ended; Millions Now Living Will Never Die.” The public talk continued to be delivered under that same title until 1925. The material in that talk was published in 1920. For decades Jehovah’s Witnesses believed that they would never die in this system and that they would simply pass on into a righteous new earth.

    Millions Now Living Will Never Die

    The contents of this book were originally delivered by Rutherford in a speech given in 1918. This brochure was published two years later in 1920.

    Rutherford argues that in 1914, the world had “ended legally”, and that millions of people then living would never die.

    He states that the final jubilee “would end in the fall of the year 1925, at which time the type ends and the great antitype must begin. What, then, should we expect to take place? In the type there must be a full restoration; therefore the great antitype must mark the beginning of restoration of all things. The chief thing to be restored is the human race to life; and since other Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favor, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity and made the visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth.”

    Millions Now Living Will Never Die

    False Prophets or False Teachers. Why quibble?

  97. 97
    Barb says:

    And your point is…? That the Witnesses have clarified their beliefs over time has been explained to you repeatedly. What part don’t you understand?

    Haven’t refuted a single scholar or scripture I cited earlier, have you?

  98. 98
    Mung says:

    Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. But here is their own translation of John 2:18-22:

    …the Jews said to him: “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?” Jesus replied to them: “Tear down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said: “This temple was built in 46 years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples recalled that he used to say this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had spoken.

  99. 99
    Barb says:

    Mung,

    Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. But here is their own translation of John 2:18-22:

    Congratulations on (again) completely missing the point of the scriptures cited. That’s okay, though, the Jews were also confused by his words. Taking this scripture in context, we see that Jesus said to the Jews: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (Joh 2:19) The Jews thought he was speaking of the temple of Herod and used this against him at his trial, witnesses against him saying: “We heard him say, ‘I will throw down this temple that was made with hands and in three days I will build another not made with hands.’” (Mr 14:58)

    Jesus was using figurative speech, referring to “the temple of his body.” He was put to death and on the third day rose again. (Joh 2:21; Mt 16:21; Lu 24:7, 21, 46) He was resurrected by his Father Jehovah God in another body, not one made with hands like the temple of Jerusalem, but a spirit body made (built) by his Father. (Ac 2:24; 1Pe 3:18)

    The scriptures in John correlate with Acts 2:24 [“But God resurrected him by releasing him from the pangs* of death, because it was not possible for him to be held fast by it.”, NWT] and 1 Peter 3:18 [“For Christ died once for all time for sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, in order to lead you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”, NWT]

    From Insight on the Scriptures Volume 2: “He was resurrected, but not in his fleshly body, which was given as a ransom sacrifice; yet that fleshly body did not go into corruption, but was disposed of by God, just as a sacrifice was consumed on the altar. Jesus, when resurrected, was the same person, the same personality, in a new body made for his new dwelling place, the spiritual heavens.”

    Are you in disagreement with any of the scriptures cited?

  100. 100
    Mung says:

    “The evidence is, therefore, completely lacking that Jesus Christ was crucified on two pieces of timber placed at a right angle” (New World Translation, 1950, p.771).

    This is simply false.

    From the New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) on The Gospel of Matthew:

    As they [the soldiers] were coming out, they found a person from Cyrene, Simon by name. They pressed this [person] into service to carry his [Jesus’] cross. … His ’cause’ was placed above his head; [what was] written [was], ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ Then two bandits are crucified with him, one at the right [hand] and one at the left.

    By ‘cross’ here is meant (by synecdoche) the cross bar and not the whole cross fn409. The upright will already be in position at the place of execution. ‘Often [the cross beam] was carried behind the nape of the neck like a yoke, with the condemned’s arms pulled back and hooked over it.’ fn410 …

    The condemned man was the one who was expected to carry the cross bar for his own execution.

    If the statement was on the cross and not on some separately set-up notice board or hung around Jesus’ neck, then a position above the head seems most likely, and this in turn suggest that Jesus’ cross was ‘t’ shaped, much as it has been traditionally represented.

    John nolland

    And on and on and on I could go, but me quoting scholars isn’t going to convince Barb, because it’s not scholarship that’s not the real issue.

  101. 101
    Barb says:

    Mung,

    “The evidence is, therefore, completely lacking that Jesus Christ was crucified on two pieces of timber placed at a right angle” (New World Translation, 1950, p.771).
    This is simply false.

    How much more evidence would you like?
    How many scholars have I cited? How many have you refuted?

    From the New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) on The Gospel of Matthew:
    As they [the soldiers] were coming out, they found a person from Cyrene, Simon by name. They pressed this [person] into service to carry his [Jesus’] cross. … His ’cause’ was placed above his head; [what was] written [was], ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ Then two bandits are crucified with him, one at the right [hand] and one at the left.
    By ‘cross’ here is meant (by synecdoche) the cross bar and not the whole cross fn409. The upright will already be in position at the place of execution. ‘Often [the cross beam] was carried behind the nape of the neck like a yoke, with the condemned’s arms pulled back and hooked over it.’ fn410 …
    The condemned man was the one who was expected to carry the cross bar for his own execution.
    If the statement was on the cross and not on some separately set-up notice board or hung around Jesus’ neck, then a position above the head seems most likely, and this in turn suggest that Jesus’ cross was ‘t’ shaped, much as it has been traditionally represented.

    If it was an upright stake or pole, the notice would simply have been placed above Jesus’s hands, which would have been nailed to the stake above his head. As seen in some of the illustrations in the links I provided earlier.

    And on and on and on I could go, but me quoting scholars isn’t going to convince Barb, because it’s not scholarship that’s not the real issue.

    It’s not? What about accurate translation of the Greek language? Or are you saying that you only believe scholars who agree with your point of view?

  102. 102
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb: endlessly repeating a mantra does not make it so. I will simply note that Gospel preaching is an act of worship and that the cross is pivotal to it, as the AD 55 1 Cor 1 shows. The ossuaries I mentioned, from the 40’s Ad are a fact. As for you must not mix Christian and pagan, if the point is that the core gospel and scriptures are not to be compromised, sure. The problem is, at ever so many levels, there is a gentile-pagan context in which the gospel was preached and written. For instance “Theos” is close to “Zeus,” and was used for what we call small-g gods; it was taken up in the Septuagint, and became infused with a distinctly Hebraic meaning, the One True Living God. The very alphabet — even the Hebrew one — is of gentile-pagan origin, much less the Greek one. The very numerals 0, 1, 2 . . . 9 we use are of pagan derivation, as is much of the foundation of academics, science and technology. Try to hold a meeting in a house of worship with zero Gentile-Pagan traced things and we could not speak English or Greek, we could not use text, we could not use a building or furniture or lights or musical or sound equipment, or wear pants and dresses, or wear woven or knitted cloth etc etc. We need to be discerning but effective as say Paul was at Mars Hill, Athens. As to the Ankh, again, it is a simple thing: it is quite plainly a stylised womb and birth canal, just look carefully. That is not inherently pagan, but was used in pagan rituals which corrupted motherhood into evil . . . and that is what evil is, twisting, distorting and frustrating the good out of line with its God-given purpose. And yes that uses — shudder — theology, philosophy, ethics, logic and metaphysics; you cannot avoid these either, you will either do them badly and get into serious hot water, or you will study to think aright, bringing thought life under Him who is Reason Himself [The Logos] . . . and that text is deeply riddled with philosophy. For that matter, to use corn [bread derived from a cereal] and wine in a religious ritual at spring full moon has many pagan allusions. But, the Passover meal and its derivative, the Eucharist [= thanksgiving], cleanse the significance. And so on and so forth. Panicky or ill-informed attempts to insert a black and white dichotomy are futile. And on the cross, the attempt to strain staurus to mean an I-cross fails in the face of known possible meanings and the textual context. And that is where I find a problem, you seem to be failing to read in light of context. Please, think again. KF

  103. 103
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I already summarised the evidence that you deny exists, it is right there in the text, and in the context, with a tad of simple physical calculation. A patibulum of 40 – 60 lbs could be carried by a badly whipped man, the upright we know was normally left in place. Such a man carrying 150 lbs of upright is nonsense, never mind erroneous paintings. As to placard above HANDS (not HEAD), that cuts across the natural sense of the text. Patibulum + nails plural in hands + sign above head strongly point to a T or t, most likely a t. And in that time and place, as direct text shows, the cross was an instrument of shame. But from the first, preaching the gospel was synonymous with preaching the cross. A cross that clearly fits the usual picture best, save the sign board would have been bigger than is commonly realised. KF

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: On translation, we already have shown evidence that the meaning was broader than you are willing to acknowledge. Just, on presenting you with such, you refused to recognise the breadth of an envelope of meaning, where if a word has senses 1, 2, . . . we seek the appropriate one for the context. Which was given, just ignored.

    PPPS: This may make useful reading, for those who want a useful summary.

  105. 105
    Mung says:

    kf, that’s an awesome paper.

    Take for example the early Christian uses of Tau and Isaiah 65:2. See also references to the masts of ships.

    I still don’t grasp Barb’s logic though. Does she think that Christians must believe that Jesus was crucified on a two-beamed cross, and since there’s some doubt that can be raised as to whether he was, he must not have been crucified on a two-beamed cross? How is that logical?

    Stauros in both classical and koine Greek carries no thought of a “cross” made from two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.

    – Aid To Bible Understanding (1971), p. 824

    Simply. False.

  106. 106
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    How much more evidence would you like?

    Evidence for what? I have no idea what you mean. Do you propose to provide the evidence that the Watchtower Society claims is “completely lacking”?

    Barb:

    How many scholars have I cited? How many have you refuted?

    I haven’t been keeping count. Should I be keeping count? To what end? She/He who cites the most scholars wins?

    If you really want to engage in a “battle of the Greek lexicons/dictionaries/scholars” please do say so. But please also define how the winner will be determined.

    Shall we toss in commentaries as well, for good measure?

    The difference is, Barb, that your organization has turned the physical shape of the cross into a doctrine. You can’t deny the “torture stake” doctrine and hope to remain a JW.

    Barb:

    How many scholars have I cited? How many have you refuted?

    At least one.

    Barb:

    Yes, and W. E. Vine also wrote a concordance that explained that the true meaning of the word stauros is “upright stake or pole.”

    No, he didn’t. That is false.

    Barb:

    He’s contradicting himself here.

    No, he isn’t.

    Barb:

    How is that a victory for you?

    Don’t think of it as a victory for me, think of it as a victory for you.

    There’s an alternative to your conclusion that Vine has contradicted himself. You’ve committed a common fallacy.

    In classical Greek, this word [stauros] meant merely an upright stake or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece.

    – Reasoning From the Scriptures (1987), p. 89

    Ah, more new light? You have to keep up, Barb. As you can see, the organization has changed it’s stance on stauros over time. Again.

  107. 107
    Mung says:

    Greek Word of the Day: skolops

    a pointed piece of wood, a pale, a stake, a sharp stake, splinter

    The point, dear readers is this.

    If the New Testament writers and later Christian authors had wished to convey the teaching that Christ was crucified on a cross they would have used the Greek word stauros. On the other hand, if they wished to convey the teaching that Christ was crucified on a stake, as the JW’s doctrine maintains, they could have used the Greek word skolops.

    No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a cross.

    – Awake!, 8 November 1972, p. 28

    Simply. False.

  108. 108
    Mung says:

    Contra the JW’s “torture stake” doctrine:

    The inspired writers of the Christian Greek scriptures wrote in the common (koine) Greek and used the word stauros to mean the same as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pole, a single one without a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary.

    – New World Translation (1950), p. 769

    Really?

    Under the Roman Empire, crucifixion normally included a flogging beforehand. At times the cross was only one vertical stake. Frequently, however, there was a crosspiece attached either at the top to give the shape of a “T” (crux commissa) or just below the top, as in the form most familiar in Christian symbolism (crux immissa). The victims carried the cross or at least a transverse beam (patibulum) to the place of execution, where they were stripped and bound or nailed to the beam, raised up, and seated on a sedile or small wooden peg in the upright beam.

    – The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 1, p. 1208

    For you shroud fanatics:
    Did Jesus carry the Cross or the patibulum?

  109. 109
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Congratulations on (again) completely missing the point of the scriptures cited.

    Sorry. I admit I failed to first read the Jehovah’s Witnesses interpretation of how the text should be understood before actually reading it.

    But since I am not a Jehovah’s Witness and do not adhere to their doctrines, nor do I accept their authority to explain how I ought to interpret Scripture, can you blame me?

    So I’ve failed to interpret the Scripture the way JW’s are instructed to interpret it. So what?

    Barb:

    Jesus was using figurative speech, referring to “the temple of his body.”

    Sez who?

    Are the JW’s also using “figurative speech” when they deliver teachings about what JW’s should allow into their bodies, or are they hypocrites?

    Jesus said to the Jews: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (Joh 2:19)

    But he was a false prophet, because by the JW’s own doctrines he did not raise it up. Or, alternatively, the JW’s doctrines could be false.

    He was resurrected, but not in his fleshly body, which was given as a ransom sacrifice; yet that fleshly body did not go into corruption, but was disposed of by God, just as a sacrifice was consumed on the altar.

    Nonsense. God burned Jesus’ body? Were the ashes there in the tomb and they just got missed?

    Yet more false doctrine of the JW’s. The Paschal Lamb was eaten. The blood was sprinkled on the doorposts, yet another sign of THE CROSS.

  110. 110
    Mung says:

    Barb, can you please post what the JW’s have to say about the burning of he body of the passover lamb?

  111. 111
    Mung says:

    Barb asks if I am in agreement with Acts 2:24.

    Of course I am. So what?

    Barb asks if I am in agreement with 1 Peter 3:18.

    Of course I am. So what?

    How do either of those texts support the false doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses or refute the doctrines of orthodox Christianity?

    Acts 2:24, according to the JW’s, appears to accord “the quickening” to God.

    1 Peter 3:18, otoh, according to the JW’s, appears to accord “the quickening” to the Spirit.

    John 2:19 Jesus asserted he would raise himself.

    Yet JW’s deny the doctrine of the Trinity. Go figure.

    And still, which of these texts deny that it was a body that would be quickened?

    Now, if you are a JW, you must believe that it was not Jesus’ actual body, the one laid to rest in the tomb. that was “quickened.”

    But what other sort of body could Jesus have had that required “quickening” after having died?

  112. 112
    Mung says:

    stauros: The Lexical Challenge

    Barb seems to think that a comparison of Greek Lexicons will demonstrate her position to be true and all other positions to be false.

    But what is Barb’s position? It’s not all that clear.

    Some JW publications state that there is only one meaning of stauros while others acknowledge that meanings can change over time and that a single Greek word might have more than one meaning, and that meaning must be determined by context.

    Barb seems to want to keep score, and to be able to declare winners and losers. But how shall we decide?

    Shall we examine the word stauros in available Greek lexicons? Should we also consult dictionaries and commentaries? If, for example, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament fails to validate the JW’s doctrine should we ignore it, simply because it is a dissenting voice?

    So how shall we keep score, Barb?

    Please feel free to add to this list of lexicons that we should consult:

    War of the Lexicons:
    A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature

    The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament

    A Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament

    Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament

    The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon

    Interlinear Greek-English New Testament With Greek-English Lexicon

    Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

    Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100 Part One

    Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains

  113. 113
    Mung says:

    Barb appears to be confused about why the Jehovah’s Witnesses would attach any special significance to 1914.

    So, let’s set aside for now their false teaching about the presence of Christ in 1894.

  114. 114
    Mung says:

    Is it any wonder why a JW cannot quote Wikipedia?

    In Homeric and classical Greek, until the early 4th century BC, stauros meant an upright stake, pole,[5][6] or piece of paling, “on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground.”[7]

    In the literature of that time, which ended almost half a millennium before the time the Gospels were written, it never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone.[8]

  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    Just a few clips:

    International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

    >>Cross:

    (stauros, “a cross,” “the crucifixion”; skolops, “a stake,” “a pole”): The name is not found in the Old Testament. It is derived from the Latin word crux. In the Greek language it is stauros, but sometimes we find the word skolops used as its Greek equivalent. The historical writers, who transferred the events of Roman history into the Greek language, make use of these two words. No word in human language has become more universally known than this word, and that because all of the history of the world since the death of Christ has been measured by the distance which separates events from it. The symbol and principal content of the Christian religion and of Christian civilization is found in this one word.

    1. Forms of the Cross:

    The cross occurs in at least four different forms:

    (1) the form usually seen in pictures –> i.e. the t], the crux immissa, in which the upright beam projected above the shorter crosspiece; this is most likely the type of cross on which the Saviour died, as may be inferred from the inscription which was nailed above His head;

    (2) the crux commissa, or Anthony’s cross, which has the shape of the letter T;

    (3) the Greek cross of later date, in which the pieces are equally long;

    (4) the crux decussata, or Andrew’s cross, which has the shape of the letter X.

    [–> Y is of course the fork of a handy tree.] >>

    Smith’s Bible Dictionary

    >>Cross:

    As the emblem of a slave’s death and a murderer’s punishment, the cross was naturally looked upon with the profoundest horror. But after the celebrated vision of Constantine, he ordered his friends to make a cross of gold and gems, such as he had seen, and “the towering eagles resigned the flags unto the cross,” and “the tree of cursing and shame” “sat upon the sceptres and was engraved and signed on the foreheads of kings.” (Jer. Taylor,”Life of Christ,” iii., xv. 1.). The new standards were called by the name Labarum, and may be seen on the coins of Constantine the Great and his nearer successors. The Latin cross on which our Lord suffered, was in the form of the letter T, and had an upright above the cross?bar, on which the “title” was placed. There was a projection from the central stem, on which the body of the sufferer rested. This was to prevent the weight of the body from tearing away the hands. Whether there was also a support to the feet (as we see in pictures) is doubtful. An inscription was generally placed above the criminal’s head, briefly expressing his guilt, and generally was carried before him. It was covered with white gypsum, and the letter were black.>>

    Michelson’s update to Strong’s:

    >> G4716 ??????? stauros (stau-ros’) n.
    1. a stake or post (as set upright)
    2. (specially) a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment)
    3. (figuratively) exposure to death, i.e. self-denial
    4. (by implication) the atonement of Christ >>

    Thayer’s Lexicon:

    >> – Original: ????????
    – Transliteration: Stauros
    – Phonetic: stow-ros’
    – Definition:
    1. an upright stake, esp. a pointed one
    2. a cross
    a. a well known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections, and occasionally in the provinces, at the arbitrary pleasure of the governors, upright and peaceable men also, and even Roman citizens themselves
    b. the crucifixion which Christ underwent
    – Origin: from the base of G2476
    – TDNT entry: 16:32,1
    – Part(s) of speech: Noun Masculine >>

    The point is, the LANGUAGE allowed the variety of shapes . . . and we should again recall metonymy where a part or associated thing stands for the whole or main (the crown, all hands on deck, Holland vs Her Majesty, Sailors and The Netherlands as already given more than once) . . . and the context described by NT eyewitnesses points to T or t, with t most likely.

    Repeated failure to engage the range of relevant factors and especially context, does not speak well.

    KF

  116. 116
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: FWIW, Wiki on Stauros:

    >> Homeric and classical Greek

    In Homeric and classical Greek, until the early 4th century BC, stauros meant an upright stake, pole,[5][6] or piece of paling, “on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground.”[7]

    In the literature of that time, which ended almost half a millennium before the time the Gospels were written, it never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone.[8]
    Koine Greek

    In Koine Greek, the form of Greek used between about 300 BC and AD 300, the word ??????? was already used to refer to a cross, as when Justin Martyr said the ??????? of Christ was prefigured in the Jewish paschal lamb: “That lamb which was commanded to be wholly roasted was a symbol of the suffering of the cross (???????) which Christ would undergo. For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross (???????). For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb.”[9] The word ??????? was used[10] to refer to the instrument of execution by crucifixion, which at that time involved binding the victim with outstretched arms to a crossbeam, or nailing him firmly to it through the wrists; the crossbeam was then raised against an upright shaft and made fast to it about 3 metres from the ground, and the feet were tightly bound or nailed to the upright shaft.[11]

    In the writings of the Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC), Plutarch and Lucian, the word stauros is generally translated as “cross”,[5] although the passages quoted from the former two do not contain any specifics about the form of the device.

    In A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to The English and Greek New Testament (1877), hyperdispensationalist E. W. Bullinger, in contrast to other authorities, stated: “The “???????” (stauros) was simply an upright pale or stake to which Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified, ???????, merely means to drive stakes. It never means two pieces of wood joining at any angle. Even the Latin word crux means a mere stake. The initial letter ?, (chi) of ???????, (Christ) was anciently used for His name, until it was displaced by the T, the initial letter of the Pagan God Tammuz, about the end of cent. iv.”[12] Bullinger’s 1877 statement, written before the discovery of thousands of manuscripts in Koine Greek at Oxyrhyncus in Egypt revolutionised understanding of the language of the New Testament, conflicts with the documented fact that, long before the end of the fourth century, the Epistle of Barnabas, which was certainly earlier than 135,[13] and may have been of the 1st century AD.,[14] the time when the gospel accounts of the death of Jesus were written, likened the ??????? to the letter T (the Greek letter tau, which had the numeric value of 300),[15] and to the position assumed by Moses in Exodus 17:11-12.[16] The shape of the ??????? is likened to that of the letter T also in the final words of Trial in the Court of Vowels among the works of 2nd-century Lucian, and other 2nd-century witnesses to the fact that at that time the ??????? was envisaged as being cross-shaped and not in the form of a simple pole are given in Dispute about Jesus’ execution method. >>

  117. 117
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Worth pondering carefully, especially the pictures and scans of books . . . including the older Watchtower materials.

  118. 118
    Chalciss says:

    A very interesting post, nice read. If God used evolution then Genesis narration of the origins would have used this term. Since the narration clearly states God created man in His image, there is no room left for confusion as to the origins of mankind. Question around origins Is a settled fact, based on the narrative in Genesis.

    Great posts by KF and BA, always a compelling read. 🙂

    Christians are followers of Christ, to be a Christian one has to believe in the divinity of Christ, since JW’s don’t believe in the divinity of Christ, they are not Christians and without Christ redemptive sacrifice for the sins of mankind there is NO hope for eternal life. John 3:16,17

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 2: Doug Shields — a former JW — is worth noting, including on how our telephone poles illustrate the same tendency of metronymy. We speak of pole, though a cross-bar is quite common.

    F/N 3: McFall’s note is helpful on clips of lexicons:

    >> Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament states: “…a stake sunk into the earth in an upright position; a cross-piece was often attached to its upper part, so that it was shaped like a T or thus +2. Let’s look at a few more Lexicon entries for “cross”

    (Stauros):

    Friberg AGNT Lexicon:

    “Stauros” lit. cross, an instrument of capital punishment, an upright pointed stake, oft. w. a crossbeam above it, or intersected by a crossbeam3.

    Louw-Nida Lexicon:

    [“Stauros”] a pole stuck into the ground in an upright position with a crosspiece attached to its upper part so that it was shaped like a ‘cross.’…..reference is probably to the crosspiece of the cross, which normally would have been carried by a man condemned to die4.

    Barclay Newman Greek Dictionary and Thayer’s Lexicon both read simply: “Stauros” Cross5, 6. >>

    I hope there should now be enough to stand for record, and to show that the accusation that the cross is a pagan imposition on the genuine Christian tradition, emblematic of a mass falling away from truth, is ill-grounded. Yes, there have been serious errors in churches, sects and groups, but the cross is not one of them, and the way the text and language have been resorted to in an attempt to indict the cross does not commend itself for soundness.

    If one seeks to correct, a better approach is needed. (At 101 Bible study level, here may be a start. Here on and the associated course may help as well.)

    So, now, I trust that we can return to main focus for this blog.

    KF

  120. 120
    Barb says:

    ope there should now be enough to stand for record, and to show that the accusation that the cross is a pagan imposition on the genuine Christian tradition, emblematic of a mass falling away from truth, is ill-grounded.
    Sorry, but that’s not the case at all.
    KF:

    Barb: endlessly repeating a mantra does not make it so. I will simply note that Gospel preaching is an act of worship and that the cross is pivotal to it, as the AD 55 1 Cor 1 shows. The ossuaries I mentioned, from the 40?s Ad are a fact.

    The ossuaries do not prove that Christ was crucified on a cross. That has been borne out by multiple scholars cited in this thread.

    As to the Ankh, again, it is a simple thing: it is quite plainly a stylised womb and birth canal, just look carefully. That is not inherently pagan, but was used in pagan rituals which corrupted motherhood into evil…

    It is a pagan symbol. It is defined as a type of cross. Are you simply going to ignore what scholar say because you don’t agree with them? That is willful ignorance.

    PPS: On translation, we already have shown evidence that the meaning was broader than you are willing to acknowledge. Just, on presenting you with such, you refused to recognise the breadth of an envelope of meaning, where if a word has senses 1, 2, . . . we seek the appropriate one for the context. Which was given, just ignored.

    Vine explained this already: “Stauros denotes, primarily, an upright pole or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo “to fasten to a stake or pole” are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross.” [Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words]
    I don’t think the definition is hard to understand. As far as what Jesus carried, we do not know how much it weighed, nor its length, nor what kind of wood was used, nor the diameter of the pole. What we do know is that it was too heavy for Jesus to carry, so he had to have help from Simon of Cyrene. If it were a stake with a crossbeam, the cross would be heavier than a simple stake and much more uneven and difficult to carry. Either Simon carried the stake or a piece of wood used as a crossbeam. If it was just a crossbeam, then it’s remarkable that all four Gospel writers said it was the “stauros”.

    I still don’t grasp Barb’s logic though. Does she think that Christians must believe that Jesus was crucified on a two-beamed cross, and since there’s some doubt that can be raised as to whether he was, he must not have been crucified on a two-beamed cross? How is that logical?

    You are truly ignorant, then. Christians believe that Jesus was executed on an upright pole or stake. That you have had evidence presented to you of this point and you are still confused tells me that your reading comprehension level is very low.

    Stauros in both classical and koine Greek carries no thought of a “cross” made from two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.
    – Aid To Bible Understanding (1971), p. 824
    Simply. False.

    Yawn. See above. Tell that to W. E. Vine and the other scholars cited that define it as “stake.”

    I haven’t been keeping count. Should I be keeping count? To what end? She/He who cites the most scholars wins?
    If you really want to engage in a “battle of the Greek lexicons/dictionaries/scholars” please do say so. But please also define how the winner will be determined.
    Shall we toss in commentaries as well, for good measure?

    The point is that you are completely ignoring information from scholars that contradicts your view. This is willful ignorance. Can you at least explain why you don’t believe those scholars have the right idea about stauros?

    The difference is, Barb, that your organization has turned the physical shape of the cross into a doctrine. You can’t deny the “torture stake” doctrine and hope to remain a JW.

    Could I deny the cross and be an orthodox Christian? No? We’re even, then.

    At least one.

    More than one. This tells me that you aren’t bothering to read any information I’ve posted. Willful ignorance.

    No, he didn’t. That is false.

    From Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (1996): “Stauros denotes primarily an upright pale or stake.”
    He then goes on to note that “The latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as a symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the majestic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands including Egypt.
    “By the middle of the 3rd century AD the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ.”
    There you have it. A pagan symbol adopted into Christianity. And what sharing does paganism have with Christianity? None.

    Greek Word of the Day: skolops
    a pointed piece of wood, a pale, a stake, a sharp stake, splinter

    Great, except for the fact that the gospel writers used the terms “stauros” and “xylon”, not “skolops”.

    Simply. False.

    See above.

    Really?

    Yes, really. See what the other scholars have said.
    Under the Roman Empire, crucifixion normally included a flogging beforehand. At times the cross was only one vertical stake. Frequently, however, there was a crosspiece attached either at the top to give the shape of a “T” (crux commissa) or just below the top, as in the form most familiar in Christian symbolism (crux immissa). The victims carried the cross or at least a transverse beam (patibulum) to the place of execution, where they were stripped and bound or nailed to the beam, raised up, and seated on a sedile or small wooden peg in the upright beam.
    – The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 1, p. 1208

    Sorry. I admit I failed to first read the Jehovah’s Witnesses interpretation of how the text should be understood before actually reading it.
    But since I am not a Jehovah’s Witness and do not adhere to their doctrines, nor do I accept their authority to explain how I ought to interpret Scripture, can you blame me?

    So, in other words, you’re interpreting the scriptures the way you want to? And not the way the writers intended for them to be interpreted and understood? Well, good for you, then. Don’t be surprised if others call you out on your mistakes.

    Jesus was using figurative speech, referring to “the temple of his body.”
    Sez who?

    What other meaning could there be? Care to give your interpretion of the scriptures, or should we see what the Greek words used were? Or do you even care?

    Are the JW’s also using “figurative speech” when they deliver teachings about what JW’s should allow into their bodies, or are they hypocrites?

    Strawman fallacy.

    Jesus said to the Jews: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (Joh 2:19)
    But he was a false prophet, because by the JW’s own doctrines he did not raise it up. Or, alternatively, the JW’s doctrines could be false.

    No, he wasn’t. If he was using figurative language to describe his body, then he was correct. He was killed and resurrected three days later. The religious leaders took it to mean that he was speaking about the literal temple, but contextually he was not. Is this truly too hard for you to understand? Or do you have another interpretation?

    Nonsense. God burned Jesus’ body? Were the ashes there in the tomb and they just got missed?

    Non sequitur. I didn’t say he burned it. He removed it. You’re simply making things up now. And it doesn’t work.

    In Homeric and classical Greek, until the early 4th century BC, stauros meant an upright stake, pole,[5][6] or piece of paling, “on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground.”[7]

    Yes. Before the 4th century, you know, when Jesus and the apostles and early Christians were writing what would become the New Testament?

    In the literature of that time, which ended almost half a millennium before the time the Gospels were written, it never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone.[8]

    So, if it never meant two pieces of timber, THEN WHY ARE YOU ARGUING FOR CRUCIFIXION?
    This quote proves my point, thanks for posting!
    kairosfocusMay 31, 2014 at 7:37 am
    In A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to The English and Greek New Testament (1877), hyperdispensationalist E. W. Bullinger, in contrast to other authorities, stated: “The “???????” (stauros) was simply an upright pale or stake to which Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified, ???????, merely means to drive stakes. It never means two pieces of wood joining at any angle. Even the Latin word crux means a mere stake.
    Again, proving my point for me.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb:

    Sadly, there you go again. There is sufficient lexical and historical record that Cross, Crux, Stauros, in the context of executions could mean any of a T, t, X, Y (a handy forked tree), or I. So the attempt to impose just the I on language claims fails.

    Second, by Metonymy, something that primarily denotes a part or an associated entity, can stand for the whole. So, there is a way to understand how stauros would be used in that wider sense.

    Next, on eyewitness textual evidence, we have Jesus having NAILS, plural making holes in his HANDS. This is consistent with T,t,X or Y.

    He carried the patibulum [until he had to be helped by Simon the Cyrene], which immediately points to T or t, as we know what that was historically. A simple density and reasonable size calc will show this weighed easily 40 – 60+ lbs, barely feasible for a badly whipped man. The upright easily would be 150 lbs, not feasible for the known march of humiliation practice. And not consistent with the known practice. Known.

    Then, we see that a signboard of significant size (that part, the Watchtower materials I have seen, seem to get right, much moreso than the INRI’s I remember seeing) was over his head. That makes t most likely.

    In addition, the reference to the thieves on either hand is supportive. As are experiments that point to loss of consciousness in about six minutes for people suspended from arms together above their heads; Jesus survived at least three hours, and crucifixion victims were known to live for much longer.

    In short the accumulation of evidence is clear, and it points decisively away from I.

    beyond, the already cited from 1 Cor 1 suffices to show that preaching the cross and preaching the gospel were synonymous within eyewitness lifetime.

    Going on, the recovered Christian ossuaries from Jerusalem from the 40’s on, show the Cross as an early definitively Christian symbol.

    Likewise references from the fathers in the relevant ante-Nicene period, point to the general shape being a T ot t. There are even indicators from how letters in key words were stylised in manuscripts.

    So, as a matter of general historical accuracy, understanding t is best warranted, with T also possible. To say that is not to import a pagan symbol, it is simply to state that the evidence supports a conclusion. Where, we see Paul’s turnabout implying just what both Jews and Gentiles thought of crosses in his day: an object of shame and being accursed in a shame-honour culture.

    I have said enough, and resummarised enough for record.

    In that this is not a theology blog, the best we can say here, is this at least helps us focus our minds on how we handle evidence and how we reason inductively per inference to best explanation.

    If this is dragged out in endless circles, all it will do is give ammunition to those who wish only to find occasion to further propagate the rationalist myth of a war of religion against science and sound scholarship.

    And indeed that is the crux of the issues over [William Jennings] Bryan College and its attempt to secure its doctrinal stance. As, I commented on above.

    KF

  122. 122
    Mung says:

    Barb, because stauros can mean an upright pale or stake, which no one here denies, how does it follow that it can only mean an upright pale or stake, as you and the watchtower society claim?

    Please explain the logic.

  123. 123
    Mung says:

    At least in E. W. Bullinger the Witnesses had someone they could have cited as justification for their new “torture stake” doctrine, but they didn’t.

    So once again we can see that the doctrine had nothing to do with scholarship and the modern insistence on trying to make it appear like an issue of scholarship is just a red herring.

    I’ve known for some time in this debate that quoting this or that source was not going to convince Barb or get her to change her mind, but I enjoy doing the research and am enjoying how the more I look the more evidence there is that the orthodox Christian view is completely reasonable and is highly likely even the correct view and there was no need to change it.

    And Barb has yet to deal with the fact that early Christians (and yes even pagans) thought of the cross of Christ as having two pieces in the form of a T or t.

  124. 124
    Mung says:

    Okay, so if you were TWELVE in 1914 how old would you be in 2014?

    If you answered 112 years old then you are a JW math genius. Do you know anybody that old? I don’t.

    Obviously this is another failure on the part of the not so “faithful slave” and this pattern has continued to repeat itself through the history of their organization.

    I think that 2014 will mark a mass departure from the organization by millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are fed up and tired of being lied to.

    1914 – 2014 What Will The Watchtower Do Now?

  125. 125
    Mung says:

    What do scholars think of how Christ was crucified?

    Perhaps a look at some book covers.

    The Death of the Messiah

    Jesus Remembered

  126. 126
    Barb says:

    KF:

    Sadly, there you go again. There is sufficient lexical and historical record that Cross, Crux, Stauros, in the context of executions could mean any of a T, t, X, Y (a handy forked tree), or I. So the attempt to impose just the I on language claims fails.

    Lines of evidence against a “T” shaped cross:

    (1) From the NWT: The rendering of the Greek word stauros, meaning an upright stake or pole, such as the one on which Jesus was executed. There is no evidence that the Greek word meant a cross, such as the pagans used as a religious symbol for many centuries before Christ. “Torture stake” conveys the full intent of the original word, since Jesus also used the word stauros to indicate the torture, suffering, and shame that his followers would face. (Mt 16:24; Heb 12:2)

    (2) The Companion Bible Part V. The Gospels, published by the Oxford University Press, Appendix No. 162 entitled “The Cross and Crucifixion” (page 186). After a lengthy discussion of considerable evidence the article concludes: “The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed at any angle.” Please also don’t fail to attach due significance to the fact that the apostle Peter speaks of it only as a “tree” (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 1 Peter 2:24), and the apostle Paul speaks of it also as a “tree”, at Acts 13:29 and Galatians 3:13.

    (3) The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stauros], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.

    (4) It is noteworthy that the Bible also uses the word xy’lon to identify the device used. A Greek-English Lexicon, by Liddell and Scott, defines this as meaning: “Wood cut and ready for use, firewood, timber, etc. . . . piece of wood, log, beam, post . . . cudgel, club . . . stake on which criminals were impaled . . . of live wood, tree.” It also says “in NT, of the cross,” and cites Acts 5:30 and 10:39 as examples. (Oxford, 1968, pp. 1191, 1192) However, in those verses KJ, RS, JB, and Dy translate xy’lon as “tree.” (Compare this rendering with Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:22, 23.)

    (5) The book The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons (London, 1896), says: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . . It is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as ‘cross’ when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting ‘cross’ in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was for some reason or other assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape.” (Pages 23-4) Thus the weight of the evidence indicates that Jesus died on an upright stake and not on the traditional cross.

    (6) In view of the basic meaning of the Greek words stauros and xy’lon, the Critical Lexicon and Concordance, quoted above, observes: “Both words disagree with the modern idea of a cross, with which we have become familiarised by pictures.” In other words, what the Gospel writers described using the word stauros was nothing like what people today call a cross.

    Feel free, KF, to refute any of these scholars and their works. Feel free to explain why their scholarship should be ignored or dismissed. Also, feel free to dismiss the word of God, the Bible, which clearly uses terminology consistent with “pole” or “stake”.

    Next, on eyewitness textual evidence, we have Jesus having NAILS, plural making holes in his HANDS. This is consistent with T,t,X or Y.

    Not necessarily. His hands could have been extended above his head, with nails driven into either the palms or the wrists. Nail(s), plural, does not denote or signify a cross.

    He carried the patibulum [until he had to be helped by Simon the Cyrene], which immediately points to T or t, as we know what that was historically. A simple density and reasonable size calc will show this weighed easily 40 – 60+ lbs, barely feasible for a badly whipped man. The upright easily would be 150 lbs, not feasible for the known march of humiliation practice. And not consistent with the known practice. Known.

    Explained above. Try actually reading a post before commenting on it. We only know for a fact that Jesus needed help carrying it.

    Going on, the recovered Christian ossuaries from Jerusalem from the 40?s on, show the Cross as an early definitively Christian symbol.

    As pointed out above, it was a pagan symbol adopted into Christianity.

    To say that is not to import a pagan symbol, it is simply to state that the evidence supports a conclusion.

    See my post above with relevant quote from W. E. Vine, who acknowledges that it is a pagan symbol.
    Mung,

    Barb, because stauros can mean an upright pale or stake, which no one here denies, how does it follow that it can only mean an upright pale or stake, as you and the watchtower society claim?
    Please explain the logic.

    Because the definition fits. It corresponds with other scriptures (cited above) and also is verified by secular historians and scholars (also see above). The cross is a pagan symbol adopted into Christianity, according to W. E. Vine.
    Repeated for emphasis: The Companion Bible points out: “[Stauros] never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle . . . There is nothing in the Greek of the [New Testament] even to imply two pieces of timber.”

    And again, repeated from an earlier post: Douglas’ New Bible Dictionary of 1985 under “Cross,” page 253: “The Gk. word for ‘cross’ (stauros; verb stauroo . . . ) means primarily an upright stake or beam, and secondarily a stake used as an instrument for punishment and execution.”

    The greatest evidence for the word being rendered as upright pale or stake comes from the Bible itself. The fact that Luke, Peter, and Paul also used xy’lon as a synonym for stauros gives added evidence that Jesus was impaled on an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xy’lon in this special sense means. (Ac 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Ga 3:13; 1Pe 2:24) Xy’lon also occurs in the Greek Septuagint at Ezra 6:11, where it speaks of a single beam or timber on which a lawbreaker was to be impaled.

    If you’re going to state that the word means something else, then you’re going to have to explain how these verses do (or do not) harmonize. We know the Bible harmonizes from beginning to end. It has been shown that the Greek word stauros is properly rendered “stake” or “pole”. It has been shown that translations other than the NWT adhere to this grammatical standard. It has been shown, repeatedly, that scholars believe that Jesus was impaled upon a stake, and not a traditional cross. It has been shown, repeatedly, that the cross is of pagan origin and was adopted into Christianity long after the death of Christ and the apostles. And it has been shown, from the Bible, that faith in Christ is not dependent upon symbols. Remember Paul wrote that early Christians “walked by faith, and not by sight.”

    the more I look the more evidence there is that the orthodox Christian view is completely reasonable and is highly likely even the correct view and there was no need to change it.

    Despite the evidence against it, which I posted? Or are you simply not reading anything that might conflict with your worldview. Are you close-minded or open-minded?

    And Barb has yet to deal with the fact that early Christians (and yes even pagans) thought of the cross of Christ as having two pieces in the form of a T or t.

    I’ve dealt with it already. The cross is a pagan symbol. Period. Full stop. Acknowledged by scholars. The early Christians did not believe it to be so, and I’ve posted relevant scriptures and citations to back this up. Too bad Mung didn’t read any of it.

    What do scholars think of how Christ was crucified?
    Perhaps a look at some book covers.

    Book covers do not prove anything.

  127. 127
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb:

    And, sadly, again.

    Please read in light of context,

    1 –> Jesus was crucified by order of a Roman Governor, by Roman Auxiliaries (Lancia not Pilum).

    2 –> He was made to carry the patibulum. We know exactly what that meant. Where also

    3 –> for excellent historical usage [as opposed to etymology] reason, stauros — by metonymy — INCLUDES crosses in various shapes, most commonly T and t. Where,

    4 –> the patibulum (remember, a badly whipped man carrying 40 – 60+ lbs is feasible, barely; 150 lbs, not so] is decisive.

    5 –> The only real debate would be T vs t, and for that his taking the literal place of a ringleader (with presumably two of the associates of Barabbas crucified on his left and right HANDS) and having an elaborate placard over his HEAD, making the most natural and reasonable sense, t. Where,

    6 –> the remark, NAILS plural that left their holes in his hands (which includes the wrists), makes this again clear.

    7 –> Pardon, but you are artificially narrowing the known, well documented range of meaning [which in the context of a gibbet includes T, t, X, Y as well as less likely I crosses . . . this latter more usual in a military campaign not a judicial action in a province nominally at “peace”], evidently because of a system of indoctrination that exploits the concept of avoiding pagan contamination; but facing evident facts of text, language and context is not to make anachronistic pagan impositions.

    8 –> In C1 Palestine, Stauros was in a judicial context an instrument of execution, with T or t most likely.

    9 –> Y would be an expedient — a forked tree. X was apparently most used in Italy . . . and was notoriously the worst, most agonising form. I was most likely a military expedient, and on medical experiments in hand would normally be much shorter in taking the desired effect.

    10 –> A permanently emplaced upright beam standing by a roadside outside a city, with arrangement to nail or tie the victim to a patibulum, then affix to the upright and nail or tie the feet in a position such that he would have to push up to breathe was most likely, and of course, place for a sign-board announcing the “crime” over his head [the Romans obviously believed in deterrence by fear horror], points to a t.

    ________________

    In the end, on having evidence in front of you and reacting like this, all you manage to do . . . pardon directness, is come across as unreasonable, closed minded and dogmatic in the bad sense. Which reinforces stereotypes about the mythical war of religion against science and reason.

    And in the context of the OP, that is particularly regrettable.

    Please, pause and think again.

    KF

    PS: For those wanting backative for my notes above, cf. here and here for essays, essentially at undegrad theology level.

    In truth, this is not generally a serious matter for debate at technical level, it normally only comes up in contexts where something like Judge Rutherford’s insistence leads to a partyline stance in a sect, or in cases where someone has a bee in the bonnet; or in a Bible Dictionary as a basic background. I guess I need to comment briefly.

    Vine (whose book BTW has been sitting next to me all along and has been regularly consulted . . . ) was clearly biased by his reaction to the dilution of the Faith that happened post Constantine, and did not focus on the proper historical judicial context, not to mention the force of the NT record by eyewitnesses, with the patibulum being decisive.

    The New Bible Dictionary, likewise within easy reach all along, summarises what I have noted, e.g. “It was the patibulum, not the whole cross, which Jesus [–> having been badly whipped] was too weak to carry . . . “

    Likewise, the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (also to hand), observes: “In the Roman world . . . the form of crucifixion was apparently more uniform: it included a flogging beforehand, and victims often carried the crossbeanm to the place of crucifixion, where they were nailed or bound tot he cross with arms extended, raised up and perhaps seated on a sedicula, or small wooden peg.”

    Noting of the recovered case, it says “his heel bones had been pierced by a single iron nail . . . Wood fragments found at both ends of the nail indicated that the nail first passed through a small wooden plaque, then through the victim’s feet, and then into a vertical, olivewood beam.” It then goes on to note a later re-evaluation that suggests nailing or tying the feet astraddle the sides of the upright, and perhaps, for this case, tying of the arms to the crossbeam or patibulum. (In short, there is responsiveness to evidence and to diverse assessments not closed-minded dogmatism.)

    Also, that cross-shaped amulets came into use post Constantine has little to say to what was likely to have happened with Roman courts and execution squads in Palestine 300+ years earlier. They were not playing at Tammuz, but were about the grim business of executing those they deemed worthy of making into public examples, in well known horrific ways.

    Bullinger, likewise, spoke before the major discoveries of Koine Greek papyri in Egypt transformed understanding of NT Greek, and failed to read in context of the NT usage. (In determining meaning usage dominates over etymology. Cute, once meant bow-legged IIRC. Context is also vital in a world where words may take multiple meanings, e.g., notoriously, Jack. [In Barbados, for instance, I have heard Jack contrasted to John, the latter denoting a significantly larger fish offered for sale.])

  128. 128
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: I need to specifically address this from B:

    As far as what Jesus carried, we do not know how much it weighed, nor its length, nor what kind of wood was used, nor the diameter of the pole. What we do know is that it was too heavy for Jesus to carry, so he had to have help from Simon of Cyrene. If it were a stake with a crossbeam, the cross would be heavier than a simple stake and much more uneven and difficult to carry. Either Simon carried the stake or a piece of wood used as a crossbeam. If it was just a crossbeam, then it’s remarkable that all four Gospel writers said it was the “stauros”.

    1 –> We know, first the Roman praxis, carrying the patibulum, a STANDARD procedure to the point where Jesus used it and makes a chilling parallel to a man carrying a burden with a yoke and/or being yoked in a team.

    2 –> We also know that the same standard praxis had the upright in place on a more or less permanent basis. The just above already describes the standard procedure of crucifixion, from a standard and wel known reference work. We are not talking here religious paintings by people who did not know better.

    3 –> Next, we pretty well know that wood has a correlation between strength and density, making 0.7 g/cc a reasonable density estimate for the likely woods, perhaps towards the low end.

    4 –> We also know the flexibility of wood, and that we need a stout timber to bear the sorts of weights and twisting or bending forces that will be at work and remain adequately rigid. 6 x 6″ is a reasonable minimum for the upright, 8 x 8″ or more likely. Think, telephone pole here.

    5 –> For the cross-beam, patibulum, 6 x 4″ and 6 ft [the arms are going to be a bit less than full outstretched, most likely] is a reasonable minimum. 40 – 60 lbs drops out of that, easily. The upright, 9 – 10 or more ft up in the air and at least 2 ft in ground with wedges or the like, would come in easily at 150 lbs. We are not talking about carrying a wobbly 2 x 4 here.

    6 –> Carrying the upright is not feasible, carrying the upright and cross-beam together is not even in the reckoning [for historical reasons, to begin with, we have a known praxis].

    7 –> Synecdoche covers both part for whole and whole for part, so the mere existence of a word with an etymology does not suffice to dismiss the known historical praxis.

    8 –> And that is the error you are making. In the teeth of a clear reason to see why carrying at minimum an 11 foot beam weighing in likely at 150 lbs, is not feasible physically, indeed it would not be reasonable for a single un-whipped man, even if he were dragging one end. Far too unwieldy. The soldiers would have got two or three or more to do that.

    9 –> the history is, condemned men were whipped (and the whipping was horrific, tearing up the flesh) and forced to carry the cross-beam, known by the standard term, patibulum.

    10 –> The evidence presented in the Gospels is quite consistent with that. And the linguistic actual usage is also consistent.

    11 –> There is no good reason to go hunting for elaborate accounts of Tammuz to avoid that.

    12 –> In short, your asserted rebuttal simply does not seriously respond to the evidence.

    I hope we can now lay this aside and focus the main issue, not contributing further tot he wider problem in our context, of feeding stereotypes and myths.

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    Back on track:

    Bencze summarises and excerpts the article:

    Here’s a definition from the article: “Theistic evolution, also called ‘evolutionary creation,’ posits God used evolution to create biological life, including humans.”

    1 –> This assertion in praxis means what Bencze goes on to say:

    Let’s translate that into straightforward English. “God used a process which works perfectly without any intelligent agent to create biological life.” Another way of saying it is “God used a completely self-contained process which is not accessible to any agent to create life.”

    2 –> The underlying ideas fail the vera causa test of empirically observed causal adequacy before use in explanations of a remote past we did not and cannot see.

    3 –> Start with the empirical facts of cell based life, including codes, algorithms and algorithm implementing co-ordinated, irreducibly complex machines.

    4 –> Codes are only observed to result from intelligence, which we know from adequate cases and can reason onwards on family resemblance.

    5 –> We know the chemistry and thermodynamic tendencies of the sort of molecules involved and there is no known or empirically credible blind chance and mechanical necessity mechanism that would get us near to what is required, just the opposite, the tendency would be to break down. Life requires active, informational and algorithmic processes maintained by a metabolic flow and many otherwise improbably co-ordinated systems of molecular parts.

    6 –> That is, the OOL root is cut off, and no roots, no shoots and no branches including us. Indeed, starting from protein fold domains, we know that islands of function in vast unsearchable by blind mechanisms on relevant scales, solar system or observed cosmos, config spaces, obtains.

    7 –> So, apart from a priori question begging on materialist ideology or what is functionally equivalent to it, that degree of confidence we see above is simply unwarranted.

    8 –> So, the issue becomes, ideological imposition on science, as Lewontin so tellingly admitted in his NYRB article of 1997:

    To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [[–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [Billions and Billions of Demons. Review of Sagan’s last book, NYRB, Jan 1997. If you imagine this is distorted by citing out of context, kindly cf the wider excerpt and discussion here.]

    9 –> The hoped for compromise is pointless, it takes two to compromise. And that holds whatever errors may be in what Bryan College did at its founding, or is doing in its attempted clarification.

    KF

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Courtesy Wiki:

    >> Metonymy (/m??t?n?mi/ mi-TONN-?-mee)[1] is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is called not by its own name but rather by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept.[2] The words “metonymy” and “metonym” come from the Greek: ?????????, met?nymía, “a change of name”, from ????, metá, “after, beyond” and -??????, -?nymía, a suffix used to name figures of speech, from ?????, ónyma or ?????, ónoma, “name.”[3]

    For instance, “Hollywood” is used as a metonym for the U.S. film industry because of the fame and cultural identity of Hollywood, a district of the city of Los Angeles, California, as the historical center of film studios and film stars.[4] The national capital is often used to represent the government of a country, such as “Westminster” for Parliament of the United Kingdom, “Ottawa” for Parliament of Canada, or “Washington” for United States government.[5]

    Metonymy and related figures of speech are common in everyday talk and writing. Synecdoche and metalepsis are considered specific types of metonymy. Polysemy, multiple meanings of a single word or phrase, sometimes results from relations of metonymy. Both metonymy and metaphor [–> = “a condensed simile”] involve the substitution of one term for another.[6] In metaphor, this substitution is based on some specific analogy between two things, whereas in metonymy the substitution is based on some understood association or contiguity.[7][8]

    In addition to its use in everyday speech, metonymy is a figure of speech in some poetry and in much rhetoric. Greek and Latin scholars of rhetoric made significant contributions to the study of metonymy. >>

  131. 131
    Barb says:

    In the end, on having evidence in front of you and reacting like this, all you manage to do . . . pardon directness, is come across as unreasonable, closed minded and dogmatic in the bad sense. Which reinforces stereotypes about the mythical war of religion against science and reason.

    The same could be said of Mung and yourself. I post evidence from scholars that it was a pole or stake and not a cross and neither of you respond to that. You simply keep repeating the same points over and over again. I post information showing that an ankh is a type of cross and in your next post, you deny this.

    You and Mung have simply refused to engage in proper debate here. If you want to debate or discuss the issue, then respond to my posts with specific statements about what I’ve posted. Don’t simply gloss over my posts and claim victory. That really doesn’t work.

    There is no good reason to go hunting for elaborate accounts of Tammuz to avoid that.

    The “elaborate accounts” of Tammuz proved my point about the cross being a pagan symbol. Did you read my post where I brought this point out, or not?

    12 –> In short, your asserted rebuttal simply does not seriously respond to the evidence.

    My rebuttal was never seriously responded to by either you or Mung. My rebuttal contained plenty of evidence that you haven’t even begun to respond to yet.

  132. 132
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb, with all due respect, take time to actually look above. I have spoken on evidence for record, and have addressed your key authorities and claims showing just why they are in error and why [with links that give far more] — though it is not a big deal for me one way or another — there is evidence that sustains a conclusion that on this point the traditional picture of the cross is more correct than not; The placard above his head was bigger than commonly thought, the nails were not through the middle of his palms, and there is a dispute as to just how the feet were nailed, also there was a “seat-peg” more than likely. Also, he would have carried the patibulum (having been whipped), in accordance with standard Roman judiciary procedure. But the basic picture — T or t, most likely t — is correct on the full range of relevant evidence, and so is well warranted. Even, I have shown why the weight estimate is reasonable, and why it fits well with the known historical pattern. Your attempt to impose an etymology that fails to reckon with the full range of actual well warranted meanings of stauros [which is easily accessible for all who just scroll up], and your action to further impose a projection of historically irrelevant pagan intrusions, sadly, speak quote plainly. I pointed out that this side track and pattern of argument simply feeds an already existing tendency on the part of objectors, and that it is high time to return to the proper focus for this thread and the blog. I therefore speak here only for record. KF

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I repeat, whatever may have happened with influences on Tammuz or the like in later centuries is utterly irrelevant to and an anachronism regarding what a cross was in C1 Palestine Roman judicial praxis. Roman crosses were most commonly in T-form for a reason: the make practical sense for horrific purpose. The t-shape accommodates a placard above the head, as was in this case. But most importantly, we have excellent eyewitness reasons to see that Jesus carried the patibulum as a yoke of shame, until he could not go farther, and Simon of Cyrene was then co-opted to carry it the rest of the way. With that there in the text,t here is no reason to go hunting for elaborate reasons to reject the well known praxis, especially when the key term used can be used to denote crosses and components in various forms. Especially, when what is read in is then used to polarise responses.

  134. 134
    Axel says:

    Barb, was not a cogent refutation of the theme of Frazer’s Golden Bough, precisely that the similarities between prior pagan myths and Christian lore, were that the former were preparatory and ancillary: a kind of obscure precognition of the object and theme of Christ’s birth, life and death?

    So the fact of crosses, swastikas, etc, being a feature of older pagan religions, renders the assumption of the adoption of the cross (cruciform) by Christians as the preeminent Christian symbol disqualifying its plausibility an argument of questionable merit – to say the least.

    If you, as a Jehovah’s witness, do not believe Christ was the son of God, while I agree with BA that it means you are not Christians in the mainstream, traditional sense, it strikes me that Pope Francis’ remark that even atheists of good will, in good faith, as it were, may be saved by Christ is plainly attested to in the account of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25, related by Christ, himself – the sole description of the Last Judgment in the whole of the bible.

    Since Jehova’s Witnesses were martyred by the Nazis, as in so many other idiosyncratic off-shoots of the Catholic Church, worshippers in good faith cannot be completely lacking in Christ’s salvific, supernatural grace.

    BA, you may recall, if you read Mary C Read’s book on her NDE, she wrote about a middle-aged surgical patient of hers who had been a very devout Mormon, as was his wife.

    The operation was perfectly successful, but, visiting Mary at her surgery, to cut a long story short – she told her that her husband had died four days after, although seemingly, at his own option, in accordance with a message given to them by their bishop. Both knew that his ardour would prompt him to choose ‘an early bath’, as they say in soccer. On the day of his death, he told her that he had been seeing angels all that day.

    When he visited her in a dream, he was very excited, and had told her about Mary’s accident, of which she had been completely unaware. He gave details Mary said could only have been known by people who were there.

    So much for the people I had assumed were all ‘nut jobs’. Maybe just most of them (Barb, the honourable exception, of course…). Or maybe most, not so far from the Way.

    Anyway(s), I know that does not absolve us, ‘mainstreamers’, from evangelising the poor souls, together with everyone else!

  135. 135
    Axel says:

    Oh, and her husband had asked the Almighty for permission to accompany Mary from the scene of the accident back to the heavenly realms, where she was to have a great conversation with Jesus. To which God acceded. The reason why he had been so joyful in his wife’s dream.

  136. 136
    Mung says:

    Barb wonders why I would bother to address myself to JW’s posting here, and I think now we have ample evidence to demonstrate the wisdom of such action.

    Those who fail to reason, who are unreasonable, who reject all evidence that contradicts their claims, who obtain their truth from their religious organization’s publications and who are lost without those publications, who dare not disagree with their religious organization’s teachings are not exactly friends of intelligent design.

  137. 137
    Mung says:

    So why my focus on the cross?

    It’s a case in point. Orthodox Christianity does not stand and fall on the literal shape of the Cross.

    kairosfocus:

    7 –> Pardon, but you are artificially narrowing the known, well documented range of meaning … evidently because of a system of indoctrination that exploits the concept of avoiding pagan contamination; but facing evident facts of text, language and context is not to make anachronistic pagan impositions.

    And it’s not just in the case of stauros that they do this. But it’s an instructive example to keep in mind anythime a Jehovah’s Witness wants to tell you the “true meaning” of a word in Scripture.

    The “true meaning” is dictated by the watchtower organization, proclaiming to speak in the name of God as His “faithful slave,” often coming as “new light,” and frequently employs this artificial narrowing of meaning.

  138. 138
    Mung says:

    kairosfocus,

    In my literary travels I have come across cases where one source cites another and then another source cites that one, making it appear as if multiple independent sources attest to the same “fact.”

    It is probably not too far fetched that some of these cited sources all trace back to Bullinger, but I haven’t the time yet to investigate further.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    btw, you don’t know Jack. 😉

  139. 139
    Mung says:

    kf:

    4 –> We also know the flexibility of wood, and that we need a stout timber to bear the sorts of weights and twisting or bending forces that will be at work and remain adequately rigid. 6 x 6? is a reasonable minimum for the upright, 8 x 8? or more likely. Think, telephone pole here.

    Yes, another point in which Watchtower depictions of the crucifixion are refuted by the Biblical evidence.

    “One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink”

    They had to put the sponge on a stick to raise it to his mouth. (Or perhaps this person was just very short.)

  140. 140
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    The same could be said of Mung and yourself. I post evidence from scholars that it was a pole or stake and not a cross and neither of you respond to that.

    And that is patently false, a lie.

    In fact, you contradict yourself in your very next sentence:

    I post evidence from scholars that it was a pole or stake and not a cross and neither of you respond to that. You simply keep repeating the same points over and over again.

    Admitting that we have responded.

    Please, post a list of these points that we keep repeating over and over again.

    You and Mung have simply refused to engage in proper debate here.

    What would you have us do? I’m willing to consider your terms of proper debate, as I am sure is kf. But you’ll need to tell us what they are.

    Are you engaged in proper debate here?

    I quoted from Wikipedia:

    In the literature of that time, which ended almost half a millennium before the time the Gospels were written, it never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone.[8]

    Here’s your response:

    So, if it never meant two pieces of timber, THEN WHY ARE YOU ARGUING FOR CRUCIFIXION?
    This quote proves my point, thanks for posting!

    Because Christ wasn’t crucified half a millennium before the time the Gospels were written.

    The time when it [stauros] “never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone” ended almost half a millennium before the time the Gospels were written.

    That’s what the articles says, it directly addresses your claim, and then you try to make it appear like it’s saying the exact opposite of what it actually says, and assert that kf and I never respond to your “evidence from scholars.”

    The time when the word never indicated two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone, was long past. That’s what the article actually says.

    So if you want to talk bad faith here, take a look at what you just did when contradictory evidence was presented to you.

  141. 141
    Mung says:

    Barb, in the same post I reference in my @139, I also provided the following, which you ignored:

    In Homeric and classical Greek, until the early 4th century BC, stauros meant an upright stake, pole,[5][6] or piece of paling, “on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground.”[7]

    Your insistence, and the insistence of the Watchtower, that at the time of Christ it could have one meaning is simply false.

    Your claim that kf and I have not addressed your “evidence from scholars” is likewise false.

  142. 142
    Mung says:

    Further on ignoring plain evidence to the contrary:

    In Koine Greek, the form of Greek used between about 300 BC and AD 300, the word ??????? was already used to refer to a cross

    and more:

    In A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to The English and Greek New Testament (1877), hyperdispensationalist E. W. Bullinger, in contrast to other authorities, stated …

  143. 143
    Mung says:

    Hence, as preached by the followers of Christ, it [the cross] became the object of of scorn and derision by their persecutors. Witness the caricature of the Crucifixion, found on the walls of the Imperial Palace at Rome, with the following rough scrawl beneath the scene depicted, “Alexaminos worships his god,” doubtless the sneer of some legionary at a Christian soldier of Caesar’s household.

    – The Collected Writings of W. E. Vine, Volume 4, p. 126.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexamenos_graffito

  144. 144
    Barb says:

    Axel @ 133:

    If you, as a Jehovah’s witness, do not believe Christ was the son of God, while I agree with BA that it means you are not Christians in the mainstream,

    You are incorrect here; Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ is the son of God. We do not believe that he is equal to God.
    Mung @ 135:

    Barb wonders why I would bother to address myself to JW’s posting here, and I think now we have ample evidence to demonstrate the wisdom of such action.
    Those who fail to reason, who are unreasonable, who reject all evidence that contradicts their claims, who obtain their truth from their religious organization’s publications and who are lost without those publications, who dare not disagree with their religious organization’s teachings are not exactly friends of intelligent design.

    Poisoning the well: logical fallacy. Oh, and the Witnesses have written several articles on evolution and design over the years, including a special edition of the Awake! Magazine in September 2006. These can be accessed through their website.
    I obtain my truth from the Bible, which presumably is where all Christians would do so (John 17:17). Suggesting that Witnesses are “lost” without WT publications is a hasty generalization fallacy and proves nothing.

    An example to keep in mind anythime a Jehovah’s Witness wants to tell you the “true meaning” of a word in Scripture.
    The “true meaning” is dictated by the watchtower organization, proclaiming to speak in the name of God as His “faithful slave,” often coming as “new light,” and frequently employs this artificial narrowing of meaning.

    So, what about the definition as provided by the other non-Witness sources I provided, like W. E. Vine and the various study Bibles and concordances? Are they incorrect in their rendering of the word stauros as well, or not?

    We’ve already noted that the word “cross” stands for a number of shapes. There is the simple upright stake, called in Latin crux simplex; the crux commissa, which was shaped like the letter “T”; the crux decussata, which was shaped like the letter “X,” and the crux immissa, which was like the letter “T” but with the crossbar lowered. So when the English word “cross” is used in Bible translations made by the churches, how are you to know which of these forms is meant? The Greek word from which the English word “cross” is translated by the churches is stauros?, but to the Bible writers it did not stand for the cross that churches display as the symbol of Christianity. It meant a plain upright stake.

    On this the book An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by W. E. Vine states on page 256 of volume one: “Stauros denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauro?, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross. The shape of the latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz.”

    Note also what is stated in The Companion Bible, published by the Oxford University Press. On page 186 in the “Appendixes” it says: “Homer uses the word stauros of an ordinary pole or stake, or a single piece of timber. And this is the meaning and usage of the word throughout the Greek classics. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone. Hence the use of the word xulon [which means a timber] in connection with the manner of our Lord’s death, and rendered tree in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24. . . . There is nothing in the Greek N.T. even to imply two pieces of timber. . . . The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed at any angle.”

    You suggested that the word usage changed over time, but the Bible writers used the term “stauros” which these scholars state means “stake” or “pole”. Can you show me why they are wrong in their rendering of this word?

    Yes, another point in which Watchtower depictions of the crucifixion are refuted by the Biblical evidence.
    “One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink”
    They had to put the sponge on a stick to raise it to his mouth. (Or perhaps this person was just very short.)</blockquote
    Refuted how? As explained before, we don’t know the exact size of the stake used by the Romans. All we know, from the Bible, is the Jesus required help in carrying it. Speculation is not refutation by a long shot. Most of the WT publications show Jesus being a few feet off the ground while impaled; many non-WT publications show this as well.

    The time when it [stauros] “never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone” ended almost half a millennium before the time the Gospels were written.

    Yet that is the word used by the gospel writers. It was defined as, and continues to be defined as, a pole or stake. The Critical Lexicon and Concordance, observes: “Both words (stauros and xylon) disagree with the modern idea of a cross, with which we have become familiarised by pictures.”

    Admitting uncertainty as to whether Christ died on a cross, the church paper of the Evangelical-Lutheran State Church of Schleswig-Holstein, Die kirche der Heimat (The Church of the Homeland), remarked in its issue of August 2, 1951: “Whether the cross on Golgotha had a crossbar or not or whether it was just a plain stake, whether it had the T-form or whether it had a crossbar placed across the upright stake is hardly possible to determine now.”

    In Homeric and classical Greek, until the early 4th century BC, stauros meant an upright stake, pole,[5][6] or piece of paling, “on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground.”[7]
    Your insistence, and the insistence of the Watchtower, that at the time of Christ it could have one meaning is simply false.

    And the Imperial Bible-Dictionary disagrees with this: “The Greek word for cross, [stau•ros?], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376. Their wording is that stauros “properly” signifies a stake or pole.

    In Koine Greek, the form of Greek used between about 300 BC and AD 300, the word ??????? was already used to refer to a cross

    The time period referenced above is centuries after the death of Christ, and of course, language changes over time. However, crosses were utilized by other nations in worship centuries prior to Christianity, and evidence was presented that these symbols were adopted into Christian worship. Remember also with Bible translation, accuracy is most important. If stauros means “stake”, as noted by Bible scholars, then a Bible translation (I cited a couple of them above) would have to examine its usage as well as other scriptures to make sure all the scriptures harmonized.

    Bear in mind that the cross has been revered from ancient times and credited with mystic powers. Observes the Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature: “The sign of the cross is found as a holy symbol among several ancient nations, who may accordingly be named . . . devotees of the cross. . . . The symbol of the cross appears to have been most various in its significations. Sometimes it is the Phallus [used in sex worship], sometimes the planet Venus.”

    Further examples:

    The authoritative Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible primary meaning for staurós “a stake or post,” and for xýlon “timber,” “tree” or “wood.”

    The New Bible Dictionary says: “The Gk. word for ‘cross’ (staurós, verb stauróo) means primarily an upright stake or beam, and secondarily a stake used as an instrument for punishment and execution.”

    Remember, we aren’t disputing that words can mean more than one thing. The main thing that Bible translators are concerned with is accuracy. So if there is a primary meaning to a word, then that is most likely what that word will be translated as.

    In A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to The English and Greek New Testament (1877), hyperdispensationalist E. W. Bullinger, in contrast to other authorities, stated …

    So, we only believe the authorities that agree with our worldview? Or are we open-minded enough to listen to contrary opinions?

    Another question could arise: what about the early Christian congregation? Did they use it also?

    Showing that the cross was not a symbol used in early Christianity, the book Records of Christianity states: “Even the Cross was not directly employed in church decoration . . . The earliest symbol of Christ was a fish (second century); on the earliest carved tombs he is represented as the Good Shepherd (third century).”

    Also, J. Hall in his Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art writes: “After the recognition of Christianity by Constantine the Great, and more so from the 5th cent., the cross began to be represented on sarcophagi [stone coffins], lamps, caskets and other objects.” Adds Sir E. A. Wallis Budge in Amulets and Talismans: “The cross did not become the supreme emblem and symbol of Christianity until the IVth century.”

    No, there is no record of the use of the cross by first-century Christians.

    I believe KF brought up one of the early church fathers, Justin Martyr (114-167 C.E.), who described in what he believed to be the type of stake upon which Jesus died: “For the one beam is placed upright, from which the highest extremity is raised up into a horn, when the other beam is fitted on to it, and the ends appear on both sides as horns joined on to the one horn.” This indicates that Justin himself believed that Jesus died on a cross. However, Justin was not inspired by God, as were the Bible writers. [emphasis mine]

    He was born more than eighty years after Jesus’ death, and was not an eyewitness of that event. It is believed that in describing the “cross” Justin followed an earlier writing known as the “Letter of Barnabas.” This non-Biblical letter claims that the Bible describes Abraham as having circumcised three hundred and eighteen men of his household. Then it derives special significance from a Greek-letter cipher for 318, namely, IHT. The writer of this apocryphal work claims that IH represents the first two letters of “Jesus” in Greek. The T is viewed as the shape of Jesus’ death stake. Concerning this passage, M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia states: “The writer evidently was unacquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures, and has [also] committed the blunder of supposing that Abraham was familiar with the Greek alphabet some centuries before it existed.”

    A translator into English of this “Letter of Barnabas” points out that it contains “numerous inaccuracies,” “absurd and trifling interpretations of Scripture,” and “many silly vaunts of superior knowledge in which its writer indulges.”

    Would you depend on such a writer, or persons who followed him, to provide accurate information about the stake on which Jesus died?

    In the second century C.E., for example, Minucius Felix wrote: “Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for. You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods. Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 191) The early Christians never revered the cross or regarded it as a symbol of true Christianity.

    Even if it had been a cross upon which Jesus was impaled, would that be a fitting religious symbol for Christians? No, no more than one would adore or worship a bullet or machete that had killed a loved one! No wonder the early Christians had no crosses in their homes! “There was no use of the crucifix,” says one historian of the early Christians, “and no material representation of the cross.” [History of the Christian Church, J. F. Hurst, Vol. I, p. 366.]

    There is plenty of evidence to suggest that stauros, properly translated, means “stake” or “pole” and not cross. There is plenty of evidence that the cross is a pagan symbol used by other religions before Christ. And the greatest evidence really comes from the Bible itself, for Christians are told to “flee from idolatry.” And Paul told the early Christians to “walk by faith, not by sight.”

  145. 145
    Chalciss says:

    Without the divinity of Christ there is no hope of salvation for mankind. Without the supreme sacrifice of Christ (who is fully God and fully man) , there is no way of reconciling a fallen world to Almighty God. A Christian believes that Christ is God, in order to be saved, one of the conditions include accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    JWs believe a lot of things about Christ and so do Muslims, both deny the divinity of Christ, just as Muslims are not categorized as Christians, JWs cannot be categorized as Christians.

  146. 146
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    I obtain my truth from the Bible, which presumably is where all Christians would do so (John 17:17).

    And yet you constantly quote not from the Bible, but from Jehovah’s Witnesses publications. So really, how do you know you obtain your truth from the Bible?

    You quote W.E. Vine. W.E. Vine is not the Bible! You probably would not even be aware of W.E. Vine if it were not from JW publications.

    Suggesting that Witnesses are “lost” without WT publications is a hasty generalization fallacy and proves nothing.

    Simple test. Try to debate without them. The proof, as they say, is in the eating thereof.

    Barb, You may not understand this, but you’ve already lost this debate. For it was only through JW publications that you learned that Jesus was not crucified on a cross. You’ve already admitted that this was “new light” not delivered until 1936 and that the prior teaching was false. And you’ve already admitted that this “new light” is not what JW’s always believed and taught. You’ve also admitted that the doctrine could change tomorrow as additional “new light” is revealed.

    Wherever this teaching came from, it wasn’t from the Bible. And of course, though it should go without saying, it’s this “new light” that changes, not the Bible, which is yet further evidence that the doctrines of the JW’s are not Biblical.

  147. 147
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    So, what about the definition as provided by the other non-Witness sources I provided, like W. E. Vine and the various study Bibles and concordances? Are they incorrect in their rendering of the word stauros as well, or not?

    It depends. Why is that such an impossible concept for you to grasp?

    It depends on context. You do understand, don’t you, that the meaning of a word can change based upon the context in which it is used (among other things)?

    You do understand, don’t you, that the meaning of a word can change over time?

    Why do you and the Watchtower publications claim that the word stauros has only one “true” meaning and that it has never had any other meaning?

    Why do they also admit that the meaning of the word changed over time?

    Why is their position on the meaning of the word stauros self-contradictory?

    How can you trust an organization that contradicts itself?

    How can you trust yourself when you contradict yourself?

    YOU THEN:

    So, if it never meant two pieces of timber, THEN WHY ARE YOU ARGUING FOR CRUCIFIXION?

    YOU NOW:

    We’ve already noted that the word “cross” stands for a number of shapes. There is the simple upright stake, called in Latin crux simplex; the crux commissa, which was shaped like the letter “T”; the crux decussata, which was shaped like the letter “X,” and the crux immissa, which was like the letter “T” but with the crossbar lowered.

    Or are you just quoting yet another JW publication?

  148. 148
    Mung says:

    CRUCIFIXION. The act of nailing or binding a living victim or sometimes a dead person to a cross or stake (stauros or skolops) or a tree (xylon). … The verb stauron occurs frequently in the NT, which always employs stauros and never skolops for the cross of Christ (see TDNT 7:572-84).

    A. Crucifixion among Non-Romans
    B. Crucifixion under the Romans
    C. Forms of Crucifixion
    D. Jesus’ Crucifixion
    E. Christian Interpretations of the Crucifixion

    – The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 1, p. 1207

    Note the distinction in this article about who was conducting the crucifixion, and when. This distinction is obscured by JW’s in their attempts to support their “torture stake” doctrine.

    Note the reference to skolops, a point I raised earlier before having even read this article.

    If the New Testament writers wanted to convey the idea that Jesus was crucified on a cross rather than a stake would they have used stauros? If not, what other Greek word would they have employed?

    Barb, where do the JW’s address these questions in their literature?

  149. 149
    Mung says:

    CRUCIFIXION.

    C. Forms of Crucifixion

    Under the Roman Empire, crucifixion normally included a flogging beforehand. At times the cross was only one vertical stake. Frequently, however, there was a crosspiece attached either at the top to give the shape of a “T” (crux commissa) or just below the top, as in the form most familiar in Christian symbolism (crux immissa). The victims carried the cross or at least a transverse beam (patibulum) to the place of execution, where they were stripped and bound or nailed to the beam, raised up, and seated on a sedile or small wooden peg in the upright beam.

    – The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 1, p. 1208

    Of course, JW’s deny this, when they are not admitting it. They contradict themselves, as necessary, in order to preserve their doctrine and the “integrity” of their organization.

    “The inspired writers of the Christian Greek scriptures wrote in the common (koine) Greek and used the word stauros to mean the same as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pole, a single one without a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary.”

    – New World Translation (1950), p. 769

    “The evidence is, therefore, completely lacking that Jesus Christ was crucified on two pieces of timber placed at a right angle” (New World translation, 1950, p.771).

    Stauros in both classical and koine Greek carries no thought of a “cross” made from two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.”

    – Aid To Bible Understanding (1971), p. 824

    “No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a cross.”

    – Awake!, 8 November 1972, p. 28

    “In classical Greek, this word [stauros] meant merely an upright stake or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece.

    – Reasoning From the Scriptures (1987), p. 89

  150. 150
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    You and Mung have simply refused to engage in proper debate here.

    Are you going to address my response?

    What would you have us do? I’m willing to consider your terms of proper debate, as I am sure is kf. But you’ll need to tell us what they are.

    Do you intend to address your misrepresentation of the Wikipedia article I quoted, are are you just going to pretend like it never happened?

  151. 151
    Barb says:

    Mung,

    And yet you constantly quote not from the Bible, but from Jehovah’s Witnesses publications. So really, how do you know you obtain your truth from the Bible?

    Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is on my bookshelf and is not a WT publication. Any of the sources I cited are available at libraries (or online possibly) for you to double check, and the scholars I cited are not Witnesses, to my knowledge (W.E. Vine certainly isn’t).

    How do I know I obtain truth from the Bible? From reading the Bible. There’s even an example in the first century of the Beroeans. Paul indicated that they were “noble-minded” because they didn’t simply take his word for it, they examined their own scrolls to see if what he was saying was true.

    If you want to know what translations I have: the Jerusalem Bible, KJV (old 1911 version), Parallel Bible (four translations in one RSV, ASV, LB, NIV), the Bible in Living English and a Septuagint translation.

    Your irrational hatred for the Witnesses is really clouding your argument.

    You quote W.E. Vine. W.E. Vine is not the Bible! You probably would not even be aware of W.E. Vine if it were not from JW publications.

    No, he’s not. But he is a credible scholar. And I did know about him from research I did years ago.

    Simple test. Try to debate without them. The proof, as they say, is in the eating thereof.

    I have been. I have cited multiple scholars who are not Witnesses and whose work has been published outside of the organization.

    Barb, You may not understand this, but you’ve already lost this debate.

    Actually, I haven’t. I have provided more than enough proof for my position. You may not personally like it, but the evidence is there.

    For it was only through JW publications that you learned that Jesus was not crucified on a cross. You’ve already admitted that this was “new light” not delivered until 1936 and that the prior teaching was false. And you’ve already admitted that this “new light” is not what JW’s always believed and taught. You’ve also admitted that the doctrine could change tomorrow as additional “new light” is revealed.

    How do you know for a fact that I learned this only through JW publications? You don’t, of course.

    Asked and answered. The evidence—from biblical exegesis and translation to scholarly works—indicate that Jesus did not die on a cross. It’s doubtful that any new light will change this.

    Wherever this teaching came from, it wasn’t from the Bible. And of course, though it should go without saying, it’s this “new light” that changes, not the Bible, which is yet further evidence that the doctrines of the JW’s are not Biblical.

    Then refute any of the scriptures cited with the word “stauros” translated as “stake”.

    So, what about the definition as provided by the other non-Witness sources I provided, like W. E. Vine and the various study Bibles and concordances? Are they incorrect in their rendering of the word stauros as well, or not?
    It depends. Why is that such an impossible concept for you to grasp?

    Because you haven’t begun to address any of the scholars or scriptures cited. If you’re going to state that “stauros” is properly translated as cross, then you’re going to have to address the scholars who state otherwise.

    It depends on context. You do understand, don’t you, that the meaning of a word can change based upon the context in which it is used (among other things)?

    Yes. But what is the meaning of “stauros” as used by the Bible writers? That is what’s most important. Not that words can change over time. Don’t move the goalposts. What is the proper way “stauros” should be translated from the Greek to English when translating the NT, that is the question.

    You do understand, don’t you, that the meaning of a word can change over time?
    Why do you and the Watchtower publications claim that the word stauros has only one “true” meaning and that it has never had any other meaning?

    The question to be settled is not whether words change over time. The question is as to whether Christ was hung on a cross or not. To answer this, it is necessary to consult the original Hebrew and Greek languages in which the Bible was written; we do this by consulting manuscript copies of the original accounts, some of which copies date back to within fifty years of the originals, are available to scholars. Besides these, the original words are defined and explained in dictionaries or lexicons written in modern English. And, in addition, there are dependable encyclopedias, histories, etc., to which reference can be made (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; Strong’s Cyclopedia, etc).

    Why do they also admit that the meaning of the word changed over time?
    Why is their position on the meaning of the word stauros self-contradictory?
    How can you trust an organization that contradicts itself?
    How can you trust yourself when you contradict yourself?

    I’m not contradicting myself. You are moving the goalposts because, apparently, you have no answer for the scholars who translate “stauros” as anything but cross.

    CRUCIFIXION. The act of nailing or binding a living victim or sometimes a dead person to a cross or stake (stauros or skolops) or a tree (xylon). … The verbstauron occurs frequently in the NT, which always employs stauros and neverskolops for the cross of Christ (see TDNT 7:572-84).
    A. Crucifixion among Non-Romans
    B. Crucifixion under the Romans
    C. Forms of Crucifixion
    D. Jesus’ Crucifixion
    E. Christian Interpretations of the Crucifixion
    – The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 1, p. 1207

    Yes, and…? Address the scholars first who state that “stauros” is properly translated as stake or pole.

    Note the reference to skolops, a point I raised earlier before having even read this article.

    Non sequitur. The word used by the gospel writers is “stauros”.

    If the New Testament writers wanted to convey the idea that Jesus was crucified on a cross rather than a stake would they have used stauros? If not, what other Greek word would they have employed?

    Yes, because, as evidence shows “stauros” is properly translated as stake or pole. Hence, the use of the word “cross” in the English-language Bibles is a mistranslation.

    On this, the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, in its appendix, on pages 768-771, in commenting on Matthew 10:38, where the Greek word (stau•ros?) first appears and which is translated “cross” in most Bibles, states: “This is the expression used in connection with the execution of Jesus at Calvary. There is no evidence that the Greek word stau•ros? meant here a ‘cross’ such as the pagans used as a religious symbol for many centuries before Christ to denote the sun-god.”

    Barb, where do the JW’s address these questions in their literature?

    There are literally dozens of articles on the cross as used in worship dating back to 1950.

    Further from the appendix of the 1950 NWT, as an example:
    “In the classical Greek the word stau•ros? meant merely an upright stake or pale, or a pile such as is used for a foundation. The verb stau•ro?o meant to fence with pales, to form a stockade or palisade, and this is the verb used when the mob called for Jesus to be impaled. To such a stake or pale the person to be punished was fastened, just as when the popular Greek hero Pro•me?the•us was represented as tied to a stake or stau•ros?. The Greek word which the dramatist Aes?chy•lus used to describe this means to fasten or fix on a pole or stake, to impale, and the Greek author Lucian used a•na•stau•ro?o as a synonym for that word. In the Christian Greek Scriptures a•na•stau•ro?o occurs but once, at Hebrews 6:6. The root verb stau•ro?o occurs more than 40 times, and we have rendered it ‘impale’, with the footnote: ‘Or, “fasten on a stake or pole.’”

    “The inspired writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures wrote in the common (koi•ne?) Greek and used the word stau•ros? to mean the same thing as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pale, a simple one without a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary. The apostles Peter and Paul also use the word xy?lon to refer to the torture instrument upon which Jesus was nailed, and this argues that is was an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xy?lon in this special sense means. (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24) At Ezra 6:11 we find xy?lon in the Greek Septuagint (1 Esdras 6:31), and there it is spoken of as a beam on which the violator of law was to be hanged, the same as at Luke 23:39; Acts 5:30; 10:39.

    “The fact that stau•ros? is translated crux in the Latin versions furnishes no argument against this. Any authoritative Latin dictionary will inform the examiner that the basic meaning of crux is a ‘tree, frame, or other wooden instrument of execution’ on which criminals were impaled or hanged. (Lewis-Short) A cross is only a later meaning of crux. Even in the writings of Livy, a Roman historian of the first century B.C., crux means a mere stake. Such a single stake for impalement of a criminal was called crux simplex, and the method of nailing him to such an instrument of torture is illustrated by the Roman Catholic scholar, Justus Lipsius, of the 16th century. We present herewith a photographic copy of his illustration on page 647, column 2, of his book De Cruce Liber Primus. This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled.”

    “Rather than consider the torture stake upon which Jesus was impaled a relic to be worshiped, the Jewish Christians like Simon Peter would consider it to be an abominable thing. At Galatians 3:13 the apostle Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:23 and says: ‘It is written: “Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.’” Hence the Jewish Christians would hold as accursed and hateful the stake upon which Jesus had been executed.

    Says the celebrated Jewish authority, Moses Mai•mon?i•des, of the 12th century: ‘They never hang upon a tree which clings to the soil by roots; but upon a timber uprooted, that it might not be an annoying plague: for a timber upon which anyone has been hanged is buried; that the evil name may not remain with it and people should say, “This is the timber on which so-and-so was hanged.” So the stone with which anyone has been stoned; and the sword, with which the one killed has been killed; and the cloth or mantle with which anyone has been strangled; all these things are buried along with those who perished.’ (Apud Casaub. in Baron. Exercitat. 16, An. 34, Num. 134)

    Says Kalinski in Vaticinia Observationibus Illustrata, page 342: ‘Consequently since a man hanged was considered the greatest abomination—the Jews also hated more than other things the timber on which he had been hanged, so that they covered it also with earth, as being equally an abominable thing.’

    “The evidence is, therefore, completely lacking that Jesus Christ was crucified on two pieces of timber placed at a right angle. We refuse to add anything to God’s written Word by inserting the pagan cross into the inspired Scriptures, but render stau•ros? and xy?lon according to the simplest meanings. Since Jesus used stau•ros? to represent the suffering and shame or torture of his followers (Matthew 16:24), we have translated stau•ros? as ‘torture stake’, to distinguish it from xy?lon, which we have translated ‘stake’, or, in the footnote, ‘tree,’ as at Acts 5:30.”

    CRUCIFIXION.
    C. Forms of Crucifixion
    Under the Roman Empire, crucifixion normally included a flogging beforehand. At times the cross was only one vertical stake. Frequently, however, there was a crosspiece attached either at the top to give the shape of a “T” (crux commissa) or just below the top, as in the form most familiar in Christian symbolism (crux immissa). The victims carried the cross or at least a transverse beam (patibulum) to the place of execution, where they were stripped and bound or nailed to the beam, raised up, and seated on a sedile or small wooden peg in the upright beam.
    – The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 1, p. 1208
    Of course, JW’s deny this, when they are not admitting it. They contradict themselves, as necessary, in order to preserve their doctrine and the “integrity” of their organization.

    Bolded for emphasis. Again, refute the scholars (and scriptures) that state that the word is properly translated as “stake.”

    “The inspired writers of the Christian Greek scriptures wrote in the common (koine) Greek and used the word stauros to mean the same as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pole, a single one without a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary.”
    – New World Translation (1950), p. 769
    “The evidence is, therefore, completely lacking that Jesus Christ was crucified on two pieces of timber placed at a right angle” (New World translation, 1950, p.771).
    “Stauros in both classical and koine Greek carries no thought of a “cross” made from two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.”
    – Aid To Bible Understanding (1971), p. 824
    “No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a cross.”

    Great, thanks for proving my point for me. And yet you insist that I lost this debate.

    “In classical Greek, this word [stauros] meant merely an upright stake or pale.Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece.”
    – Reasoning From the Scriptures (1987), p. 89

    Later on, the word’s meaning changed. The point—which you repeatedly miss—is what did the gospel writers mean when they used the term “stauros”? Did they mean stake or cross?

    Because the original meanings of these words were later expanded to include the cross, that does not argue that the Bible writers meant cross when they spoke about Jesus’ death instrument. The Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Edition, says: “Lipsius and other writers speak of the single upright stake to which criminals were bound as a cross, and to such a stake the name of crux simplex has been applied.”

    Here’s a response to a question sent to the organization, found in the 8/15/58 Watchtower:
    Where other Bible translations use “cross” the New World Translation usually uses “stake,” but in some places it uses “tree,” as at Acts 5:30 in the margin. Why is this?—W. M., United States.

    In the Bibles of Christendom in general the Greek word that is translated “cross” is the word staurós. Originally this was used to mean simply a stake or a pole, that is, one without a crossbeam. That this is the proper meaning of the word when referring to the instrument that Jesus was hung upon is shown by the fact that the apostles Peter and Paul sometimes referred to it as a tree, namely, in Acts 5:30, Acts 10:39, Acts 13:29, Galatians 3:13 and 1 Peter 2:24. The Greek word here translated “tree” is the word xylon, from which we get the word “xylophone,” an instrument of music made of wooden pieces. However, this Greek word xylon does not refer to a live tree growing in the ground and producing fruits. For a live, growing fruit-bearing tree the Greeks used another word, namely, dendron, from which we get the English word “dendrology,” meaning the science of trees. Dendron is the Greek word used in such verses as Matthew 3:10; 7:17, 18, 19; 12:33; 13:32; 21:8. Also Mark 8:24; 11:8; Luke 3:9; Jude 12; Revelation 7:1, 3; 8:7; 9:4.

    Interestingly enough, back in the late 1940s-early 1950s a church magazine called “The Baptist Record” complained that the NWT was mistranslating some words, including “stauros”. Here is the organization’s reply, from the 11/15/50 Watchtower:

    Your heading says, “The cross is not a stake,” and your paragraph four says it is fantastic to use “stake” instead of “cross”. Infected unwittingly as you are with Roman Catholic doctrine, you could be expected to speak that way. If you had not been so foolish as to blurt out before investigation but had gotten a copy of the New World Translation and read what pages 768-771 of the Appendix say on Matthew 10:38 and “torture stake”, you would have been more restrained in your editorial. You would have learned that the instrument of torture which the Greeks called staurós, and the Latins crux, was originally only a stake without a crossbeam at any angle. Consult your International Encyclopedia or other exhaustive reference work upon the subject for yourself. There is no factual, historical proof that Jesus was nailed to a cross such as Roman Catholics idolize. It is only a fiction that Helena, queen mother of Emperor Constantine, found by miraculous agencies the “true cross”.

    The New World Translation is not alone in maintaining that Jesus was executed upon a stake. If you have a copy of The Companion Bible Part V. The Gospels, published by the Oxford University Press, then turn to its Appendix No. 162 entitled “The Cross and Crucifixion” (page 186). After a lengthy discussion of considerable evidence the article concludes: “The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed at any angle.” Evidently you, in your reading of the Bible, have failed to attach due significance to the fact that the apostle Peter speaks of it only as a “tree” (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 1 Peter 2:24), and the apostle Paul speaks of it also as a “tree”, at Acts 13:29 and Galatians 3:13. It was easy for you to assert that it was not a simple stake upon which Jesus died, but your editorial fails to provide a shred of proof or argument that the New World Translation is fantastic, incorrect and unscriptural on this point.

    Also take a look at a statue found in the Louvre Museum in France: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre.....nt-marsyas. This provides a good example of true meaning of Greek words stauros in Matthew 27:40 and xylon in Acts 5:30.

  152. 152
    Barb says:

    You may also want to read these:

    Gunnar Samuelsson, biblical scholar, states: “”There is no distinct punishment called ‘crucifixion,’ no distinct punishment device called a ‘crucifix’ anywhere mentioned in any of the ancient texts including the Gospels,” [http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/jesus-christ-died-cross-scholar/story?id=11066130]

    Link to Samuelsson’s thesis: http://www.hum.gu.se/english/c......cid938216

    Other non-Witness sites discussing the translation of “stauros”:

    http://www.yaim.org/web/litera.....shuadieona

    http://www.albatrus.org/englis....._cross.htm

    http://www.devotedservants.com/cross.htm

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    NOTICE: I give up on trying to get this thread back on main focus per the OP, which has been hardly discussed. KF

    PS: At this point, all that has been achieved is to demonstrate just how one can get locked into a fallacy, driven by indoctrination. Having laid out more than adequate evidence several times to provide a corrective balance, I conclude that mere facts and reasoning will not be enough, absent something which opens the mind and heart to think afresh. A pattern that is all too familiar after years of back-forth on origins matters here at UD. Unfortunately the above will simply feed the “fundy” stereotypes. Sad.

  154. 154
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb: You are wrong, period. There was a distinct Roman praxis of crucifixion, on T, t, X, Y (forked tree . . . ) and I shaped crosses, frequently mentioned in the literature. As a matter of mere fact, the NT documents give us the most detailed and specific account of such a case, within eyewitness lifetime. That information clearly implies flogging, carrying the patibulum and crucifixion on a T or t shaped cross, most likely t. The language used, stauros, is known from linguistic evidence to have the meaning of referring to crucifixion on such crosses, and does not demand only that he cross in use is I shaped. This praxis of crucifixion and associated terms, crux, stauros etc, is so notorious that the UK flag has in it several X and + shaped crosses; cross being an obvious derivation of crux. For instance the Cross of St Andrew [said to have been crucified on it], X-shaped, is the main feature of the Scottish Flag, and also the Jamaican. The Swiss, Norwegian and other flags across Europe, reflect the same heritage and facts of a gruesome practice of execution turned on its head and taken as emblem of the crucified One who triumphed over death and changed our civilisation. Your flailing about to try to suggest otherwise — now amounting to citing a radical scholar who tries to revisionise history, to make crucifixion disappear — simply shows that something has gone deeply wrong. Please, think again. KF

  155. 155
    Barb says:

    KF:

    PS: At this point, all that has been achieved is to demonstrate just how one can get locked into a fallacy, driven by indoctrination.

    Note that this also applies to yourself and Mung.

    Having laid out more than adequate evidence several times to provide a corrective balance, I conclude that mere facts and reasoning will not be enough, absent something which opens the mind and heart to think afresh. A pattern that is all too familiar after years of back-forth on origins matters here at UD. Unfortunately the above will simply feed the “fundy” stereotypes. Sad.

    Oddly enough, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not fundamentalists. They do not take the entire Bible literally. But I am not surprised that you don’t know that.

    Barb: You are wrong, period.

    Then so is W. E. Vine. So is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. So is Strong’s Cyclopedia, and any of the other sources cited here which translate “stauros” as stake or pole.

    That you ignore evidence which contradicts your worldview places you squarely in the group you deride above, those for whom mere facts and reasoning will not be enough.

    There was a distinct Roman praxis of crucifixion, on T, t, X, Y (forked tree . . . ) and I shaped crosses, frequently mentioned in the literature. As a matter of mere fact, the NT documents give us the most detailed and specific account of such a case, within eyewitness lifetime.

    Yet all the gospel writers use the term “stauros” which is properly translated as tree or stake. Did you bother checking any of the links I posted last night? No? Why or why not?

    That information clearly implies flogging, carrying the patibulum and crucifixion on a T or t shaped cross, most likely t. The language used, stauros, is known from linguistic evidence to have the meaning of referring to crucifixion on such crosses, and does not demand only that he cross in use is I shaped.

    The language used, as noted above many times, clearly shows that stauros is properly translated as stake.

    This praxis of crucifixion and associated terms, crux, stauros etc, is so notorious that the UK flag has in it several X and + shaped crosses; cross being an obvious derivation of crux. For instance the Cross of St Andrew [said to have been crucified on it], X-shaped, is the main feature of the Scottish Flag, and also the Jamaican. The Swiss, Norwegian and other flags across Europe, reflect the same heritage and facts of a gruesome practice of execution turned on its head and taken as emblem of the crucified One who triumphed over death and changed our civilisation. Your flailing about to try to suggest otherwise — now amounting to citing a radical scholar who tries to revisionise history, to make crucifixion disappear — simply shows that something has gone deeply wrong. Please, think again.

    Flags of various nations have little to do with the discussion. The discussion—as noted above—centers on how stauros is to be understood as the gospel writers used it. You have provided precious little evidence (at least in this post) to show why any of the scholars I cited are incorrect in their research.

    You refer to the term “crux” in Latin, which is translated as cross. Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—The Imperial Bible Dictionary, Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.

    Is Fairbairn wrong in his assertion that the crux was originally an upright pole?

  156. 156
    Axel says:

    It sounds like it, Barb. I wonder where Fairbairn got it from?

    When he asserted that the crux was originally an upright pole, did he mean the original pole was called a ‘crux’, or that the instrument of execution was originally a pole.

    (If you reply, sweet-pea, please don’t forget the ‘h-n-y’, it would mean a lot to me). I always think of it as a particularly warm and seductive locution of American women.

  157. 157
    Barb says:

    Axel @ 155:

    It sounds like it, Barb. I wonder where Fairbairn got it from?

    When he asserted that the crux was originally an upright pole, did he mean the original pole was called a ‘crux’, or that the instrument of execution was originally a pole.

    (If you reply, sweet-pea, please don’t forget the ‘h-n-y’, it would mean a lot to me). I always think of it as a particularly warm and seductive locution of American women.

    From his description, it sounds as though he’s describing the instrument of execution as a pole.

    He was a member of the Free Church of Scotland and a theologian: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Fairbairn

    Axel, honey, here’s the actual text from the dictionary itself, courtesy of Open Library: https://archive.org/stream/theimperialbible01unknuoft#page/376/mode/2up/search/cross

  158. 158
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb:

    Do you know whose favourite rhetorical and propaganda stunt was the turnabout accusation? Were I you, I would be very hesitant to use it again, its reputation is that bad.

    FYI, I took time out, weeks ago, to point you to evidence on language, history, usage, context, texts in C1 report, and wider history that is in fact decisive. Your failure to respond adequately speaks for itself, and has earned the corrective warnings given.

    I have long since taken time as well to show why Vine and Bullinger went off track. In a nutshell, they went overboard with the classic Protestant complaint on the rise of Catholicism. Yes, there were many problems with Catholicism, and yes, there was some degree of syncretism. But no, that does not equate to everything touched or used or said by Catholics is tainted and to be suspect or discarded.

    More specifically, the issue, always, is warrant.

    And the history of crucifixion in Roman times is not in doubt or under test. Your response to it is.

    Sadly, insistent grade F.

    The facts are quite plain. By C1, the cross was a well known judicial sentence of the Roman Empire, tracing to Carthage and beyond. Their particular spin on it was to use the patibulum, the cross-bar [which seems to have prolonged suffering]. The dominant form was the T, which is the simplest way to use the patibulum.

    However, they also used the t. And sometimes X, Y (tree fork) and I, the last apparently being more associated with military campaigns.

    On the evidence of the NT — the most detailed case passed down — Jesus was flogged [pretty badly] — check. He was forced to carry the patibulum — check. He was so weakened by the flogging that he could not carry it all the way to the execution site where the upright would have been permanently set up. The soldiers grabbed a passerby, forcing him to carry the load — consistent with the known resented praxis of forcing subjects to carry soldiers’ loads a thousand paces [- a mile, Roman sense] . . . hence Jesus on going the second mile. Jesus was nailed up, with two malefactors on either HAND, with a charge on a placard over his HEAD. Most consistent with t, but T still possible.

    One last thing, as Mung highlighted, the use of a reed to give him vinegar on a sponge, suggests a fairly tall cross, probably with feet 3 – 4 ft above ground. Not unlikely, as easy to arrange.

    You have also been presented with physical calcs on reasonable sizes that immediately points out why carrying the patibulum makes sense [40 – 60+ lb] but not the upright [~ 150 lb easily].

    Against this pattern of evidence, you have persistently insisted on forcing staurus to a narrowed down range of meanings, to stake meaning a single pole. You consistently fail to reckon with metonymy and with multiple usages and senses that words gain over time. Often, linked to metonymy. And, which have been known to happen with koine greek, which was different from classical. Indeed, formerly there were questions about why NT Greek was so bad. The papyri found in Egypt helped us see what had happened, Greek became the second language of a region and changed as a result. We call the result of that linguistic evolution, Koine Greek.

    Bullinger wrote before that revolution, Vine after it. Both made the error of missing C1 usage in light of context in NT, and both tried to impose etymological roots on a word when it is usage that is pivotal.

    So, your drumbeat assertion that staurus equals stake to exclusion of cross and parts of crosses, is an error. Indeed, in your latest move, you are failing to see the obvious in Fairbairn. Origin of a word does not block later shifts in meaning. (In our time, observe the sad path of the word gay; kidnapped and held hostage to an ideology. Similarly, there has been a push to redefine marriage, science and so forth, 1984 style. in a happier sense cute moved to have our current meaning, not bow-legged. In 1600, kill meant murder, and slay what we mean by kill, and so forth.)

    As of now, frankly, you force me to speak for record; I have no confidence that you will be seriously responsive to evidence or fact, however patiently explained.

    Please, show me wrong.

    Please.

    KF

  159. 159
    Barb says:

    Barb:
    Do you know whose favourite rhetorical and propaganda stunt was the turnabout accusation? Were I you, I would be very hesitant to use it again, its reputation is that bad.

    All I am asking is for you to examine what I posted.

    FYI, I took time out, weeks ago, to point you to evidence on language, history, usage, context, texts in C1 report, and wider history that is in fact decisive. Your failure to respond adequately speaks for itself, and has earned the corrective warnings given.

    Warnings? Seriously?

    I have long since taken time as well to show why Vine and Bullinger went off track. In a nutshell, they went overboard with the classic Protestant complaint on the rise of Catholicism. Yes, there were many problems with Catholicism, and yes, there was some degree of syncretism. But no, that does not equate to everything touched or used or said by Catholics is tainted and to be suspect or discarded.

    So you are stating that both W. E. Vine, cited above and Bullinger are not credible scholars? Do I understand you correctly?
    I would recommend reading The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop if you haven’t already. It’s an interesting read about how pagan symbols were adopted into Christianity and more specifically Catholicism.
    And again, I state categorically that paganism (a religion unto itself) has nothing to do with Christianity. Jesus himself never stated that Greek philosophy or pagan symbols were to be blended with his teachings.

    More specifically, the issue, always, is warrant.
    And the history of crucifixion in Roman times is not in doubt or under test. Your response to it is.
    Sadly, insistent grade F.

    Wow, I didn’t know I was being graded on posting.

    The facts are quite plain. By C1, the cross was a well known judicial sentence of the Roman Empire, tracing to Carthage and beyond. Their particular spin on it was to use the patibulum, the cross-bar [which seems to have prolonged suffering]. The dominant form was the T, which is the simplest way to use the patibulum.

    The facts as you state are plain to you. You have not explained why any of the other sources besides Vine and Bullinger are not credible. Remember, the issue relates to how the Bible writers used the term. The history of the cross in pre-Christian times has also been explained above.

    However, they also used the t. And sometimes X, Y (tree fork) and I, the last apparently being more associated with military campaigns.

    Yes. And the “I” according to many scholars is what he was executed upon.

    On the evidence of the NT — the most detailed case passed down — Jesus was flogged [pretty badly] — check.

    Side note: have you ever read the JAMA article dealing with Jesus’s death? It appeared under the title “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ” in the March 1986 issue.

    He was forced to carry the patibulum — check. He was so weakened by the flogging that he could not carry it all the way to the execution site where the upright would have been permanently set up. The soldiers grabbed a passerby, forcing him to carry the load — consistent with the known resented praxis of forcing subjects to carry soldiers’ loads a thousand paces [- a mile, Roman sense] . . . hence Jesus on going the second mile.

    He was forced to carry a stake or pole. All we know for a fact is that Simon helped him. We do not know the dimensions of what he was carrying or how heavy it was.

    Jesus was nailed up, with two malefactors on either HAND, with a charge on a placard over his HEAD. Most consistent with t, but T still possible.

    Or consistent with the illustrations posted above, such as the statue in the Louvre, which clearly shows a man being flogged while on a stake. Again, from one of my posts above: the book Das Kreuz und die Kreuzigung (The Cross and the Crucifixion), by Hermann Fulda, states: “Trees were not everywhere available at the places chosen for public execution. So a simple beam was sunk into the ground. On this the outlaws, with hands raised upward and often also with their feet, were bound or nailed.”

    You have also been presented with physical calcs on reasonable sizes that immediately points out why carrying the patibulum makes sense [40 – 60+ lb] but not the upright [~ 150 lb easily].

    Calculations are speculative at best, as has been pointed out previously.

    Against this pattern of evidence, you have persistently insisted on forcing staurus to a narrowed down range of meanings, to stake meaning a single pole.

    Based on what scholars have stated for the record. And based on how a rendering of stauros as stake harmonizes with other scriptures cited in this thread. If you wish to discredit Vine and Bullinger, go ahead. But then explain how Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance which renders stauros as stake or pole is also to be discredited. Explain how Fairbairn’s Imperial Bible Dictionary is incorrect in rendering stauros as stake, and explain how and where his research into the term “cross” went off the track.

    You consistently fail to reckon with metonymy and with multiple usages and senses that words gain over time. Often, linked to metonymy.

    Non sequitur. Multiple usages over time aren’t the issue. The issue is how the gospel writers used the term. The Bible is—and should be—the ultimate authority for Christians. Do you agree or disagree?

    And, which have been known to happen with koine greek, which was different from classical. Indeed, formerly there were questions about why NT Greek was so bad. The papyri found in Egypt helped us see what had happened, Greek became the second language of a region and changed as a result. We call the result of that linguistic evolution, Koine Greek.

    Koine Greek was the language of the common people. However, the usage of stauros as stake harmonizes with Koine and classical Greek.

    Bullinger wrote before that revolution, Vine after it. Both made the error of missing C1 usage in light of context in NT, and both tried to impose etymological roots on a word when it is usage that is pivotal.

    And, as has been pointed out, its usage as “stake” or “pole” is fitting. Paul says: “Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: ‘Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake [“a tree,” King James Version].’” (Galatians 3:13) Here Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:22, 23, which clearly refers to a stake, not a cross.

    So, your drumbeat assertion that staurus equals stake to exclusion of cross and parts of crosses, is an error.

    And your drumbeat assertion that stauros equals cross doesn’t hold weight, in light of the evidence I’ve posted.

    Indeed, in your latest move, you are failing to see the obvious in Fairbairn. Origin of a word does not block later shifts in meaning.

    Origin of the word and its usage in the NT is what is important, unless you wish to argue that the Bible isn’t as authoritative as other (secular) sources.

    (In our time, observe the sad path of the word gay; kidnapped and held hostage to an ideology. Similarly, there has been a push to redefine marriage, science and so forth, 1984 style. in a happier sense cute moved to have our current meaning, not bow-legged. In 1600, kill meant murder, and slay what we mean by kill, and so forth.)

    Word usage changes over time. That still is a non sequitur. We’re dealing with the word’s primary meaning and its usage and translations in the NT.

    As of now, frankly, you force me to speak for record; I have no confidence that you will be seriously responsive to evidence or fact, however patiently explained.
    Please, show me wrong.

    Have you actually read any of my posts?

  160. 160
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb: No scholar is better than his facts, logic and assumptions. And in this case, both err, for reasons pointed out. The text, properly assessed in context is decisive, especially where the key terms in use have a range of possible meanings. Which range has been repeatedly pointed out to you, only to be consistently narrowed without proper response to context. In this case, we know what a patibulum is, and what carrying it meant, and how it was used after being carried to the site of an execution. And, FYI, I have read enough of your posts to see that you have been consistently unresponsive to key relevant evidence; and no, as this is well off topic and actually damaging to the work of this blog, I am not going to do a point by point clip and comment. Please, think again. KF

  161. 161
    Axel says:

    You did it, Barb. Thanks. It was great to read.

    And to think my father prevented my mother calling me Simon, for fear I’d be called Simple Simon! That was seventy-three years ago, and it’s rightly a popular name now, imo.

  162. 162
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Have you actually read any of my posts?

    lol. Have you actually read any of your posts?

  163. 163
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    And the Imperial Bible-Dictionary disagrees with this: “The Greek word for cross, [stau•ros?], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.

    This is from a Watchtower publication, right? Want to know what tipped me off? The ellipsis.

    Do you know what an ellipsis is not supposed to do? It’s not supposed to change the meaning of the text.

    Barb:

    Have you actually read any of my posts?

    You first brought up Fairbairn and the Imperial Bible-Dictionary in your post @ 38.

    The Greek word rendered “cross” in many modern Bible versions (“torture stake” in NW) is stau·ros?. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece. The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau·ros?], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.

    The society claims Fairbairn supports their doctrine when he does not. Even in their own article they admit the meaning changed from what it had originally been in Classical Greek.

    Did I read that and respond to it? Yes, I did, in my post @ 50.

    In their book, Reasoning From the Scriptures, Jehovah’s Witnesses also reinforce their doctrine with a partial quote from The Imperial Bible-Dictionary (edited by Patrick Fairbairn, 1874) that states the crux “appears to have been originally an upright pole”. In the original text, however, the dictionary continued, “… and this always remained the most prominent part. But from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment, a transverse piece of wood was commonly added: not, however, always, even then.”

    So there it is. We both read your posts and we respond to your points and you accuse us of doing neither and of not engaging in proper debate.

    And readers can see it for themselves:
    CROSS

    I suggest going to the single page view and upping the magnification for easier reading.

    But let’s look at the things the JW publication left out.

    The Greek word for cross, stauros, properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. [But a modification was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through Greek speaking countries.] Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole [,and this always remained the most prominent part. But from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment, a transverse piece of wood was commonly added: not, however, always, even then.]

    If you look at the portion of the definition where they are dealing with the Classical Greek, there is little or no indication that this “stake” was a “torture stake.”

    And look where the JW publication put the period after pole, chopping off even the remainder of the sentence, because it contradicted their doctrine.

    Further the article continues, after quoting three forms of crucifixion mentioned by Seneca, the last having the patibulum:

    There can be no doubt however, that the latter sort was the more common, and that about the period of the gospel age crucifixion was usually accomplished by suspending the criminal on a cross piece of wood.

    The attempted use of this article by the JW’s to support their “torture stake” doctrine is utterly dishonest.

  164. 164
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Your irrational hatred for the Witnesses is really clouding your argument.

    If I hated you and other Johovah’s Witnesses I would just allow you to continue in your folly.

  165. 165
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: As an aid to one and all needing to see what Fairbairn actually says when his words are fairly read in context, kindly cf the page shots laid out here, as a PDF. If you read on down on p. 377 (it is linked), you will see wise and balanced words on how such an object of shame has instead become a symbol of the holiest, and on the importance of not making an idol of such a symbol. Those who have paid attention to the evidence adduced to date will not be surprised to see what this scholar has to say. KF

  166. 166
    Barb says:

    KF goes on,

    No scholar is better than his facts, logic and assumptions. And in this case, both err, for reasons pointed out.

    Which scholars: Vine and Bullinger? What about the others I posted? Are they also all in error? Do you have proof of that?

    The text, properly assessed in context is decisive, especially where the key terms in use have a range of possible meanings. Which range has been repeatedly pointed out to you, only to be consistently narrowed without proper response to context. In this case, we know what a patibulum is, and what carrying it meant, and how it was used after being carried to the site of an execution. And, FYI, I have read enough of your posts to see that you have been consistently unresponsive to key relevant evidence; and no, as this is well off topic and actually damaging to the work of this blog, I am not going to do a point by point clip and comment. Please, think again. KF

    You’re substituting speculation for facts. I have posted relevant evidence which has gone completely unchallenged. I have posted scriptures as well as works from various scholars. If you disagree with any of that, then show me where and why and how you disagree. And unresponsive? I’ve responded to your posts as well as Mung’s.

    lol. Have you actually read any of your posts?

    Are you openly admitting that you haven’t read anything I’ve posted?

    This is from a Watchtower publication, right? Want to know what tipped me off? The ellipsis.
    Do you know what an ellipsis is not supposed to do? It’s not supposed to change the meaning of the text.
    You first brought up Fairbairn and the Imperial Bible-Dictionary in your post @ 38.
    The Greek word rendered “cross” in many modern Bible versions (“torture stake” in NW) is stau•ros?. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece. The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau•ros?], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.
    The society claims Fairbairn supports their doctrine when he does not. Even in their own article they admit the meaning changed from what it had originally been in Classical Greek.

    Again, the point sails over your head. The fact that the meaning of the word changed is not relevant. What is relevant is what the Bible says. What did the gospel writers mean when they used the term stauros?

    Did you notice that it stated clearly that the word stauros PROPERLY SIGNIFIED a stake? What does that tell you, if anything? And what about the links I posted above? Read any of them? What did you think, and why?

    More definitions:
    STRONGS NT 4716: ???????, ???????, ? (from ?????? (root sta); cf. Latin stauro, English staff (see Skeat, Etymological Dictionary, under the word); Curtius, § 216; Vanicek, p. 1126);
    1. an upright stake, especially a pointed one (Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon).

    If the word stauros is related to the English word “staff”, does that signify a cross? Or not?

    More definitions:
    Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
    Cross: From the base of histemi; a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specially), a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment); figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. Self-denial; by implication, the atonement of Christ — cross. see GREEK histemi

    The Classic Greek Dictionary, Greek-English and English-Greek, With an Appendix of Proper and Geographical Names prepared by George Ricker Berry reads under “stauros”: “..an upright pale, stake or pole; in plu. a palisade. II. the Cross.(p.648).

    Note here that although this lexicon seems to give “the Cross” as a meaning for “stauros” it seems rather as a reference than a meaning(“the Cross” rather than “a cross”)and to that of Jesus Christ. Hence, definition II is suspect, and may only reflect the lexicon’s belief that the stauros in the NT was cross-shaped or it may be giving it as a reference, that is, that when we read in the English Bibles “cross” this is from the Greek stauros and no indication it was actually cross-shaped.

    In its definition 1, though, there is no doubt the meaning of stauros and anything other than that stauros meant more than one piece of wood, whether it was a “pale, stake or pole” is not mentioned and certainly none of which were ‘cross-shaped.’ This is its meaning in all the Greek classics such as Homer. There is no evidence that the from or shape of the stauros in Jesus Christ’s case was any different.

    The Concordant Literal New Testament with the Keyword Concordance states: “stauros STANDer: cross, an upright stake or pole, without any crosspiece, now, popularly, cross…”

    also
    “stauroo cause-STAND, crucify, drive a stake into the ground, fasten on a stake, impale, now by popular usage, crucify, though there was no crosspiece.”- pp. 63, 64, Greek-English Keyword Concordance, Concordant Publishing Concern, 1983, 3rd printing of 6th edition of 1976.

    The book Dual Heritage-The Bible and the British Museum states: “It may come as a shock to know that there is no word such as ‘cross’ in the Greek of the New Testament. The word translated ‘cross’ is always the Greek word [stauros] meaning a ‘stake’ or ‘upright pale.’ The cross was not originally a Christian symbol; it is derived from Egypt and Constantine.”

    Are all these scholars, concordances, and lexicons in error because they don’t openly define “stauros” as cross?

    Are you openly admitting that the Bible is not as authoritative as other scholarly works? Which ones? And why?

    The Greek word for cross, stauros, properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. [But a modification was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through Greek speaking countries.] Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole [,and this always remained the most prominent part. But from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment, a transverse piece of wood was commonly added: not, however, always, even then.]

    If you look at the portion of the definition where they are dealing with the Classical Greek, there is little or no indication that this “stake” was a “torture stake.”

    Considering that this was how Romans dealt with criminals, “torture stake” is an apt definition.

    I find it amazing that you bold your definition of the word after the actual definition of the word. Truly, the cross is an object of extreme veneration.

    And look where the JW publication put the period after pole, chopping off even the remainder of the sentence, because it contradicted their doctrine.

    Did it contradict the doctrine of the Jewish bibles I cited earlier, both of whom translated “stauros” as stake or execution stake?

    Further the article continues, after quoting three forms of crucifixion mentioned by Seneca, the last having the patibulum:
    There can be no doubt however, that the latter sort was the more common, and that about the period of the gospel age crucifixion was usually accomplished by suspending the criminal on a cross piece of wood. The attempted use of this article by the JW’s to support their “torture stake” doctrine is utterly dishonest.

    What is also intellectually dishonest is bolding words to bolster your argument. Seneca lived centuries after the gospel writers.

    Who holds more authority: Seneca or Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—some of whom actually witnessed the execution of Christ?

    If I hated you and other Johovah’s Witnesses I would just allow you to continue in your folly.

    Or you’d stop posting and following me from thread to thread with little tidbits about what I believe (or don’t believe, as the case may be).

  167. 167
    Barb says:

    This work was cited earlier by me. This a lengthy citation, but it’s worth reading.
    The Non-Christian Cross, An Enquiry into the Origin and History of the Symbol Eventually Adopted as that of our Religion, by John Denham Parsons:

    In the thousand and one works supplied for our information upon matters connected with the history of our race, we are told that Alexander the Great, Titus, and various Greek, Roman and Oriental rulers of ancient days, “crucified” this or that person; or that they “crucified” so many at once, or during their reign. And the instrument of execution is called a “cross.”

    The natural result is that we imagine that all the people said to have been “crucified” were executed by being nailed or otherwise affixed to a cross-shaped instrument set in the ground, like that to be seen in our fanciful illustrations of the execution of Jesus.
    This was, however, by no means necessarily the case.

    For instance, the death spoken of, death by the stauros, included transfixion by a pointed stauros or stake, as well as affixion to an unpointed stauros or stake; and the latter punishment was not always that referred to.

    It is also probable that in most of the many cases where we have no clue as to which kind of stauros was used, the cause of the condemned one’s death was transfixion by a pointed stauros. Moreover, even if we could prove that this very common mode of capital punishment was in no case that referred to by the historians who lived in bygone ages, and that death was in each instance caused by affixion to, instead of transfixion by, a stauros, we would still have to prove that each stauros had a cross-bar before we could correctly describe the death caused by it as death by crucifixion.

    It is also, upon the face of it, somewhat unlikely that the ancients would in every instance in which they despatched a man by affixing him to a post sat in the ground, have gone out of their way to provide the artistic but quite un-necessary cross-bar of our imagination.

    As it is, in any case, well known that the Romans very often despatched those condemned to death by affixing them to a stake or post which had no cross-bar, the question arises as to what proof we have that a cross-bar was used in the case of Jesus…

    What the ancients used to signify when they used the word stauros , can easily be seen by referring to either the Iliad or the Odyssey…

    The stauros used as an instrument of execution was (1)a small pointed pole or stake used for thrusting through the body, so as to pin the latter to the earth, or otherwise render death inevitable; (2)a similar pole or stake fixed in the ground point upwards, upon which the condemned one was forced down till incapable of escaping; (3)a much longer and stouter pole or stake fixed point upwards, upon which the victim, with his hands tied behind him, was lodged in such a way that the point should enter his breast and the weight of the body cause every movement to hasten the end; and (4)a stout un-pointed pole or stake set upright in the earth, from which the victim was suspended by a rope round his wrists, which were first tied behind him so that the position might become an agonising one; or to which the doomed one was bound, or ,in the case of Jesus, nailed.

    That this last named kind of stauros, which was admittedly that to which Jesus was affixed, had in every case a cross-bar attached is untrue; that it had in most cases is unlikely; that it had in the case of Jesus, is unproven.

    Even as late as the Middle Ages, the word stauros seems to have primarily signified a straight piece of wood without a cross-bar. For the famous Greek lexicographer, Suidas, expressly states, “Stauroi; ortha xula peregota,” and both Eustathius and Hesychius affirm that it meant a straight stake or pole.

    The side light thrown upon the question by Lucian is also worth noting. The writer, referring to Jesus, alludes to “That sophist of theirs who was fastened to a skolops;” which word signified a single piece of wood, and not two pieces joined together.

    Only a passing notice need be given to the fact that in some of the Epistles of the New Testament, which seem to have been written before the Gospels, though, like the other Epistles, misleadingly placed after the gospels, Jesus is said to have been hanged upon a tree…..the word translated “tree,” though that always used in referring to what is translated as the “Tree of Life,” signified not only “tree” but also “wood.”

    It should be noted, however, that these five references of the Bible to the execution of Jesus as having been carried out by his suspension upon a tree or a piece of timber set in the ground, in no wise convey the impression that two pieces of wood nailed together in the form of a cross is what is referred to.

    Moreover, there is not, even in the Greek text of the Gospels, a single intimation in the Bible to the effect that the instrument actually used in the case of Jesus was cross-shaped
    Had there been any such intimation in the twenty-seven Greek works referring to Jesus, which our Church selected out of a very large number and called the “New Testament,” the Greek letter chi, which was cross-shaped, would in the ordinary course have been referred to; and some such term as Kata chiasmon, “like a chi,” made use of.

    It should also be borne in mind that though the Christians of the first three centuries certainly made use of a transient sign of the cross in the non-Mosaic initiatory rite of baptism and at other times, it is, as will be shown in the next two chapters, admitted that they did not use or venerate it as a representation of the instrument of execution upon which Jesus died. Moreover, if in reply to the foregoing it should be argued that as it is well known that cross-shaped figures of wood, and other representations of the sign or figure of the cross, were not venerated by Christians until after the fateful day when Constantine set out at the head of the soldiers of Gaul in his famous march against Rome ; and that the Christian crosses of the remainder of the fourth century were representations of the instrument of execution upon which Jesus died; a dozen other objections present themselves if we are honest enough to face the fact that we have to show that they were so from the first. For the Gauls, and therefore the soldiers of Gaul, venerated as symbols of the Sun-God and Giver of Life and Victory the cross of four equal arms, + or X , and the solar wheel, while the so-called cross which Constantine and his troops are said to have seen above the midday sun was admittedly the monogram of Christ, , which was admittedly an adaptation of the solar wheel, as will be shown further on ; and it was as tokens of the conquest of Rome by his Gaulish troops, that Constantine, as their leader, erected one of these symbols in the centre of the Eternal City, and afterwards placed upon his coins the crosses…….the cross of four equal arms X, and several variations of that other cross of four equal arms, the right-angled +. And it was not till long after these crosses were accepted as Christian, and Constantine was dead and buried, that the cross with one of its arms longer than the other three (or two), which alone could be a representation of an instrument of execution, was made use of by Christians.

    Another point to be remembered is that when Constantine, apparently conceiving ours, as the only non-national religion with ramifications throughout his world-wide dominions, to be the only one that could weld together the many nations which acknowledged his sway, established Christianity as the State Religion of the Roman Empire, the Church to which we belong would naturally have had to accept as its own the symbols which Constantine had caused to be those of the State in question. And it should be added that the cross of later days with one of its arms longer than the others, if not also the assumption that the stauros to which Jesus was affixed had a cross-bar, may have been merely the outcome of a wish to associate with the story of Jesus these Gaulish symbols of victory which had become symbols of the Roman State, and therefore of its State Church.

    Anyway, the first kind of cross venerated by Christians was not a representation of an instrument of execution ; and the fact that we hold sacred many different kinds of crosses, although even if we could prove that the stauros to which Jesus was affixed had a cross-bar but one kind could be a representation of that instrument of execution, has to be accounted for.

    Our only plausible explanation of the fact that we hold sacred almost any species of cross is that, as we do not know what kind of cross Jesus died upon, opinions have always differed as to which was the real cross.

    This difference of opinion among Christians as to the shape of the instrument upon which Jesus was executed, has certainly existed for many centuries. But as an explanation of the many different kinds of crosses accepted by us as symbols of Christ, it only lands us in a greater difficulty. For if we did not know what kind of cross Jesus died upon when we accepted the cross as our symbol, the chances obviously are that we accepted the cross as our symbol for some other reason than that we assert. As a matter of fact our position regarding the whole matter is illogical and unsatisfactory, and we ought to alter it by honestly facing the facts that we cannot satisfactorily prove that our symbol was adopted as a representation of the instrument of execution to which Jesus, was affixed, and that we do not even know for certain that the instrument in question was cross-shaped.

    It need only be added that there is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross.

    Taking the whole of the foregoing facts into consideration, it will be seen that it is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as “cross” when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting “cross” in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape.

    But-the reader may object-how about the Greek word which in our Bibles is translated as “crucify” or “crucified?” Does not that mean “fix to a cross” or “fixed to a cross?” And what is this but the strongest possible corroboration of our assertion as Christians that Jesus was executed upon a cross-shaped instrument?
    The answer is that no less than four different Greek words are translated in our Bibles as meaning “crucify” or “crucified,” and that not one of the four meant “crucify” or “crucified.”
    The four words in question are the words prospegnumi, anastauroo, sustauroo, and stauroo.

    “The word prospegnumi, though translated in our Bibles as “crucify” or “crucified,” meant to “fix” to or upon, and meant that only. It had no special reference to the affixing of condemned persons either to a stake, pale, or post, or to a tree, or to a cross; and had no more reference to a cross than the English word “fix” has.

    The word anastauroo was never used by the old Greek writers as meaning other than to impale upon or with a single piece of timber.

    The word sustauroo does not occur in pre-Christian writings, and only five times in the Bible against the forty-four times of the next word to be dealt with. Being obviously derived in part from the word stauros, which primarily signified a stake or pale which was a single piece of wood and had no cross-bar, sustauroo evidently meant affixion to such a stake or pale. Anyhow there is nothing whatever either in the derivation of the word, or in the context in either of the five instances in which it occurs, to show that what is referred to is affixion to something that was cross-shaped.

    The word stauroo occurs, as has been said, forty four times; and of the four word in question by far the most frequently. The meaning of this word is therefore of special importance. It is consequently most significant to find, as we do upon investigation, that wherever it occurs in the pre-Christian classics it is used as meaning to impalisade, or stake, or affix to a pale or stake; and has reference, not to crosses, but to single pieces of wood.

    It seems therefore tolerably clear (1) that the sacred writngs forming the New testament, to the statements of which-as translated for us-we bow down in reverence, do not tell us that Jesus was affixed to a cross-shaped instrument of execution; (2) that the balance of evidence is against the truth of our statements to the effect that the instrument in question was cross-shaped, and our sacred symbol originally a representation of the same; and (3) that we Christians have in bygone days acted, alas! still act, anything but ingenuously in regard to the symbol of the cross.

    This is not all, however. For if the unfortunate fact that we have in our zeal almost manufactured evidence in favour of the theory that our cross or crosses had it’s or their origin in the shape of the instrument of execution to which Jesus was affixed proves anything at all, it proves the need for a work which, like the present one, sets in array the evidence available regarding both the pre-Christian cross and the adoption in later times of a similar symbol as that of the catholic faith.”

    Nor should it be forgotten that the triumph of Christianity was due to the fact that it was a ” catholic ” faith, and not, like the other faiths followed by the subjects of Rome, and like what Jesus seems to have intended the results of His mission to have been inasmuch as He solemnly declared that he was sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel and to them alone, the monopoly of a single nation or race. For if Paul, taking his and other visions of Jesus as the long-needed proofs of a future life, had not disregarded the very plain intimations of Jesus to the effect that His mission was to the descendants of Jacob or Israel, and to them alone; if Paul had not withstood Christ’s representative, Peter, to the face, and, with unsurpassed zeal, carried out his grand project of proclaiming a non-national and universal religion founded upon appearances of the spirit-form of Jesus, what we call Christianity would not have come into existence.

    The fact that but for Paul there would have been no catholic faith with followers in every land ruled by Constantine when sole emperor, for that astute monarch to establish as the State Religion of his loosely knit empire, because, on account of its catholicity, that best fitted to hold power as the official faith of a government with world-wide do minions , is worthy of a lasting place in our memory.

    Nor is the noteworthy fact last mentioned unconnected with the symbol of the cross. For, as will be shown, it is clear that it was because Constantine caused the figure of the cross to become a recognized symbol of his catholic empire, that it became recognised as a symbol of the Catholic faith
    Not till after Constantine and his Gaulish warriors planted what Eusebius the Bishop of Caesarea and other Christians of the century in question describe as a cross, within the walls of the Eternal City as the symbol of their victory, did Christians ever set on high a cross-shaped trophy of any description.

    Moreover, but for the fact that, as it happened the triumph of Constantine resulted in that of the Christian Church, we should probably have deemed the cross, if to our minds a representation of the instrument of execution to which Jesus was affixed, as anything but the symbol of Victory we now deem it.

    This is evident from the fact that the so-called cross of Jesus admittedly fulfilled the purpose for which it was erected at the request of those who sought the death of Jesus. And even according to our Gospels the darkness of defeat over shadowed the scene at Calvary.

    To put the matter plainly, the victory of Jesus was not a victory over the cross ; for He did not come down from the cross. Nor was it a victory over His enemies ; for what they sought was to get rid of a man whom they deemed an agitator, and their wish was gratified, inasmuch as, thanks to the cross, He troubled them no more.

    In other words the victory which we ascribe to Jesus did not occur during the gloom which hung like a pall over his native land at the time of His execution, but upon the then approaching Sun-day of the Vernal Equinox, at the coming of the glory of the dawn. For the victory in question, from whatever point of view we may look at it, was not the avoidance of defeat, but its retrieval. And its story is an illustration of the old-world promise, hoary with antiquity and founded upon the coming, ushered in every year by the Pass-over or cross-over of the equator by the sun at the Vernal Equinox, of the bounteous harvests of summer after the dearth of devastating winter ; bidding us ever hope, not indeed for the avoidance of death and therefore of defeat, but for such victory as may happen to lay in survival or resurrection.
    It is therefore clear that even if we could prove that the instrument of execution to which Jesus was affixed was cross-shaped, it would not necessarily follow that it was as the representation of the cause of His death which we now deem it, that the figure of the cross became our symbol of Life and Victory.

    In any case honesty demands that we should no longer translate as “cross” a word which at the time our Gospels were written did not necessarily signify something cross-shaped. And it is equally incumbant upon us, from a moral point of view, that we should cease to render as “crucify” or “crucified” words which never bore any such meaning.”

  168. 168
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have blogged, giving a GIF of the screen shots, here. When read as a whole, Fairbairn is quite revealing. KF

  169. 169
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb. at this point, sadly, you are well off course. Please rethink. No scholar is better than facts, assumptions and reasoning, whether the two you cite or any other. As the just linked and onward linked will show to any fair minded person, those facts are by no means friendly to your claims, nor to the way you have cited Fairbairn. Which BTW, feeds into the quotemining accusation, which is part of why I went tot he extreme of citation you will see if you go to the just linked. Please think again. KF

  170. 170
    Barb says:

    KF:

    Barb. at this point, sadly, you are well off course.

    So, you haven’t read what I just posted, and don’t plan on reading it. Nice to know.

  171. 171
    Dionisio says:

    KF,

    This is completely off topic, but I want to know your opinion.

    Please do me a favor, would you mind taking a quick look at the last few comments in the below link? Thank you!

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-502637

  172. 172
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb, please. You made claims about Fairbain and I pointed out, in detail what he actually taught, which again underscores the significance of what I have had to say. KF

  173. 173
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb, on the contrary, the translation cross and the understanding that in context t or T is most credibly intended, are responsible — and “we cannot honestly translate” is absolutely improperly accusatory and loaded, without warrant; GIVEN EVIDENCE ON THE TABLE FOR LITERALLY WEEKS THAT YOU HAVE REPEATEDLY REFUSED TO HEED. Please think again. At this point, you are simply not coming across as reasonable but as indoctrinated and accusing. Please, think again. KF

  174. 174
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Or you’d stop posting and following me from thread to thread with little tidbits about what I believe (or don’t believe, as the case may be).

    Persecution complex much?

    I believe I’ve had something to say re your JW beliefs in response to your posts in a whopping total of three threads?

  175. 175
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    The fact that the meaning of the word changed is not relevant.

    On the contrary, it is relevant.

    Let’s review:

    “The inspired writers of the Christian Greek scriptures wrote in the common (koine) Greek and used the word stauros to mean the same as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pole, a single one without a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary.

    – New World Translation (1950), p. 769

    This article claims that the writers of the Greek NT used the word the same as it was used in classical Greek, as if the meaning had never changed!

    If the meaning did change over time, it’s relevant to ask when and why it changed in order to make an inference about the meaning as understood by the NT writers.

    Otherwise this is just a dogmatic statement from the watchtower society with no basis in fact.

    “The evidence is, therefore, completely lacking that Jesus Christ was crucified on two pieces of timber placed at a right angle” (New World translation, 1950, p.771).

    And that’s just simply false, as we have seen. They are in effect claiming that the meaning never changed. Thus whether the meaning did in fact change is relevant.

    “Stauros in both classical and koine Greek carries no thought of a “cross” made from two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.

    – Aid To Bible Understanding (1971), p. 824

    And there it is in black and white. They claim it carries no other meaning in Koine Greek. That is false.

    So again, if the meaning changed, it is relevant.

    “No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a cross.”

    – Awake!, 8 November 1972, p. 28

    False. As we have seen.

    So the fact that the meaning changed needs to be acknowledged. And then one must ask why the watchtower claims it never changed, and then why they left out relevant points from their quoting of Fairbain to hide from their readers the fact that it had changed by the time of the Gospels.

    All completely relevant.

  176. 176
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb, as just one specific reminder, the appropriate historical-linguistic context for understanding what is being said in the NT about Jesus’ crucifixion is the run up to and the decades of the C1 in the Roman Empire. And, judicial praxis . . . which is reasonably summarised in Fairbain and is developed in more details as has been linked as well. Surprise, not, it is much as you have been pointed to over the past several weeks now. Stuff on Constantine, Tammuz etc is late 3rd or early 4th century, maybe 300 or so years later. About like projecting present circumstances unto those of the early 1700’s. The substantial matter is that probably by metonymy and figuring out ever more cruel refinements, crucifixion and the crosses it was done on came to include T, t, X and even Y (forked trees) as well as the simple stake, I. The standard Roman praxis was the forcing of the victim to carry the cross-beam or patibulum to the place of execution, where he would be nailed to it or tied to it and it would be fixed to a waiting upright. Feet would also be fastened perhaps near ground, perhaps 3 – 4 ft up or so. These known standard patterns were described by using stauros as has repeatedly been pointed out to you. And, the NT evidence makes it plain that Jesus was a victim of pretty much this standard praxis, starting with the horrific flogging and being made to carry the patibulum. Where the patibulum points strongly to T or t, regardless of your dismissiveness towards the NT reports. So, the matter is one of respecting evidence, history and linguistic usage. Please think again. KF

  177. 177
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Fairbain clip here, with onward details and further information.

  178. 178
    Mung says:

    kf,

    Methinks the authors of the JW articles believed that Jesus was crucified by a Classical Greek!

    Please, if you ever come across it, do let me know if in Classical Greek you find the word stauros referring to a “torture stake” rather than to the meaning of stauros that we are aware of from Classical Greek.

    “The inspired writers of the Christian Greek scriptures wrote in the common (koine) Greek and used the word stauros to mean the same as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pole, a single one without a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary.”

    A stake or pole. Not a “torture stake.” contra the doctrine of the JW’s.

    Stauros in both classical and koine Greek carries no thought of a “cross” made from two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.

    Not a “torture stake.” contra the JW’s doctrine.

    “No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a cross.”

    No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a “torture stake.”

    So to follow the JW’s own reasoning, in Classical Greek stauros meant only a stake or pole.

    It never meant “torture stake.”

    It carries no thought of torture. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.

    No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a “torture stake.”

  179. 179
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    I have posted relevant evidence which has gone completely unchallenged.

    Such as?

    Your “relevant evidence” from Vine was refuted.

    Your “relevant evidence” from Fairbain was refuted.

    Try to see things from our perspective:

    You post “relevant evidence.”

    We rebut that evidence.

    You claim we never rebutted that evidence and post more “relevant evidence” without even bothering to admit that your previous “relevant evidence” has been rebutted and then claim that we have failed to rebut your “relevant evidence.”

    So how are you keeping track? Please give us a list of your “relevant evidence.”

    We will be more than happy to identify evidence already addressed and do our best to also address any other “relevant evidence” you may be able to provide.

    But if this is to be a “proper debate,” then you also need to rebut our “relevant evidence.”

    This you have failed to do. Don’t be a hypocrite.

  180. 180
    Mung says:

    An exercise in self-delusion:

    For it was only through JW publications that you learned that Jesus was not crucified on a cross. You’ve already admitted that this was “new light” not delivered until 1936 and that the prior teaching was false. And you’ve already admitted that this “new light” is not what JW’s always believed and taught. You’ve also admitted that the doctrine could change tomorrow as additional “new light” is revealed.

    Barb:

    How do you know for a fact that I learned this only through JW publications? You don’t, of course.

    You’ve as much as admitted to the fact!

    Prior to 1936 the JW’s never taught such nonsense, by your own admission.

    Also by your own admission, this was “new light” taught only to JW’s.

    It’s a perfectly reasonable inference that it was taught through JW publications, and you confirm this inference.

  181. 181
    Mung says:

    Barb @ 166:

    Are you openly admitting that you haven’t read anything I’ve posted?

    Given that the post you’re responding to demonstrates that your assertion that we have not read anything you’ve posted is false (a lie), I would have to say no, I am not admitting any such thing.

    Did you notice that it stated clearly that the word stauros PROPERLY SIGNIFIED a stake? What does that tell you, if anything? And what about the links I posted above? Read any of them? What did you think, and why?

    I don’t know what the “it” is to which you are referring.

    And my search on “properly signified a stake” returns, guess what, a JW publication. Have you no shame?

    Definition: The device on which Jesus Christ was executed is referred to by most of Christendom as a cross. The expression is drawn from the Latin crux.

    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101989219

    Oh my, the lies.

    Even Barb admits this is a lie.

  182. 182
    Barb says:

    KF:

    Barb, on the contrary, the translation cross and the understanding that in context t or T is most credibly intended, are responsible — and “we cannot honestly translate” is absolutely improperly accusatory and loaded

    Based on what? Your “refutation” of Vine as a scholar? And the other scholars and lexicons I posted above, which also translate stauros as stake…are they all non-credible sources? Why or why not?

    , without warrant; GIVEN EVIDENCE ON THE TABLE FOR LITERALLY WEEKS THAT YOU HAVE REPEATEDLY REFUSED TO HEED.

    See my two posts from yesterday.

    Please think again. At this point, you are simply not coming across as reasonable but as indoctrinated and accusing.

    As are you. Note, also, that I have been told I am completely wrong and have been called a liar by Mung. I haven’t resorted to pathetically weak ad hominem attacks.

    Mung,

    Persecution complex much?
    I believe I’ve had something to say re your JW beliefs in response to your posts in a whopping total of three threads?

    Why are you derailing other threads? Are you doing so simply because you don’t like my beliefs? Then why not “leave me in my folly” as you mentioned?

    On the contrary, it is relevant.

    Not really. Remember the issue is what the gospel writers stated, not the evolution of language over time.

    Again I ask: are you or KF arguing that there is a higher authority than the Bible? Because the Bible plainly states that stauros was the word used, and it has been translated properly as stake or pole, based on the Greek language.

    This article claims that the writers of the Greek NT used the word the same as it was used in classical Greek, as if the meaning had never changed!

    Because the meaning in classical and Koine Greek was the same, as pointed out above. The meaning did not change until much later.

    If the meaning did change over time, it’s relevant to ask when and why it changed in order to make an inference about the meaning as understood by the NT writers.

    The meaning AT THE TIME OF WRITING THE NT is what is relevant, not what the word meant centuries later. Your argument fails.

    Otherwise this is just a dogmatic statement from the watchtower society with no basis in fact.

    See above. Your argument doesn’t hold water.

    And that’s just simply false, as we have seen. They are in effect claiming that the meaning never changed. Thus whether the meaning did in fact change is relevant.
    “Stauros in both classical and koine Greek carries no thought of a “cross” made from two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.”
    – Aid To Bible Understanding (1971), p. 824
    And there it is in black and white. They claim it carries no other meaning in Koine Greek. That is false.

    The meaning in classical and Koine is the same; this was posted above, but you’ve evidently not seen that post.

    So again, if the meaning changed, it is relevant.

    Not if it changed AFTER the writing of the NT was completed. What counts is what the gospel writers meant.

    “No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a cross.”
    – Awake!, 8 November 1972, p. 28
    False. As we have seen.

    You, of course, noticed that the sentence mentioned Biblical evidence? The word stauros is translated properly as stake, as borne out by translations besides the NWT as well as by Greek scholars and historians. See also the verses cited where the apostles use the term “xylon” meaning tree.

    So the fact that the meaning changed needs to be acknowledged. And then one must ask why the watchtower claims it never changed, and then why they left out relevant points from their quoting of Fairbairn to hide from their readers the fact that it had changed by the time of the Gospels.
    All completely relevant.

    Copied from my post above, which Mung appears to have ignored:
    The Classic Greek Dictionary, Greek-English and English-Greek, With an Appendix of Proper and Geographical Names prepared by George Ricker Berry reads under “stauros”: “..an upright pale, stake or pole; in plu. a palisade. II. the Cross.(p.648).

    Although this lexicon seems to give “the Cross” as a meaning for “stauros” it seems rather as a reference than a meaning(“the Cross” rather than “a cross”)and to that of Jesus Christ. Hence definition II is somewhat ‘suspect’ and may only reflect the lexicons belief that the stauros in the NT was cross-shaped or it may be giving it as a reference, that is, that when we read in the English Bibles “cross” this is from the Greek stauros and no indication it was actually cross-shaped. In its definition 1 though there is no doubt the meaning of stauros and anything other than that stauros meant more than one piece of wood, whether it was a “pale, stake or pole” is not mentioned and certainly none of which were ‘cross-shaped.’ This is its meaning in all the Greek classics such as Homer. There is no evidence that the from or shape of the stauros in Jesus Christ’s case was any different.
    And again:
    According to a Greek-English lexicon by Liddell and Scott, this word means “Wood cut and ready for use, firewood, timber, etc. . . . piece of wood, log, beam, post . . . cudgel, club . . . stake on which criminals were impaled . . . of live wood, tree.” “wood . . . ” Hence in the Authorized Version/King James Version this word is rendered as “tree” at Acts 5:30. The Complete Jewish Bible by D. Stern has here “stake.” See also Acts 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24.

    Please feel free to explain why this lexicon by Liddell and Scott is incorrect in their definition of xylon, a word used by Bible writers that relates to stauros. And please feel free to explain why Berry’s citation above is incorrect.

    Stuff on Constantine, Tammuz etc is late 3rd or early 4th century, maybe 300 or so years later.

    Constantine is 3rd or 4th century; Tammuz predated Christianity as was shown above.

    Please, if you ever come across it, do let me know if in Classical Greek you find the word stauros referring to a “torture stake” rather than to the meaning of stauros that we are aware of from Classical Greek.

    The definition of stauros has been explained repeatedly. The reason for translating the word as “torture stake” in the NWT was also explained. Try actually reading the posts you’re responding to.

    A stake or pole. Not a “torture stake.” contra the doctrine of the JW’s.

    Hey, at least you now agree that it’s a stake and not a cross.

    Not a “torture stake.” contra the JW’s doctrine.

    Explained above. Responding to a post you obviously haven’t read only makes you look ignorant.

    No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a “torture stake.”

    Oh, so you’ve refuted every cited scripture in this thread? No?

    Such as?

    Try my two posts from yesterday, neither of which were apparently read. Neither you nor KF attempted to show where or how any of the scholars and lexicons cited were incorrect.

    Your “relevant evidence” from Vine was refuted.

    By someone who claims he’s not a credible scholar. Here are his credentials (Vine’s): Greek scholar, educator, editor, pastor and author, educated at University College of Wales; BA & MA in “Ancient Classics” from University of London, pastor at Manvers Hall Church in Bath for 40 years. Yeah, I think I’ll take his word over KF’s opinion.

    Your “relevant evidence” from Fairbairn was refuted.

    Not really. Fairbairn does acknowledge that the word’s meaning changed, but his definition of the word as stake or pole is still relevant. And remember, we’re concerned with what the Bible states, not with what a church father states.

    We rebut that evidence.

    Here is a list of what I’ve posted that neither you nor KF have even mentioned:
    1. The Companion Bible, published by the Oxford University Press. On page 186 in the “Appendixes” it says: “Homer uses the word stauros of an ordinary pole or stake, or a single piece of timber. And this is the meaning and usage of the word throughout the Greek classics. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone. Hence the use of the word xulon [which means a timber] in connection with the manner of our Lord’s death, and rendered tree in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24. . . . There is nothing in the Greek N.T. even to imply two pieces of timber. . . . The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed at any angle.”
    2. The Critical Lexicon and Concordance, observes: “Both words (stauros and xylon) disagree with the modern idea of a cross, with which we have become familiarised by pictures.”
    3. Admitting uncertainty as to whether Christ died on a cross, the church paper of the Evangelical-Lutheran State Church of Schleswig-Holstein, Die kirche der Heimat (The Church of the Homeland), remarked in its issue of August 2, 1951: “Whether the cross on Golgotha had a crossbar or not or whether it was just a plain stake, whether it had the T-form or whether it had a crossbar placed across the upright stake is hardly possible to determine now.”
    4. Observes the Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature: “The sign of the cross is found as a holy symbol among several ancient nations, who may accordingly be named . . . devotees of the cross. . . . The symbol of the cross appears to have been most various in its significations. Sometimes it is the Phallus [used in sex worship], sometimes the planet Venus.”
    5. The authoritative Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible primary meaning for staurós “a stake or post,” and for xýlon “timber,” “tree” or “wood.”
    6. The book Records of Christianity states: “Even the Cross was not directly employed in church decoration . . . The earliest symbol of Christ was a fish (second century); on the earliest carved tombs he is represented as the Good Shepherd (third century).”
    7. J. Hall in his Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art writes: “After the recognition of Christianity by Constantine the Great, and more so from the 5th cent., the cross began to be represented on sarcophagi [stone coffins], lamps, caskets and other objects.” Adds Sir E. A. Wallis Budge in Amulets and Talismans: “The cross did not become the supreme emblem and symbol of Christianity until the IVth century.”
    8. In the second century C.E., for example, Minucius Felix wrote: “Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for. You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods. Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 191)
    9. “There was no use of the crucifix,” says one historian of the early Christians, “and no material representation of the cross.” [History of the Christian Church, J. F. Hurst, Vol. I, p. 366.]
    10. The writings of Livy, a Roman historian of the first century B.C., crux means a mere stake. Such a single stake for impalement of a criminal was called crux simplex, and the method of nailing him to such an instrument of torture is illustrated by the Roman Catholic scholar, Justus Lipsius, of the 16th century. We present herewith a photographic copy of his illustration on page 647, column 2, of his book De Cruce Liber Primus. This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled.”
    11. At Galatians 3:13 the apostle Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:23 and says: ‘It is written: “Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.’” Hence the Jewish Christians would hold as accursed and hateful the stake upon which Jesus had been executed.
    12. Moses Maimonides, of the 12th century: ‘They never hang upon a tree which clings to the soil by roots; but upon a timber uprooted, that it might not be an annoying plague: for a timber upon which anyone has been hanged is buried; that the evil name may not remain with it and people should say, “This is the timber on which so-and-so was hanged.” So the stone with which anyone has been stoned; and the sword, with which the one killed has been killed; and the cloth or mantle with which anyone has been strangled; all these things are buried along with those who perished.’ (Apud Casaub. in Baron. Exercitat. 16, An. 34, Num. 134)
    13. Says Kalinski in Vaticinia Observationibus Illustrata, page 342: ‘Consequently since a man hanged was considered the greatest abomination—the Jews also hated more than other things the timber on which he had been hanged, so that they covered it also with earth, as being equally an abominable thing.’
    14. Also take a look at a statue found in the Louvre Museum in France: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre…..nt-marsyas. This provides a good example of true meaning of Greek words stauros in Matthew 27:40 and xylon in Acts 5:30.
    15. Gunnar Samuelsson, biblical scholar, states: “”There is no distinct punishment called ‘crucifixion,’ no distinct punishment device called a ‘crucifix’ anywhere mentioned in any of the ancient texts including the Gospels,” [http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/jesus-christ-died-cross-scholar/story?id=11066130] Link to Samuelsson’s thesis: http://www.hum.gu.se/english/c……cid938216
    17. The book Das Kreuz und die Kreuzigung (The Cross and the Crucifixion), by Hermann Fulda, states: “Trees were not everywhere available at the places chosen for public execution. So a simple beam was sunk into the ground. On this the outlaws, with hands raised upward and often also with their feet, were bound or nailed.”
    18. The Classic Greek Dictionary, Greek-English and English-Greek, With an Appendix of Proper and Geographical Names prepared by George Ricker Berry reads under “stauros”: “..an upright pale, stake or pole; in plu. a palisade. II. the Cross.(p.648).
    19. The Concordant Literal New Testament with the Keyword Concordance states: “stauros STANDer: cross, an upright stake or pole, without any crosspiece, now, popularly, cross…” Also “stauroo cause-STAND, crucify, drive a stake into the ground, fasten on a stake, impale, now by popular usage, crucify, though there was no crosspiece.”- pp. 63, 64, Greek-English Keyword Concordance, Concordant Publishing Concern, 1983, 3rd printing of 6th edition of 1976.
    20. The book Dual Heritage-The Bible and the British Museum states: “It may come as a shock to know that there is no word such as ‘cross’ in the Greek of the New Testament. The word translated ‘cross’ is always the Greek word [stauros] meaning a ‘stake’ or ‘upright pale.’ The cross was not originally a Christian symbol; it is derived from Egypt and Constantine.”
    21. My post at #167: The Non-Christian Cross, An Enquiry into the Origin and History of the Symbol Eventually Adopted as that of our Religion, by John Denham Parsons: “seems therefore tolerably clear (1) that the sacred writngs forming the New testament, to the statements of which-as translated for us-we bow down in reverence, do not tell us that Jesus was affixed to a cross-shaped instrument of execution; (2) that the balance of evidence is against the truth of our statements to the effect that the instrument in question was cross-shaped, and our sacred symbol originally a representation of the same; and (3) that we Christians have in bygone days acted, alas! still act, anything but ingenuously in regard to the symbol of the cross.”

    Here are a few others:
    22. A Bible Commentary for English Readers, edited by C.J.Elliott, Vol. VI, page 549: “Thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee.” Tradition, from Tertullian downwards(Scorp. 15; De Praescr. 35), states that he was crucified. Tertullian himself so understood them, for he says, “Then is Peter girded by another when he is bound to the cross.”

    But on the other hand, (1) the girding(with chains) would precede, not follow, the crucifixion; (2) it would be more natural to speak of another stretching forth his hands if the nailing to them to the cross was intended; (3) the last clause, “carry thee whither thou wouldst not,” could not follow the stretching of the hands on the transverse beam of the cross.

    It seems impossible therefore to adopt the traditional reference to crucifixion, and we must take the words, “stretch forth your hands,” as expressing symbolically the personal surrender previous to being girded by another. To what exact form of death the context does not specify. We have thus in the second pair of sentences, as in the first and third, a complete parallelism, the stretching forth of the hands being part of the girding by another, and the whole being in contrast to “Thou girdest thyself.””
    23. “Stretch forth thy hands. “[John 21:18] The allusion to the extending of the hands on the cross, which some interpreters have found here, is fanciful.”–Vincent’s Word Studies
    24. Note, also the English word “impale” as used in the NWT. It is from the French “empaler” which derives from Medieval Latin “impalere,” from the Latin “in”-on + “palus”- stake, pole. Hence dictionaries define this word as “to pierce through with, or fix on, something pointed; transfix” and “to punish or torture by fixing on a stake.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible states: “4717. STAUROW… to impale on the cross;….” Hence, to use the word “impale” in the N.T. to describe how Jesus was fixed upon the stake is quite proper.
    25. The woodcut illustration by Lipsius, showing clearly that the crux simplex (Latin, simple upright stake), was one method used by Romans to punish criminals.
    26. Wood at the time and place of Jesus’s execution was scarce. There is an economical reason for using only one piece of wood, and this was so in the eastern parts of the Roman Empire (stauros, stake). The New Testament is wholly silent on there being two pieces of wood used at the execution. Adding to this the scarcity of wood in Jerusalem argues in favor of stauros being only one stake or pole.
    27. A very early representation of the Crucifixion in which only the two thieves are bound to the stauros. The sun and moon are placed either side of Christ who stands in an attitude of prayer. The picture was published in Mrs Jameson & Lady Eastlake The History of Our Lord as exemplified in works of art, in 2 volumes, London, 1864, pages 167-8. They make the point that this very early crucifixion scene shows the two thieves bound to the stake and that depiction of three crosses only appears in later Christian art.
    28. Finally, how is it that this pagan symbol [representative of the god Tammuz], used in pagan religions before and after the 1st century can find any place in a Christians’ life in the light of what Paul wrote at 2 Cor.6:14-18. Can a Christian ’employ’ a pagan symbol when pagans revered it as an idol while still claiming his worship is pure of idolatry just because his religion does not use the cross as an ‘idol’?

    Oh my, the lies.
    Even Barb admits this is a lie.

    No, I do not. Do not ever put words in my mouth. The device Jesus was executed on can be referred to as a cross. That it is not a cross is borne out by the article you linked to. Congratulations again on completely missing the point!

  183. 183
    Chalciss says:

    KF:

    You have presented the facts clearly, debunking any argument against the cross.
    The life altering decision/that which has an eternal consequence for all men and women alike is accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. All other arguments about Christ really does not matter when it comes to a discussion with a JW, a Muslim or any other non-believer.

    The cross was never at the center of the Christian faith. Christ is at the center of the Christian faith. Christ is the ONLY path to Salvation. If a person denies Christ as Devine and being the one true path, then he/ she has no hope, Jesus stated this clearly in John 14:6.

    Therefore, a stake or Cross discussion is a futile discussion to have with anyone who rejects Jesus as God and Savior.

    Note: generally don’t like to feed comments that are totally irrelevant to the subject matter posted / thread hijacker. since esteemed KF responded to the hijacker, posting an observation and simply could not resist the temptation when it came to a discussion about Christ.

  184. 184
    kairosfocus says:

    Chalcis,

    Normally, I agree.

    But that is not what is at stake here.

    What is happening is polarising indoctrination. The idea is, that by ginning up a notion that — contrary to the direct evidence of the text (Jesus carrying a patibulum) and the use of language [linked and cited] — the use of the cross as a Christian symbol is a visual “proof” of apostasy and pagan influence. Thus, the indoctrinated can be poisoned in mind and heart, so that the will not listen outside the circle of their system.

    All they need is to see a cross or hear or read the term, cross, and the well-poisoning program kicks in.

    And, in this case, this is just one of several dozen similar points. (I have not bothered to go into any grand point by point refutations, though I could. I did link a useful site.)

    I have basically spoken for record, and in so doing, pointed out the basic problem of unresponsiveness to evidence.

    I could go on to talk about Schein’s concept of unfreezing leading to motivation to change, changing and refreezing. There is a whole social psychology of change, and the issue is the integrity of the process. There are too many sects and ideologies that try to lock in and manipulate by playing at well poisoning.

    That’s one reason I strongly emphasise the need to address warrant on fact and logic, rooted in worldview level issues and first principles of right reason.

    Let us learn from cases like this, the importance of respect for facts and sound reasoning on facts.

    KF

  185. 185
    kairosfocus says:

    Barb, I have long since pointed out that as humans, we are finite, fallible, and therefore limited. I have also pointed out just how and why on this particular topic, Bullinger and Vine are in error, on evidence that starts with the text in front of us. Jesus carried his patibulum, until he had to be helped. That alone, in light of known Roman praxis, decides, T or t. And there is much more that — unfortunately — you continue to fail to attend to. Where, the lexicons consistently point out that there is a range of meanings for Stauros relevant to C1 Palestine. Which, in context, makes the patibulum Jesus carried decisive. Again and again, you have tried to narrow the range of meaning established through a survey of usage. And, you should by now have realised that it would not decisively matter to me what shape the cross of Jesus was. But, I have a duty to respect well warranted findings, and to recognise and responding to well poisoning indoctrination tactics. Which, sadly, is just what we are seeing. KF

  186. 186
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Since you have directed a question on lying to me, I cite from a former excellent summary at Wiki:

    To lie is to state something with disregard to the truth with the intention that people will accept the statement as truth . . . . even a true statement can be used to deceive. In this situation, it is the intent of being overall untruthful rather than the truthfulness of any individual statement that is considered the lie . . . . One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them . . . . One lies by omission when omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. Also known as a continuing misrepresentation . . . . A misleading statement is one where there is no outright lie, but still retains the purpose of getting someone to believe in an untruth . . .

  187. 187
    Mung says:

    Barb, is your professed desire for honest debate just a sham?

  188. 188
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Because the meaning [of stauros] in classical and Koine Greek was the same, as pointed out above. The meaning did not change until much later.

    This is simply false.

    Even the JW’s own New World Translation acknowledges that it is false. They translate stauros as “torture stake,” a meaning that is completely absent from the Classical Greek.

    JW publication:

    The inspired writers of the Christian Greek scriptures wrote in the common (koine) Greek and used the word stauros to mean the same as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pole…There is no proof to the contrary.”

    JW publication:

    Stauros in both classical and koine Greek…means only an upright stake, pale, pile or
    pole.

    No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a “torture stake.”

    This is yet another example of how JW’s want to have it both (contradictory) ways. The word stauros, they argue, never had any meaning at the time of Christ other than what it had in Classical Greek.

    Except when it doesn’t, as in their insistence as translating stauros as “torture stake.”

    Which of their sources claim that in Classical Greek stauros meant simply, a torture stake? None?

  189. 189
    Mung says:

    Further on Barb’s insistence that in Classical Greek, and therefore in Koine Greek, stauros means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.

    The earliest mode of crucifixion seems to have been by impalation, the transfixion of the body lengthwise and crosswise by sharpened stakes, a mode of death-punishment still well known among the Mongol race.

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

    Lengthwise and crosswise by sharpened stakes. Hence, a cross.

  190. 190
    Mung says:

    The accounts given of the crucifixion of our Lord are in entire agreement with the customs and practices of the Roman in such cases.

    – Easton’s Bible Dictionary

    Romans. Not classical Greeks.

    The forms in which the cross is represented are these:

    1. The crux simplex (I), a “single piece without transom.”
    2. The crux decussata (X), or St. Andrew’s cross.
    3. The crux commissa (T), or St. Anthony’s cross.
    4. The crux immissa (t), or Latin cross, which was the kind of cross on which our Saviour died.

    – Easton’s Bible Dictionary

  191. 191
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    25. The woodcut illustration by Lipsius, showing clearly that the crux simplex (Latin, simple upright stake), was one method used by Romans to punish criminals.

    And the other methods of crucifixion were?

    No one here has ever denied the crux simplex.

    What other forms of crucifixion does Lipsius show?

    You have at least implicitly denied that the Romans ever used anything but the crux simplex. Your own sources prove you wrong.

  192. 192
    Mung says:

    Judge Rutherford, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, decreed in 1936 that Jesus Christ was not crucified on a cross, but on a tree.

    Barb, which of your sources did Rutherford cite in coming to his conclusion? Or was Rutherford himself a Biblical scholar, or a Greek scholar, or an expert in Romans methods of crucifixion in the first century?

  193. 193
    Mung says:

    Barb (was Christ impaled?):

    25. The woodcut illustration by Lipsius, showing clearly that the crux simplex (Latin, simple upright stake), was one method used by Romans to punish criminals.

    Do JW’s believe that Jesus was impaled on a single upright stake, as shown by Lipsius? There were numerous woodcuts. To which one are you referring?

    “‘Cross’ is only a later meaning of crux. A single stake for impalement of a criminal was called in Latin crux simplex. One such instrument of torture is illustrated by Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) in his book De cruce libri tres, Antwerp, 1629, p. 19, which we here present. … Crux simplex illustrated.”

    So in 1936 Rutherford wrote that Christ was hung on a tree, but now JW’s teach that Jesus was impaled? Yet more “new light”? New light from whom? Based upon what?

    “Such a single stake for impalement of a criminal was called crux simplex, and the method of nailing him to such an instrument of torture is illustrated by the Roman Catholic scholar, Justus Lipsius, of the 16th century. We present herewith a photographic copy of his illustration on page 647, column 2, of his book De Cruce Liber Primus. This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled.” (“New World translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures,” [1950], Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, Second edition, 1951, p.769).

    Barb, did Justus Lipsius ever write that Jesus Christ was impaled on a crux simplex?

    Barb, did Justus Lipsius ever create an illustration that showed Jesus Christ was impaled on a crux simplex?

  194. 194
    Mung says:

    Barb (The Companion Bible):

    1. The Companion Bible, published by the Oxford University Press. On page 186 in the “Appendixes” it says: “Homer uses the word stauros of an ordinary pole or stake, or a single piece of timber. And this is the meaning and usage of the word throughout the Greek classics.

    But we’re talking about first century koine greek, not the greek classics.

    Here is a list of what I’ve posted that neither you nor KF have even mentioned:

    False. A lie.

    The Companion Bible is aka “The Bullinger Bible.”

    kf clearly addressed Bullinger’s positon.

    But let’s to what extent Bullinger supports the false doctrines of the JWs:

    Bullinger:

    As this latter word xulon is used for the former stauros, it shows us that the meaning of each is exactly the same.

    Hogwash.

    Bullinger:

    Matthew’s was the second, substituted for the first, in consequence of the arguments which took place, and was set up “over His head” after the garments had been divided, and before the revilings.

    Bullinger:

    then and there “crucified Him and the malefactors, one on the right hand and the other on the left” (verse 33).

    Bullinger:

    “THEN” were there two robbers crucified with Him, one on the right hand and the other on the left” (Matthew 27:38. Mark 15:27).

    crosses

  195. 195
    vjtorley says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’m very late to this discussion, but I’d just like to make a couple of very quick comments.

    First, I don’t personally think it matters whether Jesus was crucified on a stake or on a T-shaped cross.

    Second, while I think the evidence presented to date heavily favors the traditional view that it was a cross, I don’t think it’s conclusive. Barb has raised a few good points in her spirited defense of the JW position, and I certainly wouldn’t bet all my money on the proposition that Jesus was crucified on a cross.

    Third, I think it’s a little misleading of Barb to say that some Christians worship the cross of Christ. The cross is a piece of wood, but like any created thing, it can be hallowed by God if God so chooses. Christians who venerate the Cross do not ascribe to it any magic powers.

    Finally, regarding the claim that veneration of the Cross did not begin until the fourth century A.D., I’d like to quote this passage from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C....._Christian :

    During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross may have been rare in Christian iconography, as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution and Christians were reluctant to use it.[1] A symbol similar to the cross, the staurogram, was used to abbreviate the Greek word for cross in very early New Testament manuscripts such as P66, P45 and P75, almost like a nomina sacra.[5] The extensive adoption of the cross as Christian iconographic symbol arose from the 4th century.[6]

    However, the cross symbol was already associated with Christians in the 2nd century, as is indicated in the anti-Christian arguments cited in the Octavius[7] of Minucius Felix, chapters IX and XXIX, written at the end of that century or the beginning of the next,[8] and by the fact that by the early 3rd century the cross had become so closely associated with Christ that Clement of Alexandria, who died between 211 and 216, could without fear of ambiguity use the phrase ?? ???????? ??????? (the Lord’s sign) to mean the cross, when he repeated the idea, current as early as the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas, that the number 318 (in Greek numerals, ???) in Genesis 14:14 was interpreted as a foreshadowing (a “type”) of the cross (T, an upright with crossbar, standing for 300) and of Jesus (??, the first two letter of his name ??????, standing for 18),[9] and his contemporary Tertullian could designate the body of Christian believers as crucis religiosi, i.e. “devotees of the Cross”.[10] In his book De Corona, written in 204, Tertullian tells how it was already a tradition for Christians to trace repeatedly on their foreheads the sign of the cross.[11] It is important to note that the crucifix, that is a cross upon which an image of Christ is present, is not known to have been used until the 6th century AD.[12]

    The Jewish Encyclopedia says:[13]

    The cross as a Christian symbol or “seal” came into use at least as early as the second century (see “Apost. Const.” iii. 17; Epistle of Barnabas, xi.-xii.; Justin, “Apologia,” i. 55-60; “Dial. cum Tryph.” 85-97); and the marking of a cross upon the forehead and the chest was regarded as a talisman against the powers of demons (Tertullian, “De Corona,” iii.; Cyprian, “Testimonies,” xi. 21–22; Lactantius, “Divinæ Institutiones,” iv. 27, and elsewhere). Accordingly the Christian Fathers had to defend themselves, as early as the second century, against the charge of being worshipers of the cross, as may be learned from Tertullian, “Apologia,” xii., xvii., and Minucius Felix, “Octavius,” xxix. Christians used to swear by the power of the cross.

    The divinity of Christ is a substantive issue. The shape of the cross? Not so much.

    I just hope that we can all agree to disagree, while respecting each other’s sincerity.

    That’s all I wanted to say.

  196. 196
    kairosfocus says:

    VJT: Useful points. the issue is not primarily the shape of the cross, but the deleterious significance attached tot he traditionally received shape by Jehovah’s Witnesses, used as a means of alienation and dismissal. All that stuff about Constantine and Tammuz etc, leading to an attitude that if there is a cross in evidence, minds are shut off. That is why it is important to highlight the primacy of reading text in context of the text, genre, grammar, history, language and usage of key words. In this case the reference of a patibulum creates a presumption in favour of T or t, and this is multiplied by several other references in the NT. With the sign over the head tipping it towards t. So, the traditional depictions are to be respected not reviled or used as a sign to shut off minds. The use of special abbreviations in early MSS — as you note — is also significant, as this ante-dates the suggested date of alien, pagan imposition, so-called. So are Jerusalem Ossuaries from the 40s. In that light, there is a reason to respect rather than revile the traditional understanding, t. Similarly, reading in context and in light of the balance of relevant language etc factors, is an important issue in sound Bible study. Beyond, this is a clear case in point of a strategy of psycho-social alienation and isolation that is not healthy. KF

  197. 197
    Mung says:

    VJT, thanks for those comments.

    Among the several monograms used by early Christians to refer to Jesus, the so-called “staurogram” or “cross-monogram”, which is comprised of the Greek majuscule forms of the letters tau and rho, the vertical line of the rho superimposed on the vertical stroke of the tau, is of particular historical significance.

    THE STAUROGRAM IN EARLY CHRISTIAN MANUSCRIPTS: THE EARLIEST VISUAL REFERENCE TO THE CRUCIFIED JESUS?

  198. 198
    Mung says:

    In this manuscript [Papyrus Bodmer II] the noun staurow (three instances) and at least seven uses of forms of the verb staurov are written in abbreviated forms, and with the tau and rho of these words written as a compendium. In each case, the statement in which the noun or verb appears refers to Jesus’ cross/crucifixion.

  199. 199
    Mung says:

    : The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament
    : Spiros Zodhiates
    : AMG Publishers
    : 1992
    : p. 1308-1309

    4716. stauros. A cross, a stake, often with a cross-piece … it was most common among the Romans for slaves and criminals, and was introduced among the Jews by the Romans.

    In biblical Gr., stauros … refers to:

    (I) A Roman cross consisting of a straight piece of wood erected in the earth often with a transverse beam … as was the cross on which the Lord Jesus suffered.

  200. 200
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    2. The Critical Lexicon and Concordance, observes: “Both words (stauros and xylon) disagree with the modern idea of a cross, with which we have become familiarised by pictures.”

    Again, E.W Bullinger.

    Yet even Bullinger states:

    Stauron, merely means to drive stakes. p. 819

    Stakes. Plural.

    Bullinger’s bias is also clearly evident in that same article

    https://archive.org/stream/criticallexiconc00bull#page/818

  201. 201
    Mung says:

    Earlier in this thread I raised the question of whether the New Testament authors might have employed the Greek word skolops if they had wished to convey the idea that Jesus was impaled upon a stake, as the JW’s maintain according to the doctrine handed down to them as “new light” from the non-prophet Judge Rutherford.

    In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) the entry for skolops appears in Volume 7 page 409 (TDNT 7:409).

    b. Killing by means of a skolops is one of the modes of execution…

    Since Barb is tracking points not answered, I felt it only fair to bring this one up again.

  202. 202
    Mung says:

    In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) the entry for stauros appears in Volume 7 page 572 (TDNT 7:572).

    Now if I wanted to cherry pick and quote out of context, I could claim that the TDNT supports my position:

    stauros is an upright stake.

    Further:

    The stauros is an instrument of torture…

    Thus, if in my translation of the New Testament I want to translate stauros as “torture stake” I could claim justification for this translation from the TDNT.

    And it is precisely this sort of cherry-picking and misquoting that the Watchtower Society depends upon for their “torture stake” doctrine.

  203. 203
    Barb says:

    Mung,

    Barb, is your professed desire for honest debate just a sham?

    No, why would you think so? Oh, right, you dislike my religious beliefs.

    Because the meaning [of stauros] in classical and Koine Greek was the same, as pointed out above. The meaning did not change until much later.
    This is simply false.

    The meaning of stauros is upright pole or stake. This has been well established.

    Even the JW’s own New World Translation acknowledges that it is false. They translate stauros as “torture stake,” a meaning that is completely absent from the Classical Greek.
    JW publication:
    The inspired writers of the Christian Greek scriptures wrote in the common (koine) Greek and used the word stauros to mean the same as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pole…There is no proof to the contrary.”
    JW publication:
    Stauros in both classical and koine Greek…means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.
    No Biblical evidence even intimates that Jesus died on a “torture stake.”

    The word “stauros” for one thing, as used at Matthew 27:40. And the related word xylon, used by Peter when referencing impalement (as described in Deuteronomy).

    Oh, and have you even begun addressing the 28 points I made in my previous post?

    This is yet another example of how JW’s want to have it both (contradictory) ways. The word stauros, they argue, never had any meaning at the time of Christ other than what it had in Classical Greek.
    Except when it doesn’t, as in their insistence as translating stauros as “torture stake.”
    Which of their sources claim that in Classical Greek stauros meant simply, a torture stake? None?

    See my post above, with numerous lexicons, concordances, and historians who translate stauros as stake. Show me exactly where, when, how, and why you believe they are wrong in translating the word.

    Further on Barb’s insistence that in Classical Greek, and therefore in Koine Greek, stauros means only an upright stake, pale, pile or pole.
    The earliest mode of crucifixion seems to have been by impalation, the transfixion of the body lengthwise and crosswise by sharpened stakes, a mode of death-punishment still well known among the Mongol race.
    – International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
    Lengthwise and crosswise by sharpened stakes. Hence, a cross.

    The earliest mode of crucifixion, yes. But we aren’t discussing that. We are discussing whether or not Jesus was crucified or impaled. In this instance, it would depend on when the Romans invented the double-beamed cross and when the word crux began to refer to it.

    It’s possible that for the first few centuries after the Punic Wars, the Romans used the crux simplex and did not combine it with a patibulum until the 2nd century. In this circumstance, the word crux would be referred to as a simple stake.

    The accounts given of the crucifixion of our Lord are in entire agreement with the customs and practices of the Roman in such cases.
    – Easton’s Bible Dictionary
    Romans. Not classical Greeks.

    Yes, and the Bible was written in Greek. Which is why we are discussing the translation of a particular word and not Roman customs. Why does it seem that you are repeatedly moving the goalposts?

    The forms in which the cross is represented are these:
    1. The crux simplex (I), a “single piece without transom.”
    2. The crux decussata (X), or St. Andrew’s cross.
    3. The crux commissa (T), or St. Anthony’s cross.
    4. The crux immissa (t), or Latin cross, which was the kind of cross on which our Saviour died.
    – Easton’s Bible Dictionary

    Is Easton’s Bible Dictionary preferred over the numerous sources I cited, which discuss the actual translation of the word?

    The etymological meaning is “an object which stands firm”. Our English-via-Germanic word “stand”, “stern”, and “stem” arise from stauros. The word itself originally denoted a type of pointed stake used to build fences, as seen in Homer’s Odyssey (14.11). Thucydides (Historia, 4.90.2) also describes “fixing stakes” along a ditch, and stauros is used with the sense of a “palisade” or “piles” serving as a foundation (Herodotus, Historiarum 5.16; Thucydides, Historia 7.25-6.8). Seneca also described impalement with stauros. So it is certainly true that stauros meant only “stake” originally.

    It’s possible that the the semantic change occurred after the first century A.D. The historian Tacitus (c. A.D. 56-c. 120) has been quoted as saying that Roman Christians were martyred on flaming “crosses” during the A.D. 64 persecution (p. 235; cf. Tacitus, Annals 15.44)

    Remember, Peter used the term “xylon” to refer to a single piece of wood. So did another Roman writer: “A certain man had handed over one of his slaves, with orders to scourge him through the forum, and then put him to death. While they were executing this commission and tormenting the poor wretch, whose pain and suffering made him writhe and twist himself horribly, the sacred procession in honor of Jupiter chanced to come up behind….And it was a severe punishment for a slave who had committed a fault, if he was obliged to take the piece of wood (xulon) with which they prop up the pole of a wagon, and carry it around through the neighborhood. For he who had been seen undergoing this punishment no longer had any credit in his own or neighboring households. And he was called a ‘furcifer’ (phourkipher), for what the Greeks call a prop, or support, is called ‘furca’ (phourkan) by the Romans” (Plutarch, Coriolanus 24.4-5).

    Neither of these is referring to a cross.

    Barb:
    25. The woodcut illustration by Lipsius, showing clearly that the crux simplex (Latin, simple upright stake), was one method used by Romans to punish criminals.
    And the other methods of crucifixion were?
    No one here has ever denied the crux simplex.
    What other forms of crucifixion does Lipsius show?

    That there were other methods of crucifixion is not what we’re debating. Moving the goalposts again?

    Judge Rutherford, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, decreed in 1936 that Jesus Christ was not crucified on a cross, but on a tree.
    Barb, which of your sources did Rutherford cite in coming to his conclusion? Or was Rutherford himself a Biblical scholar, or a Greek scholar, or an expert in Romans methods of crucifixion in the first century?

    Ad hominem.

    Barb (was Christ impaled?):
    25. The woodcut illustration by Lipsius, showing clearly that the crux simplex (Latin, simple upright stake), was one method used by Romans to punish criminals.
    Do JW’s believe that Jesus was impaled on a single upright stake, as shown by Lipsius? There were numerous woodcuts. To which one are you referring?

    Yes, we believe that Jesus was impaled on a single upright stake.

    “‘Cross’ is only a later meaning of crux. A single stake for impalement of a criminal was called in Latin crux simplex. One such instrument of torture is illustrated by Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) in his book De cruce libri tres, Antwerp, 1629, p. 19, which we here present. … Crux simplex illustrated.”

    So in 1936 Rutherford wrote that Christ was hung on a tree, but now JW’s teach that Jesus was impaled? Yet more “new light”? New light from whom? Based upon what?

    You do realize that “impaled” and “hung on a tree” are the same thing, right? Remember Peter referred to the punishment described in Deuteronomy.

    Barb, did Justus Lipsius ever write that Jesus Christ was impaled on a crux simplex?

    If he did not, then is that considered absolute proof that Jesus was crucified? No?

    Barb, did Justus Lipsius ever create an illustration that showed Jesus Christ was impaled on a crux simplex?

    If he did not, then is that considered absolute proof that Jesus was crucified? No?

    Your point is….?

    But we’re talking about first century koine greek, not the greek classics.

    We are talking about accurately translating a word. Stauros, as evidenced by historians in the first century and the gospel writers, is translated as “stake.”

    False. A lie.

    No. Try again.

    As this latter word xulon is used for the former stauros, it shows us that the meaning of each is exactly the same.
    Hogwash.

    Your proof of this is…?
    VJT:

    Third, I think it’s a little misleading of Barb to say that some Christians worship the cross of Christ. The cross is a piece of wood, but like any created thing, it can be hallowed by God if God so chooses. Christians who venerate the Cross do not ascribe to it any magic powers.

    Misleading? Based on the fact that both Mung and KF have attacked me in this thread in desperately trying to convince me that I’m a liar and that I’ve been lied to is proof enough that the cross is worshiped and its worshipers can get very, very pissy when you question their beliefs.

    Finally, regarding the claim that veneration of the Cross did not begin until the fourth century A.D., I’d like to quote this passage from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C….._Christian :
    During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross may have been rare in Christian iconography, as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution and Christians were reluctant to use it.[1] A symbol similar to the cross, the staurogram, was used to abbreviate the Greek word for cross in very early New Testament manuscripts such as P66, P45 and P75, almost like a nomina sacra.[5] The extensive adoption of the cross as Christian iconographic symbol arose from the 4th century.[6]
    However, the cross symbol was already associated with Christians in the 2nd century, as is indicated in theanti-Christian arguments cited in the Octavius[7] of Minucius Felix, chapters IX and XXIX, written at the end of that century or the beginning of the next,[8] and by the fact that by the early 3rd century the cross had become so closely associated with Christ that Clement of Alexandria, who died between 211 and 216, could without fear of ambiguity use the phrase ?? ???????? ??????? (the Lord’s sign) to mean the cross, when he repeated the idea, current as early as the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas, that the number 318 (in Greek numerals, ???) in Genesis 14:14 was interpreted as a foreshadowing (a “type”) of the cross (T, an upright with crossbar, standing for 300) and of Jesus (??, the first two letter of his name ??????, standing for 18),[9] and his contemporary Tertullian could designate the body of Christian believers as crucis religiosi, i.e. “devotees of the Cross”.[10] In his book De Corona, written in 204, Tertullian tells how it was already a tradition for Christians to trace repeatedly on their foreheads the sign of the cross.[11] It is important to note that the crucifix, that is a cross upon which an image of Christ is present, is not known to have been used until the 6th century AD.[12]

    Mung once again proves my point for me.

    The Jewish Encyclopedia says:[13]
    The cross as a Christian symbol or “seal” came into use at least as early as the second century (see “Apost. Const.” iii. 17; Epistle of Barnabas, xi.-xii.; Justin, “Apologia,” i. 55-60; “Dial. cum Tryph.” 85-97); and the marking of a cross upon the forehead and the chest was regarded as a talisman against the powers of demons (Tertullian, “De Corona,” iii.; Cyprian, “Testimonies,” xi. 21–22; Lactantius, “Divinæ Institutiones,” iv. 27, and elsewhere). Accordingly the Christian Fathers had to defend themselves, as early as the second century, against the charge of being worshipers of the cross, as may be learned from Tertullian, “Apologia,” xii., xvii., and Minucius Felix, “Octavius,” xxix. Christians used to swear by the power of the cross.

    As a Christian symbol, yes; as an object of veneration, not until Constantine in the 4th century. See above.

    I just hope that we can all agree to disagree, while respecting each other’s sincerity.

    I have no problem with this; Mung, on the other hand…

    VJT: Useful points. the issue is not primarily the shape of the cross, but the deleterious significance attached to the traditionally received shape by Jehovah’s Witnesses, used as a means of alienation and dismissal. All that stuff about Constantine and Tammuz etc, leading to an attitude that if there is a cross in evidence, minds are shut off.

    You are right in that the issue is not primarily the shape of the cross. The ‘stuff” about Constantine and Tammuz are references showing that the cross as used today in churches around the world is, at its root, a pagan symbol.

    . That is why it is important to highlight the primacy of reading text in context of the text, genre, grammar, history, language and usage of key words. In this case the reference of a patibulum creates a presumption in favour of T or t, and this is multiplied by several other references in the NT.

    I have to disagree with you again here; the NT is very terse and brief in describing the execution of Jesus. And again, I would refer you to the scriptures cited earlier using either stauros or xylon.

    With the sign over the head tipping it towards t. So, the traditional depictions are to be respected not reviled or used as a sign to shut off minds.

    The traditional depictions are…the traditional depictions. My mind isn’t as closed as you think it is, but based on the research I’ve done, I don’t believe Jesus was executed on a cross as traditionally represented.

    Beyond, this is a clear case in point of a strategy of psycho-social alienation and isolation that is not healthy. KF

    So much for agreeing to disagree.

    The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament
    : Spiros Zodhiates
    : AMG Publishers
    : 1992
    : p. 1308-1309
    4716. stauros. A cross, a stake, often with a cross-piece … it was most common among the Romans for slaves and criminals, and was introduced among the Jews by the Romans.
    In biblical Gr., stauros … refers to:
    (I) A Roman cross consisting of a straight piece of wood erected in the earth often with a transverse beam … as was the cross on which the Lord Jesus suffered.

    Bolded for emphasis.

    2. The Critical Lexicon and Concordance, observes: “Both words (stauros and xylon) disagree with the modern idea of a cross, with which we have become familiarised by pictures.”
    Again, E.W Bullinger.
    Yet even Bullinger states:
    Stauron, merely means to drive stakes. p. 819
    Stakes. Plural.

    Stakes. Not crosses.

    Bullinger’s bias is also clearly evident in that same article
    https://archive.org/stream/criticallexiconc00bull#page/818

    All authors have biases. It’s the job of critical thinkers to determine what the facts really are.

    Earlier in this thread I raised the question of whether the New Testament authors might have employed the Greek word skolops if they had wished to convey the idea that Jesus was impaled upon a stake, as the JW’s maintain according to the doctrine handed down to them as “new light” from the non-prophet Judge Rutherford.
    In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) the entry for skolops appears in Volume 7 page 409 (TDNT 7:409).
    b. Killing by means of a skolops is one of the modes of execution…
    Since Barb is tracking points not answered, I felt it only fair to bring this one up again.

    Great. Except the word the gospel writers used was “stauros” not “skolops”. It’s a non sequitur.

  204. 204
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Except the word the gospel writers used was “stauros” not “skolops”. It’s a non sequitur.

    So you still have no answer.

    Why did they use stauros and not skolops?

    Claiming that they used the word stauros because they used the word stauros is absurd.

  205. 205
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    All authors have biases. It’s the job of critical thinkers to determine what the facts really are.

    What was Judge Rutherford’s bias that led him to change the form of the cross that had previously been accepted by Christians for two thousand years and turn the form of the cross into a doctrine that has to be accepted as truth by all JW’s?

  206. 206
    Mung says:

    “The problem which elicited this dissertation was the claims by NWT itself – that it is an honest, reasonable, consistent, modern, unbiased, and scholarly translation.”

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: A Critical Analysis of The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures

  207. 207
    Mung says:

    2. The stauros is an instrument of torture for serious offenses. In shape we find three basic forms. The cross was a vertical, pointed stake (skolops, -> 409, 4 ff.), or it consisted of an upright with a cross-beam above it (T, crux commissa), or it consisted of two intersecting beams of equal length (t, crux immissa)

    – TDNT VII:572

    Barb:

    Except the word the gospel writers used was “stauros” not “skolops”. It’s a non sequitur.

    Hardly.

    Three basic forms.

    1. a vertical, pointed stake (skolops), the form adopted by you and other JW’s, but not supported by the Greek.

    2. a form that you deny even existed in the first century

    3. a form that you deny even existed in the first century

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung (& attn Barb):

    Sadly, this undesirable discussion has to continue, in order to set the record straight.

    I see you have cited Kittel and Zodiathes, both of which are additional authority. (On top of a by now quite long list of competent authorities brushed aside for no justifiable reason.)

    The latter is a native speaker of Greek, and introduced a “new” system of pronunciation based on modern Greek. The former is perhaps THE guru on NT Greek, if we can call anyone such.

    Their reference to the T or t from cross is of course reinforced by the reference to people carrying crosses and in particular to Jesus carrying his cross then being helped by Simon of Cyrene.

    We know the standard historical praxis [cf repeatedly referenced discussion here again . . . not seriously responded to by B in terms of specifics of timeline and substance], i.e. that the upright would be kept there in situ, and the condemned would be whipped, forced to carry the cross-bar, would be led by a soldier with the placard of the crime or would have it hung around the neck, and would be nailed or tied up then erected unto the main cross-bar in a T or t.

    Where also given that there is a known common linguistic tendency of metonymy, word meanings can be reasonably expected to shift from part to whole or whole to part etc.

    Moreover, apart from dismissal, there has been no serious reckoning with the difference between carrying a patibulum that on reasonable density and size calcs would have weighed in at 40 – 60+ lbs, and an upright that would easily weigh in at 150 lbs. Where, remember, the STANDARD praxis was as described, according to various sources.

    We may multiply by the suggestion that the alleged introduction and imposition of this claimed alien pagan symbol was in the 300s or thereabouts at or beyond the time of Constantine. So, if we have reasonable evidence in hand from any materially earlier date, that points to the understanding that a cross-beam or patibulum was used from an earlier date or was understood to be so from such an earlier time, that materially goes to discredit such suggestions.

    This brings to the fore two key references, the Alexamenos graffito [cf my infographic here] and the Staurogram in P75 [illustration here . . . also in the previous link], both of which likely date c 200 AD.

    Cf here for the illustrations.

    The former is a bit of mockery against a young Christian by one of his juvenile peers, found in a building in the Palatine Hill area of Rome showing a man in front of an Ass-headed figure crucified on a cross.

    The inscription in crudely scratched and reportedly grammatically shaky Greek, is Alexamenos worships (his) god. The style of drawing is that of a child without drawing training, maybe 10 – 12 or so years, or maybe a bit less. The lettering is shaky enough to point to a struggling learner of maybe 7 – 8 or so years if this were a modern education system. He was probably older in those days. Reportedly there is also a nearby inscription in a different hand, Alexamenos is faithful.

    What is significant is the attempt to shame, by accusing Christians [as Jews before them] of worshipping an ass’ head, and the specific representation of what a cross would be like.

    Lo and behold, the figure is crucified on a T (or just possibly a t) cross, with arms stretched out wide. If the cross is T form, the head is above the cross-bar. That goes to support the received understanding that Jesus’ cross was a t instead, to hold the sign above his head.

    P75 shows of course the staurogram.

    The form is a nomina sacra style abbreviation, following a praxis in the Septuagint. Stauros is stylised with the Rho superposed on a Tau, showing something that looks like a T with a P standing on top of the vertical line. The visual effect is that of showing the head of a crucifixion victim on a t-shaped cross. (And no, this is not an Ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life based quite obviously on the womb and the birth canal. Rho, in “capital” form looks like a capital P, and so the head is not rounded and centred on the vertical stroke.)

    By now all of this is probably flogging the proverbial dead horse, but it is necessary to highlight that the accusation being made is that c 300 – 400 or thereabouts an alien pagan intrusion was made which inter alia introduced the hitherto unknown T or t symbol, probably from Tammuz, as a mark and sign of apostasy.

    So, if there is evidence that there is a known usage of actual crosses in T or t form beforehand, from literary, archaeological or historical references or that of the NT eyewitness descriptions, that strongly goes to undermine the alternative thesis.

    Such evidence is given, and is quite sufficient for the reasonable mind.

    There is no good reason to pretend that there is decisive evidence that crosses in the Roman era were of I form only, or that the cross as described in the NT must have been of I form, or that a cross of T or t form is ill supported historically and linguistically and is a marker of pagan intrusions 300 years later.

    The scheme of polarising those indoctrinated under the Watchtower system to imagine they have superior knowledge and that this shows how the historic Christian churches have been corrupted by pagan influences and should be avoided like a plague, is undermined.

    Where finally the point is ot that the shape of the cross s a creedal commitment of Christians generally. Hardly.

    But, the Watchtower Society, since the 1930’s has made commitment to an I shape a creedal matter, and has used selective and unrepresenative evidence and claims to make it appear tot he indoctrinated that 5hose who accept the received understanding of the shape of Jesus’ cross are thereby showing pagan intrusion and apostasy.

    The known effect of such rhetorical tactics in an authoritarian system, is to polarise and isolate the in-group, setting up manipulation and programming, blocking correction from outside. Which fits with a wider pattern of longstanding concerns about this specific society.

  209. 209
    Barb says:

    Mung continues,

    So you still have no answer.
    Why did they use stauros and not skolops?
    Claiming that they used the word stauros because they used the word stauros is absurd.

    Sorry if you misunderstood me. The word used by the gospel writers is stauros, which means stake or pole. You introduced another word, skolops, which is a non sequitur.

    The word that’s being discussed is the word the Bible writers used. Other Greek words, even if they have the same meaning, are irrelevant to the discussion.

    What was Judge Rutherford’s bias that led him to change the form of the cross that had previously been accepted by Christians for two thousand years and turn the form of the cross into a doctrine that has to be accepted as truth by all JW’s?

    Don’t know for sure. And the cross wasn’t accepted by all Christians, as I have previously noted. The early Christians (1st-2nd century) did not adorn their houses or persons with decorative crosses.

    Hardly.
    Three basic forms.

    We are only concerned with one. More non sequiturs?

    1. a vertical, pointed stake (skolops), the form adopted by you and other JW’s, but not supported by the Greek.

    The word used in the Bible is stauros, not skolops.

    2. a form that you deny even existed in the first century
    3. a form that you deny even existed in the first century

    The cruxes commissa and immissa are non sequiturs. We are only concerned with what the word stauros is properly translated as. And you claim I have no answer? I answered this already, multiple times: stauros is translated as stake or pole, a fact evidenced not only by the NWT but also by the two Jewish Bibles (cited upthread). Are these translators also wrong?

    Again I refer you to a previous post where I outlined at least 28 references to translating the word stauros as stake. If you believe that all these historians, lexicographers, and writers are wrong, then prove it.

    KF:

    I see you have cited Kittel and Zodiathes, both of which are additional authority. (On top of a by now quite long list of competent authorities brushed aside for no justifiable reason.)

    I bolded the portions of Zodiathes referenced by Mung above. Disagree? Fine. Prove your point then. Oh, and the 28 points I posted: responded to any of those? No?

    By now all of this is probably flogging the proverbial dead horse, but it is necessary to highlight that the accusation being made is that c 300 – 400 or thereabouts an alien pagan intrusion was made which inter alia introduced the hitherto unknown T or t symbol, probably from Tammuz, as a mark and sign of apostasy.

    “Alien pagan intrusion”? Not quite. But the cross was used in civilizations other than the Greek and Roman ones, and eventually the cross was adopted as a symbol of Christianity. That it is also a pagan symbol is fact.

    The scheme of polarising those indoctrinated under the Watchtower system to imagine they have superior knowledge and that this shows how the historic Christian churches have been corrupted by pagan influences and should be avoided like a plague, is undermined.

    Actually, no, it’s not. I have provided plenty of references for my position, many of which you have completely ignored. That the Christian church has been corrupted by pagan influences is not simply a Watchtower doctrine, as you incorrectly assume. Please read Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons as well as Arthur Weigall’s The Paganism in Our Christianity for further references. I think Hislop’s arguments are stronger than Weigall’s, but the fact remains that much of what comprises modern Christianity has its roots in other religious beliefs.

    …selective and unrepresenative evidence and claims to make it appear tot he indoctrinated that 5hose who accept the received understanding of the shape of Jesus’ cross are thereby showing pagan intrusion and apostasy.

    Please respond, then, to the 28 points I made above. Show me where you believe these writers are wrong in their translating stauros, and show me where and why you believe they are wrong in writing that stakes were used for execution.

    The known effect of such rhetorical tactics in an authoritarian system, is to polarise and isolate the in-group, setting up manipulation and programming, blocking correction from outside. Which fits with a wider pattern of longstanding concerns about this specific society.

    “Blocking correction from outside”? What correction is needed? I’ve more than proved my point.

  210. 210
    Mung says:

    Clearly essential to the Watchtower position on the shape of the cross is their claim that the cross was unknown to the Greeks. They claim that stauros meant one and only one thing in both classical and koine greek, an upright stake.

    Again, the facts contradict their position.

    On the basis of the examples given here, which could certainly be multiplied further, we may conclude that in the Greek-speaking East crucifixion was no less well-known, feared and abhorred than in the Latin West…

    Crucifixion: In the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross

    Here’s an interesting reference:

    If [the moon] is between Ares on the left and Cronos on the right, the fugitive will be crucified.

  211. 211
    Mung says:

    Jehovah’s Witnesses cite W.E. Vine as an authority in defense of their doctrine that Jesus was not crucified on a cross, but rather impaled on a single upright stake.

    Earlier in this thread I demonstrated that W.E. Vine himself uses the term “cross” throughout his writings.

    The Watchtower Society teaches that stauros had the same meaning in Koine Greek that it has in Classical Greek. This claim is absurd on a number of counts, but let’s just allow W.E. Vine to speak on that topic as well:

    It has been well said that the Greek language is “the most subtle and powerful language that ever flowed from the tongue of man.” Yet, comparatively speaking, it is easy, and particularly Biblical Greek. The language of the New Testament Greek was much simpler than what is known as Classical Greek, and is to be distinguished from the writings of men who aspire to literary fame. As the late Dr. J.H. Moulton wrote, “The New Testament writers had little idea that they were writing literature. The Holy Ghost spoke absolutely in the language of the people…The very grammar and dictionary cry out against men who would allow the Scriptures to appear in any other form than that ‘understanded of the people.'” The language spoken throughout the Roman Empire in the first century of this era was Hellenistic Greek, otherwise known as the Koine, or the common dialect of the people.

    – W.E. Vine, The Collected Writings Volume 5, NTGG p.6

    1. New Testament Greek is to be distinguished from Classical Greek.

    This is something the JW’s fail to do and it contributes to their error.

    2. The very grammar and dictionary cry out against men who would allow the Scriptures to appear in any other form than that ‘understanded of the people.’”

    Such as the JW’s. Such as Classical Greek.

    3. The language spoken throughout the Roman Empire in the first century of this era was Hellenistic Greek, otherwise known as the Koine, or the common dialect of the people.

    Hellenistic Greek, not Classical Greek.

    The more research one does the weaker the case appears for the “torture stake ” doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    And recall, this wasn’t even a tenet of the JW faith until at least 1936. Before that, when they were still known as the IBSA, the cross regularly appeared on their publications! now they claim they have “new light.”

    New light from where?

    One man decided to change their name to “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” One man decided Jesus was not hung on a cross but rather hung on a tree.

    Barb:

    Cult implies following a human. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not claim to follow any man or any man made organization. If that were the case, they’d call themselves the Watchtower Society.

    In these two cases, at least, they follow one man. Judge Rutherford.

  212. 212
    Mung says:

    Barb:

    Oh, and the 28 points I posted: responded to any of those? No?

    No response to any of them anywhere in this thread? Really?

  213. 213
    Mung says:

    The Watchtower Society ignores the use of the Greek word skolops to refer to a “torture stake” because it fails to fit their narrative.

    If Jesus Christ was impaled on a “torture stake,” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim, and not on a cross (according to the historic understanding) why didn’t the NT writers use the term skolops rather than the term stauros?

    Barb responds that this question is a non sequitur, without explaining why.

    I maintain that the question is quite relevant, and cite the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT).

    Yet another source weighs in:

    …the passage cited by Kuhn…mentioned crucifixion and impalement as being presumably the most gruesome forms of execution known to Plutarch…

    Note the clear distinction between crucifixion and impalement.

    One guess as to which two Greek words are used, and which word is impalement and which word is crucifixion.

    Crucifixion p. 69

    You may be in a cult if:

    1. Make up a new doctrine.
    2. Call it “new light.”
    3. Cherry pick some quotes to support the “new light.”
    4. Ignore all evidence to the contrary.

  214. 214
    Mung says:

    Crucifixion took place as follows. The condemned person carried the patibulum (cross-beam) to the place of execution – the stake was already erected.

    – TDNT VII:573

  215. 215
    Mung says:

    The Cross and Crucifixion in the New Testament World.

    In shape we find three basic forms. The cross was a vertical, pointed stake (skolops -> 409, 4 ff.), or it consisted of an upright with a cross-beam above it (T, crux commissa), or it consisted of two intersecting beams of equal length (t, crux immissa).

    – TDNT VII:572

    Jehovah’s Witnesses of course must deny this. According to the doctrine they are required to follow, in the New Testament World there was only one form of a cross, a cross without a cross-beam. A cross that isn’t actually a cross. A cross that’s merely a vertical, pointed stake.

    A skolops.

    Barb claims the issue of skolops v stauros is a non-sequitur. We’ve shown that it is not.

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