Crucifixion of Jesus

Crucifixion of Jesus

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The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, who Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s believe is the Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

 as well as the Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

, was arrested
Arrest of Jesus
The arrest of Jesus is a pivotal event recorded in the Canonical gospels. The event ultimately leads, in the Gospel accounts, to Jesus' crucifixion...

, tried
Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus
The Sanhedrin trial of Jesus refers to the Canonical Gospel accounts of the trial of Jesus before the Jewish Council, or Sanhedrin, following his arrest and prior to his trial before Pontius Pilate...

, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilatus , known in the English-speaking world as Pontius Pilate , was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus...

 to be scourged
Flagellation of Christ
The Flagellation of Christ, sometimes known as Christ at the Column or the Scourging at the Pillar, is a scene from the Passion of Christ very frequently shown in Christian art, in cycles of the Passion or the larger subject of the Life of Christ. It is the fourth station of the modern alternate...

, and finally executed on a cross
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

. Collectively referred to as the Passion
Passion (Christianity)
The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion...

, Jesus' redemptive suffering and death by crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

 represent critical aspects of Christian theology
Christian theology
- Divisions of Christian theology :There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology.- Sub-disciplines :...

, including the doctrines of salvation
Soteriology
The branch of Christian theology that deals with salvation and redemption is called Soteriology. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion + English -logy....

 and atonement.

Jesus' crucifixion is described in all four Canonical gospels, attested to by other contemporary sources, and regarded as a historical event. Christians believe Jesus' suffering was foretold in Hebrew scripture, such as in Psalm 22
Psalm 22
Psalm 22 is the 22nd psalm in the Book of Psalms.-Aijeleth Shahar:Aijeleth Shahar or Ayelet HaShachar is found in the title of the Psalm. It is probably the name of some song or tune to the measure of which the psalm was to be chanted...

, and Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

's songs of the suffering servant. According to the New Testament, Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane
Gethsemane
Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem most famous as the place where, according to Biblical texts, Jesus and his disciples are said to have prayed the night before Jesus' crucifixion.- Etymology :...

 following the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 with the twelve Apostles, and forced to stand trial before the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus
The Sanhedrin trial of Jesus refers to the Canonical Gospel accounts of the trial of Jesus before the Jewish Council, or Sanhedrin, following his arrest and prior to his trial before Pontius Pilate...

, Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilatus , known in the English-speaking world as Pontius Pilate , was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus...

, and Herod Antipas
Herod Antipas
Herod Antipater , known by the nickname Antipas, was a 1st-century AD ruler of Galilee and Perea, who bore the title of tetrarch...

, before being handed over for crucifixion. After being flogged
Flagellation of Christ
The Flagellation of Christ, sometimes known as Christ at the Column or the Scourging at the Pillar, is a scene from the Passion of Christ very frequently shown in Christian art, in cycles of the Passion or the larger subject of the Life of Christ. It is the fourth station of the modern alternate...

, Jesus was mocked by Roman soldiers as the "King of the Jews
Jesus, King of the Jews
In the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as the King of the Jews both at the beginning of his life and at the end.Both uses of the title lead to dramatic results in the New Testament accounts. In the account of the Nativity of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, the three wise men In the New...

", clothed in a purple robe, crowned with thorns, beaten and spat on. Jesus then had to make his way to the place of his crucifixion.

Once at Golgotha
Calvary
Calvary or Golgotha was the site, outside of ancient Jerusalem’s early first century walls, at which the crucifixion of Jesus is said to have occurred. Calvary and Golgotha are the English names for the site used in Western Christianity...

, Jesus was offered wine mixed with gall to drink. Matthew's and Mark's Gospels record that he refused this. He was then crucified and hung between two convicted thieves. According to Mark's Gospel, he endured the torment of crucifixion for some six hours from the third hour, at approximately 9 am, until his death at the ninth hour, corresponding to about 3 pm. The soldiers affixed a sign above his head stating "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" in three languages, divided his garments and cast lots for his seamless robe. The Roman soldiers did not break Jesus' legs, as they did to the other two men crucified (breaking the legs hastened the crucifixion process), as Jesus was dead already. Each gospel has its own account of Jesus' last words, seven statements altogether. In the Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

, various supernatural events accompany the crucifixion , including darkness, an earthquake, and (in Matthew) the resurrection of saints. Following Jesus' death, his body was removed from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea was, according to the Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' Crucifixion. He is mentioned in all four Gospels.-Gospel references:...

 and buried in a rock-hewn tomb
Sepulchre
The rock-cut tombs in ancient Israel are a group of hundreds of rock-cut tombs constructed in Israel in ancient times. They were cut into the rock, sometimes with elaborate facades and multiple burial chambers. Some are free-standing, but most are caves. Each tomb typically belonged to a...

, with Nicodemus
Nicodemus
Saint Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, who, according to the Gospel of John, showed favour to Jesus...

 assisting. According to Christian tradition, Jesus then rose from the dead
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 two days later (the "third day
Third day in the Bible
-Introduction:The expression third day appears in several narratives in the Bible. Some biblical interpreters have thought that some of these third day motifs have significance by signifying a certain divine principle, and a few interpreters have thought that they are cryptic in meaning...

").

Christians have traditionally understood Jesus' death on the cross to be a knowing and willing sacrifice
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

 (given that he did not mount a defense in his trials) which was undertaken as an "agent of God" to atone for humanity's sin and make salvation possible. Most Christians proclaim this sacrifice through the bread and wine of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, as a remembrance of the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

, and many also commemorate the event on Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

 each year.

Accounts of the crucifixion



That Jesus was crucified is a well-attested event of Roman history. Early Christians are considered unlikely to have invented Jesus' crucifixion because it would have embarrassed
Criterion of embarrassment
The criterion of embarrassment, also known as criterion of dissimilarity, is a critical analysis of historical accounts in which accounts embarrassing to the author are presumed to be true because the author would have no reason to invent an embarrassing account about himself...

 them. Although almost all ancient sources relating to crucifixion are literary, the 1968 archeological discovery just north east of Jerusalem of the body of a crucified man dated to the 1st century provided good confirmatory evidence of the gospel accounts of crucifixion . The crucified man was identified as Yohan Ben Ha'galgol and probably died about 70 AD, around the time of the Jewish revolt against Rome. The analyses at the Hadassah Medical School estimated that he died in his late 20s. These studies also showed that the man had been crucified in a manner resembling the Gospel accounts. Another relevant archaeological find, which also dates to the 1st century AD, is an unidentified heel bone with a spike discovered in a Jerusalem gravesite, and is now held by the Israel Antiquities Authority
Israel Antiquities Authority
The Israel Antiquities Authority is an independent Israeli governmental authority responsible for enforcing the 1978 Law of Antiquities. The IAA regulates excavation and conservation, and promotes research...

 and displayed in the Israel Museum
Israel Museum
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

.

Gospel narratives



The earliest detailed historical narrative accounts of the death of Jesus are contained in the four canonical
Canonical
Canonical is an adjective derived from canon. Canon comes from the greek word κανών kanon, "rule" or "measuring stick" , and is used in various meanings....

 gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

s. There are other more implicit references in the New Testament epistles. In the synoptic gospels, Jesus predicts his death
Jesus predicts his death
Jesus predicts his death three times in the New Testament, the first two occasions building up to the final prediction of his crucifixion. The final prediction episode appears in all three Synoptic Gospels, in the Gospel of Matthew , the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke...

 in three separate episodes.

According to all four gospels, Jesus was brought to the "Place of a Skull" and crucified with two thieves, with the charge of claiming to be "King of the Jews
Jesus, King of the Jews
In the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as the King of the Jews both at the beginning of his life and at the end.Both uses of the title lead to dramatic results in the New Testament accounts. In the account of the Nativity of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, the three wise men In the New...

", and the soldiers divided his clothes before he bowed his head and died. Following his death, Joseph of Arimathea requested the body from Pilate, which he then placed in a new garden tomb.

The three synoptic gospels also describe Simon of Cyrene bearing the cross, the multitude mocking Jesus along with the thieves/robbers/rebels, darkness from the 6th to the 9th hour, and the temple veil being torn from top to bottom. The synoptics also mention several witnesses, including a centurion, and several women who watched from a distance two of whom were present during the burial.

Luke is the only gospel writer to omit the detail of sour wine mix that was offered to Jesus on a reed, while only Mark and John describe Joseph actually taking the body down off the cross.

There are several details that are only found in one of the gospel accounts. For instance, only Matthew's gospel mentions an earthquake, resurrected saints who went to the city and that Roman soldiers were assigned to guard the tomb, while Mark is the only one to state the actual time of the crucifixion (the third hour, or 9 am) and the centurion's report of Jesus' death. The Gospel of Luke’s unique contributions to the narrative include Jesus' words to the women who were mourning, one criminal's rebuke of the other, the reaction of the multitudes who left "beating their breasts", and the women preparing spices and ointments before resting on the Sabbath. John is also the only one to refer to the request that the legs be broken and the soldier’s subsequent piercing of Jesus' side (as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy), as well as that Nicodemus assisted Joseph with burial.

According to canonical Gospels, Jesus rose from the dead
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 after three days and appeared to his Disciples
Resurrection appearances of Jesus
The major Resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Canonical gospels are reported to have occurred after his death, burial and resurrection, but prior to his Ascension. Among these primary sources, most scholars believe First Corinthians was written first, authored by Paul of Tarsus along with...

 on different occasions during a forty day period before ascending to heaven. The account given in Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

, which says Jesus remained with the apostles for forty days, appears to differ from the account in the Gospel of Luke, which makes no clear distinction between the events of Easter Sunday and the Ascension. However, most biblical scholars agree that St. Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles as a follow-up volume to his Gospel account, and the two works must be considered as a whole.

In Mark, Jesus is crucified along with two rebels, and the day goes dark for three hours. Jesus calls out to God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, then gives a shout and dies. The curtain of the Temple is torn in two. Matthew follows Mark, adding an earthquake and the resurrection of saints. Luke also follows Mark, though he describes the rebels as common criminals, one of whom defends Jesus, who in turn promises that he and Jesus will be together in paradise. Luke portrays Jesus as impassive in the face of his crucifixion. John includes several of the same elements as those found in Mark, though they are treated differently.

Other accounts



Very few non-Christian sources refer to the crucifixion. The earliest non-Christian reference to the crucifixion is likely from Mara Bar-Serapion
Mara Bar-Serapion
Mara bar ' Serapion, sometimes spelled Mara bar Sarapion was a Stoic philosopher from the Roman province of Syria. He wrote a to his son, who was also named Serapion...

, a Syriac writer only makes passing mention of a "wise King" executed by the Jews in a rhethorical letter. written between 73AD and the 3rd century. Roman historian Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

, in his Annals
Annals (Tacitus)
The Annals by Tacitus is a history of the reigns of the four Roman Emperors succeeding Caesar Augustus. The surviving parts of the Annals extensively cover most of the reigns of Tiberius and Nero. The title Annals was probably not given by Tacitus, but derives from the fact that he treated this...

(c. AD 116), mentions only in passing that "Christus...suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators
Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilatus , known in the English-speaking world as Pontius Pilate , was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus...

..." Similarly, Greek satirist Lucian
Lucian
Lucian of Samosata was a rhetorician and satirist who wrote in the Greek language. He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature.His ethnicity is disputed and is attributed as Assyrian according to Frye and Parpola, and Syrian according to Joseph....

 refers to Jesus only as "the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account."

Additionally, 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 (in a disputed passage) records:
Another possible Jewish reference to the crucifixion ("hanging" cf. ; ) is found in the Babylonian Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

:
Although the question of the equivalence of the identities of Yeshu and Jesus has at times been debated, many historians agree that the above passage is likely to be about Jesus.

In opposition to the vast majority of Biblical and mainstream scholarship, Muslims maintain
Islamic view of Jesus' death
The issue of the crucifixion and death of Jesus is important to Muslims as they believe that Jesus will return before the end of time. Muslims believe Jesus was not crucified, but was raised bodily to heaven by God....

 that Jesus was not crucified and that he was not killed by any other means. They hold this belief based on various interpretations of the following verse in the Qur'an:

Date, place and people present



Date of the crucifixion




Although there is no consensus regarding the exact date of the crucifixion of Jesus, it is generally agreed by biblical scholars that it was on a Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

 on or near Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

 (Nisan
Nisan
Nisan is the first month of the ecclesiastical year and the seventh month of the civil year, on the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian; in the Torah it is called the month of the Aviv, referring to the month in which barley was ripe. It is a spring month of 30 days...

 15), during the governorship of Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilatus , known in the English-speaking world as Pontius Pilate , was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus...

 (who ruled AD 26-36). Since an observational calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

 was used during the time of Jesus, including an ascertainment of the new moon and ripening barley harvest, the exact day or even month for Passover in a given year is subject to speculation. Various approaches have been used to estimate the year of the crucifixion, including the Canonical Gospels, the chronology of the life of Apostle Paul, as well as different astronomical
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 models. The most frequently suggested date is Friday, April 3, AD 33.

Path to the crucifixion


The three Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

 refer to a man called Simon of Cyrene
Simon of Cyrene
Simon of Cyrene was the man compelled by the Romans to carry the cross of Jesus as Jesus was taken to his crucifixion, according to all three Synoptic Gospels...

 who is made to carry the cross, while in the Gospel of John, Jesus is said to "bear" his own cross.

Luke's gospel also describes an interaction between Jesus and the women among the crowd of mourners following him, quoting Jesus as saying "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

Traditionally, the path that Jesus took is called Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa is a street, in two parts, within the Old City of Jerusalem, held to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion. The current route has been established since the 18th century, replacing various earlier versions...

 (Latin for "Way of Grief" or "Way of Suffering") and is a street in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is marked by nine of the fourteen Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St...

. It passes the Ecce Homo Church
Ecce Homo (church)
Ecce Homo Church is a Roman Catholic church on Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, along the path that according to tradition Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion. The church is now part of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion....

 and the last five stations are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

.

There is no reference to the legendary Veronica
Saint Veronica
Saint Veronica or Berenice, according to the "Acta Sanctorum" published by the Bollandists , was a pious woman of Jerusalem who, moved with pity as Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha, gave him her veil that he might wipe his forehead...

 in the Gospels, but sources such as Acta Sanctorum
Acta Sanctorum
Acta Sanctorum is an encyclopedic text in 68 folio volumes of documents examining the lives of Christian saints, in essence a critical hagiography, which is organised according to each saint's feast day. It begins with two January volumes, published in 1643, and ended with the Propylaeum to...

describe her as a pious woman of Jerusalem who, moved with pity as Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 carried his cross to Golgotha, gave him her veil that he might wipe his forehead.

Place of the crucifixion




The precise location of the crucifixion remains a matter of conjecture, but the biblical accounts indicate that it was outside the city walls, accessible to passers-by and observable from some distance away. Eusebius
Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon...

 identified its location only as being north of Mount Zion
Mount Zion
Mount Zion is a place name for a site in Jerusalem, the location of which has shifted several times in history. According to the Hebrew Bible's Book of Samuel, it was the site of the Jebusite fortress called the "stronghold of Zion" that was conquered by King David, becoming his palace in the City...

, which is consistent with the two most popularly suggested sites of modern times.

Calvary
Calvary
Calvary or Golgotha was the site, outside of ancient Jerusalem’s early first century walls, at which the crucifixion of Jesus is said to have occurred. Calvary and Golgotha are the English names for the site used in Western Christianity...

 is an English name derived from the Latin word for skull (calvaria), which is how Jerome translated the Aramaic word Gûlgaltâ which identifies the place where Jesus was crucified. Although the text does not indicate why it was so designated, several theories have been put forward. One is that as a place of public execution, Calvary may have been strewn with the skulls of abandoned victims (which would be contrary to Jewish burial traditions, but not Roman). Another is that Calvary is named after a nearby cemetery (which is consistent with both of the proposed modern sites). A third is that the name was derived from the physical contour, which would be more consistent with the singular use of the word, i.e., the place called "a skull". While often referred to as "Mount Calvary", it was more likely a small hill or rocky knoll.

The traditional site, inside what is now occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

 in the Christian Quarter
Christian Quarter
The Christian Quarter is one of the four quarters of the ancient, walled Old City of Jerusalem, the other three being the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter and the Armenian Quarter...

 of the Old City, has been attested since the 4th century. A second site (commonly referred to as Gordon’s Calvary), located further north of the Old City near a place popularly called the Garden Tomb
Garden Tomb
The Garden Tomb , located in Jerusalem, outside the city walls and close to the Damascus Gate, is a rock-cut tomb considered by some to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus, and to be adjacent to Golgotha, in contradistinction to the traditional site for these—the Church of the Holy...

, has been promoted since the 19th century, mostly by Protestants.

People present at the crucifixion


The Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

states that on the way to Calvary Jesus spoke to a number of women within the crowd of mourners following him, addressing them as "Daughters of Jerusalem". Biblical scholars have produced various theories about the identity of these women, and those actually present during the crucifixion itself, including among them Mary (Jesus' mother)
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 and Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", conventionally interpreted as referring to complex illnesses...

.

Luke's Gospel does not mention that Jesus' mother was present during crucifixion . However, the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

does place her at the crucifixion and states that while on the Cross: Jesus saw his own mother, and the disciple standing near whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son".

The Gospel of John also places other women (The Three Marys
The Three Marys
The Three Marys are the three biblical Marys who came to the sepulchre of Jesus in the Gospels and were companions of Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Eastern Orthodoxy they are among the Myrrhbearers, traditionally including a larger number of people. All four gospels mention the women going to the...

), at the Cross. It states that Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. It is uncertain whether the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 totally refers to three or four women at the Cross. References to the women are also made in and (which also mentions Salome
Salome (disciple)
Salome , sometimes venerated as Mary Salome, was a follower of Jesus who appears briefly in the canonical gospels and in more detail in apocryphal writings...

) and comparing these references they all seem to include Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", conventionally interpreted as referring to complex illnesses...

.

The Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 states that Roman soldiers were also present at the crucifixion : And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!".

Method and manner of crucifixion


Given that the New Testament does not provide exact details of the process of Jesus' crucifixion, various elements of the method employed have been subject to debate, as discussed below.

Shape of gibbet


Whereas most Christians believe the gibbet
Gibbet
A gibbet is a gallows-type structure from which the dead bodies of executed criminals were hung on public display to deter other existing or potential criminals. In earlier times, up to the late 17th century, live gibbeting also took place, in which the criminal was placed alive in a metal cage...

 on which Jesus was executed was the traditional two-beamed cross, debate exists regarding the view that a single upright stake was used. Part of the debate has centered around the ambiguity of the Greek and Latin words used in the earliest Christian writings. The Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

 terms used in the New Testament are stauros
Stauros
Stauros is the Greek word, usually translated cross, that in the Bible is used in reference to the device on which Jesus was executed...

and xylon . The word stauros, comes from the Greek root "sta" meaning to stand. Historically it referred to a sacrificial post, and may have also referred to a cross. The words stauros and (ana)stayroo may not definitively determine the shape of the gibbet."

Nails


The assumption of the use of a two-beamed cross does not determine the number of nails used in the crucifixion and some theories suggest 3 nails while others suggest 4 nails. However, throughout history larger numbers of nails have been hypothesized, at times as high as 14 nails. These variations are also present in the artistic depictions of the crucifixion. In the Western Church, before the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 usually 4 nails would be depicted, with the feet side by side. After the Renaissance most depictions use 3 nails, with one foot placed on the other. Nails are almost always depicted in art, although Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 sometimes just tied the victims to the cross. The tradition also carries to Christian emblem
Emblem
An emblem is a pictorial image, abstract or representational, that epitomizes a concept — e.g., a moral truth, or an allegory — or that represents a person, such as a king or saint.-Distinction: emblem and symbol:...

s, e.g. the Jesuits use 3 nails under the IHS monogram
Holy Name of Jesus
In Christianity, the Holy Name of Jesus refers to the theological and devotional use of the name of Jesus. The reverence and affection with which Christians have regarded the Holy Name of Jesus goes back to the earliest days of Christianity....

 and a cross to symbolize the crucifixion.

The placing of the nails in the hands, or the wrists is also uncertain. Some theories suggest that the Greek word cheir (χειρ) for hand includes the wrist and that the Romans were generally trained to place nails through Destot's space (between the capitate and lunate bone
Lunate bone
The lunate bone is a carpal bone in the human hand that may be distinguished by its deep concavity and crescentic outline. It is situated in the center of the proximal row of the carpus region between the fore arm and hand...

s) without fracturing any bones. Another theory suggests that the Greek word for hand also includes the forearm and that the nails were placed near the radius
Radius (bone)
The radius is one of the two large bones of the forearm, the other being the ulna. It extends from the lateral side of the elbow to the thumb side of the wrist and runs parallel to the ulna, which exceeds it in length and size. It is a long bone, prism-shaped and slightly curved longitudinally...

 and ulna
Ulna
The ulna is one of the two long bones in the forearm, the other being the radius. It is prismatic in form and runs parallel to the radius, which is shorter and smaller. In anatomical position The ulna is one of the two long bones in the forearm, the other being the radius. It is prismatic in form...

 of the forearm
Forearm
-See also:*Forearm flexors*Forearm muscles...

. Ropes may have also been used to fasten the hands in addition to the use of nails.

Standing platform


Another issue has been the use of a hypopodium as a standing platform to support the feet, given that the hands may not have been able to support the weight. In the 17th century Rasmus Bartholin
Rasmus Bartholin
Rasmus Bartholin was a Danish scientist and physician. As part of his studies, he travelled in Europe for ten years. Professor at the University of Copenhagen, first in Geometry, later in Medicine...

 considered a number of analytical scenarios of that topic. In the 20th century, forensic pathologist Frederick Zugibe
Frederick Zugibe
Dr. Frederick Thomas Zugibe is an American expert in forensic medicine. He was the chief medical examiner of Rockland County, New York from 1969 to 2002...

 performed a number of crucifixion experiments by using ropes to hang human subjects at various angles and hand positions. His experiments support an angled suspension, and a two-beamed cross, and perhaps some form of foot support, given that in an Aufbinden form of suspension from a straight stake (as used by the Nazis in the Dachau concentration camp during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

), death comes rather quickly.

Last words of Jesus




The gospel writers record seven statements uttered by Jesus while he was on the cross:
  1. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
  2. "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
  3. "Woman, behold, your son!"
  4. "E′li, E′li, la′ma sa‧bach‧tha′ni?" (Aramaic
    Aramaic language
    Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

     for "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?")
    . It is also a quotation of the first line of Psalm 22. The latter refers to piercing of hands and feet, and has been interpreted as a reference to Crucifixion .
  5. "I thirst."
  6. "It is finished."
  7. "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!"


These are all short utterances. See the section below on the medical aspects of crucifixion , on how in the face of exhaustion asphyxia
Asphyxia
Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which primarily affects the tissues and organs...

, obtaining enough air to utter any words on the cross can be very tiring and painful for the victim.

The last words of Jesus have been the subject of a wide range of Christian teachings and sermons, and a number of authors have written books specifically devoted to the last sayings of Christ. However, since the statements of the last words differ between the four canonical Gospels, James Dunn has expressed doubts about their historicity.

Phenomena during the crucifixion


Mark mentions darkness in the daytime during Jesus' crucifixion and the Temple veil being torn in two when Jesus dies. Matthew follows Mark, adding an earthquake and the resurrection of saints. Luke also follows Mark. In John, there are no such miraculous signs referred to except for Jesus' resurrection from the grave.

Darkness and eclipse


In the synoptic narrative, while Jesus is hanging on the cross, the sky is "darkened for 3 hours," from the sixth to the ninth hour (noon to mid-afternoon). Both Roman orator Julius Africanus
Julius Africanus
Julius Africanus was a celebrated orator in the reign of Nero, and seems to have been the son of the Julius Africanus, of the Gallic state of the Santoni, who was condemned by Tiberius in 32 AD. Quintilian, who had heard Julius Africanus, spoke of him and Domitius Afer as the best orators of their...

 and Christian theologian Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

 refer to Greek historian Phlegon
Phlegon of Tralles
Phlegon of Tralles was a Greek writer and freedman of the emperor Hadrian, who lived in the 2nd century AD.His chief work was the Olympiads, an historical compendium in sixteen books, from the 1st down to the 229th Olympiad , of which several chapters are preserved in Eusebius' Chronicle, Photius...

 as having written "with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place"

Julius Africanus further refers to the writings of historian Thallus
Thallus (historian)
Thallus , sometimes spelled Thallos, was an early Samaritan historian who wrote in Koine Greek. Some scholars believe that his work can be interpreted as the earliest reference to the historical Jesus, written about 20 years after the Crucifixion. Around the year 55, he wrote a three-volume history...

 when denying the possibility of a solar eclipse: "This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun." A solar eclipse concurrent with a full moon is a scientific impossibility. Christian apologist Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 wrote "In the same hour, too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world-portent still in your archives." The darkness was reported as far away as Heliopolis
Heliopolis (ancient)
Heliopolis was one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, the capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome that was located five miles east of the Nile to the north of the apex of the Nile Delta...

 and apparently the unnatural occurrence was referred to by the Apostle Paul when converting Dionysius
Dionysius the Areopagite
Dionysius the Areopagite was a judge of the Areopagus who, as related in the Acts of the Apostles, , was converted to Christianity by the preaching of the Apostle Paul during the Areopagus sermon...

 to Christianity.

Humphreys and Waddington of Oxford University reconstructed the scenarios for a lunar eclipse on that day. They concluded that:


"This eclipse was visible from Jerusalem at moonrise.... first visible from Jerusalem at about 6:20pm (the start of the Jewish Sabbath and also the start of Passover day in A.D. 33) with about 20% of its disc in the umbra of the earth's shadow .... The eclipse finished some thirty minutes later at 6:50pm."

Moreover, their calculations showed that the 20% umbra shadow was positioned close to the leading edge, the first visible portion at moonrise. These authors note that the Apostle Peter's reference to a "moon of blood" (a term commonly used for a lunar eclipse because of the reddish color of the light refracted onto the moon through the Earth's atmosphere) may be a reference to this eclipse. It should be noted, however, that in the preceding verse of the same passage, St. Peter expressly mentions that "the sun shall be turned to darkness", which would suggest a solar eclipse in conjunction with the lunar one.

Temple veil, earthquake and resurrection of dead saints


The synoptic gospels state that the veil of the temple
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 was torn from top to bottom. According to Josephus, the curtain in Herod's temple would have been nearly 60 feet (18.3 m) high and 4 inches (101.6 mm) thick. According to , this curtain was representative of the separation between God and man, beyond which only the High Priest was permitted to pass, and then only once each year to enter into God's presence and make atonement for the sins of Israel. Many Bible expositors agree that the rending of the veil is symbolic of Jesus establishing a new and living way of access to God, see New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

.

The Gospel of Matthew states that there were earthquakes, splitting rocks, and the graves of dead saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s were opened (and subsequently resurrected
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 after the resurrection of Jesus
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

). These resurrected saints went into the holy city and appeared to many people, but their subsequent fate is never elaborated upon.

In the synoptic accounts, the centurion
Centurion
A centurion was a professional officer of the Roman army .Centurion may also refer to:-Military:* Centurion tank, British battle tank* HMS Centurion, name of several ships and a shore base of the British Royal Navy...

 in charge, witnessing these events, says: "Truly this was the Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

!" or "Truly this man was the Son of God!" or "Certainly this man was innocent!"

Deposition from the Cross


The taking of Jesus' body down from the cross by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea was, according to the Gospels, the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' Crucifixion. He is mentioned in all four Gospels.-Gospel references:...

 is often known in art as the "descent" or "deposition" from the cross.

The death state of Jesus



Jesus' body was laid in the grave. The state and location of Jesus' soul
Soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

 is the subject of disagreement among Christians. Some believe he was active in the underworld. This is known as the harrowing of hell
Harrowing of Hell
The Harrowing of Hell is a doctrine in Christian theology referenced in the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed that states that Jesus Christ "descended into Hell"...

. Others believe his soul was in heaven. Others again believe that he was literally dead and "asleep" waiting for his own resurrection
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

.

Christology of the crucifixion



The accounts of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Jesus
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 provide a rich background for Christological
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

 analysis, from the Canonical Gospels to the Pauline Epistles
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

.
In Johannine "agent Christology" the submission of Jesus to crucifixion is a sacrifice made as an agent of God or servant of God, for the sake of eventual victory. This builds on the salvific theme of the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 which begins in John 1:36 with John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

's proclamation: "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". Further reinforcement of the concept is provided in Revelation 21:14 where the "lamb slain but standing
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

" is the only one worthy of handling the scroll (i.e. the book) containing the names of those who are to be saved.

A central element in the Christology presented in the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 is the affirmation of the belief that the death of Jesus by crucifixion happened "with the foreknowledge of God, according to a definite plan". In this view, as in Acts 2:23, the cross is not viewed as a scandal, for the crucifixion of Jesus "at the hands of the lawless" is viewed as the fulfilment of the plan of God.

Paul's Christology has a specific focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus is directly related to his resurrection and the term "the cross of Christ" used in Galatians 6:12 may be viewed as his abbreviation of the message of the gospels. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus was not an isolated event in history, but a cosmic event with significant eschatological consequences, as in 1 Corinthians 2:8. In the Pauline view, Jesus, obedient to the point of death (Philippians 2:8) died "at the right time" (Romans 4:25) based on the plan of God. For Paul the "power of the cross" is not separable from the Resurrection of Jesus.

John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 supported the "agent of God" Christology and argued that in his trial in Pilate's Court
Pilate's Court
In the Canonical gospels, Pilate's Court refers to the trial of Jesus in praetorium before Pontius Pilate, preceded by the Sanhedrin preliminary hearing. Finding that Jesus, being from Galilee, belonged to Herod Antipas' jurisdiction, Pilate decides to send Jesus to Herod. After questioning Jesus...

 Jesus could have successfully argued for his innocence, but instead submitted to crucifixion in obedience to the Father. This Christological theme continued into the 20th century, both in the Eastern and Western Churches. In the Eastern Church Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Bulgakov
Fr. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher and economist. Until 1922 he worked in Russia; afterwards in Paris.-Early life:...

 argued that the crucifixion of Jesus was "pre-eternally
Pre-existence of Christ
The pre-existence of Christ refers to the doctrine of the ontological or personal existence of Christ before his conception. One of the relevant Bible passages is where, in the Trinitarian view, Christ is identified with a pre-existent divine hypostasis called the Logos or Word...

" determined by the Father before the creation of the world, to redeem humanity from the disgrace caused by the fall of Adam. In the Western Church, Karl Rahner
Karl Rahner
Karl Rahner, SJ was a German Jesuit and theologian who, alongside Bernard Lonergan and Hans Urs von Balthasar, is considered one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century...

 elaborated on the analogy that the blood of the Lamb of God
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

 (and the water from the side of Jesus) shed at the crucifixion had a cleansing nature, similar to baptismal water.

Atonement



Jesus' death and resurrection underpin a variety of theological interpretations
Soteriology
The branch of Christian theology that deals with salvation and redemption is called Soteriology. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion + English -logy....

 as to how salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 is granted to humanity. These interpretations vary widely in how much emphasis they place on the death of Jesus as compared to his words. According to the substitutionary atonement
Substitutionary atonement
Technically speaking, substitutionary atonement is the name given to a number of Christian models of the atonement that all regard Jesus as dying as a substitute for others, "instead of" them...

 view, Jesus' death is of central importance, and Jesus willingly sacrificed himself as an act of perfect obedience as a sacrifice of love which pleased God. By contrast the moral influence theory of atonement focuses much more on the moral content of Jesus' teaching, and sees Jesus' death as a martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

dom. Since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 there has been conflict between these two views within Western Christianity. Evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 Protestants typically hold a substitutionary view and in particular hold to the theory of penal substitution
Penal substitution
Penal substitution is a theory of the atonement within Christian theology, developed with the Reformed tradition. It argues that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished in the place of sinners , thus satisfying the demands of justice so God can justly forgive the sins...

. Liberal Protestants typically reject substitutionary atonement and hold to the moral influence theory of atonement. Both views are popular within the Roman Catholic church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, with the satisfaction doctrine incorporated into the idea of penance
Penance
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

.

In the Roman Catholic tradition this view of atonement is balanced by the duty of Roman Catholics to perform Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ
Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ
Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as Acts of Reparation for insults and blasphemies against Jesus Christ and the Holy Name of Jesus. These include the sufferings during the Passion of Jesus...

 which in the encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor
Miserentissimus Redemptor
Miserentissimus Redemptor is the title of an encyclical by Pope Pius XI, issued on May 8, 1928. This encyclical deals with the concepts of Acts of Reparation and atonement...

of Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI , born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was Pope from 6 February 1922, and sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 until his death on 10 February 1939...

 were defined as "some sort of compensation to be rendered for the injury" with respect to the sufferings of Jesus. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 referred to these Acts of Reparation
Acts of reparation
In the Roman Catholic tradition, an Act of Reparation is a prayer or devotion with the intent to repair the "sins of others", e.g. for the repair of the sin of blasphemy, the sufferings of Jesus Christ or as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary...

 as the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified."

Among Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 Christians, another common view is Christus Victor
Christus Victor
The term Christus Victor refers to a Christian understanding of the atonement which views Christ's death as the means by which the powers of evil, which held humankind under their dominion, were defeated...

. This holds that Jesus was sent by God to defeat death and Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

. Because of his perfection
Perfection of Christ
The perfection of Christ is a principle in Christology which asserts that Christ's human attributes exemplified perfection in every possible sense....

, voluntary death, and Resurrection, Jesus defeated Satan and death, and arose victorious. Therefore, humanity was no longer bound in sin, but was free to rejoin God through faith in Jesus.

Medical aspects of the crucifixion


A number of theories that attempt to explain the circumstances of the death of Jesus on the cross via medical knowledge of the 19th and 20th centuries have been proposed by a range of people, including physicians, historians and even mystics
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

.

Most theories proposed by trained physicians (with specialties ranging from forensic medicine to ophthalmology
Ophthalmology
Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems...

) conclude that Jesus endured tremendous amounts of pain and suffering on the Cross before his death. In 2006, general practitioner John Scotson reviewed over 40 publications on the cause of death of Jesus and theories ranged from cardiac rupture to pulmonary embolism
Pulmonary embolism
Pulmonary embolism is a blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream . Usually this is due to embolism of a thrombus from the deep veins in the legs, a process termed venous thromboembolism...

.


As early as 1847, drawing on , physician William Stroud proposed the ruptured heart theory of the cause of Christ’s death and it influenced a number of other people. The asphyxia theory has been the subject of several experiments that simulate crucifixion in healthy volunteers and many physicians agree that crucifixion causes a profound disruption of the victim’s ability to breathe. A side effect of exhaustive asphyxia
Asphyxia
Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from being unable to breathe normally. An example of asphyxia is choking. Asphyxia causes generalized hypoxia, which primarily affects the tissues and organs...

 is that the crucifixion victim will gradually find it more and more challenging to obtain enough breath to speak. This provides a possible explanation for the accounts that the last words of Christ were short utterances.

The cardiovascular collapse theory is a prevalent modern explanation and suggests that Jesus died of profound shock. According to this theory, the scourging, the beatings, and the fixing to the cross would have left Jesus dehydrated, weak, and critically ill and that the stage was set for a complex interplay of simultaneous physiological insults: dehydration, massive trauma and soft tissue injury (especially from the prior scourging), inadequate respiration, and strenuous physical exertion, leading to cardiovascular collapse.

In her 1944 book Poem of the Man God
Poem of the Man God
The Poem of the Man God is a multi volume book of about four thousand pages on the life of Jesus Christ written by the Italian mystic Maria Valtorta...

 Italian writer and mystic Maria Valtorta
Maria Valtorta
Maria Valtorta was a Roman Catholic Italian writer and poet, considered by many to be a mystic. Her work centers on Catholic Christian themes...

 (who had no medical education) provided a very detailed account of the death of Jesus that supports the cardiovascular collapse theory, compounded by partial asphyxiation, and she wrote that the account was dictated to her by Jesus himself in a vision. Endocrinologist
Endocrine system
In physiology, the endocrine system is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body. The endocrine system is in contrast to the exocrine system, which secretes its chemicals using ducts. It derives from the Greek words "endo"...

 Nicholas Pende expressed agreement with Valtorta's account and expressed surprise at the level of detail in which Valtorta depicted Christ's spasms in crucifixion .

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association
Journal of the American Medical Association
The Journal of the American Medical Association is a weekly, peer-reviewed, medical journal, published by the American Medical Association. Beginning in July 2011, the editor in chief will be Howard C. Bauchner, vice chairman of pediatrics at Boston University’s School of Medicine, replacing ...

, physician William Edwards and his colleagues supported the combined cardiovascular collapse (via hypovolemic shock) and exhaustion asphyxia theories, assuming that the flow of water from the side of Jesus described in the Gospel of John was pericardial fluid
Pericardial fluid
Surrounding the heart is a sac known as the pericardium, which consists of two membranes. The outer layer being the fibrous parietal pericardium and the inner layer being the serous visceral pericardium. It is the serous visceral pericardium that secretes the pericardial fluid into the pericardial...

. Some Christian Apologists
Christian apologetics
Christian apologetics is a field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and expose the perceived flaws of other world views...

 seem to favor this theory and maintain that this medical anomaly would have been a fact that the author of the Gospel of John would have been tempted to leave out, had he not been interested in accurate reporting.

In his book The Crucifixion of Jesus, physician and forensic pathologist Frederick Zugibe
Frederick Zugibe
Dr. Frederick Thomas Zugibe is an American expert in forensic medicine. He was the chief medical examiner of Rockland County, New York from 1969 to 2002...

 provides a set of theories that attempt to explain the nailing, pains and death of Jesus in great detail. Zugibe carried out a number of experiments over several years to test his theories while he was a medical examiner. These studies included experiments in which volunteers with specific weights were hanging at specific angles and the amount of pull on each hand was measured, in cases where the feet were also secured or not. In these cases the amount of pull and the corresponding pain was found to be significant.

Pierre Barbet
Pierre Barbet (physician)
Pierre Barbet was a French physician, and the chief surgeon at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Paris.By performing various experiments, Barbet introduced a set of theories on the Crucifixion of Jesus....

, a French physician, and the chief surgeon at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, advanced a set of detailed theories on the death of Jesus. He hypothesized that Jesus would have had to relax his muscles to obtain enough air to utter his last words, in the face of exhaustion asphyxia. Barbet hypothesized that a crucified person would have to use his pierced feet to lift his body in order to obtain enough breath to speak. Some of Barbet's theories, e.g., location of nails, are disputed by Zugibe.

Ophthalmologist and pastor C. Truman Davis also published a physician's view of the crucifixion, agreeing with Barbet, but his analysis is far less detailed than Zugibe.

Orthopedic surgeon Keith Maxwell not only analyzed the medical aspects of the crucifixion, but also looked backed at how Jesus could have carried the cross all the way along Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa is a street, in two parts, within the Old City of Jerusalem, held to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion. The current route has been established since the 18th century, replacing various earlier versions...

.

In an article for the Catholic Medical Association
Catholic Medical Association
The Catholic Medical Association is an organization of Catholic physician, dentists and health care professionals in the United States and Canada.The organization studies and holds conferences on topics that relate spirituality and health...

, Phillip Bishop and physiologist Brian Church suggested a new theory based on suspension trauma
Suspension trauma
Suspension trauma , also known as harness hang syndrome , or orthostatic incompetence is an effect which occurs when the human body is held upright without any movement for a period of time...

.

In 2003, historians FP Retief and L Cilliers reviewed the history and pathology of crucifixion as performed by the Romans and suggested that the cause of death was often a combination of factors. They also state that Roman guards were prohibited from leaving the scene until death had occurred.

Crucifixion in art, symbolism and devotions


Since the crucifixion of Jesus, the cross has become a key element of Christian symbolism
Christian symbolism
Christian symbolism invests objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas. Christianity has borrowed from the common stock of significant symbols known to most periods and to all regions of the world. Religious symbolism is effective when it appeals to both the intellect and...

, and the crucifixion scene has been a key element of Christian art
Christian art
Christian art is sacred art produced in an attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form the principles of Christianity, though other definitions are possible. Most Christian groups use or have used art to some extent, although some have had strong objections to some forms of...

, giving rise to specific artistic themes such as Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo are the Latin words used by Pontius Pilate in the Vulgate translation of the , when he presents a scourged Jesus Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, to a hostile crowd shortly before his Crucifixion. The original Greek is Ἰδοὺ ὁ ἄνθρωπος . The King James Version translates the phrase...

, The Raising of the Cross, Descent from the Cross
Descent from the Cross
The Descent from the Cross , or Deposition of Christ, is the scene, as depicted in art, from the Gospels' accounts of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus taking Christ down from the cross after his crucifixion . In Byzantine art the topic became popular in the 9th century, and in the West from the...

 and Entombment of Christ
Entombment of Christ
The Entombment redirects here. For other uses, The Entombment The Entombment of Christ, that is to say the burial of Jesus Christ, occurred after his death by crucifixion, when, according to the gospel accounts, he was placed in a new tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea.-Biblical account:All four...

.

The crucifixion, seen from the cross
Crucifixion, seen from the Cross (James Tissot)
The Crucifixion, seen from the Cross is a watercolor painting with an unusual depiction of the Crucifixion of Jesus, by the French painter James Tissot...

 by Tissot presented a novel approach at the end of the 19th century, in which the crucifixion scene was portrayed from the perspective of Jesus.

The symbolism of the cross which is today one of the most widely recognized Christian symbols was used from the earliest Christian times and Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

 who died in 165 describes it in a way that already implies its use as a symbol, although the crucifix
Crucifix
A crucifix is an independent image of Jesus on the cross with a representation of Jesus' body, referred to in English as the corpus , as distinct from a cross with no body....

 appeared later. Masters such as Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

, Rubens
Rubens
Rubens is often used to refer to Peter Paul Rubens , the Flemish artist.Rubens may also refer to:- People :Family name* Paul Rubens Rubens is often used to refer to Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), the Flemish artist.Rubens may also refer to:- People :Family name* Paul Rubens (composer) Rubens is...

 and Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

 have all depicted the Crucifixion scene in their works.

Devotions based on the process of crucifixion , and the sufferings of Jesus are followed by various Christians. The Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The tradition as chapel devotion began with St...

 follows a number of stages based on the stages involved in the crucifixion of Jesus, while the Rosary of the Holy Wounds is used to meditate on the wounds of Jesus as part of the crucifixion .

The presence of the Virgin Mary under the Cross has in itself been the subject of Marian art
Roman Catholic Marian art
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been one of the major subjects of Christian Art, Catholic Art and Western Art for many centuries. Literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of...

, and well known Catholic symbolism such as the Miraculous Medal
Miraculous Medal
The Miraculous Medal, also known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, is a medal created by Saint Catherine Labouré following a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

 and Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

's Coat of Arms bearing a Marian Cross
Marian Cross
The Marian Cross is an informal name applied to a Roman Catholic cross design. It consists of a traditional Latin cross with the crossbar extended on the right, and a letter "M" in the lower right quadrant....

. And a number of Marian devotions also involve the presence of the Virgin Mary in Calvary, e.g., Pope John Paul II stated that "Mary was united to Jesus on the Cross". Well known works of Christian art by masters such as Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 (e.g., the Mond Crucifixion
Mond Crucifixion
The Mond Crucifixion is a painting by the Italian renaissance artist Raphael....

), and Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

 (e.g., his Entombment
The Entombment of Christ (Caravaggio)
The Entombment of Christ is a painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It was painted for Santa Maria in Vallicella, a church built for the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, and adjacent to the buildings of the order...

) depict the Virgin Mary as part of the crucifixion scene.

Gallery of art

For larger galleries, please see: Icons of crucifixion and Paintings of crucifixion

See also

  • Acts of Reparation
    Acts of reparation
    In the Roman Catholic tradition, an Act of Reparation is a prayer or devotion with the intent to repair the "sins of others", e.g. for the repair of the sin of blasphemy, the sufferings of Jesus Christ or as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary...

  • Atonement in Christianity
  • Crucifixion in the arts
    Crucifixion in the arts
    Crucifixion and crucifixes have appeared in the arts and popular culture from before the era of the pagan Roman Empire. The crucifixion of Jesus has been depicted in religious art since the 4th century CE...

  • Dispute about Jesus' execution method
    Dispute about Jesus' execution method
    Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jesus died on an upright pole: "The Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John use the Greek word stau·ros′ when referring to the instrument of execution on which Jesus died...

  • Descent from the Cross
    Descent from the Cross
    The Descent from the Cross , or Deposition of Christ, is the scene, as depicted in art, from the Gospels' accounts of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus taking Christ down from the cross after his crucifixion . In Byzantine art the topic became popular in the 9th century, and in the West from the...

  • Passion (Christianity)
    Passion (Christianity)
    The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion...

  • Seven Sorrows of Mary
    Our Lady of Sorrows
    Our Lady of Sorrows , the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows , and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life...

  • Swoon hypothesis
    Swoon hypothesis
    The Swoon Hypothesis refers to a number of theories that aim to explain the resurrection of Jesus, proposing that Jesus didn't die on the cross, but merely fell unconscious , and was later revived in the tomb in the same mortal body...