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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday April 19 2014, @11:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the Down-the-hall-to-the-left dept.

Each year, Cahleen Shrier, associate professor in the Department of Biology and Chemistry at Azusa Pacific University, presents a special lecture on the science of Jesus' crucifixion detailing the physiological processes a typical crucified victim underwent based on historical documentation of crucifixion procedures used during that time period. According to Dr. Chuck Dietzen, the Romans favored it over hanging because it was a slow death taking as long as two days making it quite effective for quelling dissent. "It is important to understand from the beginning that Jesus would have been in excellent physical condition," says Shrier. "As a carpenter by trade, He participated in physical labor. In addition, He spent much of His ministry traveling on foot across the countryside."

Evidence suggests that Jesus dreaded his fate. The New Testament tells of how he sweated blood the night before in the garden of Gethsemane. A rare medical condition known as hematohidrosis may explain this phenomenon, Dietzen says. In this condition, extreme stress causes the blood vessels around the sweat gland to rupture into the sweat ducts. While few of these cases exist in the medical literature, many of those that do involve people facing execution.

Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400 BC. It was developed, during Roman times, into a punishment for the most serious of criminals and is quite possibly the most painful death ever invented by humankind. The Romans would tie or nail the accused to the cross being sure to avoid the blood vessels. While many people envision the nail going into a person's palm, it was placed closer to the wrist. The feet were nailed to the upright part of the crucifix, so that the knees were bent at around 45 degrees. "Once the legs gave out, the weight would be transferred to the arms, gradually dragging the shoulders from their sockets. The elbows and wrists would follow a few minutes later; by now, the arms would be six or seven inches longer," says Alok Jha. "The victim would have no choice but to bear his weight on his chest. He would immediately have trouble breathing as the weight caused the rib cage to lift up and force him into an almost perpetual state of inhalation." Suffocation would usually follow, but the relief of death could also arrive in other ways. "The resultant lack of oxygen in the blood would cause damage to tissues and blood vessels, allowing fluid to diffuse out of the blood into tissues, including the lungs and the sac around the heart," says Jeremy Ward.

Eventually the person being crucified would go into shock and die after organs failed. Medical science can also explain why blood and water spurted out of Jesus's body when a Roman stabbed him with a spear. That was likely a pleural effusion, in which clear lung fluid came out of his body as well as blood. Shrier says Jesus' stamina and strength were, most likely, very well developed so if the torture of the crucifixion could break a man in such good shape, it must have been a horrific experience. "I am struck every time with the stunning realization that as a flesh and blood human, Jesus felt every ounce of this execution," concludes Shrier. "What greater love than this can a man have for his friends?"

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  • (Score: 1) by JeffPaetkau on Sunday April 20 2014, @12:52AM

    by JeffPaetkau (1465) on Sunday April 20 2014, @12:52AM (#33496)

    I wish I had time to write a the reply your posts deserve. However, in short, you take your point too far.

    Look, if you wish to argue that Jesus was not (is not) God, was not born of a virgin, and did not rise from death, fine. I accept that a extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But you argue that Jesus did not even exist. On that point, I find your arguments unconvincing.

    Jesus, was a first century peasant who for the most part lived the unremarkable life of a carpenter then for 3 years wandered around Galilee. It would in fact be surprising to see him show up in the "official" historical record. That we have the volume of references to him that we do have and from so soon after his death (much of the new testament was written within living memory) is a testament to how important the early Church regarded him and how quickly it grew from a few dozen people to becoming the official religion of Rome.

    You attempt to argue from silence, and in this case the argument is simply not credible.

    Sure lets argue about his deity but to argue about his existence as a historical person is laughable.

  • (Score: 2) by TrumpetPower! on Sunday April 20 2014, @04:00AM

    by TrumpetPower! (590) <> on Sunday April 20 2014, @04:00AM (#33525) Homepage

    The problem with the "Jesus was just some dumb schmuck whom nobody would possibly have noticed" theory is that it's violently contradicted by all the evidence we do have.

    I challenge you to name one single first- or second-century source in which Jesus was a mere mortal. Not cherry-pick a sentence in the midst of a faery tale, but one in which the author clearly considered Jesus to be a mere mortal, and so unremarkable that nobody else could reasonably be expected to have otherwise noticed him.

    Hell, I'll even grant you the Gospels stripped of everything supernatural, and the argument still doesn't fly. This is a man who rubbed shoulders and butted heads with all the important people of the era, especially including Pilate and the Sanhedrin. The trial itself was far more scandalous than anything the Satirists or Josephus actually wrote about; the notion that they could possibly have missed anything so deliciously juicy is every bit as unbelievable as that he really did teleport back to the Enterprise in full view of the townspeople after being a zombie for a month and an half.

    Or, alternately: you're suggesting that Jesus was a mere mortal; therefore, any source which clearly claims otherwise is clearly unreliable in the extreme. So we discard all of them...and what do we have left?

    Absolutely nothing.



    All but God can prove this sentence true.