II. Jesus' Crucifixion: Fact Not Fiction
As I already discussed elsewhere on this website in the "Did Jesus Exist?" portion, a generous portion of the early writings that verify Jesus existence mention Him being crucified. Additionally most, if not all credible scholars and historians, will agree on this as a historical fact that should not be disputed. I will list five of them below.
The purpose is not to be fallacious, using the common logical fallacy known as "appeal to authority." It's important to note that this fallacy should not be used to dismiss the claims of experts. It is not reasonable to disregard the claims of experts who have demonstrated their depth of knowledge unless one has a similar level of understanding. But, it is entirely possible that the opinion of a person or institution of authority is wrong; therefore the authority that such a person or institution holds does not have any intrinsic bearing upon whether their claims are true or not. You will notice within the five historians and scholars that I share, they are not all Christians, but have varying religious beliefs, even atheistic, and agnostic world views. This should make my argument hold a bit more water.
"One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate."
- The Historical Jesus: Lecture Transcript and Course Guidebook p. 162
-Bart Ehrman New Testament scholar, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Ph.D. Princeton Theological Seminary.
"Jesus death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable."
- The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Inquiry p. 50
Gerd Lüdemann German New Testament Historian, Professor University of Gottinggen, member of the Chair of History and Literature of Early Christianity.
"That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tactitus.. agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact."
- Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. Harperone p.145
- John Dominic Crossan New Testament professor and historian.
"..he was arrested and interrogated by Jewish authorities, specifically the high priest; he was executed on the orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate.”
- The Historical Figure of Jesus, p. 11
-Dr. Ed Parish Sanders New Testament scholar, former Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion at Duke University, North Carolina, and one of the most respected New Testament historians in the world.
“Some judgments are so probable as to be certain; for example, Jesus really existed, and he really was crucified, just as Julius Caesar really existed and was assassinated…"
-The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions
Marcus Borg Ph.D. , former Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University.
When we think of learning about Jesus' crucifixion, we more than likely would automatically think that the best place to go for details is in the New Testament. Sure, all the Gospels agree that Jesus was indeed crucified:
Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified - Matthew 27:24; Mark 15:6; Luke 23:18
Jesus Delivered to Be Crucified - John 19:1
We also have early written records by the Apostle Paul, Hebrews & 1 Peter 2:24. Likewise early Christianity had the crucifixion at the heart of apostolic preaching from the day of Pentecost onward (Acts 2:23, 36; 4:10; 5:30; 10:39; 13:29), and Stephen alludes to the crucifixion indirectly (Acts 7:52).
Three early church fathers independently attest to the crucifixion. Ignatius (Trallians 9; Smyrneans 1; Barnabas 5), 1 Clement (1 Clement, 7, 12, 21, 49) and Justin Martyr (First Apology 32, 35, 50; Dialogue with Trypho 47, 108.) clearly believe that Jesus was crucified on a cross, and these writers did not receive their material from the New Testament (11). These early church fathers also probably had close ties to the disciples of Jesus making their testimony all the more valuable.
However; for the purpose of my research, these early writings do not go into detail on how barbaric the crucifixion process actually was. The reason why is because at the time of these writings the sheer mention of the word spoke volumes that made a gut wrench, blood curdle, and gave way to fearful chills.