Did Romans Use Nails in Crucifixion?

#1

oh, please. The Romans did not waste expensive nails crucifying people. They just hung them on stake in the ground and let them die an anguishing death from asphyxiation and then let the birds eat the flesh (eyes first) even while the person was still alive. The Romans had a pretty standard process that they used through the Roman world to control a region.

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) #2

There is pretty strong archeological evidence for crucifixion with nails.

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=studiaantiqua

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#3

I read the paper and it is basically inconclusive. Truly a lack of evidence in the archaeological evidence. Perhaps @Alice_Linsley can help here.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #4

That is not how I read it. We see clear evidence that some, but not all, crucifixion was with nails. This includes remains of humans with evidence of nail piercing. There is no evidential reason to doubt an account that says Jesus was mailed to a cross.

#5

Still not convinced. If the Gospel writers were eye witnesses to the crucifixion, maybe that would be more convincing but since gospel writers are 50 to 70 years after the event, I think they were writing about what they saw at the time - some with nails. Note that there were a lot crucifixions in those days over a wide area. To the Romans, one Crucifixion was no more special than any other. Just another day, brutally keeping order in the Empire.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #6

Strange logic @Patrick. This is like arguing that we can’t trust Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey because we know that horses were also a method of transport during this time. Pure speculation is not evidence against an account. You have to produce evidence against a claim.

You initially claimed that Romans never used nails, and this turns out to be false. If it was true it would be evidence against the Gospel account. What you uncovered instead is that they had multiple ways of crucification. And did not need to use nails, not were nails used in other forms of execution.

These observations bring salience to the prophecy to which this relates. The description in Psalms of a crucifixion before it is invented by Romans. This description includes references to piercing as if my nails. Remember the original context does not include executions with pierced hands. However Romans invent this later by their own creativity. This an example of the prophecy to which Pascal points to regarding Jesus.

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(Herculean Skeptic) #7

@Patrick I think that the Jews were in the catbird seat here in terms of being able to falsify this issue. The Psalms were obviously Jewish text that was being utilized prophetically to point toward Jesus. Josephus, for instance, does not seem to take issue with the nails aspect, though he was a Jew and certainly not Christian. This is not some problematic issue that smart folks stumbled upon 2000 years later.

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(Alice Linsley) #8

See page 11 of the paper.

https://www.academia.edu/7218257/An_exploration_of_execution_methods_from_the_Republic_to_Imperial_Rome

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