(Part 7c of the series: Crucifixion the Bodily Support)
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Part 5a Part 5b Part 5c Part 5d
Part 5e Part 5f Part 5g Part 6a
Part 6b Part 6c Part 6d Part 6e
Part 7a Part 7b
Justin Martyr on the Acuta Crux (Part 2)
Just exactly who nailed him up, anyway!?
Justin Martyr's I Apology 35 has quite an unorthodox depiction of the Crucifiction of Jesus Christ:
And how Christ after He was born was to escape the notice of other men until He grew to man's estate, which also came to pass, hear what was foretold regarding this. There are the following predictions: — "Unto us a child is born, and unto us a young man is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders;" (Isaiah 9:6) which is significant of the power of the staurós (cross), for to it, when He was staurów'ed (crucified), He applied His shoulders, as shall be more clearly made out in the ensuing discourse. And again the same prophet Isaiah, being inspired by the prophetic Spirit, said, "I have spread out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people, to those who walk in a way that is not good. They now ask of me judgment, and dare to draw near to God." (Isaiah 65:2, Isaiah 58:2) And again in other words, through another prophet, He says, "They pierced My hands and My feet, and for My vesture they cast lots." And indeed David, the king and prophet, who uttered these things, suffered none of them; but Jesus Christ stretched forth His hands, being staurów'ed by the Jews speaking against Him, and denying that He was the Christ. And as the prophet spoke, they tormented Him, and set Him on the bêmatos (judgment-seat), and said, "Judge us." And the expression, "They pierced my hands and my feet," was used in reference to the nails of the staurós which were fixed in His hands and feet. And after He was staurów'ed they cast lots upon His vesture, and they that staurów'ed Him parted it among them. And that these things did happen, you can ascertain from the Acts of Pontius Pilate.Justin Martyr I Apology 35 1, 2
Here Justin Martyr uses the typical verb used in Christian literature to describe the Roman execution: staurós meaning "upright pale, cross" and staurów meaning "impale, crucify." And not only does Justin Martyr talk about the nailing of the hands and feet, he also mentions that the Jews set him on some kind of a judgement-seat, and said to him, "Judge us." (Gk. ἐκάθισαν ἐπί βήματος, καί εἶπον· Kρῖνον ἡμίν. (ekáthisan epí bêmatos, kaí eipon, Krinon êmín.) "they caused him to sit down on a raised place or seat, and said to him, 'Judge us.'") (Ltn. per ludibrium in tribunali collocarunt et dixerunt, Judicia nobis. "Amid laughter they set him in proper position upon / by means of a tribunal seat and said to him, 'Judge us.'") It might appear in this narrative the Jews were establishing him in position upon the acuta crux / sedile of the crux, i.e., its membrum virile, but we must acknowledge that this narrative is kyped directly out of the Gospel of Peter!
And he delivered him to the people on the day before the unleavened bread, their feast. And they took the Lord and pushed him as they ran, and said, Let us drag away the Son of God, having obtained power over him. And they clothed him with purple, and set him on the seat of judgment, saying, "Judge righteously, O king of Israel." And one of them brought a crown of thorns and put it on the head of the Lord. And others stood and spat in his eyes, and others smote his cheeks: others pricked him with a reed; and some scourged him, saying, "With this honour let us honour the Son of God.
And they brought two malefactors, and they crucified the Lord between them. But he held his peace, as though having no pain. And when they had raised the cross, they wrote the title: This is the king of Israel. And having set his garments before him they parted them among them, and cast lots for them.
The Gospel of Peter clearly states that the setting on the judgement seat came before the crucifixion (staurów'ing) on the cross (staurós).
But there's another, huger problem with Justin Martyr's narrative: the Jewish rulers of Judaea lost their legal power to execute people (ius gladium) in 6 CE when Caesar Augustus made Coponius the procurator (prefect?) of Judaea. 4 And the method of execution was not a Jewish penalty, but a Roman one.
I think Justin Martyr's I Apology 35 would have had Antoninus Pius scratching his head. And did the Romans keep Acts of Prefects and Procurators for more than a century?
Greek and Latin Word Definitions:
1. bêmatos (βήματος), genitive of βήμα: "step, seat, raised place or tribune, base, pedestal." Perseus Greek Word Study Tool - Link.
2. staurós (σταυρός): "upright pale, pole, utility pole, cross." Perseus Greek Word Study Tool - Link.
3. staurów (σταυρόω): "fence with pales, pile drive, impale, crucify." Perseus Greek Word Study Tool - Link. See also FdVR Post Σταυρόω. Conjugations used here are staurôtheis (σταυρωθεὶς) (participle singular aorist passive masculine nominative) "having been crucified / impaled," and staurôsai (σταυρῶσαι) "he was crucified / impaled."
4. collocarunt (3rd person plural perfect indicative active of colloco): "place together, station, lay, put, place, set, set up, erect" somebody or some thing somewhere; with in and abl., lit.: "establish, settle," trop.: "employed, occupied, placed, deposited, applied." Perseus Latin Word Study Tool - Link, Numen Word Study Tool - Link (search "collocarunt").
5. tribunali (ablative of tribunal): "a raised platform for the seats of magistrates, judgement seat, tribunal." When preceded by the preposition in, the noun could take the instrumental ablative as well as the locative. Perseus Latin Word Study Tool - Link, Numen Word Study Tool - Link (search "tribunali").
Text References / Notes:
1. Justin Martyr I Apology 35 (last part not quoted), New Advernt.org - Link.
2. Justin Martyr I Apology 35, Documenta Catholica Omnia - Link (See internally linked PDF, p. 29, cols. 383, 384)
Extant Greek text corresponding to the quoted English above: Ως δέ καί λήσειν εμελλε τούς ἄλλους ἀνθρώπους γενηθείς ὁ Χριστός, ἄχρις ἀνδρώθη, ὅπερ καί γέγονεν, ἀκούσατε τῶν προειρημένων εἰς τοῦτο. Εστι δέ ταῦτα· Παιδίον ἐγεννήθη ἡμῖν, καί νεανίσκος ἡμῖν ἀπεδόθη· οὗ ἡ ἀρχή ἐπί τῶν ὤμων, μηνυτικόν τῆς δυνάμεως τοῦ σταυροῦ, ᾧ προσέθηκε τούς ὤμους σταυρωθεὶς, ὡς προϊόντος τοῦ λόγου σαφέστερον δειχθήσεται. Καί πάλιν ὁ αὐτός προφήτης Ησαϊς θεοφορούμενος τῷ Πνεύματι προφητικῷ, ἔφη· Εγώ ἐξεπέτασα τάς χεῖρας μου ἐπί λαύν ἀπειθοῦντα καί ἀντιλέγοντα, ἐπί τούς πορευομένους ἐν ὁδῷ οὐ καλῇ. Aἰτοῦσι με νῦν κρίσιν, καί ἐγγίζειν Θεῷ τολμῶσιν. Καί πάλιν ἐν ἄλλοις λόγοις δι' ἑτέρου προφήτου λεγει· Aὑτοί ὤρυξαν μου πόδας καί χεῖρας, καί ἔβαλον κλῆρον ἐπί τόν ίματισμόν μου. Kαί ὁ μέν Δαβίδ, ὁ βασιλεύς καί προφήτης, ὁ εἰπών ταῦτα, οὐδέν τούτων ἔπαθεν. Ἰησοῦς δέ Χριστός ἐξετάθη τάς χεῖρας, σταυρωθεὶς ὕπο τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἀντιλεγόντων αὐτῷ καί φασκόντων μή εἶναι αὐτόν Χριστόν. Kαί γάρ, ώς εἶπεν ὁ Προφήτης, διασύροντες αὐτόν, ἐκάθισαν ἐπί βήματος, καί εἶπον· Kρῖνον ἡμίν. Τό δέ, ὤρυξαν μου χεῖρας και πόδας, ἐξήγησις τῶν ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ παγέντων ἐν ταις χεροί καί τοῖς ποσίν αὐτοῦ ἥλων ἦν. Kαί μετά τό σταυρῶσαι αὐτόν, ἔβαλον χλῆρον ἐπί τόν ἱματισμόν αὐτοῦ, και ἐμερίσαντο εαυτοις οί σταυρώσαντες αὐτόν. Kαί ταῦτα ὅτι γέγονε, δύνασθε μαθεῖν ἐκ τῶν ἐπί Ποντίου Πιλάτου γενομένων ἄκτων.
Extant identical Latin text: Quod autem futurum erat ut Christus natus caeteros homines usque ad aetatem virilem lateret, id quod evenit; quae praedicta sint ea de re audite. Sic autem habent: Puer natus est nobis, et adolescentulus datus est nobis: cujus super humeros imperium ejus, indicium potentiae crucis, cui affixus humeros applicuit, quemadmodum progressu orationis clarius demonstratibur. Rursus idem propheta Isaias divinitus afflatus a Spiritu prophetico dixit: Expandi manus meas ad populum incredulum et contradicentum, ad eos qui incedunt in via non bona. Postulant nunc a me judicium et appropinquare Deo audent. Ac rursus aliis verbis per alium prophetam ait: Ipsi foderunt meas manus et pedes, et jecerunt sortem super vestimentum meum. Ac David quidem, rex et propheta, qui haec dixit, nihil borum passus est. Christi autem Jesu manus expansae fuerunt; cum a Judaeis crucifigeretur, contradicentibus et asserentibus eum non esse Christum. Nam et illum, ut dixit propheta, per ludibrium in tribunali collacarunt et dixerunt, Judica nobis. Illud autem, Foderunt meas manus et pedes, narratio erat clavorum, qui in cruce manibus ejus et pedibus infixi sunt. Et postquam crucifixerunt, sorte duxerunt ejus vestimentum, illudque inter se partiti sunt qui eum crucifixerunt. Atque haec ita gesta esse ex actis sub Pontio Pilato confectis discere potestis.
3. Gospel of Peter, 3rd and 4th paragraphs, new Advent.org - Link.
4. Josephus, War of the Jews 2.8.1  (Link): "And now Archelaus's part of Judaea was reduced to a province, and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as procurator*, having the power of [life and] death put into the hands of Caesar." Cf. Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.1  (Link): "Coponius also, a man of equestrian order, was sent together with him [Cyrenus], to have the supreme power** over the Jews."
* Gk. ἐπίτροπος (epítropos), "steqward, trustee, steward, procurator." Perseus Greek Word Study Tool - Link.
** Gk ἡγησόμενος (hêgêsómenos), "being ruler, having dominion," ex: praeses provinciae, "provincial president." josephus appears to have obtained information that Coponius was appointed a prefect. Perseus Greek Word Study Tool - Link.