Impaled on a stake — a result of sectarian bias?


ong>Impaledong> on a stake - a result of sectarian bias? 2

Let us start by looking at the noun stauros and the corresponding verb stauroô.

Stauros is used 27 times of the instrument 5 .

Stauroô is used 46 times of the method 6 .

In Classical Greek stauros was an upright

stake” or “pole”, like the ones used in fences

or palisades 7 . The stauros was used for

executions from early times, by impaling the

body. "stauroŒs is an upright “stake” such as is

used in fences or palisades. The stauroŒs is an

instrument of torture for serious offenses. It

may be a vertical pointed stake, an upright

with a cross-beam above it, or a post with an

intersecting beam of equal length.” 8

“The Gk.

word for ‘cross (stauros; verb staurooµ; Lat.

crux, crucifigo, ‘I fasten to a cross’) means

primarily an upright stake or beam, and

secondarily a stake used as an instrument for

Figure 1 Illustration from De Cruce

Liber Primus by Justus Lipsius.

5 Mt 10:38; 16:24; 27:32; 27:40; 27:42; Mk 8:34, 15:21, 30, 32; Lk 9:23, 14:27, 23:26; Jn 19:17, 19,

25, 31; 1 Co 1:17, 18; Ga 5:11, 6:12, 14; Eph 2:16; Php 2:8, 3:18; Col 1:20, 2:14; Heb 12:2.

6 Mt 20:19; 23:34; 26:2; 27:22,23; 27:31,35,38; 28:5; Mk 15:13,14,15,20,24,25,27; 16:6;

Lk 23:21(2), 23, 33, 24:7,20; Jn 19:6(2),10,15(2),16,18,20,23,41; Ac 2:36; 4:10; 2Cor 1:13, 23, 2:2,8;

13:4; Ga 3:1, 5:24; 6:14; Re 11:8. The verb synstauroô is used in Mt 27:44; Mk 15:32; Jn 19:32; Ro

6:6; Ga 2:20, and the verb anastauroô in Heb 6:6.

7 "Originally Gk. staurós designated a pointed, vertical wooden stake firmly fixed in the ground.”

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Fully revised; ed. G. W. Bromiley; Grand Rapids,

Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979) I, 825. "stauros (4716) denotes,

primarily, “an upright pale or stake.” On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun

and the verb stauroô, “to fasten to a stake or pale,” are originally to be distinguished from the

ecclesiastical form of a two beamed “cross.” W. Vine, M. F. Unger and W. White, "Cross, Crucify,"

Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Logos Library System

electronic edition; Thomas Nelson, 1997). “Stauros is an upright, sometimes pointed stake” The New

International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (ed. C. Brown; Grand Rapids, Michigan:

Regency Reference Library; Zondervan Publishing House, 1986) I, 391.

8 Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume (Abridged in one volume by

Geoffrey W. Bromiley; Logos Library System electronic edition; ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; trans.

G. W. Bromiley; Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996)


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