Theologian says there was no crucifixion

The Daily Telegraph reports that theologian Gunnar Samuelsson from Gothenburg University believes Jesus wasn’t nailed to a cross at all — his ‘crucifixion’ is based on artistic renderings and Christian tradition rather than actual antique texts:

Mr Samuelsson, who has written a 400-page thesis after studying the original texts, said: “The problem is descriptions of crucifixions are remarkably absent in the antique literature.

“The sources where you would expect to find support for the established understanding of the event really don’t say anything.”

The ancient Greek, Latin and Hebrew literature from Homer to the first century AD describe an arsenal of suspension punishments but none mention “crosses” or “crucifixion.”


Samuelsson says that Christians read information into the New Testament that isn’t there, and that if you try to look at other texts depicting crucifixion at that time, you can’t find them. He claims “the Latin word ‘crux’ automatically refers to a cross while ‘patibulum’ refers to the cross-beam. Both words are used in a wider sense that that.”

Hmmm. I’m waiting for the refutations to begin. 


Zoe Romanowsky


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo