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  #1  
Old Jan 29, '10, 12:28 pm
2HunnyBuns 2HunnyBuns is offline
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Default Crucifixion question from my CCD student

I teach 7th grade CCD and last night we covered a chapter on Christ's passion. When we got to the part about the crucifixion and how it was done, I had one student (the most attentive one in the class) ask me a question. She wanted to know if it was certain that the nails were driven into Jesus' hands and not his wrists. Apparently, she and I have both seen the same documentaries on crucifixion that question the placement of the nails. She raised the point that scientific evidence has shown that the hands would not have supported the weight of the body if he had been crucified in this way and the nails would have torn through his hands. So can anyone tell me how I should answer this student? I told her that I'd have to see if I could dig up an answer for her.
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  #2  
Old Jan 29, '10, 1:59 pm
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2HunnyBuns View Post
I teach 7th grade CCD and last night we covered a chapter on Christ's passion. When we got to the part about the crucifixion and how it was done, I had one student (the most attentive one in the class) ask me a question. She wanted to know if it was certain that the nails were driven into Jesus' hands and not his wrists. Apparently, she and I have both seen the same documentaries on crucifixion that question the placement of the nails. She raised the point that scientific evidence has shown that the hands would not have supported the weight of the body if he had been crucified in this way and the nails would have torn through his hands. So can anyone tell me how I should answer this student? I told her that I'd have to see if I could dig up an answer for her.
Actually, they'd only tear through the hands if they were the only things suspending the body weight. This is not the case.

There are multiple treatments, some using scientific evaluations, to say the wrists....or the hands.

The elevation of the feet are important and the protrusion 'stand' for the feet works together with the hands. The feet-stand was angled, but enough to facilitate the nailing and provide some alleviance of the total weight of the body. I know the 'pictures' are also blamed for the nails in the hands......but it does and can work......remembering the Romans were not using nails, as we know them. Spikes with oversized 'ball-heads' provide the 'prisoner' with the minute ability to 'hold himself' in place and enable him to ease the pain from his feet and or hands as each point becomes unbearable.

Also, the hands may eventually tear through when the person dies and the dead weight pulls continually on the hands only!.....but this is dependent on the sizes of the nail-heads.

Christ wasn't left there long enough for us to find out though.

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  #3  
Old Jan 29, '10, 2:03 pm
Garyjohn2 Garyjohn2 is offline
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

I've also heard that "scientifically" it had to have been the wrists. I haven't heard this from a definite authoritative source though. I know that flesh and sinew are pretty darned tough, and I can easily see how two hands, distributing the weight, could hold someone up.

Do not forget, the feet were nailed. The whole torture of crucifixtion is that the condemned person has to hold himself up with his feet in order not to suffocate. Most of the weight would have been held with the legs until the point of death.

I really hope you find a definate answer though!
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Old Jan 29, '10, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Indeed the arms would really only have had a fraction of the body weight not much more than their own weight probably, the majority of the weight would have been born by the legs, which were both nailed and provided with a small foot rest as depicted on traditional crucifixes.

You can see what I mean on this painting which also interestingly shows the wrists bound to the cross with ropes along with the nails through the hands:

http://www.therealpresence.org/eucha...s/crucifix.jpg

The fact that Christ always appeared with holes in His hands after His crucifixion however should be the clincher.

Quote:
"The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing." John 20
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  #5  
Old Jan 29, '10, 2:40 pm
rdscheirer rdscheirer is offline
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

If you touch your small finger to your thumb and look at your palm it sorta looks like your bottocks crease. If you go one finger joint above the end of the crease that is still the wrist and has the ligament that holds the wrist bones together. If the nail was placeed there its anatomically in the wrist but looks like its in the palm. The transverse carpal ligament can definitely support the weight of the body.
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Old Jan 29, '10, 4:23 pm
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Cool Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

I have also read that the crucified could be affixed to the cross by ropes, but to add to the punishment, nails would be used, and which might have been in addition to the ropes.
But I've never studied the matter to know the reliability of the source

tee
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  #7  
Old Jan 29, '10, 4:51 pm
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2HunnyBuns View Post
I teach 7th grade CCD and last night we covered a chapter on Christ's passion. When we got to the part about the crucifixion and how it was done, I had one student (the most attentive one in the class) ask me a question. She wanted to know if it was certain that the nails were driven into Jesus' hands and not his wrists. Apparently, she and I have both seen the same documentaries on crucifixion that question the placement of the nails. She raised the point that scientific evidence has shown that the hands would not have supported the weight of the body if he had been crucified in this way and the nails would have torn through his hands. So can anyone tell me how I should answer this student? I told her that I'd have to see if I could dig up an answer for her.
The evidence you mention was wrong as the original experiments were done by putting the nail through the wrong part of the palm and also did not have the feet nailed.
The subsequent experiments showed that nails through the palms at the base of the thumb could even support the weight of the body without the feet being nailed and obviously with the feet being nailed there was no chance of the weight tearing the hands.

If you want further reading on this you should get the book called The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry by Dr. Frederick Zugibe. You can find it at EWTN:
http://www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.co...ProductDetails

I also watched the documentary on EWTN.
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  #8  
Old Jan 29, '10, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2HunnyBuns View Post
I teach 7th grade CCD and last night we covered a chapter on Christ's passion. When we got to the part about the crucifixion and how it was done, I had one student (the most attentive one in the class) ask me a question. She wanted to know if it was certain that the nails were driven into Jesus' hands and not his wrists. Apparently, she and I have both seen the same documentaries on crucifixion that question the placement of the nails. She raised the point that scientific evidence has shown that the hands would not have supported the weight of the body if he had been crucified in this way and the nails would have torn through his hands. So can anyone tell me how I should answer this student? I told her that I'd have to see if I could dig up an answer for her.
If I'm not much mistaken, I believe Christ was nailed + tied with ropes. This has been shown in a lot of the older art of the passion, and I've seen this theory put forth quite a bit in the past.
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Old Jan 29, '10, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Hands, wrists, what does that matter? What we are certain is that Jesus was hanged there on the cross with nails/spikes piercing through his extremities into the wood of the cross. And he died.

The term ‘hand’ is layman word loosely to mean the area from the palm including the lower forearm. In anatomical terminology the hand or the palm is the area from the five phalanges, metacarpal and the carpal bones. The wrist is the joint where the ulna and radius of the forearm meet with the carpal bones. Lay people would usually do not mind calling what we call the palm and wrist joint as the hand.

The million dollars question – where did the Romans struck the nails? I believe they would hit the nails on the wrist joints, because the flesh and the bone of the palms would support the bodily weight of the prisoner.

Crucifix and painting are merely visual representation of what can happen according to the words used in the Bible. One also sees that God, who looks like a naked old man reaching out his finger to a man in the painting of the ceiling of the Cistern Chapel, but is the reality really like that?

The answer to the question? I don’t know. If it the hands, it is fine with me and the Bible is not wrong. If it was on the wrists, the Bible is not wrong either. Because it is still within the region of the hand.

God bless.
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Old Jan 29, '10, 9:03 pm
Petergee Petergee is offline
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

1. As Reuben said, it's not important from a religious point of view whether it was the palms or the wrists. We know that Christ died in great pain and ridicule.

2. The Greek word in the gospels which is translated as "hand" can refer to any part of the arm below the elbow.

3.Roman crucifixion crosses often included a "sedilla" or little seat, a wedge of wood for the victim to half-sit on bearing much of his weight. Not to decrease his suffering but to increase it - it meant he would be nailed there alive for longer. Without it he would soon be too exhausted to heave his body up as he had to do to take each breath, and would soon suffocate.

4. Interestingly, the image on the Shroud of Turin shows that the victim bled from wounds in the wrists. Despite the fact that art throughout the middle ages showed Christ nailed through the hands, not one medieval picture or crucifix shows Him nailed through the wrists. Tending to disprove the theory that the Shroud image is a medieval forgery.
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Old Jan 29, '10, 9:22 pm
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2HunnyBuns View Post
I teach 7th grade CCD and last night we covered a chapter on Christ's passion. When we got to the part about the crucifixion and how it was done, I had one student (the most attentive one in the class) ask me a question. She wanted to know if it was certain that the nails were driven into Jesus' hands and not his wrists. Apparently, she and I have both seen the same documentaries on crucifixion that question the placement of the nails. She raised the point that scientific evidence has shown that the hands would not have supported the weight of the body if he had been crucified in this way and the nails would have torn through his hands. So can anyone tell me how I should answer this student? I told her that I'd have to see if I could dig up an answer for her.
This is one of those questions that often comes up... from precocious kids... or attentive adults.

My answer? We don't KNOW. It's not important, though. The difference between the wrists and the palms? We know it was painful. We know he was crucified. There has been lots of evidence, both from the church and the secular world, to say the crucifixion was real.

If it was really important whether the nails were in the palms of the hands or the wrists, not only would there have been descriptions of this in the Gospel, but I believe that more than one Gospel would have reflected this. Not to mention, the church would have addressed this to point to that importance (like there is so much on His being lanced in his side.

I've heard both wrist and palm stories, and both have credibility.... but the important part was that He was crucified... for US!
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Old Jan 30, '10, 5:58 am
2HunnyBuns 2HunnyBuns is offline
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Thank you all for the great responses. I'm going to pass the information you gave me on to her. The girl that asked the question is a very bright and she's probably the most attentive kid in the class of 17.

I did point out to the class that the Romans used a variety of ways to crucify their prisoners and that it was possible that they could have used ropes in addition to nailing his hands to the cross, but that I couldn't reliably say that they did since I wasn't there and that it wasn't described that way in the bible.
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Old Jan 30, '10, 6:27 am
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

I have been told in Hebrew the meaning of the word for hand also includes the wrist so scripture is accurate.
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Old Jan 30, '10, 7:15 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2HunnyBuns View Post
I teach 7th grade CCD and last night we covered a chapter on Christ's passion. When we got to the part about the crucifixion and how it was done, I had one student (the most attentive one in the class) ask me a question. She wanted to know if it was certain that the nails were driven into Jesus' hands and not his wrists. Apparently, she and I have both seen the same documentaries on crucifixion that question the placement of the nails. She raised the point that scientific evidence has shown that the hands would not have supported the weight of the body if he had been crucified in this way and the nails would have torn through his hands. So can anyone tell me how I should answer this student? I told her that I'd have to see if I could dig up an answer for her.
She's correct that Dr. Pierre Barbet, around the 1930's, did propose that the nails must have went around the wrist area instead of the palms because of the above reasons. Add to that the seeming support that Scripture has for this: in New Testament Greek, the word usually translated as 'hand' (cheir) is usually used in a broad sense to refer to both hand and arm. In this it might reflect Semitic usage - period Hebrew and Aramaic seem to have lacked a specific term for this particular part of the body. Hence, in Genesis 24:22 Abraham’s servant gave Rebekah bracelets al-yadeiha, "for her hands", and in Acts 12:7, Peter's chains were in his "hands" (cheirōn). Of course, his revolutionary theory enjoyed some popularity for quite some time in many circles (it still does so today).

Now, as probably have been mentioned, Dr. Frederick Zugibe has recently reviewed Barbet's claims and found that no, contrary to what Barbet was trying to show, the traditional depiction which has the nails going through the palms do work and that people hanging on crosses would most likely not have any difficulty breathing and thus, are not in any danger of asphyxiation (caution: this link has some rather graphic pics, so while you might want to tell your student about Dr. Zugibe and his opinion, I think it would be wise NOT to lead her to this page; at least, not yet).
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Old Jan 30, '10, 7:29 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Crucifixion question from my CCD student

Indeed, crucifixion was designed to be a slow, shameful, tortuous death.
Barbet believed that the cause of death was asphyxiation: that the victim would have severe difficulty inhaling, due to hyper-expansion of the chest muscles and lungs. The condemned would therefore have to draw himself up by his arms, leading to exhaustion. Zugibe, meanwhile questioned Barbet at this point and posits instead that death came through severe traumatic shock on the part of the victim.

Now, as an aside, the position Jehovah's Witnesses usually show Jesus when He dies (being nailed with His hands above His head on a vertical stake) indeed causes asphyxiation if the victim does not stand on something, interestingly. Or so I've read.
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