Did they crucify Jesus naked?


#1

John 19:23
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
John 19:24
"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did.


#2

[quote="JamesATyler, post:1, topic:309897"]
John 19:23
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
John 19:24
"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did.

[/quote]

By 'naked' do you mean without the loincloth? Possible, though of course we aren't 100% sure. The point in crucifying people is to publicly humiliate them anyway.


#3

I read that they took his under garment and cast lots for it. I was wondering if that meant they took all of his clothes. It reads that way because it is written that they took his clothes.


#4

Yes, crucifixion victims are stripped of their clothing. Whether Jesus was crucified totally naked or was permitted some sort of ‘loincloth’ (as in our crucifixes and icons) is unclear. Some think that the later rabbinic descriptions of allowing the condemned to cover up his private parts during theoreticsl stonings (cf. Mishnah, 6.3Sanhedrin, which records differing rabbinic opinions about whether a male should be stoned naked or with a covering in front) may have also applied in crucifixions, but others think that Roman control of the process would have suggested otherwise. In any case, public nakedness was shameful, especially for Jews - personally I doubt that Romans would have passed a chance at shaming the victim, considering that that’s what crucifixion is all about.

It seems to have been the accepted right of the executioners to claim the minor possessions of a condemned criminal. This is suggested in Tacitus (Annals 6.29: “What made such deaths =suicide] eagerly sought was dread of the executioner, and the fact too that the condemned, besides forfeiture of their property, were deprived of burial, while those who decided their fate themselves, had their bodies interred, and their wills remained valid, a recompense this for their despatch.” If this is the case, then the soldiers tear up and gamble for Jesus’ clothing because it was now legally their property and thus were free to do with them as they wished.


#5

I'm strongly inclined to believe that Yes Jesus was stripped of all His garments including His loin cloth as He was nailed naked to the Cross. Scripture says His under garments were sown as one.

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider the violence with which the executioners stripped Jesus. His inner garments adhered to His torn flesh and they dragged them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Compassionate your Savior thus cruelly treated, and say to Him:

My innocent Jesus, by the merits of the torment which Thou hast felt, help me to strip myself of all affection to things of earth, in order that I may place all my love in Thee, Who art so worthy of my love. I love Thee, O Jesus, with my whole heart: I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father

Holy Mother! pierce me through.
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.


#6

If I understand correctly, it was believed in patristic times that our LORD did indeed die naked.

Historically, the Romans would not have passed on a chance to humiliate an execution victim. And theologically, since Adam sinned naked, his successor would be naked to redeem him.

ICXC NIKA


#7

Yes - Genesis an Jesus are very closely linked.

Shame - nakedness
Crown of thorns
Lamb slaughtered


#8

I remember I attended an intro to Theology of the Body and the priest presented an image of Jesus crucified and completely naked. The loin cloth was just added to images for the sensibilities of the people. But the evidence is that Romans do strip those who they crucify completely.


#9

And of course, in a sorrowful way, the Passion was nuptial (an offering of the body). Nuptiality implies naked.

ICXC NIKA


#10

Expounding on GEddie's comment, indeed the crucifixion was also a nuptial event, Christ's wedding to his bride, the Church. As Adam sinned naked and Jesus restored us naked, so too did Jesus, prior to consummation with his bride, become naked. And it was soon after that he said, "It is consummated."


#11

The very first surviving representation of a crucifixion (specifically the crucified Jesus), the so-called Alexamenos graffito, shows a line just above the buttocks of the crucified donkey-headed figure. It has been interpreted variously as a representation of a short tunic, a loincloth, or (perhaps more likely) the peg or projection on which the victim could rest on, relieving the pull of gravity usually dubbed the sedile ('seat') or cornu ('horn').

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a9/AlexGraffito.svg/450px-AlexGraffito.svg.png

Rivalling the Alexamenos graffito in antiquity is another crude drawing of a crucified victim, this time found in a taberna located at the vicinity of the Flavian Amphitheater in Pozzuoli (ancient Puteoli). This graffito (from the late 1st-early 2nd century) seems to have been either another representation of the crucified Christ or a caricature of a person who was crucified in the ampitheater as part of the brutal entertainment that occurred within its walls.

http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/4064/graffito.png

This sketch shows the victim hanging, arms widespread, on a T-shaped cross. The victim's legs are wide open, with his feet seemingly separate and straddling the vertical beam. Note also the ledge (a sedile?) below the man's left leg (viewer's right). There is some uncertainty as to whether the drawing portrays the figure as being clothed in a rough tunic or naked, or even whether the figure is that of a man or a woman. (The figure is apparently accompanied by an inscription giving the feminine name "Alcimilla.")

Besides these inscriptions, almost all of the other early representations of crucifixion seem to show the victim completely naked. It is often said that Christians for the first four centuries have refrained from directly portraying the crucified Christ, but to be more exact, this does not apply to all Christians. Some - especially gnostics in the fringes - seem to have had little hesitation in doing so, engraving representations of the crucified Jesus in gemstones (which served as amulets).

http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/4995/large2w.jpg

http://www.beazley.ox.ac.uk/gems/styles/EarlyChristian/Image/10.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-CWiaTtOeAWQ/Tk-czM_spnI/AAAAAAAAFGQ/I0ENlZwgevc/s1600/2.png

By contrast, the following two depictions from the 5th century which are among the very first portrayals of the crucifixion by orthodox Christians show a short loincloth almost resembling the Japanese fundoshi.

http://cyberdisciple.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/2594532751_221e9316bc.jpg
Panel from the wooden door of Santa Sabina, Rome (ca. AD 430-32)

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/EarlyCrucifixionRome.jpg
Ivory casket from Rome (ca. AD 420-430), presently at British Museum


#12

Not having been there or ever guaranteed this detail one way or the other via teaching, I’m trying to figure this out.

It’s a detail that might detract from the central message of the cross if we are not careful I suppose … but having said that …

The rationale for nakedness given to this point is mostly on a “makes sense given …” the factors of scripture recounting that the guards had His clothes (all of them?) and that crucifixion was supposed to be a horrible lesson to threaten “other criminals” with. So – why not naked as well at the: scourging, being driven through the streets with the cross you’ll be crucified on on your scarred back, or during the mocking and crowning with thorns (i.e. things that are arguably worse than mere nakedness and embarrassment)?

That is to ask - if naked - why not always naked? Why just at the end?
And why, since all the other rather sensational aspects of the Crucifixion are noted would this be “left out” in the details but for the vague references to guards considering some of his clothes to be good enough to gamble over.

If bodies on a cross during Passover would rile a devout Jewish crowd - exposing grown men before the Holy City might be going too far … especially since Pilate was reluctant to crucify Jesus in the first place.

“See to it yourselves …” (Pilate): did this mean that the Jewish leaders were free to command the Roman guards (because only Romans could crucify) or did it mean that the Temple Guards were so deputized so as to make it legal? In my mind the guards are Romans, but that could just be due to the many times I’ve seen the Crucifixion event portrayed.

Would Jewish temple guards have a Jewish prisoner stripped naked? Or if the Jewish leaders were in charge of the Romans would this detail be commanded or barred?
The Jewish leaders weren’t in charge of everything because they objected to Pilate’s “King of the Jews” sign and the fact that he allowed a follower of Jesus to have His body
put in a private tomb.

A loincloth might even be the preference of the guards for a variety of reasons I don’t think I’ll go into but might occur to you if you think of yourself as the person who’d have to “strike the set” later.

The Shroud of Turin … seems to show a naked image, covered frontally by crossed hands, while the back view doesn’t “show” a loincloth. However the image was made by a blast of ultraviolet light (experts say - without saying who blasted the light) and light that can go through cloth might not leave an image of that cloth in addition to the image(s) of the body. His body was entombed with “clothes” about it - including a face cloth - and a face cloth doesn’t show up in the image(s) on “Turin” either. Hmm :hmmm:

SO far - I’d guess loincloth at crucifixion, hasty wrappings at entombment, and the nakedness question murky even after death.

But I’m just guessing - so still making up my mind. Being careful not to be TOO interested in this non-crucial (it seems to me) detail.


#13

[quote="CaptFun, post:12, topic:309897"]
Not having been there or ever guaranteed this detail one way or the other via teaching, I'm trying to figure this out.

It's a detail that might detract from the central message of the cross if we are not careful I suppose ... but having said that ...

The rationale for nakedness given to this point is mostly on a "makes sense given ...." the factors of scripture recounting that the guards had His clothes (all of them?) and that crucifixion was supposed to be a horrible lesson to threaten "other criminals" with. So -- why not naked as well at the: scourging, being driven through the streets with the cross you'll be crucified on on your scarred back, or during the mocking and crowning with thorns (i.e. things that are arguably worse than mere nakedness and embarrassment)?

That is to ask - if naked - why not always naked? Why just at the end?

And why, since all the other rather sensational aspects of the Crucifixion are noted would this be "left out" in the details but for the vague references to guards considering some of his clothes to be good enough to gamble over.

If bodies on a cross during Passover would rile a devout Jewish crowd - exposing grown men before the Holy City might be going too far ... especially since Pilate was reluctant to crucify Jesus in the first place.

"See to it yourselves ..." (Pilate): did this mean that the Jewish leaders were free to command the Roman guards (because only Romans could crucify) or did it mean that the Temple Guards were so deputized so as to make it legal? In my mind the guards are Romans, but that could just be due to the many times I've seen the Crucifixion event portrayed.

Would Jewish temple guards have a Jewish prisoner stripped naked? Or if the Jewish leaders were in charge of the Romans would this detail be commanded or barred?
The Jewish leaders weren't in charge of everything because they objected to Pilate's "King of the Jews" sign and the fact that he allowed a follower of Jesus to have His body
put in a private tomb.

A loincloth might even be the preference of the guards for a variety of reasons I don't think I'll go into but might occur to you if you think of yourself as the person who'd have to "strike the set" later.

The Shroud of Turin ... seems to show a naked image, covered frontally by crossed hands, while the back view doesn't "show" a loincloth. However the image was made by a blast of ultraviolet light (experts say - without saying who blasted the light) and light that can go through cloth might not leave an image of that cloth in addition to the image(s) of the body. His body was entombed with "clothes" about it - including a face cloth - and a face cloth doesn't show up in the image(s) on "Turin" either. Hmm :hmmm:

SO far - I'd guess loincloth at crucifixion, hasty wrappings at entombment, and the nakedness question murky even after death.

But I'm just guessing - so still making up my mind. Being careful not to be TOO interested in this non-crucial (it seems to me) detail.

[/quote]

The Temple guard didn't denude Him, the Romans did. The Temple had no right to execute anybody.

The bodies were lowered only because the Temple authority requested it. Hanging bodies were a defilement.

As to the SoT, we do not know what the "face cloth" was. It may not have been anything like the face mask or hood used in modern state executions, but rather a band wrapped under the chin to hold the mouth closed. Such a thing would cover only the sides of HIS head, and in fact the sides of head do not appear on the SoT.

In the end, we just don't know. I'll go with naked.

ICXC NIKA


#14

Red in the quote box = CaptFun response.

[quote="GEddie, post:13, topic:309897"]
The Temple guard didn't denude Him, the Romans did. If he was denuded. They did take (at least most of) his clothes, and it's true scripture does NOT say "most of" but does say "his clothes" The Temple had no right to execute anybody. Agreed. Though Pilate's "see to it yourselves" delegated them some authority for this particular execution.

The bodies were lowered only because the Temple authority requested it. Hanging bodies were a defilement. Sooo ... usual Roman rules did not apply in this case. It's not certified either way but - Temple authorities were getting their way part of the time on that day - so a request for modesty (on behalf of propriety, the presence of women, the location so near the Holy City, or any number of reasons other than Jesus' personal "shame") may have come into play as an exception to the usual rule.

As to the SoT, we do not know what the "face cloth" was. It may not have been anything like the face mask or hood used in modern state executions, but rather a band wrapped under the chin to hold the mouth closed. Such a thing would cover only the sides of HIS head, and in fact the sides of head do not appear on the SoT.

I know the burial arrangements were not completed due to the coming of sunset and the Passover - but the complete wrapping of Lazarus comes to mind as to what the Jews (Joseph of Arimathea etc.) would do. It's interesting to consider it all.

In the end, we just don't know. I'll go with naked.

ICXC NIKA

[/quote]

Thanks for your response. So we agree that we don't know - but disagree on our "guesses" or "educated guesses". That makes the discussion interesting and further insights possible - even if our opinions remain the same on the guesses. :)

John 20:3 So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.

4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first;

5 he bent down and saw the burial **cloths **there, but did not go in.

6 When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths **there, 7 **and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.

That'd be three cloths at least since the "head cloth" is noted but separate from the other (multiple) cloths. On the Shroud none are shown. The Shroud itself is not shown - neither this head cloth nor the other cloth(s) mentioned in the scripture.

I'm almost sorry that I threw the Shroud into the mix - since the Q is about the crucifixion and not the burial - but the shroud is just so interesting. Shroud + this scripture = more confusion anyway I suppose; as it looks like "inside" the shroud the body was naked - but then these other cloths are mentioned by scripture (and the nature of the image might not register cloths - as it does the body its remaining image reveals).

Jesus' crucifixion seems to break some of the usual rules of the day - and so even usual Roman practice is not definitive. Deductively, yes, the guards had "his clothes" - so He did not have them - but nakedness is not mentioned (though stripping is).

Maybe it matters more than I think and the seeking and finding should go on -- and if His being crucified one way bears someone more spiritual fruit than the other way, I don't think I want to mess with that.

Anyone have such insights as to the fruits of that? Without drifting off topic?


#15

I think you insights here, while not provable, are better than the question posed. (It’d be hard to DISPROVE this particular proposition too, I’ll admit).

In the scriptural order of things Adam didn’t “know his wife” carnally until after he’d been clothed (first by himself in fig leaves, then by the Lord) - and one is left to wonder whether “they” were covered by a blanket or clothing when our first parents consummated sexually unto the conception of Cain. :shrug:

Your bridegroom insight is thought provoking. Jesus is also called Priest, prophet, and King. He was wearing a crown (of thorns). Priests did have vestments, including

Exodus 28:5 With these you shall clothe your brother Aaron and his sons. Anoint and ordain them, consecrating them as my priests.

42 You must also make linen drawers for them, to cover their naked flesh from their loins to their thighs.

43 Aaron and his sons shall wear them whenever they go into the meeting tent or approach the altar to minister in the sanctuary, lest they incur guilt and die. This shall be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants.

So as “priest” was He left naked? Or did he at least minister in (see above) as the priest that united the Old Covenant and the New? His altar would be the cross, the victim and the temple Himself.

Prophets generally wore penitential garments … but were noted by their words and Jesus prophesied from the cross.

Anyway thanks for your thought provoking insight there Marco Polo.


#16

The other question, not raised here, is whether he was facing toward or away from the cross. In the earliest images cited above, it appears he is facing the cross. In some ankle bones found from a crucified body it appears THAT body was crucified facing the cross.


#17

[quote="Evan, post:16, topic:309897"]
The other question, not raised here, is whether he was facing toward or away from the cross. In the earliest images cited above, it appears he is facing the cross. In some ankle bones found from a crucified body it appears THAT body was crucified facing the cross.

[/quote]

If He were facing the cross, He could not have moved His head to face the other victims, Saint John, etc -- the upright would have been in his face. Nor could He have bowed His head at the end.

If your other example is Johanan from AD70, there is no way to tell which way he was facing. His legs were bent sideways to nail through both ankles; we don't know which way the toes pointed.

ICXC NIKA


#18

He could easily have moved his head to face other victims. He would just bend his neck back, turn his head, and look left or right, and possibly, bend his head forward.

He could bow his head forward at death on either the right or left side of the upright. He was not nailed to a wall, but to a cross bar.


#19

That’s what the original reconstruction (by anthropologist Nicu Haas) proposes: that one nail pierced through both ankles. Later reappraisal (by Joe Zias and Eliezer Sekeles) however found that there were flaws with the earlier study. For instance nail which was stuck at Yehohanan’s heelbone was wrongly measured (it was first reported to be around 17-18 centimeters when it was actually only around 11.5) and would have been too short to pierce both ankles. A new reconstruction was proposed as a result, wherein Yehohanan’s heels would have been nailed separately so that they straddled the vertical post. (Fun fact: the general public is more familiar with Haas’ initial proposal - wherein Yehohanan’s legs are joined together - but he actually later modified his idea: now Yehohanan’s legs are spread apart, albeit with the ankles still pierced with one nail.)

More recent work on the heel-bone and nail by Israel Hershkovitz, however, using modern medical scanning equipment, indicates that the actual piecing together and gluing of the (originally shattered) heel-bone by Haas in 1968 may have been incorrect - if this is so, it might affect the way we reconstruct Yehohanan’s crucifixion. Further work on the bones, however, is now nigh impossible, since all the bones from the tomb (except for the heel-bone and nail, and some additional fragments) were given over to the Jewish religious authorities for reburial four weeks after the original anthropological work was done. This was really the reason why Haas could not study the remains adequately: local Jewish authorities were pestering him to hand the bones over as quickly as possible. (This is a very huge issue in archaeology in the Holy Land.) That, and the fact that his health was failing at the time.

I should note that the portrayal showing Jesus pierced with three nails (one foot over the other) is a medieval, Western invention. The earliest portrayals we have I posted earlier clearly show the feet as separate. Even today Eastern icons generally show the feet being separate (there are a few exceptions, but many of these are clearly influenced by Western portrayals).


#20

There was no upright on the cross. It is believed that the cross is more of a T, and that the upright was either a short stump where the cross-bar is inserted, or that it was a thinner pole where the sign was attached. Possibly both. Then those who created the images and iconography just drew a longer and longer bar as time went by.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.