Was Jesus young or old when he died on the Cross?


#1

From what I understand, Jesus was between 27 and 33 years old during his crucifixion experience.

Yet the average life expectancy of a man, lets say a Roman, during the time of Christ was from 25 to 28 years old, with 50% of children dying before their tenth birthday.

It seems to me that if Christ was 33 years old when he went to the Cross, he would have been an old man for his first century time period. Jesus was not a young man but an old man during his crucifixion experience. His old age would have contributed to his death.

I use this/my observation when I debate persons of other religions who believe that Jesus survived his crucifixion ordeal.
What are other viewpoints?

Quick references:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_span
average age of Roman: 28

utexas.edu/depts/classics/documents/Life.html
"Several scholars would hold that the average life expectancy at birth assumed below (25 years) is too optimistic."


#2

Averages are computed from the deaths of an entire population, which means that all the babies and children that died from disease, birth complications, and accident are figured into the equation along with all the elderly. A median age is deduced from these figures which in no way intimates that people were old by 33. All it means is that the life expectancy was low, not that people aged any differently in any truly significant way from our time.


#3

Yes, he was 33ish when he died.

You are confusing average life span with how old someone can live. The current life expectancy in the United States is something like 75. When you take into account abortion, the average life span is now suddenly 49. Just because many people back then may have died young, didn’t mean the body’s sense of “old age” was much younger.

Josh


#4

[quote=Della]Averages are computed from the deaths of an entire population, which means that all the babies and children that died from disease, birth complications, and accident are figured into the equation along with all the elderly. A median age is deduced from these figures which in no way intimates that people were old by 33. All it means is that the life expectancy was low, not that people aged any differently in any truly significant way from our time.
[/quote]

The average life expectancy in the United States in 1776 was 24; the average life expectancy in the U.S. in 1900 was 40; today in 2005 the average life expectancy is about ~78.

If somebody today in the U.S. was crucified at the top of the life expectancy average, he would be an old man!

If Jesus was crucified at 33 years old, when the average life expectancy of a Roman citizen was 25 or 28, then that would make Jesus an old man.


#5

[quote=Bobby A. Greene]The average life expectancy in the United States in 1776 was 24; the average life expectancy in the U.S. in 1900 was 40; today in 2005 the average life expectancy is about ~78.

If somebody today in the U.S. was crucified at the top of the life expectancy average, he would be an old man!

If Jesus was crucified at 33 years old, when the average life expectancy of a Roman citizen was 25 or 28, then that would make Jesus an old man.
[/quote]

Averages are not truth, only facts. They must be interpreted accordingly.


#6

Are you using simply life expectancy, or the life expectancy of a male?
Because, until, in the 19th century–not too early at that, as I recall, a woman’s life expectancy was considerably lowered by the fact that when doctors or midwives delivered babies, they never washed their hands…
A major cause of death was infection carried from one patienet to another. It wasn’t even vaccinations or antibiotics that brought women’s life expectancy up to men. It was simple hygiene–the lack of which killed a lot of babies, too, by the way.
The natural aging process wasn’t any different than it is now. We just have better hygiene & medical knowledge.
33 wasn’t old. Not for a healthy man.


#7

if average life expectancy is 30, it means that if you add together the ages of all the people who have died in a given period, and divide by the number of people, that is the age. If the mean age at death is 30 that means that have the people who die in a given period are over 30, and half are under 30. Either way, it does not mean much applied to an individual.

One of the psalms says that the natural span of life is 70 years, or 80 for those who are strong.


#8

Old age is all relative, to a young child 33 is an old man, for a elderly person today, 33 is very young.

Jesus unlike most folks of His time was probably in very good health. So I don’t think matching him with the average life expectancy of His time period is a valid accessment.

It was considered a real blessing in those days, if one lived long enough to see their childrens children. Since folks got married in their teenage years back then, living past your mid thirties would have been considered old. Probably mid 40’s and 50 were considered very old, and 70 almost unheard of except for the patriachs. If you were 70, you could probably expect to see your great grandchildren.

I would guess that 33 would be considered late middle age, but Jesus was probably fit as a fiddle and more like folks of today. You would have to be to survive 40 days in the desert and later walk on water !!!
wc


#9

This is downright silly.

The human body didn’t decay faster back then! Alzheimers didn’t start at 28. You didn’t see women stooped from oesteoporosis at 32.

Lot’s of babies died of disease. Sanitation was abominable and disease among all peoples was rampant.

Think about it! They just didn’t die of old age very often back then. Many (most) died of stuff that would be preventable or curable today!


#10

**Psalm 90:10 **

Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong;


#11

[quote=Della]Averages are not truth, only facts. They must be interpreted accordingly.
[/quote]

And facts are never false.

The average life expectancy today in the U.S. is about 78 years.

The average life expectancy of a Roman citizen during the time of Christ was 25-28 years.

If today a 78 year old American were Crucified, he would be an old man and his age might contribute to his death.

Christ was, say, 33 years old when he was Crucified. If the average lifespan was between 25-28 years back then, Christ was an old man at 33 years old. I am of the belief that Jesus was an old man when Crucified and that contributed to his demise.


#12

[quote=Zooey]Are you using simply life expectancy, or the life expectancy of a male?
[/quote]

The life expectancy of a Roman male at the time of Christ. I gave two quick sources in my introductory post which dealt only with males. The internet has very little on classical demographics. I also went to Archeological Magazine and Archeological Review where a forensic anthropologist had analyzed thousands of skeletons of Roman citizens and concluded that at the time of Christ, half of the Roman citizenry died before their tenth birthday and the other half were lucky to see age 25. I imagine it was less in the Roman provinces such as Palestine.

Because, until, in the 19th century–not too early at that, as I recall, a woman’s life expectancy was considerably lowered by the fact that when doctors or midwives delivered babies, they never washed their hands…

In 1776 Boston, the average life expectency was 24, the leading cause of female death was child delivery, and seven out of tenth babies did not reach adulthood. I am guessing it was worse in ancient Rome.

A major cause of death was infection carried from one patienet to another. It wasn’t even vaccinations or antibiotics that brought women’s life expectancy up to men. It was simple hygiene–the lack of which killed a lot of babies, too, by the way.

The quality of life has a lot to do with extending life expectency. Today in the 21st century the average life expectency in Uganda is 40.

The natural aging process wasn’t any different than it is now. We just have better hygiene & medical knowledge.
33 wasn’t old. Not for a healthy man.

I feel that is like saying 78 wasn’t old, not for a healthy man.
If 2,000 years ago the average life expectancy was 25-28, how can 33 not be old?


#13

[quote=wcknight]Old age is all relative, to a young child 33 is an old man, for a elderly person today, 33 is very young.
[/quote]

Yeah, but 2,000 years ago you were lucky to make it out of childhood, and more than likely all you were going to see was 28 years. Unless you were a member of an elite aristocracy like Julius Caesar, died age 56, you ended your days ~28.

Jesus unlike most folks of His time was probably in very good health. So I don’t think matching him with the average life expectancy of His time period is a valid accessment.

The only reason I believe for not matching Jesus with the average life expectancy was because he was the Lord. Otherwise, unless Jesus had an above average upbringing, he was subjected to the same living conditions, diseases, low quality of food, occupational hazards, exposure to murder or robbery, exposure to the elements, overwork, as any other Palestinian Jewish carpenter of the first century.

It was considered a real blessing in those days, if one lived long enough to see their childrens children.

That is true of any day of any culture, not just in Palestine 2,000 years ago.

Since folks got married in their teenage years back then, living past your mid thirties would have been considered old. Probably mid 40’s and 50 were considered very old, and 70 almost unheard of except for the patriachs. If you were 70, you could probably expect to see your great grandchildren.

Two thousand years ago nobody made it to 70 years old just as nobody makes it to 150 today. Folks married as teenagers back then because they had to in order to survive; most women died in childbirth, most children never reached adulthood. Julius Caesar got married at age 18. Girls had babies as soon as they reached pueberty in order to perpetuate the species, the world population at the time of Christ was only about 350 million humans; sixty million of which made up the Roman Empire at its height in 180 A.D.
In ancient China, a venerable old sage with flowing white hair and a white beard was a robust 50!

I would guess that 33 would be considered late middle age, but Jesus was probably fit as a fiddle and more like folks of today. You would have to be to survive 40 days in the desert and later walk on water !!!
wc

Don’t forget that most first century Palestinian Jews did not make it to age 28, so for Jesus to be a healthy 33 year old man, he would have had the constitution of an Olympic athlete on steroids.


#14

Well,the life expectancy in Christ’s times was 25-28 doesn’t really mean those people had to die at such age.In Jesus’s case,He was healthy because He is the Son of God,remember He healed many people,and naturally He is supposed to be healthy.:nerd:


#15

Note that life expectancy at birth in those times was strongly biased by infant mortality. If you made it to age two or three, you had a reasonable long life expectancy.


#16

Another point to consider, is that, as a Jew, Jesus’ natural life expectancy was higher than that of non-Jews.
The Jewish people followed the very strict rules of hygiene & diet. They practiced quarantine, at a time when nobody knew that there was such a thing as a bacteria or virus. All these things (which are a strong argument for their Divine origin), made Jews live longer, because diseases didn’t spread as quickly among them as among others who were not living that way.
In the Middle Ages through the Renaissance period, there were sometimes riots against Jews, because when an infectios disease was ravaging the rest of the population, the Jews had a very low death rate, due to hygiene & quarantine.
The rest of us caught up with them only because of modern medicine.
If you read the Gospel accounts carefully, you will see that Jesus voluntarily gave up His life, when He was on the cross. He had previously walked away from crowds of angry people who wanted to stone Him.
I think that He probably could not be killed, unless He consented to it. He did, thank God, choose to die for us.
God bless.


#17

[quote=Bobby A. Greene]And facts are never false.

The average life expectancy today in the U.S. is about 78 years.

The average life expectancy of a Roman citizen during the time of Christ was 25-28 years.

If today a 78 year old American were Crucified, he would be an old man and his age might contribute to his death.

Christ was, say, 33 years old when he was Crucified. If the average lifespan was between 25-28 years back then, Christ was an old man at 33 years old. I am of the belief that Jesus was an old man when Crucified and that contributed to his demise.
[/quote]

But people did not die from “old age” in their twenties. they died from various diseases and unnatural causes. A 25 year old in that day was not a wrinkled, white-haired, hobbling eldery person.


#18

when I was in high school in the 60s of course we considered anybody over 30 an old man


#19

33, thats still kickin in my point of veiw! In other words yes he was still in his prime whe he went up on the cross! :slight_smile:


#20

The Romans viewed life as divided into ages originally based on, as you might expect, miltary service obligations. These divisions were carried over into general usage. Roman manhood began at age 17, when pueritas ended and one assumed the toga virilis. A man was considered to be iuventus (youthful) from 17 to 45, with adulescentia comprising the years from 17 to 30. Men were liable to active military service when needed while iuventi. The *aetas seniorum * (older age) went from 45 to 60, during which a man might be called out during a city emergency. Senectus (old age) was reckoned to begin at age 60, when military obligations ended. A man would, therefore, not be considered senex (old) until about 60,

According to the Romans, Jesus would have been barely out of adulescentia, and certainly not old.

Life expectancy during the late Republic/early Empire was, as Bobby A. Greene noted, around 25 to 30; few made it to 70. If you were lucky enough to survive childhood and its huge mortality rate, warfare, famine,or disease would probably get you.The Romans, however, did not consider ‘old’ anyone who beat the odds and made it to 40; a man dead at 40 was still iuventus. Even a man at 50 was fortunatus or felix, but not senex. The Romans knew that a person *could * live to 70, but also recognized that most would be dead long before.

See Cicero’s *Cato Maior De Senectute * for more info.


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