Re: Stauros

   Date: Mon, 18 Jul 1994 18:25:34 -0700 (PDT)
   From: David Coomler <davidco@nethost.multnomah.lib.or.us>
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   > On Mon, 18 Jul 1994, Donn Leatherman wrote:
   > > The Roman implement for death by 
   > > torture was called "crux" in Latin.  This term unambiguously means 
   > > something which crosses (in T, X, or traditional "cross" shape).  2) 
   > > Further, the Roman writers (including non- and pre- Christians) used 
   > > "crux" as a translation of stauros, just as their Greek counterparts used 
   > > stauros as a translation of crux, implying a pragmatic equality of 
   > > concepts.  In the 1st century, a stauros (when the term is used of the 
   > > instrument of execution) was a wooden cross, though not necessarily in 
   > > the traditional form.

    It appears that the Latin word "crux" is not so unambiguous as one might
    think;  I find it defined as a wooden frame or stake for crucifixion, and
    historically it appears that the Romans used a range of devices, all of
    which can be called _stauros_ in Greek or _crux_ in Latin.  Thus my
    impression that our current understanding of the term is the result of
    tradition, and that apparently we cannot know for certain the precise
    nature of the device intended by the word _stauros_ in the NT.  Does that
    seem accurate?

No, that doesn't seem more accurate.

Question 1: From what source does one conclude that the Romans used a
"range of devices" for crucifixion, if by that one means that some of
them have no crossing of one beam by another?

Question 2: While the word <stauros> is somewhat ambiguous, I don't
think the Latin <crux> is, or was.  Do you suggest that because
<stauros> had a range of meaning, then <crux> must have?  That seems
muddled to me.

Question 3: Why is this linguistic tradition suspect, but not any
other?  What is it about <stauros> that leads one to conclude that the
linguistic tradition might be wrong in an interesting way, but not the
word <Christos>?  (Perhaps it was merely meant that Jesus fell into a
vat of oil, and the Messianic connotation is a later corruption.;-)