Gregory asked if _stauros_ might refer mainly to the crossbeam, and
_xulon_ to the upright.
I doubt that this is the case, since the original meaning of _stauros_
was simply an upright stake or post. So why, then, does "John" say that
Jesus carried his _stauros_? Perhaps he meant simply the stake, or
perhaps he meant a part of the whole (the crossbeam)--it appears we cannot
know from the text. I suspect that the use of _xulon_, "tree," to refer
to the cross is heavily dependent on the importance the term had in
defending Jesus as the Messiah; Deuteronomy 21:22 says that anyone who is
hung on a tree is cursed by God, and Jesus was hung on a tree / _stauros_.
That was a real problem for the early Christians.
As for the message placed above the head, that would be a simple matter on
a single-stake _stauros_, and also on a Tau cross. A nail through the
tablet would suffice. A "chi" cross does not seem to fit the picture
well, though. And perhaps we should keep in mind that a tablet affixed to
the top of a Tau cross would give it somewhat the appearance of a "Latin"
cross. In any case, we do not seem able to determine from the text just
what kind of cross was intended. Is there anyone who has not also arrived
at this conclusion, and if so, upon what evidence?
- From: David Coomler <email@example.com>