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Old 04-17-2001, 05:16 PM   #1
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Post Interview with biblical archeologist James Strange

On the infidels.org News Wire page is a link to a Transcript of an ABC interview Dr. James Strange, a biblical archaeologist at the University of South Florida.

He discusses the life of Jesus.


[This message has been edited by Kate Long (edited April 17, 2001).]
 
Old 04-18-2001, 08:03 AM   #2
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Kate: Dr. James Strange, a biblical archaeologist at the University of South Florida.

He discusses the life of Jesus.

SWL: Ugh, where the hell did they get this guy? Its abundantly obvious that he's a dope just from his first few statements. No evidence of crucifixion in Judaism? Try the Temple Scroll at Qumran. See Hengel's "Crucifixion" or the various articles in Charlesworth's "Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls" that deal with this. All four Gospels agree that Jesus was born at Bethlehem? Oh really? Terrible stuff...

SecWebLurker



 
Old 04-18-2001, 09:08 AM   #3
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SecWebLurker:
Ugh, where the hell did they get this guy? Its abundantly obvious that he's a dope just from his first few statements. No evidence of crucifixion in Judaism? Try the Temple Scroll at Qumran.</font>
Did you even read the transcript? The entire quote was:

Moderator Many historians believe the Romans not the Jews were responsible for Jesus' crucifixion. Do you agree? What evidence is there to back this up?

Dr. James Strange
Yes, I do agree with this, and the reason is quite simple. Nowhere in Jewish sources is there a provision for executing criminals by crucifixion. There are other means, but not by crucifixion.
We have ample documentation from Roman sources of Romans engaging in crucifixion. It so happens the only archaeological evidence we have is from Israel, but that does not change that picture.


He's saying that crucifixion wasn't a Jewish form of execution, but clearly a Roman form of execution. The gospels make it clear that the Romans executed Jesus. The only debate is how much the temple high priests had to do with Jesus' arrest and execution.

Or is it your contention that the Romans were simply pawns in Jesus' execution? Did the Jewish authorities force the Roman governor to dispatch with a trouble-making blasphemer? That's just silly. Even Josephus clearly states that Rome wouldn't hesitate in executing a trouble-maker in first century Palestine. When Jesus brought down the wrath of the Temple priests, he also brought down the wrath of the Roman occupation. That was a common first century complaint: the temple establishment had become so closely enmeshed in the Roman establishment in Palestine.

Dr. Strange's comments weren't very controversial from a scholarly perspective. He was quick to point out where questions remain and what questions science cannot answer. There were some over-simplifications in his responses, sure, but what do you expect from short sound-bite answers to questions from reporters and e-mails.

Furthermore, you call Dr. Strange a dope. Hardly, from these two sources (here and here) I've found that Dr. Strange is professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida and director of graduate studies there. He has a M.Div. degree from Yale Divinity School and and a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies at Drew University (1970).

He has been a field archaeologist since 1969, served as Co-Director of the Meiron Excavation Project from 1971-1982, and has served as Director of USF Excavations at Sepphoris since 1983. He has also been a Montgomery Fellow at the W.F. Abright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem in 1970-71 and NEH fellow at the same Institute in 1980. The man's no slouch just pulled off the street.

Stryder

[This message has been edited by stryder2112 (edited April 18, 2001).]
 
Old 04-18-2001, 01:37 PM   #4
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stryder: Did you even read the transcript?

SecWebLurker: Yes, I did. But when I noticed major errors in his first few comments, I stopped reading.

The entire quote was:

[b]ModeratorMany historians believe the Romans not the Jews were responsible for Jesus' crucifixion. Do you agree? What evidence is there to back this up?

Dr. James Strange
Yes, I do agree with this, and the reason is quite simple. Nowhere in Jewish sources is there a provision for executing criminals by crucifixion. There are other means, but not by crucifixion.

SecWebLurker: Thanks but I already read it. It's incorrect. I mentioned the Temple Scroll, as scholars have concluded that it references Jewish advocation of crucifixion:

"Column 64 of the Temple Scroll also contains the verb tlh. [23] It refers to crucifixion, as the editor of this text surmised from the beginning. Here is the translation:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If a man informs against his people, and delivers his people up to a foreign nation, and does harm to his people, you shall hang him on the tree, and he shall die. On the evidence of two witnesses and on the evidences of three witnesses he shall be put to death, and they shall hang him on the tree. And if a man has committed a crim[e] punishable by death, and had defected into the midst of the nations, and has cursed his people [and] the children of Israel, you shall hang him on the tree and he shall die. And their body shall not remain upon the tree all night, but you shall bury them the same day, for those hanged on the tree are accursed by God and men; you shall not defile the land which I give you for an inheritance. (11Qtemple 64.6-13)</font>
"Obviously tlh denotes some form of crucifixion. The man is hung on the tree (a noun interchangeable with cross)."[Joe Zias and James H. Charelsworth, "Crucifixion and the Dead Sea Scrolls" in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls"(New York: Doubleday, 1992) p. 277-78]
----------------
23. The Hebrew verb tlh literally means "to let down" or "hang." The Hebrew tlh of Esther 7:9 was understood in Palestine as crucifixion by the Greek translator of Esther, who employed the Greek verb "to nail to the cross," "to crucify" (stauroo). As M. O. Wise pointed out, the Greek translator understood that Haman had been executed by crucifixion. Wise, A Critical Study of the Temple Scroll from Qumran Cave 11 (SAOC 49; Chicago, 1990) p. 125.

That's basically a summary statement. If I get time, I can post excerpts from the linguistic analysis they do on the passage to draw the conclusions they do. There's also some interesting comments made about the relevance to the trial of Jesus.

I also mentioned Martin Hengel's work, "Crucifixion", which is one of the most authoritative treatments of the subject. In chapter 11, "Crucifixion among the Jews", we read:

"Y. Yadin has demonstrated by means of the Qumran temple scroll that in the Hellenistic-Hasmonean period crucifixion was practiced as the form of death penalty applied in cases of high treason - probably for this very reason; it was taken over from the non-Jewish world."(p. 84)

Stryder: He's saying that crucifixion wasn't a Jewish form of execution, but clearly a Roman form of execution.

SecWebLurker: I don't need a translator. I read and understood his statement, and, as it stands, its false.

&lt;snip irrelevancies&gt;

Stryder: Dr. Strange's comments weren't very controversial from a scholarly perspective.

SecWebLurker: Sure they were.

Stryder: &lt;snip praise of Strange's degrees&gt;

The man's no slouch just pulled off the street.

SecWebLurker: Bah, he's dopey. All four Gospels certainly do not say Jesus was born in Bethlehem either. 2 of them do. Anyone whow knows anything about the NT should be aware of that.

SecWebLurker

 
Old 04-19-2001, 07:05 AM   #5
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SecWebLurker:
Yes, I did [read the transcript]. But when I noticed major errors in his first few comments, I stopped reading.
</font>
(snipped quotes from Hegel's book)

I'll concede your point about Jewish crucifixion. There is ample evidence that crucifixion by Jews was within the realm of possibilities. Strange's comment about "all 4 gospels" and the Bethlehem nativity is also obviously a major flub.

To move the discussion to a more productive line of debate, I have a question. I don't have ready access to Hegel's book. Does Hegel comment on the practice of hanging already executed people from trees/crosses by Jewish authorities? I have read in other sources that crucifixion (for execution) by Jewish authorities was rather rare, but it was much more common to hang from a tree/cross someone killed by another method, like stoning.

Of course there are noted exceptions to the above, as was mentioned by Josephus (Antiquities 12.256). I am simply asking about generalities here.

Stryder
 
 

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