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Jesus may not have died nailed to the cross because there is no evidence that the Romans crucified prisoners two thousand years ago, a scholar has claimed.
The legend of his execution is based on the traditions of the Christian church and artistic illustrations rather than antique texts, according to theologian Gunnar Samuelsson.
He claims the Bible has been misinterpreted as there are no explicit references the use of nails or to crucifixion - only that Jesus bore a "staurus" towards Calvary which is not necessarily a cross but can also mean a "pole".
Originally posted by Romantic_Rebel
Muslims believe Jesus to be the Messiah and that he did not die at all.
The ancient Greek, Latin and Hebrew literature from Homer to the first century AD describe an arsenal of suspension punishments but none mention "crosses" or "crucifixion."
Mr Samuelsson, of Gothenburg University, said: "Consequently, the contemporary understanding of crucifixion as a punishment is severely challenged.
Mr Samuelsson said: "If you are looking for texts that depict the act of nailing persons to a cross you will not find any beside the Gospels."
Nor does the Latin word crux automatically refer to a cross while patibulum refer to the cross-beam. Both words are used in a wider sense that that.