For a long while, I have been interested in the discussions regarding interpretations and translations of the bible. Â This topic is quite complicated, and I think that it is one of the issues that will likely never be resolved. Â This past week I came across an article about a researcher who claims that there is a high likely hood that Jesus Christ was not killed while nailed to a cross. Â This is one thing that I had never questioned, and I had never heard anyone argue this point until now. Â This particular researcher did an analysis on the words crucifix and crucify(and their variations). Â Apparently it was found that the words “crucifix” and “crucify” had nothing to do with the word “cross”, what the word crucifix actually meant thousands of years ago was “suspensionÂ device” or what we would call a pole or maybe even a tree in some cases. Â According to the researcher at the time of Christ the word “crucify” simply meant “to suspend”. Further the writer says that there is no documentation that says Jesus was suspended on a cross, and in fact most executions using suspension devices at the time were simply tall poles that the person was tied to (or possibly impaled upon). Â I will include a link to the article below so that you can read more for yourself, but this is a prime example of how people have improperly interpreted the bible and I feel as if many of our beliefs are based on mis-interpretations of the bible.
I think that the majority of suchÂ misinterpretations are caused by the fact that the definition of words within our vocabulary tend to change over time, a single word written 1000 years ago may have a completely different meaning today, and when read ancient texts without the knowledge of the vernacular of the author we can miss the mark of the message that was being documented dozens of decades ago.Â Â If the researcher behind the article is correct it means that the fact that modern people have attached the image of a cross to the word crucifix, is an example of such possible unintentional misinterpretation.
The other form of misinterpretation is not always so innocuous. Â When we read any text, an opinion or image is formed within our mind of what the author is describing. Â OnÂ occasionÂ our mental picture can be vastly off the mark of the author’s intent.Â As the reader our past influences and experiences, and imagination all work together to form the new image created by reading a text, and sometimes our image is simply wrong.Â It is also possible that a person who wishes to influence others can create an image designed to influence others to believe what the reader wants them to believe. Â A prime example of this is the idea that the bible prohibits masturbation. Â As far as I can tell there is no explicit text in the bible which bans sexually pleasing one’s self. Â But there are two passages often used to promote the idea that masturbation is wrong. Genesis 38:6-9 describes a man (Onan) who was killed by God because he interrupted sexual intercourse with his brother’s wife and wasted his seed upon the ground instead of impregnating her… and I Corinthians 15:16-18 basically states that any skin or garment, or female that contacts a man’s semen is unclean and should be washed. Â Neither of these passages mention masturbation at all. Â Yes, I do realize that I have just performed an interpretation of the text, and I urge you to read the passages for your self. Â I am only illustrating how a person who may already hold a particular belief can read those passages and interpret them in a manner that supports their previously held belief, whether their intent was malicious or it happened with no conscious effort.
Just imagine for a moment how the religious landscape would change if more research is done(and is made public), and its proven that “crucifixions” as we have come to know them were not done during the rime of Jesus Christ.Â What if all of the imagery of a man with nails through his hands and feet are completely incorrect for the period, as a method of execution.Â Not to say that they way he was to have been killed matters most, but this imagery has become so much a part of the Christian faith that it would cause great damage if proven to be not true.Â I am not saying that one person’s research should overturn thousands of years of teachings, but if enough independent work is done and the results are not in line with our beliefs, it would be an error to not consider a shift in our beliefs.
This is a complicated issue and the problem is that so many people are not open to even considering new data which could turn their long held religious beliefs upside down. Â Discussions of this nature canÂ separateÂ those who are truly attempting to learn and grow, from those who are not dedicated to obtaining knowledge and are comfortable with the potential mis-information they have been spoon fed since childhood. Â It is much easier to remain a member of the crowd that holds tightly to the traditions of a particularÂ religion, than it is to be among the few who are not satisfied with the idea that one is not free to think critically of the messages handed down by religious leaders.
One key line from the article is that the researcher (who happens to be a minister) stated that you can get a different meaning to the bible if you simply read the texts and ignore the teachings of theology and art. Â I agree with that statement I think we all would have a different view of not only our religion, but the world if we read without the influence of what we have learned or heard or have been taught about Â religion in the past.
Please read the article from abc.com below.