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Envisioning Crucifixion: Light from Several Inscriptions and the Palatine Graffito

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image of Novum Testamentum

The Palatine graffito of a crucified man with an ass's head, a graffito that uses crucifixion as an obscenity, and the remnant of a crucified man's foot transfixed by a nail provide visual imagery of ancient Roman practice. Less well known to NT scholars are two Latin inscriptions that mention crucifixion. One describes a contract for a public undertaker that includes a number of references to crucifixion and the torture that accompanied it. Private individuals, for example, could have their slaves crucified for a modest sum. Another inscription includes a reference to an alleged crucifixion of a Roman centurion by Piso. It helps indicate how rare crucifixion was in the case of citizens. The inscriptions and graffiti illuminate crucifixion—a central focus of NT texts and NT theology.

Affiliations: 1: LaGrange, Georgia


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