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The Scourge of Jesus and the Roman Scourge

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Historical and Archaeological Evidence

image of Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

According to the Gospels, Jesus suffered the flagellation before his crucifixion. The texts do not clarify the form and materials of the scourge that was utilized. Since the beginnings of the modern era, several commentators have speculated about the scourge’s form, on the basis of the Greek-Roman literary evidence and with reference to flagellation relics. In the last few centuries, scholars have provided new indications that are exemplified in great dictionaries and encyclopedic works of Greek-Roman archaeology and antiquities, as well as in the consultation works available to biblical scholars. However, a close re-examination of the whole evidence compels us to dismiss nearly all data and to conclude that we know almost nothing about the materials and form of the scourge used at Jesus’ time.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Historical Studies, University of Turin, Italy,


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