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Martin Hengel's Crucifixion: How It Challenges and Inspires Us Today (PDF)



Martin Hengel Crucifixion Pdf Do: A Review of the Book and Its Implications




Crucifixion is one of the most brutal and shameful forms of execution ever devised by human beings. It is also one of the most central and influential events in the history of Christianity. The death of Jesus on the cross has shaped the faith, theology, and ethics of millions of Christians for centuries. But how much do we really know about crucifixion? How did it originate, evolve, and function in the ancient world? How did it affect the lives and beliefs of Jews and Christians in the first century? And how does it relate to our contemporary situation and challenges?




Martin Hengel Crucifixion Pdf Do



In this article, I will review a book that attempts to answer these questions and more. The book is called Crucifixion, written by Martin Hengel, a renowned German scholar of early Judaism and Christianity. The book was first published in German in 1977, but it has been translated into English and other languages since then. It is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive and authoritative studies on crucifixion ever written. It is also one of the most controversial and provocative books on the subject, as it challenges many common assumptions and opinions about crucifixion.


I will begin by introducing the author and his main argument. Then I will explore the historical background, literary analysis, and practical application of crucifixion as presented by Hengel. Finally, I will conclude by summarizing the main points and contributions of the book, as well as offering some personal reflections and recommendations.


Introduction




Who is Martin Hengel and why did he write this book?




Martin Hengel (1926-2009) was a professor emeritus of New Testament and early Judaism at the University of Tübingen in Germany. He was also a member of the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and other prestigious academic societies. He wrote over 20 books and hundreds of articles on various topics related to ancient Judaism and Christianity, such as messianism, Christology, apocalypticism, Qumran, Paul, John, Hebrews, etc. He was known for his meticulous scholarship, interdisciplinary approach, historical sensitivity, theological insight, and ecumenical spirit.


Hengel wrote Crucifixion as a response to what he perceived as a lack of serious attention to crucifixion in modern scholarship. He noticed that most scholars tended to avoid or minimize the topic of crucifixion, either because they considered it too gruesome and repulsive, or because they assumed it was too well-known and obvious. He also observed that many scholars had distorted or misunderstood the historical and literary evidence about crucifixion, either by imposing their own biases and agendas, or by relying on outdated and unreliable sources. He decided to write a book that would fill this gap and correct these errors, by providing a comprehensive and critical examination of crucifixion from various perspectives and disciplines.


What is the main argument of the book?




The main argument of the book is that crucifixion was not only a form of execution, but also a form of torture, humiliation, and deterrence. It was designed to inflict maximum pain, shame, and fear on the victims and the spectators. It was also intended to display the power and authority of the rulers and the gods over the rebels and the sinners. Hengel argues that crucifixion was a unique and unprecedented phenomenon in the ancient world, that had no parallel or precedent in other cultures or religions. He also argues that crucifixion was a decisive and defining factor in the emergence and development of Christianity, that had profound implications for its theology, ethics, and spirituality.


How does the book challenge the conventional views on crucifixion?




The book challenges the conventional views on crucifixion in several ways. First, it challenges the view that crucifixion was a common and ordinary form of execution in the ancient world. Hengel shows that crucifixion was actually a rare and extraordinary form of execution, that was reserved for the worst criminals and enemies of the state or society. He also shows that crucifixion was not practiced by all ancient civilizations, but only by a few, such as the Persians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, and some Jewish groups. He also shows that crucifixion was not a uniform and standardized procedure, but varied in its methods, forms, and durations.


Second, it challenges the view that crucifixion was a simple and straightforward form of execution. Hengel shows that crucifixion was actually a complex and multifaceted form of execution, that involved various stages, elements, and actors. He also shows that crucifixion was not only a physical and material phenomenon, but also a psychological and symbolic one. He also shows that crucifixion was not only an individual and personal event, but also a social and political one.


Third, it challenges the view that crucifixion was a neutral and irrelevant form of execution. Hengel shows that crucifixion was actually a loaded and significant form of execution, that had deep meanings and implications for both the victims and the spectators. He also shows that crucifixion was not only a historical and factual occurrence, but also a literary and theological one. He also shows that crucifixion was not only an incidental and accidental circumstance, but also a deliberate and intentional choice.


The Historical Background of Crucifixion




The origins and development of crucifixion as a form of execution




In this section, Hengel traces the origins and development of crucifixion as a form of execution in the ancient world. He begins by surveying the earliest evidence for crucifixion from various sources, such as archaeological findings, historical records, legal documents, literary texts, etc. He then analyzes the different methods and forms of crucifixion used by different civilizations and cultures, such as hanging, impaling, nailing, tying, etc. He also examines the different types and categories of people who were subjected to crucifixion, such as slaves, rebels, criminals, enemies, etc.


Hengel argues that crucifixion originated in Persia around the sixth century BCE as a way of punishing traitors and rebels who opposed the king's authority. He suggests that crucifixion was influenced by Zoroastrianism, a religion that emphasized the dualism between good and evil forces in the world. He proposes that crucifixion was seen as a way of exposing the evil doers to the sun god Ahura Mazda, who would judge them accordingly. He also argues that crucifixion spread from Persia to other regions through conquests and contacts with other peoples.


Hengel argues that crucifixion developed in Carthage around the fourth century BCE as a way of sacrificing enemies and captives to their gods during times of war or crisis. He suggests that crucifixion was influenced by Phoenician religion, which practiced human sacrifice as a way of appeasing their gods. He proposes that crucifixion was seen as a way of offering the blood of the victims to their gods as an act of devotion or atonement. He also argues that crucifixion became a symbol of Carthaginian identity and resistance against their enemies.


The Historical Background of Crucifixion




The origins and development of crucifixion as a form of execution




In this section, Hengel traces the origins and development of crucifixion as a form of execution in the ancient world. He begins by surveying the earliest evidence for crucifixion from various sources, such as archaeological findings, historical records, legal documents, literary texts, etc. He then analyzes the different methods and forms of crucifixion used by different civilizations and cultures, such as hanging, impaling, nailing, tying, etc. He also examines the different types and categories of people who were subjected to crucifixion, such as slaves, rebels, criminals, enemies, etc.


Hengel argues that crucifixion originated in Persia around the sixth century BCE as a way of punishing traitors and rebels who opposed the king's authority. He suggests that crucifixion was influenced by Zoroastrianism, a religion that emphasized the dualism between good and evil forces in the world. He proposes that crucifixion was seen as a way of exposing the evil doers to the sun god Ahura Mazda, who would judge them accordingly. He also argues that crucifixion spread from Persia to other regions through conquests and contacts with other peoples.


Hengel argues that crucifixion developed in Carthage around the fourth century BCE as a way of sacrificing enemies and captives to their gods during times of war or crisis. He suggests that crucifixion was influenced by Phoenician religion, which practiced human sacrifice as a way of appeasing their gods. He proposes that crucifixion was seen as a way of offering the blood of the victims to their gods as an act of devotion or atonement. He also argues that crucifixion became a symbol of Carthaginian identity and resistance against their enemies.


Hengel argues that crucifixion reached its peak in Rome around the first century BCE to the fourth century CE as a way of executing slaves and rebels who threatened the social order and stability. He suggests that crucifixion was influenced by Roman law and politics, which valued discipline and obedience above all else. He proposes that crucifixion was seen as a way of demonstrating the power and justice of the state and the emperor over their subjects and enemies. He also argues that crucifixion became a tool of oppression and terror for the masses.


The social and political implications of crucifixion in the ancient world




In this section, Hengel explores the social and political implications of crucifixion in the ancient world. He focuses on how crucifixion affected the status and identity of the victims and the spectators in different contexts and situations. He also considers how crucifixion influenced the relations and interactions between different groups and classes in society.


Hengel argues that crucifixion was a form of degradation and dehumanization for the victims. He shows that crucifixion stripped the victims of their dignity, rights, and identity as human beings. He also shows that crucifixion exposed the victims to public shame, ridicule, and abuse by their enemies and bystanders. He also shows that crucifixion inflicted unbearable pain, suffering, and agony on the victims until they died.


Hengel argues that crucifixion was a form of domination and intimidation for the spectators. He shows that crucifixion displayed the victims as examples and warnings for those who dared to defy or resist the authorities or norms. He also shows that crucifixion deterred potential rebels or criminals from committing similar acts or crimes. He also shows that crucifixion reinforced the hierarchy and inequality between the rulers and the ruled, the masters and the slaves, the insiders and the outsiders.


The religious and theological significance of crucifixion for Jews and Christians




In this section, Hengel examines the religious and theological significance of crucifixion for Jews and Christians in the first century CE. He investigates how crucifixion affected their beliefs and practices regarding God, salvation, messiahship, etc. He also compares and contrasts how Jews and Christians interpreted and responded to crucifixion differently.


Hengel argues that crucifixion was a form of blasphemy and curse for most Jews. He shows that crucifixion violated their monotheistic faith in God as the only sovereign and judge over life and death. He also shows that crucifixion contradicted their messianic hope in God's anointed one who would deliver them from their enemies and oppressors. He also shows that crucifixion confirmed their scriptural understanding of God's curse on those who were hanged on a tree (Deut 21:23; Gal 3:13).


Hengel argues that crucifixion was a form of revelation and blessing for most Christians. He shows that crucifixion affirmed their Christological confession of Jesus as the Son of God and the Lord of all (Phil 2:6-11; Rom 1:4). He also shows that crucifixion fulfilled their soteriological expectation of Jesus as the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world (John 1:29; 1 Cor 15:3). He also shows that crucifixion transformed their ethical and spiritual attitude of following Jesus in his suffering and glory (Mark 8:34-38; Col 1:24).


The Literary Analysis of Crucifixion




The sources and methods used by Hengel to study crucifixion




In this section, Hengel explains the sources and methods he used to study crucifixion from a literary perspective. He discusses the advantages and limitations of various types of sources, such as historical, legal, philosophical, poetic, etc. He also describes the criteria and principles he followed to evaluate and interpret these sources, such as historical criticism, textual criticism, literary criticism, etc.


Hengel argues that the sources for studying crucifixion are scarce and fragmentary. He shows that most ancient writers did not provide detailed or accurate descriptions of crucifixion, either because they were not eyewitnesses or because they were not interested or willing to do so. He also shows that most ancient sources are biased or hostile towards crucifixion, either because they were influenced by their cultural or religious views or because they had a political or ideological agenda.


Hengel argues that the methods for studying crucifixion are complex and challenging. He shows that most modern scholars have to rely on indirect or inferential evidence to reconstruct the reality and meaning of crucifixion, either by comparing or contrasting different sources or by using analogies or models from other fields or disciplines. He also shows that most modern scholars have to deal with various difficulties and uncertainties when analyzing and interpreting the sources, either by resolving contradictions or gaps in the data or by acknowledging ambiguities or controversies in the arguments.


The main findings and insights from Hengel's analysis of crucifixion texts




In this section, Hengel presents the main findings and insights from his analysis of crucifixion texts from various genres and authors. He highlights the most important and relevant information and themes that emerge from his study of these texts. He also illustrates how these texts contribute to his overall argument and understanding of crucifixion.


Hengel argues that the historical texts provide factual and contextual information about crucifixion. He shows how these texts document the frequency and extent of crucifixion in different times and places, such as during the Persian wars, the Punic wars, the Maccabean revolt, the Roman civil wars, etc. He also shows how these texts depict the circumstances and conditions of crucifixion in different cases and situations, such as during sieges, battles, rebellions, riots, etc.


Hengel argues that the legal texts provide normative and procedural information about crucifixion. He shows how these texts regulate the criteria and procedures for imposing crucifixion on different offenders and crimes, such as treason, sedition, robbery, murder, etc. He also shows how these texts specify the rights and duties of different agents and parties involved in crucifixion, such as judges, soldiers, executioners, relatives, friends, etc.


Hengel argues that the philosophical texts provide ethical and rational information about crucifixion. He shows how these texts evaluate the moral and logical aspects of crucifixion from different perspectives and schools, such as Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cynicism, etc. He also shows how these texts express the attitudes and emotions of different people towards crucifixion, such as fear, pity, anger, contempt, etc.


The Literary Analysis of Crucifixion




The sources and methods used by Hengel to study crucifixion




In this section, Hengel explains the sources and methods he used to study crucifixion from a literary perspective. He discusses the advantages and limitations of various types of sources, such as historical, legal, philosophical, poetic, etc. He also describes the criteria and principles he followed to evaluate and interpret these sources, such as historical criticism, textual criticism, literary criticism, etc.


Hengel argues that the sources for studying crucifixion are scarce and fragmentary. He shows that most ancient writers did not provide detailed or accurate descriptions of crucifixion, either because they were not eyewitnesses or because they were not interested or willing to do so. He also shows that most ancient sources are biased or hostile towards crucifixion, either because they were influenced by their cultural or religious views or because they had a political or ideological agenda.


Hengel argues that the methods for studying crucifixion are complex and challenging. He shows that most modern scholars have to rely on indirect or inferential evidence to reconstruct the reality and meaning of crucifixion, either by comparing or contrasting different sources or by using analogies or models from other fields or disciplines. He also shows that most modern scholars have to deal with various difficulties and uncertainties when analyzing and interpreting the sources, either by resolving contradictions or gaps in the data or by acknowledging ambiguities or controversies in the arguments.


The main findings and insights from Hengel's analysis of crucifixion texts




In this section, Hengel presents the main findings and insights from his analysis of crucifixion texts from various genres and authors. He highlights the most important and relevant information and themes that emerge from his study of these texts. He also illustrates how these texts contribute to his overall argument and understanding of crucifixion.


Hengel argues that the historical texts provide factual and contextual information about crucifixion. He shows how these texts document the frequency and extent of crucifixion in different times and places, such as during the Persian wars, the Punic wars, the Maccabean revolt, the Roman civil wars, etc. He also shows how these texts depict the circumstances and conditions of crucifixion in different cases and situations, such as during sieges, battles, rebellions, riots, etc.


Hengel argues that the legal texts provide normative and procedural information about crucifixion. He shows how these texts regulate the criteria and procedures for imposing crucifixion on different offenders and crimes, such as treason, sedition, robbery, murder, etc. He also shows how these texts specify the rights and duties of different agents and parties involved in crucifixion, such as judges, soldiers, executioners, relatives, friends, etc.


Hengel argues that the philosophical texts provide ethical and rational information about crucifixion. He shows how these texts evaluate the moral and logical aspects of crucifixion from different perspectives and schools, such as Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cynicism, etc. He also shows how these texts express the attitudes and emotions of different people towards crucifixion, such as fear, pity, anger, contempt, etc.


Hengel argues that the poetic texts provide aesthetic and rhetorical information about crucifixion. He shows how these texts create artistic and persuasive effects through various devices and techniques, The Literary Analysi


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