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Christ may not have been crucified, says Swedish researcher

June 24, 2010 17:11 IST
Theologian Gunnar Samuelsson of Gothenburg University has claimed that Jesus Christ may not have died nailed to a cross, as he found no evidence of this form of punishment in ancient texts, The Telegraph newspaper said in a report.

In his 400-page thesis, Samuelsson wrote that the the descriptions of crucifixion were absent in ancient literature. The theologian claims that there are no 'explicit references' in the Bible itself to Christ's crucifiction, insisting that the legend of the execution is based on traditions in the church and illustrations.

Samuelsson , who is a commited Christian himself, said the actual texts of the  execution do not describe how Christ was 'attached to the execution device.' He said that the contemporary text used to describe the incident, especially the Latin passages, used very vague words. Any evidence of Christ being nailed to a cross is very sparse in ancient pre-Christain literature and such text was found only in the Gospels, Samuelsson said.

'The sources that one would expect to find support for the established understanding of the event really don't say anything,' he said. 'Consequently, the contemporary understanding of crucifixion as a punishment is severely challenged.'

Samuelsson, a devout Christian, said the text of the passion narratives is not that exact and information-loaded as we Christians sometimes want it to be.'

Samuelsson urged his fellow Christians not to doubt the existence of Christ and not reject or doubt the Bible.

What is undeniable is that 'a man named Jesus existed in that part of the world and in that time who left a good footprint on the literature of the time.'

'I do believe that he is the son of god.'

'My suggestion is that we should read the text as it is, not as we think it is. We should read on the line, not between them,' he added.