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§ 290. Details of the Crucifixion.

WHEN Jesus reached the place of execution, he was offered, as was usual, a spiced wine,782782   Matt., xxvii., 34. Mark describes it exactly (xv., 23) as οἶνος ἐσμυρνισμένος. Cf. Acta Fructuosi Tarraconensis, where it is related of the martyrs, “Cum multi ex fraterna caritate iis offerent, uti conditi permixti poculum sumerent,” &c. (c. iii., Ruinart., Acta Martyrum, Amstel., 1713, 220). The merum conditum was given by the Christians to the confessors tanquam antidotum, that, by means of it, they might be less sensible of suffering (Tertull. de Jejuniis, c. xii.). intended to stupify the mind and deaden the pains of death. Oppressed with burning thirst, he tasted of the wine; but when he perceived the stupifying drug, he refused to drink, that he might die in full consciousness. Stripped of nearly all his clothing,783783   John’s mention of the χιτὼν ἄρῥαφος is confirmed by the statement of Isidore of Pelusium, that such garments were peculiar to Galilee. Such a garment, though somewhat common in Galilee, and worn by the lower classes, might have been a novelty to the Roman soldiers, and, therefore, an object of value in their eyes. Isidore says, “τίς δὲ ἀγνοεῖ τὴν εὐτέλειαν τὴς ἑσθῆτος ἐκείνης, ᾗπερ οἱ πτωχοὶ κέχρηνται τῶν Γαλιλαίων, καθ᾽ οὓς καὶ μάλιστα τὸ τοιοῦτο φιλεῖ γίνεςθαι ἱμάτιον, τέχνῃ τινί, ὡς αἱ στηθοδισμίδες, ἀνακρουσιὸν ὑφαινόμενον. he was lifted up to the cross, bound, and then nailed to it by his hands and feet.784784   There has been much dispute on this point, and many have given it undue importance; the result of the most candid inquiry is, that the feet were nailed as well as the hands. The most striking confirmation is afforded by the fact that the fathers, writing at a time when crucifixion was in use, speak of the piercing of Jesus’s feet as a matter of course, without laying any stress upon it as necessary to fulfil Ps. xxii., 17. We cannot enter into the in4uiry at length, but will only allude to the passage in Tertullian so important in reference to this question (Adv. Marcion., iii., 19). After citing “foderunt manus meas et pedes” from the Psalm, he undertakes to show that it was fulfilled in the crucifixion of Christ. The words immediately following, “quae proprie atrocitas crucis,” can mean nothing else than that it was the piercing of the hands and feet which, on the whole, made this punishment of death so terrible. He then speaks of the apices crucis as belonging to the cross in general, not Christ’s in particular. Further, he says that the Psalm cannot be applied to any other that had died as a martyr among the Jews; no man of God except Christ had suffered this mode of death, “qui solus a populo tam insigniter crucifixus est” (who suffered so marked a death by crucifixion—one otherwise unknown in the Old Testament—defining him, before all others, and fixing him alone as the one to whom the words of the Psalm could be applied). Cf. Hug’s Dissertation, before cited; Hase’s Leben Jesu, 143. (The chief pain of this cruel death, 419according to a writer who lived while it was yet known and used, consisted in the hanging of the body while the hands and feet were nailed.)

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