Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Was Jesus executed on a cross or a stake? #2C: Linguistic

[See also Introduction #1; Linguistic #2A, #2B; Historical #3A, #3B, #3C, #3D]

Continuing from Part #2B: Linguistic in this series, "Was Jesus executed on a cross or a stake?." We will now examine the rest

[Above: One of four cross marks on an ossuary from a tomb dated 1st century BC-1st century AD at Talpioth, Jerusalem, Finegan, 1992, pp.363-364]

of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society's linguistic argument based on another Greek word xylon and crux, the Latin equivalent of stauros. As before, my method will be to quote in bold from the Society's own publications, unless otherwise indicated from Appendix 3C of "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation," 1985, pp.1149-1151) and then comment on that quote. Again, where a different major topic, i.e. #3 Historical, #4 Patristic, #5 Archaeological, #6 Pagan or #7 Biblical, arises, I will defer comment on it to the post(s) on that topic.

The Greek word ξυλον, which is transliterated as xylon or xulon, appears 17 times in the New Testament. It is translated in mainstream translations like the NIV as: "wood" (1Cor 3:12; Rev 18:12); wooden "clubs" (Mt 26:47, 55; Mk 14:43, 48; Lk 22:52); wooden stocks (Acts 16:24); "tree" (Lk 23:31); "tree" of life (Rev 2:7; 22:2,14) ; and "tree" metaphorically for the wooden structure upon which Jesus was hanged (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal 3:13; 1Pet 2:24), so as to include it under in the curse in Dt 21:23, "... anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse." The Watchtower Society's New World Translation alone translates xylon as "stake" in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal 3:13; 1Pet 2:24. All other mainstream Bible translations render xylon as "tree" in those five verses.

So this is yet another example of the NWT being: "a biased translation in which many of the peculiar teachings of the Watchtower Society are smuggled into the text of the Bible itself." (Hoekema, 1974, p.26); "the worst features of the New World Translation ... are ... its biased translation of certain texts to buttress specific Witness practices, or secondary doctrines" (Penton, 1997, pp.175-176); "a radically biased piece of work. At some points it is actually dishonest" (Rhodes, 1993, pp.96-97) (my emphasis).

The apostles Peter and Paul also used the word xy'lon to refer to the torture instrument upon which Jesus was nailed, and this shows that it was an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xy'lon in this special sense means. (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24) This is false that "xy'lon in this special sense" means only "an upright stake without a crossbeam." But it highlights the Watchtower's problem in that if "xy'lon in this special sense" is a synonym for stauros, which it is, and the latter does not only mean "an upright stake without a crossbeam," but can also mean "an upright stake" with "a crossbeam," as we have seen in parts #2A and #2B, then the Society's linguistic argument , that Jesus was executed on a stake not a cross, based on the words xylon and crux collapses.

And as per these quotes from leading New Testament Greek lexicons, xy'lon can also mean "cross" (emphasis italics original, my emphasis red, below):

"xulon ... in NT, of the cross: Ac 5:30 10:39 13:29, Ga 3:13, 1 Pe 2:24. ... (Abbott-Smith, 1937 p.408).

"xulon ... gallows, in NT cross ...hang on the cross Ac 5: 30; 10:39. .... take down fr. the cross (cf. Josh 10: 27) Ac 13: 29 .... bear the sins on (or to) the cross, to destroy them on the cross, 1 Pt 2: 24 ...." (Arndt & Gingrich, 1957, p.551)

"x'ylon [wood, cross, tree] ... 1. Wood. .... Thus x'ylon wood, cross, tree ...4. The cross. A distinctive use of x'ylon in the NT is for the cross." (Kittel & Friedrich, 1988, pp.665-666).

"xulon ... in NT, of the cross, Act.Ap.5.30, 10.39. ..." (Liddell & Scott, 1883, pp.1191-1192).

"xulon ... that which is made of wood ... a gibbet, a cross, [A. V. tree ... Acts v. 30; x. 39; xiii. 29; Gal. iii. 13; 1 Pet. ii. 24 ..." (Thayer, 1901, p.432).

"xulon .... cross, equivalent to stauros ... (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24 ..." (Zodhiates, 1992, p.1023).

In LXX we find xy'lon in Ezra 6:11 (1 Esdras 6:31), and there it is spoken of as a beam on which the violator of law was to be hanged, the same as in Acts 5:30; 10:39. If Ezra 6:11 (NIV):

"Furthermore, I decree that if anyone changes this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. And for this crime his house is to be made a pile of rubble."

was "the same as in Acts 5:30; 10:39 (NIV):

Acts 5:30. The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead-whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.

Acts 10:39. "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,

that is, "hanging him [Jesus] on a tree," with "tree" being a metaphor for a literal "tree" that a Jew was cursed in the Mosaic law if he was hanged on one (Gal 3:13; Dt 21:23), then since xy'lon meant "cross" in those five verses of the New Testament (see above), that would only show that crucifixion on a two-beamed cross was meant in Ezra 6:11!

But it is merely an assertion by the Watchtower that "a beam" in "Ezra 6:11" is "the same as in Acts 5:30; 10:39." The Gk. xylon is a general name for "a piece of wood, hence, anything made of wood" (Abbott-Smith, 1937 p.408). And Ezra 6:11 is part of a decree by the Persian king Darius I who reigned 522-486 BC, and the events of Ezra 6 probably took place around 520 BC (Kidner, 1979, pp.14-15). So there is ~500 years, and two world-empire changes: Persian -> Greek -> Roman, between Ezra 6 and Jesus' crucifixion in ~AD30.

Also, there is no hard evidence that Ezra 6:11 even described a nailing to a beam, or indeed even an execution. The actual original Aramaic (Ezra 4:8-6:18 is in that language), "reads literally `and lifted up he shall be smitten upon it" which could "mean `fastened erect to it and flogged' ... some form of crucifixion" or "hanging" (Kidner, 1979, pp.57-58). Of the three, "fastened ... to it and flogged" seems nearest to what the Aramaic literally says.

My Interlinear Bible translates Ezr 6:11 literally as:

"Also by me was given a decree that whoever shall change word this, let be torn out timber from his house, and him impaled [Aram. zequap, "raise," "lift up" -TWOT, 1980, p.1015] and be affixed [Aram. meha', "smite," "strike," "kill" - Ibid, p.1041] on it, and his house a dunghill let be made."

The LXX (Septuagint) of Ezra 6:11 is:

"And a decree has been made by me, that every man who shall alter this word, timber shall be pulled down from his house, and let him be lifted up and slain upon it, and his house a shall be confiscated."

The Greek word xylon is translated "timber" in the above, and the LXX's "lifted up and slain upon it" is close to the Aramaic. Granted that if "affixed" was the correct translation of the Aramaic word meha' in Ezr 6:11, that would support it describing execution by being nailed to a single upright piece of timber or a cross. But since meha' does not mean "affix" but rather "smite," "strike," "kill", it does not support nailing the victim and indeed not necessarily execution.

But even if Ezra 6:11 did describe execution by nailing to a single-beam stake, how the Persians in ~500 BC executed their enemies and criminals has no necessary connection with how the Romans did it half a millennium later in ~30AD.

And as we shall see in #3 Historical, there is evidence that the Romans did crucify their enemies on two-beamed crosses, well before the time of Jesus.

The Latin dictionary by Lewis and Short gives as the basic meaning of crux "a tree, frame; or other wooden instruments of execution, on which criminals were impaled or hanged." Another example of the dishonesty of the Watchtower Society. This may indeed be "the basic meaning of crux" but the Society fails to mention that the same "Latin dictionary by Lewis and Short" continues with "... In partic., a cross" (my emphasis red):

"crux, ucis, f. (m, Enn. ap. Non. p. 195, 13; Gracch. ap. Fest. s.v. masculine. p. 150, 24, and 151, 12 Mull.) [perh. Kindred with circus]. I. Lit. A. In gen., a tree, frame, or other wooden instruments of execution, on which criminals were impaled or hanged, Sen. Prov. 3, 10; Cic. Rab. Perd. 3, 10 sqq.- B. In partic., a cross ..." (Lewis & Short, 1890, pp.485-486).

And, as the Society would be aware, the Oxford Latin Dictionary, includes in its basic meaning of crux, "a cross" and "crucifixion" (my emphasis red):

"crux, ... Any wooden frame on which criminals were exposed to die, a cross ... denoting crucifixion ... Death by the cross, crucifixion;" (Glare, 1982, p.463).

In the writings of Livy, a Roman historian of the first century B.C.E., crux means a mere stake. As can be seen in part #3A Historical, this claim by the Society also is false.

"Cross" is only a later meaning of crux. Significantly, the Society never spells out when exactly this "later" was that crux, having originally meant only a single-beamed stake, acquired the additional meaning of a two-beamed cross. But if the Watchtower was right, the Persians, Greeks and Romans, for ~500 years, used only a single-beamed cross. Then soon after the execution of Jesus (because of the archaeological evidence that first century Christians were depicting Roman crosses in funerary - see above - and religious - see part #2B - contexts), the Romans suddenly started crucifying criminals and enemies on two-beamed crosses, with no historical record of such a major change!

A single stake for impalement of a criminal was called in Latin crux simplex. The very fact that the Romans added "simplex" to "crux" shows that "crux" alone was not sufficient to indicate a "single stake" for the execution of criminals. Besides, the Romans had another word for "stake," namely palus "the stake to which condemned persons were tied for execution" (my emphasis below):

"palus ... A length of unsplit wood, post, stake ... a wooden pile. ... a wooden pole ... the stake to which condemned persons were tied for execution." (Glare, 1982, p.1287).

"palus ... a stake, prop, stay, pale. ... a stake set in the ground ..."(Lewis & Short, 1890, p.1295).

One such instrument of torture is illustrated by Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) in his book De cruce libri tres, Antwerp, 1629, p. 19, which we here present. This "One such instrument" represents a considerable backdown by the Watchtower, because since at least 1950 (WB&TS, 1950, p.769) to 1971 (WB&TS, 1971, p.1360), it had been dogmatically asserting, "This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled."

[Left (click to enlarge): the first of two types of the Roman cross (crux immissa), in Justus Lipsius' De Cruce Liber Primus (Opera Omnia III, p.650)]

This gave the Society's readers the impression that Justus Lipsius himself believed that Jesus was executed on a single-beamed crux simplex, when in fact, as I pointed out in my recent post, "Justus Lipsius' De Cruce Liber Tres" "there are more illustrations of crucifixion on two-beamed crosses in these three Lipsius' books than all the other methods combined" (my emphasis):

As can be seen, there are 14 different illustrations in Justus Lipsius three books, of punishment or execution on a single-beamed stake, or on a two-beamed cross, or on the latter's precursors. Of these, 1 is on a tree (p.647); 3 are on a single stake (pp.647, 648 & 671); 1 is on what became cross-beams (p.668) and 9 are two-beamed crosses (pp.649, 650, 661, 669(3), 670(2) and 672. So even if the Watchtower Society was only merely incompetent in not bothering to have Lipsius' Latin translated to find out if Lipsius himself believed that Jesus was executed on a single beamed stake or a two-beamed cross, the Society could not have missed that there are more illustrations of crucifixion on two-beamed crosses in these three Lipsius' books than all the other methods combined. In particular, Lipsius depicted three times as many depictions of crucifixion on two-beamed crosses than on single-beamed stakes. Therefore, the only conclusion left is that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society was (and is) being deliberately dishonest in not disclosing these `inconvenient' facts to its readers, so as to mislead them into thinking that Justus Lipsius himself believed that Jesus was executed on a single-beamed crux simplex, when Lipsius actually believed Jesus was crucified on a two-beamed cross.

Moreover, Lipsius himself evidently regarded a two-beamed cross as the type that Jesus was crucified on, because immediately after showing two types of two-beamed crosses,

[Right (click to enlarge): the second of the two types of crux immissa, in Justus Lipsius' De Cruce Liber Secundus (Opera Omnia III, p.661)]

Lipsius quoted early Church Fathers Irenaeus (c.120-200) that, "... the cross has five ends, two on the vertical and two on the horizontal, and one in the middle where the person attached with nails rested" and Tertullian (c.160-225); and "They divide the cross into five ends ... those four which are known ... and extend out; and the fifth which they place in the middle of the cross, where the transverse beam cuts and crosses the fixed beam" (my emphasis):

Lipsius himself evidently regarded this type of cross (i.e. either this one or the one at page 650) as the one that Jesus was crucified on because he quoted Pope Innocent III (1161-1216) that: "In the Lord's cross there were four pieces of wood, the upright beam, the crossbar, a tree trunk (piece of wood) placed below, and the title (inscription) placed above"; as well as Irenaeus (c.120-200): "The construction itself of the cross has five ends, two on the vertical and two on the horizontal, and one in the middle where the person attached with nails rested,"and Tertullian (c.160-225); and "They divide the cross into five ends (`points' Tertullian calls them), those four which are known (familiar) and extend out; and the fifth which they place in the middle of the cross, where the transverse beam cuts and crosses the fixed beam" (Watters, 1996, p.80. My emphasis).

And again, for the Watchtower Society not to disclose this to its readers is deliberately dishonest and in fact hypocrisy because for over fifty years, with this Justus Lipsius illustration alone, the Society has failed to practice what it preached, not to "use only partial quotations to give a different thought than the person intended":

"Be very careful to be accurate in all statements you make. Use evidence honestly. In quotations, do not twist the meaning of a writer or speaker or use only partial quotations to give a different thought than the person intended. Also if you use statistics, use them properly. Statistics can often be used to give a distorted picture." ("Qualified To Be Ministers," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, 1967, p.199).


To be continued in Part #3A Historical. See `tagline' quotes below (original emphasis italics, my emphasis bold).

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & TheShroudofTurin

"xulon, -on, to, [in LXX chiefly for 'ets;] 1. wood: 1 Co 3:12, Re 18:12. a piece of wood, hence, anything made of wood, as, (a) a cudgel, staff: pl., Mt 26:47,55, Mk 14:43, 48, Lk 22:52; (b) stocks, for confining the feet (Jb 33:11, suwm) : Ac 16:24; (c) a beam to which malefactors were bound (late Gk.), in LXX, of a gibbet (De 21:22,23), in NT, of the Cross: Ac 5:30 10:39 13:29, Ga 3:13, 1 Pe 2:24. 3. In late writers (v. MM, xvii), a tree (Ge 1:29, Is 14:8, al.) : Lk 23:31; x. tes zoes, Re 2:7 22:2, 14, 19." (Abbott-Smith, G., 1937, "A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament," [1921], T. & T. Clark: Edinburgh, Third edition, Reprinted, 1956, p.408. My transliteration).

"xulon, on, to (Hom. + ; inscr. pap., LXX, Philo, Joseph. Test. 12 Patr.) 1. wood Dg. 2: 2; LJ 1: 5 (cf. lithos 1a). pan x. thuinon every kind of citron wood Rv 18: 12a. x. timiotaton very precious wood vs. 12b. Pl. wood as building materials (PFlor. 16, 23) 1 Cor 3: 12; for making idols xula k. lithous (Sextus 568) together w. other materials 2 CL1 1: 6; PK 2 p. 14, 13. As fuel (POxy. 1144, 15 xula eis thusian; Gen 22: 3, 6; Lev 1: 7) MPol 1:3: 1; Hs 4: 4. 2. of objects made of wood - a. of the wooden stocks for the feet of a prisoner (Hdt. 6, 75; 9, 37; Lysias 10, 16; Aristoph., Eq. :367; 394; 705; also , Charito 4, 2, 6: Dit., Or. 483. 181 [s. the note]; Job 33: 11) tous podas esphalisato auton eis to xulon he fastened their feet to the stocks Ac 16: 24. b. the pole (Maxim. Tyr. 2, 8b) on which Moses raised the brass serpent (Num 21: 8f) B 12: 7. Club, cudgel (Hdt. 2, 63; 4, 180; Polyb. 6, 37, 3; Herodian 7, 7, 4; PHal. 1, 187: PTebt. 304, 10; Jos., Bell. 2, 176, Vi. 233) pl. (w. machairai) Mt 26: 47, 55; Mk 14: 43, 48; Lk 22: 52. c. gallows, in NT cross (Alexis Com. [IV BC] 220, 10 anapegnumi epi tou xulou; Gen 40: 19; Dt 21:23; Josh 10: 26; Esth 5: 14; 6: 4 Philo, Somn. 2, 213; Jos., Ant. 11, 246) B 8: 5, cf. vs 1: 12: 1 (fr an apocr. prophetic writing, perh. 4 Esdr 5: 5. Cf. UHolzmeister, Verb. Dom. 21. '41, 69-73). kremasai epi xulou hang on the cross Ac 5: 30; 10:39. o kremamenos epi xulou Gal 3: 13 (Dt 21: 23) kathalein apo tou x. take down fr. the cross (cf. Josh 10: 27) Ac 13: 29. paschein epi xulou B 5: 13. tas amartias anapherein epi to x. bear the sins on (or to) the cross, to destroy them on the cross, 1 Pt 2: 24 = Pol 8: 1. - WSvLeeuwen, NThSt 24, '41, 68-81. 3. tree (this usage is perceptible in Eur., Hdt. Theophr.,. H.P1. 5, 4, 7; Fgm, Iamb. Adesp. 17 Diehl; PTebt. 5, 205 [118 BC]; PFlor. 152, 4; Gen 1: 29; 2: 9; 3: 1ff; Isa 14: 8; Eccl 2: 5) Dg 12: 8 ugron, xeron x. a green, a dry tree Lk 23: 31 (s. xeros 1 and AJBHiggins, ET 57, '45/'46, 292-4). pagkarpon x. a tree bearing all kinds of fruit Dg 12 1: 1. x. akarpon a tree without (edible) fruit (of the elm) Hs 2: 3. xulo eauton sumballein compare oneself to a tree 1 Cl 23: 4a; 2 CL1 11: 3 (both script. quots. of unknown orig.). ta phulla tou x. Rv 22: 2 b; karpos tou x. 1 Cl 23: 4b. Of trees by water-courses B 11: 6 (Ps l: 3). x. gnoseos Dg 12: 2a (cf. Gen 2: 9, 17). x. (tes) zoes Rv 2: 7, 22: 2a (RSchran, BZ 24, '40, 191-8). 14, 19; Dg 12: 2b (cf. zoe) end; LvSybel, Xulon zoes: ZNW 19, '20, 85-91; UHolmberg, D. Baum d. Lebens '23, HBergema, De Boom des Levens in Schrift en historie, Diss. Hilversum '38; JSchmeider, TW V 36-40. M-M. B. 50; 1385." (Arndt, W.F. & Gingrich, F.W., 1957, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian literature," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Fourth edition, 1952, Revised, p.551).

"THE TALPIOTH OSSUARIES ... THE TOMB ... was found in 1945 near the Talpioth suburb south of Jerusalem and beside the old road to Bethlehem. .... In the tomb were fourteen ossuaries. .... [and] a coin of Herod Agrippa I dating from A.D. 42/43. The pottery was Late Hellenistic and Early Roman. Thus the tomb appears to have been in use from sometime in the first century B.C. until no later than the middle of the first century of the Christian era. ... IN THE CENTER of each side of Ossuary no. 8 is a large cross mark, drawn with charcoal. The one shown here, on one long side of the ossuary, has bars of quite equal length. The other three have bars of somewhat irregular length. ... their large size and prominent placement suggest some more significant purpose. ... Cornfeld sees the Talpioth chamber as the burial place of Jewish Christians, which seems the most likely view." (Finegan, J., 1992, "The Archeology of the New Testament: The Life of Jesus and the Beginning of the Early Church," [1969], Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ, Revised edition, pp.363,365. Emphasis original).

"crux ~ucis, f. [dub.] GENDER: masc., ENN. Ann.360, GRACCH.orat.36(Fest.p.150M). 1 Any wooden frame on which criminals were exposed to die, a cross (sts. also, a stake for impaling). b (in various phrs. denoting crucifixion or impalement; see also CRVCIFIGO), scio ~ucem futuram mihi sepulcrum PL Mil.372; ~uces ad ciuium Romanorum supplicia fixas CIC.Ver.3.6; Rab. Perd.11; acuta si sedeam ~uce MAEC.poet.4(3).4; aliquis pendens in ~uce uota facit Ov.Pont.1.6.38; ~uces non unius quidem generis SEN.Dial.6.20.3; e reuulso ~uci quartanis .. capillus (medetur) PLIN.Nat.28.41; JUV.14.77; (cf.) Amythaonius .. nocturnas ~ucibus uolucres suspendit (i.e. as a charm) COL.10.349; (transf.) ~uce uirginea moritura puella (sc. Andromeda) pependit MAN 5.552; axe uectus uno nutabat ~uce (i.e. the carriage-pole) pendula uiator STAT.Silv.4.3.28; - (in fig. phr.) illum ~ucem sibi ipsum constituere, ex qua to eum ante detraxisses CIC.Q. fr. 1.2.6. b quem in in ~ucem egisti CIC.Ver.5.164; Clu.187; in ~uce omnis suffixit B.Afr.66.4; sufetes.. ~uci adfigi iussit LIV.28.37.2; 33.36.3; omnis, quos ceperat, suffixit ~uci VELL.2.42.3; qui pastorem.. in ~ucem sustulit QUINT. Inst.4.2.17. 2 (pregn.) Death by the cross, crucifixion; (in imprecations) i in malarn ~ucem (and sim. phrs.), go and be hanged! b (transf.) extreme discomfort, torture. quid meritu's? ~ucem TER.An.621; omnibus bonis ~uces ac tormenta minitatur CIC.Phil.13.21; peccat uter nostrum ~ucedignius? HOR.S.2.7.47; (seruo) ~ucem scripsit QUINT.Dec1.380(p.424,I.25); ilicet parasitieae arti maxumam malam ~ucem PL.Capt.;69; i in malam a me ~ucem Cas.641; i dierecte in masumam malam ~ucem Poen.347; Ps.335; TER.Ph.368; (cf.) dextrouorsum auorsa it in malam ~ucem PL.Rud.276. b summum ius antiqui summam putabant ~ucem COL.1.7.2; MART.10.82.6. 3 (colloq., often mala ~ux) Anything which causes grief or annoyance, a plague, torment, etc. (of things) quae te mala ~ux agitat? PL..Aul.631; mala ~us east (sors) quidem Cas.;.416,-(of persons) aliqua mala ~ux semper est quae aliquid petat dul.522; quid ais, ~ux, stimulorum tritor? Per. 795; TER.Eu.383." (Glare, P.G.W., ed., 1982, "Oxford Latin Dictionary," [1968], Clarendon Press: Oxford, p.463).

"palus 1, m. Also ~um ~i, n. [ < *pak-slos (PANGO) ; cf. Gk. passalos] 1 A length of unsplit wood, post, stake. est quasi ~o pectus tundat PL.Rud.1290; ~os, siccos dolato CATO Agr.37.3; alterum (pedawentum) ~us (est) e pertica VAR.R.1.8.4; teneram ~is adiungere uitem TIB. 1.7.;3; hic annus nondum uehementem ~um aut ridicam desiderat COL.4.12.1; saepes. pro ~is elephantorum dentibus fieri PLIN.Nat.8.31; - (collect. sg.) caesae harundinis uel ~i compendium .. ad fructuarium pertinet PAUL.dig. 7 1.59.2; CIL 10.114; - (used for marching boundaries) in qnibusdam .. regionibus ~os pro terminis obseruant SIC. FL.agrim.p.102; actuarios ~os suo quemque numem inscriptos .. defigemus HYG.GR.agrim.p.155; - (applied to the phallus of a Priapus) obsceno .. ruber porrectus ab inguine ~us HOR.S.1.8.5; - neut.) quid? in non uides in uineis, quod tria ~a habeant, tripales dici? VAR.Men.179. 2 (of var. spec. objects) : a A wooden peg or pin. b a wooden pile. c a wooden pole serving as a dummy in fighting-practice. d the stake to which condemned persons were tied for execution. e the wooden sword of the seculores; ~us primus, the leader of the sectctores. f a dibble. a non sum dignus prae to ~urn ut figam in parietem PL. Mil. 1140; rusticus emeritum ~o suspendat aratrum Ov.Fast. 1.655; (used in repairing a ship) quasi supellex pellionis, ~us ~o proxtimust PL.Men.404. b quod ibi omnia opera et publica et priuata sub fundamentis .. habeant ~os VITR. 2.9.11; sin. .. mollis locus erit ~is ustilatis..(fundarnenta) configantur 5.12.6. c quis non uidit uulnera ~i? JUV. 6.247; dicite. quando ad ~um gemat usor Asyli 6.267; - (in fig. phr.) exerceamur ad ~um SEN.Ep.18.3. d ~us destitutus est in foro, eoque adductus .. nobilissimus homo M. Marius GRACCH.orat.45; capitibus obuolutis e carcere ad ~um atque ad necem rapiebantur CIC.Ver.5.72; i, lictor, deliga ad ~um LIV.8.7.19; cum .. deligatis ad ~um noxiis carnifex deesset SUET.C1.3.34.1 e VRBICO SECVTORI PRIMO ~O NATION FLORENTIN CIL 5.5933; 6.10189. f ad lineam ~o grana bina aut terna demittito CATO Agr.161.1; ~o prius locum ne feceris, quo taleam demittas 45.2; caulis eius tener est.. radice una, ceu ~o in terram demissa PLIN. Nat. 27.14." (Glare, 1982, p.1287).

"We gratefully recognize that Jehovah's Witnesses thus clearly state their dependence on Scripture as their final source of authority. As we examine their theology, however, it will become quite evident that this is by no means a fair and honest statement of the case. Instead of listening to Scripture and subjecting themselves wholly to its teachings, as they claim to do, they actually impose their own theological system upon Scripture and force it to comply with their beliefs. As evidence for this I advance, first, the fact that their New World Translation of the Bible is by no means an objective rendering of the sacred text into modern English, but is a biased translation in which many of the peculiar teachings of the Watchtower Society are smuggled into the text of the Bible itself. (Hoekema, A.A., 1974, "Jehovah's Witnesses," [1963], Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, p.26).

"Only the vast energy and skill of Darius I (521-486) availed to restore stability by the end of his second year. This was the year 520 in which Haggai and Zechariah started prophesying, and in which the work on the Temple was at last resumed, as recounted in Ezra 5 and 6. Zechariah's two visions of horsemen patrolling the earth (Zc. 1:7ff.; 6:1ff.) may well owe something of their form to the relays of swift couriers who enabled the king's writ to run throughout his enormous realm (cf. Est. 8:10)." (Kidner, D., 1979, "Ezra and Nehemiah: An Introduction and Commentary," Tyndale Press: London, pp.14-15).

"[Ezr 6:]11. One who alters the edict would probably have included anyone who violated it (cf. Ryle). There was poetic justice intended in making a man's own house his instrument of execution for tampering with the house of God. The form of punishment may or may not have been impalement (RSV; cf. GNB's elaboration of the theme); certainly this hideous practice was no novelty, as Assyrian monuments show. But the Aramaic reads literally `and lifted up he shall be smitten upon it', which NEB takes to mean `fastened erect to it and flogged', while BDB understands it as some form of crucifixion,' and 1 Esdras 6:32 as hanging. The common ground between such punishments was the public spectacle they afforded for disgrace and warning. It is a relief to know that Israelite law put two crucial restraints on such a practice: the victim was executed before this, not by means of it (Dt. 21:22; note the sequence), and the display of his corpse must not be prolonged (Dt. 21:23)." (Kidner, 1979, pp.57-58).

"x'ylon [wood, cross, tree] x'ylon means living or dead `wood,' anything made of wood, e.g., a `stick,' `cudgel,' or `club,' also a `bench' or `table.' As an instrument of punishment or restraint it is a kind of wooden collar. It is also used for the `stake' or `tree' to which malefactors are fastened. Figuratively .x'ylon is an `unfeeling' person. The LXX often uses x'yla for trees, but also has x'lon for wood, used for cultic or secular purposes.

1. Wood. The NT offers instances of the use for both living and dead wood. Thus x'ylon wood, cross, tree in Lk. 23:31 we have the contrast between green wood and dry. If God has not spared the green wood (Jesus), how will it be with the dry (the impenitent)? In 1 Cor. 3:12 Paul lists wood among the materials which might be used in the building that God will examine on the judgment day. Scented wood has a place in the cargo that merchants can no longer sell after the fall of Babylon (Rev. 18:12); this is wood from North Africa used to make costly vessels and inlaid work.

2. Cudgel. Those sent to arrest Jesus carry cudgels (x'yla) according to Mt. 26:47, 55. 3. Stocks. Paul and Silas are put in stocks when arrested at Philippi (Acts 16:24).

4. The Cross. A distinctive use of x'ylon in the NT is for the cross. The basis is Dt. 21:22, which stresses the shame of being exposed on a tree. Acts 5:30; 10:39, etc. make the point that crucifixion is the greatest possible insult to Jesus, but that God has displayed his majesty by raising him from the dead. Paul in Gal. 3:13 shows that Christ has redeemed us from the curse by being made a curse for us according to Dt. 21:22. A curse lies on those who break the law, but Christ, who has not broken the law, voluntarily and vicariously becomes accursed, as his death on the accursed wood makes plain. He thus releases us from the curse and from the death that it entails. 1 Pet. 2:24 is to the same effect when it says that Christ bore our sins in his own body on the `tree' (with a plain reference to Is. 53:4, 12). The vicarious element is prominent here. Human sins are laid on Christ, crucified in him, and thus set aside. Christ does not lay sins on a scapegoat, but takes them to himself and cancels them on the cross, so that sinners, dead to sin, may live to righteousness.

5. Tree (of Life). Revelation speaks of the tree or trees of life in paradise or the heavenly Jerusalem (2:7; 22:2, 14, 19). A share in their fruit is granted to those who are cleansed by Christ and who conquer, but it is withheld from those who reject the prophetic word. In this regard Revelation takes up the apocalyptic notion of salvation as restoration. Yet perhaps there is also some association between the tree of life and the cross, as in early Christian art." (Kittel, G. & Friedrich, G., eds., 1988, "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in one Volume," [1985], Bromiley, G.W., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, Reprinted, pp.665-666. Emphasis original).

"crux, ucis, f. (m, Enn. ap. Non. p. 195, 13; Gracch. ap. Fest. s.v. masculine. p. 150, 24, and 151, 12 Mull.) [perh. Kindred with circus]. I. Lit. A. In gen., a tree, frame, or other wooden instruments of execution, on which criminals were impaled or hanged, Sen. Prov. 3, 10; Cic. Rab. Perd. 3, 10 sqq.- B. In partic., a cross, Ter. And. 3, 5. 15; Cic. Cur. 2. 1, 3, § 7; 2, 1, 4,; 9; id. Pis. 18, 12; id. Fin. 5, 30, 93; Quint. 4. 2. 17; Tsc. d. 13. 44; Hor. S. 1, 3, 82; 2, 7, 47; id. Ep. 1,16, 48 et saep.: diguus fait qui maio aruce periret, Gracch. ap. Fest. l. 1. pendula, the pole of a carriage, Stat. S.4, 3, 28. - II. Transf. A. As a term of reproach, a gallows bird, a hempen rascal, Plaut. Pers. 5, 2, 17. - B. Transf., torture, trouble, misery, destruction, etc. (so most freq. in Plaut. and Ter., and in the former esp. freq. inconnection with mala): aliqua mala crux, tormentor (of a prostitute), Plaut. Aul. 3, 5, 48;. cf.: illae cruces, Ter. Eun. 2, 3, 92: quae to mala crux agitat? what tormentor troubles you? Plaut. Bacch. 4, 2, 3: abstraxit hominem in maximam malam crucem, id. Men. prol. 66: quaerere in malo crucem, Ter. Phorm. 3,3,11.- Prov.: summam jus antiqui summam putabant crucem, Col. 1, 7, 2 - Hence, in colloq. lang.: I (abi, etc.) in malam crucem! go to the devil! go and be hanged Plaut. Cas. 3, 5, 17; id. Ps. 3, 2, 67; 4, 7, 86 al.; Ter. Phorm. 2, 3, 2l; cf.: Cy. Num quid vis? Me Ut eas maximam in malam crucem, Plant. Men. 2, 2, 53; id. Capt. 3, 1, 9. - Without mala: I in crucem, Plant. As. 5, 2, 91.- And ellipt.: in malam crucem! Plaut. Cas. 5, 4, 8; id. Ps. 5, 2, 5. - Hence, Ital. croce; Fr. croiz." (Lewis, C.T. & Short, C.S., 1890, "A Latin Dictionary," Clarendon Press: Oxford, pp.485-486. Emphasis original).

"1. palus, i, m. (neutr. collat. form palum, i Varr. ap. Non. 219. 18) (for paglus (cf. dim. paxillus); root pag-; Sanscr. pacas, snare; Gr. pegnumi, fasten; Lat. pango; cf.: pignus, pax], a stake, prop, stay, pale. I. Lit. (very freq. and class.; syn.: sudes, stipes): ut figam palum in parietem, Plaut. Mil. 4, 4, 4; id. Men. 2, 3, 53: damnnti ad supplioiam traditi, ad palum alligat:, Cic. Verr. 2, 5, .5, § 11: palis adjungere vitem, Tib. 1, 8 (7), 33; Ov. F. 1, 665: palos et ridicas dolare. Col. 11. 2, 11; Varr. 1. l.-The Roman soldier learned to fight by attacking a stake set in the ground, Veg. Mil. 1, 11; 2. 33; hence, aut quis non vidit vulnera pali? Juv. 6. 246 - And, transf: exerceamur ad palum: et, no imparatos fortuna deprehendat, fiat nobis paupertas familiaris, Sen. Ep. 18. 6.- In the lang. of gladiators, palus primus or palusprimus (called also machaera Herculeana, Capitol. Pert. 8), a gladiator's sword of wood, borne by the secutores, whence their leader was also called primus palus, Lampr. Commod. 15; Inscr. Marin. Fratr. Arv. p. 694.. - Prov.: quasi palo pectus tundor, of one astonished, stunned; Plaut. Rud. 5. 2. 2 - II. Transf. = membrum virile, Hor. S. l., 8; 5." (Lewis & Short, 1890, p.1295).

"xulon [u], to (pl. spelt xulea Abh. Ber1. Akad. 1928(6).32 ;Cos. v. B.C.)), wood cut and ready for use, firewood, timber, etc., Hom., mostly in pl., Il.8.507, 547;. Od.14.418; x. neia ship-timber, Hes.Op. 808; x.. naupegesima Th.7.25; X.An.6,4.4, PL.Lg.706b, D.17.28; x.. tetragona logs cut square, Hdt.I.186, cf, Pl.Prt.325d. Arist.EN 1109b7. 2. in pl., also, the wood-market, epi xula ievai Ar.Fr. 403. II. in sg., piece of wood, log, beam, post, once in Hom., x.. auon .. e spudos e peukes Il.23.327; x. sukinon spoon made of fig wood, PL.Hp.Ma.291c; peg or lever, Arist.MA701b9; perch, epi xulou katheudein Ar.Nu.1431: by poet. periphr., 'Argous xulon A.Fr.20; `ippoio kakon x.., of the Trojan horse, AP9.152 (Agath.): hence anything made of wood, as, 2. cudgel, club, Hdt., Ar.Lys.357, PHal.1.187 (iii B.C.); meta xulon eispeoesai PTeb.304. 10(ii A.D.); xulois suntriphein Luc.Demon.50; of the club of Heracles. P1u.Lyc.30. 3. an instrument of punishment, a. wooden collar, put on the neck of the prisoner, xulo phimoun ton auxena Ar.Nu.592 ; es tetremenon x. egkatharmosai .. ton a'uchena Id.Lys.680; or, b. stocks, in which the feet were confined, Hdt.9.37, 6. 75, Ar.Eq.367, D.18.129; x.. ephelkein Polyzel.3; en to x. dedesthai Lys.10.16 (v. podokakke), cf. Act.Ap. 16.24, OGI483.181 (Pergam., ii A.D.) : also in pl., edesen en tois x.. And. I.45. c. pentesurigon xulon (v. sub voc.) was a combination of both, with holes for the neck, arms, and legs, Ar.Eq.1049. d. gallows, kremasai tina epi xulou LXX De.21: 22; x. didumon ib.Jo.8.29 ; prov., ex. axiou tou xulou kan apagxasthai, i.e. if one must be hanged, at least let it be on a noble tree, App.Prov.2.67, cf. Ar.Ra.736 ; in NT, of the cross, Act.Ap.5.30, 10.39. e. stake on which criminals were impaled, Alex.222.10. 4. bench, table, esp. money-changer's table, D.45.33. 5. proton eulon front bench in the Athenian theatre, Ar.Ach.25, V.90, cf. Sch. ad locc. : hence oupi ton xulon the official who had to take care of the seats. Hermipp.9 (according to Meineke). 6. the Hippocratic bench. Hp.Fract.13, Art.72. III. of live wood, tree, [upos], dasu pollois kai pantaodapois kai megalois eulois X.An.6.4.5, cf. Call.Cer.41, Agatharch.55, LXX Ca.2.3, al. : opp. sarx, Thphr.HP 1.2.6,a1. ; to x. tou dendrou analogon ten legoumenon einai gen Plot.6.7.11 ; to x. tes ampelou E.Cyc.572 ; eiria apo xulon, of cotton, Hdt.3.47; eimata apo xulon pepoinmena Id.7.65, cf. Poll.7.75. IV. of persons, blockhead,APl.4.187 ; of a stubborn person, sideros tis e x. pros tas dendeis Ach.Tat.5.22. V. a measure of length = 3 (also 2 2/3) cubits, the side of the naubion , Hero Geom.23.4,11, POxy.669.11, 28 (iii A.D. , 1053 (vi/vii A. D.)." (Liddell, H.G. & Scott, R., 1883, "A Greek-English Lexicon," Seventh edition, Clarendon Press: Oxford, pp.1191-1192. My transliteration).

""These are not the worst features of the New World Translation which does have some very positive aspects to it. Far more serious than the outwardly Arian and anti-traditional nature of this Watch Tower version are: 1 / its biased translation of certain texts to buttress specific Witness practices, or secondary doctrines and 2 / its unattractive, unidiomatic English. ... All of this indicates, in part at least, how Jehovah's Witnesses view the Bible. They believe that the original texts in the original languages were inspired, and they are willing to use textual criticism to attempt to discover what those texts were. They are honest in admitting that no translation is inspired, but they have long claimed that the New World is the best extant today. ["All Scripture Is Inspired and Beneficial," WB&TS, 1983, pp.326-30; WT, "Bible Translation That Honors God," December 15, 1963, pp.760-763] Evidently, then, what they are saying by making such a boast is that the New World Translation conforms most closely to Witness doctrine. So in a real sense, then, the Bible, in its translated form, is used as an apologia for Witness beliefs as much as a basis for them." (Penton, M.J., 1997, "Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses," [1985], University of Toronto Press: Toronto ON, Second edition, pp.175-176).

"From reading all the above, it seems utterly clear that a primary goal of the New World Translation committee was to strip from the Bible any vestige of Jesus Christ's identification with Yahweh. The fact is, the New World Translation is an incredibly biased translation. Dr. Robert Countess, who wrote a doctoral dissertation on the Greek text of the New World Translation, concluded that the translation `has been sharply unsuccessful in keeping doctrinal considerations from influencing the actual translation.... It must be viewed as a radically biased piece of work. At some points it is actually dishonest. At others it is neither modern nor scholarly.' [Countess, R.H., "The Jehovah's Witnesses' New Testament," Presbyterian & Reformed: Phillipsburg NJ, 1982, p.91] No wonder British scholar H.H. Rowley asserted, `From beginning to end this volume is a shining example of how the Bible should not be translated.' [Rowley, H.H., "How Not to Translate the Bible," Expository Times, November 1953, pp.41-42] Indeed, Rowley said, this translation is `an insult to the Word of God.' [Ibid.] Are Drs. Countess and Rowley alone in their assessment of the New World Translation? By no means! Dr. Julius Mantey, author of A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, calls the New World Translation `a shocking mistranslation.' [Mantey, J.R., in Grieshaber, E. & J., "Exposé - of Jehovah's Witnesses," Jean Books: Tyler TX, 1982, p.30] Dr. Bruce M. Metzger, professor of New Testament at Princeton University, calls the New World Translation `a frightful mistranslation,' `erroneous,' `pernicious,' and `reprehensible.' [Metzger, B.M., "The Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ," Reprint of article in Theology Today, April, 1953, pp.74-75] Dr. William Barclay concluded that `the deliberate distortion of truth by this sect is seen in their New Testament translation.... It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest.' [Barclay, W., "An Ancient heresy in Modern Dress," Expository Times, October 1957]" (Rhodes, R., 1993, "Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses," Harvest House: Eugene OR, Reprinted, 2006, pp.96-97).

"xulon, -ou, to, (fr. xuo to scrape, plane), fr. Hom. down; Sept. for 'ets.; 1. wood: univ. 1 Co. iii. 12; x. thuinon, Rev. xviii. 12; that which is made of wood, as a beam from which any one is suspended, a gibbet, a cross, [A. V. tree, q. v. in B. D. Am. ed.], Acts v. 30; x. 39; xiii. 29; Gal. iii. 13; 1 Pet. ii. 24, ('ets, Gen. xl. 19; Deut. xxi. 23; Josh. x. 26 ; Esth. v. 14), - a use not found in the classics [cf. L. and S. s. v. II. 4]. A log or timber with holes in which the feet, hands, neck, of prisoners were inserted and fastened with thongs (Gr. kalon, xulopede, podokuke, podostrabe, Lat. nervus, by which the Lat. renders the Hebr. cad, a fetter, or shackle for the feet, Job [xiii. 27] ; xxxiii. 11 ; cf. Fischer, De vitiis lexx. N. T. p. 458 sqq. ; [B. D. s. v. Stocks]) : Acts xvi. 24 (Hdt. 6, 75; 9, 37; Arstph. eq. 367, 394, 705); a cudgel, stick, staff: plur., Mt. xxvi. 47, 55; Mk. xiv. 43, 48; Lk. xxii. 52, (Hdt. 2,63; 4,180; Dem. p. 645, 15; Polyb. 6, 37, 3; Joseph. b. j. 2, 9, 4 ; Hdian. 7, 7, 4). 2. a tree: Lk. xxiii. 31 (Gen. i. 29; ii. 9 ; iii. 1 ; Is. xiv. 8, etc.) ; x. tes zoes, see zoe, 2 b. p. 274a." (Thayer, J.H., 1901, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm's Wilke's Clonis Noni Testamenti Translated Revised and Enlarged," T & T. Clark: Edinburgh, Fourth edition, Reprinted, 1961, p.432. My transliteration).

"Such a single stake for impalement of a criminal was called crux simplex, and the method of nailing him to such an instrument of torture is illustrated by the Roman Catholic scholar, Justus Lipsius, of the 16th century. We present herewith a photographic copy of his illustration on page 647, column 2, of his book De Cruce Liber Primus. This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled." (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1950, "New World translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, Second edition, 1951, p.769).

"Such a single stake for impalement of a criminal was called crux simplex, and the method of nailing him to such an instrument of torture is illustrated by the Roman Catholic scholar, Justus Lipsius, of the 16th century. We present herewith a photographic copy of his illustration on page 647, column 2, of his book De Cruce Liber Primus. This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled. ... Crux simplex illustrated by Justus Lipsius. See page 1360" (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1971, "New World translation of the Holy Scriptures," [1961], Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, Third revision with footnotes, p.1360).

"xulon; gen. xulou, neut. noun from xuo (n.f.), to scrape. Wood, generally for fuel, timber (1 Cor. 3:12; Rev. 18:12; see Gen. 22:3, 6ff.). Anything made of wood: a staff, club (Matt. 26:47, 55; Mark 14:43, 48; Luke 22:52); stocks or wooden blocks with holes in which the feet and sometimes the hands and neck of prisoners were confined (Acts 16:24; Sept.: Job 33:11); a stake, cross, equivalent to stauros (4716), stake, post (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24; see Sept.: Deut. 21:22, 23; Esth. 5:14 [cf. Josh. 10:26, 27]). In Luke 23:31, en to hugro xulo (en [1722], in; to, the dat. sing. of to, the neut. def. art. ho [3588], the; hugro, the dat. neut. sing. of hugros [5200], wet), in the wet wood, refers to a living tree in contrast to a dead one, xero (the dat. sing. of xeros [3584], dry one). In Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14, it is conceivable that the `tree of life' may be an allusion to the cross and could be rendered `wood of life' (a.t.). Sept.: Gen. 1:11, 12; 2:9. Deriv.: xulinos (3585), wooden. Syn.: rhabdos (4464), rod; dendron (1186), a tree; stauros (4716), cross." (Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, Third printing, 1994, p.1023).

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