Monday, April 03, 2006

CRUCIFIXION: An excellent reference source on the medical implications of crucifixion...

... is available from JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). A JAMA abstract of the article follows ...
On the physical death of Jesus Christ

W. D. Edwards, W. J. Gabel and F. E. Hosmer

Crucifixion, Easter, Jesus ChristJesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes.

The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.
A complete text of the article along with figures, tables, a footnotes may be found here.

Reprint requests must be made to Department of Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905 (ATTN: Dr. Edwards)

I have a reprint of this article; it's fascinating reading and helpful to understand what Jesus might have experienced on the Cross.

A related article may be obtained at JRSM (subscription required) :
Medical theories on the cause of death in crucifixion
Maslen and Mitchell
J R Soc Med 2006;99:185-188.

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