Fortress Press

Crucifixion: In the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross


In the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross

Martin Hengel (Author), John Bowden (Translator)


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In a comprehensive and detailed survey on its remarkably widespread employment in the Roman empire, Dr. Hengel examines the way in which "the most vile death of the cross" was regarded in the Greek-speaking world and particularly in Roman-occupied Palestine.
His conclusions bring out more starkly than ever the offensiveness of the Christian message: Jesus not only died an unspeakably cruel death, he underwent the most contemptible abasement that could be imagined. So repugnant was the gruesome reality, that a natural tendency prevails to blunt, remove, or deomesticate its scandalous impact. Yet any discussion of a "theology of the cross" must be preceded by adequate comprehension of both the nature and extent of this scandal.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800612689
  • eBook ISBN 9781451414196
  • Dimensions 8.5 x 5.5
  • Pages 112
  • Publication Date September 1, 1977


"The book is rewarding both for the extensive amount of historical information about crucifixion which is provided and for an appreciation of the stigma which would have been attached to this punishment."
--Religious Studies Review

"The author's formidable survey of the classical literature gives new eloquence to Origen's description of crucifixion as ' mors turpissima (more vile death), or to Paul's preaching of the 'scandal of the Cross.'"
--The Bible Today