WHILE I was a practising Jehovah’s witnesses it always puzzled me as to why practically all other beliefs confirmed that Jesus was crucified on a cross when it was so clear to us that it was a stake. At the time I never really fully critiqued this issue until recently, so felt it was a good opportunity to review this particular chapter while this was fresh in my mind.
The chapter rightly starts by defining Cross as the Device on which Christ was executed, and then goes on to explain that the original Greek word used was “Stauros”, which we all agree with.
However, it then goes on to explain that in classical Greek this word meant merely an “upright stake”, and then unpacks a list of references to try and support this, namely P.Fairbairn, liddel & Scott, the companion Bible, encyclopaedia Britannia, Bible Dictionaries etc.
This is all fine in the context that Stauros could mean Stake, but what is missing here is more importantly how did this word develop over time and more specifically in terms of how the Romans applied it when it came to this form of punishment.