Further to the previous post, I can confirm that Mohr Siebeck will be publishing Crucifixion in Antiquity as part of the WUNT Series (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament) and that it is due to be released in May 2011.
I was able to get hold of the thesis through an inter-library loan and as it is the season of crucifixion it may be of interest to the forum what his answers to the basic questions of his investigation are. There are six basic questions which he discusses, namely :
- What is the ancient - pre-Christian - terminology of crucifixion.
- What can be said about the punishment that the terms describe.
- How do the New Testament authors depict the death of Jesus on the philological level.
- How is the punishment of crucifixion defined by scholars previous to Samuelsson.
- How do the insights from his study of the ancient texts cohere with the contributions of the major lexica and dictionaries.
- How has the punishment of crucifixion been depicted, and how should it be depicted in the light of his investigation.
I agree with those who say that it doesn't matter whether Jesus died on an upright pole or a cross (as the term is commonly understood today). Whichever it was Paul's words to the Galations (3:13) would apply, "Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written [at Deuteronomy 21:23]: 'Accursed is every man hanged upon a xylou [meaning something made of wood]'."
That having been said I do think that the NWT translation served a good purpose in that it makes people think what did the original writers actually mean rather than simply accept the translation that was set in stone in the earliest English translations.
The answers to these six questions all provide food for thought (and discussion if you wish) but rather than provide it all in one humoungous post I will create six different posts following this one and then the floor is yours.