Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion
David W. Chapman examines Second Temple and early rabbinic literature and material remains in order to demonstrate the range of ancient Jewish perceptions about crucifixion. He examines ancient Jewish historical accounts of crucifixion, analyzes magical literature, and studies the proverbial use of crucifixion imagery. He pays special attention to Jewish interpretations of key Old Testament texts that mention human bodily suspension in association with execution. Early Christian literature, proclaiming a crucified Messiah, betrays awareness of these various perceptions by seeking to reject or transform negative stereotypes, or by embracing some of the more positive associations. Thus early Christian literature on the cross exhibits, to a greater degree than is commonly recognized, a reflection upon the various Jewish perceptions of the cross in antiquity.