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Showing posts from March 25, 2018

Medical theories on the cause of death in crucifixion Matthew W Maslen and Piers D Mitchell

INTRODUCTION Crucifixion may be defined as a method of execution by which a person is hanged, usually by their arms, from a cross or similar structure until dead. It has been used in many parts of the world and in many time periods; but is perhaps best known today as a cruel method of social control and punishment in the Roman Empire around 2000 years ago 1 (pp 22-3). In modern times, the medical profession has shown considerable interest in crucifixion. The typical aim of articles by this group has been to determine how crucified individuals actually died; and they often focus on the case of Jesus of Nazareth. Since Stroud's book of 1847, 2 at least 10 different theories have been proposed ( Table 1 ), and many more articles have been published suggesting various combinations of these theories. The 10 examples referenced in Table 1 have been chosen merely as representing the wide difference of opinion in the published literature: it is not an exhaustive lis