This essay examines the contention that Joseph of Arimathaea buried Jesus—in light of what one can know from Greco-Roman culture about the disposal of the bodies of crucified individuals. A survey of the statutes governing the burial of criminals and governing the prosecution of those accused of seditious activity indicates that provincial officials had a choice when confronted with the need to dispose of the bodies of the condemned. Greco-Roman texts show that in certain cases the bodies of the crucified were left to decompose in place. In other cases, the crucified bodies were buried.
1 Bultmann, R., History of the Synoptic Tradition (New York: Harper, 1963) 290.
2 Bultmann, History, 274 (with regard to Mark 15.42–47) ‘this is a historical account which creates no impression of being a legend apart from the women who appear again as witnesses in v. 47, and vv. 44, 45 which Matthew and Luke in all probability did not have in their Mark’. Crossan, J. D., Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (New York: Harper Collins, 1994) 156 thinks the Christian community invented the existence of Joseph. He provides no argumentation for that thesis other than the contention that Joseph develops in Christian tradition from a respected member of the Sanhedrin (Mark 15.43) into a hidden disciple (Matt 27.57).
3 Crossan, Jesus, 156. J. K. Elliott argues that Gos. Pet. is dependent on the canonical gospels for its passion narrative (The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation based on M. R. James [ed. J. K. Elliott; Oxford: Clarendon, 1993] 151). See also R. E. Brown, ‘The Gospel of Peter and Canonical Gospel Priority’, NTS 33 (1987) 321–43 and idem, The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave (2 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1994) 1332–6. For the basis of Crossan's position in Roman texts (i.e., that dogs consumed the bodies of the crucified), see the references to bodies consumed by animals below in § 4.
4 Cf. Crossan, Jesus, 155. It seems more likely that 5.15–6.21 is a midrash on the gospels.
5 Gos. Pet. 6.21 = P. Cair. 10759 f.2v, line 10 (Das Petrusevangelium und die Petrusapokalypse. Die griechischen Fragmente mit deutscher und englischer Übersetzung [ed. T. J. Kraus and T. Nicklas; GCS Neutestamentliche Apokryphen I; Berlin/New York: W. de Gruyter, 2004] 38).
6 Brown, The Death of the Messiah, 1207–9 reviews the material, but more complete is the old work of Pearson, J., An Exposition of the Creed, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1797) 272–5.
7 Luc. 6.543–9 (quoted below) and Sen. Ep. 101.14 are two of the most specific, along with the tortures implied in the lex Puteoli. For the lex Puteoli, which describes crucifixion practice, cf. Hinard, F. and Dumont, J. C., ed., Libitina: Pompes funèbres et supplices in Campanie à l'époque d'Auguste (Paris: De Boccard, 2003) II.8–14 (18–19) with commentary on 117–22. Cook, J. G., ‘Envisioning Crucifixion: Light from Several Inscriptions and the Palatine Graffito’, NovT 50 (2008) 262–85, esp. 265, 267–70. The inscription was found in the Augustan forum in Puteoli and probably is from the Augustan age, or more generally from the Julio-Claudian era (cf. G. Camodeca, ‘Per la riedizione della leges libinariae flegree’, Libitina e dintorni … [ed. S. Panciera; Libitina 3; Rome: Quasar, 2004] 83–104, esp. 85–6).
8 Ulpian lib. IX de officio proconsulis in Dig. 48.24.1. Trans. of Aubert, J.-J., ‘Corpse Disposal in the Roman Colony of Puteoli’, Noctes Campanae: Studi di storia antica ed archeologia dell'Italia preromana e romana in memoria di Martin W. Frederiksen (ed. Harris , W. V.and Cascio, E. Lo; Naples: Luciano, 2005) 141–57, esp. 145. See also The Digest of Justinian (ed. A. Watson; 4 vols.; Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University, 1985) 4.377. For a brief description of De officio proconsulis, cf. Honoré, T., Ulpian: Pioneer of Human Rights (Oxford/New York: Oxford University, 2002) 114–15, 189 (composed in 213).
9 Suet. Aug. 13.1–2: ut quidem uni suppliciter sepulturam precanti respondisse dicitur iam istam volucrum fore potestatem (‘He is said to have replied to one man who was suppliantly begging for burial that “That will belong to the jurisdiction of the birds”’). My thanks to Dr. Arthur Robinson for his comments on this text.
10 Tac. Ann. 6.29.1: nam promptas eius modi mortes metus carnificis faciebat, et quia damnati publicatis bonis sepultura prohibebantur. On Ann. 6.29.1 and Suet. Aug. 13.1–2, cf. Brown, The Death of the Messiah, 1207–8.
11 Tac. Ann. 6.19.3. Cp. Liv. 29.18.14 (204 bce) where the legate, Quintus Pleminius, tortured some military tribunes with ‘servile tortures’, crucified them, and did not allow them to be buried and Suet. Ves. 2.3 (unburied conspirators).
12 Eusebius H.E. 5.1.61–62. Brown, The Death of the Messiah, 1207, errs in his statements that the martyrs of Lyons were crucified and were convicted for maiestas. Maiestas is not mentioned by Eusebius and is a topic in the ongoing debate on the legal basis for the persecution of the Christians. Barnes, T. D., ‘Legislation Against the Christians’, JRS 78 (1968) 32–50 remains the seminal contribution in recent years.
13 Ps. Paulus lib. I sententiarum in Dig. 48.24.3. Trans. in Watson, Digest, 4.377. On the Sententiae, cf. Schiller, A. A., Roman Law: Mechanisms of Development (The Hague/New York: Mouton, 1978) 46–8 and T. Honoré, ‘Iulius Paulus’, OCD 3, 785–6. In a constitution of March 25, 290 to Gaudentius (Codex Iust. 3.44.11) Diocletian and Maximianus wrote: obnoxios criminum digno supplicio subiectos supulturae tradi non vetamus (we do not prohibit those guilty of crimes who have been subjected to just punishment to be handed over for burial).
14 Against a conviction for crimen maiestatis, to be discussed further below: Aubert, J.-J., ‘A Double Standard in Roman Criminal Law? The Death Penalty and Social Structure in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome’, Speculum Iuris: Roman Law as a Reflection of Social and Economic Life in Antiquity (ed. Aubert, J.-J. and Sirks, B.; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2002) 94–133, esp. 122 n. 118 (a model of clarity). Jesus' status as a peregrinus and his lower-class social standing are against a conviction for maiestas.
15 See the accusation that a governor of Syria (Piso) crucified soldiers who were peregrini in Potter, D. S., ed., and Damon, C., trans., ‘The Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone Patre’, American Journal of Philology 120 (1999) 13–41, esp. 20–2 and Das Senatus consultum de Cn. Pisone patre (ed. W. Eck, A. Caballos, and F. Fernández Gómez; Vestigia 48; Munich: Beck, 1996) 42 (text), 169–72 (commentary). Cp. Cook, ‘Envisioning Crucifixion’, 272–3.
16 Hengel, M., Crucifixion in the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977) 47.
17 Josephus A.J. 17.295.
18 Josephus B.J. 2.75. On these texts, cf. Chapman, D., Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion (WUNT 2/244; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008) 70–1. As. Mos. 6.7–9 probably describes the same event. See Kuhn, H.-W. ‘Die Kreuzesstrafe während der frühen Kaiserzeit. Ihre Wirklichkeit und Wertung in der Umwelt des Urchristentums’, ANRW II.25.1 (1982) 648–793, esp. 707.
19 Mason, H. J., Greek Terms for Roman Institutions: A Lexicon and Analysis (ASP 13; Toronto: Hakkert, 1974) does not include either Greek term in his dictionary. A discussion of the recovery of dotal property in the case of Gracchus's widow, Licinnia, is in Basilica 28.8.63 (ὅτι παρʼ αἰτίαν αὐτοῦ στάσις γέγονε καὶ ἐν τῇ στάσει ἀπώλοντο) par. Dig. 24.3.66.pr. quod res dotales in ea seditione, qua Gracchus occisus erat perissent (because her dotal property had perished in that sedition, in which Gracchus was killed).
20 Josephus B.J. 2.253. Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions, 81 and Kuhn, ‘Kreuzesstrafe’, 711.
21 Josephus B.J. 2.235. In A.J. 20.161, the parallel to B.J. 2.253, crucifixion is not mentioned.
22 Kuhn, ‘Kreuzesstrafe’, 706–18, 733. In my view Kuhn's exegesis of Josephus's and Philo's texts is successful. To my knowledge, the only pagan critic of Christianity who claimed Jesus actually committed rebel actions was Hierocles, who both wrote against Christianity and participated in the Great Persecution. Cf. Lact. Inst. 5.3.4 (SC 204, 140 Monat): ipsum autem Christum adfirmauit a Iudaeis fugatum collecta nongentorum hominum manu latrocinia fecisse (He affirmed that Christ himself, having fled from the Jews, collected a band of 900 men and committed acts of robbery). Cp. Cook, J. G., The Interpretation of the New Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism (STAC 3; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000) 269–70 (with ref. to a tradition of the Slavonic Josephus in which a large group, after seeing Jesus' healings, asks him to enter Jerusalem, kill the Roman troops and Pilate and reign over them). Celsus compares Jesus unfavorably to a robber captain who at least can inspire loyalty in his followers (unlike Jesus who was betrayed by his followers) in Origen Cels. 2.12, and he calls Jesus ‘author of the [Christian] sedition’ in 8.14 (τῆς στάσεως ἀρχηγέτης).
23 In Cassius Dio 54.3.7 (22 bce) a master, after having led his slave through the Forum with an inscription (μετὰ γραμμάτων) explaining the death penalty, has him crucified. Kuhn, ‘Kreuzesstrafe’, 735 denies that this text is a titulus for a cross, but is simply the placard that criminals had to carry before execution.
24 [Quint.] Decl. min. 380.2, cf. the trans. in [Quintilian], The Lesser Declamations (2 vols.; D. R. Shackleton Bailey; LCL; Cambridge, MA/London: Harvard University, 2006) 2.407.
25 Liebs, D. (a legal historian), Vor den Richtern Roms: Berühmte Prozesse der Antike (Munich: Beck: 2007), 101 assumes the validity of the titulus (despite its variations in the gospels) and observes that it presupposes a formal trial.
26 Dig. 48.24.1, quoted above in § 1.
27 Brown, R. E., ‘The Burial of Jesus (Mark 15:42–47)’, CBQ 50 (1988) 233–45, esp. 241. He became more circumspect in his investigation of the passion, to be quoted below. Jossa, G., Jews or Christians: The Followers of Jesus in Search of their own Identity (WUNT 202; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006) 57 (laesa maiestas), Welch, J. H., ‘Miracles, Maleficium, and Maiestas in the Trial of Jesus’, Jesus and Archaeology (ed. Charlesworth, J. H.; Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans, 2006) 349–83, esp. 350, 370–3 (maiestas and maleficium, a charge of the Sanhedrin presented to Pilate). With regard to maleficium, Mommsen, T. (Römisches Strafrecht [Leipzig: Dunker, 1899] 640 n. 3) only found technical legal uses of the word (maleficus) in texts beginning with the time of Diocletian. Cf. Collatio legum mosaicarum et romanorum 15.3 (Fontes iuris romani antejustiniani [ed. S. Riccobono et al.; 3 vols.; Florence: Barbèra, 1968–72] 2.580).
28 On this point see Chilton, C. W., ‘The Roman Law of Treason under the Early Principate’, JRS 45 (1955) 73–81, esp. 77. Chilton shows that perduellio ‘was obsolete long before the accession of Tiberius' and that ‘in the jurists the term is only used twice outside of Ulpian’.
29 Sherwin-White, A. N., ‘The Trial of Christ in the Synoptic Gospels’, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament: The Sarum Lectures 1960–1961 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1963) 24–47, esp. 46: Pilate accepted the Sanhedrin's sentence (death because of blasphemy, for which they substituted sedition), Watson, A., The Trial of Jesus (Athens, GA: University of Georgia, 1995), 75 (sedition).
30 Liebs, Vor den Richtern, 213–14 gathers a representative collection.
31 Brown, The Death of the Messiah, 1208.
32 John 19.12 does not closely resemble any of the occurrences of maiestas in Tacitus (who describes many uses of it in trials), since Jesus is not openly accused of leading a revolt against the people of Rome: Ann. 1.72.2 (diminishing the army by betrayal and the people by sedition), 1.74.1 (telling bad stories about Tiberius), 2.50.1 (insulting the deified Augustus), 3.24.2 (the sexual liaisons of Augustus's daughter and granddaughter), 3.38.2 (involvement with an individual planning war against Rome), 3.44.3 (leading a revolt against Rome), 4.19.4 (complicity in a revolt); 4.30.2 (supplying funds for a revolt, cf. 4.28.2), 4.34.2 (writing a book praising Brutus and Cassius), 4.42.1–3 (words that offended the emperor), 12.42.3 (desire for the empire), 14.48.1 (verses against Nero). For a review of the trials under Tiberius see Rogers, R. S., Criminal Trials and Criminal Legislation under Tiberius (Middletown, CT: American Philological Association, 1935). He (105, 208) thinks Jesus was crucified for perduellio.
33 Ulpian lib. VII de officio proconsulis, in Dig. 48.4.1.pr-1. Trans. of Watson, Digest, 4.316. Aubert, ‘Double Standard’, 122 n. 118 remarks that Ulpian's definition is ‘somewhat anachronistic for the early first century A.D.’.
34 Modestinus, lib. VI differentiarum in Dig. 49.1.16. Trans. of Pölönen, J., ‘Plebeians and Repression of Crime in the Roman Empire: From Torture of Convicts to Torture of Suspects’, RIDA 51 (2004) 217–57, esp. 241. Ps. Paulus Sent. 5.26.1 and Dig. 48.6.7 show that the law of appeals was part of the lex Julia de vi publica.
35 Marcianus lib. XIV institutionum in Dig. 48.6.3.pr. Trans. of Watson, Digest, 4.330. All of Dig. 48.6 is about the Julian law on public violence. Sedition could also be prosecuted under the lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficis (Marcianus lib. XIV institutionum in Dig. 188.8.131.52 qui auctor seditionis fuerit [likewise one who has been the fomenter of sedition]). On that law see Ferrary, J.-L., ‘Lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficis’, Athenaeum 79 n.s. 69 (1991) 417–34, Cloud, J. D., ‘The Primary Purpose of the lex Cornelia de sicariis’, ZSRG.R 86 (1969) 258–86.
36 Callistratus lib. VI de cognitionibus in Dig. 184.108.40.206.
37 Ps. Paulus Sent. 5.22.1. The parallel passage in Dig. 220.127.116.11, after Constantine's prohibition of crucifixion (Aurelius Victor Caes. 41.4, Sozomen H.E. 1.8.13), changed crux (cross) to furca (fork). Codex Iust. 9.30 also comprises laws against sedition.
38 Plin. Ep. Tr. 10.117.
39 Ulpian De procons. VII in Dig. 1.18.13.pr.
40 Brown, The Death of the Messiah, 719.
41 I take this point from a comment of Prof. Sirks.
42 Liebs, Vor den Richtern, 99.
43 The only hint of such an action is Tac. Ann. 15.44.3, repressaque in praesens exitiabilis superstitio rursum erumpebat non modo per Iudaeam … (and having been repressed for the moment, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judaea…). This is probably Tacitus's own conclusion based on Pilate's execution of Jesus. Prof. Sirks informs me that Jesus' followers were not prosecuted, because ‘the penalty is against the concitatores seditionum, the inciters of it, which Jesus might be considered with some bad will’.
44 Yadin, Y., ‘Epigraphy and Crucifixion’, IEJ 23  18–22. See Zias, J. and Sekeles, E., ‘The Crucified Man from Givʿat ha-Mivtar: A Reappraisal’, IEJ 35 (1985) 22–7 (they show that the interpretation, advocated by individuals such as Kuhn, ‘Kreuzesstrafe’, 716 in which both heels were transfixed by the nail, is incorrect) and Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions, 86–8.
45 Kuhn, ‘Kreuzesstrafe’, 725. Joseph Zias, who has carefully analyzed the skeletal remains, concurs with this judgment, per a private communication with the author.
46 Zias, J., ‘Human Skeletal Remains from the Mount Scopus Tomb’, ʿAtiqot 21 (1992) 97–103, esp. 101 (a mutilated male [18–21 years old], probably a captive, in ossuary No. 18 who suffered a shearing blow to the left side of the skull; his left arm ‘was struck twice by a heavy instrument, probably an axe or saber’; another blow sheared the shoulder joint and penetrated deeply into his body). He additionally refers to Zias and Sekeles, ‘The Crucified Man’, 22–7 and Zias, J., ‘Anthropological Evidence of Interpersonal Violence in First Century A.D. Jerusalem’, Current Anthropology 24 (1983) 233–4 (the two decapitations).
47 Zias, ‘Anthropological Evidence’, 101.
48 Var. L. 5.25.
49 Urbicus, Agennius, De controversiis agrorum (Corpus agrimensorum romanorum [ed. Thulin, C.; BiTeu; Stuttgart: Teubner, 1971] 47,1–2).
50 Hinard and Dumont, Libitina, II.13–14 (18). Cf. Cook, ‘Envisioning Crucifixion’, 265, 274, 280.
51 See the commentary of Hinard and Dumont, Libitina, 121. For abandoned corpses they refer to Tac. Ann. 15.60.2, locum servilibus poenis sepositum (the place specially reserved for the punishment of slaves). Var. L. 5.25 also mentions this place ‘beyond the Esquiline hill’. Cf. Bodel, J., ‘Graveyards and Groves: A study of the Lex Lucerina’, American Journal of Ancient History 11 (1986 ) 1–133, esp. 81, 107. Plautus Ps. 332 mentions the executioners there.
52 Aubert, ‘Corpse Disposal’, 145. In Roman texts the hook can be an instrument for torture, execution, or for dragging corpses (Cic. Rab. Perd. 5.16, Suet. Tib. 61.4).
53 Aubert, ‘Corpse Disposal’, 145 with reference to the three excerpts in Dig. 48.24.1–3.
54 Hinard and Dumont, Libitina, 121. This power extended beyond the punishment of slaves. They also mention Dig. 48.24.1.
55 Bodel, J., ‘Dealing with the Dead: Undertakers, Executioners and Potter's Fields in Ancient Rome’, Death and Disease in the Ancient City (ed. Hope, V. M. and Marshall, E.; London/New York: Routledge, 2000) 128–51, esp. 131 (the burial pits had been covered over by rubble fifty years before Horace's potter's field was used).
56 Bodel, ‘Dealing with the Dead’, 132.
57 Bodel, ‘Dealing with the Dead’, 133 with ref. to Cassius Dio 48.43.3 (in 38 bce the Senate also decreed that no bodies could be burned within two miles of Rome) and Porphyrion at Hor. Sat. 1.8.11 (Scholia antiqua in Q. Horatium Flaccum [ed. A. Holder; Ad Aeni Pontem: Wagner, 1894] 272,24–5: public crematoria, <Commune sepulchrum> urbanissime dicitur haec regio, namque publicas ustrinas habebat), and 1.8.14 (273,7–8 Holder: the crematoria were moved away from the Esquiline making it more healthy, Nunc licet Esquiliis habitare[s] salubribus: Scilicet, quia promotae longius ustrinae, salubres factae sunt Esquiliae). Cf. Bodel, ‘Dealing with the Dead’, 128–34 on the whole issue. Bodel notes that it is unclear whether the crematoria in Porphyrion's remark on 1.8.14 are public or private (133).
58 This per a communication from Joseph Zias. He does note that many hyena caves in the region he has excavated contain gnawed human bones.
59 The ‘usual’ examples include: Hor. Ep. 1.16.48, Petr. 58.2, Juv. 14.77–78. A snake, wrapped around the head of the crucified corpse of Cleomenes (Plutarch Cleom. 39.1) keeps flesh-eating birds away. In Prud. Peri. 11.65–6 the judge tells the torturer: crux istum tollat in auras / uiuentesque oculos offerat alitibus (let the cross lift that one into the sky, and let him offer his living eyes to the birds).
60 Pl. Mil. 372–3.
61 , J. and Robert, L., Fouilles d'Amyzon en Carie I: Exploration, historie, monnaies et inscriptions (Paris: de Boccard, 1983) 259–63; Llewelyn, S. R., New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity: A Review of the Greek Inscriptions and Papyri Published 1984–1985, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1998) 1–3 (his trans. slightly modified). Llewelyn (p. 3) shows that it is unclear whether the area was under Roman influence or free at the time of the inscription. Hengel, Crucifixion, 9 quotes an image of the crucified as οἰωνῶν κατάδειπνα, κυνῶν θʼ ἑλκύσματα δεινά (evil food for birds of prey and grim pickings for dogs) from Ps. Manetho Apotelesmatica 4.200.
62 Sen. Con. 8.4.1. Trans. modified of Hengel, Crucifixion, 75. This is similar to a form of burial Silius Italicus (13.486–7) attributes to the Scythians: at gente in Scythica suffixa cadauera truncis / lenta dies sepelit putri liquentia tabo (and among the Scythian people, slow day buries cadavers fastened to trees, melting in rotting corruption).
63 Luc. 6.543–9, trans. of Lucan, The Civil War (J. D. Duff; LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University; London: Heinemann, 1928) 343–5.
64 Plutarch An. vit. 499D. Trans. of Plutarch Moralia, vol. 6 (W. G. Helmbold; LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University; London: Heinemann, 1939) 371. Cic. Tusc. 1.102 has a similar response of Theodorus to king Lysimachus who threatened him with crucifixion. He told him to threaten his own court officials and that he did not care whether he rotted in the air or in the ground: cui cum Lysimachus rex crucem minaretur, ‘istis, quaeso’ inquit ‘ista horribilia minitare purpuratis tuis: Theodori quidem nihil interest, humine an sublime putescat’. The tyrant threatens death and lack of burial in Sen. Dial. 9.14.3.
65 In Artemidorus Onir. 2.53, dreaming of crucifixion is bad for wealthy people: γυμνοὶ γὰρ σταυροῦνται καὶ τὰς σάρκας ἀπολλύουσιν οἱ σταυρωθέντες (for they are crucified nude, and those who are crucified lose their flesh).
66 Valerius Maximus 6.9. ext.5.
67 Apul. Met. 6.32.
68 m. Yeb. 16:3. Cf. Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions, 198.
69 Semaḥot 2.11 [44b] in Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions, 199–200 (trans.). Text of Zlotnick, D., The Tractate Mourning (New Haven: Yale University, 1966) 4.
70 Testimonia de astrologiis Romanis (CAG VIII.4; 101,7–8 Cumont). Cf. variations in Suet. Dom. 15.3 and Cassius Dio (excerpta Salmasiana [CUFr; III, 765,24–31 Boissevain]).
71 Crossan, Jesus, 127 (referring to Hengel, Crucifixion, 9, 58, 76).
72 Weber, H.-R., The Cross: Tradition and Interpretation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979) 6 estimates a height of seven feet, so that wild animals could tear the bodies apart.
73 In a private communication. Cf. Aubert, ‘Double Standard’, 130 with ref. to Callistratus [era of Septimius Severus], lib. VI de cognitionibus in Dig. 18.104.22.168 where notorious bandits are nailed to furcae (forks) to deter other criminals and to console the families of the murdered victims. Furcae has replaced cruces (crosses) in the original text.
74 Petr. 112.5–8. Phaed. frag. 15 has a shorter version of the tale.
75 [Quint.] Decl. maior. 6.9 (Declamationes XIX maiores Quintiliano falso ascriptae [ed. L. Håkanson; BiTeu; Stuttgart: Teubner, 1982] 120,19–20). Trans. modified of Sussman, L. A., The Major Declamations Ascribed to Quintilian: A Translation (Frankfurt am Main/New York: P. Lang, 1987) 75. Michelfeit, J., ‘Das “Christenkapitel” des Tacitus’, Gym. 73 (1966) 514–40, esp. 538 argues, from this one text, that crosses were only used once—an inference based on too little evidence.
76 Aubert, ‘Double Standard’, 117 and n. 97.
77 I thank Prof. Aubert for making this point to me.
78 Cic. 2 Verr. 1.7. Trans. of Cicero, The Verrine Orations (vol. 1; L. H. G. Greenwood; LCL; Cambridge, MA/London: Harvard University/Heinemann, 1928) 127. Verres charged fees for burial after another execution (2. Verr. 5.134 mercedem funeris et sepulturae).
79 Cic. 2 Verr. 4.26.
80 Philo Flacc. 83. Trans. of Philo, vol. 9 (F. H. Colson; LCL; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1985). Chapman (Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions, 77) draws attention to the Jews' opposition to leaving ‘suspended human bodies unburied’. Crossan, Jesus, 141 is aware of this text, but does not use it to revise his position on Jesus' body being consumed by dogs.
81 Philo Flacc. 84.
82 Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions, 77 argues that ‘Apparently, even the Romans believed that leaving the bodies unburied during a festival committed a sacrilegious offense’ with reference to this text of Philo and John 19.31.
83 Josephus, B.J. 4.317. Zias, J. and Gorski, A., ‘Capturing a Beautiful Woman at Masada’, Near Eastern Archaeology 69 (2006) 45–8, esp. 47 argue that the skeletal remains of two unburied males in the Northern Palace of Masada were possibly left there by the zealots (there is some doubt about the age of one of the males). The rebels, according to the archaeological evidence, did not use the Northern Palace after 66 ce.
84 For Deut 21.23 and Jewish concern for burial see Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions, 137–8, 176, 216.
85 Cohen, A., The Hebrew English Edition of the Babylonian Talmud: Minor Tractates (London: Soncino, 1984) 44b (1) has ‘from the time that [the relatives] despaired in their appeal [for the body to be delivered to them for burial]’.
86 Semaḥot 2.9 (44b). Text from Zlotnick, Tractate Mourning, 4 and comm. on 104. Trans. of Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions, 200–201. A few lines later (Semaḥot 2.11 [44b]), there is the discussion (quoted above) of how long a wife shall live in a city after her husband was crucified.
87 He refers to Zlotnick, Tractate Mourning, 4.
88 For example, the Platonist critics of Christianity (Celsus, Porphyry, Hierocles, Julian, and Macarius's anonymous pagan philosopher), while not accepting the resurrection of Christ, do not (according to the surviving evidence) reject the historicity of the burial. Cf. Cook, The Interpretation of the New Testament and Mitchell, M. M., ‘Origen, Celsus and Lucian on the “Dénouement of the Drama” of the Gospels’, Reading Religions in the Ancient World: Essays Presented to Robert McQueen Grant on his 90th Birthday (ed. Aune, D. E. and Young, R. D.; NovTSup 125; Leiden: Brill, 2007) 215–36.
* My thanks to the reader and general editor for their many critical remarks on the article. I am also indebted to the following scholars who made comments: Paul J. Achtemeier, Jean-Jacques Aubert, A. J. Boudewijn Sirks, and William Turpin. I thank archaeologist Joseph Zias for much helpful information on burial in Roman Judaea.
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