I have always said that people were crucified by being nailed through their *wrists* instead of their hands. I had heard that in college when I was maybe 18, and I’ve been saying it ever since. And I still say it because it’s apparently true. But I never knew how we knew. Was it simply common sense that a nail/stake through the hand would rip out, and needed to go between two strong bones? Or did we have some evidence? And if it’s true that the nail/stake went through the wrist, why do virtually *all* the artistic representations show the holes in the hands?
There are entire books on crucifixion in antiquity – I don’t mean books about the significant of Jesus’ death, but on what crucifixion actually involved. When I was in grad school I read Martin Hengel’s brief study; in more recent days John Granger Cook has written a massive tome, which I’ve looked at but haven’t read cover-to-cover (it’s amazing what I haven’t read….). I’m sure it is the drop -dead authoritative account. And he probably covers the topic. But it’s never been an issue pressing enough for me to read around about.
Until today, by complete serendipity.
Let me give a *bit* of background to set the stage, to deal with a couple of points that will immediately be raised in the minds of some of you.
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