Carrying a patibulum: A Reassessment of Non-Christian Latin Sources

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That Jesus carried the horizontal bar of the cross, also named patibulum, is often assumed, and argued by John Granger Cook. Gunnar Samuelsson disagrees, however, and argued that we grope in the dark about the exact nature of the σταυρός that Jesus carried. Both major crucifixion scholars refer in their argumentation to Latin sources in which a patibulum is carried. But these sources have not been thoroughly assessed on their own. In this article the eight Latin sources mentioned in support of the ancient practice are analysed. It is argued that only four of these sources should be counted as referring to ‘traditional’ cross-bearing practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0028688519000481
Pages (from-to)433-453
Number of pages21
JournalNew Testament Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • cross-bearing
  • crucifixion
  • interpretation
  • patibulum
  • punishment


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