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Tertullian was Right About the Shape of the Cross

In the midst of the excitement about the discovery of the small lead books that date from the earliest days of Christianity, this of note:

Philip Davies, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament Studies at Sheffield University, says the most powerful evidence for a Christian origin lies in plates cast into a picture map of the holy city of Jerusalem.

“As soon as I saw that, I was dumbstruck. That struck me as so obviously a Christian image,” he says.

“There is a cross in the foreground, and behind it is what has to be the tomb [of Jesus], a small building with an opening, and behind that the walls of the city. There are walls depicted on other pages of these books too and they almost certainly refer to Jerusalem.”

It is the cross that is the most telling feature, in the shape of a capital T, as the crosses used by Romans for crucifixion were.

“It is a Christian crucifixion taking place outside the city walls,” says Mr Davies.

Tertullian made exactly the same observation about the shape of what Our Lord was nailed to almost two centuries later:

For this same letter Tau of the Greeks, which is our T, has the appearance of the cross, which he foresaw we should have on our foreheads in the true and catholic Jerusalem… (Adversus Marcionem, III, 22)

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, enamoured as they are with the “torture stake” business, are going to hate this…

Patristics pays.


2 Replies to “Tertullian was Right About the Shape of the Cross”

  1. Beginning with their moniker, the JW’s have never let facts get in the way of their belief system. “Jehovah” is a made-up name that has very little to do with the Tetragrammaton, which is the actual Name of God in the Old Testament.

    I dunno about you, but I can spot ’em a mile away, and when they approach, they don’t even have to identify themselves before I’ve put my question to them, which is always the same: “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son?”

    They always hem and haw and say things like, “We believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” Eventually, of course, they have to say, “No” because they are neo-Arian.

    I then say, “Well, as long as you do not believe that Jesus is God the Son, then we have nothing to talk about.”


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