The Graffito about the Crucifixion

The Graffito about the Crucifixion July 23, 2022

In the non-Christian catacombs in Rome there is a famous graffito (see above) ridiculing Christian belief in a crucified God.  Several points of importance need to be stressed: 1) clearly enough even outsiders in the first century and afterwards knew Jesus was crucified on a cross, not impaled on a stake. This is confirmed not only in the New Testament but also by Tacitus the Roman historian, and by this graffito;  2) the gist of this graffito is ridiculing the idea that a God could get himself crucified.  The inscription speaks of Alexamenos worshipping his God, and the one of the cross has a donkey’s head. The implication is that this is an assine practice, so the graffito is strongly pejorative; 3) the evidence of the three sources makes very clear that denials that Jesus was crucified, or that God wouldn’t allow that to happen to a holy one like Jesus are simply historically false.  Jesus died during the reign of Pontius Pilate probably in April 30 A.D. and it was a scandal then, and continues to be for some even today.


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