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3 years ago  ::  Jan 28, 2012 - 12:36AM #1
Michelle_b
Posts: 8

I have looked over most of their site, and I came across this one-


www.watchtower.org/e/bh/appendix_05.htm



Well, from reading about stauros, it has has a broader sense of meaning. It can mean cross or stake. So, how can they say it cannot mean a cross? I am new to reading about the Jehovah's Witness, so maybe I can get some help here.
Thank you.

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3 years ago  ::  Jan 30, 2012 - 3:46PM #2
Phronesis
Posts: 2,229

This is from Vine's Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament words:


"Stauros


Cross, Crucify: denotes, primarily, "an upright pale or stake." On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, "to fasten to a stake or pale," are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed "cross." The shape of the latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the "cross" of Christ."


That is NOT a Watchtower publication.


If one studies the history of the word stauros, it will be discovered that it originally did indeed mean "stake or upright pale" only. AFTER the idea that Jesus was executed on a cross began to be taught and inserted in translations of the Bible, stauros took on the additional, later meaning of cross.


Although Strong's gives one definition of stauros as "a cross" some lexicons will read "The Cross." (Upper case theirs) If I find it again I will supply the source; it has been a while since I used that one. That is important because the word itself did not originally have any relationship with any cross, but only after the idea was added to apostate Christianity.

"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen ... ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, that I am God." - Isaiah 43:10, 12, ASV.
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 30, 2012 - 3:52PM #3
Phronesis
Posts: 2,229

I found it: www.kypros.org/cgi-bin/lexicon


I typed in stavros (You have to use a V rather than a U)


Use the box on the left side and check "Ancient Greek"


Το λεξικό βρήκε 1 λέξη.
The dictionary found 1 word.

σταυρός ο = a stake the Cross
stavros o
"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen ... ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, that I am God." - Isaiah 43:10, 12, ASV.
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2012 - 11:48AM #4
Michelle_b
Posts: 8

Thank you for your reply, I was wondering if anyone read this part of the forum.  :)


I have been reading more of the Watchtower articles, they are interesting.  But I am still not  convinced about the stauros definition.  I found Strong's greek, and they say it means Cross.


concordances.org/greek/4716.htm


Also, can I ask, did the Watchtower ever believe the Cross was what Jesus died on at any time?  If so, why did they change their view?


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3 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2012 - 12:59PM #5
Phronesis
Posts: 2,229

FIRST, I apologize for it taking so long before you got a response. This board is virtually dead, although this is the place Beliefnet has set aside for thos who wish to ask us questions.


I just happened to look to see if anyone had posted anything lately, and found your question.


OK: I mentioned in my first response that Strong's gives one definition of stauros as cross. But I went on to point out that THAT definition came about as a result of some erroneously rendering stauros as "cross."


But yes, it was believed in the past that Jesus died on a cross. This was believed because our main Bible at that time was the KJV, which says "cross."


Over time, in studying the ancient languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, it was discovered that the word used was stauros, and that this meant "stake."


A big help is that another word is also used in the Bible for the instrument upon which Jesus was murdered. That word is xylon, which simply means "a piece if wood."


Interesting, the KJV renders this word as tree:


Acts 5:30 - "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."


1 Peter 2:24 - "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."


The only reason some dictionaries and lexicons use cross as a definition of stauros is because that is what the writers believe Jesus died on; there is no grammatical support for that definition.


The thing about the wayJehovah's Witnesses do research is this: We try to find the accurate meaning of whatever it is we are studying, and then we modify our beliefs, teachings, and practices to meet that knowledge. We do not try to force information to match our beliefs or preferences.

"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen ... ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, that I am God." - Isaiah 43:10, 12, ASV.
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3 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2012 - 9:54PM #6
Michelle_b
Posts: 8

No apology needed, but thanks. :)


I really wasn't exactly sure where to pose my question, I first went to the JW discussion forum, read some replies, and wasn't impressed, and I didn't want to debate, which is what it looks like that is what is going on there.  I wanted to discuss.  I don't like debating. :)


Ok, so how come that definition is erroneous?  I still am not understanding that.  I understand you say "Over time, in studying the ancient languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, it was discovered that the word used was stauros, and that this meant "stake", but I am looking on the internet and I see more valid reasons for stauros meaning Cross, than an upright stake.  Yes, I read where some see it as an upright stake, but there are more that say it means Cross.


I put on the internet "Scholars and what they think of stauros", and came up with this-


www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/cross-or-stak...



Now, again, I don't want to debate, I just want to know if you have read this, and what you think.


Thanks again for replying to me.

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2012 - 1:17PM #7
Phronesis
Posts: 2,229

I cannot really prove anything one way or another; all I can do is present evidence.


I have read much of what your link shows.


Here is one for you - a news story from ABC News and Good Morning America.


abcnews.go.com/GMA/jesus-christ-died-cro...


It is called "Jesus Christ May Not Have Died on Cross." You should find it interesting.


William (Phronesis)


 

"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen ... ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, that I am God." - Isaiah 43:10, 12, ASV.
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3 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2012 - 1:36PM #8
Michelle_b
Posts: 8

Hello William,


Thank you, that was interesting.


So, since it can't be proven one way or another, can I take it as not a big deal about the Cross and/or stake with the Watchtower Society?  And since it can't be proven either way, could the Watchtower Society accept that it is a possibility it could be a Cross that Christ died on? 



Michelle :)


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3 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2012 - 3:36PM #9
Phronesis
Posts: 2,229

I didn't say it cannot be proven, I said I cannot prove it, either way. All the evidence I have considered has convinced me that stauros = stake, never cross. It really does not matter the shape of the instrument upon which Jesus died, but the reasons people place such high importance on the idea of it being a cross is important.


The word stauros does mean stake, and if we try to force a meaning upon that word based on our beliefs, then we cannot be worshipping God in truth, as Jesus said we must. (John 4:24)


Here are a couple of more bits of evidence to consider:


First consider this comment in the book The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art: “It is strange, yet unquestionably a fact, that in ages long before the birth of Christ, and since then in lands untouched by the teaching of the Church, the Cross has been used as a sacred symbol. . . . The Greek Bacchus, the Tyrian Tammuz, the Chaldean Bel, and the Norse Odin, were all symbolised to their votaries by a cruciform device.”—By G. S. Tyack, London, 1900, p. 1.


The book The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons (London, 1896), adds: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . . It is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as ‘cross’ when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting ‘cross’ in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was for some reason or other assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape.”—Pp. 23, 24; see also The Companion Bible, 1974, Appendix No. 162.

"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen ... ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, that I am God." - Isaiah 43:10, 12, ASV.
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3 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2012 - 7:05PM #10
Michelle_b
Posts: 8

Hello William,


Ok, so YOU cannot prove it either way, sorry for wording that wrong.  And, you say all the evidence YOU have considered convinces you stauros = stake.  Ok, I can accept that.  Can you accept that others are convinced that stauros can = Cross?  I agree, it does not matter of the shape, and the improtance some people put on it.  We can agree on that. :)


Thank you for the information, I understand more now why the Jehovah's Witnesses believe stauros believes it is a stake.  But, I am not totally convinced myself.  Even with the information you gave me.  I am going to do some more research on it and see what I can find.  If I find something of importance I will post to you again.  You have been very nice and a big help!



Michelle :)

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