The True Cross

iBrian

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I found an interesting article frmo a site I periodically visit. The article itself is quite long, so I'll post some excerpts for discussion. Really, the whole topics is quite fascinating. :)

From http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/bswb_BR/bswbbr1904f1.html

The True Cross - Separating Myth from History

In the days of Constantine the Great, the cross on which Jesus died was “rediscovered” in Jerusalem. Tradition gives Constantine’s mother, Helena, full credit for the find. Today, visitors to Jerusalem are shown the very spot, in a cistern beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the empress is said to have unearthed not only the true cross, but the nails that punctured Jesus’ hands and feet, the crosses of the two thieves who died beside Jesus, and the plaque, naming Jesus “King of the Jews,” that hung on his cross.

For her efforts, Helena was named a saint by the Roman Catholic and Eastern churches; in art, the cross became her symbol. In more recent times, she has been hailed as the first biblical archaeologist.

[Yet] Helena’s name was linked indelibly with the cross she never [actually] found.
The article is quite interesting - it describes how essentially the whole issue was invented for political purposes, not by Constantine or his family, or even the sycophants who followed them - but because of factional wrangling between Jurusalem and Caesarea.

This is the sort of Biblical archaeological honesty that I really like - not least, because the warts are acknowledged as warts. all too often "Biblical Archaeology" is seen as primarily a propaganda machine, divorced fom "real archaeology" by an underlying agenda to prove set assumptions. That's why articles from this site can be so refreshing. There's also an excellent examination of a range of historical sources, and plenty of questions raised and addressed. The fact that the conclusion points very much to politics only as the real source for the legend of the fragment of the True Cross being found shows the integrity of the search. And it's gratifying to see that the simple blame against the family of Constantine is avoided - notably, because the sources suggest otherwise.

Personally, I'm fascinated by early church history - I admit I don;t know as muchas I should - which is why encountering such articles as this is always refreshing and satisfying.
 
you may be interested in these books:
Jesus The Heretic, Bloodline of the Holy Grail, Gnostic Gospels.
 
It sounds like an interesting article yet the link does not work for me.
 
Whoops - yes, I goofed the link...all fixed up now, though. :)

As for CE - yes, it's a name for dating commonly used by Christian groups - CE= Common Era, and is, for all practical purposes, the same as AD. BCE is also sometimes used - which means Before Common Era, and if effectively the same as BC.
 
I said:
As for CE - yes, it's a name for dating commonly used by Christian groups . . . .QUOTE]

Actually, it's used by NON-Christian groups. I believe it was first popularized by Jewish authors who pointed out--rightly--that "B.C." (Before Christ) and "A.D. (Anno Domini, or Year of our Lord) suggests a Christian dominance in current culture that can be offensive to non-Christians. "Current Era" and "Before Current Era" are less one-sided.
 
Ah - thanks for the correction. :) For some reason though it doesn't seem well used outside of some theological circles. I guess that's why I saw it as being a particularly Christian issue.
 
From Religious Tolerance.org:

CE stands for "Common Era." It is a relatively new term that is experiencing increased usage and is eventually expected to replace AD. The latter is an abbreviation for "Anno Domini" in Latin or "the year of the Lord" in English. The latter refers to the approximate birth year of Yeshua ben Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ). CE and AD have the same and value. 2004 CE = 2004 AD.

BCE stands for "Before the common era." It is eventually expected to replace BC, which means "Before Christ." BC and BCE are also identical in value. Most theologians and religious historians believe that the approximate birth date of Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus) was in the fall, sometime between 7 and 4 BCE, although we have seen estimates as late as 4 CE and as early as the second century BCE.

Of course, one can always interpret the letter "C" in CE and BCE as referring to "Christian" or "Christ's." The Abbreviations Dictionary does exactly this. 1

"Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia" states that the new notation is used by "Many non-Christians or secular persons." However, we suspect that the majority of users are actually Christians who want a notation that does not offend or distress persons of other religions. 2

The word "common" simply means that this is the most frequently used calendar system: the Gregorian Calendar. There are many religious calendars in existence, but each of these are normally in use in only a small geographic area of the world -- typically by followers of a single religion.


My understanding is that the abbreviations "CE" and "BCE" were carefully chosen to accomodate both "Common Era" and "Christian Era".
 
However, to contribute something more germain to the thread, here are Mark Twain's thoughts on the True Cross, from
The Innocent's Abroad:

We were shown the place where our Lord appeared to His mother after the Resurrection. Here, also, a marble slab marks the place where St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, found the crosses about three hundred years after the Crucifixion. According to the legend, this great discovery elicited extravagant demonstrations of joy. But they were of short duration. The question intruded itself: "Which bore the blessed Saviour, and which the thieves?" To be in doubt, in so mighty a matter as this--to be uncertain which one to adore--was a grievous misfortune. It turned the public joy to sorrow. But when lived there a holy priest who could not set so simple a trouble as this at rest? One of these soon hit upon a plan that would be a certain test. A noble lady lay very ill in Jerusalem. The wise priests ordered that the three crosses be taken to her bedside one at a time. It was done. When her eyes fell upon the first one, she uttered a scream that was heard beyond the Damascus Gate, and even upon the Mount of Olives, it was said, and then fell back in a deadly swoon. They recovered her and brought the second cross. Instantly she went into fearful convulsions, and it was with the greatest difficulty that six strong men could hold her. They were afraid, now, to bring in the third cross. They began to fear that possibly they had fallen upon the wrong crosses, and that the true cross was not with this number at all. However, as the woman seemed likely to die with the convulsions that were tearing her, they concluded that the third could do no more than put her out of her misery with a happy dispatch. So they brought it, and behold, a miracle! The woman sprang from her bed, smiling and joyful, and perfectly restored to health. When we listen to evidence like this, we cannot but believe. We would be ashamed to doubt, and properly, too. Even the very part of Jerusalem where this all occurred is there yet. So there is really no room for doubt.

The priests tried to show us, through a small screen, a fragment of the genuine Pillar of Flagellation, to which Christ was bound when they scourged him. But we could not see it, because it was dark inside the screen. However, a baton is kept here, which the pilgrim thrusts through a hole in the screen, and then he no longer doubts that the true Pillar of Flagellation is in there. He can not have any excuse to doubt it, for he can feel it with the stick. He can feel it as distinctly as he could feel any thing.

Not far from here was a niche where they used to preserve a piece of the True Cross, but it is gone, now. This piece of the cross was discovered in the sixteenth century. The Latin priests say it was stolen away, long ago, by priests of another sect. That seems like a hard statement to make, but we know very well that it was stolen, because we have seen it ourselves in several of the cathedrals of Italy and France.
 
Well to add another pebble to the pond, the 'Original Cross' is the Sacred Golden Ankh found in Egypt, Africa and Peru.

The golden Ankh unites both the womb of creation with the masculine.

When worn it also align's one's energies.

The Ankh is the 'Key of Life' and also a symbol of salvation. I was told that when this cross returns to its rightful place, salvation of humanity will have been achieved.

So it begs the question why did the Church choose to remove the divine feminine and the womb of creation from the cross?

Love beyond measure

Sacredstar
 
The cross used today is also a common form throughout history and cultures, though - not sure if the church ever removed a feminine form from the imagery, but in early Christianity, the cross was represented by "X" instead of the modern "t" form - and is pretty well known in early Christianity as the chio-rho symbol, with a "crucified" P upon the chi (cross). Not sure when or what that symbol changed.
 
I find it interesting that the cross of Christ and the two theives would be nestled away anywhere, considering the fact that the Romans left the head post buried in the ground (about 6 feet), with a mortise joint cut about 12 feet up off the ground, in order to fit the cross beam in for the next criminal (the beam that held the arms of the convicted. This was done so all could see the results for at least 3 to 5 miles. I also wonder about the fact that any cross of such magnitude (size) would be carried anywhere easily, let alone stashed away in some cellar, let alone three, considering the fact that they weighed in excess of 700 to 1000 pounds. What Jesus carried on his back to Golgotha was just the cross piece, and that weighed nearly 200 pounds.

Wood was scarce, and the Romans were nothing if not frugal, militarily. The Romans took one body down, and usually put another up immediately, on the same cross. The spikes were pulled from the wood and used on the next victim (unless they decided to just tie the arms to the cross beam, after breaking the legs of the crucified).

Helena was not made a saint right then and there, considering the fact that there was not a "Catholic Church" per say until two hundred years later.

Some scholars argue that the "cross" Constatine saw in his dream was not a cross at all, but an Ankh, and that is what he put on his soldier's shields before his victorious battle, and subsequent conversion to Christianity.

A good reference is "Church History in Plain Language" by Bruce L. Shelley, Copywright 1995.

v/r

Q
 
I think the true cross, is that which we choose to carry in life. In other words, we choose to restrain ourselves from our desires (for the most part).


v/r

Q
 
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