The Rejection of Pascal's Wager
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The Crucifixion as a Historical Event

According to all four gospels, Jesus was crucified in a place called Golgotha or Place of the Skull (Mark 15:2; Matthew 27:33; Luke 23:33; John 19:17). Tradition has it that this location is at the present site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is a little north of the palace of Herod. (See the Map of Jerusalem)

Of the fact that Jesus was crucified we can be reasonably certain. First we know that crucifixion was a well known form of capital punishment used by the Romans on slaves, pirates, political agitators and non-citizens. [1] We also find the tradition of Jesus being crucified in the very earliest Christian documents, the epistles of Saint Paul:

I Corinthians 1:23 (Also 2:2; 2:8)
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness

Galatians 2:20 (Also 5:24; 6:12,14)
I am crucified with Christ...

The earliest followers of Jesus were Jews, if the story was invented, it was unlikely that they would have chosen a crucified messiah, for the Torah has it that a hanged man is accursed of God (Deuteronomy 21:23). [2] These considerations show that the crucifixion itself is very likely a historical fact.

But it is important to note the difference in saying that Jesus was actually crucified and asserting that the crucifixion accounts in the gospels are true and historical. Each and every detail in the gospel must be studied on their own merits before their historicity can be determined. To make the matter clear, the only passage which I accept as very probably historical here is this:

Mark 15:24
And when they had crucified him...

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References

1.Riedel et.al., The Book of the Bible: p376
2.Guignebert, Jesus: p478-479

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