The Crown of Thorns

Maribat

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
5,048
I wonder how woven in thorns would hold still to inflict pain? That must be some work for simple soldiers. Or are they high end artisans who can make elaborate crowns? Anyway such construction contradict all crowns we see in painings and icons.
 
Nov 2016
1,017
Germany
I wonder how woven in thorns would hold still to inflict pain?
The thing is said to have had 60-70 thorns, which can hurt, even if most of them are not placed in such a way that they sting. Literature even mentions 700 thorns sold to private collectors. But either way, I am neither convinced of the historical existence of the crown of thorns carrier nor - consequently - of the historicity of a crown of thorns. That the crown venerated from the 6th century onwards was genuine is highly doubtful anyway, because the Christian tradition at that time was already brimming with forgeries, above all the forged Pauline letters, at least those accepted also by apologists as false.

By the way, It would certainly not be a big deal to subject the object to a C14 analysis. Probably such a request has already been refused by decision makers, because they already suspect that the object is not 2000 years old, and want to prevent the beautiful thing from being removed completely from the list of super relics.
 
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Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,867
Blachernai
But either way, I am neither convinced of the historical existence of the crown of thorns carrier nor - consequently - of the historicity of a crown of thorns. That the crown venerated from the 6th century onwards was genuine is highly doubtful anyway, because the Christian tradition at that time was already brimming with forgeries, above all the forged Pauline letters, at least those accepted also by apologists as false.
Very early Christianity did not have a relic cult.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,756
Australia
Very early Christianity did not have a relic cult.
Yep. None of the relics associated with Jesus are genuine. All of those items were destroyed or lost long before anyone ever considered keeping them as souvenirs.

The relic industry was big business. This joke was making the rounds in the Middle East during the Crusades.

"Why are there no trees in Palestine?"
"Because every pilgrim has a piece of the true cross."
 
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Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,867
Blachernai
This joke was making the rounds in the Middle East during the Crusades.

"Why are there no trees in Palestine?"
"Because every pilgrim has a piece of the true cross."
Where's that from?

It boggles my mind how religious relics are discussed around here. Early Christianity didn't have a relic cult, which settles the question of the authenticity. However, the social value of relics, and the possibility of relics as diplomatic gifts that could be kept around for centuries seems to be instantly dismissed simply because the original isn't original.
 
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Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
My grandmother had a piece of the cross in a brooch, it must still be around somewhere, but no thorns alas; my grandfather, who was somewhat more sceptical about these matters, told me that someone in the Levant once tried to sell him a matchbox containing 'souffle de Jésus' (some of Jesus's breath).
 
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Nov 2016
1,017
Germany
Very early Christianity did not have a relic cult.
This is probably not true, since there is at least one source that reports of a cult around the bones of the martyr Polycarp (allegedly living around 150 CE), namely the letter ´Martyrdom of Polycarp´:

Polycarp 18:2
And so we afterwards took up his bones which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place (...)


However, all copies of the letter originate from later centuries, so that the authenticity of the Polycarp letter and thus also the authenticity of Polycarp himself is not assured. But as long as no valid refutation has taken place, one should carefully not exclude that in the 2nd century there were already first worships of relics in Christianity, no matter whether in connection with Polycarp or other martyrs, of whom we have no tradition.

But even if this (not original preserved and perhaps forged) letter did not exist, it would not be justified to write as categorically as you do that early Christianity knew no relics. After all, the knowledge about it might have been lost. At best you could then write that such practices are not known to us at that time.

None of the relics associated with Jesus are genuine. All of those items were destroyed or lost long before anyone ever considered keeping them as souvenirs.
On the one hand you doubt - with a high probability rightly - that none of the Jesus relics is genuine, but on the other hand you then assert without valid evidence that there were indeed objects which correspond to the description in the Gospels and which, as you write, have been destroyed or lost. So you change within two sentences the criteria that you apply to objects associated with Jesus: you doubt the allegedly concretely existing objects, while you consider the objects described only in old - and possibly fictional - texts to be (once) real.

Isn't that inconsistent?

It boggles my mind how religious relics are discussed around here. Early Christianity didn't have a relic cult, which settles the question of the authenticity. However, the social value of relics, and the possibility of relics as diplomatic gifts that could be kept around for centuries seems to be instantly dismissed simply because the original isn't original.
This argumentation is difficult to understand. You claim that even fake relics have a ´social value´. If you understand under ´social value´ that people are deliberately cheated in order to fill the coffers of the churches, and in exchange are given illusions in their heads that cloud their minds, then that seems to me a strange view of ´social value´. Also that the relics served as diplomatic gifts, can hardly be evaluated as ´social value´, because from it usually not the common people, but the rich elites profited.
 
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Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,867
Blachernai
This is probably not true, since there is at least one source that reports of a cult around the bones of the martyr Polycarp (allegedly living around 150 CE), namely the letter ´Martyrdom of Polycarp´:
Mid-second century is a long way from the time portrayed in the Gospels. More than enough time for all organics to have faded and a new ideas of sacred materiality to creep into Christian thought.

This argumentation is difficult to understand. You claim that even fake relics have a ´social value´. If you understand under ´social value´ that people are deliberately cheated in order to fill the coffers of the churches, and in exchange are given illusions in their heads that cloud their minds, then that seems to me a strange view of ´social value´. Also that the relics served as diplomatic gifts, can hardly be evaluated as ´social value´, because from it usually not the common people, but the rich elites profited.
People believe all sorts of things. Understanding their beliefs is key to the study of history.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
Yep. None of the relics associated with Jesus are genuine. All of those items were destroyed or lost long before anyone ever considered keeping them as souvenirs.

The relic industry was big business. This joke was making the rounds in the Middle East during the Crusades.

"Why are there no trees in Palestine?"
"Because every pilgrim has a piece of the true cross."
I think there is increasing reason to believe that the Oviedo sudarium and the shroud of Turin (which are interconnected) are in fact genuine, but that is a whole new discussion!