Surviving crucifixion

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It has been suggested by some scholars that Jesus Christ may have survived the Crucifixion.[1] Some refer to this as the "Swoon Theory".[2]

I must say the odds of surviving such a wound (the spear wound) for up to a week must be at least 10%. Throw in the chances of surviving a partial day of crucifixion (33%), and we get a chance of survival, with the spear wound, of 0.33 x 0.10 = 3.3%. With misdiagnosis as well, we get a final chance of 0.00599 x 0.033 = 0.00019767 (roughly 1 in 5000). But the account of his being speared is illogical and late. It appears only in John, the last of the gospels to be written (after 90 AD).[3]

The argument has been developed further, that Jesus was taken down before he collapsed and suffocated or that Jesus might have been taken down promptly after he collapsed, but before he suffocated. Possibly Jesus was drugged to make him appear dead.[4] This unusual event could only have occurred if one, some, or all of the Romans who would have been guarding the crucifix, had decided to let him survive; one scholar[5] suggests that perhaps Pontius Pilate had not fully washed his hands of the matter.

A number of gnostic accounts hint that Jesus survived crucifixion.[6] The Qur'an states that Jesus was not in fact crucified, but that either God or his disciples made it appear as though he was and that Jesus (or Isa as he's known to Muslims) was lifted body and soul into Heaven.[7] The Gospel of Barnabas supports this, but is probably a hoax.

Of course, it is at least equally likely that Jesus didn't survive crucifixion and his movement survived the calamitous loss of its lead figure by mass hallucinations and spectacularly successful exercises in cognitive dissonance.

The idea that Jesus survived the crucifixion was the basis for the D.H. Lawrence two-part short story "The Escaped Cock", issued by some more puritanical publishers under the title "The Man Who Died."

There is also the idea that Jesus survived the crucifixion, moved to France with his wife, Mary Magdalene, and their descendants formed all the royal houses of Europe; see Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

A similar alternate theory is advanced that he faked his death on the cross, knocked out a bunch of kids (again, with Mary), then got all fat Elvis-y. For details, refer to Garth Ennis' totally respectful treatise on religion, Preacher.

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