Spear of Destiny Term Paper

Pages: 28 (8372 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 28  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Crucifixion was considered such a humiliating form of punishment that if you were a Roman citizen, you couldn't be crucified, no matter what the offense. It was usually the execution of choice... For slaves and people considered beneath the dignity of Roman citizenship. It was a very slow and agonizing form of death. Victims of crucifixion could languish in agony on the cross for up to several days. The dying process could be shortened by breaking the victim's legs so that the victim could no longer push up with their feet for gasps of air. The thieves on both sides of Jesus had their legs broken, but when the Roman soldiers reached Jesus, one of them, reportedly a centurion named Gaius Cassius Longinus saw he was already dead and proved it to his fellows by using his spear to pierce the Christ's side. Blood and water poured out. There was no need to break his bones. One must remember, that prior to the cross Jesus has already been tortured via a brutal, all night scourging by Roman soldiers and probably was weak before being nailed to the cross" (Bible Probe, n.d.).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Spear of Destiny Assignment

There are numerous controversies surrounding the issue and history of the Spear. Among it, the actual name of the Roman soldier that drove the Spear through Christ. Most legends and sources suggest that his name was Longinus and that the spearing of Christ and His blood eventually cured him of blindness. At the same time though there are sources that suggest in fact that the name was different and that there are numerous holes in the legend / myth. More precisely, "in a miniature of the famous Syriac manuscript of the Laurentian Library at Florence, illuminated by one Rabulas in the year 586, the incident of the opening of Christ's side is given a prominence which is highly significant. Moreover, the name Longinus -- if, indeed, this is not a later addition -- is written in Greek characters (LOGINOS) above the head of the soldier who is thrusting his lance into our Saviour's side. This seems to show that the legend which assigns this name to the soldier (who, according to the same tradition, was healed of ophthalmia and converted by a drop of the precious blood spurting from the wound) is as old as the sixth century. And further it is tempting, even if rash, to conjecture that the name Logginos, or Logchinos is in some way connected with the lance (logche)" (Thurston, 1910) Therefore, it can be said that indeed, the legends and the myths surrounding the Spear have made it become an even greater mystery to scientists.

From the accounts mentioned above, the legend points out that in fact the Spear did not kill Christ, but rather that it was used as a means to prove the death of Christ and that there was no need to break his legs. From this point-of-view, the legends are numerous, as mentioned previously. However, what counts for the Spear element is that, regardless of the motives, touched Christ and His blood in plain sight and this action spurred and fueled the following legends and alleged mystical powers of the Spear. At the same time and in the same register, these legends are similar to the ones that eventually led to books being written about the actual crucifixion of Christ and how the depiction of the act in the biblical texts and the imagery are in fact not a reflection of the historical truth. More precisely, there are opinions that suggest the crucifixion is impossible to have been done as suggested in the images that are nowadays famous with Christ on the Cross because the nails had to be pushed through the joints of the members and not thru the feet and palms as this process would not have been able to support the weight of the body of the person on the Cross. This assumption led to the justification of the wounds of the Stigmatas and those of Father Pio, the first to experience the Stigmata wounds which are considered to be the same as those suffered by Christ. Overall, it can be said that given the subject at hand, it is very difficult to have an actual account of the origins and actual purpose of the Spear particularly because of the limited amount of written first hand resources available; the sources that are indeed available for research are most often legends that have been embellished through time, something that is very common for all religious, Christ related artifacts.

The use of the Spear to ensure that none of the bones of Christ is broken is significant for the subsequent legends related to the sacrifice that is brought about every Easter in religious beliefs. The role of legends is from this point-of-view extremely important particularly because it provided religious thoughts with aspects to be invoked and therefore build a support for traditions. More precisely, related to the aspect of broken bones, in the Bible and in particular the Gospel of John, "John sees a prophetic fulfillment in the fact that none of Jesus' bones were broken. The law of Moses stated that the lamb sacrificed for the Passover feast must not have any bones broken. "They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it." (Numbers 9:12). Jesus is the true Passover Lamb who delivers his people from death and who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29)" (Bible Probe, n.d.) This symbol together with other elements of the moment of Christ's crucifixion make the elements of the religious belief come together and place the Spear as part of a wider prophecy and therefore the spiking of Jesus with this particular Spear was not a random event, but rather one that links directly to God and the plans for civilization. From this point-of-view, the numerous people and personalities that tried to retrieve the Spear have been fueled by such beliefs and connections.

As mentioned previously, the Spear is part of a wider series of artifacts that have been attributed to Christ. This is particularly because historians, religious people and scientists consider it alike that the elements that touched the blood of Christ are holy in their nature. This assumption comes on the basis that Christ, through the fact that he bled, was in fact human, but of divine origins. On this principle, all other objects that are considered to have been touched by the body of Christ or His blood are seen as extremely valuable for Christianity and scientists alike. In this sense, "Anything that touched the blood of Christ is said to be sacred and the Holy Spear was added to the list of holy relics in which the medieval world became obsessed with. Men pursued sacred objects like the spear of destiny, the Holy Grail, the Shroud of Turin, and pieces of the true cross of Christ's crucifixion to no end. It was said that whoever controlled the Holy Spear, controlled the destiny of the entire world, and if the wielder of the spear lost possession of it, the ruler would perish" (Mystic Order of Noble Knowledge, 2014).

The power of these artifacts as they have been portrayed throughout history has made them reason enough for wars, crusades, and even are reported to have stood at the basis of ethnic cleansing as conducted by Hitler during the Second World War. However, it must be underlined that the meanings of these artifacts are as those given by myths constructed by humans and rarely are there cases in which these meanings have been proven by scientists.

There are several physical descriptions of the Spear, especially during the years of Constantine, in the beginnings of Christianity in Europe. One account provides a detailed description of the artifact. "Eusebius of Caesarea, who became a spiritual advisor to Constantine described the Holy Lance as it was at the height of Constantine's power in the Fourth Century: It was a long spear, overlaid with gold. On the top was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones, and within this the symbol of the Savior's name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of its initial characters -- those letters the emperor was in the habit of wearing on his helmet at a later period. From the spear was also suspended a cloth, a royal piece, covered with a profuse embroidery of most brilliant precious stones and which, being also richly interlaced with gold, presented an indescribable degree of beauty to the beholder. The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that it should be carried at the head of all his armies" (Smith, n.d.).

Most recently, the Spear is considered to be located in Vienna, at the museum where Adolf Hitler first saw it.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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