CRUCIFIXION & A Physician and Wesley Seminary Grad Describes What Happened

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Joe Bergeron is not only a physician and published researcher, but also a graduate of our Master of Art program which became the seed for Wesley Seminary.  In these two articles he looks through a physician’s eyes regarding what happened at Jesus’ crucifixion.

Bergeron JW, The crucifixion of Jesus: Review of hypothesized mechanisms of death and implications of shock and trauma-induced coagulopathy,

Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine (2011), doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2011.06.001


The crucifixion of Jesus is arguably the most well-known and controversial execution in history. Christian faithful, dating back to the time of Jesus, have believed that Jesus was executed by crucifixion and later returned physically to life again. Others have questioned whether Jesus actually died by crucifixion, at all. From review of medical literature, physicians have failed to agree on a specific mechanism of Jesus’ death. A search of Medline/Pubmed was completed with respect to crucifixion, related topics, and proposed mechanisms of Jesus’ death. Several hypotheses for the mechanism of Jesus’ death have been presented in medical literature, including 1) Pulmonary embolism 2) Cardiac rupture 3) Suspension trauma 4) Asphyxiation 5) Fatal stab wound, and 6) Shock. Each proposed mechanism of Jesus’ death will be reviewed. The events of Jesus’ execution are described, as they are pertinent to development of shock. Traumatic shock complicated by trauma-induced coagulopathy is proposed as a contributing factor, and possibly the primary mechanism, of Jesus’ death by crucifixion.
copyright 2011 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.

The Resurrection of Jesus: A Clinical Review of
Psychiatric Hypotheses for the Biblical Story of Easter

Joseph W. Bergeron, The Pain Clinic, USA and Gary R. Habermas, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, USA© The Author(s) 2015. Reprints and permissions: DOI: 10.1177/0021140014564555


Jesus’ resurrection to bodily life after death by crucifixion is foundational to orthodox Christianity. The disciples had encounters with Jesus after his crucifixion which caused them to believe he had been bodily resurrected to life again. Psychiatric hypotheses have been proposed as naturalistic explanations for his disciples’ beliefs, which include hallucinations, conversion disorder, and
bereavement experiences. Since they propose hallucinatory symptoms that suggest the presence of underlying medical pathology, clinical appraisal of these hypotheses for the disciples’ encounters with the resurrected Jesus is warranted. Psychiatric hypotheses for the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection are found to be inconsistent with current medical understanding and do not offer plausible explanations for the biblical story of Easter.