cross

The Greek that is translated as “cross” in English is often referred to a description of the shape (in Chinese, for instance it is translated as 十字架 shízìjià — “10-character-frame” because the character for “10” has the shape of a cross), elsewhere it refers to the function, e.g. a coined term, made up of two Sanskrit words, meaning “killing-pole” (Marathi NT revision of 1964), “wood to-stretch-out-with” (Toraja-Sa’dan), or “nailing pole” (Zarma). A combination of the two seems to be used in Balinese, which employs a word for the crossbeams in a house, derived from a verb that can refer both to a beam that stretches from side to side under a roof, and to a person stretched out for torture (source for this and above: Reling / Swellengrebel). Similarly, in Lamba it is translated “with umutaliko — ‘a pole with a cross-piece, on which maize was normally tied’ from the verb ‘talika’ which, strangely enough, is used of ‘holding down a man with arms and legs stretched out, someone gripping each limb.'” (Source C. M. Doke in The Bible Translator 1958, p. 57ff.)

“In Mongolian, the term that is used is togonoltchi mott, which is found in the top of a tent. The people on the steppes live in round felt-yurts and the round opening on the top of the tent serves as a window. The crosswood in that opening is called togonoltchi mott. ‘Crucified’ is translated ‘nailed on the crosswood.’ This term is very simple, but deep and interesting too. Light comes to men through the Cross. What a privilege to be able to proclaim such a message.” (Source: A. W. Marthinson in The Bible Translator 1954, p. 74ff.)

In Mairasi it is translated as iwo nasin ae: “chest measurement wood.” “This term refers to the process of making a coffin when a person dies. The man making the coffin takes a piece of bamboo and measures the body from head to heel. He then breaks the stick off at the appropriate point. For the width he measures the shoulders and then ties the two sticks together in the shape of a cross. As he works, he continually measures to make sure the coffin is the correct size. At the gravesite, the coffin is lowered. Then the gravecloth, palm leaves, and finally the chest measurement stick are laid on top of the coffin before the dirt is piled on. This term is full of meaning, because it is in the shape of a cross, and each person will have one. The meaning is vividly associated with death.” (Source: Enggavoter, 2004)

In Lisu it is translated as ꓡꓯꓼ ꓐꓳ ꓔꓶꓸ DU — lä bo tɯ du: “a place to stretch the arms across” (source: Arrington 2020, p. 215) and in Nyongar as boorn-yambo: “crossed tree” (source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang).

The English English translation of Ruden (2021) uses “stake.” She explains (p. xlv): “The cross was the perpendicular joining of two execution stakes, and the English word euphemistically emphasized the geometry: a cross could also be an abstract cross drawn on paper. The Greeks used their word for ‘stake,’ and this carries the imagery of what was done with it, as our ‘stake’ carries images of burning and impaling. ‘Hang on the stakes’ for ‘*crucify’ is my habitual usage.”

See also crucify.

complete verse (Matthew 10:38)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 10:38:

  • Uma: “A person who becomes my follower can be compared to a person who carried-on-shoulder his cross and follows my footsteps, because he will definitely received suffering or maybe he will really be killed because of his following Me. So, whoever is not ready to get suffering like that, he is not worthy to become my follower.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “If a person does not follow me and does not carry the beam/post for killing him, that means if he does not submit to endure persecution even unto death, he is not worthy/fit to become my disciple.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Whoever doesn’t disciple me and he doesn’t carry his cross, which is to say, he is afraid to obey my commands because they might be the death of him, he is not fitted to be called my disciple.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Whoever also does not carry-his cross -on-his-shoulder so that he will then go-with me, he is not worthy to be counted as my disciple.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “And whoever won’t shoulder his cross and follow me, he really isn’t acceptable as one of my people.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “The person who does not want to follow me because he is afraid of being killed is the person who does not deserve to follow me.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)