Home — Was Jesus Really Crucified Naked?

Published: September, 2015.

Most historians conclude that all the clothes Jesus wore were removed before he was crucified

Many depictions of Jesus on the cross are not correct in the sense that he was partially clothed. In many churces there are pictures or sculptures of Jesus, but most often they show a toned down version of the scene of Jesus on the cross. For most people it is graphic enough to see a body hanging by nails on a cross. And there is some modesty involved since a church is often used in many types of occasions.

But historically speaking Jesus was likely without any clothes while he was crucified on the cross.

During the times when Jesus was crucified it was accustomed for people to be crucified without any clothes. It was a different time from today. In modern times public nakedness are not accepted, but at the times it was not uncommon. Lower class Romans and slaves wore only a knee length tunic. Sometimes slaves were worked naked.

Jesus is often depicted wearing a loin cloth and argue that this is what was meant as without clothes. But this is also probably not correct. The loin cloth is something that has been added as times have changed. It is not reasonable to believe that the Romans would give Jesus any extra benefits. And that Romans would uphold any particular Jewish modesty customs of a loin cloth because the Romans despised the Jews. So it is not reasonable to believe that the general Roman policy to strip their crucified prisoners entirely nude, but that out of respect for Jewish sensibilities this was modified in Judea and the crucified were allowed to keep their loincloths. Also for the Romans at the time Jesus was just another Jewish prisoner and not anyone special and would not be threated any different than what was the normal prison treatment.

Bible sources: Christ's clothing being removed by Roman soldiers is mentioned in Psalm 22:18, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." The Romans divided his clothes in four pieces and played and game who would keep them.

Sculptures depicting Jesus on the cross without any clothes

Jesus on crossMichelangelo's Crucifix in Florence showing Jesus, created in 1492.

Jesus on cross 2Crucifix Gallino showing Jesus. Attributed to Michelangelo.