In a comprehensive and detailed survey on its remarkably widespread employment in the Roman empire, Dr. Hengel examines the way in which "the most vile death of the cross" was regarded in the Greek-speaking world and particularly in Roman-occupied Palestine.
His conclusions bring out more starkly than ever the offensiveness of the Christian message: Jesus not only died an unspeakably cruel death, he underwent the most contemptible abasement that could be imagined. So repugnant was the gruesome reality, that a natural tendency prevails to blunt, remove, or deomesticate its scandalous impact. Yet any discussion of a "theology of the cross" must be preceded by adequate comprehension of both the nature and extent of this scandal.
Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
In the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross
Mind, Body & Spirit