Chronology of Jesus

Chronology of Jesus
Medieval Russian icon depicting the life of Jesus.

The Chronology of Jesus aims to establish a historical order for some of the events of the life of Jesus in the four canonical gospels. The Christian gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than historical chronicles and their authors showed little interest in an absolute chronology of Jesus. However, it is possible to correlate the New Testament with non-Christian sources such as Jewish and Greco-Roman documents to estimate specific date ranges for the major events in Jesus' life.[1][2][3][4]

Two independent approaches can be used to estimate the year of birth of Jesus, one based on the nativity accounts in the gospels, the other by working backwards from the date of the start of his ministry. Most scholars assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC.[5]

Three independent approaches to estimate the dates of the ministry of Jesus are: first, the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, second: the date of the building of the Jerusalem Temple and third, the date of the death of John the Baptist.[6][7][8][6][9][10][11] Scholars generally estimate that the ministry of Jesus began around 27-29 AD and lasted at least one year, and perhaps three years, or more.[8][6][12][13]

Diverse approaches have been used to estimate the date of the crucifixion of Jesus. One approach uses the attestations of non-Christian sources such as Josephus and Tacitus.[14][15] Another method works backwards from the historically well established trial of Apostle Paul in Achaea to estimate the date of his conversion.[16][17][18][16] Two independent astronomical methods have also been used, suggesting the same date, i.e. April 3rd, 33 AD.[19][20][21] Scholars generally assume that Jesus died between 30-36 AD.[22][16][8][23]

Contents

Context and overview

The Christian gospels were written as theological documents rather than historical chronicles and their authors showed little interest in an absolute chronology of Jesus or in synchronizing the episodes of his life with the secular history of the age.[1] The gospels were primarily written for the purpose of indoctrination in the context of early Christianity with the chronological timelines as a secondary consideration.[2] One manifestation of the gospels being theological documents rather than historical chronicles is that they devote about one third of their text to just seven days, namely the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem.[24]

A 1466 copy of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus' first century work Antiquities of the Jews, widely used to establish the chronology of Jesus.[25]

Although the gospels do not provide enough details regarding exact dates, it is possible to draw from them a general picture of the life story of Jesus, and establish some date ranges regarding the major events in his life via correlations with non-Christian sources.[1][2][26] A number of historical non-Christian documents, such as Jewish and Greco-Roman sources, have been used in historical analyses of the existence of Jesus and his chronology.[27] Most critical historians agree that Jesus existed, regard events such as his baptism and his crucifixion as historical, and assume that approximate ranges for some of these events can be estimated.[3][28][29] However, as stated in John 21:25 the gospels do not claim to provide an exhaustive list of the events in the life of Jesus.[30][31]

The year of birth of Jesus can be estimated using two independent approaches: one based on the nativity accounts in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, the other by working backwards from the date of the start of his ministry, when according to the Gospel of Luke he was about thirty years old. Most scholars assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC.[5]

Three independent approaches have been used to estimate the dates of the ministry of Jesus. One method relies on Luke 3:1-2's statement that the ministry of John the Baptist (which preceded that of Jesus) started in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.[6][7] Another approach is to correlate John 2:20's statement about the Jerusalem Temple being in construction for 46 years with the date of the building of the Temple.[8][6] A third method uses the date of the death of John the Baptist based on the writings of Josephus, and correlates it to Matthew 14:4.[9][10][11] Scholars generally estimate that the ministry of Jesus began around 27-29 AD and lasted one to three years.[8][6][12][13]

A number for approaches have been used to estimate the date of the crucifixion of Jesus. One approach uses the attestations of non-Christian sources such as Josephus and Tacitus.[14][32] Another approach works backwards from the historically well established trial of Apostle Paul in Corinth to estimate the date of his conversion, given that in the New Testament accounts Jesus' death takes place before this conversion.[16][17][18][16]

Two independent astronomical methods have also been used, suggesting the same date. One method goes back to Isaac Newton's calculation of the relative visibility of the crescent of the new moon between the Hebrew and Julian calendars.[33][19][34] The other method uses a lunar eclipse model and independently arrives at the same date, i.e. April 3rd, 33 AD.[20][21] Scholars generally assume that Jesus died between 30-36 AD.[22][16][8][23]

Year of birth estimates

The two major, and independent, approaches to estimating the year of the birth of Jesus combine the accounts given in some of the Canonical gospels with non-biblical historical data to arrive at a date range, as discussed in the two sub-sections below. There are a wide range of more speculative theories, and some are discussed at the end of this article in the "other theories" section.

Nativity accounts: Luke and Matthew

A view Bethlehem today, from the hills above it

The "nativity-based" approach to estimating the year of birth of Jesus relies on the analysis of the nativity accounts (that only appear in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew) along with other corresponding historical data.[8][35]

Luke or Matthew do not mention a date or time of year for the birth of Jesus and Karl Rahner states that the authors of the gospels generally focus on theological elements rather than historical chronologies.[36] However, both Luke and Matthew associate Jesus' birth with the time of Herod the Great.[36]

Herod the Great, is generally believed to have died around 4 BC, implying that the birth of Jesus was not after that year.[35][36] Matthew 2:1 states that: "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king" and Luke 1:5 mentions the reign of Herod shortly before the birth of Jesus.[35] Matthew also suggests that Jesus may have been as much as two years old at the time of the visit of the Magi and hence even older at the time of Herod's death.[37]

Many scholars see a contradiction in that Luke places the birth of Jesus during the Census of Quirinius, which took place in 6 AD, although Luke states the conception took place during the reign of King Herod — about 10 years earlier. Most scholars believe that Luke made an error in referring to the census but other scholars have attempted to reconcile its account with Matthew, ranging from a grammatical approach to the translation of the Greek word prote used in Luke to be read as "registration before Quirinius was governor of Syria" to archeological arguments and references to Tertullian that indicate that a "two step census" was performed, involving an early registration.[38][39] [40][41][42][43]

Most scholars generally assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC.[5] Other scholars assume that Jesus was born sometime between 7–2 BC.[44][45][46]

Working backwards from the ministry

Dispute of Jesus and the Pharisees, by James Tissot, c. 1890

The ministry-based approach to estimating the year of birth of Jesus is independent of the nativity accounts and works backwards from the start of his ministry, based on the statement in Luke 3:23 that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at that time.[22][8]

The section below discusses three independent approaches to estimating the dates of the ministry of Jesus: first by using the "fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius" in Luke 3:1-2, second via the reference in the dispute of Jesus and the Pharisees in John 2:20 ("Forty and six years was this temple in building, and you want to raise it up in three days?") and third by the reference of Flavius Josephus to the imprisonment and execution (Ant 18.5.2) of John the baptist by Herod Antipas.

The third reference (i.e. the execution of the Baptist in Matthew 14:6-12) relates to a time when Jesus had already started his ministry but the other two references relate to the beginning of Jesus' ministry.

The generally assumed date range for the start of the ministry of John he Baptist based on the reference to the reign of Tiberius in Luke 3:1-2 are about 28-29 AD, with the ministry of Jesus following it shortly thereafter.[7][22][6][47][48] As discussed in the section below, based on the reference in John 2:13 to the Temple being in its 46th years of construction, scholarly estimates for Jesus' Temple visit in John 2:20 are around 27-29 AD, when Jesus was "about thirty years of age".[6][49]

By working backwards from the start of his ministry, some scholars estimate the year 28 AD to be roughly the 32nd birthday of Jesus and his year of birth to be around 6-4 BC.[22][8][47]

Years of ministry estimates

Reign of Tiberius and the Gospel of Luke

Part of the Madaba Map showing Bethabara (Βέθαβαρά), calling it the place where John baptised

One method for the estimation of the date of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus is based on the Gospel of Luke's specific statement in Luke 3:1-2 about the ministry of John the Baptist which preceded that of Jesus:[6][7]

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the highpriesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

There are, however, two approaches to determining when the reign of Tiberius Caesar started.[50] The traditional approach is that of assuming that the the reign of Tiberius started when he became co-regent in 11AD, placing the start of the ministry of John the Baptist around 26 AD. However, some scholars assume it to be upon the death of his predecessor Augustus Caesar in 14 AD, implying that the ministry of John the Baptist began in 29 AD.[50]

The New Testament presents John the Baptist's ministry as the pre-cursor to that of Jesus and the Baptism of Jesus as marking the beginning of Jesus' ministry.[51][52][53] In his sermon in Acts 10:37-38, delivered in the house of Cornelius the centurion, Apostle Peter gives an overview of the ministry of Jesus, and refers to what had happened "throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached" and that Jesus had then gone about "doing good".[54]

The generally assumed dates for the start of the ministry of John the baptist based on this reference in the Gospel of Luke are about 28-29 AD, with the ministry of Jesus following it shortly thereafter.[7][22][6][47][55]

Jerusalem Temple and the Gospel of John

Israel Museum model of Herod's Temple, referred to in John 2:13.

A method for estimating the start of the ministry of Jesus, without reliance on the Synoptic gospels is to relate the information in the Gospel of John (2:13 and 2:20) about the visit of Jesus to Herod's Temple in Jerusalem with historical data outside the gospels about dates of the construction of the Temple.[6][8][13]

John 2:13 states that Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem around the start of his ministry and in John 2:20 Jesus is told: "Forty and six years was this temple in building, and you want to raise it up in three days?".[8][6]

Herod's Temple in Jerusalem was an extensive and long term construction on Temple Mount, with worship and religious rituals performed during the multi-decade building process, which never fully completed until the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.[56][57][58] Having built entire cities such as Caesarea Maritima, Herod saw the construction of the Temple as a key, colossal monument.[57] The dedication of the initial temple (sometimes called the inner Temple) followed an 17 or 18 month construction period, just after the visit of Augustus to Syria.[56][51]

Josephus (Ant 15.11.1) states that the temple reconstruction was started by Herod in the 18th year of his reign.[22][6][59] But there is some uncertainty about how Josephus referred to and computed dates, which event marked the start of Herod's reign, and whether the initial date should refer to the inner Temple, or the subsequent construction.[51][8][13] Hence various scholars arrive at slightly different dates for the exact date of the start of the Temple construction, varying by a few years in their final estimation of the date of the Temple visit.[51][13] Given that it took 46 years of construction, scholarly estimates for the Temple visit in the Gospel of John are around 27-29 AD.[8][6][12][13][60]

The visit of Jesus to the Temple is part of the Cleansing of the Temple episode, and while some scholars consider it the same episode as that towards the end of Jesus' ministry in the Synoptic gospels (Mark 11:15–19, {Matthew 21:12–17 and Luke 19:45–48) other scholars believe that these refer to two separate incidents, in that the Gospel of John includes more than one passover.[61] The dating of the episode at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, provides support to the view that there were two separate visits to the Temple.[51][12]

Josephus' reference to the Baptist

In the Antiquities of the Jews, first century historian Flavius Josephus refers to the imprisonment and execution (Ant 18.5.2) of John the baptist by Herod Antipas and also mentions (Ant 18.5.4) how Herodias left her husband to marry Herod Antipas, in defiance of Jewish law.[9][10][11]

The Baptist scolds Herod. Fresco by Masolino, 1435

Most scholars view Josephus' accounts of the activities of John the Baptist as authentic.[9][62] Given that the marriage of Herod and Herodias is also mentioned in the gospels, Josephus establishes a key connection between the historical events he recorded and the approximate chronology of specific episodes that appear in the gospels.[9]

However, although both the gospels and Josephus refer to Herod Antipas killing John the Baptist, they differ on the details and motives, e.g. whether this act was a consequence of the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias (as indicated in Matthew 14:4, Mark 6:18), or a pre-emptive measure by Herod which possibly took place before the marriage to quell a possible uprising based on the remarks of John, as Josephus suggests in Ant 18.5.2.[25][63][64][65]

The exact year of the the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias is subject to debate among scholars.[10] While some scholars place the year of the marriage in the range 27-31AD, others have approximated a date as late as AD 35, but such a late date has much less support.[10] In his analysis of Herod's life, Harold Hoehner estimates that John the Baptist's imprisonment probably occurred around AD 30-31.[66] The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia estimates the death of the Baptist to have occurred about AD 31-32.[11]

Josephus stated (Ant 18.5.2) that the AD 36 defeat of Herod Antipas in the conflicts with Aretas IV of Nabatea was widely considered by the Jews of the time as misfortune brought about by Herod's unjust execution of John the Baptist.[67][68][65] Given that John the Baptist was executed before the defeat of Herod by Aretas, and based on the scholarly estimates for the approximate date of the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias, the last part of the ministry of John the Baptist and hence parts of the ministry of Jesus fall within the historical time span of AD 28-35, with the later year 35 having the least support among scholars.[69][10][68]

The imprisonment of John the Baptist relates to the ministry of Jesus via the episode Messengers from John the Baptist, as in Matthew 11:2-6 and Luke 7:18-23.[70][71] This episode takes place towards the end of the major Galilean ministry of Jesus, and prior to the key episode Confession of Peter which appears about half way through the gospel narratives, before Jesus starts his final journey to Jerusalem through Judea.[71][72]

Year of death estimates

Prefecture of Pontius Pilate

Roman historian Tacitus

All four Canonical gospels state that Jesus was crucified in Calvary during the prefecture of Pontius Pilate, the Roman who governed Judea.[73][74] In these gospel accounts (usually called "Jesus in Pilate's Court") Jesus was brought before Pilate in the praetorium in Jerusalem after his Sanhedrin trial and was crucified shortly thereafter.[73]

In the Antiquities of the Jews (written about 93 AD) Jewish historian Josephus, stated (Ant 18.3) that Jesus was crucified by Pilate, writing that:[75]

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, .... He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross ....

Josephus then stated that "the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day." The statement by Josephus is generally considered a high quality historical reference by scholars and Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman has stated that few have doubted the genuineness of Josephus' reference.[76][77]

Another reference to the crucifixion of Jesus was made early in the second century by Tacitus, generally considered one of the greatest Roman historians.[78][79] Writing in The Annals (c. 116 AD), Tacitus described the persecution of Christians by Nero and stated (Annals 15.44) that Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus:[75][80][80]

Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.

Tacitus was a patriotic Roman senator.[81][82] His writings shows no sympathy towards Christians, or knowledge of who their leader was.[83][84][85] Scholars generally consider his reference to the execution by Pilate to be genuine, and of historical value an independent Roman source.[83][86][78][87]

By almost all historical accounts, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea from 26 AD until 36 AD after which he was replaced by Marcellus either in 36 AD or 37 AD, establishing the date of the death of Jesus prior to 37 AD.[88][89][90]

Reign of Herod Antipas

In the Gospel of Luke, while Jesus is in Pilate's Court, Pilate realizes that Jesus is a Galilean, and thus under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas.[91][92] Given that Herod was in Jerusalem at that time, Pilate decides to send Jesus to Herod to be tried.[91][92]

This episode is only described in the Gospel of Luke (23:7-15).[93][94][95][96] While some scholars have questioned the authenticity of this episode given that it is unique to the Gospel of Luke, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states that it fits well with the theme of Luke should not be seriously questioned.[11]

Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great, was born before 20 BC and was exiled in the summer of 39 AD following a lengthy intrigue involving Caligula and Agrippa I, the grandson of his father.[97][98] Although this episode provides a wider range date for the death of Jesus, it is in concord with the other estimates in that it indicates that Jesus' death took place before AD39.[99][100]

Conversion of Paul

Another approach to estimating an upper bound for the year of death of Jesus is the estimation of the date of Conversion of Paul the Apostle, given that in the New Testament accounts Jesus' death takes place before this conversion.[16][17][18] Paul's conversion is discussed in both in the Letters of Paul himself, and in the Acts of the Apostles, and in both accounts takes place after the death of Jesus.[101][16]

The Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece, where the Delphi Inscription was discovered early in the 20th century.[102]

In the First Epistle to the Corinthians (15:3-8) Paul refers to his conversion after the death of Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles includes three separate references to Paul's conversion experience in Acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26.[103][104]

The estimation of the year of Paul's conversion relies on a series of calculations working backwards from the well established date of his trial before Junius Gallio in Achaea Greece (Acts 18:12-17) around 51-52 AD, a date which gained historical credibility early in the 20th century, following the discovery of four stone fragments as part of the Delphi Inscriptions, at Delphi across the Gulf from Corinth.[102][105]

Most historians estimate that Gallio (son of the Seneca the Elder) became proconsul between the spring of 51 AD and the summer of 52 AD and that his position ended no later than 53 AD.[105][102][106][107] However, the trial of Paul is generally assumed to be in the earlier part of Gallio's tenure, based on the reference (Acts 18:2) to his meeting in Corinth with Priscilla and Aquila who had been recently expelled from Rome based on Emperor Claudius' expulsion of some Jews from Rome, which is dated to 49-50 AD.[105][108]

According to the New Testament, Paul spent eighteen months in Corinth, approximately seventeen years after his conversion.[109][102] Galatians 2:1-10 states that Paul went back to Jerusalem fourteen years after his conversion, and various missions (at times with Barnabas) such as those in Acts 11:25-26 and 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 appear in the Book of Acts.[16][17] The generally accepted scholarly estimate for the date of conversion of Paul is 33-36 AD, placing the death of Jesus before this date range.[16][17][18]

Astronomical analysis

Newton's mehod

In 1733, Isaac Newton became one of the first scientists to estimate the date of the crucifixion by calculating the relative visibility of the crescent of the new moon between the Hebrew and Julian calendars.[33][19] In chapter XI of the first Part I of Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel Newton stated that assuming "the passion was on friday the 14th day of the month Nisan", one could compute the exact date of the crucifixion because "the 14th day of Nisan always fell on the full moon next after the vernal Equinox". Using this line of reasoning, Newton calculated the date of the crucifixion as Friday, April 23, AD 34.[34] In the computations, Newton first narrowed the possible years to AD 33 and AD 34; and selected AD 34 by using a postponement rule from the modern Hebrew calendar.[34][19]

In time, a number of other scientists used similar methods of relating the Hebrew and Julian calendars with the version developed by J. K. Fotheringham becoming a standard by the middle of the 20th century.[33][110] Fotheringham dated the crucifixion in a similar manner.[111][112]

Using similar computations, in 1990 astronomer Bradley E. Schaefer arrived at the date, Friday, April 3, AD 33 for the crucifixion.[113] According to John Pratt, Fotheringham and Schaefer seem to have been unaware of Newton's computations.[19]

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1991, Pratt stated that Newton and Schaefer agreed on dates of lunar visibility, but not on the resulting date for the crucifixion. By working through Newton's calculations, Pratt rejected the claim that Newton selected April 23 because it happened to be St. George's day.[19] Pratt argued that Newton's reasoning was effectively sound, but included a minor, non-mathematical error at the end, given that the "postponement rule" from the modern Hebrew_calendar was shown not to have been in use at the time over a century after Newton. Pratt suggested the year AD 33 as the accurate answer.[19] Humphreys and Waddington have supported Newton's approach to the reconstruction of the first century Jewish Calendar, and Humphreys has presented methods for how it can be confirmed with further calculations.[20][33]

Unlike scientist Colin Humphreys who considers astronomy a viable method of dating biblical episodes, historian E. P. Sanders contends that astronomical analysis can neither prove, nor disprove the chronology of Jesus.[114][115]

Lunar eclipse method

A solar eclipse, August 2008.
A lunar eclipse, March 2007.

In the accounts of the crucifixion in the Synoptic Gospels, a period of darkness occurs (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44) on the first day of Passover beginning around noon ("the sixth hour") and continuing until 3 o'clock ("the ninth hour").[116] In the 6th century Aurelius Cassiodorus stated that the crucifixion occurred when there was a great eclipse the same year Sejanus became the consul with Tiberius, AD 31.[117][118]

Modern astronomers have debated the possibility of a solar eclipse during the crucifixion, but have generally raised objections to it.[119] Given that a solar eclipses only occur during the new moon phase, and 14th of Nisan always corresponds to a full moon, biblical scholars instead suggest that the the darkness may have been due to a storm of some kind, and not a solar eclipse.[120] Moreover, a solar eclipse it takes about an hour for the moon to cover the sun, with total coverage lasting a few minutes.[121][122]

In 1983, Humphreys and Waddington of Oxford University noted that the separate reference made by Apostle Peter in Acts 2:20 to a "moon of blood" is a term used for lunar eclipses as far back as 331 BC.[20][123] A lunar eclipse can last a few hours, total coverage being about an hour.[124] Humphreys and Waddington computed the Jewish calendar for the first century AD, and also reconstructed the scenario for a lunar eclipse, and arrived at the conclusion that Friday April 3 33AD was the date of the Crucifixion.[125] The lunar eclipse approach used for the determination of the date April 3rd 33 AD is totally independent and distinct from the Newton-like construction of the Jewish calendar, but arrives at the same date.[21]

According to the computations of Humphreys and Waddington a lunar eclipse on Friday April 3rd 33 AD would begin at 3:40pm and would reach a maximum at 5:15pm, with 60% of the moon eclipsed. A lunar eclipse on April 3rd 33 AD would finish at 6:50pm.[125] In their view, the failure of any of the gospel accounts to refer to a lunar eclipse was likely the result of a scribe wrongly amending a text to refer to a solar eclipse.[126] Although this model provides a date for the crucifixion which is consistent with the reconstruction of the Jewish calendar, and arrives at the same date as the modified Newton method,, it does not address the preceding reference to the darkened sun in the gospels.[125][20]

Bradley E. Schaefer supports the year 33 AD using his own computations through the reconstruction of the Jewish calendar, and does not deny the possibility of a lunar eclipse on that day, but he rejects the visibility that eclipse in Jerusalem based on his approach to computing "celestial glare".[127][128][129] Ruggles supports Schaefer's views and Gaskel has argued that a lunar eclipse during the day of the crucifixion could have received significant attention.[130][131]

Theories on days of birth and death

Day of birth

The nativity accounts in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke do not mention a day for the birth of Jesus and Karl Rahner states that given that the gospels were written as theological documents they do not pay attention to such details.[36]

Neither Luke nor Matthew mention a season for when Jesus was born. However, scholarly arguments regarding the realism of shepherds grazing their flock during the winter have taken place, both challenging a winter birth for Jesus, as well as defending it by relying on the mildness of winters in Palestine and rabbinic rules regarding sheep near Bethlehem before February.[132][133][134]

The day of birth of Jesus, celebrated as Christmas is based on a feast rather than historical analysis. In the 1st and 2nd centuries, the Lord's Day (Sunday) was the earliest Christian celebration and included a number of theological themes. In the 2nd century, the Resurrection of Jesus became a separate feast as Easter and in the same century Epiphany began to be celebrated in the Churches of the East on January 6.[135] The festival of the Nativity which later turned into Christmas was a 4th century feast in the Western Church notably in Rome and North Africa, although it is uncertain exactly where and when it was first celebrated.[136]

Day of death

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Tradition (and the Synoptic Gospels) hold that the Last Supper took place on the first night of Passover, which is defined in the Torah as occurring after the daylight of the 14th of Nisan (Lev 23:5-6). However, the Gospel of John implies that at the time of the trial the Jewish leaders had not yet eaten the Passover meal[Jn. 18:28] and states just prior to his sentencing "Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour."[Jn. 19:14] This places the crucifixion on Nisan 14, since the law mandated the lamb had to be sacrificed between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm and eaten before midnight on Nisan 14.[137][138][139] This understanding fits well with Old Testament typology, in which Jesus entered Jerusalem to identify himself as the Paschal lamb on Nisan 10[Jn. Ex.] was crucified and died at 3:00 in the afternoon of Nisan 14, at the same time the High Priest would have sacrificed the Paschal lamb,[1 Cor. 5:7] [cf. Isa. 53:7-9] and rose before dawn the morning of Nisan 16, as a type of offering of the First Fruits.[1 Cor. 15:23] [cf. Lev. 23:9-14] However, "the day of preparation" has been seen to mean either the day before Passover or simply Friday; or both.[140]

The chronology presented by John has been viewed as problematic in reconciling with the Synoptic passages and the tradition in that the Last Supper was a Passover meal,[141] placing the crucifixion instead on Nisan 15. However, the apparent contradiction may be resolved by postulating differences in how post-exilic Jews reckoned time.[142] For Jesus and his disciples, the Passover could have begun at dawn Thursday, while for traditional Jews (following Leviticus 23:5), it would not have begun until dusk that same day.[143][144] Another potential solution is that Jesus chose to celebrate the Passover meal a day early with his disciples.[Mt. 26:18] [Lk. 22:15] [145][146]

Other approaches

A wide range of approaches to the chronology of Jesus have been suggested over the centuries, but have no significant support among modern scholars.

Maximus the Confessor, Eusebius, and Cassiodorus recorded the death of Jesus in 31 AD, but the 14th of Nisan would probably have been on a Tuesday that year. The 3rd/4th century Roman historian Lactantius states that Jesus was crucified on a particular day in 29 AD, but that did not correspond to a full moon.[147]

Some commentators have attempted to establish the date of birth by identifying the Star of Bethlehem with some known astronomical or astrological phenomenon.[148] There are many possible phenomena and none seems to match the Gospel account.[149] Many scholars regard the star as a literary invention of the author of the Gospel of Matthew, to claim fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy (Numbers 24:17).[150]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0860120066 pages 730-731
  2. ^ a b c Interpreting Gospel Narratives: Scenes, People, and Theology by Timothy Wiarda 2010 ISBN 0805448438 pages 75-78
  3. ^ a b Brown, Raymond E. (1994). The Death of the Messiah: from Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels. New York: Doubleday, Anchor Bible Reference Library. p. 964. ISBN 9780385193979. 
  4. ^ Paula Fredriksen (1999). Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 6–7, 105–10, 232–34, 266. 
  5. ^ a b c Dunn, James DG (2003). Jesus Remembered. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 324. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible 2000 Amsterdam University Press ISBN 9053565035 page 249
  7. ^ a b c d e The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke, Volume 1 by Craig A. Evans 2003 ISBN 0781438683 pages 67-69
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0931464501 pages 113-129
  9. ^ a b c d e Craig Evans, 2006 "Josephus on John the Baptist" in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press ISBN 9780691009926 pages 55-58 [1]
  10. ^ a b c d e f Herodias: at home in that fox's den by Florence Morgan Gillman 2003 ISBN 0814651089 pages 25-30 [2]
  11. ^ a b c d e International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1982 ISBN 0802837824 pages 694-695 [3]
  12. ^ a b c d The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John by Paul N. Anderson 2011 ISBN 080060427X pages 200
  13. ^ a b c d e f Herod the Great by Jerry Knoblet 2005 ISBN 0761830871 page 183-184
  14. ^ a b Funk, Robert W.; Jesus Seminar (1998). The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. San Francisco: Harper. 
  15. ^ The Word in this world by Paul William Meyer, John T. Carroll 2004 ISBN 0664227015 page 112
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett 2002 ISBN 0830826998 pages 19-21
  17. ^ a b c d e The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 9780805443653 pages 77-79
  18. ^ a b c d Paul's early period: chronology, mission strategy, theology by Rainer Riesner 1997 ISBN 9780802841667 page 19-27 (page 27 has a table of various scholarly estimates)
  19. ^ a b c d e f g Pratt, J. P. (1991). "Newton's Date for the Crucifixion". Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 32 (3): 301–304. Bibcode 1991QJRAS..32..301P.  [4]
  20. ^ a b c d e Humphreys, Colin J.; W. G. Waddington (December 1983). "Dating the Crucifixion". Nature 306 (5945): 743–746. Bibcode 1983Natur.306..743H. doi:10.1038/306743a0. 
  21. ^ a b c Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 9780521732000, page 13
  22. ^ a b c d e f g The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 9780805443653 page 114
  23. ^ a b Sanders (1993). pp. 11, 249. 
  24. ^ Matthew by David L. Turner 2008 ISBN 0801026849 page 613
  25. ^ a b Jesus in history, thought, and culture: an encyclopedia, Volume 1 by James Leslie Houlden 2003 ISBN 1576078566 pages 508-509 [5]
  26. ^ Sanders, EP (1995). The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Penguin Books. p. 3. 
  27. ^ Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0805444823 pages 431-436
  28. ^ Ramm, Bernard L (1993). An Evangelical Christology: Ecumenic and Historic. Regent College Publishing. p. 19. "There is almost Universal agreement that Jesus lived" 
  29. ^ Wright, Marcus J (1999). "A Vision of the Christian Life". The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. HarperCollins. p. 236. "some judgements are so probable as to be certain; for example, Jesus really existed" 
  30. ^ Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus by Gerald O'Collins 2009 ISBN 019955787X pages 1-3
  31. ^ Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0664257038 pages 168-173
  32. ^ The Word in this world by Paul William Meyer, John T. Carroll 2004 ISBN 0664227015 page 112
  33. ^ a b c d Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 9780521732000, pages 45-48
  34. ^ a b c Newton, Isaac (1733). "Of the Times of the Birth and Passion of Christ", in Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John
  35. ^ a b c New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0310312019 pages 121-124
  36. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0860120066 page 731
  37. ^ Freed, Edwin D (2004). Stories of Jesus’ Birth. Continuum International. p. 119. 
  38. ^ Archer, Gleason Leonard (April 1982). Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. p. 366. ISBN 0-310-43570-6. 
  39. ^ Frederick Fyvie Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (1943; republished Eerdman, 2003), page 87-88.
  40. ^ Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2007 Harmony of the Gospels ISBN 0-8054-9444-8 pages 289-290
  41. ^ Nikos Kokkinos, 1998, in Chronos, kairos, Christos 2 by Ray Summers, Jerry Vardaman ISBN 0865545820 pages 121-126
  42. ^ C.F. Evans, Tertullian's reference to Sentius Saturninus and the Lukan Census in the Journal of Theological Studies (1973) XXIV(1): 24-39
  43. ^ The Life of Jesus of Nazareth by Rush Rhees 2007 ISBN 1406838489 Section 54
  44. ^ Some of the historians and Biblical scholars who place the birth and death of Jesus within this range include D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992, 54, 56
  45. ^ Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels, Scribner’s, 1977, p. 71.
  46. ^ Ben Witherington III, "Primary Sources," Christian History 17 (1998) No. 3:12–20.
  47. ^ a b c Christianity and the Roman Empire: background texts by Ralph Martin Novak 2001 ISBN 1563383470 pages 302-303
  48. ^ Hoehner, Harold W (1978). Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Zondervan. pp. 29–37. ISBN 0310262119. http://books.google.com/?id=6z-NcR7fVSIC&dq=CHronological+Aspects+of+the+Life+of+Christ. 
  49. ^ Jack V. Scarola, "A Chronology of the nativity Era" in Chronos, kairos, Christos 2 by Ray Summers, Jerry Vardaman 1998 ISBN 0865545820 pages 61-81
  50. ^ a b Luke 1-5: New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur 2009 ISBN 0802408710 page 201
  51. ^ a b c d e The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 9780805443653 pages 140-141
  52. ^ Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0805444823 page 224-229
  53. ^ Christianity: an introduction by Alister E. McGrath 2006 ISBN 9781405109017 pages 16-22
  54. ^ Who is Jesus?: an introduction to Christology by Thomas P. Rausch 2003 ISBN 9780814650783 page
  55. ^ Hoehner, Harold W (1978). Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Zondervan. pp. 29–37. ISBN 0310262119. http://books.google.com/?id=6z-NcR7fVSIC&dq=CHronological+Aspects+of+the+Life+of+Christ. 
  56. ^ a b The building program of Herod the Great by Duane W. Roller 1998 University of California Press ISBN 0520209346 pages 67-71 [6]
  57. ^ a b The Temple of Jerusalem: past, present, and future by John M. Lundquist 2007 ISBN 0275983390 pages101-103 [7]
  58. ^ The biblical engineer: how the temple in Jerusalem was built by Max Schwartz 2002 ISBN 0881257109 pages xixx-xx
  59. ^ Encyclopedia of the historical Jesus by Craig A. Evans 2008 ISBN 0415975697 page 115
  60. ^ Jesus in Johannine tradition by Robert Tomson Fortna, Tom Thatcher 2001 ISBN 9780664222192 page 77
  61. ^ The Bible knowledge background commentary by Craig A. Evans 2005 ISBN 0781442281 page 49
  62. ^ The new complete works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, Paul L. Maier ISBN 0825429242 pages 662-663
  63. ^ Women in scripture by by Carol Meyers, Toni Craven and Ross Shepard Kraemer 2001 ISBN 0802849628 pages 92-93 [8]
  64. ^ Herod Antipas in Galilee: The Literary and Archaeological Sources by Morten H. Jensen 2010 ISBN 978-3-16-150362-7 pages 42-43 [9]
  65. ^ a b The Emergence of Christianity: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective by Cynthia White 2010 ISBN 0800697472 page 48
  66. ^ Herod Antipas by Harold W. Hoehner 1983 ISBN 0310422515 page 131 [10]
  67. ^ The relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth by Daniel S. Dapaah 2005 ISBn 0761831096 page 48 [11]
  68. ^ a b Herod Antipas by Harold W. Hoehner 1983 ISBN 0310422515 pages 125-127
  69. ^ International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1995 ISBN 0802837816 pages 6860687
  70. ^ The Gospel of Matthew by Rudolf Schnackenburg 2002 ISBN 0802844383 page 104
  71. ^ a b Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 1998 ISBN 0865543739 page 459
  72. ^ The Cambridge companion to the Gospels by Stephen C. Barton ISBN 0521002613 pages 132-133
  73. ^ a b Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (1995), International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. vol. K-P. p. 929.
  74. ^ Matthew 27:27-61, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 23:25-54 and John 19:1-38
  75. ^ a b Theissen 1998, pp. 81-83
  76. ^ The new complete works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, Paul L. Maier ISBN 0825429242 pages 662-663
  77. ^ Josephus XX by Louis H. Feldman ISBN 0674995023 1965 page 496
  78. ^ a b Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0802843689 pages 39-42
  79. ^ Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0802822215 page 116
  80. ^ a b Green, Joel B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke : new international commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. p. 168. ISBN 0802823157. http://books.google.com/?id=koYlW6IoOjMC&pg=PR85&dq=Joel+B.+Green,+The+Gospel+of+Luke,+(Eerdmans,+1997),+page+168. 
  81. ^ Josephus, the Bible, and history by Louis H. Feldman 1997 ISBN 9004089314 page 381
  82. ^ Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0664257038 page 33
  83. ^ a b Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0391041185 page 42
  84. ^ Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0742568334 page 293
  85. ^ Tacitus' characterization of "Christian abominations" may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the symbolic ritual as cannibalism by Christians. References: Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0742568334 page 293 and An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0521007208 page 485
  86. ^ Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 2001 ISBN 0865543739 page 343
  87. ^ Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0521616204 page xi
  88. ^ Pontius Pilate: portraits of a Roman governor by Warren Carter 2003 ISBN 0814651135 pages 44-45
  89. ^ The history of the Jews in the Greco-Roman world by Peter Schäfer 2003 ISBN 0415305853 page 108
  90. ^ Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0802822215 page 416
  91. ^ a b New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0310312019 page 172
  92. ^ a b Pontius Pilate: portraits of a Roman governor by Warren Carter 2003 ISBN 9780814651131 pages 120-121
  93. ^ The Synoptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke by Ján Majerník, Joseph Ponessa 2005 ISBN 1931018316 page 181
  94. ^ The Gospel according to Luke by Michael Patella 2005 ISBN 0814628621 page 16
  95. ^ Luke: The Gospel of Amazement by Michael Card 2011 ISBN 9780830838356 page 251
  96. ^ Bible Study Workshop - Lesson 228
  97. ^ Herod Antipas by Harold W. Hoehner 1983 ISBN 0310422515 page 262
  98. ^ All the people in the Bible by Richard R. Losch 2008 ISBN 0802824544 page 159
  99. ^ The Content and the Setting of the Gospel Tradition by Mark Harding, Alanna Nobbs 2010 ISBN 0802833187 pages 88-89
  100. ^ The Emergence of Christianity by Cynthia White 2010 ISBN 0800697472 page 11
  101. ^ Bromiley, Geoffrey William (1979). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 689. ISBN 0-8028-3781-6.
  102. ^ a b c d Paul: his letters and his theology by Stanley B. Marrow 1986 ISBN 080912744X pages 45-49
  103. ^ Paul and His Letters by John B. Polhill 1999 ISBN 080541097X pages 49-50
  104. ^ The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology by William Lane Craig, James Porter Moreland 2009 ISBN 1405176571 page 616
  105. ^ a b c Christianity and the Roman Empire: background texts by Ralph Martin Novak 2001 ISBN 1563383470 pages 18-22
  106. ^ The Greco-Roman world of the New Testament era by James S. Jeffers 1999 ISBN 0830815899 pages 164-165
  107. ^ The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts-Philemon by Craig A. Evans 2004 ISBN 0781440068 page 248
  108. ^ The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament edition by John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck 1983 ISBN 0882078127 page 405
  109. ^ Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible Amsterdam University Press, 2000 ISBN 9053565035 page 1019
  110. ^ Fotheringham, J.K., 1910. "On the smallest visible phase of the moon," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 70, 527-531.
  111. ^ Fotheringham, J.K. 1910 "Astronomical Evidence for the Date of the Crucifixion," Journal of Theological Studies 12, 120-127.
  112. ^ Fotheringham, J.K. 1934. "The Evidence of Astronomy and Technical Chronology for the Date of the Crucifixion," Journal of Theological Studies 35, 146-162.
  113. ^ Schaefer, B. E. (1990). "Lunar Visibility and the Crucifixion". Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 31 (1): 53–67. Bibcode 1990QJRAS..31...53S. 
  114. ^ Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 9780521732000, page 37
  115. ^ E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (Penguin, 1993) pages 285-286.
  116. ^ The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament by John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck 1983 ISBN 9780882078120 page 88
  117. ^ Hales, William (1830). A New Analysis of Chronology and Geography, History and Prophecy. 1. p. 70. http://books.google.com/books?id=aNfVAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA70#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  118. ^ Scaliger, Joseph (1629). Opus de emendatione temporum hac postrema Editione. p. 563. http://books.google.com/books?id=vTZBAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA563#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  119. ^ Exploring Ancient Skies: A Survey of Ancient and Cultural Astronomy by David H. Kelley, Eugene F. Milone 2011 ISBN 144197623X pages 250-251
  120. ^ Historical Dictionary of Jesus by Daniel J. Harrington 2010 ISBN 0810876671 pages 43-44
  121. ^ Astronomy: The Solar System and Beyond by Michael A. Seeds, Dana Backman, 2009 ISBN 0495562033 page 34
  122. ^ Meeus, J. (2003, December). The maximum possible duration of a total solar eclipse. Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 113(6), 343-348.
  123. ^ Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 9780521732000, pages 86-87
  124. ^ National weather service
  125. ^ a b c Colin J. Humphreys and W. G. Waddington, The Date of the Crucifixion Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 37 (March 1985)[12]
  126. ^ Henige, David P. (2005). Historical evidence and argument. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0299214104. 
  127. ^ Schaefer, B. E. (1990, March). Lunar visibility and the crucifixion. Royal Astonomical Society Quarterly Journal, 31(1), 53-67
  128. ^ Schaefer, B. E. (1991, July). Glare and celestial visibility. Publications of the Astonomical Society of the Pacific, 103, 645-660.
  129. ^ Marking time: the epic quest to invent the perfect calendar by Duncan Steel 1999 ISBN 0471298271 page 341
  130. ^ Ruggles, C. (1990, June). Archaeoastronomy – the Moon and the crucifixion. Nature, 345(6277), 669-670.
  131. ^ Gaskel, C. M. (1993, December). Beyond visibility: The "Crucifixion eclipse" in the context of some other astronomical events of the times. Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 25, 1334. 183rd AAS Meeting [Abstract 27.04].
  132. ^ "New Testament History" by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0310312019 pp. 121-124
  133. ^ Luke: an introduction and commentary by Leon Morris 1988 ISBN 0802804195 page 93
  134. ^ Stories of Jesus' Birth by Edwin D. Freed 2004 ISBN 0567080463 pages 136-137
  135. ^ An introductory dictionary of theology and religious studies by Orlando O. Espín, James B. Nickoloff 2007 ISBN 0814658563 page 237
  136. ^ Christian worship in Reformed Churches past and present by Lukas Vischer 2002 ISBN 0802805205 pages 400-401
  137. ^ Philo. "De Specialibus Legibus 2.145". http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book28.html. 
  138. ^ Josephus. The War of the Jews 6.9.3
  139. ^ Mishnah, Pesahim 5.1.
  140. ^ The Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller, ed., 1992, page 241, commentary on verse 19:31
  141. ^ Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-8
  142. ^ Stroes, H. R. (October 1966). "Does the Day Begin in the Evening or Morning? Some Biblical Observations". Vetus Testamentum (BRILL) 16 (4): 460–475. doi:10.2307/1516711. JSTOR 1516711. 
  143. ^ Ross, Allen. "Daily Life In The Time Of Jesus". http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=3953. 
  144. ^ Hoehner, Harold (1977). Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 
  145. ^ Heawood, Percy J. (July 1951). "The Time of the Last Supper". The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series (University of Pennsylvania Press) 42 (1): 37–44. JSTOR 1452717. 
  146. ^ Schmidt, Nathaniel (1892). "The Character of Christ's Last Meal". Journal of Biblical Literature (The Society of Biblical Literature) 11 (1): 1–21. doi:10.2307/3259075. JSTOR 3259075. 
  147. ^ Lactantius, Of the Manner In Which the Persecutors Died 2: "In the latter days of the Emperor Tiberius, in the consulship of Ruberius (sic) Geminus and Fufius Geminus, and on the tenth of the kalends of April, as I find it written".
  148. ^ For example, astronomer Michael Molnar identified April 17, 6 BC as the likely date of the Nativity, since that date corresponded to the heliacal rising and lunar occultation of Jupiter, while it was momentarily stationary in the sign of Aries; according to Molnar, to knowledgeable astrologers of this time, this highly unusual combination of events would have indicated that a regal personage would be (or had been) born in Judea. Michael R. Molnar, "The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi," Rutgers University Press, 1999.
  149. ^ Raymond E. Brown, 101 Questions and Answers on the Bible, Paulist Press (2003), page 79.
  150. ^ Joseph J. Walsh, Were They Wise Men or Kings?, Westminster John Knox Press, (2001), p. 40

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