Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Date of the Crucifixion according to Luke

According to Luke, the crucifixion of Jesus occurred on Friday, 3 April, 33 C.E. This date was first proposed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1733.

Peter gives a speech on the day on Pentecost containing an important statement about an event that had happened seven weeks earlier. Peter said that the prophecy of Joel had been fulfilled in that the sun “turned into darkness and the moon into blood.”

As noted by Humphreys and Waddington (1983), the phrase “turned to blood” has been used to describe lunar eclipses since the third century BCE. Furthermore, Humphreys and Waddington have also established, astronomically and by calendar studies, that the only lunar eclipse visible in

Jerusalem on Friday, April 3rd, 33 CE. Humphreys (1990) later demonstrated that Schaeffer’s conclusion that the eclipse could not be seen from Jerusalem was not accurate.

Soards wrote that “The quotation from Joel is freely cited version of the Septuagint tailored to fit the act of Christian proclamation at Pentecost.” According to Munck, “the quotation from Joel 2:28-31 is a free rendering and exists in different versions in the Western and Neutral texts.” Hemer stated “The text of the quotation from Joel agrees in B almost exactly with the LXX, where D has its form apparently adapted to the present occasion.”

Recently I attempted to learn a little about discourse analysis. Steven E. Runge discussed the Joel quotation and the text-critical implications of some of the variations from the LXX in a recent SBL paper. He concluded “the variations evince a consistent attempt to provide grammatical clarity in the message communicated.” Runge stated earlier with respect to the outpouring of the Spirit that “the temporal frames recast the promise for a generic later time into a specifically eschatological one.”

Although Runge does not so state, it is clear that the crowd on the day of Pentecost would undoubtedly understand Peter’s words, the moon turning to blood, as referring to this eclipse which they had seen on the day of the crucifixion.

Steven E. Runge, Joel 2:28-32a in Acts 2:17-21 and Steven E. Runge’s blog, NT Discourse

Copyrighted 2008


Post a Comment

<< Home