How do we calculate backwards to the total solar eclipse that occurred when Jesus died on an afternoon in 33 CE? Has it ever been published?By The Librarian
This is going to be fun.
The darkness at the time of Jesus’ Crucifixion gives us solid proof — either of the Bible lying or the Bible recording a remarkable truth. The Bible describes two spectacular events on the day of Jesus’ Crucifixion.
Listen to how Mark describes the first: “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour” (Mark 15:33 NIV).
If darkness covered the entire land, it would be visible to more than those in Jerusalem. Everybody around the Roman Empire should have seen something, if it was real.
The second event likewise would be visible everywhere. Joel prophesied it and Peter quoted it:
(Acts 2:16, 19–22)
A blood moon occurs during a lunar eclipse. As with the darkness, it should be widely visible, if indeed it happened during Jesus’ crucifixion — as Peter indicates it did.
If we find nothing in the historical record, then it appears the Bible lied.
But do find this in the historical record — well, then things get interesting.
So what do we find?
Thallus was one of the first to write about the darkness at the time of the Crucifixion, writing at about 52 AD/CE. His original work has been lost, but Julius Africanus, an historian who wrote around 221 A.D., quotes Thallus to disagree with him:
Both of Thallus and Julius attest to the darkness as a real event, so much so that they can bicker about the cause.
Phlegon, a Greek historian and author of a detailed chronology in 137 AD/CE, wrote:
This one is especially handy, as it corroborates the exact year and time of day for the darkness, as well as and the earthquake.
Africanus also wrote a five-volume history of the world c. 221 AD/CE. His account is particularly noteworthy both for its length and for his credibility; he had impressed Roman Emperor Alexander Severus so well with his historical rigor that he was put in charge of the Emperor's library in the Pantheon; in other words, he was the most well-known, influential, and well-resourced historian in the Empire.
While I quoted him briefly above to highlight Thallus’ contribution, Africanus’ full paragraph adds a great deal more detail:
This one additionally is valuable given that it mentions the resurrection of the dead and again the earthquake, in addition to the darkness.
Tertullian (second century) also provides a remarkable attestation, writing:
Not only does Tertullian attest to it, but he appeals to how well-recorded the event is in established historical archives of the time. This is perhaps the most significant attribution, given that he cites how extensively the event was recorded and appeals to the public records to prove his point.
The darkness, then, is well-established.
What then do we find about a blood moon?
It turns out that a lunar eclipse did happen on exactly the day the darkness was recorded: April 3, 33 A.D./C.E.
A view of the partial lunar eclipse on August 7, 2017 as seen from Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.
Credit and copyright: Leonard Ellul-Mercer.
The precise data on the partial lunar eclipses of April 3, 33 A.D./C.E.
This blood moon during the day of Jesus’ Crucifixion was so well-known that writers in the early church appealed to it frequently.
Skeptics have long scoffed at these details in the Bible. But like most details in the Scriptures, when you dig into the research, you find the claims verified.
The Bible is not a book of cleverly-invented myths. It records real events that happened in real history. The more we press into the individual details, the more we find them verified.
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In ancient Rome, going to toilet was a social event. You would gather your friends, family and neigbours and go together to public latrines like this:
You see the all the sticks lying on the ground, for now just remember those. I will come back to it.
Now some real photos of Latrines of the Roman era:
You would sit on the holes doing your business. There will be flowing water under the seat. You can have an engaged conversation with the person sitting next. And obviously while fully watching, hearing and smelling everyone’s business.
Now one more photo of a public toilet.
Now back to the stick on the ground. The stick would have a sponge at the end. Which the Romans will soak in water and clean their bum. Well, you did not expect them to have toilet papers or bidets, did you?
I am gonna go out on a limb and say we, modern people may find this quite weird.
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