Maundy Wednesday?

This would harmonize an alleged inconsistency in the inerrant Bible:

Colin Humphreys of Cambridge University says discrepancies in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke as compared with John arose because they used an older calendar than the official Jewish one.

He concluded the date was 1 April AD33.

This could also mean Jesus’ arrest, interrogation and separate trials did not all take place on one night only.

Prof Humphreys believes his findings could present a case for finally fixing Easter Day to the first Sunday in April.

In his new book, The Mystery Of The Last Supper, the metallurgist and materials scientist uses Biblical, historical and astronomical research to address the fundamental inconsistency about the event.

While Matthew, Mark and Luke say the Last Supper coincided with the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, John claims it took place before Passover.

“This has puzzled Biblical scholars for centuries. In fact, someone said it was ‘the thorniest subject in the New Testament’,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

“If you look at all the events the Gospels record – between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion – there is a large number. It is impossible to fit them in between a Thursday evening and Friday morning.”

“But I found that two different calendars were involved. In fact, the four gospels agree perfectly,” he added.

Prof Humphreys argues that Jewish people would never have mistaken the Passover meal for another meal because it is so important.

He suggests that Matthew, Mark and Luke used an old-fashioned Jewish calendar – adapted from Egyptian usage at the time of Moses – rather than the official lunar calendar which was in widespread use at the time.

“In John’s Gospel, he is correct in saying the Last Supper was before the Passover meal. But Jesus chose to hold his Last Supper as a Passover meal according to an earlier Jewish calendar,” Prof Humphreys said.

The Last Supper was therefore on Wednesday, 1 April AD33, according to the standard Julian calendar used by historians, he concluded.

via BBC News – Jesus Christ’s Last Supper ‘was on a Wednesday’.

So Jesus was “old school,” following the older calendar, whereas most of the other Jews followed the more modern calendar.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    That does make sense.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Prof Humphreys is not the originator of the “two calendars theory”; it’s been around for a while. As for fixing the date of Easter, good luck with that! Personally, I would miss the arcane calculations involved in determining the moveable feasts years in advance (memories of childhood days spent poring over complex tables with mysterious “Golden Numbers” come flooding back – Anglicans know what I’m talking about). Anyway, while he’s solving puzzles, and since he’s a metallurgist and materials scientist, the good doctor might like to turn his attention to the “magic bullet” too…
    ;0)

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    That does make sense.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Prof Humphreys is not the originator of the “two calendars theory”; it’s been around for a while. As for fixing the date of Easter, good luck with that! Personally, I would miss the arcane calculations involved in determining the moveable feasts years in advance (memories of childhood days spent poring over complex tables with mysterious “Golden Numbers” come flooding back – Anglicans know what I’m talking about). Anyway, while he’s solving puzzles, and since he’s a metallurgist and materials scientist, the good doctor might like to turn his attention to the “magic bullet” too…
    ;0)

  • http://www.infobarrel.com/Why_Science_Emerged_in_Europe_1500_Years_Too_Late Snafu

    The hellenization of the jews is a well-known issue among the Qumran experts. Sounds rather probable that there were several calendars in use at that time: the old school and the pagan ones.

  • http://www.infobarrel.com/Why_Science_Emerged_in_Europe_1500_Years_Too_Late Snafu

    The hellenization of the jews is a well-known issue among the Qumran experts. Sounds rather probable that there were several calendars in use at that time: the old school and the pagan ones.

  • WebMonk

    In his new book, The Mystery Of The Last Supper, the metallurgist and materials scientist uses Biblical, historical and astronomical research to address the fundamental inconsistency about the event.

    (bold is mine)

    Forgive me if I have a bit of skepticism about this particular source. First, it’s a book written to make money. Second the author is a metallurgist writing on historical research.

    I’m familiar with the two calendars discussions, and I’ve read a couple academic articles by historians on differing sides of the issues. I’m not an expert, but it certainly seemed that it’s not a clearly cut issue, it’s been studied for a long time, and there are very valid points on all sides.

    I don’t think that a for-profit book written by a metallurgist and released around Easter is going to be contributing much of worth to the topic. Maybe I’m wrong, but at first sniff, it seems like this is a bit dodgy.

  • WebMonk

    In his new book, The Mystery Of The Last Supper, the metallurgist and materials scientist uses Biblical, historical and astronomical research to address the fundamental inconsistency about the event.

    (bold is mine)

    Forgive me if I have a bit of skepticism about this particular source. First, it’s a book written to make money. Second the author is a metallurgist writing on historical research.

    I’m familiar with the two calendars discussions, and I’ve read a couple academic articles by historians on differing sides of the issues. I’m not an expert, but it certainly seemed that it’s not a clearly cut issue, it’s been studied for a long time, and there are very valid points on all sides.

    I don’t think that a for-profit book written by a metallurgist and released around Easter is going to be contributing much of worth to the topic. Maybe I’m wrong, but at first sniff, it seems like this is a bit dodgy.

  • Michael Z.

    @Webmonk.
    Yeah, that is what I was thinking too. History is no longer written by historians, it seems. It is written by politicians, economists, and hobbyists.

    I actually blame historians for this (speaking as one). We got boring. hobbyists write books that are more fun to read, accuracy be…well…done away with.

  • Michael Z.

    @Webmonk.
    Yeah, that is what I was thinking too. History is no longer written by historians, it seems. It is written by politicians, economists, and hobbyists.

    I actually blame historians for this (speaking as one). We got boring. hobbyists write books that are more fun to read, accuracy be…well…done away with.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Perhaps we could just move those confounded foot washing ceremonies to Wednesday then?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Perhaps we could just move those confounded foot washing ceremonies to Wednesday then?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    It is not inconceivable that all those events could happen in the course of one evening. Kangaroo courts do not take that much time.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    It is not inconceivable that all those events could happen in the course of one evening. Kangaroo courts do not take that much time.

  • WisdomLover

    “This could also mean Jesus’ arrest, interrogation and separate trials did not all take place on one night only.”

    I’m not sure how that would follow. It seems to me that Maundy Wednesday makes Biblical sense because it puts Jesus in the tomb after sunset on Good Thursday. That would be Friday night, He would also be in the tomb on Saturday night and most of Sunday night (remember, Sunday night starts after sunset on Saturday) . He is also in the tomb for part of Thursdy day, all of Friday day and all of Saturday day (and none of Sunday day, John describes Mary as finding the tomb empty before sunrise). That is, paraphrasing Matthew 12:40, as “Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so was the Son of Man three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

    That only happens if Jesus trial occurs starting in the wee hours of Good Thursday, culminating in His crucifixion and death on Good Thursday afternoon.

    Indeed, apart from any discussion of differing calendars, it seems to me that Matthew 12 and John 20 simply require Maundy Wednesday. That’s the only way you get Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights and have Him rising (in the night) on the first day of the week.

    What about the Sabbath that the Jews were so concerned about? Doesn’t that force us into the position of assuming that Jesus died on Good Friday?

    No.

    Passover was a multi-day festival that included days of preparation and High days, which were also treated as Sabbaths. Jesus would have been killed on a day of preparation, and hastily entombed before one of the High days. This High day, being immediately followed by a weekly Sabbath would have precluded the Women from dealing with His body until the first day of the Week. They would have prepared their spices sometime after sunset on Saturday (that is on Sunday night) and then proceeded to the tomb before sunrise on Sunday. Magdalene, running ahead of the rest to see what could be done about the stone, would then have been the first of the followers of Christ to see the empty tomb before sunrise.

  • WisdomLover

    “This could also mean Jesus’ arrest, interrogation and separate trials did not all take place on one night only.”

    I’m not sure how that would follow. It seems to me that Maundy Wednesday makes Biblical sense because it puts Jesus in the tomb after sunset on Good Thursday. That would be Friday night, He would also be in the tomb on Saturday night and most of Sunday night (remember, Sunday night starts after sunset on Saturday) . He is also in the tomb for part of Thursdy day, all of Friday day and all of Saturday day (and none of Sunday day, John describes Mary as finding the tomb empty before sunrise). That is, paraphrasing Matthew 12:40, as “Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so was the Son of Man three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

    That only happens if Jesus trial occurs starting in the wee hours of Good Thursday, culminating in His crucifixion and death on Good Thursday afternoon.

    Indeed, apart from any discussion of differing calendars, it seems to me that Matthew 12 and John 20 simply require Maundy Wednesday. That’s the only way you get Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights and have Him rising (in the night) on the first day of the week.

    What about the Sabbath that the Jews were so concerned about? Doesn’t that force us into the position of assuming that Jesus died on Good Friday?

    No.

    Passover was a multi-day festival that included days of preparation and High days, which were also treated as Sabbaths. Jesus would have been killed on a day of preparation, and hastily entombed before one of the High days. This High day, being immediately followed by a weekly Sabbath would have precluded the Women from dealing with His body until the first day of the Week. They would have prepared their spices sometime after sunset on Saturday (that is on Sunday night) and then proceeded to the tomb before sunrise on Sunday. Magdalene, running ahead of the rest to see what could be done about the stone, would then have been the first of the followers of Christ to see the empty tomb before sunrise.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Who needs an inerrant Bible?

    We have an infallible Word.

    Why jump through hoops and do contortions for no reason.

    The Moslems need an inerrant book. We do not.

    The finite contains the infinite.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Who needs an inerrant Bible?

    We have an infallible Word.

    Why jump through hoops and do contortions for no reason.

    The Moslems need an inerrant book. We do not.

    The finite contains the infinite.

  • Joanne

    Michael Z. @ 5
    I’m particular about reading works of history as well. I make a clean distinction between a work I would consider a source document and one I would consider a work of historical digestion and presentation. If an economists writes about his experiences over the last 30 years of the behavior of the futures markets in American agribusiness, I would consider that a source document. He’s telling us what he saw and knows and his opinions about these things as he lived them. I’d read this book with alacrity. When Amity Schlaes produces an economic history of the Great Depression, she had better have history degrees and credentials that lead me to believe that she knows a good deal about economy. I would also look for an economy degree and other writings about economy in learned publications. What I will not read are histories written by journalists, who write most of the popular histories that one sees on the market.
    And, it is proper to ask in this instance, what in Colin Humphreys’ ken would give him special knowledge of ancient calendars and calendar usage circa 2000 in the eastern Mediterranean among Jews. He seems to be the popularizer of an arcane subject previously discussed by academics in small circles and the promoter of the 1st Sunday in April as the ecumenical Easter Day for all Christians. I suspect the ecumenical Easter Day may really be the primary reason the book is being shoved into foreground at this time of year.

  • Joanne

    Michael Z. @ 5
    I’m particular about reading works of history as well. I make a clean distinction between a work I would consider a source document and one I would consider a work of historical digestion and presentation. If an economists writes about his experiences over the last 30 years of the behavior of the futures markets in American agribusiness, I would consider that a source document. He’s telling us what he saw and knows and his opinions about these things as he lived them. I’d read this book with alacrity. When Amity Schlaes produces an economic history of the Great Depression, she had better have history degrees and credentials that lead me to believe that she knows a good deal about economy. I would also look for an economy degree and other writings about economy in learned publications. What I will not read are histories written by journalists, who write most of the popular histories that one sees on the market.
    And, it is proper to ask in this instance, what in Colin Humphreys’ ken would give him special knowledge of ancient calendars and calendar usage circa 2000 in the eastern Mediterranean among Jews. He seems to be the popularizer of an arcane subject previously discussed by academics in small circles and the promoter of the 1st Sunday in April as the ecumenical Easter Day for all Christians. I suspect the ecumenical Easter Day may really be the primary reason the book is being shoved into foreground at this time of year.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You know, it’s odd. On the one hand, I hear from Christians like my parents who think that the flurry of articles on Christianity around this time of year are some sort of media conspiracy. On the other hand, I can’t help but notice the frequency with which Christians take the bait and discuss the articles — just last night, my pastor mentioned this story to me, the first I’d heard of it.

    Is this new theory possible? Of course. But I’m far more certain that this is about selling a book, as WebMonk notes (@4). Quite a number of news stories are about that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You know, it’s odd. On the one hand, I hear from Christians like my parents who think that the flurry of articles on Christianity around this time of year are some sort of media conspiracy. On the other hand, I can’t help but notice the frequency with which Christians take the bait and discuss the articles — just last night, my pastor mentioned this story to me, the first I’d heard of it.

    Is this new theory possible? Of course. But I’m far more certain that this is about selling a book, as WebMonk notes (@4). Quite a number of news stories are about that.

  • Sensible

    Forgive me if I have a bit of skepticism about this particular source. First, it’s a book written to make money. Second the author is a metallurgist writing on historical research.

    The both points are all forms of ad hominem attacks- that of the genetic fallacy and albeit the false appeal to authority. They attack the a possible reason or source and the person not the thesis. In other words, it is fallacious reasoning because it is irrelevant to the evidence. While it would bolster Humphreys’ argument if he had a background in history or archeology or calendars, it does not confer infallibility on him.

    To do the same to Webmonk, would be to say that what he says is to protect the Pope’s Church or he has a personal or financial stake in Humphreys being incorrect. Thus, Webmonk is wrong. This type of argument is irrelevant to the evidence he provides (regardless if it is fallacious) and frankly very uncouth.

  • Sensible

    Forgive me if I have a bit of skepticism about this particular source. First, it’s a book written to make money. Second the author is a metallurgist writing on historical research.

    The both points are all forms of ad hominem attacks- that of the genetic fallacy and albeit the false appeal to authority. They attack the a possible reason or source and the person not the thesis. In other words, it is fallacious reasoning because it is irrelevant to the evidence. While it would bolster Humphreys’ argument if he had a background in history or archeology or calendars, it does not confer infallibility on him.

    To do the same to Webmonk, would be to say that what he says is to protect the Pope’s Church or he has a personal or financial stake in Humphreys being incorrect. Thus, Webmonk is wrong. This type of argument is irrelevant to the evidence he provides (regardless if it is fallacious) and frankly very uncouth.

  • WisdomLover

    Nice comment Sensible.

    It’s also worth noting that Humphreys is probably substantially smarter than anyone commenting on this blog. Even as a hobbyist, he’s likely a better historian than many that I’ve known (and being a recovering academic, I’ve known a few). Where I went to grad school, for example, there were a number of good Marxists, but not as many good historians.

  • WisdomLover

    Nice comment Sensible.

    It’s also worth noting that Humphreys is probably substantially smarter than anyone commenting on this blog. Even as a hobbyist, he’s likely a better historian than many that I’ve known (and being a recovering academic, I’ve known a few). Where I went to grad school, for example, there were a number of good Marxists, but not as many good historians.

  • Joe

    Well you don’t have to jump around to figure out how they all fit together. John’s day of preparation is not a day of preparation for the passover but the day of preparation for the Sabbath (i.e. Friday) so when John says that the Supper occured on the day before the day of preparation that means Thursday.

    Pastor Fisk addresses it at 3:44 in this video:

    http://www.worldvieweverlasting.com/

  • Joe

    Well you don’t have to jump around to figure out how they all fit together. John’s day of preparation is not a day of preparation for the passover but the day of preparation for the Sabbath (i.e. Friday) so when John says that the Supper occured on the day before the day of preparation that means Thursday.

    Pastor Fisk addresses it at 3:44 in this video:

    http://www.worldvieweverlasting.com/

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    You can find an article from 1965 discussing the two calendars here:
    http://tinyurl.com/MontyInspiration

    See page 50, about halfway down.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    You can find an article from 1965 discussing the two calendars here:
    http://tinyurl.com/MontyInspiration

    See page 50, about halfway down.


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