When was Jesus of Nazareth killed?
AN ASTRONOMICAL SPECULATION: WHEN WAS JESUS OF NAZARETH KILLED?
"I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth - blood, fire, and columns of smoke."
"The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the color of blood, before the day of the Lord comes - that great and terrible day!"
This belongs to the book according to the Hebrew prophet Joel, chapter 2, verses 30 and 31 (Ref. 1). It was produced sometime between 800 B.C.E. (= Before the Common Era) and 350 B.C.E., and it clearly shows what was thought in the minds of the ancients of the origin or cause of eclipses.
There are basically two types of visible lunar eclipses: the partial eclipse and the total eclipse. One of the characteristics that distinguishes a partial eclipse from a total eclipse is that in the latter the Moon acquires a reddish color, which to the ancients looked like blood. This hue is due to optical effects in the sunlight that passes through the "ring of air" of our planet's atmosphere, as seen from the Moon. The superstition about eclipses was slower to be set aside in strongly theocratic cultures compared to other cultures.
But at least they left us some records, albeit minimal. The aristocratic Jewish historian, granted Roman citizenship, Titus Flavius Josephus gives us dates that refer to the death of the cruel King Herod the Great, saying that it was between a certain of the many famous massacres carried out by his order, said massacre in which in its very night there was a lunar eclipse, and Passover Week. With other information given by Josephus (Ref. 2) and modern Astronomy, it is estimated that the king may have died after the total lunar eclipse of 15 September 5 B.C.E. (Ref. 3) and near the beginning of the Passover Week that started on 11 April of the following year, 4 B.C.E. (Ref. 4) (Ref. 5) (Ref. 6), dates of the Julian Calendar. With these data and choosing the version given by the Gospel according to Matthew (Ref. 7) and discarding the version of the Gospel according to Luke (which contains a different story dated a decade later [Ref. 8]), it can be speculated that Jesus of Nazareth was born before 11 April 4 B.C.E, or even before 15 September 5 B.C.E..
THE ECLIPSE OF PENTECOST
For centuries to this day, large numbers of people have attempted to date the death of Jesus of Nazareth from some eclipse that occurred around Passover Week. Hence, various days with different years have come out. However, none of the four Gospels describes the occurrence of an eclipse of any kind at any point in the biography of Jesus of Nazareth. The closest is the account of the darkening of the sky for several hours during the Passion: "Now when it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon." (Ref. 9); "Now from noon until three, darkness came over all the land." (Ref. 10); "It was about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, because the sun’s light failed." (Ref. 11), which does not correspond in any way to a solar eclipse, among other astronomical reasons, for its much exaggerated duration, which must not be longer than a few minutes. So if we want to date the death of Jesus of Nazareth by some biblical account, we are not going to find it in the Gospels. It is, however, possible to search elsewhere in the Bible.
According to the fifth book of the New Testament of the Bible, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, Simon Peter (or "Saint Peter" for Catholics) continues to associate the fear of the LORD (Yahweh) with eclipses, insisting that the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled with the possible help of a total lunar eclipse near the supposed "descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles" at the Jewish holiday of Pentecost, which occurred 50 days after the discovery of the empty tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.
Extrapolating from the Gospels (Ref. 12), from the regime of Emperor Tiberius Caesar and data from Josephus (Ref. 13), Jesus of Nazareth began his public preaching no earlier than 28 C.E. (= Common Era) and was assassinated no later than 36 C.E.. Modern calculations (Ref. 3) show that in this 9-year period there were 7 total lunar eclipses, with only 2 of them fully visible from Jerusalem: one on 14 June 29 C.E. and the other on 27 July 36 C.E., dates of the Julian Calendar. This latter date was too late in the year, long after the Feast of Pentecost. So the dramatic change in appearance of the "moon to blood" mentioned, close to Pentecost, was probably the one that was witnessed in Jerusalem on the night of 14 June 29 C.E., date of the Julian Calendar.
In the Jewish religion, the days until the Jewish Feast of Pentecost (literally "fiftieth day" in Greek) begin to be counted in relation to the Jewish Passover. We will therefore see how the relationship between one feast and the other can be understood. Note however that we will not be analyzing an eclipse close to Passover. Instead, we will be analyzing an eclipse close to Pentecost, and from there go back in time and find dates close to Passover. But anyhow, converting from Antiquity to Contemporary Age is not a "trivial" mathematical task.
COMPARING CALENDARS OF DIFFERENT CULTURES AND CALENDARS OF YESTERDAY AND TODAY
The Jewish Passover Week was ancestrally the Passover Day followed by the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but over time both terms began to be used interchangeably. However, the celebrations always began with the Passover Meal.
The days of this week in the vast majority of years are not synchronized with the days of the week in the Jewish regular calendar (whose days run from 1 to 6 plus Sabbath). That is, Passover Week can start on any day of the regular week. At the same time, when moving these days of the Jewish week into the Julian Calendar, it must be taken into account that since centuries before our Era (Ref. 14), passing through the regime of Tiberius Caesar (Ref. 15), and perhaps until at least 6 February 60 C.E. (Ref. 16), and certainly until a reform in favor of the Pagan Gods by Constantine the Great that arrived on 7 March 321, the traditional Roman week did not have 7 days but 8 different and complete days (whose days run from A to H ).
A further complication is that in the Jewish Calendar the dates already start when the natural light goes out, while in the Julian one only at midnight. As a consequence, this means that two events, one occurred at dawn and the other at dusk, are recorded by the Jews on two different dates.
The Julian Calendar has a variation that goes between 365 and 366 days (1 day), while the Jewish Calendar has a variation that goes between 353 and 385 days (32 days) in a year. This difference in variation forces the dates of one calendar to slide with respect to the dates of the other and constantly become out of synchrony.
The Julian Calendar follows mathematical formulas proposed by Sosigenes of Alexandria and was put into operation by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C.E., and after a period of transition, its calculations have been running continuously since 8 C.E. until its reform, the Gregorian Calendar of 1582, arrived. The Jewish Calendar appeared perhaps in Mesopotamia in the Bronze Age and was completely observational, trying to follow the changes of Nature month by month and year by year, and only manifested a mathematical advancement at the time of Hillel II in 359 C.E., and was established in a fully computational form in 1178, by Maimonides, running continuously since then.
Consequently, if all these peculiarities are not taken into account, there is a high probability of taking the wrong date.
DAYS AND DATES AT THE TIME OF THE JEWISH PASSOVER WEEK OF THE YEAR 29 C.E.
Let's search for days taking as a reference the first day of the Jewish regular week:
Instructions on the dates of Passover Week, with two "holy assemblies", one at the beginning (Ref. 17) and one at the end, are found in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers (Ref. 18) (contradictory, according to the favored book); and instructions on the dates of Jewish Pentecost, itself a "holy assembly", are also found in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers (Ref. 19). Both are two great pilgrimage festivals (the third is the Week of Tabernacles, also with two "holy assemblies", one at the beginning and the other at the end [Ref. 20]). The book of Deuteronomy also gives instructions but not exact dates.
The last supper of Jesus of Nazareth (what properly should have been a Passover Supper) is linked to the first day of the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread by Mark, Matthew and Luke (Ref. 21). His subsequent arrest is in Mark, Matthew, Luke and John (Ref. 22). The Jewish authorities sentenced him to death (Ref. 23) and after the end of the night, in the early morning they asked the Roman authority permission to kill him (Ref. 24). The execution of Jesus of Nazareth was completed in the afternoon, just before the sunset of the beginning of the Sabbath, the day of rest (Ref. 25). So, as it appears in the Gospels according to Mark, Matthew and Luke (John remains silent on the initial date), Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to a wooden cross-shaped structure on a day wedged in just between the day of the beginning of the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Sabbath of the regular week. The empty tomb was found the following day, the first of the regular week (Ref. 26).
Let's look for dates taking as reference the date of Passover Day:
The Jewish Calendar is hybrid, lunisolar, adjusting the months with the Moon and the years with the Sun. The first day of Passover Week (Passover Day itself) begins at dusk on the 14th day after the first thin crescent of the moon observed in the spring season. Guided by modern calculations, this date is equivalent to 16 April during the year 29 C.E., date of the Julian Calendar. (Recall: on the Jewish date, the 16th already runs from dusk to the next dusk, but on the Julian date, the 16th runs only after midnight until the following midnight [Ref. 5] [Ref. 6]). The Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins the next day, the 15th of the first religious lunar month, that is, 17 April 29 C.E. Julian date.
Confusingly, when the apostles seek and prepare the Upper Room, it is affirmed that they are already on the first day of the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but as the narration continues they say that in that night Passover Day will begin (remember, dates start at dusk), that is, in reverse order as established (Ref. 21).
CONTRADICTORY TIMELINES FOR THE SAME EVENTS
Here we must pause and take a deep breath to avoid falling as much as possible into "numerology". By combining data, more than one timeline is formed for the days of the week and their corresponding dates for the events of the month of April of the year 29 C.E., which we theorized would have been the month of the Passion:
a) According to the commandments as they appear in the second book of the Pentateuch, in Exodus, the order of the days with their dates should have been: Passover Day, coinciding with the first day of the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (16 Julian) -> Sabbath (17 Julian) -> First day of the regular Jewish week (18 Julian).
b) According to the commandments as they appear in the third and fourth books of the Pentateuch, in Leviticus and Numbers, the order of the days with their dates should have been: Passover Day (16 Julian) -> Sabbath, coinciding with the first day of the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (17 Julian) -> First day of the regular Jewish week (18 Julian).
c) According to the first three books of the New Testament, the Synoptic Gospels (according to Mark, Matthew and Luke), the order of the days with their dates was: first day of the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (17 Julian) - > Passover Day (18 Julian) -> Sabbath (19 Julian) -> First day of the regular Jewish week (20 Julian).
d) As it appears in the fourth book of the New Testament, the non-Synoptic Gospel according to John (Ref. 27), the order of the days with their dates was: the day before Passover Day (15 Julian) -> Sabbath, coinciding with Passover Day (16 Julian) -> First day of the Jewish regular week (17 Julian).
In timelines "a", "b" and "d" the Passover Day coincides but in line "c" it does not. In timelines "b" and "c" the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread coincides but in line "a" it does not and line "d" does not name it (although absence of evidence is not evidence of absence [Ref. 28]). The astronomically incorrect date for Passover Day in timeline "c" may be striking, but the 3 Synoptic Gospels (i.e. that are so similar that they can almost be followed in parallel) invariably name the first day of the Week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread first, whose date on line "c" is astronomically correct. Both celebrations were equally mandatory and one cannot be ruled out in favor of the other. The 4 timelines do not match; furthermore, there is no consensus between even 1 timeline and another.
So which one to choose? The timelines of the books of the Pentateuch were produced in remote times of up to ten centuries B.C.E. (Ref. 29); otherwise, these verses constitute the ancestral law, not the contemporary report of how things happened in the time of Jesus of Nazareth. The Gospel according to John places a lot of emphasis on mysticism and has the antecedent that it constantly departs from the Synoptic timeline in a significant way; that is precisely why it is not "synoptic"; in addition, it is of later production (Ref. 29). The timeline of the Synoptic Gospels is more contemporary with the events (Ref. 29) than the others and offers literary productions that, although knowingly interdependent, coincide to a large extent on what is reported while still offering different emphases.
Therefore, we are going to gamble on the Synoptic Gospels, even though their chronology is entirely underpinned by the strange misplacement of 1 holy day, but this is how it is in the Scriptures (Ref. 21). According to the chronology of the apostles as it appears in these, the empty tomb was found on 20 April 29 C.E.. As we saw, this day was the first of the regular Jewish week.
STRETCHING THE 50 DAYS TO THE MAXIMUM
At that time, the prevailing style of counting the days to the date of Jewish Pentecost, from Passover, was that of the Sadducee priests, who counted 50 days always starting from the first day of the regular Jewish week that fell after Passover Day, that is, from the day after the corresponding Sabbath. This day coincides with the date of the discovery of the empty tomb. If we count from this date, 20 April 29 C.E., the first day of the Jewish regular week, the entire 50 days, inclusive, we arrive at a date of Jewish Pentecost that fell on 8 June 29 C.E., that is, 6 days before the occurrence of the total lunar eclipse.
Let us agree that if there is a totally invariable date in all this essay it is the date of the total lunar eclipse, since the Julian Calendar and its continuation the Gregorian Calendar are fully documented from the year 8 C.E. to the present day. Therefore, the calculated date of 14 June 29 C.E. for the eclipse is mathematically correct, and a fixed reference point.
Here's a problem: Peter gave a Pentecost harangue (henceforth Christian Pentecost) citing Joel's prophecy as proof that the hour of the Lord came after "performing wonders in the sky above" with the moon dramatically changed in appearance "to blood" (Ref. 30), but the total lunar eclipse had not yet occurred. The dates are in reverse order as what is expected for an eclipse to fulfill a prophecy. How can a prophecy be fulfilled before it is fulfilled?
Now we enter the highly criticizable and swampy terrain of speculation:
In those times, the Jews awaited the arrival of an anointed one, "mshchth", an expression from which the word messiah derives, translated into Greek as "Khristós", or Christ for English-speaking persons. The apostles identified him with Jesus of Nazareth. Once he disappeared, they thought that the "Kingdom of Heaven" would arrive imminently, while they were still alive (Ref. 31).
Acts of the Apostles was not produced by Peter, but by Luke the Evangelist, who was neither an Apostle of Jesus of Nazareth nor a witness to what happened, approximately half a century after the events, so his account is necessarily second or third hand , or even further away. In the end-times, eschatological, tone of the Biblical passage, the two neighboring events, the alleged "descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles" and the dramatic change in appearance of "the moon to blood" could have been united by Luke in a single event, in his narration of Acts 2:1-21.
Thus, when writing, Luke could have changed the date of the total lunar eclipse, advancing it one week, so that with this (not verified) "poetic license" the date of the eclipse now was transformed into, supposedly, 7 June 29 C.E., 1 day before Pentecost. This would be the biblical story produced by Luke that reached us.
With this invention Luke eliminates the contradiction, tilting the balance in favor of the date of Pentecost, which would have continued unchanged. Thus, we could take the new and supposedly congruent astronomical-prophetic chronology to go back through the days and potentially point to the date of death of Jesus of Nazareth: 18 April of the year 29 Common Era.
On the other hand, Josephus, writing around 93 C.E., gives us two intriguing details: the first is that in his time, after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E., the 50 days of Pentecost were no longer counted from one day of the week, as in the times of the now sacked Sadducee priests (Ref. 32), but from a fixed date of the Jewish Calendar: the 16th day of the first lunar month (Ref. 33). With this adjustment, from some time after the destruction of the Temple onwards, Pentecost will in most cases come earlier (and never more than 1 day later, much less 6 days) in relation to the first day of the week as it did when Simon Peter was alive.
For example, with the old computation of the rule, if Passover fell on the second day of the regular week, the 50 days only started to run from the first day of the next regular week. With the adjustment, if Passover Day fell on the second day of the regular week, the 50 days began to run already from the fourth day of that same regular week. Therefore, with the rule adjustment in most cases there will be fewer days between Passover Day and Pentecost, and the trend is that, hypothetically, the date of Peter's speech will come earlier in time and move away from the date of the eclipse.
Since it is estimated that copies of Acts of the Apostles began to circulate around this time (Ref. 29), if Luke used a calendar with this adjustment, it did not serve him. Anyway, with this adjustment or without this adjustment, there is no way to make the 50 days reach the date of the eclipse: in the period of interest, from 28 C.E. until 36 C.E., the earliest date in the year for Pentecost occurred in 34 C.E. and the latest, precisely in 29 C.E. (Ref. 5).
But the second detail that Josephus speaks of is opposite and significant: in contrast, he says that the Feast of Pentecost lasted more than 1 day, with more than 1 day of rest (Ref. 34). It is not very clear how many days, although he describes continuous offerings between two Sabbaths. Nor do we know whether in the time of the Sadducees, for example, on the date of the death of Jesus of Nazareth, this rule already existed.
Let's go slowly: the following solution is uncomfortably complex because it requires that not 1 but 2 hypotheses be fulfilled at the same time, sliding towards "Ockham's Razor", which teaches that all things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one. (Ref. 35).
Being fulfilled the two hypotheses, if, first, again counting from the first day of the regular week in the Sadducee style, and second, the Pentecost chronology being 50 days plus 7 days of celebration (with a second "holy assembly" on the seventh day, as in the other two pilgrimage feasts?) we have 57 days from 20 April 29 C.E. until the closing of the Feast of Pentecost. This chronology may perfectly be long enough to reach the date of 15 June 29 C.E.. If so, the total lunar eclipse of 14 June 29 C.E. truly happened the night before Peter's eschatological speech, and all the dates in the Synoptic Gospels are true.
OTHER SPECULATIVE EXPLANATIONS FOR JOEL'S PROPHECY
There are other possible speculations aside from a total lunar eclipse for Peter's words, which include the other signs of the "end of days": a) blood, b) fire, c) clouds of smoke, d) sun changed to darkness (Ref. 30).
In a total eclipse of the Sun the daytime sky effectively turns into night. But the shadow of the Moon that falls on the surface of the Earth is comparatively quite small, so the darkness is restricted to quite narrow regions and for brief minutes, unlike a lunar eclipse that is visible from an entire terrestrial hemisphere and up to a couple of hours. No total solar eclipse occurred over Jerusalem in the 9 years analyzed (Ref. 3).
But there is a phenomenon that combines the darkened sun "and miraculous signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke." (Ref. 30): a catastrophic volcanic eruption. We have one contemporary with the production of Acts of the Apostles: the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and other populations, with a massive number of victims, on 24 and 25 August of the year 79 C.E., throwing a storm of stones, lava and ashes and darkening the sun for 3 days (Ref. 36).
Now all is needed is the dramatic blood-like moon; perhaps we can provide it in the following way: 4 and a half months before, on 5 April of that same year, 79 C.E., a total lunar eclipse occurred, visible from Pompeii, and Rome and Jerusalem, which coincidentally fell exactly the same night of the night of the Jewish Passover Day of that year (Ref. 3) (Ref. 5) (Ref. 6). (Although "coincidentally" is not so coincidental: in an observational Jewish month that is always adjusted with the phases of the moon, Passover Day will always be on a full moon. But since lunar eclipses only occur on a full moon, if there is an eclipse in that month, it will be on Passover Day).
In those days, Luke, pilgriming throughout the Greco-Roman world, could have used the two feared (although incommensurable) events of the natural order of things that occurred in 79 C.E. to fulfill a prophecy. But since Peter gave his speech at least 43 years earlier, this would have been an extreme departure from the truth.
Anyway, now is the time to turn around and sit across the table. Let's take a closer look at the equation, from its opposite side: not starting from a prophecy to try to discover dates, but the other way around, starting from dates to try to discover a prophecy. Inevitably, at some point we will have to ask ourselves: what could Joel really have seen, at a distance of centuries and more centuries, through the haze of the windshield of time? Or, what is the same, is it really possible for information to travel from the future? What prophecies truly are? Are they truly another literary version of an infinite number of monkeys randomly typing on an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite amount of time producing the complete works of Shakespeare? (Ref.37).
By way of conclusion: this article is based on a hypothetical crossing between an eclipse and a prophecy. But by doubting the validity of the prophecies, wouldn't this article be invalidating itself? Let's break down this question: first, the truth about (totally falsifiable) prophecies doesn't matter, what matters is what Peter and Luke believed. Second, Peter focuses on the part of Joel's prophecy that refers to the apostles speaking in foreign languages "as the [Holy] Spirit enabled them", not on the part of the eclipse, although he refers to it at the end (Ref. 30).
Now, Peter's words come to us through Luke, and we don't know whose idea was to extract those 2 Old Testament verses that deal with "wonders in the sky above" and "miraculous signs on the earth below" and transplant them, so to speak, into the New Testament (nothing unusual in biblical literature). If the idea was of the two, both Peter and Luke, the answer is that this article is valid, since Joel's prophecy was used to name the eclipse. If it was only Luke's idea, the answer to our question is that this article is not valid, since Peter did not give importance to the part of Joel's prophecy that talks about the eclipse, in due course and due place, ie , at Pentecost of 29 C.E., in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, we do not have data either one way or the other. But would it be licit to censure Peter for an assumption, that the idea was truly just Luke's? Tough question, right?
One of the best things we can do with these questions in particular and with this data-laden essay in general is to use the virtue of thinking, to think with your own head, and to experiment with whatever comes to mind to see if it works, and if it doesn't work, discard it. But always making it very clear that the spirit of the true scholar is to be neutral, or in the words of Jean-Baptiste Biot, to be "a witness foreign to any system" (Ref. 38) of preconceived ideas.
- “Amicus Plato amicus Aristoteles magis amica veritas” (Ref. 39).
- "Quid est veritas?" (Ref. 40).
1) NET (New English Translation) Bible, Biblical Studies Press, Richardson, Texas, 2005. The Scriptures quoted are from the NET Bible®, http://netbible.com. Copyright ©1996, 2019. Used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C.. All rights reserved.
2) Titus Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews", Book 17, Chapter 6, paragraph 4, until Chapter 9, paragraph 3; and Book 18, Chapter 4, paragraph 6.
3) Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus (NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center).
4) Table of Passover dates by Susan Stolovy, Steward Observatory (Tucson, Arizona, USA).
5) Casio Computer Co. Keisan Online Calculator.
6) Patrick Rocher and G. Sartre, Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul des Éphémérides / Observatoire de Paris.
7) Matthew 2:1-16.
8) Luke 2:1-7.
9) Mark 15:33.
10) Matthew 27:45.
11) Luke 23:44-45a.
12) Luke 3:1-2 and Luke 3:23.
13) Titus Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews", Book 18, Chapter 2, paragraph 2; Chapter 4, paragraphs 2 and 3; and Chapter 6, paragraph 5.
14) Quintus Hortensius, "Lex Hortensia", 287 B.C.E ..
15) Marcus Verrius Flaccus, "Fasti Praenestini", no later than 20 C.E ..
16) Graffiti at the Casa delle Nozze d'Argento, Pompeii.
17) Titus Flavius Josephus, "The Wars of the Jews, or the History of the Destruction of Jerusalem", Book 6, Chapter 9, paragraph 3.
18) Exodus 12:1-20 and Exodus 23:14-15 and Exodus 23:17-18; Leviticus 23:4-8; Numbers 9:1-5 and Numbers 28:16-25.
19) Exodus 23:14 and Exodus 23:16a and Exodus 23:17; Leviticus 23:9-22; Numbers 28:26-31.
20) Leviticus 23:33-37.
21) Mark 14:12-17; Matthew 26:1-2 and Matthew 26:17-20; Luke 22:1-2 and Luke 22:7-15.
22) Mark 14:32-36 and Mark 14:43-53; Matthew 26:36 and Matthew 26:47-50 and Matthew 26:57; Luke 22:39-44 and Luke 22:47-54; John 18:1-13.
23) Mark 14:64; Matthew 26:66.
24) Mark 15:1; Matthew 27:1-2; John 18:28-29a.
25) Mark 15:42-47 and Mark 16:1; Matthew 27:62-64; Luke 23:50-24:1; John 19:42.
26) Mark 16:1-6; Matthew 28:1-6; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1-8.
27) John 13:1-2; John 18:28; John 19:12-14; John 19:31.
28) Dugald Bell, quoted by Thomas Sheppard, "On the Occurrence of Scandinavian Boulders in England", The Glacialists' Magazine: A Quarterly Record of Glacial Geology, Volume 3, Part 3, page 132, December 1895. F. H. Butler, London; Jowett & Sowry Printers and Lithographers, Leeds.
29) Holy Bible, Reina-Valera 95, Study Edition. Reina-Valera 95® © United Bible Societies, 1995. Old Version of Casiodoro de Reina (1569). Revised by Cipriano de Valera (1602). Other Revisions: 1862, 1909 and 1960. Introductions © United Bible Societies, 1995.
30) Acts of the Apostles 2:1-23.
31) Mark 13:1-30; Matthew 24:1-34; Luke 21:5-32.
32) Titus Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews", Book 13, Chapter 8, paragraphs 4.
33) Titus Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews", Book 3, Chapter 10, paragraphs 5 and 6.
34) Titus Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews", Book 3, Chapter 10, paragraphs 6 and 7.
35) "Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate", William of Ockham (ca. 1285 - ca. 1349) in "Quaestiones et decisions in quattuor books Sententiarum Petri Lombardi", Lyon, 1495.
36) Pliny the Younger, "Letters", Book 6, letter 16 and letter 20 to Cornelius Tacitus; year 107 C.E ..
37) "... three men justify Democritus and refute Cicero. In such a wild space of time, the vocabulary and metaphors of the controversy are different. [Thomas Henry?] Huxley (who is one of those men) does not say that the "golden characters" will eventually compose a Latin verse, if thrown enough times; he says that half a dozen monkeys, equipped with typewriters, will produce in a few eternities all the books contained in the British Museum." - Jorge Luis Borges, "The total library", Sur magazine, Year 9, Number 59, Buenos Aires, August 1939. Footnote by Borges: "It would suffice, strictly speaking, with a single immortal monkey."
38) Jean-Baptiste Biot, in "Mémoires de la classe de sciences mathématiques et physiques de l'Institut National de France 7", Paris, 1803, pages 224 to 265, quoted by Matthieu Gounelle, "The meteorite fall at L'Aigle on April 26th 1803 and the Biot Report ", 66th Annual Meteoritical Society Meeting, 2003.
39) "Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my best friend is the truth" - Isaac Newton, "Certain philosophical questions", 1664.
40) "Pilate asked: 'What is truth?'" - John 18:38a.
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Painting: "The Descent from the Cross", by Peter Paul Rubens, 1611-1614, oil on panel, 421 cm x 311 cm, central panel of a triptych in the building of the "Cathedral of Our Lady" [ie, Mary of Nazareth] in Antwerp, Belgium. Theophile Silvestre wrote, in his "On Rubens' Descent from the Cross", 1868: “The principal subject is composed of nine figures: at the top of two ladders, workers are lowering the body of Christ [i.e. Jesus of Nazareth] with the aid of a shroud which one of them holds in his teeth, the other in the left hand. Bracing themselves firmly against the arms of the cross, each bends forward to guide the Christ [i.e. Jesus of Nazareth] with the hand that is left free while St. John [i.e. "the disciple whom Jesus loved"], with one foot on the ladder and his back arched, supports him most energetically. One of Savior’s [i.e. Jesus of Nazareth] feet comes to rest on the beautiful shoulder of the Magdalene, grazing her golden hair. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, placed midway on ladders so as to face each other, form, together with the two workmen in the upper part of the picture, a square of vigorous but plebeian figures. The Virgin [i.e. Mary of Nazareth], standing at the foot of the sacrificial tree, extends her arms towards her S[s]on; Salome (properly, Mary Cleophas) [sic], kneeling, gathers up her robe. On the ground are seen the superscription and a copper basin where the crown of thorns and the nails of the Crucifixion lie in the congealed blood. The crowd, always elated by the spectacle of torture, has departed from Golgotha as daylight fades. After the sacrifice of Calvary, as it is called in Scripture, the sad, dark sky is crossed by a light that illumines the shoulders of the workmen, whose bold posture recalls the composition by Danielle da Volterra [a student of Michelangelo]. "