Quake reveals day of Jesus' crucifixion

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    Vidqun posted Fri, 25 May 2012 09:13:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47555983/ns/technology_and_science-science/

    "When data about the Jewish calendar and astronomical calculations are factored in, a handful of possible dates result, with Friday, April 3, 33, being the best match, according to the researchers."

    Listener posted Fri, 25 May 2012 09:23:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    It's always refreshing to see science and the bible work in harmony.

    mP posted Fri, 25 May 2012 13:48:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    What about the walking zombies and eclipse and how do we explain John and the synoptics giving different days of the week ?

    Vidqun posted Fri, 25 May 2012 19:00:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    mP, according to the article, the darkness could be ascribed to a dust storm, which the geologists would be able to pinpoint. There is also no record of a mass resurrection during that time, so the corrupt text could have been caused by a transcription error. An earthquake could have caused bodies "to stand up." Afterwards people would have wondered amongst the tombs. Just my five cents worth.

    M heathen posted Fri, 25 May 2012 19:17:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    If that was on a passover , it may well work with the story in the bible . They do need to prove he existed before they prove anything else . Science is about provablility not about faith .

    M Qcmbr posted Fri, 25 May 2012 19:21:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    No it doesn't

    Flat_Accent posted Fri, 25 May 2012 20:27:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    This is a backwards way of doing the research.

    There's no evidence an earthquake actually happened on Friday April 3rd. They just use the Bible's 'testimony', figured out the date and then said 'an earthquake must have happened this day.' If you're going to do that at least investigate the reliability of the source. ie. 0.

    Leolaia posted Fri, 25 May 2012 22:10:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    I have read the article in International Geology Review. It is a huge, huge stretch to say that "Quake reveals day of Jesus' crucifixion". All the authors do is find a Judean earthquake dateable to AD 31 ± 5 years; in other words, an earthquake that occurred sometime during Pontius Pilate's tenure (AD 26-36). So the quake adds nothing to the dating of Jesus' crucifixion since everyone who has ever offered up dates agrees that Jesus was crucified under Pilate. Rather the authors speculate that the quake under investigation is the same one mentioned in the gospel of Matthew that occurred during the crucifixion. But they do not conclude that the Ein Gedi quake may be identified as such. Their conclusions admit at least three possibilities:

    "(1) the earthquake described in the Gospel of Matthew occurred more or less as reported;
    (2) the earthquake described in the Gospel of Mathew was in effect ‘borrowed’ from an earthquake that occurred sometime before or after the crucifixion, but during the reign of Pontius Pilate;
    (3) the earthquake described in the Gospel of Matthew is allegorical fiction and the 26–36 AD seismite was caused by an earthquake that is not reported in the currently extant historical record."
    (p. 1226)

    The precision of dating the crucifixion to April 3, AD 33 is entirely due to the astronomical work of Humphreys and Waddington (1983), not the earthquake evidence, but it should also be noted that Humphreys and Waddington's conclusions while commonly accepted have been questioned by other specialists who have come up with different analyses of the dating of Passover in the 30s AD or other grounds for reckoning the dates (Leo Depuydt, Alexandra Smith, Nikos Kokkinos), and there is also the inherent uncertainty of whether Nisan 14 or 15 was the date of the crucifixion. The clincher for Humphreys and Waddington, the lunar eclipse moonrise that occurred on April 3, AD 33, cannot be associated with the crucifixion exegetically by the texts they cite. And I still find AD 36 as the most persuasive date on account of evidence from Luke and Josephus (as also argued by Kokkinos, Smith).

    The earthquake is also mentioned in only one of the six extant passion narratives and it is clearly a Matthean redaction to the more original Markan narrative; one may note that Matthew also adds a reference to an earthquake in 28:2 (the day after the sabbath) which is also unique and absent in the parallels in Mark 16:4, Luke 24:2, John 20:1, Gospel of Peter 9:37. The mention of the earthquake is also connected to the uniquely Matthean reference to the resurrection of the sleeping saints (the earthquake forcefully opening their tombs), which is of very doubtful historicity. This makes the reference to the earthquake itself dubious, and like many other features of the passion narrative the linkage between darkness and an earthquake has an OT exegetical basis in Joel 2:10: "The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble. The sun and moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining". So all this is a point in favor of option (3) above.

    M james_woods posted Fri, 25 May 2012 22:24:00 GMT(5/25/2012)

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    This is idiotic. Geology cannot somehow identify the exact day of an ancient earthquake.

    M Jeffro posted Sat, 26 May 2012 00:38:00 GMT(5/26/2012)

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    This is all fairly backward reasoning. There is very little evidence that Jesus existed, and no evidence that he was crucified. So it's not particularly scientific to start from the assumption that he was, and then try to align the date of some earthquake. It's possible that the entire account, with its earthquake, were entirely made up. Or it is possible that the author of the story added in details of an earthquake that was known from historical accounts to make the story seem more plausible. Or it is possible that there was an earthquake on the same date some people were crucified. Whatever the case, it is a great stretch to make the bold claim in the article in question.

    Leolaia posted Sat, 26 May 2012 02:19:00 GMT(5/26/2012)

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    Mark Goodacre has commented on this story, making pretty much similar observations I made above:

    http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/earthquake-research-and-day-of-jesus.html

    Goodacre notes that there is a third Matthean redaction that introduces seismos "quake" into the Markan narrative: the account of the stilling of the storm in Matthew 8:24 ("a great seismos on the sea"), which is not paralleled in the other synoptics (Mark 4:37, Luke 8:23). This shows that in Matthew, seismos does not necessarily refer to earthquakes but to great disturbances, and the occurrence of this term in Matthew was part of a systematic redaction of the received narrative, as Goodacre notes, it's the evangelist's way of indicating something dramatic happening. So the reference to an earthquake at the crucifixion looks all the more like a detail that originated with the author of Matthew, as part of a more general redactional tendency.

    Goodacre concludes:

    "The story he is presenting here is one of those that very few New Testament scholars would take seriously as history. It's even read with caution by the most conservative scholars, and for good reason. The Discovery report ends its quotation of Matt. 27.51-2 with the tombs opening, but if it had continued its quotation, the reader would have seen how Matthew goes on to recount what some people call the Zombie Pericope, when bodies come out of the tombs, walk around and meet people. This is not history but legend."

    Maybe it should be called the Pericope Zombiae. :P

    mP posted Sat, 26 May 2012 06:21:00 GMT(5/26/2012)

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    VIDQUN

    mP, according to the article, the darkness could be ascribed to a dust storm, which the geologists would be able to pinpoint. There is also no record of a mass resurrection during that time, so the corrupt text could have been caused by a transcription error. An earthquake could have caused bodies "to stand up." Afterwards people would have wondered amongst the tombs. Just my five cents worth.

    @vidqun

    Im sorry, transcription error does not accurate reflect the so called insertion of the zombies story. Thats complete an utter dishonest fabrication to use nice words. Why would they insert such utter lies ? Why would anyone believe anyone who would tell such lies. Once they contaminate the narrative with one lie the entire thing is suspect. There are countless other mistakes and other problems with all the gospels when they are compared against each other. Even if the earthquake did happen, so what that hardly proves anything divine or miraculous or true about Jesus. We have plenty of movies today set in that historical setting, like Ben Hur which mentions many real people and many characters that were created. It doesnt make the story true in anyway.

    Lastly there is no way to calculate the exact date of an earthquake, using computers. One needs historical records from the period and time and location. Show that and we have a possible story.

    Vidqun posted Sat, 26 May 2012 12:36:00 GMT(5/26/2012)

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    "When data about the Jewish calendar and astronomical calculations are factored in, a handful of possible dates result, with Friday, April 3, 33, being the best match, according to the researchers."

    mP, I think you missed above quote. They established the time of the earthquake between 26 and 36 CE. As far as I know there is only record of this quake in the Bible. They also used data from the Jewish calendar, astronomical calculations, as well as the different Biblical accounts to decide on a date. I think that's a reasonable way to go about doing things, until they find a better way of working it out. Remarkable is the fact that a man, who did not exist, a mere figment of some Jews' imagination, could influence the course of history as he did. Is it the cowboys or Indians that established the principle: Where there is smoke, there is a fire.

    M Jeffro posted Sat, 26 May 2012 15:06:00 GMT(5/26/2012)

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    Remarkable is the fact that a man, who did not exist, a mere figment of some Jews' imagination, could influence the course of history as he did.

    Ideas influence people all the time. This story is no different. Much of the 'Jesus' story is copied from earlier mythology anyway.

    The only real difference is that for several hundred years, the people who said they didn't believe the stories were tortured by the loving merciful Christians.

    Leolaia posted Sat, 26 May 2012 17:23:00 GMT(5/26/2012)

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    They established the time of the earthquake between 26 and 36 CE. As far as I know there is only record of this quake in the Bible. They also used data from the Jewish calendar, astronomical calculations, as well as the different Biblical accounts to decide on a date.

    They didn't decide on a date for the quake. They discussed how the crucifixion is commonly dated to April 3, AD 33 and they discussed how the quake was dated to AD 31 ± 5 years. Then they discussed whether the quake dated to AD 31 ± 5 years could be identified with the quake mentioned in the gospel of Matthew. They consider three different possibilities and leave the choice between them as inconclusive. They do not settle on April 3, AD 33 as the date of the quake. If the MSNBC report gave the impression they did, then again one should always consult the original journal article and not a summary of it in the media.

    There is also no record of a mass resurrection during that time, so the corrupt text could have been caused by a transcription error. An earthquake could have caused bodies "to stand up." Afterwards people would have wondered amongst the tombs.

    What specific transcription error are you thinking of in the text that we have? The text quite deliberately refers to a resurrection, and that is both historically problematic (a sign that the quake is more in the realm of legend or allegory) as you note as well as theologically problematic (it would deny Jesus the privilege of being the "firstborn" and "firstfruits" of the resurrection, as claimed by Paul). An event in which the quake merely causes the bodies to "stand up" is reminiscent of Johannes Greber's dubious translation: "The earth quaked, and the rocks were shattered. Tombs were laid open, and many bodies of those buried there were tossed upright. In this posture they projected from the graves and were seen by many who passed by the place on their way back to the city" (The New Testament -- A New Translation, 1937). The NWT follows Greber's lead and also imposes parantheses to artificially mark part of the text as a digression:

    "The earth quaked, and the rock-masses were split. And the memorial tombs were opened and many bodies of the holy ones that had fallen asleep were raised up, (and persons, coming out from among the memorial tombs after his being raised up, entered into the holy city,) and they became visible to many people."

    In both readings the bodies in the graves are not resurrected but merely "raised up" or "tossed upright" and remained in their tombs, while other persons walking among the tombs went into the city (not those tossed upright in the tombs). This is a very contrived interpretation that can be criticized on a number of grounds. First we read that "tombs were opened" (mnèmeia aneòkhthèsan), and this is an allusion to the Vision of Dry Bones (a primary OT source on the resurrection belief) where God says " I will open your tombs (anoig ò hum ò n ta mn è mata) and cause you to come up (anax ò ) out of your tombs (ek t ò n mn è mat ò n), my people; and I will bring you into (eisax ò hu mas) the land of Israel" (Ezekiel 37:12 LXX); both anoig ò and aneòkhthèsan are forms of the verb anoigein "to open up" (first person singular active present and third person plural passive aorist, respectively). The two words occur elsewhere in descriptions of the resurrection: "And after these things a trumpet blast, and the tombs will be opened (mnèmeia anoikhthesontai) and the dead will rise up uncorrupted" (Greek Apocalypse of Ezra 4:36). Second, the Greber translation and the NWT refer only the bodies being "raised up" or "tossed upright", and Greber further adds a reference to "this posture". But this ignores what is stated in text itself. A nominal form (egersin) of the same word (egerein "to rise up") is used in the next verse (v. 53) to refer to Jesus' resurrection. It thus should be understood as resurrection in the preceding verse, particularly since there the holy ones are said to be kekoimèmenòn "sleeping" (the state of death from which the dead are awakened and raised up). Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:14-16 where the "sleeping" dead are awakened by the trumpet call and rise from the dead. Second, v. 53 attributes to following actions to the holy ones: they "came out" (exelthontes, masculine plural in agreement with "holy ones" in v. 52) of the tombs, they "came into" (eisèlthon) the city, and then they "appeared" (enephainisthèsan) to many. These actions presume an agency not attributable to inanimate bodies, not even by assuming that others picked them up and carried them into the city. This motivates the NWT's parenthetical insertion of "persons" into the text to make the reference to the first two actions attributable to conscious agents, even tho there is no basis for "persons" in the text. Another contrivance is the statement that these persons were "coming out from among the memorial tombs" in the NWT, which implies they were on the surface walking between the tombs, whereas they clearly are exiting the tombs themselves (exelthontes ex tòn mnèmeiòn "came out from the tombs"). And this language is clearly borrowed from Ezekiel 37:12 LXX: After opening the tombs, Yahweh would " cause you to come up (anax ò ) out of your tombs (ek t ò n mn è mat ò n)" , and then he would "bring you into" (eisaxò) the land of Israel. This is parallel to the opening of the tombs being followed by the dead "coming out" (exerkhomai) "out of the tombs" (ex tòn mnèmeiòn) and then "coming into" (eiserkhomai) the holy city. So the passage in its construction is clearly a resurrection narrative, and the Greber and NWT renderings attempt to mitigate this.

    That's the text as it stands. But it is also a difficult text, which is why many scholars believe that it has been redacted. Even the Society suggests that this is a possibility (Watchtower, 1/1/1961, p. 30). The passage contains unusual language used elsewhere by Paul in reference to the resurrection, all of which is theologically loaded: "bodies" (used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:35-44), "saints" (widely used by Paul to refer to the faithful), and "who had fallen asleep" (used in reference to those who will be resurrected in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14). The noun egersis is also nowhere else applied to Jesus' resurrection in the NT (as opposed to the usual term anastasis), although the verbal form is commonly used. The motivation for the revision can be found in Paul: "But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep...All men will be brought to life in Christ but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him" (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). This would explain why the text was glossed: Christ must first rise and leave his tomb prior to the saints, who only do so "after his resurrection". This however is a contrivance: they are still raised at the moment the temple veil is torn, they inexplicably wait in their graves until Easter Sunday, and the Matthean account has the centurion exclaim "This was the son of God" in amazement in the very next verse. The centurion is not only commenting on the earthquake, but "the earthquake and the things that happened". The likely original account thus would have contradicted Paul and have the resurrection of the saints occur at that very moment, climaxing the events leading to the confession by the centurion.

    There is also possibly textual evidence that the text in Matthew may have been altered. One of its earliest witnesses was the Diatesseron, a gospel harmony produced by Tatian towards the end of the second century. This harmony was in turn based on the one produced by Justin Martyr several decades earlier. The Pepysian Harmony and the Ephrem Commentary both attest the Diatessaron reading as follows:

    And with that, the veil that hung in the temple before the high altar burst in two pieces, the earth quaked, and the stones burst, and the dead men arose out of their graves. And entering the holy city, they appeared to many. And the centurion and those with him, who stood facing Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, and said with awe, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

    Here the gloss does not appear and the appearance of the risen dead in Jerusalem occurs at the same time as Jesus' death and was witnessed by the centurion. This reading makes better sense with the context. It also omits the greater detail of the canonical account in this passage, lacking the Pauline-like language described earlier.

    There is also an open question of whether the tradition underlying the passage is relevant to the claim by Hymenaeus and Philetus that "the resurrection has already taken place" (2 Timothy 2:16-17), as the present passage on its face would seem to make a similar claim. Others see a connection with traditions of the harrowing of hell during Jesus' death and resurrection. The Gospel of Nicodemus (fifth or sixth century AD) builds on the Pericope Zombiae in ch. 17:

    It is more marvelous that he rose not alone from the dead, but did raise up alive many other dead out of their sepulchres, and they have been seen of many in Jerusalem. And now hearken unto me; for we all know the blessed Simeon, the high priest which received the child Jesus in his hands in the temple. And this Simeon had two sons, brothers in blood and we all were at their falling asleep and at their burial. Go therefore and look upon their sepulchres: for they are open, because they have risen, and behold they are in the city of Arimathaea dwelling together in prayer. And indeed men hear them crying out, yet they speak with no man, but are silent as dead men. But come, let us go unto them and with all honour and gentleness bring them unto us, and if we adjure them, perchance they will tell us concerning the mystery of their rising again.

    mP posted Sun, 27 May 2012 05:15:00 GMT(5/27/2012)

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    VIDQUN

    "When data about the Jewish calendar and astronomical calculations are factored in, a handful of possible dates result, with Friday, April 3, 33, being the best match, according to the researchers."

    mP, I think you missed above quote. They established the time of the earthquake between 26 and 36 CE. As far as I know there is only record of this quake in the Bible. They also used data from the Jewish calendar, astronomical calculations, as well as the different Biblical accounts to decide on a date. I think that's a reasonable way to go about doing things, until they find a better way of working it out. Remarkable is the fact that a man, who did not exist, a mere figment of some Jews' imagination, could influence the course of history as he did. Is it the cowboys or Indians that established the principle: Where there is smoke, there is a fire.

    mP

    Earthquakes and tremors happen all the time in that part of the world. Ben Hur uses the same technique of story telling, inventing characters with a histroical background. Do you believe in Judah Ben Hur and Masallah ? As i have mentioned the story in Matthew also talks of walking zombies, and you replied it was a transcription error, which is utterly rediciouluous. One the text became contaminated its hard to know what is true and what is lies. By your own admission the gospels have been changed and are not reliable witnesses in anyway.

    mP posted Sun, 27 May 2012 05:23:00 GMT(5/27/2012)

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    VIDQUN

    An earthquake could have caused bodies "to stand up." A

    MP

    http://www.watchtower.org/e/bible/mt/chapter_027.htm

    And, look! the curtain of the sanctuary was rent in two, from top to bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rock-masses were split. And the memorial tombs were opened and many bodies of the holy ones that had fallen asleep were raised up, (and persons, coming out from among the memorial tombs after his being raised up, entered into the holy city,) and they became visible to many people.

    The text clearly shows zombies were walking about, no where does it attempt to say they were standing up as you mention. All items mentioned are extraordinary, earthquakes, zombies and more. The text does not say that a tree fell over or that a building collapsed simply because those events are expected during earthquakes. The zombies are placed in the story to impress and decieve.

    M heathen posted Sun, 27 May 2012 17:25:00 GMT(5/27/2012)

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    Qcmbr - once you talk about science here you need tangible evidence supporting any hypothesus to give it credibility otherwise it's just belief or faith. just like christianity mixed with witchcraft becomes voodoo , science mixed with personal beliefs becomes quack science .IMO Personally I believe but I do question some narration in the bible since I know it's been in the hands of some very evil people who didn't appreciate it for what it was and tampered with it . The zombie story is very suspect . What holy ones is he talking about? The 11 were the only ones that qualify , I think they were hiding in the tombs and came out after a quake .

    Leolaia posted Mon, 28 May 2012 04:42:00 GMT(5/28/2012)

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    Oh! I just realized that the connection with the Vision of the Dry Bones is even closer than indicated in my last post. Whereas there is no reference to an earthquake in the MT, the LXX (which as I showed underlies the phrasing in the Pericope Zombiae) does have a reference to a quake! Here are the parallels:

    Ezekiel 37:7, 9-10, 12-13 LXX: "And it happened, when I prophesied, and behold an earthquake (kai idou seismos), and he brought forth the bones, each to its joint....This is what the Lord says: Come from the four winds, and blow into these corpses (tous nekrous), and they shall live. And I prophesied just as he commanded me. And the breath entered into ( eis è lthen ) them, and they lived and stood upon their feet, a gathering of a great many (sungagògè pollè sphodra)....This is what the Lord says: Behold I am opening your tombs ( anoig ò hum ò n ta mn è mata ) and will cause you to come up ( anax ò) from your tombs ( ek t ò n mn è mat ò n ) and bring you into ( eisax ò hu mas ) the land of Israel, and you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves (anoixai tous taphous) so that I might bring my people up from their graves (ek tòn taphòn)".

    Matthew 27:51-52: "And behold (kai idou) the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom and the earth shook (hè gè eseisthè) and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened (mnèmeia aneòkhthèsan), and many (polla) bodies (sòmata) of the holy ones who had fallen asleep were raised, a nd coming out (exelthontes) from the tombs ( ex tòn mnèmeiòn ) after he was raised they entered into (eis è lthon) the holy city and appeared to many".

    It's a resurrection tale in its very construction.

    mP posted Mon, 28 May 2012 05:41:00 GMT(5/28/2012)

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    At best it if one wishes to say someone inserted the zombies walking text, what does that say about Jehovah and his care in preserving his message to mankind. Its pretty pathetic he cannot protect his holy word from change. this also raises an question that nees to be addressed, when does a lie make the author a liar ? If they lied once, or someone copied changed the text, how can we be sure any of the text is true. What parts are imagination, and what parts are genuine ?

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