QUAKE REVEALS DAY OF JESUS CRUCIFIXION, RESEARCHERS BELIEVE
Quake reveals day of Jesus' crucifixion, researchers believe
They say analysis of Dead Sea seismic activity points to Friday, April 3, in year 33
N. Currier via LOC
Geologists say Jesus, as described in the New Testament, was most likely crucified on Friday, April 3, in the year 33.
The latest investigation, reported in International Geology Review, focused on earthquake activity at the Dead Sea, located 13 miles from Jerusalem. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27, mentions that an earthquake coincided with the crucifixion:
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.”
To analyze earthquake activity in the region, geologist Jefferson Williams of Supersonic Geophysical and colleagues Markus Schwab and Achim Brauer of the German Research Center for Geosciences studied three cores from the beach of the Ein Gedi Spa adjacent to the Dead Sea.
Varves, which are annual layers of deposition in the sediments, reveal that at least two major earthquakes affected the core: a widespread earthquake in 31 B.C. and a seismic event that happened sometime between the years 26 and 36.
The latter period occurred during “the years when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea and when the earthquake of the Gospel of Matthew is historically constrained,” Williams said.
"The day and date of the crucifixion (Good Friday) are known with a fair degree of precision," he said. But the year has been in question.
In terms of textual clues to the date of the crucifixion, Williams quoted a Nature paper authored by Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington. Williams summarized their work as follows:
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.
“If the last possibility is true, this would mean that the report of an earthquake in the Gospel of Matthew is a type of allegory,” they write.
Williams is studying yet another possible natural happening associated with the crucifixion — darkness.
Three of the four canonical gospels report darkness from noon to 3 p.m. after the crucifixion. Such darkness could have been caused by a duststorm, he believes.
Williams is investigating if there are dust storm deposits in the sediments coincident with the earthquake that took place in the Jerusalem region during the early first century.
© 2012 Discovery Channel
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