Citations

 

Chapter 4 – Continuity

 

[708] This scene occurs 157 minutes into the movie.

 

[709] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846. With an appendix containing a history of the most ancient manuscript copies of the New Testament, and a comparison of their text with that of the King James' Bible, by Constantine Tischendorff; also a review of the trial of Jesus. Section 39.

 

[710] For example, John 18:13 states that the Jewish high priest Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Annas. Extensive research has revealed that the Bible is the only primary source that makes this assertion, yet many non-Christian publications treat it as an accepted fact. For instance, see the article on "Caiaphas" in the Columbia Encyclopedia [Columbia University Press, 2006. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Caiaphas.html]

 

[711] There is legitimate disagreement as to the exact length of time over which the Bible was written and the number people involved. In Christian circles, it is commonly stated that the Bible was written over the course of 1,600 years by about 40 authors. Other sources use different figures, but most all are above 1,000 years. For example, the Encyclopædia Britannica gives a 1,100 year range for the writing of the Old Testament. [Article: "Old Testament." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004.] The next chapter contains more details pertaining to this topic.

 

[712] 1 John 4:16 (NIV): "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us."

 

Jeremiah 32:26-27 (NIV): "Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 'I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?'"

 

[713] Matthew 10:28

 

[714] John 16:33

 

[715] Luke 21:16-19

 

[716] John 11:4, 14-15, 21-23, 32-36, 43:

 

When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. … Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. …

 

Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. … Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

 

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! … And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

 

[717] Song: "One of Us." Performed by Joan Osborne. Written by Eric Bazilian. Released in the album Relish, March 21, 1995.

 

[718] Years after writing this song, Eric stated:

 

No, I'm not at all religious. Obviously it has some sort of a pull on me because I keep going back to it. The Hooters songs, "Zombies," "Satellite," in those the God thing, the biblical thing they're cultural icons. It's story telling. Even "One of Us" I think is a human story. It's not so much about God as it is about people, being God-like, if there is such a thing. So obviously there's a whole thing going on that I'm unaware of just bubbling under the surface that keeps reaching out and grabbing. [Web page: "An Interview by Roberta Perry." 2003. http://www.ericbazilian.com/interview.html]

 

[719] John 1:1, 14: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…."

 

Matthew 4:2: "And when [Jesus] had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred."

 

Matthew 26:67: "Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,  Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?"

 

Matthew 26: 47-49: "And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him."

 

Matthew 27:41-43: "Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said … He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God."

 

Mark 14:50: "And they [the disciples] all forsook him [Jesus] and fled."

 

Luke 22:61-2: "And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly."

 

John 19:30: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

 

[720] 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

 

[721] 1 Thessalonians 4:18

 

[722] The Books of Matthew (Chapter 27), Mark (Chapter 15), Luke (Chapter 23), and John (Chapter 19) all assert that Jesus was executed on a Preparation Day. For example, Mark 15:42 states: "[I]t was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath…."

 

To understand what is meant by the term "Preparation Day," one must first understand what is meant by the term "Sabbath." The Sabbath (Saturday) is a holy day of rest in the Jewish faith.* Those who strictly observe this day prepare meals for it on the day beforehand because work (such as cooking) is forbidden on the Sabbath.† For this reason, the day before the Sabbath is called "Preparation Day." Since the Jewish Sabbath takes place on Saturday, Preparation Day is on Friday.‡

 

The term "Preparation Day," however, can refer to days other than a Friday; specifically to the day before any Holy Day in which work is forbidden.‡ Thus, some assert that the Preparation Day mentioned in the Biblical accounts of the crucifixion does not refer to a Friday, but to the day prior to the Passover feast, which could have fallen on any day of the week. This claim, however, cannot be accurate because the Books of Matthew, Mark and Luke all state that the Passover took place before the crucifixion.§ Therefore, the "Preparation Day" mentioned in these books could not possibly have been the Preparation Day for the Passover feast because the Passover feast had already taken place.

 

As an aside, advocates of the view that Jesus was not executed on a Friday often point to Matthew 12:40, which states that Jesus would "be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." This is addressed a little later in this chapter.

 

NOTES:

* Leviticus 23:3: "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings."

 

† Ancient Work: The Jewish War. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 78 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 2.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/war-2.htm

 

Chapter 8, Section 9: "Moreover, they [the Essenes] are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food ready the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that day, but they will not remove any vessel out of its place, nor go to stool thereon."

 

‡ Article: "Calendar." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 3. Funk & Wagnalls, 1903. Pages 501-508. Page 502:

 

[T]he seventh day [is] called "Shabbat" (Rest) or "Yom ha-Shabbat" (Day of Rest). … Friday, as the forerunner of Shabbat, is called "Ereb Shabbat" (The Eve of the Sabbath). …

 

[Also,] the day is called "Yoma da-'Arubta" (Day of Preparation). …

 

The same terms are also applied to the days preceding and following any of the festivals….

 

§ In interpreting the passages below, one must also bear in mind the Jewish convention of starting each new day "in the evening twilight," as detailed in Chapter 1 and later in this chapter.

 

Mark 14:12, 16-18, 15:1, 24, 42-45:

 

And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover…. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat…. And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate…. And when they had crucified him…. And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

 

Matthew 26:17-21, 27:1-2, 35, 57-62

 

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat…. When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor…. And they crucified him…. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate….

 

Luke 22:7, 13-15, 66, 23:33, 50-54:

 

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed…. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer…. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council…. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him…. And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

 

[723] Matthew 28:1, 9-10:

 

In the end of the sabbath [Saturday], as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week [Sunday], came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. … And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

 

Mark 16:1, 21: "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. … Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

 

Luke 24:1:

 

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living  among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen….

 

John 20:1, 6: "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master."

 

[724] Mark 10:34: "And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again."

 

[725] Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

 

[726] Ancient Work: Talmud of the Land of Israel. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Tractate: Shabbat. Translated by Jacob Neusner. University of Chicago Press, 1982. Section 9.3, I.J (page 311).

 

[727] Ancient Work: On Dreams, That They are God-Sent. By Philo Judaeus. Published in the first half of the first century. Translated by Charles Duke Yonge. Bohn, 1854-1855.

Chapter 39:

 

And the expression "from," has a double sense. One, that by which the starting point from which it begins is included; the other that by which it is excluded. For when we say that from morning to evening there are twelve hours, or from the new moon to the end of the month there are thirty days, we are including in our enumeration both the first hour and the day of the new moon. And when any one says that such and such a field is three or four furlongs distant from the city, he clearly means to leave the city itself out of that measurement.

 

[728] Detailed in citations 771-722, 777-783, and the corresponding main text of Rational Conclusions.

 

[729] Entry: "Greenleaf, Simon." Dictionary of American Biography. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959-1960. Volume 4. Page 584:

 

To the efforts of Story and Greenleaf is to be ascribed the rise of Harvard Law School to its eminent position among the legal schools of the United States. … As a lecturer, Greenleaf was systematic, meticulously exact, and practical, vouchsafing little indication of the wealth of learning from which his lectures were constructed. … While engaged in tutorial work he prepared what was originally intended as a textbook on evidence, published in 1842 as A Treatise on the Law of Evidence. The profession at once hailed it as the ablest extant work on the subject, distinguished alike for its deep learning, clarity of style, and practical utility. He added a second volume in 1846, and a third in 1853. In its completed form it came to be regarded as the foremost American authority, and passed through numerous editions under successive editors.

 

[730] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846. With an appendix containing a history of the most ancient manuscript copies of the New Testament, and a comparison of their text with that of the King James' Bible, by Constantine Tischendorff; also a review of the trial of Jesus.

 

Section 3: "Our religion, then, rests on the credit due to these witnesses. Are they worthy of implicit belief, in the matters which they relate? This is the question, in all human tribunals, in regard to persons testifying before them; and we propose to test the veracity of these witnesses, by the same rules and means which are there employed."

 

[731] This is an incredible book, but it is not an easy read. To grasp the full import of it, one needs a strong familiarity with the New Testament, a willingness to read the footnotes, and the inclination to dig into the sources cited. The first part of this book is posted on the Internet in more than dozen locations, but in all such cases I have seen, the text has significant mistakes/omissions and the footnotes are not included. Moreover, the first section of the book does not adequately represent the entirety of it. There are modern paperbacks that contain an accurate reproduction of the first part of the book along with the footnotes, but they are no substitute for the original complete work.

 

[732] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846.

 

Section 44: "The essential marks of difference between true narratives of facts and the creations of fiction have already been adverted to. It may here be added that these attributes of truth are strikingly apparent throughout the gospel histories, and that the absence of all the others is equally remarkable."

 

[733] Book: The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content. By Bruce M. Metzger. Abingdon Press, 2003. Third edition. First edition published in 1965. Pages 96-97:

 

When the text of the Synoptic Gospels [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] is set forth in parallel columns, it can readily be seen that there is very extensive agreement among them in content, arrangement, and even wording. The substance of 606 of the 661 verses of Mark reappears in somewhat shortened form in Matthew, and about 350 of the 661 verses of Mark reappear in Luke. Stated in another way, of the 1068 verses of Matthew, about 500 contain the substance of 606 verses of Mark, while rather more than half of Mark's material (about 350 out of 661 verses) is embodied in Luke's 1,149 verses. Furthermore, Matthew and Luke have each about 235 verses in common, compromising chiefly discourse material, which are not in Mark. … It is obvious from these data that there is some kind of literary relationship among the synoptic Gospels [Matthew, Mark, & Luke].

 

[734] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846. Section 34:

 

In the third place, as to their number and the consistency of their testimony. The character of their narratives is like that of all other true witnesses, containing, as Dr. Paley observes, substantial truth, under circumstantial variety. There is enough of discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them, and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they all were independent narrators of the same great transaction, as the events actually occurred.

 

[735] Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-43; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14 (NIV)

 

[736] John 1:44

 

[737] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846. Pages 228-229.

 

NOTE: Greenleaf credits the book, Undesigned Coincidences in the Writings Both of the Old, and New Testament, an Argument of Their Veracity, by John James Blunt, as the source of this observation.

 

[738] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846. Section 44:

 

The [Gospel] writers allude, for example, to the existing manners and customs, and to the circumstances of the times and of their country, with the utmost minuteness of reference. And these references are never formally made, nor with preface and explanation, never multiplied and heaped on each other, nor brought together, as though introduced by design; but they are scattered broadcast and singly over every part of the story, and so connect themselves with every incident related as to render the detection of falsehood inevitable. This minuteness, too, is not peculiar to any one of the historians, but is common to them all.

 

[739] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846. Section 42:

 

Let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth. In the course of such an examination, the undesigned coincidences will multiply upon us at every step in our progress; the probability or the veracity of the witnesses and of the reality of the occurrences which they relate will increase, until it acquires, for all practical purposes, the value and force of demonstration.

 

[740] John 19:14, 17-18, 31:

 

And it was the preparation of the passover [when the lambs are slain], and about the sixth hour…. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him…. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

 

[741] Matthew 26:17-21:

 

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat….

 

Matthew 27: 1-2, 34: "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor…. And they crucified him…."

 

[742] Mark 14:12, 16-18: "And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover…. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat…."

 

Mark 15:1, 24: "And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate…. And when they had crucified him…."

 

[743] Luke 22:7, 13-15, 66:

 

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed…. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer…. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council….

 

Luke 23:33: "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him…."

 

[744] Book: The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Reprint of the Edinburgh Edition. Revised and chronologically arranged, with brief prefaces and occasional notes by Cleveland Coxe and T. & T. CLARK. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/apollinaris.html

 

Volume VIII translates a portion of the preface to the Chronicon Paschale, which contains an extract written by a bishop named Claudius Apollinaris that was written around 160-180 AD. Apollinaris wrote:

 

There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame-it rather needs further instruction), and say that on the fourteenth day the Lord ate the lamb with the disciples, and that on the great day of the feast of unleavened bread He Himself suffered; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. Wherefore their opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels seem to be at variance with them.

 

[745] Book: Chronicon Paschale 284-628 AD. Translation and notes by Michael Whitby & Mary Whitby. Liverpool University Press, 1989.

 

Page ix states that the Chronicon Paschale is an anonymous work written in the early seventh century.

 

[746] Book: The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell. Volume 1. Edited by P.M. Harman. Cambridge University Press, 1990. Pages 670-672.

 

[747] The Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John use the word "Israel" a total of 30 times and also mention these specific places in the land of Israel: Galilee (61 times), Judaea (26), Jerusalem (61 ), and Samaria (6).

 

[748] John 4:9: "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him [Jesus], How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."

 

John 4:22 [Jesus speaking]: "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews."

 

Matthew 1:1 states that Jesus is a descendant of Abraham and David; both of whom are very important people in the Hebrew Scriptures.

 

[749] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Published about 93 A.D. Book 18. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-18.htm

 

Chapter 1, Section 2: "The Jews had for a great while three sects of philosophy peculiar to themselves; the sect of the Essens, and the sect of the Sadducees, and the third sort of opinions was that of those called Pharisees…."

 

[750] NOTE: Josephus also mentions another sect that followed the doctrines of the Pharisees, except for the fact that they fiercely opposed the Roman rule over Judea and led the Jews in a revolt.

 

Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Published about 93 A.D. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-18.htm

 

Book 18, Chapter 1, Section 6:

 

But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. … And it was in Gessius Florus's time that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans.

 

[751] Matthew 3:7: "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism…."

 

[752] Ancient Work: The Jewish War. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 78 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 2.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/war-2.htm

 

Chapter 8, Section 9: "Moreover, they [the Essenes] are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food ready the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that day, but they will not remove any vessel out of its place, nor go to stool thereon."

 

[753] Mark 2:23-27: "And it came to pass, that he [Jesus] went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? … And he [Jesus] said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath…."

 

[754] Ancient Work: Apology for the Jews. By Philo Judaeus. Published in the first half of the first century. Translated by Charles Duke Yonge. Bohn, 1854-1855. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/yonge/book37.html

 

NOTE: This work has been lost, but fragments of it were reproduced by an author named Eusebius Pamphili (lived from about 260-340 A.D) in a work entitled, The Preparation of the Gospel. Book 8, Chapter 11, Verse 3 of this work states: "At all events, there are no children among the Essenes, no, nor any youths or persons only just entering upon manhood; since the dispositions of all such persons are unstable and liable to change, from the imperfections incident to their age…."

 

[755] Luke 7:2-5: "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."

 

[756] Matthew 16:11-12 [Jesus speaking]: "How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."

 

Matthew 15: 1-8:

 

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 

Matthew 22: 23-33:

 

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

 

[757] Entry: "Gregorian calendar." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004.

 

A "calendar in general use introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a revision of the Julian calendar, adopted in Great Britain and the American colonies in 1752…."

 

[758] Book: The Samaritan Problem. By John Bowman. Translated by Alfred M. Johnson. Pickwick Press, 1975. Page 147:

 

But there is still another essential factor for valid religious acts, namely that they be performed at the correct time. That is why such great importance is ascribed to the correct calendar in the Hebrew sphere…. [W]hen one changes the times of the festivals, once declares at the same time that all the festivals which are not celebrated on the newly established days are invalid.

 

[759] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933.

 

Section 1.9 states it acceptable to "profane the Sabbath" by traveling with a burden in order to "bear witness about the new moon, for it is written, These are the set feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations which ye shall proclaim in their appointed season."

 

NOTES: The italicized text above is a quotation from the Old Testament, Leviticus 23:4.

 

The Old Testament book of Jeremiah (17:21-22) prohibits bearing a burden on the Sabbath: "Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers."

 

[760] Book: The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. By Geza Vermes. Penguin Press, 1997. Page 1:

 

On the western shore of the Dead Sea, about eight miles south of Jericho, lies a complex ruins known as Khirbet Qumran. … [F]rom that place, members of an ancient Jewish religious community, whose centre it was, hurried out one day and in secrecy climbed the nearby cliffs in order to hide away in eleven caves their precious scrolls. No one came back to retrieve them, and there they remained for almost 2,000 years.

 

NOTE: Pages 1-2 explain exactly when and by whom the scrolls were discovered.

 

Page 58:

 

The chronological setting of Qumran history may be reconstructed from archaeological and literary evidence. The excavations of 1951-6 date the beginning … of the sectarian establishment to 150-140 [B.C.] and its end… to the middle of the first war against Rome, 68 [A.D.]. The literary allusions, particularly the identifiable historical names, confirm this general finding.

 

[761] Article: "Dead Sea Scrolls." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004.

 

This article notes that in addition to the discoveries at Qumran, there were other locations in the Judean desert that also yielded manuscripts classified as Dead Sea Scrolls. Regarding the manuscripts found at Qumran: "Though the documents themselves date from the mid-3rd century BC to AD 68, the majority were composed during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD. The oldest manuscripts are biblical."

 

[762] Book: The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. By Geza Vermes. Penguin Press, 1997.

 

Pages 78-79: "The Qumran sect … adopted … a chronological reckoning … based on the sun, a practice attested also in the Book of Jubilees and I Enoch, and fully laid out in the remains of a series of calendrical documents (4 Q 320-30) [documents 320-330 from cave number 4]."

 

[763] Book: The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. By Geza Vermes. Penguin Press, 1997.

 

Page 15: "The final verdict must … be that of the proposed solutions the Essene theory is relatively the soundest. It is even safe to say that it possesses a high degree of intrinsic probability."

 

[764] Book: Qumran and the Essenes. By Lena Cansdale. Mohr, 1997.

 

Page 192: "To sum up, it appears from the archaeological and other evidence arising from Qumran and its surroundings that it was not a community of Essenes, as defined by the ancient authors, which occupied the settlement."

 

[765] Book: The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. By Geza Vermes. Penguin Press, 1997.

 

Pages 78-79: "The outstanding feature of this solar calendar was its absolute regularity in that … it consisted of 364 days, i.e. fifty-two weeks precisely. … [A]ll the feasts of the year always fell on the same day of the week: Passover, the fifteenth day of the first month, was always celebrated on a Wednesday."

 

[766] The Books of Matthew (Chapter 27), Mark (Chapter 15), Luke (Chapter 23), and John (Chapter 19) all state that Jesus was executed on a Preparation Day. For example, Mark 15:42: "[I]t was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath…."

 

To understand what is meant by the term "Preparation Day," one must first understand what is meant by the term "Sabbath." The Sabbath (Saturday) is a holy day of rest in the Jewish faith.* Those who strictly observe this day prepare meals for it on the day beforehand because work (such as cooking) is forbidden on the Sabbath.† For this reason, the day before the Sabbath is called "Preparation Day." Since the Jewish Sabbath takes place on Saturday, Preparation Day is on Friday.‡

 

The term "Preparation Day," however, can refer to days other than a Friday; specifically to the day before any Holy Day in which work is forbidden.‡ Thus, some assert that the Preparation Day mentioned in the Biblical accounts of the crucifixion does not refer to a Friday, but to the day prior to the Passover feast, which could have fallen on any day of the week. This claim, however, cannot be accurate because the Books of Matthew, Mark and Luke all state that the Passover took place before the crucifixion.§ Therefore, the "Preparation Day" mentioned in these books could not possibly have been the Preparation Day for the Passover feast because the Passover feast had already taken place.

 

As an aside, advocates of the view that Jesus was not executed on a Friday often point to Matthew 12:40, which states that Jesus would "be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." This was addressed earlier in this chapter.

 

NOTES:

* Leviticus 23:3: "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings."

 

† Ancient Work: The Jewish War. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 78 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 2.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/war-2.htm

 

Chapter 8, Section 9: "Moreover, they [the Essenes] are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food ready the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that day, but they will not remove any vessel out of its place, nor go to stool thereon."

 

‡ Article: "Calendar." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 3. Funk & Wagnalls, 1903. Pages 501-508. Page 502:

 

[T]he seventh day [is] called "Shabbat" (Rest) or "Yom ha-Shabbat" (Day of Rest). … Friday, as the forerunner of Shabbat, is called "Ereb Shabbat" (The Eve of the Sabbath). …

 

[Also,] the day is called "Yoma da-'Arubta" (Day of Preparation). …

 

The same terms are also applied to the days preceding and following any of the festivals….

 

§ In interpreting the passages below, one must also bear in mind the Jewish convention of starting each new day "in the evening twilight," as detailed in Chapter 1 and later in this chapter.

 

Mark 14:12, 16-18, 15:1, 24, 42-45:

 

And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover…. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat…. And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate…. And when they had crucified him…. And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

 

Matthew 26:17-21, 27:1-2, 35, 57-62

 

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat…. When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor…. And they crucified him…. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate….

 

Luke 22:7, 13-15, 66, 23:33, 50-54:

 

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed…. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer…. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council…. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him…. And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

 

[767] Matthew 26:17-21:

 

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat….

 

Matthew 27: 1-2, 34: "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor…. And they crucified him…."

 

[768] Mark 14:12, 16-18: "And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover…. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat…."

 

Mark 15:1, 24: "And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate…. And when they had crucified him…."

 

[769] Luke 22:7, 13-15, 66:

 

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed…. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer…. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council….

 

Luke 23:33: "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him…."

 

[770] John 19:14, 17-18, 31:

 

And it was the preparation of the passover [when the lambs are slain], and about the sixth hour…. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him…. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

 

[771] Article: "Pharisees." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 9. Funk & Wagnalls, 1912. First published in 1903.

 

Pages 661-667: "[W]ith the destruction of the Temple [70 A.D.], the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees."

 

[772] Article: "Biblical Literature." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004.

 

The section entitled "Gospel According to Mark" states: "Mark may thus be dated somewhere after 64 and before 70, when the Jewish war ended."

 

The section entitled "Gospel According to Matthew" states: "The fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) had occurred, and this dates Matthew later than Mark, c. 70–80."

 

The section entitled "Gospel According to Luke" states: "Luke can be dated c. 80."

 

The section entitled "Gospel According to John" states that "a working hypothesis is that John and the Johannine letters were written and edited somewhere in the East … at the end of the 1st century. … The Jews are equated with the opponents of Jesus, and the separation of church and synagogue is complete, also pointing to a late-1st-century dating."

 

[773] See John 12:1-13:4, 18:28, 39, 19:14, 31, 42. Furthermore, notice the abrupt transition preceded by a "*" in the following passage from John 13:1-4. The writer may have done this to avoid confusing readers with a peripheral detail such as Jesus not celebrating Passover on the same day as the Pharisees:

 

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. *And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

 

The other Gospels state that Jesus celebrated Passover at this supper. The fact that this account abruptly mentions the supper only after it was completed leaves plenty of room for the possibility it was a Passover meal.

 

[774] Leviticus 23:4-5: "These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover."

 

[775] Matthew 26:3-5: "Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."

 

Mark 14:1-2: "After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people."

 

[776] See citations 863-867.

 

[777] Matthew 26:17-21, 30, 57; 27:1-2, 35, 50, 57-58:

 

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat... And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. … And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. …

 

When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor…. And they crucified him…. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. … When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

 

[778] Mark 14:16-18, 26, 46; 15:1, 24, 42-45:

 

[A]nd they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat…. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. … And they laid their hands on him, and took him. …

 

And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. … And when they had crucified him…. And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

 

[779] Luke 22:7, 13-15, 39, 54, 66; 23: 33, 46, 52-54:

 

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed…. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer…. And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. … Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. … And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council…

 

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him…. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. … This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

 

NOTE: More details as to the exact time of the crucifixion are found on pages 115-116 of Rational Conclusions.

 

[780] Ancient Work: The Jewish War. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 78 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 4. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/war-4.htm

 

Chapter 9, Section 12: "[O]ne of the priests … gave a signal … with a trumpet at the beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the evening when that day was finished, as giving notice to the people when they were to leave off work, and when they were to go to work again."

 

EXPLANATION: The "seventh day" is Saturday – the Jewish day of rest or "Sabbath" – on which it is forbidden to work. Here, Josephus (a Pharisee) states that this day of rest began and ended "in the evening twilight."

 

[781] Article: "Calendar." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 3. Funk & Wagnalls, 1903. Pages 501-508.

 

Page 501 states that in the modern Jewish calendar, a new day begins "when three stars of the second magnitude become visible."

 

[782] Article: "Day." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 4. Funk & Wagnalls, 1912. First published in 1905.

 

Page 475 notes that the practice of beginning a new day when evening begins is in keeping with Genesis (the first book of the Bible): "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. … And the evening and the morning were the second day." (Genesis 1:5, 8)

 

[783] The Old Testament, Leviticus, 23:32 states that "from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath."

 

[784] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Published about 93 A.D. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/works.html

 

Book 13, Chapter 10, Section 6 states "the Pharisees have the multitude on their side." {Appears in the narrative covering the middle of the first century B.C.}

 

Book 18, Chapter 1, Section 2 states the Pharisees "are able greatly to persuade the body of the people; and whatsoever they do about Divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction…." {Appears in the narrative covering the middle of the first century A.D.}

 

Book 18, Chapter 1, Section 4 states "the Sadducees … are able to do almost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them." {Appears in the narrative around the beginning of the first century A.D.}

 

[785] Article: "Boethusians." Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls, 1907. Volume 3. Pages 284-285. Page 285:

 

The prevailing opinion now is that the Boethusians were only a variety of the Sadducees, deriving their name from the priest Boethus. … It is, however, only an assumption—although a highly probable one—that the Boethusians were the followers of this Boethus and members of his family; for the assumption is not proved, as there may have been another Boethus who really was the founder of the sect.

 

[786] Over a dozen scholarly resources I consulted affirmed that the Boethusians were Sadducees. I have yet to come across a conflicting viewpoint.

 

[787] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 93 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/works.html

 

NOTE: This work is arranged chronologically, and thus, we can use the time landmarks in it to make estimations for the dates of certain events.

 

Book 15, Chapter 9, Section 1: "Now on this very year, which was the thirteenth year of the reign of Herod…." {Herod began his rule in 37 B.C.,* which means the setting for the following passage is around 24 B.C.}

 

Book 15, Chapter 9, Section 3: "There was one Simon, a citizen of Jerusalem, the son of one Boethus, a citizen of Alexandria, and a priest of great note there…. [King Herod married Simon's daughter and] immediately deprived Jesus, the son of Phabet, of the high priesthood, and conferred that dignity on Simon…."

 

Book 17, Chapter 13, Section 1: "When Archelaus was entered on his ethnarchy, and was come into Judea, he accused Joazar, the son of Boethus, of assisting the seditious, and took away the high priesthood from him, and put Eleazar his brother in his place."

 

Book 19, Chapter 6, Section 2: "And when Agrippa had entirely finished all the duties of the Divine worship, he removed Theophilus, the son of Ananus, from the high priesthood, and bestowed that honor of his on Simon the son of Boethus, whose name was also Cantheras whose daughter king Herod married, as I have related above."

 

Book 19, Chapter 8, Section 1: "And now he took the high priesthood away from Matthias, and made Elioneus, the son of Cantheras, high priest in his stead."

 

Book 19, Chapter 8, Section 2: "Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea…. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign; for he reigned four years under Caius Caesar … and he reigned, besides those, three years under the reign of Claudius Caesar…." {Caius reigned from 37-41 A.D. and Claudius from 41-54 A.D.† Therefore, the setting for this event is about 44 A.D.}

 

NOTES:

* Entry: "Herod I." Webster's Biographic Dictionary. Simon & Schuster, 1999.

 

† Web Page: "The Imperial Index: The Rulers of the Roman Empire." An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. Updated July 21, 2002. http://www.roman-emperors.org/impindex.htm

 

[788] Article: "Boethusians." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Keter Publishing, 1971. Volume 4. Page 1169 states that they "existed during the century preceding the destruction of the Second Temple." {This was from 30 B.C. to 70 A.D.}

 

[789] In the first chapter of Rational Conclusions (pages 20-32), it is shown that the year of the crucifixion is 33 A.D., and it is also shown that the earliest possible date Jesus could have been baptized was in 27 A.D. (pages 23-24). Luke 3:21-23 states that Jesus was "about thirty years of age" when he was baptized. This means the earliest Jesus could have been born was about 4 B.C. The research of Rick Larson presented at http://bethlehemstar.net/ makes a persuasive case for a birth date in 2 B.C – but whatever the situation – all of these years are during the period in which the Boethusians flourished.

 

[790] Ancient Work: Babylonian Talmud. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Tractate: Menahoth.

 

Page 65a: "For the Boethusians held that the Feast of Weeks must always be on the day after the Sabbath. But R. Johanan b. Zakkai entered into discussion with them saying, 'Fools that you are! whence do you derive it?'"

 

[791] Article: "Johanan B. Zakkai." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 7. Funk & Wagnalls, 1910. First published in 1904. Pages 214-217.

 

Page 214 states that Zakkai was the "most important tanna [teacher] in the last decade of the Second Temple [60-70 A.D.], and, after the destruction of Jerusalem, the founder and first president of the academy at Jabneh."

 

Page 214: "If the last statement is to be accepted as approximately correct, and it is assumed that Johanan lived at the latest one decade after the destruction of Jerusalem, his public activity as the recognized leader of the pharisaic scribes must have begun between the year 30 and 40 of the common era."

 

[792] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Published about 93 A.D. Book 18. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-18.htm

 

Chapter 1, Section 4: "[T]he Sadducees … are able to do almost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them."

 

[793] Ancient Work: Babylonian Talmud. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Tractate: Yoma. Translated by Leo Jung. Traditional Press, 1983.

 

Page 19b provides an account of a Sadducee father talking to his son: "My son, although we are Sadducees, we are afraid of the Pharisees."

 

[794] Ancient Work: Tosefta. Translated by Jacob Neusner. Compiled about 400 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Second Division: "Moed." KTAV Publishing House, 1981.

 

Kippurim (Yoma) 1.8 tells the story of a Boethusian priest who offered up incense "outside" as opposed to the wishes of the sages who said it should be burned "inside." The Boethusian's father said to him, "[W]e do not things in the way in which we expound them. We obey the words of the sages."

 

NOTE: This passage and the one quoted in the previous note are parallel accounts. In these, the labels "Boethusians" and "Sadducees" are used interchangeably. The same is the case for "Pharisees" and "sages."

 

[795] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Published about 93 A.D. Book 13. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-13.htm

 

Chapter 10, Paragraph 6:

 

Now there was one Jonathan, a very great friend of Hyrcanus's {ruler of Judea from 135/134-104 B.C.*}, but of the sect of the Sadducees, whose notions are quite contrary to those of the Pharisees. He told Hyrcanus that Eleazar had cast such a reproach upon him, according to the common sentiments of all the Pharisees…. Hyrcanus was very angry, and thought that this man reproached him by their approbation. It was this Jonathan who chiefly irritated him, and influenced him so far, that he made him leave the party of the Pharisees, and abolish the decrees they had imposed on the people, and to punish those that observed them.

 

Book 13, Chapter 16, Section 1: "So Alexandra {queen of Judea from 76/75-67 B.C.†}, when she had taken the fortress, acted as her husband had suggested to her, and spake to the Pharisees, and put all things into their power, both as to the dead body, and as to the affairs of the kingdom, and thereby pacified their anger against Alexander…."

 

NOTES:

* Article: "John Hyrcanus I." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004.

 

† Article: "Alexandra." By Louis Ginzberg. Jewish Encyclopedia, Funk & Wagnalls, 1901-1906. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=...

 

[796] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933.

 

Rosh Hashanah 1.3-3.1 contains detailed rules and procedures associated with the practice of beginning each month when the crescent of the new moon became visible. For example, see citation 210.

 

[797] Article: "Calendar." Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls, 1903. Volume 3. Pages 501-508. Page 502.

 

[798] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933.

 

Rosh Hashanah 2.5: "There was a large courtyard in Jerusalem called Beth Yaazek where all of the witnesses assembled, and the court examined them."

 

[799] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. Rosh Hashanah 2.1.

 

[800] Ancient work: Babylonian Talmud. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Tractate: Rosh Hashanah. Translated by Maurice Simon. Traditional Press, 1983. Page 22b:

 

Once the Boethusians sought to mislead the Sages. They hired two men for four hundred zuzim, one belonging to our party and one to theirs. The one of their party gave his evidence and departed. Our man [came and] they said unto him: Tell us how you saw the moon. He replied: I was going up the ascent of Adumim and I saw it couched between two rocks, it head like [that of] a calf, ears like [those of] a hind, and its tail lying between its legs, and as I caught sight of it I got a fright and fell backwards, and if you do not believe me, why, I have two hundred zuzim tied up in my cloak. They said to him: Who told you to say all this? He replied: I heard the Boethusians were seeking to mislead the Sages, so I said [to myself], I will go myself and tell them, for fear lest untrustworthy men should come and mislead the sages.

 

[801] Ancient Work: Talmud of the Land of Israel. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Volume 16, Tractate: Rosh Hashanah. Translated by Edward A. Goldman. University of Chicago Press, 1988.

 

Page 57d: "It happened that the Boethusians hired two false witnesses to testify concerning the moon that it had been sanctified."

 

[802] Ancient Work: Babylonian Talmud. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Tractate: Pesachim. Edited by Hersh Goldwurm. Volume 9. Mesorah Publications, 2005. Page 2b3.

 

Editorial note 28: "Each month in the Jewish calendar can be either twenty-nine or thirty days long." {This modern statement summarizes what is proven with primary sources in the note below.}

 

[803] Ancient Work: Talmud of the Land of Israel. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Tractate: Sanhedrin. Translated by Jacob Neusner. University of Chicago Press, 1984.

 

Sanhedrin 1.2, IX.C (pages 37-38): "[So if one has sanctified the new month] prior to its proper time, on the twenty-ninth day, or after its intercalation, on the thirty-second day of the month, [it is not sanctified]."

 

EXPLANATION: If the new month was sanctified on the 29th day of the previous month or earlier, the previous month would have 28 days or less, and hence the sanctification would not be legitimate. If the sanctification was done on the 32nd day of the previous month or later, the previous month would have 31 days or more, and hence the sanctification would not be legitimate.

 

NOTE: The passage above is cited because it is the most explicit of the ancient passages I am aware of that describes this practice. It is not attributed to anyone, but we can ascertain it was the practice of the Pharisees based upon the following passage from the Babylonian Talmud,* which is attributed to a Pharisee and says basically the same thing but requires some background to comprehend:

 

Our Rabbis taught: Once the heavens were covered with clouds and the likeness of the moon was seen on the twenty-ninth of the month. The public were minded to declare New Moon, and the Beth din [Court] wanted to sanctify it, but Rabban Gamaliel said to them: I have it on the authority of the house of my father's father that the renewal of the moon takes place after not less than 29 days and a half and two-thirds of an hour and seventy three halakin.7 On that day the mother of Ben Zaza died, and Rabban Gamaliel made a great funeral ovation over her, not because she had merited it, but so that the public should know that the Beth din [Court] had not sanctified the month.8

 

7 Literally, 'parts' (sections of one hour), i.e., (73/1080) X 60 minutes = 4 minutes and 3 & 1/3 seconds. The new moon, therefore, could not be seen on the twenty-ninth day.

8 As the funeral oration would not be delivered on New Moon, which was regarded as a holy day.

 

NOTE:

Summarizing the above, sometime around 100 A.D. on a cloudy day that happened to be the 29th day of a month, some people said they saw the new moon. If this were true, the new month would have started that day, which means the previous month would have been only 28 days long. Rabban Gamaliel, the son and grandson of two prominent Pharisees,† said this was impossible because his father's father [Gamaliel I] had taught him that it takes the moon 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 3.3 seconds to complete a cycle. (Note that this figure is within half a second of our modern calculation of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds.) Then, to underscore that the new month had not begun, Gamaliel made a public show of conducting a funeral because it was forbidden to have funerals on the first day of the month. This incident shows that the Pharisees knew exactly how long a lunar cycle took and demanded the length of all months remained consistent with it. Hence, a month could only be 29 or 30 days.

 

* Ancient Work: Babylonian Talmud. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Tractate: Rosh Hashanah. Translated by Maurice Simon. Traditional Press, 1983. Rosh Hashanah 25a.

 

† According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, the Rabban Gamaliel cited in the passage above made the statement in about 100 A.D.‡ This must therefore be Gamaliel II.§ See citations 199-200 for documentation that Gamaliel II's father and grandfather were prominent Pharisees.

 

‡ Article: "Calendar." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Volume 5. Keter Publishing, 1971. Page 49.

 

§ Article: "Gamaliel II." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 5. Funk & Wagnalls, 1912. First published in 1904. Pages 560-562. Page 560 states he was "the recognized head of the Jews in Palestine during the last two decades of the first and at the beginning of the second century."

 

[804] Article: "Pharisees." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 9. Funk & Wagnalls, 1912. First published in 1903.

 

Pages 661-667: "[W]ith the destruction of the Temple [70 A.D.], the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees."

 

[805] Article: "Sadducees." Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls, 1909. Volume 10. Pages 630-633.

 

Page 630: "Nor is anything definite known about the political and religious views of the Sadducees except what is recorded by their opponents in the works of Josephus, in the Talmudic literature, and in the New Testament writings."

 

[806] Ancient Work: The Jewish War. By Flavius Josephus. Published in about 78 A.D. Book 3. Translated by William Whiston. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/war-3.htm

 

Chapter 3, Section 1: "Now Phoenicia and Syria encompass about the Galilees, which are two, and called the Upper Galilee and the Lower. … [T]hey are bounded on the south with Samaria."

 

Chapter 3, Section 4: "Now as to the country of Samaria, it lies between Judea and Galilee…."

 

[807] Luke 2:39: "And when they [the parents of Jesus carrying with them the baby Jesus] had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth."

 

Matthew 21:11: "And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee."

 

[808] Article: "Samaritans." Smith's Bible Dictionary (electronic edition). By William Smith. Revised and edited by F.N. and M.A. Peloubet. Thomas Nelson, 1997.

 

"The law (i.e., the five books of Moses) [the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers Deuteronomy; also known as the Torah, or Pentateuch] was their sole code; for they rejected every other book in the Jewish canon."

 

[809] Book: The Samaritan Problem. By John Bowman. Translated by Alfred M. Johnson. Pickwick Press, 1975.

 

Page xii:  "The Samaritan Pentateuch has 2 major differences from the Jewish one: 1) A "special" tenth commandment where "God's altar" is to be located at Mount Gerizim instead of Mount Zion. 2) A verse stating that there will be no prophets like Moses."

 

[810] Book: The Samaritans. Edited by Alan D. Crown. Mohr, 1989. Chapter 11: "The Samaritan Calendar and the Roots of Samaritan Chronology." By Sylvia Powels.

 

Page 726: "The Samaritans have seven festivals: (1) Passover…."

 

[811] Exodus 12: 25-27:

 

And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

 

[812] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Published about 93 A.D. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/works.html

 

Book 9, Chapter 13, Section 3: "And when they [the Samaritans] see the Jews in prosperity, they pretend that they are changed, and allied to them, and call them kinsmen … but when they see them falling into a low condition, they say they are no way related to them, and that the Jews have no right to expect any kindness or marks of kindred from them…."

 

Book 20, Chapter 6, Section 1-2:

 

Now there arose a quarrel between the Samaritans and the Jews…. [C]ertain persons thereto belonging … [to the Samaritans] fought with the Galileans, and killed a great many of them. … [In retaliation, Jews] plundered many villages of the Samaritans. When Cumanus heard of this action of theirs, he … armed the Samaritans, and marched out against the Jews, and caught them, and slew many of them. …

 

This was the accusation which the Samaritans brought against the Jews. But the Jews affirmed that the Samaritans were the authors of this tumult and fighting….

 

[813] John 4:9: "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him [Jesus], How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."

 

[814] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Published about 93 A.D. Book 18. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-18.htm

 

Chapter 2, Section 2:

 

As Coponius, who we told you was sent along with Cyrenius, was exercising his office of procurator, and governing Judea, the following accidents happened. As the Jews were celebrating the feast of unleavened bread, which we call the Passover, it was customary for the priests to open the temple-gates just after midnight. When, therefore, those gates were first opened, some of the Samaritans came privately into Jerusalem, and threw about dead men's bodies, in the cloisters; on which account the Jews afterward excluded them out of the temple, which they had not used to do at such festivals; and on other accounts also they watched the temple more carefully than they had formerly done.

 

[815] This era is that of the Roman governor Cyrenius, who is mentioned by Josephus in the passage above and also by the Bible in Luke 2:1-6:

 

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 

[816] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Rosh Hashanah 2.2:

 

Beforetime they used to kindle flares, but after the evil doings of the Samaritans1 they enacted that messengers should go forth. ... And at what place did they kindle flares? From the mount of Olives (they gave the signal) to Sarteba, from Sarteba to Agrippina, from Agrippina to Hauran, from Hauran to Bet Baltin. They did not move from Bet Baltin. …

 

1 Who kindled misleading flares.

 

[817] Ancient Work: Babylonian Talmud. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Tractate: Rosh Hashanah. Translated by Maurice Simon. Traditional Press, 1983. Pages 22b-23a:

 

Beacon fires are lit only for the new moon which has been seen at its proper time7…. This means to say that we light beacons for defective months but not for full months. What is the reason? … [I]f you were to insist that we should light up also for full months, this might give rise to confusion, since people would say: This month may be defective, and the reason why beacons were not lit yesterday is because it was impossible [because it is forbidden to light fires on the Sabbath]. …

 

7 I.e. on the thirtieth day of the outgoing month.

 

EXPLANATION: This confusing passage is simplified by substituting English definitions for the ancient Jewish terms. These definitions come from the footnote above and from another footnote in this edition of the Talmud [Tractate: Sanhedrin. Translated by Jacob Schachter and H. Freedman. Traditional Press, 1983. Page 87b.]:

 

"seen at its proper time" = on the thirtieth day of the outgoing month

"defective month" = 29 day month

"full month" = 30 day month

 

Here is the passage with the definitions inserted and a comment:

 

Beacon fires are lit only for the new moon which has been seen on the 30th day of the month. {If the new moon is seen on the 30th day, a new month begins that day and the outgoing month would be 29 days.} This means to say that we light beacons for 29-day months but not for 30-day months. What is the reason? … [I]f you were to insist that we should light up also for 30-day months, this might give rise to confusion, since people would say: This month may be 29 days, and the reason why beacons were not lit yesterday is because it was impossible because it is forbidden to light fires on the Sabbath.

 

[818] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Rosh Hashanah 2.2:

 

Beforetime they used to kindle flares, but after the evil doings of the Samaritans1 they enacted that messengers should go forth. ... And at what place did they kindle flares? From the mount of Olives (they gave the signal) to Sarteba, from Sarteba to Agrippina, from Agrippina to Hauran, from Hauran to Bet Baltin. They did not move from Bet Baltin. …

 

1 Who kindled misleading flares.

 

[819] Same as above.

 

[820] Book: The Biblical and Historical Background of the Jewish Holy Days. By Abraham P. Bloch. KTAV Publishing House, 1978.

 

Page 208: "It is a sound assumption that the flare signals were instituted shortly after the year 141 B.C.E….."

 

NOTE: The author also states that in 109 B.C., the Samaritan capital was destroyed and the Jews took it over. This would lead us to believe that the flare incident took place between 141 and 109 B.C.

 

[821] Ancient Work: Talmud of the Land of Israel. Compiled by Jewish scholars between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Volume 16, Tractate: Rosh Hashanah. Translated by Edward A. Goldman. University of Chicago Press, 1988. Page 58 a:

 

Who discontinued the beacon fires? Rabbi65 discontinued the beacon fires….

 

65 [T]he "Rabbi" here referred to must have been Rabban Gamaliel the Elder.

 

[822] Article: "Gamaliel I." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 5. Funk & Wagnalls, 1912. First published in 1904. Pages 558-560.

 

Page 559 states it is "a fact beyond all dispute that in the second third of the first century Gamaliel … occupied a leading position in the highest court, the great council of Jerusalem…."

 

[823] Since the Mishnah is the source of this event, I based this lower limit upon the era of the earliest rabbis cited in the Mishnah. Page xxii in the introduction to Danby's translation of the Mishnah (Details on Frequently Cited Sources) states this work is "simply a compilation of the Oral Law as it was taught in the many rabbinical schools of his [Rabbi Judah's] time." Appendix III (pages 799-800) is entitled, "Rabbinical Teachers Quoted or Referred to in the Text of the Mishnah." There are 22 rabbis listed for the earliest period, which was from about 200 B.C. to 10 A.D. For reference, there are roughly another 130 rabbis listed who date to later periods.

 

[824] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources.

 

Rosh Hashanah 1.3: "Because of six New Moons do messengers go forth [to proclaim the time of their appearing]…. And while the Temple still stood, they went forth also…."

 

Rosh Hashanah 2.2: "Beforetime they used to kindle flares, but after the evil doings of the Samaritans they enacted that messengers should go forth."

 

EXPLANATION: These two passages collectively tell us that messengers were used while the Temple still stood. Since the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., we know the transition from flares to messengers occurred before 70 A.D.

 

[825] Article: "The Samaritans Demographic Statistics." Information provided by Zevulun Allatif (a member of the Samaritan community). Accessed via http://the-samaritans.com/ (which no longer appears to be operational).

 

"The Samaritan community numbered 155 people in 1908, dwindled to 146 in 1917, and now- January 1, 2003 -lists 654 persons."

 

[826] Article: "Ancient community seeks brides abroad." By Martin Patience. BBC News, February 6, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6333475.stm

 

"Once there were 1.5 million Samaritans in the region, but following centuries of forced conversion and persecution the community now numbers just 704."

 

[827] Book: Samaritan Documents Relating to their History, Religion and Life. Translated and edited by John Bowman. Pickwick Press, 1977. Page 238:

 

Abu'l Hasan is author of Kitab al-Tabbah "The Book of Slaughtering" or "The Book of the Cook (or of Cookery)"…. His date is still uncertain, but we would not be far wrong in assigning him to the eleventh century. … [In this work, the Samaritan calendar] is treated in some detail and that of the Jews and Karaites criticized. There is a lengthy section of the description of the service and the sacrifice of Passover.

 

[828] Book: The Samaritans. Edited by Alan D. Crown. Mohr, 1989. Chapter 11: "The Samaritan Calendar and the Roots of Samaritan Chronology." By Sylvia Powels.

 

Page 699: "The oldest description of this [calendar] system is found in Abu'l-Hasan as-Sūrī's compendium of law … which is generally dated to the eleventh century. For several reasons, however, which cannot be discussed here, it is of later origin."

 

Page 700 notes that one of the evidences for a later timeframe is that the work provides a Julian date for a vernal equinox corresponding to the next century.

 

[829] Article: "Is the Samaritan Calendar the Old Zadokite One?" By John Bowman. Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 1959. Volume 91. Pages 23-27. Page 33:

 

[T]he Samaritan Abu'l Hasan As-Suri said of the conjunction: "But that on which the Samaritans our companions depended for the purpose of indicating the beginning of the month by means of the conjunction (of the sun and moon) is the right belief.1 …"

 

1 In Abu'l Hasan's Kitab al-Tabbakh, the early manual of Samaritan Tradition. The translation is by Dr. D.M. Abdel Al of Ain Shams University.

 

[830] Book: The Samaritans. Edited by Alan D. Crown. Mohr, 1989. Chapter 11: "The Samaritan Calendar and the Roots of Samaritan Chronology." By Sylvia Powels.

 

Page 722: "[A] tenth century Karaïte scholar … polemicized vehemently against the Samaritan system of fixing the first of the month by conjunction and reckoning, instead of by observation of the new moon."

 

[831] Article: "Moon." New Millennium Encyclopedia. Simon & Schuster, 1999.

 

[832] Book: The Samaritans. Edited by Alan D. Crown. Mohr, 1989. Chapter 11: "The Samaritan Calendar and the Roots of Samaritan Chronology." By Sylvia Powels.

 

Page 722: "[A] tenth century Karaïte scholar … polemicized vehemently against the Samaritan system of fixing the first of the month by conjunction and reckoning, instead of by observation of the new moon."

 

[833] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933.

 

Rosh Hashanah 1.3-3.1 (pages 188-191) contains detailed rules and procedures associated with the practice of beginning each month when the crescent of the new moon became visible. For example, see citation 210.

 

[834] Correspondence from Dr. Roy Hoffman, March 29, 2005. Dr. Hoffman is the chairman of the Israeli New Moon Society (http://sites.google.com/site/moonsoc/). He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Birkbeck College in London and is employed by the Department of Organic Chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The figure of 15-54 hours is valid at a latitude of 32 degrees, which is where Jerusalem is located.

 

[835] For what it's worth, a Samaritan writing dating to somewhere around the 14th century asserts that their calendar has always been the same.

 

Ancient Work: Tolidah. Translated by John Bowman in the book, Book: Samaritan Documents Relating to their History, Religion and Life. Pickwick Press, 1977.

 

Pages 53-54 state that the introduction of the Tolidah "is written in a wretched late cursive hand…. Doubtless the … [author of the introduction in] the fourteenth century…."

 

Page 37: "The extract given here comprises the introduction to the Chronicle [Tolidah], setting out the Samaritan method of calendar calculation…."

 

Pages 40-41: "Blessed be the LORD, our God, who has given us a right calculation…. For this calculation was already in the hands of Noah in the ark…. We have inherited the tradition that God gave to our forefathers, from Adam to Moses…. And this calculation remained with our forefathers … and the calculation is a sacred teaching…."

 

[836] Book: The Samaritans. Edited by Alan D. Crown. Mohr, 1989. Chapter 11: "The Samaritan Calendar and the Roots of Samaritan Chronology." By Sylvia Powels.

 

Page 699: "The age of the Samaritan calendar, especially of the astronomical tables, is a difficult question. Nowadays it is assumed that the Samaritan subsystem of calculating the calendar was developed during the time of Byzantine rule (with the adoption of the Julian calendar) and revised later after the taking-over of the Arab system of the astronomer Muhammad … (died A.D. 835-844)."

 

Page 723: "Although according to their tradition, the calendar was always based on calculation and not on observation of the new moon, it is assumed that before the adoption of the Arab astronomical tables they practiced observation. This very ancient system originating in Babylonia was used by almost all people in the Mesopotamian area including pre-Islamic Arabs and Jews." *

 

NOTE:

* Strictly speaking, the "Mesopotamian area" does not encompass Israel, but the author must be using this term in a very broad sense, otherwise this statement would make little sense. [Article: "Mesopotamia, History of." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004. "The name comes from a Greek word meaning "between rivers," referring to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, but the region can be broadly defined to include the area that is now eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and most of Iraq."]

 

[837] Article: "Aswan (or Assuan)." Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Edition. Columbia University Press, 2004. http://www.bartleby.com/

 

"The city was called Syene or Seveneh in the Bible…. On Elephantine island, in the Nile opposite Aswan…."

 

[838] Book: Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. By A. Cowley. Clarendon Press, 1923.

 

Page xv: "The authors of most of these texts were Jews if names mean anything – not Samaritans, as argued by Hoonacker – nor Israelites. They call themselves … 'the Jews', and their community … 'the Jewish force'."

 

[839] Book: Jewish Documents of the Time of Ezra. By A. Cowley. Macmillan, 1919.

 

Page ix: "The papyri translated in this volume were found, probably all at Elephantine, together with others not included here, between the years 1898 and 1908."

 

[840] Book: Jewish Documents of the Time of Ezra. By A. Cowley. Macmillan, 1919. Page ix:

 

Documents on papyrus, such as these, have a special interest, because they preserve to us the actual words and writing of a remote past. In fact, they are records contemporary with the events to which they relate, and are therefore (like inscriptions) first-hand historical evidence, uncorrupted by the errors which inevitably appear when a text is transmitted by repeated copies through the centuries.

 

Page x:

 

The present texts, which are nearly all dated, cover practically the whole of the fifth century B.C. (494 to circ. 400), during the time Egypt was under Persian rule. They are dated by the regnal years of Darius I, Xerxes, Artaxerxes I, Darius II, and the Egyptian king Amyrtæus… They emanate from a hitherto unknown colony of Jews settled in the in the south of Egypt at Elephantine and Syene. Thus they are the earliest Jewish documents in existence (except one or two inscriptions) outside the Bible, and are a valuable illustration of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The language in which they are written is Aramaic.

 

[841] Book: Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. By A. Cowley. Clarendon Press, 1923.

 

Page 11 provides an example of the dating: "On the 18th of Elul, that is the 28th day of Pahons, year 15 of King Xerxes, said Koniya b. Zadok…."

 

[842] Article: "Calendar Dates in the Aramaic Papyri from Assuan." By J.K. Fotheringham. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 69, November 1908. Pages 12-20.

 

Page 12: "A very brief inspection of the papyri will show that these Aramaic dates belong to a lunar calendar; and since the Egyptian calendar is well known, each year consisting of 365 days, it should be possible by a comparison of a table of Egyptian dates with a table of new moons to date precisely each papyrus that bears a double date, and to fix accurately the regnal years of Persian kings to which they are referred."

 

[843] Article: "Calendar Dates in the Aramaic Papyri from Assuan." By J.K. Fotheringham. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 69, November 1908. Pages 12-20.

 

Page 20: "It remains that these dates belong to a hitherto unknown calendar … where the length of each month is rigidly fixed by the rule that each begins at the sunset after the mean new moon."

 

NOTE: A full reading of this article shows that this conclusion is not as cut and dry as it sounds, which is why I used the phrase "generally consistent." There are six documents that contain unambiguous readable dates. Of these, five are consistent with a reckoning by conjunction. The one that is not shows evidence of error. There are two other documents that are damaged, but the dates can be reconstructed by comparison with the other documents and through testing the possible readings for viability. When we do this, we find that both of these documents are consistent with a reckoning by conjunction.

 

Page 13: "The method of calculation is far from exact, and the error may easily amount to the greater part of an hour."

 

NOTE: Bear in mind that this article was written almost 100 years ago. Having the advantage of modern computers, I recalculated the data using LunaCal software (see citation 209). The improved results confirmed Fotheringham's calculations. Of course, just as we make allowance for imprecision in astronomical computations that were made a century ago, we should allow for imprecision in such calculations that were made 2400+ years ago.

 

Also, since we are trying to work backwards in order to find the primary methodology underlying this calendar, we must accommodate for the fact that we are not privy to the minor nuances and rules that are necessarily part of such a calendar. For instance, how does one determine exactly when a new day begins? In the modern Jewish calendar, a new day begins "when three stars of the second magnitude become visible."* Below is a chart summarizing the information found in this article along with the results of the computer calculations. Besides the fact that the results are generally consistent with a calendar based upon conjunctions, Fotheringham performed comprehensive research and found these results are generally inconsistent with any other type of known calendar.

 

Document / Comments

 First day of the month in the Julian calendar†  Mean Conjunction as calculated using LunaCal‡  Apparent Sunset over a flat horizon in Assuan§

Conclusion

A August 26, 471 B.C. August 25 8:29 AM   First day of month begins at the sunset after the mean conjunction
B – There is damage to this document in the area where the day of a month is written. It is possible that the date could be the 7th or the 17th. When we check both of these for viability, it turns out that the 17th is the only date consistent with any type of lunar calendar and the regnal years of the Persian kings. December 16, 465 B.C. December 14 5:46 PM 5:27 PM First day of month begins at the sunset after the mean conjunction
C – Missing all of the date        
D – Clear, but the regnal year of Artaxerxes is one year off from being consistent with B & E. October 22, 460 B.C. October 21 1:49 PM   First day of month begins at the sunset after the mean conjunction
E – Clear, but in error, according to Fotheringham. He states a two day change in the Jewish or Egyptian date would make it consistent with the date in document G and with a reckoning based upon lunar conjunctions. November 15, 446 B.C. November 15 9:36 PM 5:29 PM First day of the month begins two sunsets before the mean conjunction
F August 13, 440 B.C. August 12 1:44 PM   First day of month begins at the sunset after the mean conjunction
G – There is damage to this document in the area where the year is written. Evidence such as the name of the scribe who wrote it allows us to narrow the range of plausible years. When we do this, only two viable dates emerge, one of which is consistent with a reckoning by conjunction. The other date is not consistent with any known calendar methodology. September 19, 446 B.C. September 17 8:07 PM   First day of month begins at the sunset after the mean conjunction
H – Missing day of the month. Not enough evidence to draw a conclusion.        
J December 14, 416 B.C. December 13 6:45 AM   First day of month begins at the sunset after the mean conjunction
K January 18, 410 B.C. January 16 5:01 PM 5:45 PM Allowing for 44 minutes of inaccuracy and/or nuances, the first day of month begins at the sunset after the mean conjunction

 

NOTES:

* Article: "Calendar." Jewish Encyclopedia. Volume 3. Funk & Wagnalls, 1903. Pages 501-508. Page 501.

 

† As determined by Fotheringham based upon the twin dates written on the ancient documents.

 

‡ The moon does not travel about the earth in a perfectly symmetric orbit. Thus, the time between one conjunction and the next is not always the same – and to calculate exactly when true conjunctions take place is a very complicated matter. Historically, it was common practice to calculate the mean conjunction, which was based upon the average orbit of the moon. [Web page: "The Moon." Astronomy Answer Book. Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University. Last updated on February 20, 2005. http://www.astro.uu.nl/~strous/AA/en/antwoorden/maan.html#8]

 

The motion of the Moon in the sky is subject to many perturbations that cause the dates and times of the true or apparent conjunction of the Sun and the Moon to deviate from a simple arithmetical progression where you can just add a fixed number of days to the previous date to find the next one. This means that if you want to calculate the time of the apparent conjunction to great accuracy, then you have to calculate and add up hundreds of different periodic terms, some of which depend on your location. Such a calculation is usually performed in two steps: First, the conjunction is calculated for the "mean Moon", which is a fictitious Moon that has the same average motion as the true Moon but that is not subject to any perturbations. This calculation is relatively simple and fast, and yields the time of what is called the "mean conjunction". Then, the effect of all of the perturbations is calculated and applied as a correction to the mean conjunction. This second step is relatively time-consuming. … So, also historically, prediction of times of conjunctions started with mean conjunctions, although they were probably not called that at first.

 

§ Latitude: 24° 05' North, Longitude: 32° 56' East. Also, see citations 782-783, which explain why Jewish calendars begin each new day around sunset as a general rule.

 

[844] In the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, there was a series of articles offering varying opinions on this matter. In the end, it was obvious Fotheringham is correct. I have listed these articles in order of publication along with some notes:

 

"A Suggested Explanation of the Ancient Jewish Calendar Dates in the Aramaic Papyri Translated by Professor A. H. Sayce and Mr. A. E. Cowley." By E. B. Knobel. Volume 68.5, March 1908. Pages 334-335.

 

"Calendar Dates in the Aramaic Papyri from Assuan." By J.K. Fotheringham. Volume 69.1, November 1908. Pages 12-20.

 

"Note on the Regnal Years in the Aramaic Papyri from Assuan." By E. B. Knobel. Volume 69.1, November 1908. Pages 8-11.

 

"Note on the Regnal Years in the Elephantine Papyri." By J.K. Fotheringham. Volume 69.5. March 1909. Pages 446-448. {This article is a polite but devastating critique of the previous article.}

 

"A Reply to Professor Ginzel on the Calendar Dates in the Elephantine Papyri." By J.K. Fotheringham. Volume 71.8. June 1911. Pages 661-663. {Ginzel drew the conclusion that this calendar was based upon observations. By using LunaCal, I confirmed Fotheringham's assertion that this is not possible.}

 

[845] Article: "Calendar Dates in the Aramaic Papyri from Assuan." By J.K. Fotheringham. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 69, November 1908. Pages 12-20.

 

Page 19: "[I]n the age preceding the Mishna [i.e., before 200 A.D.]…. The Jews of that period found the beginning of the month by simple observation…."

 

Page 20:

 

This calendar … is clearly much more scientific than the merely empirical rules used by the Jews of the first and second centuries of our era. If this was the calendar of the Jews of Palestine, their calendar must have afterwards developed in a retrograde direction. It seems easier to suppose that as the Jews of Elephantine had a temple of their own, they had their own council of priests or elders who regulated the beginning of the month by strict rules and the beginning of the year according to their own discretion.

 

[846] The Pharisees celebrated the Sheaf exactly one day after their Passover feast, while the Boethusians celebrated it on the Sunday after Passover.* † § Likewise, as far back as we can tell, the Samaritans have celebrated the Sheaf according to the same rule as the Boethusians.#

 

NOTES:

* Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Published about 93 A.D. Book 3. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-3.htm

 

Chapter 10, Section 5:

 

But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month [Nisan], they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. And while they suppose it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first-fruits of their barley, and that in the manner following: They take a handful of the ears, and dry them, then beat them small, and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to God; and, casting one handful of it upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest.

 

† Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. Menahoth 10.3:

 

The messengers of the court used to go out on the eve of the Festival-day and tie the corn in bunches while it was yet unreaped to make it easier to reap; and the towns near by all assembled together that it might be reaped with much pomp. … Wherefore was all this? Because of the Boethuseans1 who used to say: The Omer‡ may not be reaped at the close of the Festival-day. …

 

1 In rabbinical terminology synonymous with Sadducees. They held that [in the Old Testament book of Leviticus 23:11, the verbiage] 'the morrow after the Sabbath' must be taken in its literal sense, the day following the first Sabbath after Passover [i.e. Sunday]. The Pharisees, however, interpreted 'Sabbath' in this verse as meaning 'Festival-day', i.e. the first day of Passover.

 

‡ Appendix I (page 795) defines Omer: "Literally 'sheaf'…. Before the new harvest could be reaped, a sheaf of barley must first be reaped and the flour offered…."

 

§ Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. Hagigah 2.4:

 

If the Feast of Pentecost fell on the eve of a Sabbath…. The High Priest may not put on his high-priestly vestments, and mourning and fasting are permitted, to lend no support to the words of them that say, 'Pentecost falls on the day after the Sabbath'.12

 

12 "i.e. the Sadducees, who maintained that it must always fall on a Sunday because [Leviticus 23:15-16 states that] the Omer is offered on 'the morrow after the sabbath', after which they were to number 50 days 'unto the morrow of the seventh Sabbath', when they keep the feast of Pentecost. They took 'Sabbath' literally, and not, as the Pharisees, in the sense of the first Festival-day of Passover.

 

# Book: The Samaritans. Edited by Alan D. Crown. Mohr, 1989. Chapter 11: "The Samaritan Calendar and the Roots of Samaritan Chronology." By Sylvia Powels.

 

Page 728: "In the Samaritan calendar the counting of the 'ōmer starts on the first Sunday after the Passover sacrifice in compliance with Leviticus 23:15."

 

[847] See Details on Frequently Cited Sources

 

[848] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources.

 

The Book of Niddah deals with "Rules Regarding Menstruation." Section 4.2 states: "The daughters of the Sadducees, if they follow after the ways of their fathers, are deemed like to the women of the Samaritans; but if have separated themselves and follow after the ways of the Israelites, they are deemed like to the women of the Israelites."

 

[849] Book: The Samaritans. By James Alan Montgomery. KTAV Publishing House, 1968. First published in 1907. Pertaining to this passage in the Mishnah, page 188 states:

 

Thus is expressed for the Sadducees much the same accusation that was brought against the Samaritans, that their women are unclean from the cradle. … This close relationship of Sadducees and Samaritans in doctrine and practice, and the Pharisaic assignment of both to much the same category, arouse interesting questions concerning the historical connections that may once have existed between the two bodies.

 

[850] Article: "Pharisees." Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls, 1912. Volume 9. Pages 661-667.

 

Page 663: "The Samaritans … were in many ways followers of the Sadducean teachings."

 

[851] John 8:13, 48-49: "The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. … [Jesus replies and a debate ensues between him and the Pharisees, who are referred to as "them," "they, and "the Jews."] Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me."

 

[852] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 93 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-20.htm

 

Book 20, Chapter 6, Section 1.

 

[853] Luke 17: 11: "And it came to pass, as he [Jesus] went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee."

 

John 4:3-4 states that Jesus "left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria."

 

[854] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 93 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-13.htm

 

Book 13, Chapter 10, Section 6.

 

[855] Matthew 15:1-8:

 

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? … Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 

[856] The software used in Chapter 1 to calculate the appearance of new moons (LunaCal) shows that the mean conjunction in Jerusalem during March of 33 A.D. occurred on the 19th at 12:43 P.M. A convention that governed the Jewish calendar found in Egypt as well as the calendar of the Pharisees is that the first day of the month began around the sunset following the event that triggered the start of the new month (whether it was conjunction or observation of the new moon). [See page 23 of Rational Conclusions and notes 208-210, 843.] Since the conjunction occurred on March 19th at 12:43 P.M., the first of Nisan in this calendar fell on March 20th, and thus, the 14th of Nisan (i.e., the day the Passover lambs were slain) fell on April 2nd. This is exactly one day ahead of the calendar of the Pharisees, in which the 14th of Nisan fell on April 3rd. [See pages 20-32 of Rational Conclusions.]

 

[857] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. Sanhedrin 11.4.

 

[858] Deuteronomy 16:16: "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty…."

 

[859] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. Hagigah ("The Festal Offerings") 1.1:

 

All are subject to the command to appear [before the Lord]1 excepting a deaf-mute, an imbecile, a child, one of doubtful sex, one of double sex, women, slaves that have not been freed, a man that is lame or blind or sick or aged, and one that cannot go up to [Jerusalem] on his feet.

 

1 In fulfillment of the command of Exodus 23:14; Deuteronomy 16:16.

 

[860] Exodus 20:10-11: "But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

 

Leviticus 23:4-7: "These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein."

 

[861] Ancient Work: Mishnah. Compiled by Rabbi Judah around 200 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Translated and introduced by Herbert Danby. Oxford University Press, 1954. First published in 1933. Betzah [or Yom Tob, which means "Festivals Days"] 5.2:

 

Any act that is culpable on the Sabbath, whether by virtue of the rules concerning the Sabbath rest or concerning acts of choice or concerning pious duties, is culpable also on a Festival-day. … [N]one may climb a tree or ride a beast or swim on water or clap the hands or slap the thighs [i.e. make music] or stamp with the feet [dance]…. [N]one may sit in judgment…. All these things have they prescribed [as culpable] on a Festival-day: still more so [are they culpable] on the Sabbath. A Festival-day differs from the Sabbath in naught save the preparing of needful food.

 

[862] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 93 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 3. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-3.htm

 

Chapter 12, Section 6. "They also made use of these trumpets in their sacred ministrations, when they were bringing their sacrifices to the altar as well on the Sabbaths as on the rest of the [festival] days; and now it was that Moses offered that sacrifice which was called the Passover in the Wilderness…."

 

[863] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 93 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 12. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-12.htm

 

Chapter 6, Section 2:

 

And they [the Jews] avoided to defend themselves on that day, because they were not willing to break in upon the honor they owed the sabbath, even in such distresses; for our law requires that we rest upon that day. There were about a thousand, with their wives and children, who were smothered and died in these caves; but many of those that escaped joined themselves to Mattathias, and appointed him to be their ruler, who taught them to fight, even on the sabbath day…. And this rule continues among us to this day, that if there be a necessity, we may fight on sabbath days.

 

NOTE: The approximate timeframe for this event is established in Chapter 5, Section 4:

 

Now it came to pass, after two years, in the hundred forty and fifth year, on the twenty-fifth day of that month which is by us called Chasleu, and by the Macedonians Apelleus, in the hundred and fifty-third olympiad, that the king [Antiochus Epiphanes] came up to Jerusalem, and, pretending peace, he got possession of the city by treachery….

 

To determine what year this corresponds to, we use the following formula: "The Greeks for a long time had no fixed epoch; but afterwards reckoned by Olympiads, periods of four years. They began 776 B.C." [Book: Manual of Classical Literature. From the German of John J. Eschenburg with additions by N.W. Fiske. Fourth Edition. Biddle, 1850. First published in 1836.]

 

CALCULATION: 776 B.C – (153 X 4) = 164 B.C.

 

[864] Ancient Work: The Jewish War. By Flavius Josephus. Published in about 78 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/war-1.htm

 

Chapter 7, Section 3: "[T]he Jews only acted defensively on sabbath days."

 

NOTE: The approximate timeframe for this statement is established by the fact that the context involves a battle with Pompey the Great, who was born in 106 B.C. [Article: "Pompey the Great." New Millennium Encyclopedia. Simon and Schuster, 1999.] More details on this battle are provided in the next note.

 

[865] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 93 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 14. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-14.htm

 

Chapter 4, Sections 2-3:

 

[T]hough our law gives us leave then to defend ourselves against those that begin to fight with us and assault us, yet does it not permit us to meddle with our enemies while they do any thing else. Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days which we call Sabbaths they threw nothing at the Jews, nor came to any pitched battle with them; but raised up their earthen banks, and brought their [war] engines into such forwardness, that they might do execution the next day.

 

[866] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 93 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 11. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-11.htm

 

Chapter 5, Section 5: "But when Esdras saw them in that disposition, he bade them go home, and not weep, for that it was a festival, and that they ought not to weep thereon, for that it was not lawful so to do."

 

[867] Ancient Work: Antiquities of the Jews. By Flavius Josephus. Published about 93 A.D. Translated by William Whiston. Book 16. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-16.htm

 

Chapter 6, Sections 2, 4:

 

Caesar Augustus,* high priest and tribune of the people, ordains thus: Since the nation of the Jews hath been found grateful to the Roman people … the Jews have liberty to make use of their own customs, according to the law of their forefathers…. [T]hey be not obliged to go before any judge on the sabbath day, nor on the day of the preparation to it, after the ninth hour. … Agrippa also did himself write after the manner following, on behalf of the Jews: "… I have also written to Sylvanus the praetor, that no one compel the Jews to come before a judge on the sabbath day."

 

NOTE:

* Augustus reigned from 31 B.C. – 14 A.D. [Web Page: "The Imperial Index: The Rulers of the Roman Empire." An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. Updated July 21, 2002. http://www.roman-emperors.org/impindex.htm]

 

[868] Ancient Work: Tosefta. Translated by Jacob Neusner. Compiled about 400 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Second Division: "Moed." KTAV Publishing House, 1981. Pisha (Pesahim) 2.1 – 2.2:

 

Leaven belonging to Samaritans – at what point is it permitted after [the end of] Passover? That belonging to householders [is permitted] following three weeks of use in baking. And that belonging to bakers in little villages is permitted three days thereafter, and that belonging to bakers in large towns once [they have had an opportunity to prepare dough for] three [uses of their large] ovens. R. Simeon b. Eleazar says, "When they stated the rule concerning that belonging to householders, 'following three weeks of use in baking' – if he was a householder, or was marrying off his son, and made use of his oven three times in succession, then it is permitted forthwith. And when they stated the rule concerning that belonging to bakers, 'in little villages, three days thereafter,' if he found the need and made use of his oven three times in succession, even on the very first day after Passover, it is permitted." A. R. Simeon says, "Also when they stated the rule concerning that belonging to bakers in large town, once they have made use of their oven three times – nonetheless, it is prohibited for three days. For at dawn he would get the leaven for the whole rest of that day."

 

[869] Ancient Work: Tosefta. Translated by Jacob Neusner. Compiled about 400 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Second Division: "Moed." KTAV Publishing House, 1981. Pisha 2.2.

 

[870] Correspondence from Dr. Roy Hoffman, March 29, 2005. Dr. Hoffman is the chairman of the Israeli New Moon Society (http://sites.google.com/site/moonsoc/). He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Birkbeck College in London and is employed by the Department of Organic Chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The figure of 15 hours is valid at a latitude of 32 degrees, which is where Jerusalem is located.

 

[871] For an example, see citation 868. Most all of the 1,000 plus pages of the Tosefta are similar in form and content.

 

[872] Ancient Work: Tosefta. Translated by Jacob Neusner. Compiled about 400 A.D. For more detail, see Details on Frequently Cited Sources. Second Division: "Moed." KTAV Publishing House, 1981. Rosh Hashanah 1.15.

 

[873] Article: "Sadducees." Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls, 1909. Volume 10. Pages 630-633.

 

NOTE: Even though the Tosefta provides an explicit motive, this article cites our passage of interest and states the motive is "not clear."

 

Page 632: "[W]hat object [the Boethusians] had in opposing the determination by the Pharisees of the appearance of the new moon (R. H. ii. 1, 22b; Tos. R. H. i. 15), [is] not clear."

 

NOTE: Observe from quote above that this article takes for granted that the Boethusians were Sadducees. The longhand for the abbreviations used in the citations are as follows: Mishnah, Rosh Hashanah 1.15; Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 22b; Tosefta, Rosh Hashanah 1.15.

 

[874] Article: "Pentecost." Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk & Wagnalls, 1905. Volume 9. Pages 592-595.

 

Page 592: "In the Old Testament it is called the 'Feast of Harvest' … and the 'Feast of Weeks'… also the 'Day of the First-Fruits'…."

 

[875] Leviticus 23: 4-6, 10, 15-17:

 

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD…. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest…. And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.

 

[876] See citation 846.

 

[877] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846. Section 34:

 

The character of their narratives is like that of all other true witnesses, containing, as Dr. Paley observes, substantial truth, under circumstantial variety. There is enough of discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them, and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they all were independent narrators of the same great transaction, as the events actually occurred.

 

[878] Mark 15:25: "And it was the third hour, and they crucified him."

 

John 19:14-15: "And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar."

 

[879] Book: Manual of Classical Literature. From the German of John J. Eschenburg with additions by N.W. Fiske. Fourth Edition. Biddle, 1850. First published in 1836. Page 60:

 

It is sometimes stated, that the first vigil and first hour of the day commenced at what we call 6 o'clock A.M. … This statement may be sufficiently accurate in general; but it must be remembered, that the Roman hours and watches were of unequal length; the first hour of the day began with sunrise, and the twelfth ended at sunset; and the first hour of the night began at sunset, and the twelfth ended at sunrise. Of course, the hours of the day in summer were longer than those of the night, and in the winter they were shorter. … Different devices have been employed for marking and making known these parts of the day. The sun-dial was used by the Babylonians and Jews; and by the latter, watchmen were maintained to announce the time.

 

[880] Book: Eusebius: The History of The Church from Christ to Constantine. Translated and introduced by G.A. Williamson. Dorset Press, 1965. Pages 9, 15, 29.

 

NOTE: The pages referenced above explain that the Christian historian Eusebius wrote during the fourth century A.D. He was a close associate of the Roman emperor Constantine and was among the most learned and respected men of his day. Based on the existing historical record, we know the titles of at least 46 works that he authored. Of these, 17 survive in full, 14 survive in part, and 15 are totally lost.

 

[881] Book: History of Libraries in the Western World. By Michael H. Harris. Scarecrow Press, 1995. Fourth edition.

 

Page 51: "It is estimated that perhaps ten percent of the major Greek classical writings have survived."

 

[882] Ancient Work: The Natural History. By Pliny the Elder. The first ten books of this work were published around 77 AD. Translated by John Bostock & H.T. Riley. Taylor and Francis, 1855. Book 2, Chapter 77. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/holland/pliny2.html

 

[883] Book: The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content. By Bruce M. Metzger. Abingdon Press, 2003. Third edition. First edition published in 1965.

 

Page 127: "Regarding the difference in the hour of the crucifixion. Since the Greek letter that stands for 3 is the gamma (Γ) and the character that stands for 6 is the digamma (F), a sleepy copyist, early in the transmission of the text of the New Testament, may have mistaken one for the other."

 

[884] Book: The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. By Simon Greenleaf. Baker Book House, 1965. First published in 1846.