Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jesus as the New Moses


[Sir Colin] Humphreys analyzed a variety of religious calendars — Jewish and Egyptian, solar and lunar — and reached his own conclusion that ties up the loose ends. It turns out that Passover began at sunset on Thursday, April 2, in the year 33, according to the calendar adopted during the Jews' Babylonian exile in the sixth century B.C. But a different religious calendar, dating back to the Jews' time in Egypt, would have Passover beginning at sunrise on Wednesday, April 1. That means Matthew, Mark and Luke could make a case for Wednesday's evening meal being part of Passover (by the pre-Exilic reckoning), while John would be justified in saying it happened before Passover (by the more recent reckoning). If his timeline is true, the Last Supper would have taken place on April 1. Jesus' main trial before the Sanhedrin would have been on April 2. The confirmation of his sentence and his appearances before Pontius Pilate would have occurred on the morning of Good Friday, April 3, followed by the crucifixion. All this would lead up to the first Easter Sunday on April 5 of the year 33. Cambridge U. Press "The Mystery of the Last Supper" analyzes the timeline of the Passion story. Many in the scientific community might see Humphreys' work as an empty exercise. They might even doubt whether Jesus was a historical figure at all. But Humphreys hopes that his analysis will be useful to scriptural scholars as well as rank-and-file believers. "For biblical scholars, it resolves the discrepancy," he told me. "We now have just the right amount of space that we need for the Gospel events." Humphreys also believes that Jesus and his followers were trying to send a theological message by celebrating the Passover on a schedule that goes back to a time before the Babylonian exile, to the era of Moses and the Exodus. "It mirrors the covenant that Moses announced," Humphreys told me. "It's cementing the message of Jesus, that he's the new Moses."


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