Crucifixion Was On Thursday

Date of the Crucifixion of Jesus Is Certain to be Thursday

But still an Interment on Friday as we Know!

This was first known by Christian Theologians at least one hundred years ago, and first presented in this web page in May 1997.

The actual Crucifixion of Jesus had to actually take place on what we now call Thursday!   Since each day ended at sunset, He Died in the final three hours of that day, late in the afternoon, after the ninth hour or what we now call after 3 p.m.   Sunset was before 6 p.m.

If the following day was the Sabbath, which would then begin at sunset, there simply was not enough time for all the events described in the Bible to have occurred.   And if Joseph rushed around to try to do them all, that would have been extremely disrespectful to Jesus, something he would not have done! Jewish Sabbath Laws   were and are incredibly strict, and no one would have helped Joseph get the Body down or carry it to the tomb or even sell him any materials where he might use them during the Sabbath.

But the reality is that Joseph of Arimathaea Interred the Body of Jesus in the Tomb in the first hour or two of what we now call Thursday evening but then would have been called Friday, at the very beginning of that (Friday) Preparation Day, around what we now call 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. of Thursday.

There can really be no doubt!   (1) Hebrew days begin and end at sunset.   (2) So if the Crucifixion had occurred on Friday, and Jesus Died after 3 p.m. in the afternoon (the ninth hour), we know that sunset occurred prior to 6 p.m. at that time of year.   That means that even if Joseph of Arimathaea happened to be right at the Cross at the moment of Death, he would then have had less than three hours to do many different chores, including a lot of walking and carrying materials, prior to the beginning of the Sabbath at sunset.   (3) Jewish Sabbath Laws were incredibly severe regarding doing any work on Saturday, or even helping or enabling anyone else do anything on a Sabbath day, and even carrying more than one single olive was seen as a mortal Sin.   This certainly eliminates Nicodemus having any willingless to help Joseph carry and bury the Lord's Body (if the beginning of the Sabbath was at night).   (4) A result of the Sabbath Laws was that no one would have helped Joseph get the Body down from the Cross (including Nicodemus), no one would have sold him any of the cloth or balms and no one would have helped carry the Body from the Cross to the Tomb.   These unavoidable facts have a significant effect on any discussion regarding the Crucifixion of Jesus.

However, the core understanding in Christianity is correct, and all Christian Theologians and scholars know that.   In fact, in the early 1990s when I was studying for the Ministry, I learned that the majority of Christian Theologians and Christian Scholars all agreed that the Crucifixion had to have taken place on what we now call Thursday.   However, they also all realized the stress and confusion that would occur in millions of Christians if they would speak up about this matter.   So they all chose to stay silent!   They realized that the Interment did occur on "Preparation Day", the day before their Sabbath, or what we now call Friday, but at the very start of that day, around what we now call 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.   In May 1997, I felt that the public deserved to know the more accurate Truth, and so I composed this web-page and uploaded it onto the Internet.   At the time, virtually no one seemed to even know what the Internet was, so I thought I was just providing this information to a handful of inquisitive Christian Ministry!

So, I am pretty sure that at that time, May 1997, my web-page was probably the only public source of this information, outside of Theological Seminaries.   I certainly received many dozens of death threats from Christians due to it!   I find it amazing that now, twenty three years later in early 2020, there appear to be tens of thousands of web-pages which present the idea of a Thursday Crucifixion!   I have not received any death threats due to this for more than ten years, so I have to think that the basic concept is getting to be better understood.   As a Christian Minister, I do not encourage any Churches to abandon a Rite of a Friday Crucifixion, and indeed, our tiny Church has always celebrated Friday, even though I also (privately) have celebrated Thursday as being something more than Maundy!

The intention of this page is to improve the accuracy of Christian belief! There are simply some technical flaws in the understandings of most Christians regarding the facts, nearly entirely caused by the invention of the mechanical clock about 500 years ago!. In fact, the more correct understandings makes the "three days" statement have a lot more clarity!

There is another unsaid fact in the Bible that confirms all of this. There is no reference whatever to any activities having occurred on the Sabbath. No one even went to the Tomb, even though the Lord had been Placed in it, and they waited until the earliest light of Sunday before various people went to the Tomb. This is an implicit statement about how strict the Sabbath Laws were. The Marys and the others all had the ultimate motivation to want to go to the Tomb on Saturday (the Sabbath), but they all waited until early light on Sunday.

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However, interestingly, the Crucifixion certainly occurred on Thursday, and then as of sunset it would have become Friday (Mark 15:42), which actually was before Joseph even began getting permissions (Mark 15:43) and Jesus would certainly have been interred at the very beginning of Friday, which actually then means Jesus was in the Tomb virtually all of Friday and then ALL of Saturday and then around half of Sunday, essentially the Three Days that the Bible refers to.   That is not possible (three days) by any description of the conventional timeline, so all traditional descriptions are not compatible with the facts as described in the Bible.

Actually, the Bible (KJAV) even specifically makes this clear!   The wording of Mark 15:42, in English, KJAV, is: And now when the evening was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath. This Verse specifically mentions that evening was already come, meaning it was past sunset.   That means that the official day had just changed at that sunset. And the Verse then mentions that it had now become the Preparation Day, the day before the Sabbath, that is, Friday in our terms. Note that the Verse therefore explains that it is referring to the very first few hours of Friday, the hours of the evening right after sunset, in other words the very start of Friday (on what we would call Thursday evening now).   By the way, the NIV translation makes several major changes to this understanding, and it is clearly wrong. The Original Greek used the word opsios which can have no other translation than evening, which makes the NIV translation clearly wrong in implying that evening was only approaching! That is simply wrong! As of sunset, it WAS EVENING, which also meant the start of the next day!

This careful examination of the Bible text seems to indicate another interesting detail! Sunset occurred in Mark 15:42, but THEN Joseph of Arimathaea went to Pilate to ask permission in Mark 15:43. This seems to indicate that Joseph was NOT standing at the Cross when He Died, but that his efforts to Honor the Body seemed to only BEGIN several hours later, after sunset, in other words, technically, the next day AFTER the actual Crucifixion!

The exact day of the year on which the Crucifixion occurred is not known precisely, but research shows that the date of the Jewish Passover and Sabbath are known to have been fairly near the March 21 Equinox, the day on which there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and darkness. So the reference to ninth hour would certainly be solidly based on an assumption of sunrise at very close to 6 am, which makes the ninth hour be around 3 pm. The same astronomical information ensures that sunset on that day had to occur fairly close to 6 pm.

Note also that Mark 15:34 has the reference to the ninth hour, and it was later still in Mark 15:37 that the reference is of His Death. This means that it might have been considerably AFTER the ninth hour that the actual Death occurred. The specific importance for us is that there is no more than a maximum of three hours from when Jesus actually Died until the sunset which necessarily began EITHER the Preparation Day (Friday) or the Sabbath (Saturday). These facts are beyond debate.

A central reason that much confusion occurred regarding these matters was that clocks were invented around 500 years ago. Prior to that, nearly all societies on Earth considered that days began and ended at sunset, and no confusion occurred. but once clocks became common, and midnight was defined as the start of each day, then what used to be called Friday evening (the very start of Friday) became Thursday evening (near the end of Thursday). The Medieval Church did not want to have to cause everyone to change from honoring Good Friday into a different day, as that would have caused great confusion, so Good Friday was kept as the day to be recognized. It is still a valid idea as the date upon which the Interment was done was certainly in the first few hours of Friday (even though we now say that those hours are at the end of Thursday).

If Jesus had been Crucified on Hebrew Friday, and died in or after the Ninth Hour, meaning after 3 pm, when sunset was around 6 pm at that time of year, there would have been too many time consuming chores for Joseph to do before sunset when the Sabbath would have begun. Jewish law was that it was a mortal sin to do ANY work on the Sabbath. Even such a simple thing as picking up a writing pen was considered to be "work" and therefore sinful on the Sabbath. Neither Joseph nor anyone else would have dared carry the Body, carry all the burial cloths and other materials, or even sell him such materials, so close to the Sabbath beginning. Jesus was therefore almost certainly actually Crucified on Hebrew Thursday, and then placed in the tomb after sunset, in other words, on Hebrew Friday.

Actually, even a superficial look at Mark 15 proves this! Mark 15:34-37 confirms that Jesus was alive in the ninth hour (3 pm). He Died AFTER that, in Mark 15:37. Then Mark 15:42 indicates that the sun has set, which begins the next official Hebrew day. The KJAV is actually more accurate on this than the NIV, in that the Greek word ede (now) is correctly translated "has become, already, even now, by this time". It even says that THIS new day was the day before the Sabbath. Mark 15:43 says that Joseph of Arimathaea then went into Pilate, and then all the rest. These Scriptures actually prove that the Crucifixion had to occur on Thursday, but that the Lord was Interred at the very beginning of Hebrew Friday.

The traditional description becomes untenable with this careful analysis. IF the Crucifixion had occurred on Friday, and so He Died less than three hours before the Sabbath would begin, and then Mark 15:42 says evening has come, in other words, the next day, which would therefore have to have been the Sabbath, the very next Verse, Mark 15:43 only now says that Joseph of Arimathaea now went to Pilate! If the Sabbath had already begun, Pilate would NEVER have permitted Joseph to do any work on the Sabbath! The Verses from Mark 15:34-43 really prove that this presentation is valid and accurate. In case you are worried about this, you can feel comforted that essentially EVERY THEOLOGIAN (quietly) knows this to be true! They do not say it publicly because they know it would confuse a lot of Christians and possibly shake the Faith of some, even though this sort of careful analysis actually shows that Christianity does an EXCELLENT job of standing up to tough questions!

This circumstance does NOT bring into doubt ANY of the Christian beliefs about Our Savior. It does not suggest that we should stop celebrating Good Friday. This potential confusion only arose around 1500 AD, when clocks were invented, and it became possible for people to accurately know when "mid night" occurred! Prior to that, sunset was the most accurate way of knowing when one day changed to the next! This discussion is presented here as merely an effort at establishing accurate and factual information about His Life and Death and Resurrection. It is CERTAINLY not meant to shake the Faith of any Christian. In contrast, we have long believed that accurate information about Our Lord can be of great value in STRENGTHENING our Faith!

(It DOES bring into question some details about Maundy Thursday!)

Jesus died late in the afternoon (3 pm). After this occurred, there was necessarily some delay before anyone knew. After all, so many thousands of crucifixions had already been done that everyone KNEW that the man generally hung on the cross for several days. Then, once Joseph of Arimathaea realized that Death had occurred, he had to get official permission from Pilate to remove the Body from the Cross. This involved a significant walking journey. After this, he had to buy or otherwise obtain the linens and oils necessary for proper burial. (It would have been immensely disrespectful to the Lord to do less.) Then, he had to get the Body down and transport It a substantial distance to the Sepulchre. Once there, the Body had to be prepared, wrapped, and placed in the tomb, all with respectful methods. This means definitely not rushing all of these things. This sequence of events certainly took more than the maximum of three hours that were available before sunset (6 pm).

That means that the procedures would have to have continued until after sunset. Actually, John 19:39 tells us that Nicodemus came to Jesus 'by night', bringing the spices for the burial preparation. That means that the following (Hebrew) day would have officially begun. That confirms that all the burial activity was not completed by sunset. If He actually died on Friday afternoon, these procedures would necessarily have continued on to the following day, the evening of the (beginning) Sabbath. The Sabbath Laws were extremely rigidly adhered to, since even the slightest failure regarding the extremely strict Sabbath Laws was considered a mortal sin (one of the Ten Commandments). That being the case, Joseph would certainly NOT chance defying the Sabbath Laws.

This means that it is an almost certainty that He was Crucified and Died on Hebrew Thursday afternoon, and that He was then placed in the Sepulchre on the evening of Hebrew Friday, shortly after it became Hebrew Friday. He arose on Sunday, the Third Day, after nearly all of Friday, all of Saturday, and about half of Sunday.

Since He was actually interred at the beginning of Hebrew Friday, it is understandable that Friday became associated with the Crucifixion. Since the development of modern clocks a few hundred years ago, society came to have an accurate way of identifying the moment of Midnight. Most societies chose to change to using Midnight as the moment of the change from one day to the next, mostly out of convenience, because most people were sleeping then and each wakeful period then represented one day for the majority of people. There was another reason for this change, greatly caused by growing business activities, as the moment of sunset is not fixed. In December, it occurs sometimes before what we now call 4 pm and in June, it sometimes occurs after what we now call 8 pm. Traditionally, each day was defined as having twelve hours between sunrise and sunset, which caused the actual length of an hour to greatly change throughout the year. The development of clocks and the shift to starting official days at midnight enabled our modern understanding of the precise length of one hour.

This alteration on the understanding of when each day begins simplified daily life, but it had a consequence. This means that the evening hours (from sunset to midnight) are now considered to be part of a different day than they were in ancient times. This has caused an element of confusion that affected our understanding of that very important day in Christian history.

For the fifteen hundred years prior to that change, it was correct and proper to honor Good Friday, since He was interred at the beginning of Hebrew Friday, and the rest of the civilized world understood the same day structure (beginning at sunset), so Good Friday became a firmly established tradition. When this alteration of the clock and calendar was instituted a few hundred years ago, those six hours (from sunset to midnight on the beginning of Hebrew Friday) became the LAST six hours of what we now call Thursday! However, the tradition of Good Friday already had around 1500 years of recognition behind it, and the recognition of it has remained on Friday.

There is really no reason to alter our present celebration of Good Friday, because it is as accurate a description as Thursday would have been. This discussion is not meant to be disruptive of our honoring His Gift to us, but rather a technical correction of precise facts.

Scriptural Support

(Scripture is from the King James Authorized Version)


Jesus was crucified at the third hour (mid morning) Mark 15:25
(The twelve ancient Hebrew hours of the day were counted to be equally divided time periods from sunrise to sunset.) (In March, there are actually about 12 modern hours of daylight because it is near the Equinox of the year.)

Therefore hours accurately meant (modern) hours counted from 6 a.m. Jesus died at or after the ninth hour (mid afternoon - after 3 p.m.) Mark 15:34-37

Evening came (at twelfth hour, about 6 p.m.) Mark 15:42.
Hebrew days began at sunset, which is about 6 p.m. at this particular time or year. In other words, the next day began.

At that time, the days of the week did not yet have individual names. They were referred to by their day number in the week, beginning with 1 representing what we now call Sunday.

If the crucifixion had been on 6-(Friday) (what we would now call Friday, then 7-(Sabbath) would be beginning right at Mark 15:42. No "work" would have been legally (or morally) done and no more than a half-mile of walking (a Sabbath day's Journey), without carrying ANYTHING, would have even been allowed. Pilate would never have authorized all the activity Joseph was about to accomplish, on the Sabbath. And Joseph would never have dared do any of it on the Sabbath.

Joseph went to Pilate and asked for the body. Mark 15:43-45
This is likely to be near or AFTER sunset had come.

Pilate was somewhat surprised at how quickly Jesus had died. Mark 15:44 It was common for crucified individuals to hang for several days on the cross. A centurion was called, who likely had to walk to the Cross to confirm the Death, and then back to the waiting Pilate, before any permission was granted to Joseph.

Joseph bought the linen; took Him down; and placed Him in the sepulchre. Mark 15:46

The time sequence, including the activities of Joseph, as related by Mark, almost certainly would have had to take parts of TWO Hebrew days to actually complete. This strongly suggests that Jesus was actually crucified on Day 5 (Thursday) or what we now call THURSDAY. The Sabbath day was Day 7. There was also occasional use of the Roman weekday names, which will be included here in parenthesis for reference.

The conventional Friday date for the crucifixion is impossible. Sunset occurred shortly after Jesus died (Mk 15:42). This would mean that the Sabbath had begun and no work was allowed. Even if we would try to interpret all of Joseph's activities (Mk 15:43-46) to be before sunset (Mk 15:42), there just isn't enough time. Since Jesus died after 3 p.m., less than 3 hours existed before the end of the day before the Sabbath. This would leave an impossibly short time sequence for Joseph to find Pilate; make his plea for Jesus' body; for Pilate to send a messenger for the centurion witness to confirm such; for Pilate to authorize Joseph to take the body; for Joseph to buy the linen; then get His body down; carry Him to the sepulchre; clean His wounds; wrap Him in the linen; place Him in the sepulchre; and arrange to roll the huge stone in front of the door; all before sunset! Keep in mind that the place of crucifixion and the location of Pilate (in the city) were NOT very near each other - - walking time must be included in the schedule. In the case of Joseph, this involves quite a few trips and many miles. Jerusalem has been destroyed so many times over the years that exact distances are not available, but certainly substantial distances applied. Additionally, the Sabbath rules were enforced remarkably thoroughly. As a possible affront to one of the Ten Commandments, an infringement of a Sabbath Law was considered a cardinal or mortal sin.

Sabbath laws forbid carrying ANYTHING heavier than a dried fig during the Sabbath. Every possible contingency was and is covered by the Sabbath laws. One was not even allowed to unintentionally cause someone ELSE to violate the laws. Most people would not mail a letter on Friday, since it might not be delivered until after the Sabbath began. That would mean the possibility of causing someone else to be doing work, carrying the letter, on the Sabbath. Most people wouldn't even mail a letter on Wednesday or Thursday on the outside chance that the letter was not delivered before the Sabbath began. Nothing was ever begun or even authorized to begin on a Friday afternoon. There is no possibility that Pilate would have encouraged or even allowed Joseph to try to beat the sunset in a rush to get so many activities accomplished in preparing and burying Jesus. No one would have sold the linen to Joseph late on a Friday afternoon, and he wouldn't have been allowed to carry the linen or the cleaning supplies or His body. Nicodemus would never have carried the spices 'by night' during the Sabbath. No one else could have legally (or morally) helped him, either.

Some people suggest that there was a rush to get Him down so He wasn't on the cross during the Sabbath. This does not agree with known procedures. Crucifixions were rather common (there are reports of 800 in one day!). The very thorough system of Jewish Law covered every detail of everything that could possibly happen. This included crucifixions. The crucified bodies were nearly always left on the cross (for days) until birds and roving animals took the remains. Dozens of detailed of Talmudic crucifixion laws existed which covered every conceivable possible occurrence, particularly regarding this decay and disassociation process. (There was even a provision where a matron could browse around during the days that criminals were on crosses and claim someone on a cross as a husband! Yev 16:3,15c) Very specific rules existed to ascertain the moment of death in a crucifixion. (Yev 16:3, et al) Rules existed regarding roving animals feeding from the body hanging on the cross (Yev 120b, et al), which was considered an indication that the crucifixion was completed. Extensive laws related to the procedure of divorcing someone on a cross, which necessarily considered the soundness of mind of the one being crucified (Tosef, Git 7:1, Git 70b). More legislation covered the subject of just when the blood became "impure." (Ohr 3:5, et al).

The laws covering just what is allowed to be done on the Sabbath are even (far) more comprehensive. Many hundreds of pages of intricate laws methodically cover every possible contingency. The automatic scale of the punishments for each were defined, and were generally very severe. No one of the day would have dared break any of those laws. Even if Joseph would have dared challenge the laws, the variety of others he would have needed help from (to sell, to carry, to move, etc.) would NEVER have helped him.

The conventional Friday date for the crucifixion is impossible. This would either makes Joseph do (and Pilate authorize) unlawful activity on the Sabbath (as in the sequence actually described by Mark), or (if the timeline is artificially modified) rush around in a frenzy, which would be extremely sacrilegious and downright blasphemous. Neither of these are even remotely possible under the circumstances.

Even if one somehow justifies interment activities on what we now call Friday night (trying to say Pilate felt bad and authorized the illegal work, for example), the 6-Friday crucifixion date then causes Him to be buried on 7-Sabbath and rise on the second day (1-Sunday), not the third.

A Thursday date for the crucifixion is the only logical date which actually allows the third day ascension that we all accept. Jesus was crucified on 5-(Thursday) and respectfully put in the sepulchre on 6-(Friday). This entombment may have occurred on what we now call Thursday evening or during the day on Friday. Since His entombment was on Preparation day (6-(Friday)), when the Marys found Him arisen at dawn on 1-(Sunday), that was the third day while He was in the sepulchre.

There is further biblical support for this view. The original Greek for Mark 15:42 is usually interpreted:
And now when the even was come, because it was the Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, but the word epei (Strong's # 1893) actually has a better interpretation than "because", that of "for then" or "thereupon", pointing out that the change of days had occurred. Using this meaning, Mark 15:42 is:
And now when the even was come, for then it was the Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,
or, in modern terms:
And now that the sun sets, Preparation Day begins, that is, the day before the Sabbath.

This is fully consistent with Mark (and the rest of the Bible).

Jesus body was definitely placed in the sepulchre on 6-(Friday.) It would seem that Hebrew 6-(Friday) (which started at sunset of what we call Thursday and ended at sunset Friday, and the day before 7-(Sabbath)) had established so much tradition (in the Middle Ages) that it was maintained as Friday when the clock technology came into existence. This change caused a slightly different translation of that Scripture which neglected the proper understanding of Mk 15:42 (that of the moment of the change of day) and the potentially confusing fact that the actual Crucifixion had occurred on 5 (Thursday). There is nothing wrong in celebrating Good Friday, but Good Thursday could be equally celebratable in our modern calendar.


There have been some extremely irate Christians who consider this presentation to be all lies! They all deny that ancient Jews officially began their day at sunset. They are apparently also not aware that many modern Jews still follow that ancient practice! The analysis above is NOT "my interpretation" on what actually happened. It is merely a CAREFUL look at Mark 15!


It seems to me that an event such as the world turning absolutely dark 'in the Sixth Hour' and then REMAINING DARK until the Ninth Hour (about when Jesus Died). If the entire world went dark around Noon, and remained dark for three continuous hours, that would have gotten EVERYONE'S attention! But John never even mentions it! None of the famous Roman or Jewish Historians mention the event. We just have Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44; and Matthew 27:45. which even mention it in the Bible.

There is no suggestion either in the Bible or anywhere else WHY the world might go dark right at noon, so it is not as though any Old Testament Prophecy was being fulfilled.

But more specifically, virtually all modern Christian Theologians and Scholars believe that Although the Gospel of Luke was traditionally ascribed to Luke, a companion of Paul (Philem. 24; 2 Tim. 4:11), most modern scholars think that it was written between AD 80 and 90 by a Gentile Christian who wrote the Acts of the Apostles as a sequel.

Luke's conversion date is unknown. According to his own statement (Luke 1:2), he was not an "eye-witness and minister of the word from the beginning." It is probable that he was a physician in Troas, and was there converted by Paul, to whom he attached himself.

Irenaeus said that Mark wrote his Gospel after Peter and Paul had died. Most scholars today, therefore, date the book AD 65 - 70.

Matthew is generally held to have been written about AD 80, although scholars have argued for dates as early as 65 and as late as 100.

Some Scholars feel that Mark and Luke may have been small children at the time of the Crucifixion, with Luke even admitting to not having been an eye-witness (Luke 1:2). The few Scholars that feel that Mark might have witnessed it all feel that Mark was nearly certainly a small boy.

There are two reasons why these facts are important. The first is that, even though modern people in some countries might live to an average of 70 years todau, it is reliably known that even a hundred years ago, in 1900 AD, the average human lifetime was 41 years. In 1800 AD, the average human lifetime was around 35 years, which is approximately what it was through previous human history. So we need to consider the likelihood that most of the principle people in the Bible probably lived to about 35 years old (except really ancient people mentioned in Genesis).

So, for the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke to have each been composed around 80 AD, there is an implication that those three men were unusually old men if they were to have witnessed events of around 30 AD, that is, the Crucifixion. Many Scholars feel that other Christians actually wrote those Gospels down around those dates, but they were transcribing Oral Tradition which may have gone from generation to generation before that. So Matthew and Luke and Mark may actually have 'composed' their Gospels, but they nearly certainly did NOT WRITE THEM DOWN.

By 80 AD, Christianity was beginning to become well known, and some modern Christian Scholars feel that the Scribes who trasncribed the Gospels, around 50 years after the events describe (and 80 years after the Birth Narrative), may have used artistic license regarding some tiny details. Specifically here, the idea that the entire world went absolutely dark for three hours in the middle of the day, while no Roman or Jewish Historians mention such an event.

An additional note is regarding Mary. If she was around 17 years old when Jesus was Born, then she was around 50 years old at the Crucifixion, 33 years later. Interestingly, Jesus lived a rather average interval of human life, probably around 33 years instead of the average 35 years. And Joseph had (appropriately) apparently died somewhat earlier. But we know that Mary was at the Crucifixion, and she must have been immensely old at that time! It seems logical that she would not have materially participated in Jesus' Public Ministry, for being so old, and probably frail.

Here is a Jewish scholar's article regarding the date of the Crucifixion of Jesus. It seems to generally agree with the sentiments expressed in this essay.

Date of Jesus' Crucifixion.

Jewish Viewpoint Information

The greatest difficulty from the point of view of the Jewish penal procedure is presented by the day and time of the execution. According to the Gospels, Jesus died on Friday, the eve of Sabbath. Yet on that day, in view of the approach of the Sabbath (or holiday), executions lasting until late in the afternoon were almost impossible (Sifre, ii. 221; Sanh. 35b; Mekilta to Wayaḳhel). The Synoptics do not agree with John on the date of the month. According to the latter he died on the 14th of Nisan, as though he were the paschal lamb; but executions were certainly not regular on the eve of a Jewish holiday. According to the Synoptics, the date of his death was the 15th of Nisan (first day of Passover), when again no execution could be held (Mishnah Sanh. iv. 1; and the commentaries: Yer. Sanh. ii. 3; Yer. Beẓ. v. 2; Ket. i. 1). This discrepancy has given rise to various attempts at rectification. That by Chwolson is the most ingenious, assuming that Jesus died on the 14th, and accounting for the error in Matthew by a mistranslation from the original Hebrew in Matt. xxvi. 17, due to the omission of the first character; see his "Das Letzte Passamahl Christi," p. 13). But even so, the whole artificial construction of the law regarding Passover when the 15th of Nisan was on Saturday, attempted by Chwolson, would not remove the difficulty of an execution occurring on Friday = eve of Sabbath and eve of holiday; and the body could not have been removed as late as the ninth hour (3 P. M.). Bodies of delinquents were not buried in private graves (Sanh. vi. 5), while that of Jesus was buried in a sepulcher belonging to Joseph of Arimathaea. Besides this, penal jurisdiction had been taken from the Sanhedrin in capital cases "forty years before the fall of the Temple."

These facts show that the crucifixion of Jesus was an act of the Roman government. That it was customary to liberate one sentenced to death on account of the holiday season is not corroborated by Jewish sources. But many of the Jews suspected of Messianic ambitions had been nailed to the cross by Rome. The Messiah, "king of the Jews," was a rebel in the estimation of Rome, and rebels were crucified (Suetonius, "Vespas." 4; "Claudius," xxv.; Josephus, "Ant." xx. 5, § 1; 8, § 6; Acts v. 36, 37). The inscription on the cross of Jesus reveals the crime for which, according to Roman law, Jesus expired. He was a rebel. Tacitus ("Annales," 54, 59) reports therefore without comment the fact that Jesus was crucified. For Romans no amplification was necessary. Pontius Pilate's part in the tragedy as told in the Gospels is that of a wretched coward; but this does not agree with his character, as recorded elsewhere(see Süchrer, "Gesch." Index, s.v.). The other incidents in the New Testament report—the rending of the curtain, darkness (eclipse of the sun), the rising of the dead from their graves— are apocalyptic embellishments derived from Jewish Messianic eschatology. The so-called writs for the execution (see Mayer, "Die Rechte der Israeliten, Athener, und Römer," iii. 428, note 27) are spurious.

Kaufmann Kohler, Emil G. Hirsch
Jewish Encyclopedia

Ludwig Philipson, Haben die Juden Jesum Gekreuzigt? 2d ed., reprint, 1902;
Hirsch, The Crucifixion from the Jewish Point of View, Chicago, 1892;
Chwolson, Das Letzte Passamahl Christi, St. Petersburg, 1892;
works of Jewish historians, as Grätz, Jost, etc.;
Schürer, Gesch.; commentaries on the Gospels.

This presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.
This page - - - - is at
This subject presentation was last updated on - -
Respectfully submitted,

Carl Johnson
Pastor, A Christ Walk Church,
also, scientist, Physicist, Theoretical Physics Degree from University of Chicago

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