100 Days Until Totality Blog Series: 72 Days Left – Crucifixion Eclipse?

The earliest crucifixion picture in an illuminated manuscript, from the Syriac Rabbula Gospels, 586 CE

In the Christian gospels there are allusions to solar eclipses around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. The so-called Report of Pilate states: “Jesus was delivered to him by Herod, Archelaus, Philip, Annas, Caiphas, and all the people. At his crucifixion the Sun was darkened; the stars appeared and in all the world people lighted lamps from the sixth hour till evening…” There are accounts describing this as a miracle or as a sign of dark times to come. It is possible to pinpoint the death of Jesus be looking at the solar eclipses that tool place around that time in history. Doing so some historians tie the crucifixion to a one minute 59 second total solar eclipse that occurred in the year 29 C.E., while others say another total eclipse in 33 C.E. that lasted four minutes and six second marked Jesus’ death.

There are also allusions in the Bible to a lunar eclipse after the crucifixion. In fact, at the end of the above quotation is the phrase “the Moon appeared like blood.” In Acts of the Apostles, Peter refers to a Moon that is the color of blood and a darkened sky. What’s interesting here is that it is impossible for both a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse eclipse to occur on consecutive days. They can only occur two weeks apart when the Moon is New (a possibility for a solar eclipse) and when the Moon is Full (a possibility for a lunar eclipse). Even though there were both lunar and solar eclipses that correspond to the times of Jesus death we may never know which of those celestial events happened at the time of his crucifixion.

Information for this post came from: http://eclipsewise.com/extra/LEhistoryReis.html

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