Exact Dates

“Liviu Mircea and Tiberiu Oproiu claim to have pinpointed the exact time and date of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

The pair, from the Astronomic Observatory Institute in Cluj, Romania, say Jesus died at 3pm on Friday, April 3, 33 AD, and rose again at 4am on Sunday, April 5.” — Astronomers ‘pinpoint time and date of crucifixion and resurrection’, Avanova, 5/8/2003

Yeah — but in which time zone?

There’s also the matter that this would make Jesus a bit older than his traditional death age, since it’s generally historically accepted that, despite the labeling of “B.C.” and “A.D.,” Jesus was not born in 1 AD (or even 1 BC — there is no “zero year”), but probably in 4 BC. Jesus is legendarily 33 when he died, but this new calculation would make him 37 or thereabouts. So there goes that “By the time Jesus was my age, he was dead,” joke I was so looking forward to telling on Saturday (which is my 34th birthday, you know).

I think the exact dating of Jesus’ death (and subsequent events) is immaterial in a number of ways, most obviously, of course, because his resurrection is consistently marked by the occasion of Easter, which always happens at the same time: The first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox (that’s the start of Spring — March 21).

Yes, the date of that event moves around on our calendar, but that’s a function of the calendar itself (the Gregorian calendar is not lunar-based). From the perspective of always being on the Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox, it is indeed always on the same date, and has been since Jesus was crucified. Giving it a specific date on the Gregorian calendar is neither here nor there — I’m unlikely to get an extra day off for it in any event.

Incidentally, other famous deaths on April 3 through the years: Persian emperor Chosroes II (murdered by his kid — rough), Pope Honorius IV, Arctic explorer James Clark Ross, the outlaw Jesse James, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari actor Conrad Veidt, composer Kurt Weill, and US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Other famous resurrections on April 5:


13 Comments on “Exact Dates”

  1. My wife considers soap opera characters to be damn near as real as a lot of folks take Jesus to be, so I’m going to assume there are plenty of other resurections on that date. Along with evil twins appearing, coma patients getting better, and people finding out their spouse is really a clone of their long lost gerbil.

    I won’t even get into all the comic book characters. Jean Grey alone accounts for about 25% of all resurrections on that date.

  2. “it is indeed always on the same date, and has been since Jesus was crucified”

    I don’t think so…
    if you study the history of most modern christian holidays their dates and many of the traditions are not christian at all. They are pagan for the most part. The dates and practices were chosen by the christians to coincide with the pagan practices of the day. They did this so that the pill of christianity would not be so hard to swallow. Unfortunately it caused many undesireable aspects of the pagan world to be associated with christianity and Christ himself. This has caused much division and strife in the christian church.

    This is a short essay on easter.


  3. How about Stephen Crane? I always used to use him in that phrase — “By the time he was my age Stephen Crane had been dead for x years.” — And since he died at age twenty-eight that meant I could use that line even before I turned thirty.

  4. Two years from now, you can use Mozart (to steal Tom Lerher’s line). He dropped off the twig at 35.

  5. Of course, if we want an accurate lunar dating of Jesus’ death, just be sure to have Easter on the Passover weekend. I’m sure the Jews have been keeping good track of it.

  6. Usually religion justifies war. In this case, war must justify religion when so irrelavent a topic as the age of the most important bibilical character is worth so much religious graffiti. Age is but a molecule in the length of immortality, ah huh. How many candles to put in the cake? Only the Easter rabbit knows for sure. Easter was suppose to be about bread and wine or is bread and wine only made in France these days? Better if the flock of sheep be sent to Scalzi’s pastures so John need not take bumpy rides on the lawnmower. Humans always have imbued their brain cells with religious artifacts as a matter of devotion, but in today’s era, a simple plastic Jesus suspended from the backview-mirror of an SUV has more purpose than figuring out how old Jesus is suppose to be at the Second Coming. By the way, it is important to know just how many candles are in a single box of candles otherwise it’s another trip to the store.

  7. I was nervous about posting this line:

    “Well, that is assuming you believe ‘Jesus’ actually existed.”

    But, given the polite, yet dissenting comments posted here, I feel more secure in my opinion.

    Thank you people, thank you. And thanks to John, who is probably stewed by our disagreement, for not deleting them.

  8. Now if we can finally find the ark, we’ll have scientific proof of the bible!

  9. Tripp, what if, while looking around Mt Sinai, we find a page that reads “All characters in this Bible are fictional, and any resemblance to real people, dead or alive, is purely coincidental”? I guess we’ll have a few more converts to Red Dwarfism.

    John, amazing coincidence that all the other resurrections take place on different days, eh? :-)

  10. In reference to Brian, who wrote,”The dates and practices were chosen by the christians to coincide with the pagan practices of the day.”

    Sounds like the ol’ Jehovah’s Witness crowd has gotten a hold of you. That is thier arguement for abolishing all holidays. Some people can’t just join a party- they have to know who it’s for first. I say party on, same time next year, and who gives a flying flip for who or what. Unless of course the party is for my burning at the stake.

    A party is more then the reason for celebration. The persons who converted to Christianity aren’t giving up a yearly party just cause they converted- and no one asked them to until legalistic separistists needed a way to be even more holier then thou.

    Question: Was the date Easter as a rememberance of Christs’ death choosen because it coincided with the Jewish holiday of Passover (bringing special significance to the death of the first born son and protection through blood sacrifice) or the Pagan fertility holiday The Rights of Spring?
    Clue: Early Christians where converted Jews not Roman Panthiests.

  11. Second Clue: if you read the bible, you’ll see that the death and ressurrection happened over the jewish high holy days. So even if no jew was ever converted to christianity, it would still be most valid to tie it to passover.

    Anyway, there are eight exactly-evenly-spaced pagan holidays (Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh, Mabon, Samhain, Yule). No matter when you have a holiday, you can adjust it to match one of the pagan ones without too much hassle. So “Ostara” is the origin of the name “Easter” — still, the christian religious significance of the day really is attached to day and events of one particular Passover – and not Ostara.

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