I saw Narnia last evening and quite enjoyed it. There’s a few differences from the book, but they seem to have been included in an effort to take advantage of the difference between movies and books. I was particularly curious to see how the violence associated with the death of Aslan would be portrayed in view of the intended (child or child-like) audience.

Afterwards, three things struck me:

  • Edmund goes through most of the rationalizations for cooperating with evil, from rank self-interest to the preservation of others, only to find out that, in the end, no good comes of it.
  • As in the Gospels, it is the women who keep the vigil.
  • As in the Gospels, the sight of the empty table precedes the appearance of the risen Aslan. (The fact that the table is also broken is something of an “improvement” on the imagery of the Gospels.)
  • And of course, who can do other than love Mr. and Mrs. Beaver? Anyway, it’s a good story and if I owned a TV, I’d buy the video when it comes out.

    When Did Jesus Die? (Date)

    This is where things get interesting from the historical-critical perspective. None of the Gospels actually specifies the date. All of them talk about the time frame under discussion in terms of the Passover, and the Synoptics mention Unleavened Bread. However, it is important to remember that the Synoptics never say that Jesus died on Passover. Talk of Passover and Unleavened Bread in the Synoptics is always done with respect to the meal we now call the Last Supper. By the time the events of the arrest, trial, death, and burial are recounted, all mention of these festal days is missing.

    Continue reading “When Did Jesus Die? (Date)”

    When Did Jesus Die ? (Day)

    We have looked at what the Gospels have to say about the time that Jesus died in a post below. In this one, we take the next step and look at what they say about the day of the week.

    Mk 15:42 is clear that Jesus died on the day before the Sabbath (PROSABBATON). Mt 27:62 and 28:1 indicate that day after Jesus’ death was the Sabbath. Lk 23:54 says that Jesus was buried on the “preparation,” that is, the day before the Sabbath. Jn 19:31 says that precautions were taken to ensure that Jesus’ corpse did not remain on the cross on the Sabbath.

    All of the Gospels, then, are unified, indicating that Jesus spent some time with his disciples on what we would call Thursday evening and was arrested later that night. He was crucified the next day, which was Friday, and died before the beginning of the Sabbath at sunset.

    I have used the expression “what we would call Thursday evening” just for clarity. In fact, the Jewish day started at sunset and ran to the next sunset. So provided this meal was celebrated after nightfall, the activities from that event until his death took place on one day – the day before the Sabbath.

    What are the theological implications of this timing? The fact that Jesus died on an afternoon, just before the beginning of the Sabbath at sundown, sets the stage for the urgency that characterizes his burial. I think two things are worked out here.

    First, the irony developed earlier in each PN (passion narrative) now become excruciating as it spills over and splashes just about everywhere. In each case, Jesus is buried by just about the oddest people you could imagine, with all that implies about the disciples and discipleship.

    Second, the burial narratives give the alert reader some major hints that the story is not over, as I alluded to in my third response on the “hour.” And more interestingly, they also give some hints about what the future will hold for the followers of Jesus – not for the old disciples in the Gospels, who are pretty much out of the picture at the moment, but for the new disciples who will shortly rise to join them.

    Now, however, I have to prepare my GD lesson for tomorrow. We are reading the Matthean infancy narrative together, and I must organize my thoughts on that matter. Please, please, add your own thoughts. I look forward to reading them late tomorrow afternoon, when I come back and try to finish my own.

    When Did Jesus Die? (Hour)

    When did Jesus die? The Gospels do not provide a single, unambiguous, answer.

    This issue may be most easily addressed by breaking it down into more specific questions:

    what hour of the day?
    what day of the week?
    what date in the month?
    what year?

    Hour of the Day

    The Synoptics write that Jesus was near death by the ninth hour (Mk 15:34; Mt 27:46; Lk 23:44). In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus is before Pilate at the sixth hour (Jn 19:14). The most common way of counting the hours was to begin at 6 AM. This means that in the Synoptics, Jesus is near death at 3 PM, while in John he has yet to be crucified by noon.

    Folks who feel the need to harmonize suggest that John starts his numbering of the hours from midnight, while the Synoptics numbered the hours from 6 AM, as above. John then reports that Jesus is in front of Pilate at 6 AM. This fits more comfortably with Mark’s indication (Mk 15:25) that Jesus was crucified at the third hour, that is, 9 AM.

    Since there is no need to harmonize, I am satisfied to say simply that Jesus died sometime in the late afternoon.

    Your thoughts?