Is there a commonly held year for Jesus' crucifixion? What is the basis? In particular I would like to see biblical-basis.

If not which Christian denominations teach a specific year for His crucifixion? and what is the basis.

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    This is informative and interesting. – user13992 Nov 19 '14 at 23:18
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    This and this are interesting as well. Check them out. – One Face Feb 14 '15 at 15:46

The traditional date is Friday, April 3rd, 33 AD. The most commonly held date by modern scholars is Friday, April 7th, 30 AD.

The factors in figuring this.

  1. On or near Passover.
  2. Under Pontius Pilate, who ruled 26–36 AD.
  3. Jesus was questioned by the High Priest Caiaphas. He was priest from 18 - 36 AD.
  4. Generally considering a 3 1/2 year ministry, John the Baptist's ministry was recorded in Luke 3:1-3, indicating a date of either 26 AD or 29 AD, depending on when the beginning of his rule is reckoned by Luke.
  5. Most conclude a Friday, although Wednesdays and Thursdays have been suggested. While it was the before the Sabbath, some hold this could have been the feast Sabbath, and not the weekly Sabbath. The only Friday Sabbaths between 29 AD and 36 AD, according to mathematical calculations, would have been 30 AD and 33 AD.
  6. Since Luke 3:23 says he was approximately 30 years old at the start of his ministry, the date of his birth is considered. As he was born under Herod, dates of 8 BC to 2 BC are commonly suggested. Some history indicates Herod died in 4 BC, but recent scholarship indicates Herod may have died in 1 BC.
  7. The testimony of Peter in Acts 2:20, indicating Solar and Lunar Phenomenon, as well as the darkness recorded in the Gospels themselves, give indication. Phlegon recorded such a darkness in the 4th year of the 202nd olympiad, and this corresponds to a lunar eclipse on the 33 AD date, above (see here for the NASA site listing the lunar eclipse that may have been the night of his death.
  8. Jesus cried out in the "ninth hour", which Biblical scholars indicates is usually around 3pm.
  9. Also of interest by some is the prophecy of Daniel's 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24. Depending on the decree and calendar used, some figure a period of 490 years (of 360 days) to the day of Christ's triumphal entry, as predicted by the angel Gabriel, when using the date of the 33 AD crucifixion. See Sir Robert Anderson's book "The Coming Prince" for his work.

Of these, one of the most sure is the date of Pilate's reign. This limits the range of answers to a 10-year window. Also, if one accepts the testimony of Phlegon in correspondence to the unexplained darkness at the same time as a lunar eclipse, you would point to a 33 AD date.

Isaac Newton figured a 29 AD baptism, and counted 5 passovers, and concluded 34 AD. Many favored a 30 AD date after that, but popularity of the traditional 33 AD date is on the rise.

In my opinion, probably April 3rd, 33 AD at around 3:00pm local time fits the best.

Note: This is another article that lists several points for determining the day of the crucifixion.

  • By traditional view, do you mean the Catholic view? Lots of good points to consider, I like that you gave a variety of considerations. Why Friday Sabbath? Also, why is it that modern scholars lean towards 30 AD? – Beestocks Nov 20 '14 at 2:08
  • Yes. Catholic origin. Dionysius Exiguus is the man who made the AD calendar in the 6th Century. Many have said he was wrong, saying he miscalculated based on the assumed date of Herod's death, but, as above, this has been the result of a copyist error. My guess is that this is where the major discrepancies show up. It is probably useful to note that Wikipedia still holds a 4 BC death of Herod, so either the copyist issue is either unknown or contestable. But, that's why the calendar started when it did, the birth of Christ, with his ministry about 30 years later, more or less. – user16825 Nov 20 '14 at 4:19
  • Friday Sabbath? Because, there are more than one types of Sabbaths. There is the weekly Sabbath, Saturday, and the first and last day of the feast were Sabbaths as well, wherever they fell in the week. It is important to remember, and to note that Sabbath(s) is plural in Mt28:1; Mk16:9; Lk24:1; Jn20:19. People who point to a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion, for instance, would look for a Passover Sabbath on that next day, followed by the weekly Sabbath on Wednesday. I had tried these system prior, favoring 3 days&nights, but found 33AD to be convincing. That phrase is a figure of speech. – user16825 Nov 20 '14 at 4:37
  • This Article covers with skepticism, but not disproof, the claims of the copyist error in question. Affecting the dates of the Birth, and through consequence the crucifixion. – user16825 Nov 20 '14 at 6:20

In the absence of a direct statement about which year Jesus died, we need to infer the year by indirect means.

One means is to determine the year Jesus began his ministry and then add to this the number of years of Jesus ministry, to arrive at the year of the crucifixion. Luke's Gospel provides two clues as to the year Jesus began his ministry:

  • Luke 3:23: "When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age..." This ("about") is at best only an approximation, but a starting point. We know that King Herod died in April 4 BCE, so on the biblical evidence Jesus was probably born no later than 5 BCE. He would probably have begun his ministry before 25 CE, but a few years later is possible because the author of Luke had only estimated Jesus' age.

This method arrives at a date that is too open-ended, and is rarely used to calculate the year of the crucifixion.

  • Luke 3:1-2: "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar ... the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert." Shimon Gibson says in The Cave of John the Baptist, page 132, that Tiberius is known to have succeeded Augustus in 14 CE and so his fifteenth year would work out at 28 CE, unless account is taken of the co regency that began two years earlier, which would indicate a date of 26 CE instead (the most likely is 28 CE).

This tells us only that John the Baptist began his mission between 26 and 28 CE, and probably 28 CE. At some stage, Jesus came to John and was baptised: he is commonly assumed to have come to John in 29 CE, but the Gospel does not say so, meaning that Jesus could also have come to John as early as, say, 26 CE or as later as the early 30s. On the most common assumption that Jesus came to John in 29 CE, we need only add the length of Jesus mission and arrive at a date for the crucifixion.

At this point, we strike another problem. We know that Jesus would have travelled to Jerusalem each year for the Passover, just as Luke says his parents had taught him to do (Luke 2:41), but the synoptic gospels make no mention of any journey to Jerusalem until the final, fateful journey. The brevity of the account, especially in Mark's Gospel, suggests that Jesus' mission lasted less than one year, and he was crucified in 30 CE.

On the other hand, John's Gospel clearly has Jesus travel to Jerusalem for the Passover festival three times before the final, fateful journey. In this case, Jesus' mission was almost four years in duration. Assuming, once again, that Jesus began his mission in 29 CE, the crucifixion took place in about 33 CE.

The Passover date was determined by the phase of the moon and did not always fall on the same day of the week. So, another way of establishing the year of Jesus' crucifixion ought to be to determine on which year, within the appropriate range, the Passover fell on a Friday. Unfortunately, because of intercalations applied to the ancient Jewish calendar, there is too much uncertainty for this to be a useful method. The same issue means that we can not really say on which day of the year the crucifixion took place.

If the darkness that the gospels report at the moment of Jesus death, exactly 3 o'clock in the afternoon, could be attributed to a solar eclipse, then science could give us the answer, since every eclipse, past and future, can be calculated precisely. Unfortunately again, this is no possible, as solar eclipses can not occur near the day of the Passover.

The most commonly accepted years of the crucifixion are 30 and 33 CE, but other 
years from 29 to 36 CE have been suggested. Everything is really only speculation.

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