According to Wikipedia:

The modern Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread is seven days, starting with the sunset at the beginning of Nisan 15.


According to some interpretations, the Gospel of John (e.g., 19:14, 19:31, 19:42) implies that Nisan 14 was the day that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem.

The article mentions that this was the first Easter controversy which petered out around the 4th century and that "Jehovah's Witnesses continue to celebrate the memorial of Christ's death on Nisan 14."

Recently, an answer on Biblical Hermeneutics asserted that Jesus was crucified on Nisan 14. This indicates the interpretation is still supported in some modern traditions.

Are there any denominations that interpret John 19 as placing the crucifixion on Nisan 14? Do the Jehovah's Witnesses base their memorial on John 19?


All denominations, as far as I'm aware, agree that John 19 places the crucifixion on Nisan 14. John 19:14 is clear that this was "the day of Preparation for the Passover," that is, the day the sacrificial lambs were slain before the Passover feast officially began (see Exodus 12:5-6). Since Passover begins on Nisan 15, Preparation Day is the 14th.

The Quartodecimian controversy was whether Christians should celebrate essentially a "Christian Passover" on the 14th every year, or whether they should celebrate the resurrection day, the first day of the new week following the Passover.

The practice of celebrating Easter Sunday was soon adopted by the majority of Christians, though some churches continued the Quartodecimian practice for centuries.

Today many churches celebrate a Passover or Seder meal on Thursday evening before Good Friday, but as far as I'm aware only the Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate as the Quartodecimians did, with a meal on the 14th and no special celebration on the following Sunday.

  • Some churches commemorate (with wine, bread, and foot washing) the eve of Nisan 14, the same night as the "Last Supper", not the night of the annual Passover seder, which is the following evening. E.g. see The Passover | United Church of God. Apr 1 at 2:25

Denominations do not generally hold fixed views on such things.

Alfred Edersheim placed the crucifixion on Friday 15th Nisan.

There are two Fridays between AD 28 and 35 inclusive which fell on 15th Nisan (AD 30 and AD 33) and no Fridays fell on 14th Nisan. For over sixty years Christians have relied on Richard A. Parker and Waldo Dubberstein's classic "Babylonian Chronology - 626 BC to AD 75" for the dates of the period. The astronomical calculations in this book go back nearly a hundred years. That book put these two Fridays on 14th Nisan. Improved modern astronomical calculations now put both these Fridays on the 15th Nisan.

The date in AD 30 was 7th April, Julian Calendar, or 5th April using Gregorian Calendar. This date is still held by all those who believe Christ must have been born about 5 BC. A major problem with this view is the statement of early Luke chapter 3 that John the Baptist began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberias. The natural reading of this would be AD 28. It is effectively impossible to squeeze a three year ministry of Jesus between this and a crucifixion on passover of AD 30.

Increasingly popular is the view Jesus was born late 2 BC (my view). In this view Jesus was crucified on the 1st April AD 33 using our Gregorian Calendar (3rd April AD 33, Julian date).

For more on when was Jesus born see "From Abraham to Paul - a Biblical Chronology" by Andrew Steinmann, or his free online article "When did Herod die?"

For the modern calculations see the free online astronomical tables of Rita Gautschy, for lunar dates for the Jewish Calendar, here: http://www.gautschy.ch/~rita/archast/mond/jewcal.html

You can use the following web page to find the day for a date: https://onlineconversion.com/julian_date.htm Be sure to use Julian dates not Gregorian dates.

  • This assumes the Crucifixion happened on Friday afternoon, which refutes Jesus's "three days and three nights" claim in Matthew 12:40, and causes Mark 16:1 and Luke 23:56 to contradict (they bought spices after the sabbath, but prepared them before the sabbath). John 19:31 resolves the issue by indicating that there were two different sabbaths involved, the annual high sabbath on Thursday, and the weekly sabbath on Saturday. The Day of Preparation was Nisan 14, when the lambs were slaughtered. Jesus was killed just before sunset on Wednesday, and resurrected before sunset, Saturday, AD 31. Apr 1 at 2:16
  • @RayButterworth - To be clear, what day of week are you saying was 14th Nisan in AD 31? Apr 1 at 7:33
  • matthew - How is it that Jesus could be "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth"?, in the "an answer" link in the original question has a timeline graphic. The "Last Supper" would have been what we call Tuesday evening and the Crucifixion Wednesday afternoon, both being part of Nisan 14. Apr 1 at 13:09
  • @RayButterworth - Its a Jewish idiom meaning a period including time from 3 consecutive 24 hour days. In AD 31 Wednesday 14th Nisan doesn't exist. The two possible dates for AD 31 14th Nisan are Monday March 26th and Tuesday April 24th. This is on the assumption that Rita Gautschy's astronomical software is correct: modern astronomers believe they are now accurate down to within a few minutes for ancient new moons etc. Apr 1 at 14:41
  • "astronomers believe they are now accurate down to within a few minutes", but no one believes that the ancient observers could be that precise. How sure can you be that it was Tuesday April 24th and not Wednesday April 25th? The astronomical new moon was in the early afternoon of Tuesday April 10th, and the first visible crescent could have been observed just after sunset the next day, making the 1st of Nisan start on the evening of Wedneday April 11, making the 14th of Nisan start on the evening of Tuesday April 24, with Tuesday evening and Wednesday daylight being the 14th of Nisan. Apr 2 at 0:44

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