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Dating the crucifixion

While the crucifixion is one of the most secure historical events in the life of Jesus, it is very difficult to date. At the heart of the difficulty is the direct contradiction between the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, followed by Matthew and Luke) and John over the timing of the Passover and Sabbath in the year that Jesus was killed.

Pilate was in office between 26 CE and 36 CE, and there were three years in that ten year period when Sabbath and Passover coincided. The first appears too early, while 33 CE seems to be too late to allow for subsequent developments including the conversion of Saul/Paul.

After a careful review of the problem and its proposed solutions, the Anchor Bible Dictionary concludes:

Working on the hypothesis that in this case the Johannine account is the more accurate and following the Jewish table of true moons, one is presented with two alternatives for the crucifixion of Jesus: 14 Nisan = 7 April A.D. 30 or 3 April A.D. 33 (Fotheringham 1934). Given the previously discussed probable dates and parameters, the first of these is to be preferred. [vol 1, p. 1016]





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