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Was There A Solar Eclipse During The Crucifixion?

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Hypognosis | 02:11 Fri 26th Aug 2016 | Religion & Spirituality
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This question should be an "old chesnut", to anyone born later than the Renaissance, since thinkers of that time were the first to find a crucial internal contradiction, in the gospel accounts. If it is the first time this has been asked, on Answerbank, I ought to be surprised.

So, in detail, I need to ask whether gospel statement are generic: "the skies darkened", or specific: "the skies grew dark with clouds"; "the sun's disk was obscured" and so on.

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I am surprised that v.e. doesnt come out with "No, we know there wasnt" anyway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_darkness we know there wasnt Patrick Moore used to say not on a yearly basis fifty years ago and that is good enough for me. BUT you can't have an eclipse if there is a full moon - apparently it means the sun/moon has to be in two places at one...
05:21 Fri 26th Aug 2016
-- answer removed --
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Don't be like that, vetuste. You don't initiate many (any??) questions, yourself but I wouldn't dream of waving any of them away, immediately, like that.

Please allow at least one believer to engage with the thread.
As one who has some belief, I view such descriptive wordings as poetic licence as in many texts over the history of the written and passed down word.
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Hi Mamya,

by extension, the whole Bible becomes "poetic licence", does it not?

I find that problematic. However, you do not strike me as the fundamentalist type, so you can have as many free passes as you want.

The subtext of my question is, I admit, one along the lines of "do you take the bible literally?" and to see how adherents tackle internal contradictions, which would imply an imperfect author: i.e. not God.

Apologies for my curt answer, Hypo. No disrespect intended. Always enjoyed your posts.

Not, of course, as morally instructive as Mamya's.
It merely is at risk of poetic licence. These are verbally passed tales are they not ? People's personal description likely embellished with the telling. But the main story features are either true or false.

Nothing really matters,
anyone can see.
Hypo, shouldn't engage with Goodlife. Respect - 5%.
You asked on the wrong forum. The only group more prolific on AB than rabid right-wingers are the atheists who will rise up in unison to mock and deride you should you how the slightest religious belief.
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@vetuste 03:21

No worries. And Mamya's attributes have straightened many a morally dubious personage, no doubt.

@vetuste 03:24

Ahh, these things happen. Several times, in fact, so more like -500%, if truth be told. In mitigation, mostly I enter on page "n", in response to some other poster's contribution. Most of GL's threads get turned into such effective anti-religion propoganda that s/he doesn't post to it again, for fear of bumping it back to where it is highly visible again.

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@Old_Geezer

// People's personal description likely embellished with the telling. //

That is the area I am exploring here. It's an impressive embellishment, signifying God's anger at his progeny's demise but there is a problem of timing, or passage of time not accounted for - at least two weeks - if any insistance is placed on an eclipse.

To be fair, I should add I would not have reached the correct answer to this question, unaided, myself as I was ignorant of the crucial fact of the matter.
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@Jackdaw33

// mock and deride you should you how the slightest religious belief. //

Yes, I wish they wouldn't do that as it rather undermines our cause (not that we have one. Much.)

Not that I can claim to be free of guilt, for such behaviour. This time, I'm hoping the thread can stick to looking at the facts.

I am surprised that v.e. doesnt come out with "No, we know there wasnt"

anyway
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_darkness
we know there wasnt

Patrick Moore used to say not on a yearly basis fifty years ago and that is good enough for me. BUT you can't have an eclipse if there is a full moon - apparently it means the sun/moon has to be in two places at one time

so what was previously taken as a checkable fact previously ( 1500 y ago) is now what you call 'generic' - you will notice that it hasnt dented peoples beliefs in any way
Question Author
Thanks, Peter. BA on its way, for that.

I happened across a page about this chap
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Pico_della_Mirandola

and the issue got a mention.

Thanks to the page you linked to, I now see it didn't go unquestioned for 1400-odd years and even the Romans had queried it. (Passover always at full moon was the bit I hadn't heard of). The ancients would have been all genned up on their astronomy (if only for purposes of astrology) and could not have let this basic aspect slip by.

I think there is poetic licence throughout the bible...as a Catholic I think the bible reflects the sunglasses picture of the time....
As we don't know exactly when the crucifixion took place, this is an impossible question to answer.
the sky grew dark here yesterday, even though there wasn't an eclipse (or as far as I know a crucifixion) on. Weather's pretty changeable, even in the normally sunny Middle East. I can't even see any reason for dismissing it as an exaggeration: it sounds wholly unremarkable, though it would obviously be memorable to those people attending a friend's execution.

the business of the temple curtain tearing in two is the really implausible bit.
Hypo, I don't know when the crucifixion was, exactly, but this gives a list of eclipses from the year 0000 to 0099, I think. It's a very good site anyway for knowing details about any eclipse in the future or past.

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEcat5/SE0001-0100.html
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@murraymints

It would be fair to call it poetic licence because, although "eclipse" now has a highly specific scientific definition, back in the 1st century, it would have been instantly understood to mean "the sun went black… for while". For its intended audience, it was the right word to use.

Indeed, we do not know whether everyone, at that time was a flat earther or whether they had figured out that eclipses were caused by the moon. That, in itself, entails belief in a heliocentric solar system.

It would not be perceived as an inconsitent story if a person, in those times, believed that eclipses were a thing that the sun did, by itself and of course the full moon was present, because it was passover.

@mikey and Cloverjo

Peter's link mentions 39AD. The choice of that year is another debate entirely but the nearest eclipse they could find, visible from Israel was November of that year.

If Passover is somehow dependent on full moon then it is a "moveable feast". The exact date is academic, for the purposes of this thread because the contradiction in question is full moon versus eclipse: - can't have both.

@jno

Good answer. Anything recogniseable as a weather event would not have cut the mustard as a story embellishment. Somewhere well down on Peter's link there was even a suggestion that contemporary audiences would have needed to understand this moon contradiction for the sky darkening to be at all mysterious or supernatural, likewise with sudden weather changes, coming off the sea or sandstorms, coming in off the desert.

Hypognosis in reply to your question @ 03.16.


No, I don't take every last word in the Bible literally.
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@Mamya

I should have posed the question as the generic you… "Does one take the Bible literally" but hate using "one" as it sounds slightly pretentious.

You know I didn't apply it to you, personally, because I said as much. Or did you miss that bit?

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