"Star-gazers pinpoint the hour Jesus died" (Glasgow Herald)
THEORIES on the exact date of Christ's death have been debated for centuries, but now two astronomers claim to have pinpointed it to the exact hour.
Liviu Mircea and Tiberiu Oproiu from the Astronomic Observatory Institute in Cluj, Romania, said yesterday that research carried out using a computer program checked against bible references showed that Christ died at 3pm on Friday, April 3, 33 AD, and rose again on Sunday, April 5 at 4am.
The starting point for the pair's calculations was the New Testament's noting that Jesus died on the day after the first night with a full moon following the vernal equinox.
Using data gathered on the stars between 26 and 35 AD they established that in those nine years, the first full moon after the vernal equinox was registered twice: Friday April 7, 30 AD and April 3, 33 AD.
The astronomers said they had been convinced that the date of the crucifixion had been 33 AD and not 30 AD, because records showed a solar eclipse, as depicted in the bible at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, occurred in Jerusalem in that year.
I'm not so sure that the gospels have in mind a naturalistic explanation for the darkness at the time of the crucifixion. Anyhow, it's stretching it to assume that a solar eclipse that happened in that year had anything to do with it. I have no idea how well based the other astronomical conclusions are. I blog, you decide.