Monday, April 18, 2011

A new time for the Last Supper?

I very much enjoy the Bible and science coming together:

Christians have long celebrated Jesus Christ's Last Supper on Maundy Thursday but new research released Monday claims to show it took place on the Wednesday before the crucifixion.

Professor Colin Humphreys, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, believes it is all due to a calendar mix-up -- and asserts his findings strengthen the case for finally introducing a fixed date for Easter.
Researchers have long been puzzled by an apparent inconsistency in the Bible.
While Matthew, Mark and Luke all say the Last Supper coincided with the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, John claims it took place before Passover.

Humphreys has concluded in a new book, "The Mystery Of The Last Supper", that Jesus -- along with Matthew, Mark and Luke -- may have been using a different calendar to John.

In Humphreys' theory, Jesus went by an old-fashioned Jewish calendar rather than the official lunar calendar which was in widespread use at the time of his death and is still in use today.

This would put the Passover meal -- and the Last Supper -- on the Wednesday, explaining how such a large number of events took place between the meal and the crucifixion.

It would follow that Jesus' arrest, interrogation and separate trials did not all take place in the space of one night but in fact occurred over a longer period.

Humphreys believes a date could therefore be ascribed to Easter in our modern solar calendar, and working on the basis that the crucifixion took place on April 3, Easter Day would be on April 5.
For clarification, "Maundy Thursday" is a Protestant term; Roman Catholics like myself use the term "Holy Thursday."

There has long been a line of thining that the Bible and science are mutually exclusive.  They are not. 

Like many "myths" and "legends" such as the Trojan War, the Bible may exaggerate, distort, mislead, mischaracterize, gloss over, rearange and omit, but it does not lie.  You can be certain that everything described in the Bible happened in some way, shape or form, it's just a question of what precisely happened.

And using science to explain the Bible in no way makes the miracles of the Bible less miraculous.  For instance, if the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery under Pharaoh Ramses II in Egypt was enabled by a volcanic eruption, how is that any less miraculous than if the turning of the Nile into blood, the rain of fire and Angel of Death came straight from Heaven.  The timing was perfect for the Israelites, not so much Ramses.  If one has faith, as I do, one can logically believe that the perfect timing was due to the Big Guy Upstairs.

There is no zero sum battle between God and science.  Those who say there is understand neither.

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