Just How Long Did Jesus Stay in the Tomb?

BY: Daniel Burke, Religion News Service

Easter, the Story of Jesus' Resurrection
 

(RNS) As Christians worldwide prepare to celebrate Easter, they will follow a familiar chronology: Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead on "the third day," in the words of the ancient Nicene Creed.

But if Jesus died at 3 p.m. Friday and vacated his tomb by dawn Sunday morning -- about 40 hours later -- how does that make three days? And do Hebrew Scriptures prophesy that timetable?

Even Pope Benedict XVI wrestles with the latter question in his new book, Jesus: Holy Week, about Christ's last days. "There is no direct scriptural testimony pointing to the 'third day,"' the pope concludes.

The chronology conundrum is "a bit of a puzzle," said Marcus Borg, a progressive biblical scholar and co-author of The Last Week, a book about Holy Week.

But Borg and other experts say the puzzle can be solved if you know how first-century Jews counted time, and grant the four evangelists a little poetic license.

For Jews of Jesus' time, days began at sunset, a schedule that still guides Jewish holy days such as Shabbat. So, Saturday night was Sunday for them.

Continued on page 2: 'Inclusive Reckoning...' »

comments powered by Disqus
Related Topics: Easter, Jesus, Tomb, Resurrection, Cross

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook