Just How Long Did Jesus Stay in the Tomb?

BY: Daniel Burke, Religion News Service

 

Continued from page 1

Ancient Jews also used what scholars call "inclusive reckoning," meaning any part of a day is counted as a whole day, said Clinton Wahlen of the Seventh-day Adventist Biblical Research Institute in Silver Spring, Md.

Using these counting methods, a backward calculation from Sunday morning to Friday afternoon makes three days.

Besides, the four evangelists were likely not counting time literally, according to some scholars.

"Expressions like 'three days' and '40 days' are imprecise in the Bible," Borg said. For the evangelists, "three days" means "a short period of time."

Ben Witherington, an evangelical scholar of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., agreed.

The phrase "three days," is a colloquialism comparable to "directly" in Southern-speak, meaning "after a little while," he said.

It's anachronistic to expect the evangelists to monitor time like modern-day men, Witherington said.

"The Gospel writers didn't walk around with sundials on their wrists the way modern scholars walk around with wristwatches," he said. "They were not dealing with the precision that we do."

Continued on page 3: 'A Question of Precision...' »

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Related Topics: Easter, Jesus, Tomb, Resurrection, Cross

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