Our Astronomical Column


    The Date of the Crucifixion.—Astr. Nach. 5784 contains a paper on this subject by E. Dittrich. He makes use of data from the writings of the late C. Schoch, both published and unpublished. These include a discussion of the total eclipse of the sun of Nov. 24 in A.D. 29. Some ancient writers attempted to explain the darkness mentioned at the Crucifixion by this eclipse. The explanation is, of course, impossible, for the double reason that the Passover comes near the spring equinox and also near the full moon. Still, the statement has some value, for it would scarcely have been made unless the year of the eclipse agreed with that of the Crucifixion, or came very near it. The track of totality was investigated by Schoch, who found that it ran just north of Palestine; the maximum phase at Jerusalem was 111/2 digits, and occurred 12 minutes before local noon. An argument is based on the incident of the corn being ripe enough to eat the ears at a time a little before the Crucifixion. The Passover must have been rather late, the preceding year having an intercalary month at the end of it. In summing up, the author observes that the discussions of the last hundred years have greatly narrowed the possible range of dates. The range was originally about ten years, but has now been reduced to two; there is almost universal agreement that it was either A.D. 29 or 30.

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    Our Astronomical Column. Nature 127, 794 (1931). https://doi.org/10.1038/127794a0

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