The Three/Third Day Resurrection Problem

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Miken, Aug 25, 2020.

  1. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    As per request of the originator of another thread, this discussion is being moved to a new thread. The topic is the tension between the various Gospels stating that the resurrection was to have taken place on the third day, after three days, or after three days and nights.

    John's timeline is ambiguous.

    John has the Last Supper take place in the evening of 14 Nisan, i.e. after sundown on the day before Passover begins. It is therefore not a Passover Seder as it is in the Synoptic Gospels. This eliminates the major problem of the priests and the elders and the scribes having planned to have a trial, complete with witnesses, overnight on the first night of Passover. So far so good. (However, it also eliminates the Eucharist institution.)

    The Synoptic Gospels present a variety of timeframe expectations about the resurrection – on the third day, after three days, three days and nights. John is not clear. The only reference is in John 3:18-22. Jesus says, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”, referring to his body and the resurrection. Is that on the third day, after three days or after three days and nights?

    The Synoptic Gospels have the crucifixion happen in the afternoon on the first day of Passover. Mark and Luke state clearly that this is the Day of Preparation for the Sabbath. This can only be the weekly Sabbath. (Matthew’s reference is a little odd but let that be for now.) All three Synoptic Gospels have the visit to the tomb on Sunday morning, Mark and Luke have it in order to perform the anointing that could not be done once the weekly Sabbath had begun. Matthew omits any reason for going.

    John’s language is ambiguous and that would seem to be intentional.

    The crucifixion took place on the Day of Preparation for the Passover. (Jn 19:4)

    The bodies could not remain on the cross because it was the Day of Preparation for the Sabbath, that being a ‘great’ Sabbath. (Jn 19:31) What does John mean by ‘Sabbath’? Is this the weekly Sabbath on which the first day of Passover happens to fall? Or is it just the first day of Passover and John is calling it a great Sabbath because Sabbath rules will be in effect, such as no bodies hanging on crosses? The day of the week is ambiguous. The crucifixion might have been on a Friday or it might have been some other day.

    As with the other Gospels, John has the visit to the tomb on Sunday morning but gives no reason. In fact, he has eliminated the reason given by Mark and Luke by having the anointing already done before burial. To make sure you do not miss it, the anointing consists of a huge amount of myrrh and aloes. Also, unlike the other Gospels, John has only Mary Magdalene go to the tomb for unstated reasons.

    Does John have Jesus crucified on a Friday afternoon and a visit to the tomb for unknown reasons on Sunday morning? That is, Passover fell on the weekly Sabbath.

    Or does John have Jesus crucified on some other unspecified day and a visit to the tomb for unknown reasons on Sunday morning? That is, Passover did not fall on the weekly Sabbath.

    The ’on the third day, after three days, three days and three nights’ problem does not evaporate. It just gets swept under the rug, allowing the reader to apply their favorite interpretation.
     
  2. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    I don't think it even matters much: three days and nights, seven days and nights, 40 days and nights -- feeding the 5000 -- they are just terms used to indicate; they are not meant to be taken exactly. Imo.
     
  3. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    IMO they each had particular meanings for the authors.

    Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 refers to the resurrection happening ‘on the third day according to the scriptures’. He does not reference the specific scriptures but it sounds like:

    Hosea 6
    2 After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will restore us,
    that we may live in his presence.

    It seems that Mark had read 1 Corinthians, incorporating aspects of the Lord’s Supper institution from 1 Cor 11 in his Last Supper narrative and also using the image of Jesus as the Passover sacrifice from 1 Cor 5.

    Nonetheless Mark does not use ‘on the third day’, which might apply to the Friday to Sunday timeline. He says ‘after three days’ a total of three times. Why would he contradict his own narrative?

    A possible explanation for this is that there was/is a tradition that the spirit of a dead person stayed near the body seeking to re-enter it for three days. On the fourth day, decomposition made this impossible and the spirit left. (In modern Judaism, the spirit is free at the time of burial.) Recall the story in John where Jesus deliberately waits until Lazarus not only is dead but was four days in the tomb. Decomposition is in progress, “by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days” (Jn 11:39) Mark may have had this tradition in mind and wished to prevent speculation about the spirit successfully re-entering the body.

    Luke generally goes along with Mark on common material, but in this case Luke uses ‘on the third day’, as Paul did. We might note that Luke quotes from 1 Cor 11 for his Last Supper narrative more exactly than Mark does.

    Matthew follows Mark in the three episodes where Jesus predicts his death but changes the phrase to ‘on the third day’ as Paul uses. However, Matthew elaborates on another pericope of Mark, which is where Matthew introduces the ‘three days and three nights’. In Mark, Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees that no sign will be given. But it will, won’t it? The Resurrection. Matthew elaborates this passage, referring at length to the story of Jonah, which includes Matthew saying “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mt 12:40) Which contradicts ‘on the third day’.

    But Matthew uses scriptural quotes and references wherever possible. Apparently, he saw another opportunity for that and took it, despite the consequences. Is this really any stranger than the two-animal entry into Jerusalem?
     
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  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    So Mark wrote later than Paul? In the sense that Mark's gospel is generally regarded to be the first of the synoptic gospels -- possibly dictated by Peter in prison?
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That might well be your opinion, but scholars think otherwise, and I don't agree with your conclusions.
     
  6. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    1 Corinthians is usually dated to about 53-54. Tradition has it that Peter and Paul were both under arrest in Rome at the same time in the early 60s. Why would Mark not have been able to read 1 Corinthians?

    Can you provide a timeframe for John's narrative, including days of the week and the two Sabbaths? We know that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on the first day of the week, Sunday. And we know that Jesus was crucified on the day before the first day of Passover. Can you fill in the other details? For example, which day of the week was Passover?
     
  7. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    No reason. It's quite plausible. I'm not arguing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Miken —

    Apologies, I meant to get to this sooner...

    A timeline of the Crucifixion:
    The common argument about a Friday crucifixion is that there are not 'three days and three nights' between Friday and Sunday.

    Generally, people assume that when there was a desire to get the bodies off the cross before the Sabbath, most assume the weekly Friday dusk-Saturday day. They overlook that it was Passover week, and that there might be two sabbaths: the day of Passover is a Sabbath no matter what weekday it falls on. In 30AD the Passover and the weekly Sabbaths occurred back to back.

    Tuesday
    Jesus eats a meal with His disciples (at the beginning of Nisan 14, Jewish reckoning). He's arrested and questioned that night by Annas and Caiphas, then on the Wednesday morning taken to Pilate. The Jews do not enter Pilate's courtyard, because they would be defiled and unable to attend that Passover meal that evening (John 18:28)

    Wednesday
    Jesus is crucified. This was the Day of Preparation for the annual – not weekly – Sabbath, which begins at sunset. The body is placed in the tomb before sunset. There is a link here between the crucifixion and the slaughter of the lambs for the Pasch.

    Thursday
    A High-Day Sabbath, the first day of the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 19:31). It is described as the day after the "Day of Preparation" (Matthew 27:62). Wednesday night and the daylight portion of Thursday were the first of three days and nights Jesus' body was in the tomb.

    Friday
    The High-Day annual Sabbath now past, the women bought and prepared spices for anointing Jesus' body before resting on the weekly Sabbath day, which began at Friday sunset (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56). Thursday night and the daylight portion of Friday marked the second of three days and nights Jesus' body was entombed.

    Saturday
    The women rested on the weekly Sabbath. Jesus rises around sunset, three days and three nights after His body was placed in the tomb.

    Sunday
    The women come to the tomb in the morning 'while it was still dark' (cf Luke 24:1; John 20:1). The tomb is empty. Jesus has risen.
     
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  9. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    Hi Thomas. Back temporarily just to answer this. I have been dealing with a death in the family and have the total responsibility for the necessaries. I need a brief break from that.

    Your detailed timeline does show three full days and three nights, without having to explain part of a day being a day and such, which is a good start. Jesus rising around sunset still allows Matthew’s ‘on the third day’ to be acceptable phrasing. Matthew is the one who uses ‘three days and nights’.

    Your account does not agree fully with any one of the Gospel accounts but we already know that there are large reconciliation issues. The biggest one is John having the crucifixion on the afternoon of Nisan 14, the day before Passover, as opposed to the Synoptic Gospels, which have the crucifixion on the first day of Passover. Considering that the Synoptics require a trial to have been scheduled complete with witnesses on the first night of Passover, an extraordinary improbability, John’s account is far more reasonable in that respect.

    The traditional scenario of the first day of Passover followed by the weekly Sabbath puts the event in 30 AD as you have mentioned. A Thursday Passover (i.e., starting Wednesday at sundown) pushes that back to 34 AD, perhaps a bit late for most tastes.

    Some comments:

    John has the Last Supper not be a Passover Seder. While this avoids the Passover trial issue of the Synoptic Gospels, it also omits the Lord’s Supper institution. John 6 does refer to his flesh as bread and requires eating his flesh and drinking his blood but gives no institution context. We may note that in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul has the institution of the Lord’s Supper on the night Jesus was betrayed but does not explicitly call it a Passover Seder.

    As you said, the death of Jesus happens as the lambs are being sacrificed. John is the only Gospel to refer to Jesus using the word lamb. In John 1, the Baptist calls Jesus The Lamb of God. Twice so we do not miss it.

    While most of the major Jewish holy days have Sabbath-like rules, the only one legitimately called a Sabbath is Yom Kippur, known as the Sabbath of Sabbaths. The word Sabbath derives from the word for ‘to rest’, a reference to God resting on the seventh day of creation. On a Sabbath, or a day on which Sabbath-like rules apply, one refrains from ordinary work, which has been very precisely defined. On Yom Kippur, the no work rules are even stricter. It is therefore the Sabbath of Sabbaths, the rest of rests. It is even called a Sabbath in Exodus 23 and Leviticus 16. But while Sabbath-like rules apply on some other holy days they are not called Sabbaths.

    The term ‘great Sabbath’, the actual meaning of the Greek, is an interesting one. In Judaism, the Great Sabbath (Shabbat ha-Gadol) is the last Sabbath before Passover, commemorating when the Israelites set aside the sacrificial lambs before the first Passover. Obviously, John cannot mean that, since it is already the day before Passover. In English translations the Greek word μεγάλη is usually rendered ‘high’ but it is definitely ‘great’. The only use of the term ‘high’ with respect to Jewish holy days of which I am aware is the High Holy Days, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.

    Obtaining the spices and ointments, washing and anointing the corpse and dressing it in linen would not be so enormous a task that it could not be completed on Friday. Considering that this is a serious obligation it does not sound right that it would not be done in one day before sundown. Luke has the spices and ointments being obtained and prepared between the time Joseph of Arimathea gets permission to take the body and sundown. Mark has the spices bought after the Sabbath is over. I have seen it argued that the Sabbath Mark intended is Passover. However, Mark has Jesus crucified on Passover followed immediately by a Sabbath, which can only be a weekly Sabbath. John has Joseph obtain 75 pounds of spices and apply it in that same period. Notice that John therefore removes any reason for going to the tomb.

    Considering the last three points, I am still of the opinion that John is being deliberately ambiguous about what happened on which day. The only day of the week he is clear about is when Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb on Sunday morning for unstated purposes.
     
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  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Miken —

    Condolences on your loss.

    A lot of good stuff in your reply, thanks.

    Do you have a view as to why John might be being ambiguous?

    The whole John question is, of course, a big one. I am of the view that the written text is derive from oral transmission, and that the John of the Gospel is indeed John the disciple. John is full of observations that point to an eye-witness testimony and, as in Luke, many of the elements assumed error have now been shown by archaeological discoveries to be true.

    I wonder if it is we, so far removed from the times, who see ambiguity where his contemporaries would see none?
     
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  11. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    I see John as invention, incorporating elements from the three earlier Gospels and from Paul into a new take on the meaning of Jesus. Paul’s message included an expectation that Jesus was going to return very soon. After decades had passed and this had not happened, Mark sought to revive faith in the return of Jesus by using the destruction of the Temple as a prophesized sign of the imminent return of Jesus. Matthew and Luke had their own reasons for writing their Gospels but still kept Mark’s Olivet Discourse ‘this generation’ prophecy and the ‘not taste death’ prophecy, yet adding disclaimers about just how soon ‘soon’ might be.

    John abandoned the by now unrealistic expectation of a short term return of Jesus, concentrating on continued faith that those who believe and do what Jesus wanted will be saved. To maximize credibility, John introduces Jesus as divine as Paul had done, using imagery straight out of Philo of Alexandria, just as Paul had done. John continues to underscore the divinity of Jesus throughout. Appropriately for this, Jesus as prime mover of the Passion events as opposed to Mark’s humble victim can be seen in Jesus nearly demanding to be arrested when the soldiers are reluctant, in his interactions with Pilate and in carrying the cross without assistance as John points out. The Olivet Discourse is omitted entirely and the ‘not taste death’ with its implication of happening in the lifetime of the hearers becomes ‘never taste death’ with the implication of eternal life after death.

    John 21, a later addition, continues that theme by explaining that the ‘not taste death’ was a misunderstanding. Jesus never said that. Reading between the lines one might see a suggestion that the beloved disciple, the source of the Gospel and the last witness to the living Jesus, has now died and Jesus still has not come back.

    But back to the timeline.

    Paul has the resurrection ‘on the third day’.

    Mark has it ‘after three days’ despite presenting a timeline of about a day and a half. Mark has Jesus die on Passover shortly before the Sabbath starts. This must be a Friday. Luke goes along with Mark concerning the day of Preparation and the Sabbath about to begin, making the crucifixion definitely Friday.

    Matthew uses Paul’s ‘on the third day’ yet also has ‘three days and three nights’. Your timeline of a Thursday Passover can reconcile the two, yet at the cost of ignoring Mark and Luke. It is interesting that Matthew makes no reference to the day of Preparation in his account of the day of the crucifixion. It is only on the next day that it is mentioned. “The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation” (Mt. 27:62) Since Matthew, like Mark, has the crucifixion happen on the first day of Passover, it must now be Saturday, the weekly Sabbath. Yet notice the unusual way of saying it. Why not mention the day of Preparation on the previous day? Why not say it is the Sabbath?

    Add in that Matthew gives no reason for going to the tomb on Sunday (he refers to the first day of the week) while Mark and Luke do, to perform the required anointing. Now entertain the notion that the phrase ‘that is, after the day of Preparation’ of Mt 27:62 is not original but a later insertion by a scribe seeking to bring Matthew in line with Mark and Luke. If that were the case, the Passover and the death of Jesus might have been earlier than Friday. Since Matthew refers to making the tomb secure until the third day, this works well with a Wednesday crucifixion as per your timeline and gives Matthew his three days and three nights. But unlike your timeline, this puts Passover on Wednesday, not Thursday, because Matthew has the crucifixion on the first day of Passover. BTW, Passover is a week long event. Anywhere that I might have said Passover without a qualification, I meant the first day.

    I see John as avoiding the issue by having the crucifixion on the day before Passover, for which he has good reasons anyway, and being ambiguous about whether the day of Preparation is only for the Passover or for a Passover that falls on the weekly Sabbath. By being ambiguous in this way, John allows Friday crucifixion believers to keep their belief yet allows other views as well. I have already discussed John in my earlier post and will not repeat it. My intention here was to demonstrate the issues with the earlier Gospels that IMO John is avoiding.

    In my earlier post I said that a Thursday Passover took place in 34 AD. This was in error. I was relying on a chart that was based on a totally incorrect assumption. In fact, a Thursday Passover occurred in 28 AD and 31 AD. OTOH, a Wednesday Passover as required by Matthew, as described above, did not occur in any year from 26 AD to 34 AD.

    I have things to say about the author or source of the Gospel of John but not enough time to put it together.
     
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  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Looking forward to this. Sympathy for your recent family loss.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Can you amplify this, I don't see it as a 'must'?

    I don't think so. Scholars do not see it necessary to ignore the Synoptics in shaping around a Johannine chronology.

    Again, I don't think so. You're making assertions where scholarship treads lightly.

    I think you're alone in this?

    There you go. Day, date, year ... all uncertain, so I can't see how a 'must' must apply?
     
  14. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    @Thomas and @RJM Corbet

    Thank you for your condolences and sympathy.


    I do not believe that the author of the Gospel of John, or the source of the information contained in it, can be identified with the Apostle John, son of Zebedee. IMO the clues given in the story about the person called a witness point to a someone who is not one of Twelve and is perhaps intentionally anonymous. Furthermore, at most only a portion of the Gospel could be attributed to this person.

    Here is the first indication of a witness.

    John 19
    33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.

    The language indicates that while at least some information in the Gospel came from a witness, that some of the writing was done by someone else. This allows for material in the Gospel other than what was provided by the witness referenced here.

    John 21
    20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”

    24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

    As seen above, the witness did not write the entire Gospel and certainly did not write this portion. The important element here is that this witness is identified as the disciple whom Jesus loved.

    What can we find out about this disciple?

    John 13
    21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus' side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

    Peter the chief apostle does not address Jesus directly but has the ‘beloved disciple’ ask the question. This suggests some special importance to this person greater than Peter or any of the Twelve. This is already hinted at by this person having a special place at the table, reclining at the side of Jesus. It does not sound like the ‘beloved disciple’ is John, the second son of Zebedee, or any of the Twelve.

    John 19
    26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home".

    Taken at face value, this points to the beloved disciple having a home in or around Jerusalem. The sons of Zebedee lived in Galilee.

    John 20
    1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

    The beloved disciple is referred to as ‘the other disciple’. Although he reached the tomb first, he did not go in until Peter had and found there was no body. Why the hesitation?

    John 18
    15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.

    Peter and ‘another disciple’ (no definite article in the Greek). This other disciple is known to the high priest and apparently also to the servant watching at the gate, and he has enough authority to get Peter inside. Since this other disciple has followed Jesus with Peter, he would have been at supper with Jesus and the others. None of the Twelve would be known to the high priest. As has been seen above, the beloved disciple was not one of the Twelve.

    What kind of person would be known to the high priest and his servants? What kind of person would not want to enter a tomb until he knew there was no body in it? A person who apparently lived in or around Jerusalem?

    One simple answer is that the beloved disciple is a Temple priest. A priest from the Temple would be known by the high priest and his servants. A priest most not incur corpse uncleaness except by a member of the family. Corpse uncleaness is the most serious form on impurity and purification is not easy, taking a week. And of course a priest would live in or around Jerusalem. We might ask where Jesus and the others ate the meal but John gives no clue. It might be speculated that it was at the house of the beloved disciple, who apparently was not one of the Twelve.

    A Temple priest living in the Jerusalem area would not have been with Jesus during his ministry. It is not reasonable to credit the beloved disciple with anything beyond the events in Jerusalem. Apparently, there is more than one source involved for the Gospel of John.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
  15. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    In Mark and Luke, the crucifixion takes place on the first day of Passover, following the overnight arrest and trial of Jesus.

    Mark 14
    12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”

    16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
    17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve.

    Luke 22
    7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.”

    13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
    14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.


    Both refer to the Sabbath beginning at sundown.

    Mark 15
    42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

    Luke 23
    52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.

    Since it is already Passover, it can only be the weekly Sabbath that is about to begin. This must be Friday afternoon.

    In addition to Mark and Luke as shown above, Matthew also has the crucifixion take place on the first day of Passover.

    Matthew 26
    17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
    20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.

    John has the crucifixion take place on the day before Passover. In addition to John making no mention of the Passover meal, he makes it clear that it is not yet Passover.

    John 18
    28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.

    John has the crucifixion happen on a different day than the Synoptic Gospels. To come up with a Johannine chronology it is necessary to ignore the Synoptic timeline.

    On the contrary, scholars range from claiming that it all happened that way to none of it happened. Simply referring to scholars is insufficient. There are too many opinions. Perhaps you or someone else might present arguments given by scholars. Citations optional. It is the arguments that matter.

    The question is how am I wrong? Perhaps you or someone else could address my reasoning?

    The Wednesday sunset to Saturday sunset timeline of three days and nights requires a crucifixion on Wednesday afternoon. For John, this is the day before the first day of Passover. That puts the first day of Passover on Thursday (beginning Wednesday sunset). That means 28 AD or 31 AD. For Matthew to follow the Wednesday sunset to Saturday sunset requires Passover to be on a Wednesday (beginning Tuesday sunset) since Matthew has the crucifixion on the first day of Passover. There is no candidate for that in the range 26 AD to 34 AD.

    One can easily remove the ‘must’ by throwing out the requirement for three days and three nights. I am of the opinion that the ‘day of Preparation’ reference in Matthew 27 is a later scribal insertion and that Matthew was being deliberately ambiguous to allow his Jonah reference to be possible but without explicitly contradicting Mark.
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK. People are divided on this and, of course, there's no definitive answer. I come down on the side of probability. Not necessarily that John penned the Gospel personally, but that the Gospel is from the Ephesus/Johannine Tradition, possibly through John the Elder.

    A possible thesis, but one I find no credibility for.

    It seems to me that in the face of what we don't know, we can come up with hypothetical solutions, but inevitably these solutions will have less actual credibility because there's less supportive material.
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I follow the line that the Synoptics, following Mark's chronology, place the Last Supper on Nissan 15, to point directly between the Last Supper and the Passover, as best sits within its theological theme. As scholars have noted, the trial of Jesus by the Jewish authorities would then take place on the first day of Passover, which one can reasonably argue as being unlikely.

    John places the Last Supper on Nissan 14, thus the Last Supper is a pre-Passover meal, and I side with scholars who regard John's chronology as the more likely.

    Or see it in the context of the overall narrative intention of the scribe.

    Well you may well be right, but the point rather is that all the gospels arrange their materials with a narrative view in mind — Mark is the Suffering Servant & the Messianic Secret, Matthew is the Gospel of the Fulfilment of Hebrew Prophecy, Luke the Gospel of Social Justice, John the Spiritual Gospel.
     
  18. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    I do not see a lot of supportive material for John the son of Zebedee being the author of the Gospel of John and none at all within the Gospel. My admittedly unconventional hypothesis at least is based on the contents of the Gospel itself.

    The main argument in favor of John as the author is from Irenaeus. Yet Irenaeus has Matthew being written in Hebrew or Aramaic when clearly it was originally written in Greek. Also, he has Revelation written by the same John as the Gospel when the latter is about delayed eschaton and the former is about imminent eschaton. The track record of Irenaeus in these matters is not good.

    Against this there is the implausibility of a Galilean fisherman penning a literary showpiece like the Gospel of John in good Greek and having a knowledge of Philo of Alexandria who wrote in Greek.

    But this is really a major subject in itself and well astray of the topic of this thread.


    John’s chronology is clearly the most reasonable in that he has the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus on the day before Passover, avoiding the serious improbability of the priests and elders and scribes having scheduled a trial complete with witnesses at night on the first day of Passover. That scenario appears to have begun with Mark taking the Lord’s Supper institution narrative and the image of Jesus as the Passover sacrifice from 1 Corinthians and making it a Passover Seder, lending great power and meaning to it. But since the Lord’s Supper institution happens on the night Jesus is betrayed, Mark is stuck with the subsequent improbabilities.

    I see the Gospel writers as selecting and arranging their material to suit their specific individual purposes. Mark seeks to revivify faith in the quick return of Jesus. Matthew reinforces the boundaries around his Jewish Christian community. Luke opposes certain aspects of Matthew. John’s program is to emphasize ongoing faith despite the absence of a short-term return of Jesus.

    But again this is a major topic broader than the main topic of this thread.

    I have no objections to continuing the subject of the purposes of the several Gospels and the subject of the authorship of the Gospel of John. But neither am I suggesting that. If anyone actually has an interest in either or both perhaps separate threads would be appropriate.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think there's a fair bit out there. again, not necessary the scribe, but the source of unique materials.

    I think every hypothesis argues that point.

    According to this wiki article on the issue, Jean Carmignac (a translator of the Dead Sea Scrolls) offers a compelling argument that points Mark as a translation from a Hebrew or Aramaic original. Further research evidenced a Hebrew origin for Mark and Matthew, and for a Lukan source. Semitisms of Transmission are probably the strongest evidence for at least Mark and possibly Matthew as direct translations from a Hebrew original text.

    If you assume John is uneducated. There is not reason why John could not be the well-educated son of an affluent and successful fishing family.

    Many think so.

    Mark likewise might also, and perhaps more likely, been influenced by Peter, who was preaching while under house arrest in Rome.

    That latter I'm not so sure. Luke addresses a largely Gentile audience, I think it's different audiences rather than Luke contra Matthew.

    And certain issues at Ephesus.

    Indeed.
     
  20. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    I see the unique material as purposeful invention, providing a background for the author’s agenda of Jesus as divine and worthy of faith. The no longer tenable expectation of a short-term return of Jesus requires strong faith to keep believing. The seven signs provide proofs of the divine authority of Jesus and the seven I AM’s make it clear that this divine authority is personal authority.

    Various differences from the Synoptic Gospels underscore Jesus as the authoritative driver of the story, a major shift from the pitiful victim of Mark’s account. By having multiple Passover pilgrimages, John is able to divorce the cleansing of the Temple from the rationale for killing Jesus. The Temple incident happens in an earlier pilgrimage. Instead of being tempted to reveal himself by Satan, it is the brothers of Jesus who urge him to declare himself as the Messiah. But Jesus says it is not yet time for that. The only person who does get him to ‘come out’ as special before he wants to is his Jewish Mother. :)

    Many of those who argue for the Apostle John as the author of the Gospel base it solely on the testimony of Irenaeus and often have little or no knowledge of the Gospel contents. Present company definitely excepted of course.

    There is a strong indication that Mark had Aramaic sources. His use of Aramaic expressions and his (alleged) Aramaic style sentence structures point that way. More than that, a number of his pericopes have the feel of reflecting the considerable friction between the Pharisees of Beit Shammai and those of Beit Hillel. And of course, the social and political background sounds right as well. However, he refers rather explicitly to Paul, who wrote in Greek. I see Mark as tying together the traditions he has received in support of his intent to revivify faith in the return of Jesus.

    But Matthew was definitely originally written in Greek. The Greek is much too good whereas Mark’s is not. In addition, a number of the scriptural quotations being definitely of Greek Septuagint origin because they worked better for Matthew’s purpose than the Hebrew versions points strongly to a Greek original. Being able to translate from Greek to Aramaic is not really a very convincing argument.

    An interesting sidelight here is that while Mark has Jesus say Eloi, Eloi – EEloy – (Mk 15:34), which sounds like Elijah in Aramaic, Matthew has Jesus say Eli, Eli – Ehlih - (Mt 27:46), which sounds like Eljah in Hebrew. If Matthew wrote for an Aramaic speaking audience, he would not have changed it. Neither would a translator into Greek have reason to change Aramaic to Hebrew. It sounds very much like the ‘Eli’ variation is original to Matthew, writing for a non-Aramaic speaking audience in the Diaspora, possibly Alexandria. Such an audience of Jewish Christians might very well know the word ‘Eliyah from scripture readings in Hebrew.

    John and his brother James are first seen mending nets on their fishing boat. It would seem to require a great deal of assuming to imagine that John received a formal education in Greek, enough to be able to write as well as he did, both in form and in language, and also was very familiar with the works of Philo.

    Mark clearly had Aramaic source(s) dating to around the nominal period of Jesus (ca 30 AD). It is not out of the question that Mark got his material from Peter in Rome. The debate about the use of Rome-centric Latinisms in Mark rages on and I have no intention of getting embroiled in it. Yet we can see that Mark was writing for a mixed Gentile/Jewish Christian audience. He explains Jewish customs yet incorporates an ongoing subtle subtext about Elijah that only Jews would get. It is hard not to think of the mixed audience Paul wrote to in Rome.

    I see definite explicit and extensive opposition to Matthew in Luke concerning Matthew’s requirement for keeping the Law and the appearance of revolutionary sentiments in Matthew. But that is yet another very large topic. The Hydra keeps on growing heads. :)

    You are referring to Cerinthus? While this may have been a factor in the writings attributed to John, there would have been good reason already to emphasize the divinity of Jesus to maximize his stature and so justify faith in the absence of proof. The epistles of John contain dire warnings against Docetism to be sure. Same person as the author of the Gospel? Maybe. Maybe not. But could be.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020

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