MSNBC, under Science and Technology, and the Huffington Post, under Religion, carried a syndicated story from Discovery News: Quake Reveals Day of Jesus’ Crucifixion by Jennifer Viegas. Most news outlets, including Religious News Service (NIH?) simply ignored it. Many blogs repeated it, however, and Rational Skepticism mocked it and wondered if the MSNBC’s rewritten title should have been “Quake reveals day of Jesus’ crucifixion, believers research” rather than “Quake reveals day of Jesus’ crucifixion, researchers believe.” Some blogs commented on how likely it was that they got the day right. Others commented on how the earthquake, mentioned in Matthew, might have been merely allegorical.
Geologists say Jesus, as described in the New Testament, was most likely crucified on Friday, April 3, in the year 33.
The latest investigation, reported in International Geology Review, focused on earthquake activity at the Dead Sea, located 13 miles from Jerusalem. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27, mentions that an earthquake coincided with the crucifixion:
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.”