Home > News & Views, Other Blogs, Science > Clarification: Quake DID NOT reveal day of Jesus’ crucifixion

Clarification: Quake DID NOT reveal day of Jesus’ crucifixion

May 29, 2012

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Jefferson Williams writes:

I am the primary author of the research article discussed in this article. We DID NOT determine the date of the crucifixion. This article grossly mischaracterizes our research. We dated an earthquake in Judea to have occurred between 26 and 36 AD based purely on what we saw in the sediments. I created a site to explain this research to the general public. It is http://www.crucifixionquake.info.

The article Williams refers to is not my posting but the article that appeared in MSNBC, HuffPo and other outlets. The title of my posting Quake Reveals Day of Jesus’ Crucifixion (or something like that) echoed the news article. Writing “or something like that” wasn’t clear enough on my part to make it an accurate headline. I apologize for that.

Williams’ site provides a wealth of information with links like:

He also wants us to know where he’s coming from, something I appreciate:

Finally, I think I should explain who I am and what I am about. I am first and foremost a scientist. I am also agnostic. I assume the New Testament is a human document that contains errors. I am not trying to prove or disprove the Bible. I am treating the statement by Matthew that there was an earthquake on the day of the crucifixion as a hypothesis that needs to be tested. I will publish whatever I can coax out of the sediments; whether this supports or contradicts biblical accounts. I have much respect for people of faith but I personally do not rely on faith. I am naturally curious and don’t know what the end result will be of the research I am undertaking.

  1. cazab
    May 29, 2012 at 5:54 am

    This article is interesting for New Testament studies because it can only increase our assessment of the historical reliability of the passion account in Matthew.

    If there was no trace at all of an earthquake between 26-36 AD (that is to say, if we had only the trace of an eathquake in 31 AD), we would have a high level of certainty that Matthew used sometimes an allegory in his Passion account. Clearly, here we have a scientific data that we could have expected to be found if the historical reliabilty of Matthew’s account was high.

    But the last big news in NT Studies was given in February by Daniel Wallace. Wallace annouced that a fragment of Mark’s Gospel, found in Egypt in 2011, may date to 1st century.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnfarrell/2012/02/27/fragments-of-marks-gospel-may-date-to-1st-century/

  2. May 29, 2012 at 8:31 am

    If I claim to be an agnostic I am saying simply that ‘I don’t know’–I neither disclaim nor affirm, which is an intelligent approach to this topic. Good statement!

  3. Yannick Clément
    May 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I repeat it : For me, the biggest and most important evidence of the historical reliability of the main message we found in the 4 Gospel accounts is the Shroud of Turin, which is a real artifact of the Passion, death and emtombment of Jesus of Nazareth (plus, for a believer, a great sign of his resurrection). Along the Shroud, there’s also another complementary artifact named the Sudarium of Oviedo, which can also give us some important informations about the historic Jesus… Those 2 material objects are, for me, great evidences concerning the reality of the historic Jesus and the reliability of the Gospels, even if I know very well that those 4 documents cannot be considered ONLY as 4 historical books. There’s a mix in there between historical facts and theological teaching that is not easy to dissect… But the Shroud show us that there really are historical facts nevertheless !!! Christianity is not based on a philosophy but on a real man, Jesus of Nazareth who really live and die on this planet 2000 years ago.

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