Sunday, June 10, 2012

Geological Evidence of Earthquake as Jesus Was Being Crucified

Ann Arbor
The Biblical Archaeology Society cites an article in the new International Geology Review - "An early first century earthquake in the Dead Sea," by geologists Jefferson Williams, Markus Schwab, and A. Brauer.

Matthew 27 reports an earthquake as Jesus was being crucified. “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.”

The geologists "examined disturbances in sediment depositions to identify two earthquakes: one large earthquake in 31 B.C.E., and another, smaller quake between 26 and 36 C.E. In the abstract of their paper, the authors write, “Plausible candidates include the earthquake reported in the Gospel of Matthew, an earthquake that occurred sometime before or after the crucifixion and was in effect ‘borrowed’ by the author of the Gospel of Matthew, and a local earthquake between 26 and 36 AD that was sufficiently energetic to deform the sediments at Ein Gedi but not energetic enough to produce a still extant and extra-biblical historical record."

Using this plus other data the geologists, in their paper, give the date of Jesus' crucifixion as April 3, 33 A.D. (C.E.)

"This quake, occurring during Jesus’ crucifixion, would have been too minor to be described by non-Biblical histories, but major enough to terrify the surrounding centurions."

See also here.