Life of Christ (202) Introductory issues 2

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Notes from LTCi Siliguri - includes brief assessment of dating the life and ministry of Christ and issues within that - two ideas of how to summarise the life of Christ

Notes from LTCi Siliguri - includes brief assessment of dating the life and ministry of Christ and issues within that - two ideas of how to summarise the life of Christ

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  • 1. A brief chronology of the Life of Christ chronology |krəˈnɒlədʒi| noun the arrangement of events or dates in the order of their occurrence
  • 2. Dating the life of Christ is not an easy task, there are many uncertainties when trying to be specific - so we use reasonable approximations or ‘best guesses’ at times. For example: The first century was when?
  • 3. Dating the life of Christ is not an easy task, there are many uncertainties when trying to be specific - so we use reasonable approximations or ‘best guesses’ at times. For example: The first century was when? Romans: 754-854 (from the supposed founding of Rome)
  • 4. Dating the life of Christ is not an easy task, there are many uncertainties when trying to be specific - so we use reasonable approximations or ‘best guesses’ at times. For example: The first century was when? Romans: 754-854 (from the supposed founding of Rome) Jews: 3760-3860 (from the supposed date of the creation of the world)
  • 5. Dating the life of Christ is not an easy task, there are many uncertainties when trying to be specific - so we use reasonable approximations or ‘best guesses’ at times. For example: The first century was when? Romans: 754-854 (from the supposed founding of Rome) Jews: 3760-3860 (from the supposed date of the creation of the world) However ancient historians tend to talk in terms of a kings reign - and the nth year of that reign.
  • 6. This provides a problem as they use different ways to measure the length of a reign: - some go from the exact date in the year of accession to the throne - some from the first full calendar year - some use “exclusive reckoning” where the 2nd through 5th years would be three years - others use “inclusive reckoning” where the 2nd through 5th years would be four years This results in some confusion when consulting different textbooks
  • 7. COMMON ERA, BCE - Common Era (CE), is an alternative naming of Anno Domini (AD) - BCE is Before the Common Era (BC) Dates shown in CE/BCE and AD/BC are numerically the same; thus "2013 CE" is "AD 2013" and "399 BCE" is "399 BC". - Since late 20th century, use of CE and BCE has been popular in academic and scientific publications.
  • 8. THE GOSPELS Are generally not interested in the “when” of the events of Jesus’ life. Superficially, Mark - has a simple geographical framework, Galilee and environs in 1-9, Judea in 10-16. John - Jesus moves back and forth between Galilee and Judea
  • 9. THE GOSPELS Matthew follows Mark’s pattern but alternates between events (1-4, 8-9, 11-12, 14-17, 19-22, 26-28) and sayings (5-7, 10,13, 18, 23-25) Luke has most teaching in 2 sections (6:20-8:3, 9:51-18:14) So it is difficult, but not impossible, to build up a chronology of the life of Christ
  • 10. THE GOSPELS Matthew follows Mark’s pattern but alternates between events (1-4, 8-9, 11-12, 14-17, 19-22, 26-28) and sayings (5-7, 10,13, 18, 23-25) Luke has most teaching in 2 sections (6:20-8:3, 9:51-18:14) So it is difficult, but not impossible, to build up a chronology of the life of Christ
  • 11. THE BIRTH OF CHRIST Took place some time between 6 and 4 BC. Use of AD and BC was developed by Christians but did not gain wide recognition and acceptance until the 1500’s under Pope Gregory XIII. In the early 6th century Dionysius Exiguus made the first attempt to date Christ’s birth and so we get 1AD - which became so well accepted it was impossible to change.
  • 12. Using the work of Josephus it was found that Herod must have died by 4BC - and as he had all the babies in Bethlehem slaughtered shortly before his death, in accordance with the date he learned from the Magi (Matt 2:16) Christ could have been born up to 2 years earlier. Some link the “star of Bethlehem” with a strange conjunction of planets in 7 and 6BC (Matt 2:2, 9, 10) and also a comet in 5BC.
  • 13. What of Quirinius in Luke 2:2? In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. There was a governor of Syria by this name in AD6 - maybe governor is a general term or maybe he held another position before being governor?
  • 14. Roman censuses took place in Egypt every 14 years - if this edict came from Rome (Augustus refers to one in 8AD) then it is possible compliance was still taking place in Judea in 7-6BC. Whilst not totally certain of the date of Jesus’ birth we do have good approximations for the date.
  • 15. December 25th was in the Western Roman Empire the day of celebrating Sol Invictus (the unconquerable sun.) Christians by 3rd century had started to celebrate the birth of Christ on this day: In the East they celebrated on January 6th. WHAT DATE WAS CHRIST BORN ON?
  • 16. WHAT DATE WAS CHRIST BORN ON? The date was probably not known - so a regular holiday was taken and used (so no fear of authorities) Lk 2:8 talks of shepherds watching lambs at night - a spring activity - so maybe Jesus was born in the spring?
  • 17. BEGINNING OF MINISTRY A number of lines of evidence are used to date the start of Jesus’ adult ministry: 1. Lk 3:1 - JTB was preaching in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar (who started to reign in 14AD) - so 28/29AD But in 12AD Tiberius took joint reign of the Eastern provinces - so could be 26/27AD
  • 18. BEGINNING OF MINISTRY 2. LK 3:23 - Jesus is about 30 years of age - the above dates fit in with this 3. Jn 8:57 - Jesus is not yet 50 - a number used to show he is not yet old
  • 19. 4. Jn 2:20 - 46 years to build the temple... - Josephus says rebuilding began in the 18th year of Herod’s reign (began in 37BC), hence 20/19BC - add 46 and we get 27/28AD 5. How many years did Christ minister? When was the crucifixion? Both of these also affect your choice of date. Blomberg suggests 27 or 28 seems the most probable for the start of Jesus’ ministry.
  • 20. LENGTH OF MINISTRY 1, 2, 3 or even 4 years have been suggested. Most accept 3 years (+/- few months) The synoptics only mention 1 Passover but John mentions 3 (2:13, 6:4, 12:1). Jn 5:1 speaks of an unnamed feast - is this Tabernacles or is a 4th Passover being included?
  • 21. LENGTH OF MINISTRY 1, 2, 3 or even 4 years have been suggested. Most accept 3 years (+/- few months) The synoptics only mention 1 Passover but John mentions 3 (2:13, 6:4, 12:1). Jn 5:1 speaks of an unnamed feast - is this Tabernacles or is a 4th Passover being included? The Synoptics indicate at least 2 spring times - Mk 2:23-38 picking at eating grain - then Mk 6:39 talks of green grass which was found in the wilderness (v32) in the spring only after winter rains. We can conclude 2-3 year ministry (and possibly a little longer) is most probable.
  • 22. If a 3 year period is accepted then it is usually divided:
  • 23. If a 3 year period is accepted then it is usually divided: Year 1 - obscurity (all the events prior to the Galilean ministry of Jesus)
  • 24. If a 3 year period is accepted then it is usually divided: Year 1 - obscurity (all the events prior to the Galilean ministry of Jesus) Year 2 - popularity (up until the events after feeding the 5000 after which many more casual followers left Jesus, Jn 6:66)
  • 25. If a 3 year period is accepted then it is usually divided: Year 1 - obscurity (all the events prior to the Galilean ministry of Jesus) Year 2 - popularity (up until the events after feeding the 5000 after which many more casual followers left Jesus, Jn 6:66) Year 3 - rejection (feeding of 5000 up until his death)
  • 26. If a 3 year period is accepted then it is usually divided: Year 1 - obscurity (all the events prior to the Galilean ministry of Jesus) Year 2 - popularity (up until the events after feeding the 5000 after which many more casual followers left Jesus, Jn 6:66) Year 3 - rejection (feeding of 5000 up until his death) Remember these are not definite and may vary by a few months - but as generalisations they help give a memorable outline.
  • 27. THE CRUCIFIXION Took place during: - reign of Pilate (AD 26-36) - Caiaphas was High Priest (AD 18-36) - Tetrarch Antipas (4BC-37AD) - was on a Friday (Sabbath Saturday) Mk 14:52, and the day on which the initial Passover was celebrated) Some suggest Jn 13:1, 18:28, 19:14, 31 indicate Christ being crucified on the day of the Passover celebration.
  • 28. THE CRUCIFIXION Took place during: - reign of Pilate (AD 26-36) - Caiaphas was High Priest (AD 18-36) - Tetrarch Antipas (4BC-37AD) - was on a Friday (Sabbath Saturday) Mk 14:52, and the day on which the initial Passover was celebrated) Some suggest Jn 13:1, 18:28, 19:14, 31 indicate Christ being crucified on the day of the Passover celebration. Jews counted days from sundown to sundown - so was Passover Thurs-Fri or Fri-Sat? Passover was 15th of Nisan and calculated by the new moon appearing - so astronomical data can be used to help (but due to weather conditions, clouds etc. we cannot be absolutely certain of the date. A good case is made for Passover being on a Friday or Saturday in AD 30 or 33 (though it is hard to make the latter date a Friday)
  • 29. So which date do we choose? - If the cosmic disruptions of Mk 15:33, Acts 2:19-20 are a lunar eclipse then AD33 is best. (If the dark was supernatural then such info does not help) - if the earliest reasonable date for Christ’s ministry starting was AD28 or 29, and was 3-4 years, then AD33 fits best. - if his ministry was only 2 years then it took place in AD 28-30
  • 30. So which date do we choose? - If the cosmic disruptions of Mk 15:33, Acts 2:19-20 are a lunar eclipse then AD33 is best. (If the dark was supernatural then such info does not help) - if the earliest reasonable date for Christ’s ministry starting was AD28 or 29, and was 3-4 years, then AD33 fits best. - if his ministry was only 2 years then it took place in AD 28-30 - what of the dates in Acts? A period beginning in AD30 fits best for these (AD33 becomes a harder fit). For us a date of AD30 fits best with taking the Gospel data seriously - and is commonly viewed in this way. Blomberg does comment that “little of great exegetical significance rests on these exact dates”
  • 31. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST
  • 32. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST
  • 33. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST 6 BC Birth
  • 34. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST 6 BC Birth 4 BC Flight and return from Egypt
  • 35. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST 6 BC Birth 4 BC Flight and return from Egypt AD7 Teaching in the Temple aged 12
  • 36. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST 6 BC Birth 4 BC Flight and return from Egypt AD7 Teaching in the Temple aged 12 Working as a carpenter in Nazareth
  • 37. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST 6 BC Birth 4 BC Flight and return from Egypt AD7 Teaching in the Temple aged 12 Working as a carpenter in Nazareth AD 27 JTB’s ministry begins
  • 38. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST 6 BC Birth 4 BC Flight and return from Egypt AD7 Teaching in the Temple aged 12 Working as a carpenter in Nazareth AD 27 JTB’s ministry begins AD 28 First Passover of Jesus’ ministry
  • 39. PROBABLE TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST 6 BC Birth 4 BC Flight and return from Egypt AD7 Teaching in the Temple aged 12 Working as a carpenter in Nazareth AD 27 JTB’s ministry begins AD 28 First Passover of Jesus’ ministry AD 30 Crucifixion and resurrection
  • 40. FURTHER DETAILS - usually it is assumed Jn 1:19-4:42 comes before Jesus’ Galilean ministry as recorded in the synoptics. This is based on healing the rich rulers servant in Jn 4:43ff being considered the same event as healing the centurions servant in Matt 8:1ff which signals the start of Galilean ministry in the synoptics. - Jn 2:13-4:42 all take place further south
  • 41. - if Jn 5:1 refers to Tabernacles then it punctuates Galilean ministry as Jn 6:1 (feeding 5000) is back in the North - Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem (Mk 10:1ff, Lk 9:51ff) does not allow for a return to Galilee and so it is assumed to be after the penultimate trip of Jn 7:1-10:21 - after ministry in Jerusalem at Hanukkah (Jn 10:40-11:57) Jesus seems to remain in S Israel until his final entry into Jerusalem a week before his death. This then looks like this:
  • 42. Date Event Late 27? Appearance of JTB Baptism of Jesus Early 28 Early events of Jn 1-2 Passover of Jn 2:13 Spring 28 Rest of events of Jn 3-4 Spring-Fall 28 Ministry in Galilee (as in Synoptics) Tabernacles of Jn 5:1 Fall 28 until spring 29 More Galilean ministry (as in Synoptics)
  • 43. Date Event Spring 29-fall 29 Passover time feeding of 5000 (Jn 6:4 etc.) End of ministry in Galilee, withdrawal and return Nov-Dec 29 Tabernacles (Jn 7:1-10:21) and return to Galilee “Perean ministry” - Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem Winter-spring 30 Hanukkah in Jerusalem (Jn 10:22) Ministry in and around Judea and Jerusalem April 2-6 30 “Triumphal entry”,“Passion week” April 7-9 Crucifixion and resurrection
  • 44. We cannot give greater detail than in this table. However Blomberg asserts that with care you can construct a complete harmony of the life of Christ. He also refutes the idea that there is only one way to fit all the data together - there exist valid differing harmonies and we do not have enough information to decide which is the best chronology.
  • 45. The End