A puzzling question about time-keeping in the first century

Here is a citation from Wikipedia about Jewish time-keeping, which is relevant, if course, to biblical references to times such as Mark 15:33 -

" Another feature of this ancient practice is that, unlike the standard modern 12-hour clock that assigns 12 o’clock pm for noon time, in the ancient Jewish tradition noon time was always the sixth hour of the day, whereas the first hour began with the break of dawn, by most exponents of Jewish law,[5] and with sunrise by the Vilna Gaon[6] and Rabbi Hai Gaon. Midnight (12:00am) was also the sixth hour of the night, whereas the first hour of the night began when the first three stars appeared in the night sky."

Does anyone besides me see a problem with this explanation? If so, what is it?

This might give a clue -

An expert in this article-check this out:

The gospels describe this time period in several ways: Jesus was “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” All four gospels report that His resurrection took place on “the first day of the week,” which for Jews was Sunday.

There’s some dispute on this, but the majority of scholars agree that Jesus died on a Friday—“the Day of Preparation.” This means that He was not in the tomb for 72 hours, no matter how you slice it. The only full day He spent behind the stone was Saturday—the Sabbath—the day on which God commanded the people of Israel to rest, just as He had rested after His work in Genesis 2.

Here’s where it can help to take off our Western glasses and think more like the authors of the New Testament. They didn’t divide days at midnight like we do, but at sundown. And in the first century Jewish mind, part of a day counted as a whole day. So, because Jesus was buried on Friday evening and rose on Sunday morning, He was in the tomb “three days and three nights” by Jewish reckoning. By modern reckoning He was in the tomb only one full day: Saturday, the Sabbath.

Thanks, NickN, but not the question asked.

Silwy wabbit…you didn’t account for daylight savings time. :sunglasses:

I like the way they changed B.C. (before Christ) to B.C.E. (before the common era). Changing the name means nothing. Christ is still the measurement for BCE. The name change is merely an attempt to hide this fact. But the fact still remains.

Jesus was crucified at around the spring Equinox. Mark says that as the sixth hour arrived darkness came over the land until the ninth hour.

At what times, on a twelve hour clock, did the darkness begin and end?

Personally, I think the first dial should look the same as the third dial.

According to John, the 1st full moon after spring equinox often makes Easter for Orthodox Church on a different Sunday.

Thanks again, NickN, but again not the question asked.

At what times, on a twelve hour clock, did the darkness begin and end?

Hopefully Paul - third time’s the charm…

According to timeanddate.com in Jerusalem this year March 21-23, 2020:

March 21, 2020 had precisely 12 hours- 10 minutes (5:41am - 5:51pm) of daylight.
March 22, 2020 had 2 more minutes of daylight-5:40am - 5:52pm.
March 23, 2020 had an additional 2 minutes or 12:14 - 5:38am - 5:52pm

The same scientific baseline applied in yesteryear’s and is still in effect at present.

That being exactly 12 hours of darkness and daylight only occur twice per calendar year.

Some two thousand twenty years later and still almost to the very minute too!

Those two 12 hour intervals where exactly same amount of daylight and darkness (in Northern Hemisphere) happens are:

Spring Equinox, a 6PM alignment where end of daylight and start of darkness precisely converge, and

then again polar opposite on Autumnal Equinox at 6AM beginning of light and completion of darkness.
Thus, reasonable to conclude the very first full day with Christ in tomb began precisely at 6:00pm.

Applying same logic, each (half) day has 1 minute more of daylight heading into summer months only.

To recap here are actual duration of each official day’s 1 thru 4 (subsequent to Christ’s death):

Day 1- Friday 6:00 pm to Saturday 5:59am (11 hours and 59 minutes of darkness)
Day 2- Saturday 5:59am to Saturday 6:01pm (12 hours and 2 minutes of daylight)
Day 3- Saturday 6:01pm to Sunday 5:58am (11 hours and 57 minutes of darkness)
Day 4- Sunday 5:58am to Monday 6:02pm (12 hours and 4 minutes of daylight)

At what times, on a twelve hour clock, did the darkness begin and end while Jesus was on the cross according to Mark 15:33?

Would you answer 11 am to 2 pm?

No to 11AM to 2PM.

My upbringing had Jesus upright on the cross at high noon. That is also consistent with Mark 15:33.

Furthermore, the darkness you describe could of been blue color stems from the scattering of light by air molecules. I envision that what was witnessed were conditions before a violent rainstorm including thunder. Golden-reddish light from a sun low in the sky - and a natural bluing effect of the air -combine to create a green sky. Such a storm often provides a dark backdrop and offsets this greenish or yellowish hue. Also saw on earth sky this same green sky (example given was before a tornado) tend to happen late in the day.

If Christ died at 3PM, believing only then did the heaviest rain start up, still 75% of the 12 hours of daylight into Good Friday aligns up fairly well for a optimal looking green sky.

I also imagine this sky opening up would likely put in motion a more frenzied pace resulting in a rushed preparation of moving His corpse into the crypt before 6PM.

In addition, concerning exact timing of Christ’s death occurring at precisely Spring Equinox; being a few hours off can be explained away too. According to farmers almanac:

How Is The Date of Easter Determined?

According to a Fourth Century ruling, the date of Easter is set for the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full Moon of Spring, occurring on or shortly after the [Spring Equinox](Spring Equinox 2024: When Is It, and What is It? - Farmers' Almanac - Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life.). March 22 is the earliest Easter can occur on any given year, and April 25 is the latest. If that first spring full Moon occurs on a Sunday, then Easter will be observed on the following Sunday.

The operative concept in bold font: occurring on or shortly after the Spring Equinox.

I will rest my case here. My best guess remains 6pm. Please let me know where you now stand.

Regardless, thanks for enlightening me with your original question-topic of this thread!

Nick, if the first hour of the day starts at 6am around an Equinox, what time does the sixth hour start? And what time does the ninth hour start?

Jesus death was not on the spring Equinox. I’m sure I wrote around the spring Equinox.

No ifs with me.

Rabbinic Jewish law assigns 12 hours to each day and 12 hours to each night, all throughout the year.

I stand by 6pm Friday timeline to answer your original question.

Please let me know where you NOW stand in your best guess of this very puzzling question.

P.S. Yes, “around” you wrote. that being said, I see many believed Christ died at spring Equinox.
I can imagine how the ultimate darkness of storm letting loose at 3PM causing a darkened skyline could of easily been construed as the Spring Equinox too. Very little chance back then 3 to 6pm showed anything but a harshly defined skyline.

If the first hour starts at 6am, then the second starts at 7am, the third at 8 am, the fourth at 9am, the fifth at 10 am, the sixth starts at 11 am, the seventh at 12 am, the eighth at 1 pm, the ninth hour starts at 2 pm.

How can you continue to insist the sixth hour of the day starts at 12 am? It doesn’t feel right, I know. That’s why I called it puzzling.

Exactness, converging happens at the precise unit of time.

For example, at the exact “second”- and 60 of them make up a minute.

Daylight when Christ died was precisely 12 hours -6AM to 6PM that Good Friday.

I am not insisting either, and can be persuaded.

My explanation simply aligns with how Jewish religious leaders consider both daylight and darkness of each 24 hour interval to count as two different days in fact.

Under this same rationale, the 6th hour begins and “ends” at precisely noon/midnight each 12 hour interval too.

That feels “alright” to at least me anyway…lol

An hour cannot begin and end at the same second.

In Corinthians 15:3-7:, Christ died, buried and was raised on the third day…

We can get technical and conclude not 3 full days.

Not really important how He rose 2 minutes early as sunlight on Sunday morning was at 5:58am.

The timeline constructed works scientifically and seems plausible.

Still am curious what your take is on how this all went down.

Where did you end up on this puzzling timeline?

“in the ancient Jewish tradition noon time was always the sixth hour of the day, whereas the first hour began with the break of dawn, by most exponents of Jewish law,[[5]]”

Midday is not an hour long. Midday is a point in time when the sun is in its Zenith. If the first hour of the day began with the break of dawn, then the seventh hour began at midday.

“Midnight (12:00am) was also the sixth hour of the night, whereas the first hour of the night began when the first three stars appeared in the night sky.”

Likewise, if the first hour of the night began when the first three stars appeared in the night sky, then the seventh hour began at midnight.

If Jesus was on the cross from the beginning of the sixth hour until the ninth hour, he was on the cross from 11 o’clock until 2 o’clock.