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Alleged Discrepancy Concerning The Last Supper


Hornet
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According to the Synoptic Gospels, the Last Supper was a Passover meal whereas the Gospel of John says that the Last Supper was before the Passover. How do you resolve this alleged discrepancy? This is resolved by understanding that the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John were using different calendars and that these different calendars give different dates for the Passover. The Synoptic Gospels use the pre-exilic Jewish calendar which was based on the Egyptian lunar calendar and John uses the official Jewish calendar which was developed during the Jewish exile in Babylon. According to a reconstruction of the pre-exilic Jewish calendar, in A.D. 33, the year of Christ's death on the cross, the Passover meal was on a Wednesday. According to the official Jewish calendar, the Passover meal was on a different day.

Edited by Hornet
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The synoptics use a 500 year old calendar and John used a brand new one a hundred years later. What is the evidence? I would think it would be easier to remember which day during passover things happened rather than the day irrespective of of passover.

 

John had theological and political statments he wanted to make which I believe had a strong influence on how he organized the Gospel.

 

Dutch

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Hornet,

 

I would be interested if you could cite a good, scholarly source for this. Truthfully, this reconciliation sounds a little like apologetics to me, but I am open to good, well-supported information.

 

George

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There's also the discrepancy about Jesus not being in the 'belly of the earth' for three days and three nights, which apologists seem to have to work hard with arguments about different calendars etc to come up with a reason why in their eyes Matthew's scripture was actually fulfilled (unconvincingly in my opinion).

 

I think it's mainly literalists and their opposite that need to be concerned with this discrepancy. The discrepancy is simply not an issue if one doesn't worry about taking the narratives literally. Like Dutch alludes to (IMO), it makes more sense that the actualy discrepancy is explained by recognising that John was linking into the Paschal Lamb whilst the Synoptics were linking Jesus to the Exodus, so the discrepancy stands, but who cares.

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I can't bring any to mind, I was wondering if "aplogetics" is just an artifact of male hierarchy?

 

Nor can I (but as I said above, I am not an expert on this subject). However, it would make some sense as apologetics come out of conservative, literalist schools of thought which would be biased toward male dominance.

 

George

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I can't bring any to mind, I was wondering if "aplogetics" is just an artifact of male hierarchy?

 

Probably so. Modern apologetics has been around since the Enlightenment when faith and science began to butt heads and those in positions of authority in the Church started giving reasons for faith. However, religious education has, until very recently, been pretty much restricted to men. It's only been in the last few decades that women were allowed in the pulpits and this is still forbidden in the most conservative sectors of Christianity that put the most weight into apologetics. To put it another way, these sectors might ask, "Why train women to be apologeticists when they are forbidden to pastor and teach men?"

 

But there are some women out there like Phyllis Tickle, Karen Armstrong, Elaine Pagels, Diana Butler Bass, and Karen Ward who are making strides, not so much in apogetics, but in progressive theology and orthopraxy.

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I think it's mainly literalists and their opposite that need to be concerned with this discrepancy. The discrepancy is simply not an issue if one doesn't worry about taking the narratives literally.

 

Yes.

 

George

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Being impatient here is what I found

 

John

 

Last Supper, before passover 14 Nisan evening

Crucifixion 14 Nisan afternoon Sacrifice of Lambs

 

Synoptics

 

Last Supper, Passover 15 Nisan evening

Crucifixion 15 Nisan 9:00am

 

However

All four Gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon, that the women rested on a Saturday, and that the empty tomb was discovered early on a Sunday morning. However, the Gospels differ as to whether the Feast of Passover was on Friday or on Saturday in the year Jesus was killed; thus they provide conflicting evidence as to exactly which calendar year it could have been. According to astronomical calculations, the 15th of Nisan in the Jewish lunar calendar fell on a Thursday evening / Friday in AD 27, while it fell on a Friday evening / Saturday in AD 30 and AD 33.

http://catholic-reso...Jesus-Death.htm

 

AND

 

The precise nature of the meal which the Lord shared with his disciples on the night in which he was betrayed is one of the most warmly debated topics of NT history and interpretation. Various suggestions have been made.

http://bible.org/que...-passover-seder A long discussion of the history of the debate.

 

It seems that either one or the other or both are true. Which is the best way a story can be told.

 

Dutch

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The Early Christian Reader (Mason and Robinson) says the following:

 

"John differs from the synoptic tradition in placing the Last Supper on the evening before the Passover. Scholars have tried to reconcile the different dates, frequently appealing to the thesis that the were calculating dates on the basis of different calendars; this is not an impossible explanation, since different religious sometimes used different calendars." (underlining mine)

 

The authors don't dismiss the possibility of different calendars, but also don't seem to endorse the idea by using 'not impossible' vs. 'likely,' 'plausible,' or language to the like.

 

The authors suggest a theological explanation: "John, placing the Last Supper one day earlier, views the death of Jesus [...] as taking place at the time of the sacrifice of the Passover lambs, before the Passover meal. Thus Jesus is implicitly presented as the true Passover lamb."

 

This makes sense to me.

 

George

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hornet,

 

I would be interested if you could cite a good, scholarly source for this. Truthfully, this reconciliation sounds a little like apologetics to me, but I am open to good, well-supported information.

 

George

 

My source for this is Colin Humphrey's book, The Mystery of the Last Supper. You can read about his book here: http://www.cambridge.org/asia/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521517553

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