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The Eclipse of Matthew 27 ?

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In the arti­cle His­tor­i­cal Errors in the Qur’an ? I briefly touched upon the events men­tioned in the Gospel of Matthew sur­round­ing the cru­ci­fix­ion of the Prophet Isa(P). With regards to the cru­ci­fix­ion of Isa(P), it is record­ed in the Gospel of Matthew :

Matthew 27:4
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour dark­ness came over all the land.”

With most ancient events, it is often dif­fi­cult to ver­i­fy whether an event actu­al­ly hap­pened or not. Thanks to mod­ern astron­o­my, how­ev­er, this has become rel­a­tive­ly easy.

Accord­ing to NASA, two solar eclipses occurred dur­ing the peri­od of Isa’s min­istry — on the 19th of March 33AD, and the 24th of Novem­ber 29AD.

19th March 33AD

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 26

As we can see here, the only way Jerusalem could be plunged into dark­ness is if it were sit­u­at­ed in the Indi­an Ocean !

24th Novem­ber 29AD

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 27

On clos­er study, and by com­par­ing this with a map of Jor­dan, the path of total eclipse pass­es through Lebanon, south­ern Syr­ia and north­ern Jor­dan, but not Jerusalem. Judg­ing by the above dia­gram, I would esti­mate that Jerusalem expe­ri­enced about 98% of the total eclipse — this prob­a­bly would have caused a very slight dim­ming of the sun and a dis­tinct chill in the air, but no darkness.

Fur­ther­more, in quot­ing Matthew 27:45, some ver­sions of the Bible (name­ly The Mes­sage, The Ampli­fied Bible, New Liv­ing Trans­la­tion, Con­tem­po­rary Eng­lish Ver­sion, World­wide Eng­lish) spec­i­fy the time of the eclipse as being from noon to 3:00 pm, with the New Amer­i­can Stan­dard Bible and Eng­lish Stan­dard Ver­sion quot­ing these times as a footnote.

Giv­en that the coor­di­nates for Jerusalem are lat­i­tude 31° 4800″ N, lon­gi­tude 35° 1200″ E, it is pos­si­ble to work out from NASA’s infor­ma­tion table for this eclipse exact­ly what time of day the total eclipse would have been vis­i­ble, and for how long ?

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 28

Times above giv­en in what NASA refers to as Uni­ver­sal Time’ — this is equal to GMT, as explained in NASA’s Def­i­n­i­tion of Uni­ver­sal Time. Jerusalem is two hours ahead of GMT. There­fore, the time at which Total Eclipse occurred in the near­est area north of Jerusalem was around five min­utes to eleven in the morn­ing, for approx­i­mate­ly 1 minute 40 seconds.

So there is no doubt that the solar eclipse could not have hap­pened as writ­ten in Matthew 27:45, there­fore mod­ern astron­o­my has proven that at least this part of the Gospel of Matthew is incor­rect. And if it undis­put­ed­ly incor­rect, how can we Mus­lims accept it as the Word of God ?

And only God knows best ! The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 29Endmark

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  1. Assala­mu alaikum,
    In his work The Christ Con­spir­a­cy : The Great­est Sto­ry Ever Told”, Joseph Whales says :
    The gospels are all priest­ly forg­eries over a cen­tu­ry after their pre­tend­ed dates”.
    Hav­ing reached the same con­vic­tion, Prof. Bart D. Erhman like numer­ous oth­er world-lead­ing ortho­dox Chris­t­ian Bible schol­ars of the past and the present could not help waiv­ing farewell’ to Chris­tian­i­ty. It is indeed observ­able that the case of the alleged cru­ci­fix­ion and res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ is just an instance that betrays the fic­ti­tious nature of the Bible. Lim­it­ing our­selves to the bib­li­cal pas­sage ana­lyzed in the above well-researched arti­cle by broth­er Amir Brooks, we could not fail to observe that :
    (1) The alleged dark­ness OVER ALL THE LAND/​EARTH” fol­low­ing the alleged cru­ci­fix­ion of Jesus (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23 : 44 – 45) has been tak­en to refer to a solar eclipse by many Chris­t­ian schol­ars. But this is com­plete­ly unten­able for the fol­low­ing facts :
    a. The Gospels claim that the alleged cru­ci­fix­ion occurred around 15th Nis­san (of the Jew­ish annu­al cel­e­bra­tion of the Passover). Sci­ence as well as even ancient Chris­t­ian schol­ars as Julius Africanus point­ed out that solar eclipse could not occur at that very date and time at (15th Nis­san) full-moon.
    b. The sci­en­tif­ic analy­sis pre­sent­ed in the above arti­cle by broth­er Amir Brooks rule out any prob­a­bil­i­ty of solar eclipse at that time, date and place.
    (2) The alleged dark­ness OVER ALL THE LAND/​EARTH” has been tak­en by some Chris­t­ian apol­o­gists not to refer to nat­ur­al solar eclipse but to a spe­cial super­nat­ur­al occur­rence (mir­a­cle) from God. The prob­lem with this inter­pre­ta­tion is only that it could not be estab­lished to have actu­al­ly occurred in his­to­ry. Schol­ars point out that such an unusu­al event of this immen­si­ty cov­er­ing all the land/​earth cou­pled with the oth­er gospel nar­ra­tion of the earth quake, split­ting of the rocks and revival of dead saints and their match­ing out of their tombs into the city of Jerusalem to appear to many (Matthew 27 : 52 – 53) could in no way escape the notice of the many capa­ble his­to­ri­ans, geo­g­ra­phers, astronomers and poets abun­dant­ly abid­ing then in the land and whose records reached us such as the Jew­ish Philoso­pher Phi­lo Judeus (c. 50 C.E), Roman his­to­ri­an Mar­cus Vel­le­nius Peter­cu­lus (c. 19 B.C.E – 31 C.E), Ptole­my who was a geo­g­ra­ph­er and astronomer, Theon of Smy­na who was an astronomer, Flav­ius Arri­nus (c. 92- 175 C.E), Florus who was a sec­ond cen­tu­ry Roman his­to­ri­an and oth­ers. In fact, schol­ars estab­lished that there was no sin­gle eye-wit­ness or con­tem­po­rary report (first-hand infor­ma­tion) that estab­lish­es the his­toric­i­ty of this alleged occur­rence. Con­cern­ing this, Lloyd Gra­ham says :
    We have here a good exam­ple of the creduli­ty of the west­ern mind. For two thou­sand years he has been read­ing about this con­vul­sion and dark­ness over all the earth’ with­out ever ques­tion­ing it or demand­ing proof of it. Yet had it hap­pened, would not some of those able his­to­ri­ans have record­ed it ? Why did they not?” (Decep­tions and Myths of the Bible”, p. 349).
    Tom Harp­er also says :
    I wish all fun­da­men­tal­ists would take spe­cial note that while these quite pub­lic, lit­er­al­ly stu­pen­dous events are alleged to have tak­en place, not a sin­gle oth­er con­tem­po­rary source can be found to cor­rob­o­rate or con­firm them…even though this was not at a time and in a place where capa­ble observers, recorders of remark­able hap­pen­ings, his­to­ri­ans and oth­ers were in no way lack­ing. There is no smidgeon of a trace of his­toric­i­ty to be found.” (“The Pagan Christ”, p. 149).
    Con­cern­ing the issue of the split­ting of the Moon into two dur­ing the ear­ly peri­od of the prophet­hood of Muham­mad (Divine peace ever be upon him) raised by David Misan­go above, the fol­low­ing should be born in mind : -
    a. The Qur’an reveals clear­ly that it was a super­nat­ur­al event (mir­a­cle) from God which was an answer to the con­tem­po­rary unbe­liev­ers that chal­lenged the Prophet to do in order to prove his divine mes­sen­ger­ship (Qur’an, Surat­ul Qamar, vers­es 1 – 3). For this fact, it is com­plete­ly out of place to seek to trace it through astro­nom­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions. In oth­er words, the super­nat­ur­al split­ting of the Moon has noth­ing to do with the nat­ur­al move­ments of the heav­en­ly bod­ies (Earth and the Moon in par­tic­u­lar) that caused the eclipses that can be math­e­mat­i­cal­ly cal­cu­lat­ed back or in the future.
    b. Any true believ­er in God would nev­er doubt God’s abil­i­ty to cause super­nat­ur­al events of what­ev­er degree or immensity.
    c. This super­nat­ur­al event was quite local in effect. Over­whelm­ing num­ber of eye-wit­ness­es’ accounts estab­lished that it real­ly occurred at Mec­ca before the Prophet’s migra­tion to Medina.
    d. Many authen­tic tra­di­tions trace­able to the time of the Prophet (DPBUH) con­firmed that when the event occurred, the non-believ­ers of Mec­ca wit­nessed it but rebel­lious­ly charged that it could only wit­ness to Muham­mad (DPBUH) only if peo­ple of set­tle­ments and way-far­ers around Mec­ca also wit­nessed it. The reports con­firmed that the next day, some peo­ple around the city were inter­viewed and found that they real­ly wit­nessed it (“Sunan”, Hadith No. 3289, of Imam Tir­mid­hi as authen­ti­cat­ed by Allamah Muham­mad Nasu­rud­den Al baniy).
    e. The Holy Qur’an was in exis­tence and was preached among the unbe­liev­ers of the time (extreme­ly crit­i­cal pagan Arabs, extreme­ly crit­i­cal Jews and Chris­tians around) but there was no report of any­one rais­ing a fin­ger against the Book con­cern­ing the gen­uine­ness of the event. Had it not actu­al­ly occurred as nar­rat­ed by the holy Book, the peo­ple would have nev­er failed to raised objec­tion let alone believe in the Book and pledged their dear lives in defense of the faith. In fact, before the demise of the prophet, major part of the Ara­bi­an penin­su­la believed and came into the fold of Islam !

  2. Well, I was read­ing bible and came up with this chap­ter — Ezekiel 23. A chap­ter of (un)holy Bible where god is describ­ing about two whore. Some of the vers­es are as below -

    The word of the LORD came to me
    They became pros­ti­tutes in Egypt, engag­ing in pros­ti­tu­tion from their youth. In that land their BREASTS were fon­dled and their VIRGIN bosoms caressed.
    She gave her­self as a pros­ti­tute to all the élite of the Assyr­i­ans and defiled her­self with all the idols of every­one she lust­ed after
    She did not give up the pros­ti­tu­tion she began in Egypt, when dur­ing her youth men slept with her, caressed her vir­gin bosom and poured out their lust upon her.
    They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daugh­ters and killed her with the sword.
    As soon as she saw them, she lust­ed after them and sent mes­sen­gers to them in Chaldea.
    Then the Baby­lo­ni­ans came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her.
    There she lust­ed after her lovers, whose gen­i­tals were like those of don­keys and whose emis­sion was like that of horses.
    25 I (god) will direct my (god’s) jeal­ous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daugh­ters, and those of you who are left will be con­sumed by fire.

    Now tell me what is holy about this (un)holy bible ?

  3. A cou­ple things…

    the dates of birth and death look wrong.

    Also, the date of His Cru­ci­fi­ix­ion is known : the fifth of Nis­san. There­fore there could not have been an eclipse : the Jews vora­cious­ly fought the Chris­tians and tried to explain-away the dark­ness that occured after Jesus’s Cru­ci­fix­ion as an eclipse…only to be mis­er­ably embar­rassed upon the easy defeat of this argument.

    Pagans also tried to explain it as an eclipse…again, only to be eas­i­ly embar­rassed. It’s the Jews and Chris­tians alike that record­ed the date of Cru­ci­fix­ion, one to attack Jesus, the oth­er to hon­or Him. An eclipse is impos­si­ble on the Fifth of Nis­san, at Passover.

    There are a few Bibles which read eclipse”, how­ev­er they typ­i­cal­ly fol­low a text which puts eclipse” in Greek which has edi­tors who admit there is no basis for the read­ing. Text-Crit­ics of all kinds have ques­tioned this : you can’t choose a read­ing because it’s a hard­er read­ing” when the read­ing” does­n’t exist. If I were want­i­ng to REALLY argue I could just wait until some­one actu­al­ly makes the mis­take of using one of these ver­sions : then sim­ply post the com­ments by the schol­ars” of the Greek text explain­ing they have no wit­ness or basis for the reading.

    Fur­ther, why don’t you try read­ing Zechari­ah 12:10. And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhab­i­tants of Jerusalem, the Spir­it of grace and sup­pli­ca­tion, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced ; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bit­ter­ly over Him, like the bit­ter weep­ing over a first-born.”

    That’s God speak­ing by the way…a long time before Jesus came-forth from Mary’s womb. And remem­ber, the Jews are the Keep­er of the Book (your title), so do you claim they are no longer ? Even Jews choke on that pas­sage, major­ly : just like they did with parts of the book of Daniel which they called cursed” and for­bid their own selves to read them for so long.

    And I have seen Mus­lims claim they cor­rupt­ed the book, but then did they cor­rupt this pas­sage to sup­port the Chris­tians ? I’ve seen them try to not trans­late this only to be held account­able by Jews them­selves and non-jews alike : and I checked the Hebrew. It’s quite telling. :-)

    And if, as you claim, God pre­serves His Word-that giv­en by His prophets, that of His prophets, then obvi­ous­ly accord­ing to this (and it’s a Mus­lim Teach­ing) you would also include, because of your beliefs, the Q’ran. Yet then you claim that the New Tes­ta­ment (and for your note covenant” is more exact in Eng­lish than tes­ta­ment”) was” Christ’s words, but that it was corrupted…and you teach the same of the Old Covenant (tes­ta­ment) yet acknowl­edge that the Jews are God’s keepers…but if He let His Word be cor­rupt­ed in those books, why then can you claim that He pro­tects it and did so in the Q’ran ? Would he not pre­serve all His word when in the writ­ings He says my thoughts from gen­er­a­tion to generation”.

    And you might claim the Q’ran is new­er, a restora­tion of sorts”, but then He says stand by the ways and see and ask for the OLD paths, where the good way is, and walk in it ; and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [in it]’. (Jer 6:16)

  4. To the above post In Love with Christ’.
    Your whole reli­gion is an assump­tion. Your New Tes­ta­ment of var­i­ous con­tra­dic­to­ry books assume much. A Prophet is NOT God ! No Prophet EVER claimed to be God !
    Your hatred of the truth blinds you from com­pre­hend­ing such sim­ple facts.

    Moses came waaaaay before Jesus.
    Abra­ham came waaaaay before Jesus & Moses.
    Noah came waaaaay before Jesus & Moses & Abraham.


  5. In Love with Christ Reply

    Jesus Christ was not born on 0 AD

    This is an assump­tioon on your part.

    The Bible nev­er says he died 33AD — you are using assump­tions to base your arguments.

    Rather than give you the answers, I would sug­gest that you at least research a bit more exten­siv­ley with regards to the unde­ly­ing assupm­tions first. It seems you like to research, so I will leave it to you to do. And yes, Jesus (God) does know best.

    Let me ask you this.… If you call Him a Prophet, tehn why not believe all He said. Espe­cial­ly the parts about Him claim­im­ng to be God and to being the Son of God. Beca­sue a Prophet speaks for God, and God can­not lie… So there­fore how can He be lying.

    Plus HE came waaaaay before mohommed, who was a pagan wor­ship­ping illit­er­ate pesant.

  6. Sur­prise surprise!!!A Mus­lim using Kaf­fir time to dis­pute Christianity!One would have thought that the only cor­rect time scale is Allah’s Anno Hijrah?!

    On a seri­ous note ; is it impos­si­ble for God to cause a cer­tain geo­graph­i­cal region to be in dark­ness while the rest of the Earth is in sunshine ?

    I read that Allah helped Mohammed to SPLIT THE MOON INTO TWO.Let the keen writer give us NASA’s dates for when this event happened.We will then beleive in Allah and his prophet Mohammed.

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