Bible and calendars
Bible and calendars
PREFACE BIBLE AND CALENDAR
I. PRELIMINARY NOTIONS
1. METHODOLOGY BIBLE AND CALENDAR
2. A QUITE ANCIENT NEW CALENDAR
3. ABOUT CALENDARS
4. A LUSTRUM
5. SWIFT AS THE WIND
II. REDATING JESUS' DEATH
1. DID JESUS' CRUCIFIXION ACTUALLY HAPPEN ON APRIL, 7th, 30 ?
2. RECONSTRUCTING OLD LUNAR OBSERVATIONS
3. EASTER FELL ON A SATURDAY
4. NEW YEAR WAS A SATURDAY TOO
5. THE ONLY LUNAR EXPLANATION
6. THE LONG MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
7. A NEW READING OF DANIEL'S PROPHECY
8. "THEY HAD BEEN REBUILDING THE TEMPLE FOR 46 YEARS..."
9. THE ROMAN POINT OF VIEW
10. EXIT PILATE - ARMY MANOEUVRES IN THE EAST
11. PAUL'S TRAVELS
12. "AND JESUS HIMSELF BEGAN TO BE ABOUT 30 YEARS OF AGE"
13. CONCLUSION
III. THE SECOND TEMPLE CALENDAR
1. WHAT CALENDAR WAS IN USE AT THE TIME
2. ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF JUBILEE YEARS
3. RECONSTRUCTING THE ANTIQUE CALENDAR
4. THE CORRECT WAY TO USE FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS
5. THE CREATION OF THE WORLD ERA
IV. CONCLUSION
V. ANNEXE
FINAL REMARKS

II. REDATING JESUS' DEATH



   

9. THE ROMAN POINT OF VIEW




According to Flavius Josephus (J.A. XVIII, 90 and sq), unusual events took place during the feast of Pessah 36 :
-  Vitellius, the imperial legate in Syria, came all the way from Antioch to Jerusalem.
-  He then renounced to collect the taxes on the harvests sales. Strange ?
-  He took the Great Priest sacerdotal garment off the local Roman authority keeping and gave it back to the Temple. Unexpected !
-  " Having thus acted but for the good of people, he relieved Caiaphas of his duties as a Great Priest [...] and then came bach to Antioch."

What should we think about these facts ?
Do they have any echoes in the Gospels ?
This is what we are about to study.

The main character of this chronicle is the people of Jerusalem itself, that the Roman authorities try and calm down. Troubles must then have then been brewing. It quite well corresponds to the atmosphere that Luke renders in his version of Jesus' Passion (Luke, 23, 5) :
"[...] He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place."
On his part, Matthew says (Matthew, 27, 24) :
"[...] Pilate saw [...] that rather a tumult was made..."
And Mark notes (Mark, 15, 15) :
"And so Pilate, willing to contente the people..."

So there was good ground for convening an "emergency comittee".

a) There could well have been an allusion to Vitellius presence in Jerusalem in Caiaphas's provocative words : "[...] thou art not Cĉsar's friend..." (John, 19, 12). They must have rung like a threatening to Pilate's ears, since he changed his attitude towards Jesus.

b) Confronted to Caiaphas's ploy, Pilate agrees with Vitellius to relieve him of his duties as Great Priest. But during the period of Pessah feast, when pilgrims were many, one could well fear troubles that were already brewing.

To forestall them, they decided not to collect the taxes, as a symbolic gesture, to then give back the Great Priest garments to the keeping of the Temple, i.e. in Judĉan hands.

The moment when Herod adorns Jesus with a splendid garment before handing him over to Pilate (Luke, 23, 11) may very well echo this episode...

c) The stratagem itself may well have been suggested by Herod (the sly fox) who took advantage of Pilate's awkward position to re-establish a custom that Rome had confiscated to his family 30 years earlier...

Luke may be alluding to this when he says (Luke, 23, 12) : "And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together..."

To sum up all of this, it appears that Flavius Josephus's telling of the events that took place during Pessah 36 is not in contradiction with the Gospels and enables us to shed light on some verses regarding Pilate's fickle behaviour during Jesus' Passion.

The datation of the latter is reinforced by these facts.

d) We can reckon that the dismissal of the Great Priest is a logical consequence of Jesus' trial, from a Roman point of view - which saw Caiaphas as a manipulator of the public opinion, quite able to stir trouble up.
This dismissal is furthermore confirmed by Luke (The Acts, 4, 6). In this verse Caiaphas is explicitely not Great Priest any longer, whereas during the feast of Pessah he is called so by John (John, 18, 13 and 18, 24) and Matthew (Matthew, 26, 57).

e) Let us note finally that not collecting the taxes on harvests sales in March 36 echoes a similar edict by Julius Cĉsar concerning the sabbatical years (J.A. XIV, 202).

Couldn't this be a clue that the year 35 was a jubilee (since it was not a sabbatical) ?

This is what the "year of welcoming and liberation" means in Luke, 4, 20-2123.
This Jewish terminology is rooted in the Leviticus, 25, 10.

We cannot but come to the conclusion that the Gospels recountings of Jesus' Passion echo in the works of the Jewish historian concerning Pessah 36, which itself concords the Roman point of view.

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