The Sun Went Dark - Good Friday

 The bible records the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in some detail. In the Gospel of Luke, we are told "It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining." (23:44) This is an astounding claim which is obviously disputed by critics, scientist and non-believers. After all, claiming the sun stopped shining for three hours is a most remarkable and bold claim. Surely this was just an exaggeration of the biblical authors and should not be taken literally.

Gospel of Matthew - "From noon on, darkness came over the whole land [or, earth] until three in the afternoon".

Gospel of Mark - "When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour." 

We know the crucifixion took place following a full moon, so no eclipse would be possible, and there is no other scientific reason for the sun to 'appear' to stop shining. If such an event had taken place, surely it would be recorded in more than just the bible, so it must be a myth. But wait, is such an event recorded anywhere besides the bible? Is this event mentioned in any external text or documents which could confirm the biblical account?

Tertullian, in his work Apologeticus, wrote about the Sun going dark. Writing in 197 A.D. Tertullian considered the event as an omen. He also wrote that the events were recorded in the Roman archives. - In fairness, it must be reported that no mention of this event has been found in any surviving Roman archive, although it is possible the documents did exist at one time but have not survived the nearly two thousand years since the events. (Tertullian was a Christian apologist.)

 [Apologist - someone who makes an argument in favor of something which is considered, controversial.]

The Olympics were first held in 776 B.C. and were continued ever four years until they were stopped in 393 A.D. not to return for nearly 1,200 years. This tells us the 202nd Olympics were held in the year 32 A.D. very near to the time of Jesus' crucifixion. Why are the Olympics import? Roman historian Phlegon recorded events concerning the 202 Olympiads. In his text he recorded a full eclipse of the sun at the sixth hour, which turned the day to night. A strange coincidence, or external confirmation of the bible?

Phlegon of Tralles - lived during the 2nd century A.D. who wrote several historical works. His best-known work is a sixteen book set titles Olympiads. This covered a period of time from the 1st Olympiad up to the 229th Olympiad. This covered a period of time from 776 B.C. through 137 A.D.

In 52 A.D. Thallus, another historian, recorded events associated with the crucifixion of Jesus. While none of Thallus' work remains, it was cited in Julius Africanus' "Chronography". Africanus quotes Thallus's account of the events this way. "On the whole world, there pressed a most fearful darkness, and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down."

Thallus - (Thallos) - who may have been a Samariton, recorded the history of the Mediterranean world in a three-volume set books which covered from before the Trojan War to perhaps the 217th Olympiad. It is uncertain when exactly Thallus lived, however most scholars date his writings to approximately 50 A.D.

These two ancient text record nearly the exact same thing as the bible, in effect offering external proof of the biblical account. This external confirmation will not convince critics, but it should be considered if this same type of external confirmation were available for another ancient text other than the bible, would it be given more credence? Why is the bible held to such a higher standard of proof than any other ancient document? The bible must constantly prove itself to critics, fortunately the proof and evidence to provide the confirmation does exists.

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