Chronology of Jesus
The chronology of Jesus aims to establish a timeline for the major historical events in the life of Jesus. The Christian gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than historical chronicles and their authors showed little interest in an absolute chronology of Jesus. However, it is possible to correlate non-Christian sources such as Jewish and Greco-Roman documents with the New Testament accounts to estimate specific date ranges for the major events in Jesus' life.
Two methods have been used to estimate the year of birth of Jesus, one based on the accounts of his birth in the gospels, the other by working backwards from his stated age when he began preaching: most scholars, on this basis assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC. Three details have been used to estimate the year when Jesus began preaching: the mention of a specific year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, the date of the building of the Jerusalem Temple and the death of John the Baptist. Scholars generally estimate that Jesus began preaching, and gathering followers, around 27-29 AD and continued for at least one year, and perhaps as many as three years.
Two main approaches have been used to estimate the date of the crucifixion of Jesus. One uses non-Christian sources such as Josephus and Tacitus. Another works backwards from the historically well established trial of Apostle Paul in Achaea to estimate the date of his conversion. Scholars generally agree that Jesus was crucified between 30-36 AD.
|Part of a series on|
- 1 Context and overview
- 2 Date of birth
- 3 Years of preaching
- 4 Date of death
- 5 Other approaches
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Context and overview
The Christian gospels do not claim to provide an exhaustive list of the events in the life of Jesus.They were written as theological documents in the context of early Christianity rather than historical chronicles and their authors showed little interest in an absolute chronology of Jesus or in synchronizing the episodes of his life with the secular history of the age. One manifestation of the gospels being theological documents rather than historical chronicles is that they devote about one third of their text to just seven days, namely the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem.
Although they provide few details regarding events which can be clearly dated, it is possible to establish some date ranges regarding the major events in his life via correlations with other sources. A number of historical non-Christian documents, such as Jewish and Greco-Roman sources, have been used in historical analyses of the chronology of Jesus. Virtually all modern historians agree that Jesus existed, and regard his baptism and his crucifixion as historical events, and assume that approximate ranges for these events can be estimated.
Attempt so estimate the year of birth of Jesus have involved two separate approaches: one based on the nativity accounts in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, the other by working backwards from the date he began preaching, when according to the Gospel of Luke he was about thirty years old. Most scholars assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC.
Three independent approaches have been used to estimate the dates of the ministry of Jesus. One method relies on Luke 3:1-2's statement that the ministry of John the Baptist (which preceded that of Jesus) started in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Another approach is to correlate John 2:20's statement about the Jerusalem Temple being in construction for 46 years with the date of the building of the Second Temple. A third method uses the date of the death of John the Baptist based on the writings of Josephus, and correlates it to Matthew 14:4. Scholars generally estimate that the ministry of Jesus began around 27-29 AD and lasted one to three years.
A number of approaches have been used to estimate the date of the crucifixion of Jesus. One approach uses the attestations of non-Christian sources such as Josephus and Tacitus. Another approach works backwards from the historically well established trial of Apostle Paul in Corinth to estimate the date of his conversion, given that in the New Testament accounts this takes place after the death of Jesus.
Astronomical calculations have also been suggested as a method for establishing the date of the crucifixion. One method attempts to establish the date on which the Passover would have fallen on a Friday in the Hebrew calendar.
Date of birth
The two major, and independent, approaches to estimating the year of the birth of Jesus combine the accounts given in some of the Canonical gospels with non-biblical historical data to arrive at a date range, as discussed in the two sub-sections below. There are a wide range of more speculative theories, and some are discussed at the end of this article in the "other approaches" section.
Nativity accounts: Luke and Matthew
The nativity-based approach to estimating the year of birth of Jesus relies on the analysis of the nativity accounts in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew along with corresponding historical sources.
Most mainstream scholars do not see the Luke and Matthew nativity stories as historically factual. For this reason they do not consider them a reliable method for determining the date of birth. Karl Rahner states that the authors of the gospels generally focus on theological elements rather than historical chronologies. However, both Luke and Matthew associate Jesus' birth with the time of Herod the Great. As a result, scholars generally accept a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC. It is generally agreed that Herod the Great died in 4 BCE, placing the birth of Jesus before then.
Matthew 2:1 states that "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king" and implies that Jesus could have been as much as two years old at the time of the visit of the Magi, before Herod's death. Luke 1:5 mentions the reign of Herod shortly before the birth of Jesus, but places the birth during the Census of Quirinius, ten years later. Scholars have attempted to address the contradiction between the two accounts. Most believe Luke made an error in referring to the census, although traditionally scholars attempted to reconcile the two accounts.
Neither gospel account mentions the time of year during which the events they describe takes place. However, the Gospel of Luke reference to shepherds grazing their sheep in the fields has been taken to imply a birth during the springtime, summer or early fall.
The day of birth of Jesus, celebrated as Christmas, is based on a feast rather than historical analysis. In the 1st and 2nd centuries, the Lord's Day (Sunday) was the earliest Christian celebration and included a number of theological themes. In the 2nd century, the Resurrection of Jesus became a separate feast as Easter and in the same century Epiphany began to be celebrated in the Churches of the East on 6 January. The festival of the Nativity which later turned into Christmas was a 4th-century feast in the Western Church notably in Rome and North Africa, although it is uncertain exactly where and when it was first celebrated.
The earliest source stating 25 December as the date of birth of Jesus is likely by Hippolytus of Rome, written very early in the 3rd century, based on the assumption that the conception of Jesus took place at the Spring equinox which he placed on March 25, and then added 9th months - festivals on that date were then celebrated. John Chrysostom also argued for a 25 December date in the late 4th century, basing his argument on the assumption that the offering of incense in Luke 1:8-11 was the offering of incense by a high priest on Yom Kippur (early October), and, as above, counting fifteen months forward. However, this was very likely a retrospective justification of a choice already made rather than a genuine attempt to derive the correct birth date.
Working backwards from when Jesus began preaching
The generally assumed date range for when John the Baptist was active, based on the reference to the reign of Tiberius in Luke 3:1-2, is from about 28-29 AD, with the preaching of Jesus following shortly thereafter. As discussed in the section below, based on the reference in John 2:13 to the Temple being in its 46th year of construction, scholarly estimates for Jesus' Temple visit in John 2:20 are around 27-29 AD, when Jesus was "about thirty years of age".
By working backwards from this, it would appear that Jesus was born around 1BC. However, some scholars have calculated that if the phrase "about 30" is interpreted to mean 32 years old, this could fit a date of birth just within the reign of Herod, who died in 4 BC.
Years of preaching
Reign of Tiberius and the Gospel of Luke
One method for the estimation of the date of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus is based on the Gospel of Luke's specific statement in Luke 3:1-2 about the ministry of John the Baptist which preceded that of Jesus:
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the highpriesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
The New Testament presents John the Baptist as the precursor to Jesus and the Baptism of Jesus as marking the beginning of Jesus' ministry. In his sermon in Acts 10:37-38, delivered in the house of Cornelius the centurion, Apostle Peter refers to what had happened "throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached" and that Jesus had then gone about "doing good".
Jerusalem Temple and the Gospel of John
Another method for estimating the start of the ministry of Jesus without reliance on the Synoptic gospels is to relate the account in the Gospel of John about the visit of Jesus to Herod's Temple in Jerusalem with historical data about the the construction of the Temple.
John 2:13 says that Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem around the start of his ministry and in John 2:20 Jesus is told: "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?".
Herod's Temple in Jerusalem was an extensive and long term construction on the Temple Mount, which was never fully completed even by the time it was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. Having built entire cities such as Caesarea Maritima, Herod saw the construction of the Temple as a key, colossal monument. The dedication of the initial temple (sometimes called the inner Temple) followed an 17 or 18 month construction period, just after the visit of Augustus to Syria.
Josephus (Ant 15.11.1) states that the temple's reconstruction was started by Herod in the 18th year of his reign. But there is some uncertainty about how Josephus referred to and computed dates, which event marked the start of Herod's reign, and whether the initial date should refer to the inner Temple, or the subsequent construction. Hence various scholars arrive at slightly different dates for the exact date of the start of the Temple construction, varying by a few years in their final estimation of the date of the Temple visit. Given that it took 46 years of construction, the best scholarly estimate for the Temple is around the year 30.
Josephus' reference to the Baptist
In the Antiquities of the Jews, first century historian Flavius Josephus refers to the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas and that Herodias left her husband to marry Herod Antipas, in defiance of Jewish law.
Scholars view Josephus' accounts of John the Baptist as authentic. His reference to the marriage of Herod and Herodias, which is also mentioned in the gospels, establishes a key connection with the episodes that appear there.
However, although both the gospels and Josephus refer to Herod Antipas killing John the Baptist, they differ on the details and motives, e.g. whether this act was a consequence of the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias (as indicated in Matthew 14:4, Mark 6:18), or a pre-emptive measure by Herod which possibly took place before the marriage to quell a possible uprising based on the remarks of John, as Josephus suggests in Ant 18.5.2.
The exact year of the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias is subject to debate among scholars. While some scholars place the year of the marriage in the range 27-31AD, others have approximated a date as late as AD 35, although such a late date has much less support. In his analysis of Herod's life, Harold Hoehner estimates that John the Baptist's imprisonment probably occurred around AD 30-31. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia estimates the death of the Baptist to have occurred about AD 31-32.
Josephus stated (Ant 18.5.2) that the AD 36 defeat of Herod Antipas in the conflicts with Aretas IV of Nabatea was widely considered by the Jews of the time as misfortune brought about by Herod's unjust execution of John the Baptist. Given that John the Baptist was executed before the defeat of Herod by Aretas, and based on the scholarly estimates for the approximate date of the marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias, the last part of the ministry of John the Baptist and hence parts of the ministry of Jesus fall within the historical time span of AD 28-35, with the later year 35 having the least support among scholars.
Date of death
Prefecture of Pontius Pilate
In the Antiquities of the Jews (written about 93 AD) Josephus, states (Ant 18.3) that Jesus was crucified on the orders of Pilate. Most scholars agree that while this reference includes some later Christian interpolations, it originally included a reference to the execution of Jesus under Pilate.
In the second century the Roman historian Tacitus in The Annals (c. 116 AD), described the persecution of Christians by Nero and stated (Annals 15.44) that Jesus had been executed on the orders of Pilate, a reference generally considered genuine, and of value as an independent source.
Reign of Herod Antipas
In the Gospel of Luke, while Jesus is in Pilate's court, Pilate realizes that Jesus is a Galilean and thus is under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas. Given that Herod was in Jerusalem at that time, Pilate decided to send Jesus to Herod to be tried.
This episode is only described in the Gospel of Luke (23:7-15). While some scholars have questioned the authenticity of this episode, given that it is unique to the Gospel of Luke, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states that it fits well with the theme of the gospel.
Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great, was born before 20 BC and was exiled in the summer of 39 AD following a lengthy intrigue involving Caligula and Agrippa I, the grandson of his father. Although this episode provides a wider range date for the death of Jesus, it is in concord with the other estimates in that it indicates that Jesus' death took place before 39 AD.
Conversion of Paul
Another approach to estimating an upper bound for the year of death of Jesus is the estimation of the date of Conversion of Paul the Apostle which the New Testament accounts place some time after the death of Jesus. Paul's conversion is discussed in both the Letters of Paul and in the Acts of the Apostles.
In the First Epistle to the Corinthians (15:3-8), Paul refers to his conversion. The Acts of the Apostles includes three separate references to his conversion experience, in Acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26.
Estimating the year of Paul's conversion relies on working backwards from his trial before Junius Gallio in Achaea Greece (Acts 18:12-17) around 51-52 AD, a date which gained historical credibility early in the 20th century following the discovery of four stone fragments as part of the Delphi Inscriptions, at Delphi across the Gulf from Corinth.
Most historians estimate that Gallio (brother of Seneca the Younger) became proconsul between the spring of 51 AD and the summer of 52 AD, and that his position ended no later than 53 AD. However, the trial of Paul is generally assumed to be in the earlier part of Gallio's tenure, based on the reference (Acts 18:2) to his meeting in Corinth with Priscilla and Aquila, who had been recently expelled from Rome based on Emperor Claudius' expulsion of some Jews from Rome, which is dated to 49-50 AD.
According to the New Testament, Paul spent eighteen months in Corinth, approximately seventeen years after his conversion. Galatians 2:1-10 states that Paul went back to Jerusalem fourteen years after his conversion, and various missions (at times with Barnabas) such as those in Acts 11:25-26 and 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 appear in the Book of Acts. The generally accepted scholarly estimate for the date of conversion of Paul is 33-36 AD, placing the death of Jesus before this date range.
One possible approach to dating the death of Jesus is by using astronomical evidence to establish the dates of Passover. The difficulty here is that the Jewish calendar was based not on astronomical calculation but on observation. It is possible to establish whether the moon was visible on a particular day but not whether it was actually sighted., As E. P. Sanders has pointed out, we cannot recreate local atmospheric conditions of two thousand years ago: "the synoptic chronology cannot be confirmed by astronomy, but neither can it be disproved". Nevertheless, some writers such as astronomer Colin Humphreys have attempted to confirm the crucifixion date using this method, obtaining 3 April 33 or 1 April 33.
In 1733, Isaac Newton estimated the date of the crucifixion by calculating the relative visibility of the crescent of the new moon and concluded that it must have taken place on 23 April, AD 34. He narrowed the possible years to AD 33 and 34 and selected the latter by using a 'postponement rule' from the Hebrew calendar.
Later scientists used similar methods, with the version developed by J. K. Fotheringham becoming a standard by the middle of the 20th century. Fotheringham narrowed the possible dates to 7 April, AD 30 and 3 April, AD 33 and favoured the latter date on the basis of its coincidence with a lunar eclipse. In 1990 astronomer Bradley E. Schaefer, following a similar method, arrived at the same date. J. P. Pratt came to the same conclusion, pointing out that the "postponement rule" used by Newton was not in use at the time.
Another approach involves the reference in the Synoptic Gospels to a period of darkness over the whole world  on the day of the crucifixion, beginning around noon ("the sixth hour") and continuing until 3 o'clock ("the ninth hour"). Although modern scholars view this as a literary device common among ancient writers rather than a description of an actual event, some writers have attempted to identify a datable astronomical phenomenon which this could have referred to.
It could not have been a solar eclipse, since this could not take place during the crucifixion at Passover: solar eclipses only occur during the new moon phase, and the 14th of Nisan always corresponds to a full moon. Moreover, a solar eclipse takes about an hour for the moon to cover the sun, with total coverage lasting no more than four to six minutes. In 1983, astronomers Humphreys and Waddington argued that the reference was actually to a lunar eclipse, which can last a few hours, with total coverage lasting about an hour. Their argument depends on speculation that the Luke Gospel reference to the sun being darkened was a 'scribal error', a claim which historian David Henige describes as 'undefended' and 'indefensible'. Astronomer Bradley Schaefer points out that the eclipsed moon would not have been visible by the time the moon had risen.
Day of death
In the Synoptic Gospels the Last Supper took place on the first night of Passover, defined in the Torah as occurring after the daylight of the 14th of Nisan. However, the Gospel of John implies that at the time of the trial the Jewish leaders had not yet eaten the Passover meal and that his sentencing took place on the day of Preparation of the Passover.[Jn. 19:14] John's account places the crucifixion on Nisan 14, since the law mandated the lamb had to be sacrificed between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm and eaten before midnight on Nisan 14. This understanding fits well with Old Testament typology, in which Jesus entered Jerusalem to identify himself as the Paschal lamb on Nisan 10[Jn. Ex.] was crucified and died at 3:00 in the afternoon of Nisan 14, at the same time the High Priest would have sacrificed the Paschal lamb,[1 Cor. 5:7] [cf. Isa. 53:7-9] and rose before dawn the morning of Nisan 16, as a type of offering of the First Fruits.[1 Cor. 15:23] [cf. Lev. 23:9-14] However, "the day of preparation" has been seen to mean either the day before Passover or simply Friday; or both.
It is problematic to reconcile the chronology presented by John with the Synoptic passages and the tradition that the Last Supper was a Passover meal, placing the crucifixion instead on Nisan 15. Some scholars have attempted to explain the contradiction by postulating differences in how post-exilic Jews reckoned time: for Jesus and his disciples, the Passover could have begun at dawn Thursday, while for traditional Jews (following Leviticus 23:5), it would not have begun until dusk that same day. Another explanation that has been suggested is that Jesus chose to celebrate the Passover meal a day early with his disciples.[Mt. 26:18] [Lk. 22:15] 
D.A. Carson points out that there is no evidence that the term 'day of preparation of Passover' in John 19:14 ever means the day before the Passover meal. The word translated 'day of preparation' (παρασκευὴ) is the common word for 'Friday'. It is always the preparation day for the Sabbath (which is Saturday). The word translated 'Passover' (πάσχα) can mean either the Passover meal, Passover lamb or the entire feast of Unleavened Bread, otherwise known as Passover week. Hence John 19:14 should be understood as 'preparation day of Passover week'.
Hour of death
||This article lends undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies. (January 2014)|
The estimation of the hour of death of Jesus based on the New Testament accounts has been the subject of debate among scholars. Mark's passion narrative has three hour segments: in the early part Jesus is before Pilate, the Crucifixion takes place at the third hour (9am) in Mark 15:25, darkness appears at the six hour (noon) and Jesus' death at the ninth hour (3pm). However, in John 19:14 Jesus is still before Pilate at the sixth hour.
Some scholars have presented arguments to reconcile the accounts, although Raymond E. Brown, reviewing these, concluded that they can not be easily reconciled. Some have argued that the modern precision of marking the time of day should not be read back into the gospel accounts, written at a time when no standardization of timepieces, or exact recording of hours and minutes was available. Andreas Köstenberger argues that in the first century time was often estimated to the closest three-hour mark, and any time between 9am and noon could have been described as about the third or the sixth hour, and that the intention of the author of the Mark Gospel was to provide the setting for the three hours of darkness while the Gospel of John seeks to stress the length of the proceedings, starting in the 'early morning'"
In 1881, Brooke Foss Westcott suggested that the two accounts could be reconciled by assuming that John had followed the Roman practice of calculating the new day beginning at midnight, rather than the Jewish reckoning, although he admitted this would have been unusual at the time. In New Testament times, Jews regarded the day as beginning at sunset when precision was required, but otherwise, for practical purposes, at sunrise. The Evangelist John, writing primarily to Gentiles, it is suggested, chose the Roman legal use of time of reckoning, of counting the new day from midnight. Some scholars have postulated that the Roman reckoning was used by John, and that this is the reason for the apparent discrepancy with the other Gospel writers. Leon Morris, however, points out that this Roman practice was used only for dating contracts and leases, and days were normally counted from sunrise: "It is difficult to understand why this Evangelist alone should have such an unusual method of reckoning time". William Barclay has argued that the portrayal of the death of Jesus in the John Gospel is a literary construct, presenting the crucifixion as taking place at the time on the day of Passover when the sacrificial lamb would be killed, and thus portraying Jesus as the Lamb of God.
Other approaches to the chronology of Jesus have been suggested over the centuries, e.g. Maximus the Confessor, Eusebius, and Cassiodorus asserted that the death of Jesus occurred in 31 AD. The 3rd/4th century Roman historian Lactantius states that Jesus was crucified on a particular day in 29 AD, but that did not correspond to a full moon.
Some commentators have attempted to establish the date of birth by identifying the Star of Bethlehem with some known astronomical or astrological phenomenon. There are many possible phenomena and none seems to match the Gospel account exactly, although new authors continue to offer potential candidates.
- Christ myth theory
- Detailed Christian timeline
- Gospel harmony
- Historical Jesus
- Life of Christ in art
- Life of Jesus in the New Testament
- Timeline of the Bible
- Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 pages 730-731
- Interpreting Gospel Narratives: Scenes, People, and Theology by Timothy Wiarda 2010 ISBN 0-8054-4843-8 pages 75-78
- Brown, Raymond E. (1994). The Death of the Messiah: from Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels. New York: Doubleday, Anchor Bible Reference Library. p. 964. ISBN 978-0-385-19397-9.
- Paula Fredriksen, 1999, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, pages=6–7, 105–10, 232–34, 266
- Dunn, James DG (2003). Jesus Remembered. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 324.
- Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible 2000 Amsterdam University Press ISBN 90-5356-503-5 page 249
- The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke, Volume 1 by Craig A. Evans 2003 ISBN 0-7814-3868-3 pages 67-69
- Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pages 113-129
- Craig Evans, 2006 "Josephus on John the Baptist" in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 55-58 
- Herodias: at home in that fox's den by Florence Morgan Gillman 2003 ISBN 0-8146-5108-9 pages 25-30 
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1982 ISBN 0-8028-3782-4 pages 694-695 
- The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John by Paul N. Anderson 2011 ISBN 0-8006-0427-X pages 200
- Herod the Great by Jerry Knoblet 2005 ISBN 0-7618-3087-1 page 183-184
- Funk, Robert W.; Jesus Seminar (1998). The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. San Francisco: Harper.
- The Word in this world by Paul William Meyer, John T. Carroll 2004 ISBN 0-664-22701-5 page 112
- Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett 2002 ISBN 0-8308-2699-8 pages 19-21
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 77-79
- Paul's early period: chronology, mission strategy, theology by Rainer Riesner 1997 ISBN 978-0-8028-4166-7 page 19-27 (page 27 has a table of various scholarly estimates)
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 114
- Sanders (1993). pp. 11, 249. Missing or empty
- Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus by Gerald O'Collins 2009 ISBN 0-19-955787-X pages 1-3
- Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 pages 168-173
- Matthew by David L. Turner 2008 ISBN 0-8010-2684-9 page 613
- Jesus in history, thought, and culture: an encyclopedia, Volume 1 by James Leslie Houlden 2003 ISBN 1-57607-856-6 pages 508-509 
- Sanders, EP (1995). The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Penguin Books. p. 3.
- Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 431-436
- In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman wrote: "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285
- Ramm, Bernard L (1993). An Evangelical Christology: Ecumenic and Historic. Regent College Publishing. p. 19. "There is almost universal agreement that Jesus lived"
- Borg, Marcus (1999). "A Vision of the Christian Life". The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. HarperCollins. p. 236. "some judgements are so probable as to be certain; for example, Jesus really existed"
- Pratt, J. P. (1991). "Newton's Date for the Crucifixion". Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 32 (3): 301–304. Bibcode:1991QJRAS..32..301P. 
- Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-521-73200-0, pages 45-48
- Newton, Isaac (1733). "Of the Times of the Birth and Passion of Christ", in Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John: "Thus there remain only the years 33 and 34 to be considered; and the year 33 I exclude by this argument... "
- Rainer Riesner, Paul's Early Period: Chronology, Mission Strategy, Theology (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1998), page 58.
- Josef Blinzler, Der Prozess Jesu (Pustet, 1960) cited in Colin J. Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus (Cambridge University Press, 2011) page 14.
- Maier, P.L. (1968). "Sejanus, Pilate, and the Date of the Crucifixion". Church History 37 (1): 3–13. JSTOR 3163182.
- New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 pages 121-124
- Marcus Borg, 'The Meaning of the Birth Stories' in Marcus Borg, N T Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (Harper One, 1999) page 179: "I (and most mainline scholars) do not see these stories as historically factual."
- Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993 pages 85-88
- Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 page 731
- Some of the historians and Biblical scholars who place the birth and death of Jesus within this range include D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992, 54, 56
- Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, Scribner's, 1977, p. 71.
- Ben Witherington III, "Primary Sources," Christian History 17 (1998) No. 3:12–20.
- Freed, Edwin D (2004). Stories of Jesus' Birth. Continuum International. p. 119.
- Archer, Gleason Leonard (April 1982). Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. p. 366. ISBN 0-310-43570-6.
- Frederick Fyvie Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (1943; republished Eerdman, 2003), page 87-88.
- Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2007 Harmony of the Gospels ISBN 0-8054-9444-8 pages 289-290
- Nikos Kokkinos, 1998, in Chronos, kairos, Christos 2 by Ray Summers, Jerry Vardaman ISBN 0-86554-582-0 pages 121-126
- C.F. Evans, Tertullian's reference to Sentius Saturninus and the Lukan Census in the Journal of Theological Studies (1973) XXIV(1): 24-39
- "New Testament History" by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 pp. 121-124
- Luke: an introduction and commentary by Leon Morris 1988 ISBN 0-8028-0419-5 page 93
- Stories of Jesus' Birth by Edwin D. Freed 2004 ISBN 0-567-08046-3 pages 136-137
- An introductory dictionary of theology and religious studies by Orlando O. Espín, James B. Nickoloff 2007 ISBN 0-8146-5856-3 page 237
- Christian worship in Reformed Churches past and present by Lukas Vischer 2002 ISBN 0-8028-0520-5 pages 400-401
- Mercer Dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Edgar V. McKnight and Roger A. Bullard 2001 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 142
- Beckwith, p. 72
- Christianity and the Roman Empire: background texts by Ralph Martin Novak 2001 ISBN 1-56338-347-0 pages 302-303
- Hoehner, Harold W (1978). Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Zondervan. pp. 29–37. ISBN 0-310-26211-9.
- Jack V. Scarola, "A Chronology of the nativity Era" in Chronos, kairos, Christos 2 by Ray Summers, Jerry Vardaman 1998 ISBN 0-86554-582-0 pages 61-81
- Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, Charles L Quarles, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown (B&H Publishing, 2009), page 139-140.
- Luke 1-5: New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur 2009 ISBN 0-8024-0871-0 page 201
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 140-141
- Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 page 224-229
- Christianity: an introduction by Alister E. McGrath 2006 ISBN 978-1-4051-0901-7 pages 16-22
- Who is Jesus?: an introduction to Christology by Thomas P. Rausch 2003 ISBN 978-0-8146-5078-3 page
- The building program of Herod the Great by Duane W. Roller 1998 University of California Press ISBN 0-520-20934-6 pages 67-71 
- The Temple of Jerusalem: past, present, and future by John M. Lundquist 2007 ISBN 0-275-98339-0 pages101-103 
- The biblical engineer: how the temple in Jerusalem was built by Max Schwartz 2002 ISBN 0-88125-710-9 pages xixx-xx
- Encyclopedia of the historical Jesus by Craig A. Evans 2008 ISBN 0-415-97569-7 page 115
- Andreas J. Köstenberger, John (Baker Academic, 2004), page 110.
- Jesus in Johannine tradition by Robert Tomson Fortna, Tom Thatcher 2001 ISBN 978-0-664-22219-2 page 77
- Ant 18.5.2-4
- The new complete works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, Paul L. Maier ISBN 0-8254-2924-2 pages 662-663
- Women in scripture by Carol Meyers, Toni Craven and Ross Shepard Kraemer 2001 ISBN 0-8028-4962-8 pages 92-93 
- Herod Antipas in Galilee: The Literary and Archaeological Sources by Morten H. Jensen 2010 ISBN 978-3-16-150362-7 pages 42-43 
- The Emergence of Christianity: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective by Cynthia White 2010 ISBN 0-8006-9747-2 page 48
- ''Herod Antipas'' by Harold W. Hoehner'' 1983 ISBN 0-310-42251-5 page 131. Books.google.com. 1983-01-28. Retrieved 2012-07-18.
- The relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth by Daniel S. Dapaah 2005 ISBN 0-7618-3109-6 page 48 
- Herod Antipas by Harold W. Hoehner 1983 ISBN 0-310-42251-5 pages 125-127
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1995 ISBN 0-8028-3781-6 pages 686-687
- Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (1995), International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. vol. K-P. p. 929.
- Matthew 27:27-61, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 23:25-54 and John 19:1-38
- Theissen 1998, pp. 81-83
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 104-108
- Evans, Craig A. (2001). Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 316
- Wansbrough, Henry (2004). Jesus and the oral Gospel tradition ISBN 0-567-04090-9 page 185
- James Dunn states that there is "broad consensus" among scholars regarding the nature of an authentic reference to the crucifixion of Jesus in the Testimonium.Dunn, James (2003). Jesus remembered ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 141
- Skeptic Wells also states that after Shlomo Pines' discovery of new documents in the 1970s scholarly agreement on the authenticity of the nucleus of the Tetimonium was achieved, The Jesus Legend by G. A. Wells 1996 ISBN 0812693345 page 48: "... that Josephus made some reference to Jesus, which has been retouched by a Christian hand. This is the view argued by Meier as by most scholars today particularly since S. Pines..." Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman views the reference in the Testimonium as the first reference to Jesus and the reference to Jesus in the death of James passage in Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities as "the aforementioned Christ", thus relating the two passages.Feldman, Louis H.; Hata, Gōhei, eds. (1987). Josephus, Judaism and Christianity ISBN 978-90-04-08554-1 page 55
- Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42
- Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-2221-5 page 116
- Green, Joel B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke : new international commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. p. 168. ISBN 0-8028-2315-7.
- Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-391-04118-5 page 42
- Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 2001 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 343
- Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004 ISBN 0-521-61620-4 page xi
- Pontius Pilate: portraits of a Roman governor by Warren Carter 2003 ISBN 0-8146-5113-5 pages 44-45
- The history of the Jews in the Greco-Roman world by Peter Schäfer 2003 ISBN 0-415-30585-3 page 108
- Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-2221-5 page 416
- New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 page 172
- Pontius Pilate: portraits of a Roman governor by Warren Carter 2003 ISBN 978-0-8146-5113-1 pages 120-121
- The Synoptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke by Ján Majerník, Joseph Ponessa 2005 ISBN 1-931018-31-6 page 181
- The Gospel according to Luke by Michael Patella 2005 ISBN 0-8146-2862-1 page 16
- Luke: The Gospel of Amazement by Michael Card 2011 ISBN 978-0-8308-3835-6 page 251
- "Bible Study Workshop - Lesson 228" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-18.
- Herod Antipas by Harold W. Hoehner 1983 ISBN 0-310-42251-5 page 262
- All the people in the Bible by Richard R. Losch 2008 ISBN 0-8028-2454-4 page 159
- The Content and the Setting of the Gospel Tradition by Mark Harding, Alanna Nobbs 2010 ISBN 0-8028-3318-7 pages 88-89
- The Emergence of Christianity by Cynthia White 2010 ISBN 0-8006-9747-2 page 11
- The Cambridge Companion to St Paul by James D. G. Dunn (Nov 10, 2003) Cambridge Univ Press ISBN 0521786940 page 20
- Paul: his letters and his theology by Stanley B. Marrow 1986 ISBN 0-8091-2744-X pages 45-49
- Bromiley, Geoffrey William (1979). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-D Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 689. ISBN 0-8028-3781-6.
- Paul and His Letters by John B. Polhill 1999 ISBN 0-8054-1097-X pages 49-50
- The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology by William Lane Craig, James Porter Moreland 2009 ISBN 1-4051-7657-1 page 616
- Christianity and the Roman Empire: background texts by Ralph Martin Novak 2001 ISBN 1-56338-347-0 pages 18-22
- The Greco-Roman world of the New Testament era by James S. Jeffers 1999 ISBN 0-8308-1589-9 pages 164-165
- The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts-Philemon by Craig A. Evans 2004 ISBN 0-7814-4006-8 page 248
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament edition by John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck 1983 ISBN 0-88207-812-7 page 405
- Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible Amsterdam University Press, 2000 ISBN 90-5356-503-5 page 1019
- C. Philipp E. Nothaft, Dating the Passion: The Life of Jesus and the Emergence of Scientific Chronology (200–1600) page 25.
- E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (Penguin, 1993) 285-286.
- "The Date of the Crucifixion", Colin Humphreys and W. Graeme Waddington, March 1985. American Scientific Affiliation website. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-521-73200-0, page 37
- Staff Reporter (18 April 2011). "Last Supper was on Wednesday, not Thursday, challenges Cambridge professor Colin Humphreys.". International Business Times. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- Pratt refers to S. Zeitlin's 1966 work "The Judean Calendar during the Second Commonwealth and the Scrolls," Jewish Quar. Rev 57, 28-45 regarding the use of the postponement rule.
- Fotheringham, J.K., 1910. "On the smallest visible phase of the moon," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 70, 527-531.
- Fotheringham, J.K. 1910 "Astronomical Evidence for the Date of the Crucifixion," Journal of Theological Studies 12, 120-127.
- Fotheringham, J.K. 1934. "The Evidence of Astronomy and Technical Chronology for the Date of the Crucifixion," Journal of Theological Studies 35, 146-162.
- Schaefer, B. E. (1990). "Lunar Visibility and the Crucifixion". Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 31 (1): 53–67. Bibcode:1990QJRAS..31...53S.
- Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament by John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck 1983 ISBN 978-0-88207-812-0 page 88
- David E. Garland, Reading Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the First Gospel (Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 1999) page 264.
- Geza Vermes, The Passion (Penguin, 2005) page 108-9.
- Exploring Ancient Skies: A Survey of Ancient and Cultural Astronomy by David H. Kelley, Eugene F. Milone 2011 ISBN 1-4419-7623-X pages 250-251
- Astronomy: The Solar System and Beyond by Michael A. Seeds, Dana Backman, 2009 ISBN 0-495-56203-3 page 34
- Meeus, J. (2003, December). The maximum possible duration of a total solar eclipse. Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 113(6), 343-348.
- Colin J. Humphreys and W. G. Waddington, The Date of the Crucifixion Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 37 (March 1985)
- Henige, David P. (2005). Historical evidence and argument. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-299-21410-4.
- Schaefer, B. E. (1990, March). Lunar visibility and the crucifixion. Royal Astronomical Society Quarterly Journal, 31(1), 53-67
- Schaefer, B. E. (1991, July). Glare and celestial visibility. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 103, 645-660.
- Marking time: the epic quest to invent the perfect calendar by Duncan Steel 1999 ISBN 0-471-29827-1 page 341
- Lev 23:5-6
- [Jn. 18:28]
- Paul Barnett, Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times, page 21 (InterVarsity Press, 1999). ISBN 978-0-8308-2699-5
- Philo. "De Specialibus Legibus 2.145".
- Josephus. The War of the Jews 6.9.3
- Mishnah, Pesahim 5.1.
- The Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller, ed., 1992, page 241, commentary on verse 19:31
- Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-8
- Stroes, H. R. (October 1966). "Does the Day Begin in the Evening or Morning? Some Biblical Observations". Vetus Testamentum (BRILL) 16 (4): 460–475. doi:10.2307/1516711. JSTOR 1516711.
- Ross, Allen. "Daily Life In The Time Of Jesus".
- Hoehner, Harold (1977). Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
- Heawood, Percy J. (July 1951). "The Time of the Last Supper". The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series (University of Pennsylvania Press) 42 (1): 37–44. JSTOR 1452717.
- The Gospel According to John by D.A. Carson 1991 ISBN 0-85111-749-X page 604
- Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2007 Harmony of the Gospels ISBN 0-8054-9444-8 pages 323-323
- Death of the Messiah, Volume 2 by Raymond E. Brown 1999 ISBN 0-385-49449-1 pages 959-960
- The Gospel of Mark, Volume 2 by John R. Donahue, Daniel J. Harrington 2002 ISBN 0-8146-5965-9 page 442
- New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 pages 173-174
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 538
- Brooke Foss Westcott, The Gospel according to St. John : the authorised version with introduction and notes (1881, page 282).
- Hunt, Michal - The Passover Feast and Christ's Passion - Copyright © 1991, revised 2007 - Agape Bible Study. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Leon Morris - The New International Commentary on the New Testament - The Gospel According to John (Revised) - William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K. - 1995, pages 138 and 708.
- William Barclay (2001). The Gospel of John. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 340. ISBN 978-1-61164-015-1.
- Lactantius, Of the Manner In Which the Persecutors Died 2: "In the latter days of the Emperor Tiberius, in the consulship of Ruberius (sic) Geminus and Fufius Geminus, and on the tenth of the kalends of April, as I find it written".
- For example, astronomer Michael Molnar identified April 17, 6 BC as the likely date of the Nativity, since that date corresponded to the heliacal rising and lunar occultation of Jupiter, while it was momentarily stationary in the sign of Aries; according to Molnar, to knowledgeable astrologers of this time, this highly unusual combination of events would have indicated that a regal personage would be (or had been) born in Judea. Michael R. Molnar, "The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi," Rutgers University Press, 1999.
- Raymond E. Brown, 101 Questions and Answers on the Bible, Paulist Press (2003), page 79.
- A recent example points back to a 1991 report from the Royal Astronomical Society, which mentions that Chinese astronomers noted a "comet" that lasted 70 days in the Capricorn region of the sky, in March of 5 BC. Authors Dugard and O'Reilly point to this event as the likely Star of Bethlehem. O'Reilly, Bill, and Dugard, Martin, "Killing Jesus: A History," Henry Holt and Company, 2013, isbn 0805098542, page 15.