The First Things blog is running a new piece I co-authored with Andreas Köstenberger arguing that Jesus was crucified on Nisan 14 (that is, Friday, April 3) of A.D. 33. We argue that it is almost impossible that this took place in A.D. 30.
Here is an excerpt:
In our new book, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, we assume but do not argue for a precise date of Jesus’s crucifixion. Virtually all scholars believe, for various reasons, that Jesus was crucified in the spring of either A.D. 30 or A.D. 33, with the majority opting for the former. (The evidence from astronomy narrows the possibilities to A.D. 27, 30, 33, or 34). However, we want to set forth our case for the date of Friday, April 3, A.D. 33 as the exact day that Christ died for our sins.
To be clear, the Bible does not explicitly specify the precise date of Jesus’s crucifixion and it is not an essential salvation truth. But that does not make it unknowable or unimportant. Because Christianity is a historical religion and the events of Christ’s life did take place in human history alongside other known events, it is helpful to locate Jesus’s death—as precisely as the available evidence allows—within the larger context of human history.
Among the Gospel writers, no one makes this point more strongly than Luke, the Gentile physician turned historian and inspired chronicler of early Christianity.
Luke implies that John the Baptist began his public ministry shortly before Jesus did, and he gives us a historical reference point for when the Baptist’s ministry began: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar . . .” (Luke 3:1).