Última Ceia na quarta e não na quinta-feira?

A Última Ceia teria acontecido na quarta, e não na quinta-feiraFrance Presse: 18/04/2011

A Última Ceia que Jesus Cristo compartilhou com seus 12 apóstolos na noite da Quinta-feira Santa aconteceu, na realidade, numa quarta-feira, afirma um especialista britânico em livro publicado pela Universidade de Cambridge.

“Descobri que ‘A Última Ceia’ aconteceu numa quarta-feira, em 1º de abril do ano 33”, declarou ao jornal “The Times” o professor Colin Humphreys, da Universidade de Cambridge.

No livro, intitulado “The Mystery of the Last Supper” (“O Mistério da Última Ceia”), o catedrático acrescenta mais uma tese a um tema que divide teólogos e historiadores.

“Esse é o problema: os especialistas em Bíblia e os cristãos acreditam que a última ceia começou depois do pôr do sol de quinta-feira, e a crucificação foi realizada no dia seguinte, às 9h. O processo de julgamento de Jesus aconteceu em várias áreas de Jerusalém. Os especialistas percorreram a cidade com um cronômetro para ver como podiam ocorrer todos os acontecimentos entre a noite de quinta-feira e a manhã de sexta-feira: a maioria concluiu que era impossível”, enfatizou o professor, segundo trechos do livro.

Os discípulos Mateus, Marcos e Lucas dizem que a última ceia foi uma refeição pascoal, enquanto João afirma que aconteceu antes da Páscoa judaica.

“A solução que encontrei é que todos têm razão, mas que se referem a dois calendários diferentes”, explica o pesquisador.

Reconciliando os dois calendários, o professor concluiu que a última ceia aconteceu, na verdade, na véspera da Quinta-feira Santa.


Pesquisador afirma que Última Ceia ocorreu em uma quarta-feiraBBC Brasil: 18 de abril, 2011

Um professor da Universidade de Cambridge, na Inglaterra, afirma em um livro que a Última Ceia, a última refeição realizada por Jesus Cristo com seus doze apóstolos, ocorreu na quarta-feira anterior à sua Crucificação e não na quinta-feira, como vinha se acreditando até agora.

O professor Colin Humphreys afirma que os Evangelhos de Mateus, Marcos e Lucas usaram um calendário mais antigo do que o de João, causando discrepâncias sobre a data da refeição.

Ainda segundo o acadêmico, Jesus não poderia ter sido preso, interrogado e julgado em apenas uma noite.

Enquanto Mateus, Marcos e Lucas afirmam que a Última Ceia coincidiu com o início do Pessach (Páscoa Judaica), João escreveu que ela ocorreu antes desta data.

“Isto tem confundido estudiosos da Bíblia por séculos. Na verdade, alguém disse que este era ‘o assunto mais espinhoso’ no Novo Testamento”, disse o professor à BBC.

‘Inconsistências’

Humphreys publicou o livro The Mystery Of The Last Supper (em tradução livre, “O Mistério da Última Ceia”), no qual utiliza pesquisas bíblicas, históricas e até astronômicas para apresentar o que considera “inconsistências fundamentais” sobre o evento.

“Se você olhar para todos os eventos registrados no Evangelho – entre a Última Ceia e a Crucificação – existe um grande número deles. É impossível encaixá-los todos entre a noite de quinta-feira e a manhã de sexta-feira”, afirmou.

“Mas eu descobri que dois calendários diferentes foram usados. Na verdade, os quatro Evangelhos concordam perfeitamente”.

Ele sugere que Mateus, Marcos e Lucas usaram um calendário antiquado – adaptado do que era utilizado no Egito nos tempos de Moisés – em vez do calendário lunar que era largamente adotado pelos judeus em sua época.

“No Evangelho de João, ele está correto ao dizer que a Última Ceia ocorreu antes da refeição do Pessach, mas Jesus optou por fazer a sua Última Ceia como uma refeição de Pessach de acordo com um calendário judeu mais antigo”, afirma o professor.

Com isto, Humphreys sustenta que a Ceia teria ocorrido em 1º de abril de 33, de acordo com o Calendário Juliano utilizado pelos historiadores.

O professor, que é especializado em metalurgia e materiais, acredita que a sua hipótese pode servir como argumento para fixar a Páscoa no primeiro domingo de abril.


O artigo de Colin J. Humphreys, o autor da proposta, foi publicado na revista The Bible and Interpretation em abril de 2011 [onde há também um link para o livro]:

The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus

Bible scholars have puzzled for centuries over apparent discrepancies in the Gospel accounts of the last week of Jesus, and this often leads people to question the Bible’s veracity entirely. For example, Matthew, Mark and Luke all state the Last Supper was a Passover meal. John, by contrast, says that it took place before the Passover began. Whatever you think about the Bible, the fact is that Jewish people would never mistake the Passover meal for another meal, so for the Gospels to contradict themselves about this is really hard to understand. The eminent biblical scholar, F. F. Bruce, once described this problem as “the thorniest problem in the New Testament.”

The Gospels also do not seem to allow enough time for all the events they record between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, whilst indicating that Wednesday was a “missing day” on which Jesus did nothing. Scholars have literally rushed around Jerusalem with a stop-watch to see how the large number of events recorded in the Gospels could have occurred between the Last Supper on Thursday night and the Crucifixion on Friday morning. Most conclude that it is impossible. In addition, the Mishnah (a compendium of regulations attributed to about 150 rabbis who lived from about 50 BC to about AD 200) states that the Jewish Court called the Sanhedrin, which tried Jesus, must not meet at night, on a feast day or on the eve of a feast day, and in capital cases a verdict of conviction must be reached the day after the main trial. If these rules applied at the time of Jesus then the trials reported in the Gospels blatantly flout Jewish legal proceedings, yet although the gospels claim there were many false witnesses they implicitly accept the legality of the trials. However, it turns out that there is a very simple solution to these problems: if you move the Last Supper to Wednesday, instead of Thursday, the Gospels are actually in remarkable agreement. In addition, the Bible nowhere states that the Last Supper was on the evening before the Crucifixion, contrary to the claims in many biblical commentaries that it does!

What Really Happened in Jesus’ Last Week?

In my new book, The Mystery of the Last Supper (Cambridge University Press, 2011), I use science and historical reconstruction to take a closer look at the apparent inconsistencies in the Gospel accounts of the final days of Jesus. Essential to this task was the use of different calendars. The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal that there were a number of different Jewish calendars in use in Israel in the first century AD, and so different Jewish groups celebrated Passover on different days. We have a similar situation today with the date of Easter: Catholics and Protestants celebrate Easter on a different date from Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians, because they calculate the date of Easter using different calendars (Gregorian and Julian, respectively). In his description of the Last Supper, John uses the official Jewish calendar, in which the Last Supper was before the date of the official Passover. However, I suggest that Jesus chose to hold his Last Supper on the date of Passover in a different Jewish calendar, which is what Matthew, Mark and Luke report. So all four Gospels in fact agree!

I am not the first person to suggest that Jesus might have been using a different calendar. Most recently, the Pope proposed in 2007 that Jesus might have used the solar calendar of the Qumran community, who were probably a Jewish sect called the Essenes. However, I have shown that when the date of Passover is calculated using this calendar, it would have fallen a week later, after both Jesus’death and resurrection.

I have worked with an expert astronomer to investigate, for the first time, the possibility that a third Jewish calendar was in use in the first century AD. The official Jewish calendar at the time of Jesus’death was that still used by Jews today; a lunar system in which days run from sunset to sunset. This was developed during the Jewish exile in Babylon in the sixth century BC. Before that, however, the Jews had a different system. This is referred to in the Book of Exodus, which describes God instructing Moses and Aaron to start their year at the time of the Exodus from Egypt. In my book I argue that this pre-exilic Jewish calendar was based on the Egyptian lunar calendar (their calendar used for religious feasts and festivals, as distinct from the Egyptian solar calendar used for civil purposes).

There is extensive evidence that this original Jewish calendar survived to Jesus’ time. Not all Jews were exiled to Babylon. Those who remained retained the pre-exilic calendar and by the first century AD groups such as the Samaritans, Zealots, some Galileans and some Essenes were still using the original Jewish calendar. Under this pre-exilic calendar, Passover always fell a few days earlier than in the official Jewish calendar, and the days were marked from sunrise to sunrise, not sunset to sunset.

According to our reconstruction of the pre-exilic calendar, in AD 33, the year of the Crucifixion, the Passover meal in this calendar was on the Wednesday of Holy Week. From the clues they give, it’s clear that Matthew, Mark and Luke all used the pre-exilic calendar in their description of the Last Supper as a Passover meal, whereas John uses the official calendar in which the Last Supper was before the Passover.

What does this mean for our celebration of Easter?

Holy Thursday (sometimes called Maundy Thursday) is the well-known day on which Christians annually commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus. But my research shows that we should really be celebrating this on the Wednesday of Holy Week. This resolves the apparent contradictions in the Gospels on the date and nature of the Last Supper, it also gives just the right amount of time to fit in all the events the Gospels record between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion and it means that the trials of Jesus were in accordance with Jewish law.

Today, about half of the churches in the world use unleavened bread in their weekly or monthly celebration of the Last Supper, because they believe it was a Passover meal, and half use leavened bread, because they believe it was before the Passover meal. I have shown that everyone is right! The Last Supper was before the Passover meal in the official Jewish calendar (used by John), but it was the Passover meal in the earlier original Jewish calendar that Jesus chose to use for his Last Supper (described by Matthew, Mark and Luke).

We celebrate Christmas on a fixed date each year: December 25. However, Easter is a moveable feast: the date of Easter Sunday changes every year, according to a complicated formula, and can range from March 23 to April 25. Many people would prefer to have a more fixed date for Easter. I have shown that the Crucifixion was on Friday, April 3, AD 33, with the Resurrection on Sunday, April 5, AD 33. For those who would like a more fixed date for Easter, my research suggests the date: Easter Sunday should be the first Sunday in April.

Finally, why did Jesus choose to hold his Last Supper at Passover time according to the pre-exilic calendar? I suggest it was because this original Jewish calendar was the one the Old Testament says was used by Moses to celebrate the very first Passover in Egypt. The Gospels are full of examples of Jesus presenting himself as the new Moses. Jesus was therefore holding his Last Supper on the exact anniversary of the first Passover of Moses, as described in the book of Exodus, thus proclaiming that he was the new Moses, instituting a new covenant (a direct reference to the original covenant made between God and the Jewish people through Moses, according to Exodus) and leading his people out of slavery into a new life. Jesus then died just as the Passover lambs were being slain, according to the official Jewish calendar. These are deep, powerful symbolisms, which are based on objective, historical evidence. Far from being incompatible, as many scholars make them out to be, here science and the Bible work hand-in-hand to show that all four Gospels are in remarkable agreement about Jesus’ final days.


Transcrevo, por último, as considerações sobre o assunto de um especialista em Novo Testamento, Mark Goodacre, publicadas em seu NT Blog – Friday, April 22, 2011:

Dating the Last Supper a Day Early?

BBC News reported earlier this week on an interesting seasonal story about the date of the Last Supper:

Jesus Christ’s Last Supper ‘was on a Wednesday’

The gist of the story is that Colin Humphreys, a metallurgist and materials scientist at the University of Cambridge, claims that Jesus and the Synoptics were working with one (older) calendar, according to which Passover fell that year on the Wednesday, while John was working with the standard calendar, according to which Passover fell that year on the Friday evening / Sabbath.

The story made it into the L.A. Times (link courtesy of Jim Davila, who also reports an email comment from Geza Vermes) and there are fuller versions at Cambridge University’s research pages, The Penultimate Supper? and in an article written by Humphreys himself in Bible and Interpretation, The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Last Days of Jesus. These articles are all advertising Humphreys’s new book, The Mystery of the Last Supper, now out from Cambridge University Press.

This is an ingenious proposal that attempts to squeeze every element in the Gospel Passion chronology into a harmonized whole. If I have understand the case properly, and I have not yet had a chance to read the book, the effective timetable, on Humphreys’s scheme, looks like this:

Wednesday evening: Last Supper (Old Passover: Synoptics; before the Official Passover: John)
Thursday: Trial before the Sanhedrin
Friday: Trial before Pilate and Crucifixion
Sabbath: “Official” Passover (John)

This scheme of contrasting Passovers attempts to resolve the conflict over the date of the crucifixion. It attempts to harmonize all the varying statements in the Gospels. When the Synoptics talk about Jesus eating the Passover, they are talking about Passover on an old calendar. When John talks about events before Passover , he is talking about Passover on the “official” calendar. So both types of statements, eating the meal before the Passover and during the Passover, can be harmonized.

It is a neat solution and I’ll have to read the book to get the detail but on the basis of the sketch, let me outline my problems with the proposal:

(1) One of Humphreys’s primary concerns is to avoid the idea that the Gospels “contradict themselves”. The concern is one that characterizes apologetic works and it is not a concern that I share. Nevertheless, if it is to be a concern, then it needs to be reiterated that as they stand, the Gospels do “contradict themselves” and this proposal does not succeed in avoiding the contradiction. What the Synoptics are calling “the Passover” is set on a different day from what John is calling “the Passover”. The Synoptics do not distinguish the Passover that Jesus is celebrating from the Passover that everyone else was celebrating (e.g. Mark 14.1-2) and John shows no awareness of an alternative Passover date. What Humphreys’s proposal does is to try to explain the contradiction in the light of a proposed underlying history; it does not remove the contradiction.

(2) It is not just Jesus and his disciples in the Synoptics who think that it is Passover. It is Pilate and the crowds too (Mark 15.6,8).

(3) Proposals that attempts to harmonize discrepant accounts usually end up placing strain on the narrative(s) at other points. This proposal is no exception. The pay-off, for Humphreys, in the Wednesday evening Last Supper is that this allows more time for the trials to take place. But according to Mark, the trial before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin took place on the same night as the Last Supper and not the next day. It receives a marked emphasis:

Mark 14.30: καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ἀμὴν λέγω σοι ὅτι σὺ σήμερον αύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ πρὶν ἢ δὶς ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι τρίς με ἀπαρνήσῃ

Mark 14.30: Amen I say to you: Today, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.

Peter’s denial in Mark is famously intertwined with the trial before the High Priest — it is taking place at night, that night, before the cock crows (Mark 14.53-72).

(4) The clear indication is that the events of Mark 15 follow straight on from the end of Mark 14, beginning “Early” (πρωΐ,15.1) without an additional unmentioned day intervening.

(5) Humphreys is concerned that a night trial before the Sanhedrin would be illegal. It is true that this concern is often repeated in the literature, but the basis for it is weak. The authoritative work on Mishnah Tractate Sanhedrin by Jacob Neusner concludes that that tractate is not a useful guide to what obtained in Jerusalem in the pre-70 period. It is an idealized re-imagination of what went on before 70.

(6) Humphreys is also concerned about the rushed timetable that is implied. I don’t share this concern for two reasons, historical and liturgical. The historical concern: we should be wary of importing our own ideas of what a “trial” ought to include. In the ancient world, these “trials” were often summary, ad hoc, ruthless affairs. The liturgical issue: If early Christians were remembering the Passion as they celebrated Passover, it is easy to imagine how the retelling compressed the narrative. The apparently tight timetable is more about liturgical remembering than historical memory.

Now it may be that some of my concerns are dealt with in the book, which I hope to read in due course. But on the basis of the press releases and summary articles, I think the proposal is flawed for these reasons.


Observo que:

. Quando se tenta explicar cientificamente um acontecimento narrado em um texto bíblico – seja ele o Êxodo do Egito ou a Última Ceia de Jesus – partindo do próprio texto e não de conclusões resultantes de múltiplas análises exegéticas do texto, os resultados costumam ser frágeis ou mesmo desastrosos. Mesmo fecundado com recursos da mais avançada ciência, o texto dá à luz não a uma explicação científica, mas a uma apologia [que, em grego, significa ‘defesa’, ‘justificação’]

. Não se pode saltar diretamente da leitura de um texto bíblico para o acontecimento narrado por ele: texto bíblico não é reportagem

. Além do que, é péssimo hábito ler mal o texto, vendo o que está em nossa cabeça – pressupostos não discutidos – e não o que o texto diz…

. Para se entender um texto bíblico deve-se levar em conta, pelo menos, quatro elementos na sua leitura: o texto e seu contexto, de um lado; nós e o nosso contexto, de outro lado. É estabelecida assim a seguinte correlação: o texto está para o seu contexto, assim como nós estamos para o nosso contexto. Deste modo, a identidade do sentido não é procurada no contexto ou na mensagem, mas na relação entre contexto e mensagem

. Como explico aqui e aqui.

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