How Old was Jesus Christ when he was Crucified?


#1

I seem to read in one Gospel that it was about 1 year after Jesus was baptised by John the baptist that Christ was crucified. Another Gospel seems to indicate it was 3 years. Which to the way i seem to have read things Jesus was Crucified when he was about 33 years of age.

I was reading Irenaeus against heresies Book 2 chapter 22 v 5-6. Now Irenaeus seems to be saying that Christ was Past 40 and more closer to 50 when he crucified. He seems to base this on John 8:56-57. When the Jews said to Jesus you are not yet 50 and you was before Abraham ?

Ireneaus is saying Such langauge is Fittingly applied to One who has already past the age 40 without have reached the age of 50. Yet is not far from the latter age of 50. If Jesus had just gone thirty when the Jews said this to him. They can not be so far out by nearly 20 years in seeing his age nearly 50 when he is Just gone 30.

Is Ireneaus Wrong here ?....How do Catholics see how old Jesus was when he was Crucified ?


#2

I’ve always believed that He was crucified when He was 33 years old.


#3

I’m pretty sure that most of the Fathers and Catholic Tradition support the theory that he was 33 years old when he was crucified :thumbsup:


#4

Irenaeus seems to have been following a minority tradition when he stated this, if indeed he didn't come up with the theory on his own. Such an advanced age would put Christ's crucifixion absurdly late in history, so it can probably be safely rejected.


#5

I believe Jesus Christ was Crucified when He was 33.


#6

[quote="Daniel_Lysinger, post:3, topic:326531"]
I'm pretty sure that most of the Fathers and Catholic Tradition support the theory that he was 33 years old when he was crucified :thumbsup:

[/quote]

This seems to be the general consensus, yes.

Could you quote chapter and verse?


#7

[quote="Daniel_Lysinger, post:3, topic:326531"]
I'm pretty sure that most of the Fathers and Catholic Tradition support the theory that he was 33 years old when he was crucified :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Yep, I believe that, traditionally, this is the case :thumbsup: I agree with you :)


#8

[quote="Anthony86, post:6, topic:326531"]
This seems to be the general consensus, yes.

Could you quote chapter and verse?

[/quote]

No i seem to got that wrong with somthing else :o


#9

[quote="Daniel_Lysinger, post:3, topic:326531"]
I'm pretty sure that most of the Fathers and Catholic Tradition support the theory that he was 33 years old when he was crucified :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Can you give a source with any ECF that says how old christ was when he was crucified ?


#10

Here are the Scriptural passages that back up the idea Jesus was 33
Although not a revealed truth, tradition has it that the Lord lived until thirty-three years of age. Luke 3:23 states: “When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age,” while St. John’s Gospel mentions the occurrence of three Passovers during the years of Jesus’ ministry (2:23, 6:4, and 12:1).
God bless
www.divinemercypopes.com


#11

We know that Jesus was born before the death of Herod the Great, which was in 4 B.C. If we place the birth in that year, and the crucifixion in 30 A.D., then it works out that Jesus was 33 years old (by my fingers). However, if the crucifixion was in 33 A.D., then He was 36.

Edit: Bear in mind that people in that part of the world calculated ages differently. We don't consider a child to be a year old until [s]he has completed a full year. They considered a child to be a year old when [s]he was in his/her first year of life, even if [s]he was only in the first few days of that year. So their age calculations are a year off from ours.


#12

He was 47. "not yet fifty"....in John somewhere.


#13

Well first, let's address the idea that Jesus lived for 33 (or to be more precise, 33 and a half) years. The belief that Jesus' public ministry lasted for three and a half years actually derives, not so much from the gospels, but from a Christological reading of the prophecy of Daniel's Seventy Weeks.

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

A common Christian interpretation of the passage is that the "he" who will make the sacrifices stop is the Antichrist (you may have heard this), but another interpretation applies it to Jesus.

The first recorded writer we have which drew the connection is Origen, who spoke of "about three years of the Lord's preaching," which he related to the half week in the prophecy of Daniel, but it was with Eusebius that the view became more or less the standard interpretation. In his Church History (1.10.2), for instance, he argues that: "The Divine Scripture says, moreover, that he passed the entire time of his ministry under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, showing that in the time which belonged to the priesthood of those two men the whole period of his teaching was completed. Since he began his work during the high priesthood of Annas and taught until Caiaphas held the office, the entire time does not comprise quite four years." (This is often considered to be inaccurate nowadays, as Annas is generally held to have reigned from AD 6 to AD 15, which is way too early, and was first succeded by his son Eleazar before Caiaphas held the office in AD 18).

In his Demonstratio Evangelica (8.106-8) he cites the repeated Passovers in John's gospel as support of his view: "the whole period of our Savior's teaching and marvel-working is recorded to have been three years and a half, which is half of a week. This, I take it, John the Evangelist accurately establishes by his presentation in the gospel." We must note that Eusebius claimed that John represents a three-year ministry, but offered no specific arguments as proof. He notably did not use the argument that some supporters now use that the unnamed feast of John 5:1 as a fourth Passover.

Finally, in his Prophetic Eclogues (3.46) he supplements the exegetical point with a typological one, by drawing out a connection between Daniel's prophecy and Jesus' ministry: "Therefore it is written, 'and in the midst of the week shall be taken away sacrifice and libation'; (Daniel 9:27) and it is clear that with the Passion was forcibly taken from them sacrifice and libation, when according to the Evangelical Scripture 'the veil of the Temple was rent from the top to the bottom' (Matthew 27:41).

Eusebius' view proved to be convincing enough that later chroniclers and scholars came to adopt his view, first in the East, and then by the 6th century also in the West. I should note that up to this point, there seem to have been no agreement on the exact duration of Jesus' public ministry: Julius Africanus, Clement of Alexandria, and even some gnostic groups are said to have reckoned it to last a single year, St. Epiphanius contra Clement thought it lasted two years, and so on and so forth.


#14

Now when we look at the gospels, there is no explicit indication about how long Jesus' ministry lasted. We do know that Jesus was executed during the prefecture of Pontius Pilate (ca. AD 26-36) and the high priesthood of Joseph Caiaphas (ca. AD 18-36/7), so we at least can be pretty sure that the latest date possible for Jesus, aka the terminus ante quem, is AD 36. We also know that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, who according to Luke (3:1) began his preaching in "the fifteenth year in the reign of the Emperor Tiberius," around AD 28 or 29 (the earliest date possible, aka the terminus post quem, for Jesus).

The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) mention only a single Passover - the one where Jesus is killed. Based of this, as well as what is seen as clues within the Synoptics - for example, in the Gospel of Mark 2:23-28 grain is eaten raw, which suggests early summer; in 6:39 it is spring since the grass is green; Jesus then goes to Jerusalem for Passover in 11:1, presumably during the same spring as chapter 6 - there are some people who argue that Jesus' ministry actually lasted only for more or less a year: between one early summer or late spring and the next spring. They argue that this shorter chronology is compatible with Josephus' references to some other contemporaneous prophetic figures, such as John the Baptist, the Samaritan, the Egyptian, and Theudas, and yet another anonymous prophet, who also had apparently short careers before the authorities crushed their movement (though Athronges' rebellion in 4 BC seem to have lasted for two years), as well as with Jesus' itinerant lifestyle and His disciples' lack of formal occupations (having abandoned them), which they think would not work as well for a longer period of time.

The problem with this theory, however, is that it fails to consider that Matthew, Mark, and Luke often arrange some of their (episodic) material differently. Hence, to use, say, the time indicators in Mark one would have to assume that the events happened in the exact order as Mark placed them, which would place one into a dilemma when you compare his gospel with Matthew or with Luke, both of whom place some pericopes in a different order than Mark. So, even these clues are not exactly helpful in determining how long Jesus was out in public.


#15

In John's gospel meanwhile, there are three Passovers (2:13; 6:4; 11:55ff.). John's version of the Cleansing in the Temple occurs during the first Passover, the feeding of the five thousand occurs in the second, and the last Passover marks the end of Jesus' ministry. Besides Passover, John also mentions an unspecified "feast of the Jews" in 5:1, while chapter 7 is set during Sukkoth, aka the Feast of Booths (cf. verse 2) and 10:22ff is set during Hannukah, aka the Feast of the Dedication.

Three years, right? Not necessarily. According to this reckoning, Jesus began His ministry somewhere before the first recorded Passover, which would make the length of time He was in public only slightly more than two years. (And if we take John to his word that he only recorded a small portion of what Jesus actually did (cf. 21:25), then there is also the matter of potentially unrecorded periods of time.)

Much speculation has arisen over the identity of the unnamed feast of chapter 5. For example, some have suggested that it also refers to Passover (which would make the total of Passovers in John into four, hence supporting the idea of a three-year ministry), others think that it is a reference to Shavuot, aka Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, still others take it as referring to Purim.

Late March-late April (Spring): First Passover (2:13)
??: Unnamed feast (5:1)

Late March-late April (Spring): Second Passover (6:4)
Late September-late October (Autumn): Booths (7:1ff.)
Late November-late December (Winter): Dedication (10:22ff.)

Late March-late April (Spring): Third Passover (11:55ff.)


#16

Now to answer the OP’s question, let’s look at the Church Fathers. While as I mentioned a couple of posts ago the earlier generations of Christians did not agree on the exact length of Jesus’ ministry, most of them apparently took the reference in Luke 3:23 about Jesus being “about thirty years old when he began his ministry” literally.

The reference in Irenaeus must be taken in context. I’m not going to write it all down here, but will just post a link or two.


#17

[quote="patrick457, post:16, topic:326531"]
Now to answer the OP's question, let's look at the Church Fathers. While as I mentioned a couple of posts ago the earlier generations of Christians did not agree on the exact length of Jesus' ministry, most of them apparently took the reference in Luke 3:23 about Jesus being "about thirty years old when he began his ministry" literally.

The reference in Irenaeus must be taken in context. I'm not going to write it all down here, but will just post a link or two.

[/quote]

At Present tend to side with the [one] and not two. Like Augustine who got things a bit wrong when writing against Pelagianism. Maybe Irenaeus got things a bit wrong writing againts gnostics.
Unless we are going to say all ECFs are infallible or some are infallible and others are not. But how do we get to decide ?

[With [two] Saying Irenaeus being miss-interpreted ? Irenaeus Point Jesus being between 30 and 50 can not be regarded as one year]. According to Jewish Tradition to reach the age of teacher is 30 not 33 as this person seems to be saying. If Jesus would have been killed a 31 it is still between the age 30 and 50 and age of teacher.

At Present I think i will stick to 33 years of age when Christ was crucufied because that is what i have always believed by plain reading of Scripture.


#18

To get a better answer once has to leave the Church Fathers behind and look at secular Roman writings of the time, especially Josephus.

There are identifiable characters in the New Testament that are detailed on Tacitus, Suetonius, and Josephus.

Looking closely at their "secular" lives dates can be derived for the New Testament.

Hagan in "Year of the Passover" I think does a good job of this.

He concludes that the crucifixion occurred in A.D. 36, with Jesus' birth around 12-11 B.C.


#19

[quote="steve53, post:18, topic:326531"]
To get a better answer once has to leave the Church Fathers behind and look at secular Roman writings of the time, especially Josephus.

There are identifiable characters in the New Testament that are detailed on Tacitus, Suetonius, and Josephus.

Looking closely at their "secular" lives dates can be derived for the New Testament.

Hagan in "Year of the Passover" I think does a good job of this.

He concludes that the crucifixion occurred in A.D. 36, with Jesus' birth around 12-11 B.C.

[/quote]

That approach I think exemplifies what is wrong with quite a number of modern NT scholarship: they too often divorce Jesus from Christianity. To the contrary, I think we shouldn't immediately dismiss the ECFs, just because they're not contemporary or just because they're Christian.

And I know we've been at it for three or four years now, but care to explain to us who John Hagan is and why you like to advertise him so much?


#20

He answers a lot of questions that I have had for years about Jesus and Christianity.

He doesn't reach back into the Old Testament for validation, or up into the later sources of the Talmud, or even the Church Fathers. His books are mostly Roman history, and he argues that you have to know that before you make any conclusions about Christian history. I agree.

If there is any book out there that does the same thing, I would like to know.

Also, I was unaware of Josephus' writings at all, but became introduced to them through Hagan. Why are they ignored?

I later found that Michner's book "The Source" is based on a lot of Josephus. It is fiction, but historical fiction, and I think those interested should read it.


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