Reports of Thallus And Phlegon
Both Thallus and Phlegon indicate that darkness covered the land immediately after Jesus Christ died on the cross. They state that the darkness occurred due to a solar eclipse. But this is not possible since the Jews celebrated the passover, the time of Jesus’ death, during a full moon. Here is Thallus’ comment, “For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon . . . but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun.” The following explains why a solar eclipse could not have occurred. Even though they were scientifically in error, it is stunning to realize that darkness covered the land when the moon was on the opposite side of the earth – when a solar eclipse was not possible.
If we look for natural events such a solar eclipse to explain the darkness that occurred during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we must explain away the existence of the full moon. Our first piece of information is found in John 19:14-16 where we are told that Jesus died on a Friday just before the Passover.
Full Moon Existed When Jesus Died
This is important because the Jews schedule the Passover during a full moon. That is, a full moon occurs when the moon is “behind” the earth. A solar eclipse requires when the moon is between the sun and the earth.
Solar Eclipse Did Not Exist When Jesus Died
A solar eclipse can only occur when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. When this happens, the sun’s rays are blocked from shining on the earth and consequently part of the earth is darkened. Therefore, a solar eclipse cannot occur during a full moon.
Astronomical records show that a solar eclipse did not occur anywhere near the city of Jerusalem during the years of A.D. 30-35. Jesus died on April 1, A.D. 33.
No solar eclipse was possible due to the positions of the sun and moon during the passover. Therefore, the darkness that Thallus and Phlegon refer to cannot be explained by natural causes. It was a supernatural event! Consider the following:
- The Jewish Passover occurs during the full moon.
- Full moon occurs when the moon is behind the earth.
- This means a supernatural darkness occurred over the earth.
- The darkness occurred during Christ’s death.
- The universe responded to the Creator’s death.
1. Julius Africanus, The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of The Chronography of Julius Africanus.