March 12, 2009

on Jesus' 13th Birthday

Another Archive Teaser: I've made it a point on this blog to say every month or three that I believe Matthew 2:22 explains Luke 2:42. Here's how I said it on December 8, 2008.
Since Joseph's irrational and personal fear of Archelaus was unlikely to dissipate while the ethnarch still ruled in Judea, I believe we must conclude that Jesus was twelve years old in March of 7 AD. That spring was the first Passover Joseph could bring his young charge safely into Judea after Archelaus had left (summer 6 AD). This means Jesus would have turned 13 any time in the twelve months after March, 7 AD. That same math also puts Jesus' birth anywhere in the twelve months prior to April of 6 BC - so as early as May of 7 BC.
For today, I'd also like to point out how this affects competition between the three-year and four-year chronologies of Jesus' ministry.

The 3-yr view puts Jesus' baptism in late 29 AD. If Jesus is born in May of 7 BC, he turns 35 in May of 29 AD, too late by most opinions to be called "about 30" at his baptism. The 4-yr view puts Jesus' baptism a year earlier, making him 34 (if born in early 7 BC). Aware of this distinction, some who take the 3-yr push Jesus' birth back as far as 6 BC, but there is no plausible way to posit a census in that year, as 6 BC was a transition year for the Syrian Governors.

This is a sample of what I was talking about last week, regarding Sudoku. Tomorrow, I'll get back to the Baptist and Sejanus...

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