Passover - 32AD

The traditional timeline for the Passion week has the crucifixion occurring on Friday, before the Sabbath on Saturday, and the resurrection occurring on Sunday morning.This does not fit the biblical data.

I tried to tabulate all of the data and find that the best fit is that the crucifixion must have occurred on the Thursday. I created a spreadsheet of this tabulation which you can download from here:

The best format to look at this in is the spreadsheet format, which is easier to move around in. If you do not have LibreOffice you can download it free from here or from a number of other repositories worldwide.

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How sure are the dates?

I received a query about the dates I have used. My response follows:

On Mon, 2016-03-21 at 20:23 -0400, wrote:
> Oliver,
> Did you construct the attached chart on the events of Passover 32
> A.D.?  If so, I appreciate your fine work.  If not, maybe you know
> the Oliver Elphick who did.

That is my chart.

> I too thought that 32 AD was the year of the crucifixion and Jesus’
> entry into Jerusalem based upon the years/days in the Daniel
> prophesy, however, I recently discovered that according to the U.S.
> Naval Observatory (
> occurred on Monday April 14th 32 A.D and not on Thursday.  I assume
> the Thursday April 14th 32 A.D. date was picked up from works such as
> Sir Robert Anderson or others prior to modern calculations.
> I find it very difficult to reconcile a Monday Passover with the
> biblical text such as the women coming to the tomb the first day of
> the week.
> I wondered what you might think given the astronomical data regarding
> Passover 32.   Can the facts in the NT text be fitted into a Monday
> Passover?  Could the US Naval Observatory be incorrect?

I don't know enough about how the calculations are done to be able to
comment about possible errors.

We have a firm start date for Jesus' baptism in the 15th year of
Tiberius - 29 AD. My 32 year date is from Sir Robert Anderson - he got
the lunar data from the Royal Observatory.

I think we have to go for a Thursday crucifixion, because otherwise the
3 days and nights and the sabbaths don't work.

One thing that is not apparently taken into account by the modern
calculations is that the new moon date was established by observation
only, and apparently observation of the first sliver of the new moon
rather than the completely darkened disc.  What effect might cloud
cover have on that?

Although Sir Robert's calculation takes us from the 1st day of the
month in which the authorisation to build the walls of Jerusalem was
given to Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, to the very day, it seems to me
that it would be quite allowable to have the time established to the
nearest fortnight, so I am not absolutely committed to the 'fulfilment
to the very day' - if we don't have a firm start date, we can't insist
on a firm end date either.

Another issue is the dating of the 20th year of Ahasuerus, which is not
certain, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum, for example, takes the 69 weeks as
beginning in 585 BC rather than 586, giving a date in 33 AD for the
crucifixion; but that adds a year to Jesus' ministry, since we have a
firm start for that in 29.

Another point about that, that makes it unfeasible to suggest a later
date for his baptism, is that Jesus was "about 30 years old" at that
point, which might make him up to 32 or even 33 but surely not more. He
was certainly born before Herod's death, but Herod could have died as
late as 1 BC - the 4 BC date is not quite as firm as is commonly

Finally (and very speculatively), we don't know if there might have
been any events causing a small change in the orbit of the moon or the
earth's rotation during the last 200 years, that might throw the
calculations off. For example, could there have been a near passage of
a large object, whose gravity might have affected the lunar orbit?

To sum up, I am aware of the problem caused by the US Naval
Observatory's calculations, and don't mind if we say 33 instead of 32,
but I don't feel I have sure enough data to change the chart at this

Blessings to you


Oliver Elphick

Last modified: 3rd January 2024

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