Defense of Heinsius’ Position, Part 4

It is no objection that the Crucifixion of the two thieves mentioned at last in Mark 15:27 most likely followed immediately upon the Crucifixion of Christ, and was not delayed for three whole hours. Since, 1.  the Evangelist rightly narrates first in continuous succession those things that have regard unto the Crucifixion of Christ Himself and its consequences, even if those should happen somewhat later:  which sort of circumstances pertaining to the execution of this punishment were the title affixed to the Cross and the division of His garments.  Only after these have been related do Matthew and Mark subjoin the Crucifixion of the two thieves with Christ, as a fellowship given to the Lord to increase His reproach.  2.  Although they might have divided the garments of the Lord sooner, they do not appear to have done it before the Crucifixion of the thieves was accomplished, which Luke also narrates in the prior place, Luke 23:32-34, but in Matthew and Mark the division of the garments precedes in the order of narration.  3.  Similarly in Matthew 27 the Crucifixion of the two thieves related in verse 38 is preceded by the continuous activity of the Watch of Jesus’ cross, verse 36, which is immediately conjoined with the division of His garments mentioned in verse 36; because of course the Watch of the Cross was also pertaining to the circumstances and consequences of the suffering endured by the Lord Himself; with which the crucifixion of the thieves did not have so close a tie, which was added more circumstantially to the suffering of the Lord to aggravate His shame:  seeing that it is otherwise certain that the crucifixion of the two thieves was first accomplished, before the soldiers composed themselves to sit by the Lord’s Cross and to keep watch over it.  4.  Not dissimilarly could a quarrel be moved concerning the history of the Title affixed to the Cross, which is not narrated in its own place by Luke, Luke 23:38, if you compare the other Evangelists.  But it is able to be observed that Luke wanted to relate that particle of the history, although somewhat later, so that thus in the argument related of this Title, This is the King of the Jews, also written in Latin, he might indicate what furnished the opportunity for even Roman soldiers in their ignorance to mock our crucified Jesus in the manner that precedes in verses 36, 37.  But that is enough.


This Disputation was defended publicly on December 4, 1754, by JOHANNES HABBEMA, of Frisian Leeuwarden, now Doctor of Theology and Minister of the Divine Word in the towns of t’Wyzel and Kooten.[1]

[1] Johannes Habbema (1732-1800) was a Dutch Reformed Theologian and Pastor.

Defense of Heinsius’ Position, Part 3

5. In addition, it is to be observed that Mark in this brief verse makes use of two verbs, the one in the imperfect, the other in first aorist, ἦν δὲ ὥρα τρίτη, καὶ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτόν: but if the latter verb was not to be translated they had crucified, but they were crucifying, why, I ask, when ἦν, it was, precedes in the Imperfect, does not ἐσταύρουν follow correspondingly in the Imperfect? Certainly Mark would not change the tense of the verb in this brief pericope without reason.  The same construction of speech plainly occurs in John 7:39, already cited,[1] where the same distinction in signification also comes to be observed between the verb of the Imperfect tense, ἦν, He was, and the verb of the first Aorist, ἐδοξάσθη, He had been glorified.  6.  But if, in addition to all these things, we should be able to bring in a probable reason why the soldiers waited for three hours after the crucifixion to divide His garments; hardly anything else could be desired in order to value this opinion above all the others.  Which we would not soon abandon, even if the reason for this matter did not occur to us, as it frequently happens in the circumstances of the sacred history.  But here, not without a great appearance of truth, it is conjectured that the soldiers were delayed for so long a time, before they might divide the Lord’s garments; because, before they had completely finished what things were pertaining to the Crucifixion of the Lord and of the two thieves, that darkness spread, which endured through the three hours:  which unusual phenomenon was able to strike these soldiers with fear and bewilderment, uncertain as to what might follow upon this matter; who, being accordingly astonished, sat, keeping watch over the crucified, until by degress the darkness was dispelled again and the ordinary light returned, when they divided the garments of our crucified Lord among themselves:  consult Matthew 27:54; 28:4; Luke 23:47, 48.

[1] John 7:39b:  “…for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified (οὔπω γὰρ ἦν Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον, ὅτι ὁ Ἰησοῦς οὐδέπω ἐδοξάσθη).”

Defense of Heinsius’ Position, Part 2

4. It is added that Mark makes use of the aorist tense of the verb σταυρόω, to crucify, καὶ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτόν, and they crucified Him.  Now, the Aorist in the New Testament is known often to come in the place of the pluperfect.  PASOR[1] observes this, Grammatica Græca sacra Novi Testamenti, book I, chapter XXIII, number 9, page 235.  Thus we read in Mark 16:14, καὶ ὠνείδισε τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν καὶ σκληροκαρδίαν, ὅτι τοῖς θεασαμένοις αὐτὸν ἐγηγερμένον οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν, and He reproved their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those that had seen[2] Him raised.  John 7:39, οὔπω γὰρ ἦν Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον, ὅτι ὁ Ἰησοῦς οὐδέπω ἐδοξάσθη, for the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.[3]  Hebrews 1:3, δι᾽ ἑαυτοῦ καθαρισμὸν ποιησάμενος τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ, etc., when He had purged[4] our sins, He sat down, etc.  In the history of our Lord’s Passion the Aorist similarly occurs as to be taken in the pluperfect tense, John 18:14, ἦν δὲ Καϊάφας ὁ συμβουλεύσας, now Caiaphas was he, who had given counsel,[5] τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις, ὅτι συμφέρει ἕνα ἄνθρωπον ἀπολέσθαι ὑπὲρ τοῦ λαοῦ, to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people, in comparison with John 11:49, 50.  Likewise, John 18:24, ἀπέστειλεν οὖν αὐτὸν ὁ Ἄννας, now, Annas had sent[6] Him, δεδεμένον πρὸς Καϊάφαν τὸν ἀρχιερέα, bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.  And in verse 26, λέγει εἷς ἐκ τῶν δούλων τοῦ ἀρχιερέως, συγγενὴς ὢν οὗ ἀπέκοψε Πέτρος τὸ ὠτίον, one of the servants of the high priest, being a relative of him whose ear Peter had cut off.[7]  Likewise, Matthew 27:37, καὶ ἐπέθηκαν, and he had set up,[8] ἐπάνω τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ τὴν αἰτίαν αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένην, over His head His accusation written, if you compare verses 35, 36.  And also, in Matthew 27:35 and Mark 15:24, the participle of the aorist σταυρώσαντες signifies, after they had crucified.[9]  Also, Mark 15:15, φραγελλώσας, after they had scourged.

[1] Georgius Pasor (1570-1637) was a Reformed theologian and learned philologist; he served as Professor of Theology at Herborn (1607-1626) and Professor of Greek at Franeker (1626-1637).

[2] Θεασαμένοις is aorist in form, but clearly pluperfect in sense.

[3] Ἐδοξάσθη is aorist in form, but pluperfect in sense.

[4] Ποιησάμενος is aorist in form, but clearly pluperfect in sense.

[5] Συμβουλεύσας is aorist in form, but pluperfect in sense.

[6] Ἀπέστειλεν is aorist in form, but pluperfect in sense.

[7] Ἀπέκοψε is aorist in form, but pluperfect in sense.

[8] Ἐπέθηκαν is aorist in form, but pluperfect in sense.

[9] Matthew 27:35:  “And they crucified him (σταυρώσαντες δὲ αὐτόν, or, and after they had crucified him), and parted his garments, casting lots:  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.”  So also Mark 15:24.

Defense of Heinsius’ Position, Part 1

It makes for this interpretation, 1. that the Division of the Garments after the Crucifixion was just now mentioned, verse 24, and that this history of the division of the garments of our crucified Lord immediately precedes in that very place, when it follows in our verse 25, ἦν δὲ ὥρα τρίτη, καὶ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτόν, and it was the third hour, and the crucified Him.  2.  It could appear somewhat incongruous, if Mark after the relation of the division of the garments, which came after the Crucifixion, should return to determine the time of the Crucifixion itself:  but these words of Mark in verse 25 are able to be referred to the time of the division of the garments without any scruple; since this time is no where expressly determined in the Gospels, but it is related in a general way with other circumstances that this division of garments followed after the Crucifixion.  3.  The particle καὶ/and, which joins two members of a sentence, is best translated by the Hebraism After; as NOLDIUS,[1] in his Concordantiis Particularum Hebræo-Chaldaicarum on the letter ו, number 42, pages m. 295, 296, confirms this use of the letter ו by many examples in the writings of the Hebrews. For example, thus we have it in Judges 4:1, and the children of Israel proceeded to do evil in the eyes of Jehovah,וְאֵה֖וּד מֵֽת׃, and Ehud was dead, that is, AFTER Ehud was dead, as it is also translated by the Dutch, and in Greek, καὶ Ἀὼδ ἀπέθανε, and Ehud was dead.  In Job 14:10, וְגֶ֣בֶר יָ֭מוּת וַֽיֶּחֱלָ֑שׁ, And man dies and is weakened, that is, AFTER WHICH, AFTER he is weakened.  HEINSIUS chiefly appeals to Joshua 7:25, in which, after the stoning of Achan was related, upon whom it is then said, verse 26, that a great heap of stones were erected:  between which in the plural number it is related concerning the entire family and possession of Achan, וַיִּשְׂרְפ֤וּ אֹתָם֙ בָּאֵ֔שׁ וַיִּסְקְל֥וּ אֹתָ֖ם בָּאֲבָנִֽים׃, and they burned them with fire, and stoned them with stones; which he explains of a Burning following after the stoning, since one that has been burned with fire is not then able to be stoned:  in which Heinsius follows the Targumist, who translates it, בתר דרגמו יתהון באבניא, after they stoned them with stones.  Thus we read in Exodus 34:4, and he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and Moses rose up early in the morning,וַיַּ֙עַל֙ אֶל־הַ֣ר סִינַ֔י כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֹת֑וֹ וַיִּקַּ֣ח בְּיָד֔וֹ שְׁנֵ֖י לֻחֹ֥ת אֲבָנִֽים׃, and he went up into mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and he had taken, καὶ ἔλαβε, and he took, in the Septuagint, that is, AFTER he had taken in his hand the two tables of stone:  in which manner hasty judgment of LE CLERC concerning disturbed order vanishes. Likewise, in verse 33, וַיְכַל, and Moses finished speaking with them, וַיִּתֵּן, and he had given upon his face, and he had imposed upon his face, that is, AFTER he had imposed a veil upon his face, in comparison with verses 34, 35.  In Amos 7:9, and the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be reduced to wilderness, וְקַמְתִּי, and I will rise, Drusius translates, after I will have risen up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.  Perhaps it is thus to be read in the midst of Zechariah 3:5, וַיָּשִׂימוּ, and the set a clean mitre upon his head, וַיַּלְבִּשֻׁהוּ, and they had clothed, or after they had clothed him with garments, by comparison with verse 4:  see the Commentarium of MARCKIUS and the notas of MICHAELIS.  This Hebraism CONSTANTIN L’EMPEREUR[2] also recognizes in his notis ad Middoth, page 69, although perhaps less opportunely he applies the same to the text in 1 Samuel 7:6, judging that the ו/and in וַיָּצוּמוּ, and they fasted, here signifies after.  BOCHART likewise establishes this use of the particle ו/and, Hierozoico, part I, book III, chapter X, column 823, although again we are unwilling to undertake to support the application of this manner of speaking to the text in Genesis 49:27, concerning which MARCKIUS is to be consulted in his ad præcipuas quasdem partes Pentateuchi:  but this even now does not so much make for our matter.  Thus BOCHART:  “In Genesis 49:27, Benjamin is a ravening wolf. In the morning he eats the prey, and at evening he divides the spoil.  Which two time there signify, not the entire day, as they maintain, but the entire night, of which one part is evening, and the other morning.  And so the copula AND here is Ordinative, and it is the same as after, as if the Prophet had said: The Tribe of Benjamin shall be like a rapacious wolf, which has prey to be eaten unto the morning time, after he divided that about the time of the evening.  For the division of the prey is prior to the eating of it.  Such also is Joshua 7:25, and they burned them with fire, and stoned them with stones, that is,בתר דרגימו, after they had stoned them, as it is found in the Chaldean.  Job 14:10, and man dies, וַיֶּחֱלָשׁ, and is weakened, that is, after he has been weakened.”

[1] Christian Nolde was a professor of theology at Copenhagen.  He published his Concordantias Particularum Hebræo-Chaldaicarum in 1679.

[2] Constantin l’Empereur (1591-1648) was a Dutch Hebraist and Orientalist.  He served as Professor of Hebrew and Theology at Harderwijk (1619-1627), and then at Leiden.

Three Hours from Crucifixion to the Parting of Garments? the Position of Heinsius

More than other ways of reconciliation, that formerly pleased me that refers the determination of the time occurring in Mark 15:25, not to the time of day of the Crucifixion; but to the interval of time that came between the Crucifixion of the Lord and the parting of His garments. And so the words of the text of Mark 15:25, ἦν δὲ ὥρα τρίτη, καὶ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτόν, are to be rendered, but it was the third hour and they crucified Him, that is, from which they had crucified Him, after they had crucified Him.  DANIEL HEINSIUS greatly commends this opinion in his Exercitationibus Sacris on Mark 15:25, whom BAILLIE in his Opere historico et chronologico, book II, chapter II, question XIV, page 88, although he dissembles, conjectures to have been able to receive it from that most learned Roman Monk MARCELLUS.  LOMEIERUS, in his Dierum Genialium Decade prima Dissertatione quinta, follows Heinsius.  With a certain measure of doubt CALOVIUS, in his Chronico Biblico, section VIII, question XIII, page 149, supports this opinion. Perhaps, says he, the explanation of Daniel Heinsius is rather to be approved, etc., which he then frees from the objections moved by Baillie, Opere historico et chronologico, book II, chapter II, question XIV, pages 88, 89:  yet subjoining thereafter, we nevertheless add another solution to be evaluated by the learned, etc.  To this DEYLING also, in his Observationibus Sacris, part I, Observation XLVII, § 5, especially inclines:  “After so many learned men have exerted themselves in vain to reconcile John with Mark, it appears that it is hardly possible for us to determine which opinion might be closer to the truth.  At the same time, since something must be said and set up, I would subscribe to the opinion of DANIEL HEINSIUS before the others, etc.”  Nevertheless, it soon follows in § 6:  “However, lest I conceal anything, this opinion itself is not without difficulty.”  However, the difficulty that he then mentions is of almost no moment.  WOLF, in Miscellaneis Lipsiensibus, and also Observationibus XLVII, § 6, with all things rightly weighed, indicates that he retreats especially unto this same opinion:  “Having thus finished this labor, we will descend no further into an examination of the remaining positions, in the place of which we would declare that the opinion of Heinsius pleases us above the others.”  RELAND, in his Antiquitatibus Hebræorum Sacris, part IV, chapter I, § 17, with the reconciliation that is sought out of the distinction between these greater and lesser hours rejected, subjoins disjunctively:  “And so I would believe that those things of Mark, and it was the third hour, and they crucified him, are to be referred to the division of the garments of Christ, which was done in the third hour after Christ had been crucified:  as in Nehemiah 8:1 it is read, καὶ ἔφθασεν ὁ μὴν ὁ ἕβδομος καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ Ἰσραὴλ ἐν πόλεσιν αὐτῶν, and the seventh month came on first, and the sons of Israel were in their city.  Or, if the act of crucifixion is able to be said to have taken its beginning on the thir hour, in John 19:14 τρίτη/third should be read in the place of ἕκτη/sixth, etc.”  The solution of Heinsius OFFERHAUS prefers to the others, Spicilegiorum historico-chronologicorum, Dissertatione de Vita Salvatoris, page 544, where, with other ways of reconciliation rejected, he concludes:  “And so to me the explanation of Daniel Heinsius on Mark 15:25 is still especially satisfying, who translates the copula καὶ/and as after, after which.  So that the words of Mark 15:24, 25 are to be rendered:  And those that had led Him to the cross divided His garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. It was indeed the third hour, AFTER they had crucified Him:  so that it indicates the time when they divided His garments, the third hour after the crucifixion:  at least the particle καὶ/and ought to be taken in this sense in the Septuagint of Joshua 7:25, and they burned them with fire καὶ/ AFTER they had stoned them with stones.  CHRISTIANUS STOCKIUS,[1] Observationibus ad Novum Testamentum, yields to this same opinion.

[1] Christian Stock (1672-1733) was a German philologist and professor of oriental languages at Jena (1698).

Possible Harmonizations Using the Greater and Lesser Hours

But let us return now to the principal difficulty, which yet remains, namely, in what way might Mark’s Third Hour be able to be reconciled with John’s Sixth reckoned according to the manner of the Jews; so that we might see whether we are able to loose the same with any probable explanation.  Eminent men have tried to bring the Evangelists into agreement by the help of the distinction between the greater and lesser hours, so that John mentions the lesser sixth hour, but Mark speaks of the greater third hour, which will not stand in opposition to John’s sixth hour.  They, of course, divide the day into four quadrants, Nehemiah 9:3, just as the night was wont to be divided into four vigils, Mark 13:35.  But they divided the day into these greater hours in diverse ways, whence they elicit the agreement of the Evangelists in more than one way.  There are those that allot to the individual greater hours three hours equally, so that the second greater hour began from the fourth less hour, and the third greater hour from the seventh lesser hour:  see ZELTNER in his Dissertatione de Horologio Cajaphæ, § 18-24.  But, when according to this manner of reckoning the Lord was crucified at the beginning of the third hour, that is, the seventh lesser hour; darkness was already upon the face of the land for an hour before the crucifixion of the Lord, which nevertheless at length followed, when He was now affixed to the cross.  And, although that division of the day into quadrants is admitted, whence shall it be proven these individual quarter parts went by the name of the first, second, third, and four hour?  In addition, how shall it be rendered plausible that Mark, who soon makes mention of the sixth and ninth lesser hours, verses 33 and 34, in the case of the third hour understands the greater hour without any additional indication?  Others, with GROTIUS on Matthew 27:45, assign the four parts of the day in accordance with the diverse, more solemn hours of prayer, which were the third, the sixth, the ninth, of which, as when the pouring out of prayer is treated, mention is made, Acts 3:1; 10:3, 9.  According to this reckoning, the first quadrant will have only two hours, but the fourth four hours.  They think that these hours, the third, the sixth, and the ninth, were announced with the sound of the trumpet, especially at the time of the greater Feasts:  and by these hours they believe all the intervening time, which came between one and the other stated hour of prayer, was denominated, since these hours were of greater note than the rest, so that something might be said to happen at the third hour, which happened between this third hour and the following sixth hour.  And so John might relate that it was about the sixth hour, when Jesus was about to be delivered to undergo the punishment of the cross, since the sixth hour was now nearer than the third.  But Mark will testify that it was the third hour, when they crucified the Lord (which was accomplished with the greatest speed), since the middle of the time between the third and sixth hour had not yet completely elapsed, although the end of the third hour and the beginning of the sixth were already at hand.  But again, with what evidence will it be evinced that it was customary among the Jews that what things happened in the intervening time between two stated hours of prayer of this sort, they referred to one or the other of these hours?  In what manner in particular would one persuade someone that Mark, when he narrates the event that happened about the sixth lesser hour, said it was the third hour, and understood the same of a quadrant of the day, which had all but passed; when afterwards in verses 33 and 34 he again expressly makes mention of the sixth and ninth lesser hours?

More Failed Attempts to Harmonize John 19:14 and Mark 15:25

But when we thus acknowledge that John made mention of the Sixth Hour according to the Jews’ common manner of reckoning the natural day from the rising of the sun, so that that sixth hour falls upon our eleventh or twelfth:  the difficulty already moved from the beginning remains to be resolved, in what matter this reckoning is to be reconciled with that of Mark, who makes mention of the Third Hour.  Certainly, if the Lord at about the sixth hour was still standing before the tribunal of Pilate, He was not able to have been already affixed to the cross at the third hour according to the same reckoning.  To which another scruple is also added, moved by those that refer the sixth hour in John in one way or another to some earlier moment of the day; as if thus the time were too narrow, which must come between the condemnation of the Lord made by Pilate and the moment of gathering darkness, if we attend to the matters accomplished in the meantime; while the Evangelists expressly relate that there was darkness from the sixth hour unto the ninth, Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44.  Thus BYNÆUS, de Morte Jesu Christi, book III, chapter IV, § 43:  “That at the sixth hour, or about the sixth hour, darkness arose, Matthew, Mark, and Luke uniformly assert.  Therefore, about the sixth hour Pilate by no means sat for judgment.  For it was not possible that all the things that are narrated might happen in so small an interval.  For Jesus was condemned by Pilate, sitting for judgment.  Thence the Roman soldiers led Him outside of Jerusalem to the place of punishment.  After vinegar mixed with gall was given to Him to drink, He was fixed to the cross.  Then His garments were divided by lot, and those passing by idly mocked Him.  After all these things at last the darkness arose.  Therefore, about the third hour Pilate sat for judgment.  After the third hour Jesus was crucified.  About the sixth hour, or at the sixth hour, the darkness arose.”  You may read similar things in DE DIEU’S Animadversionibus on Mark 15:25; likewise in SAMUEL REYHER’S[1] Dissertation de Crucifixi Jesu titulis et de Hora Crucifixionis, chapter XII, which is found in MENTHENUS’ Thesauro Dissertationum in Novum Testamentum.  But that ὡσεὶ/about in John, ὥρα δὲ ὡσεὶ ἕκτη, and about the sixth hour, admits some latitude.  Neither will Bynæus or anyone else grant it as easily proven that all those things just now enumerated went before the descending of the darkness:  since the Evangelists made mention of the darkness in such a way that they record at the same time the descending and duration of it, and then subjoin only those things that happened about the time of the end of the darkness, having regard to the death of the Lord, and the immediate preparation to that.  While some things previously mentioned were able to happen even while the darkness was lasting.  Hence also the doubt just now set forth has not appeared so great to other learned men, that they think that it is not possible that a sufficient response might be given to this.  Thus MORINUS, de Horis salvificis Passionis Jesu Christi, pages 84 and following:  “That the sixth hour is to be assigned to the crucifixion, Saint Luke manifestly teaches; for, after he described the entire sequence of that, he adds, ἦν δὲ ὡσεὶ ὥρα ἕκτη, and it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour:  for thus he signifies that the sixth hour was fulfilled, and that the darkness happened at the same time….  But in fact Saint John appears to object, who in John 19:14 relates that ὥρᾳ ὡσεὶ ἕκτῃ, at about the sixth hour, Pilate said to the Jews, Behold you King, and, with them opposing, he attempted to free Him from death; and so He was not yet condemned, not yet delivered to the executioner, much less affixed to the cross.  But the particle ὡσεὶ/about resolves the whole problem; for it has not a little latitude on both sides, and it was possible that the whole hour was included in the scope….  In this way Saint Luke was able to say that it was ὡσεὶ ὥραν ἕκτην, about the sixth hour when Jesus was fixed to the cross, although that hou was immediately going to pass into the seventh; and on the other hand Saint John was able to say that it was ὥραν ὡσεὶ ἕκτην, about the sixth hour when that hour was imminent, and the fifth hour preceding was soon going to end….  And so, with the sixth hour approaching Christ was condemned, and, with the same complete, He was crucified.  But perhaps the space of an entire hour will appear briefer than is able to suffice for the innumerable injuriest to which He was exposed, and for the journey from the judgment hall to Golgotha; it will be able to seem this way to those that do not consider the energy of the fury now for some time restrained; in a half part of the night the entire case was drawn up, and in a small part of the early morning it was conducted and concluded; therefore, after judgment was passed the Jews, for a long time panting after the blood of our Redeemer, busied themselves to quench their thirst without any delay:  hence, although they rejoiced in His sufferings, and were watching with joy His faltering under the weight of the heavy cross, nevertheless, lest even in this manner His death should be delayed for a few moments, they compelled Simon of Cyrene to bear it without delay, so that He might hasten to that all the more quickly.”  Similarly CALOVIUS, Bibliis Illustratis, tome I, Chronico Biblico, section VIII, question XIII, page 150, has already advised us:  “And this is a common opinion of the Learned, that the crucifixion happened at the sixth hour, when the darkness arose….  Neither does the comparison of John 19:14 with Luke 23:44 create…a difficulty here….  For what would prevent that knot from being loosed in this way, that according to John it was ὥρα ὡσεὶ ἕκτη, about the sixth hour, when Christ began to be condemned, because the sixth hour was soon imminent:  but according to Luke in this sense it is understood to be about the sixth hour, that the sixth was not very long past:  or even that those things that were completed by half an hour before or after the sixth hour are also understood as having been completed about the sixth hour:  now, those things were easily able to have been completed within an hour, especially by the enemies of Christ rushing headlong and hastening the death of Christ with fury and all the force and zeal of malice:  namely, His condemnation, delivering up, escorting to the place of punishment, and crucifixion.  The words of the Evangelists are not to be understood with Mathematical rigor, but ὡς ἐν πλάτει, loosely, and morally, or according to civil usage, as so the particle about is added.”

[1] Samuel Reyher (1635-1714) was a German mathematician and astronomer.

Zeltner’s Inadequate Understanding of John’s Sixth Hour

ZELTNER, in his Dissertatione de Horologio Pilati, commends yet another opinion, according to which John the Evangelist is here to be thought to have reckoned the hours according to the manner of the Romans, whose natural day, indeed, was not differing from that of the Jews, but who were beginning their Civil Day from the middle of the night, which is also our custom:  John will here mention the Sixth Hour of that Civil Day, about which Hour the sun was rising with the night of the feast of Passover finished, and so will indicate that in the very earliest morning Pilate sat ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος, upon the judgment seat, being about to pronounce judicial sentence.  While Mark will make mention of the common third hour of the Jews, with the beginning reckoned from the rising of the sun.  On behalf of this opinion WOLF, with those more ancient passed over, cites also EDZARDI[1] in his notes on chapter I of Berachoth.  And VRIEMOET, Thesibus selectarum controversiarum Antiquitatum Israeliticarum, CXXXVII, indicates that he also inclines unto the same, writing:  “The ἐναντιοφάνεια, apparent contradiction, between the passages in Mark 15:25 and John 19:14 is thus tidily removed, that the third hour when Christ was Crucified is according to the computation of the Jewish hours; but the sixth hour, when He was led forth from Pilate, is according to the Roman computation in the hall of the Procurator.”  This opinion is not without its reasons, with which its patrons attempt to support it.  The suppose that it is beyond question that Pilate, although living in the province, reckoned the time according to the Roman manner:  especially in an investigation of a criminal case, an account of which he was bound to render to Cæsar, which, with the moments of time to much more carefully noted, he was able to do.  Now, they believe that John in this passage followed this Roman method of computing the time, because he was present for these judicial acts, and perhaps noticed the hour of time now passing on the sundial, which was in the judgment or reception hall of Pilate.  So much the more, because the Evangelist was narrating the examination undertaken and the sentence brought by the Roman Prætor:  while John himself, while writing his Gospel, was also living among the Gentiles, and wrote his Gospel especially out of regard for them.  And they maintain that thus John also spoke according to the custom of the Romans, John 20:19, οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας, τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, it being then evening, on that day, the first day of the Sabbaths:  since that evening after the setting of the sun according to the Jews pertains to the second day of the week, not the first.  Certainly we do not deny the truth of some of the reasons, which we just now brought forth:  yet we do deny that they by legitimate consequence prove that which is here to be demonstrated.  Again, other things are assumed upon too slight a foundation.  And when in other passages of the Gospel of John, where he mentioned the tenth, sixth, and seventh hour, and the twelve hours of the day, John 1:39; 4:6, 52, 53; 11:9, no one thinks of the Roman manner of reckoning; we do not see for what reason we might be bound to admit that Roman manner in this one passage.  Neither do we think that Interpreters would have yielded to this opinion, unless they had been persuaded that John is able to be brought into agreement with Mark in no other way.  But when we attend diligently to the circumstances of the history of the Lord’s Passion, it appears to us altogether impossible that only the sixth hour of the morning was then reckoned according to the reckoning of the Romans and our method of counting.  I ask that you weigh carefully how many hours and how much of the morning of this day had already passed with the Lord Jesus.  It was already undoubtedly beyond μεσονύκτιον/midnight, since in the first place the Jewish Senate, congregated in the hall of Caiaphas, was dismissed.  Then those Elders gave some space of time to rest.  The Sanhedrin is gathered a second time, when the daylight had arrived, Matthew 27:1, Πρωΐας—γενομένης, when morning was come; Mark 15:1, εὐθέως ἐπὶ τὸ πρωῒ, straightway in the morning; Luke 22:66, ὡς ἐγένετο ἡμέρα, as soon as it was day.  (Now, the Jews were at that time in that season of the year that answers roughly to the beginning of our April.)  In this second assembly, the members of the Sanhedrin again call the Lord Jesus to examination; they condemn Him a second time.  Then they solemnly conduct Him toward the judgment hall of Pilate, which according to the topographical layout of the city of Jerusalem was not situated in close proximity to the hall of Caiaphas.  When they had arrived there, Pilate first goes out to the Jews, to ask what heads of accusation they might produce against the Lord Jesus.  He returns into the Judgment Hall, to examine the captive Jesus.  With this business accomplished, he pronounces Jesus guiltless.  And, when the Jews press hard, crying out against this captive, he sends them with bound Jesus to Herod, whose house was again at a distance from the judgment hall of Pilate.  Here Herod questions Jesus ἐν λόγοις ἱκανοῖς, in many words; the ἀρχιερεῖς, chief priests, and Scribes accuse Him εὐτόνως/vehemently; Herod σὺν τοῖς στρατεύμασιν αὐτοῦ, with his men-of-war, mock the Lord of glory in most unbecoming ways.[2]  When Jesus was returned to Pilate, the Prætor couples Him with Barabbas, and leaves it to the decision of the people which of these two they might desire to be released to them.  Then Pilate makes arrangements for Him to be flogged; he allows the flogged to be treated as a laughingstock by the soldiers:  with which accomplished He is again set before the Jews by the Prætor, if perchance he might be able to move them to compassion with the Lord innocent and having already been the recipient of such frightful measures.  Pilate again calls Jesus within the judgment hall for an examination concerning the crime of blasphemy charged against Him; afterwards Pilate goes out alone, if by any means he might set Jesus free, in whom after all those things and repeated examinations he was discerning no crime worthy of death.  And with all these things accomplished Pilate now leads Jesus out to the people, and sits down in the judgment seat.[3]  But who is able with any appearance of truth to imagine that all these things were able to be accomplished within the juncture of time when the day had begun to dawn and within the sixth hour of the morning?  To us this appears to be altogether ἀδύνατον/ impossible.  Wherefore, no less here than elsewhere, we believe that the Jewish manner of reckoning has been observed by our Evangelist, who have twelve hours in their day, which they begin to count from the rising of the sun; which then were longer in the summer and shorter in the winter:  but in the time of the Feast of Passover, which happened around the Vernal Equinox, their hours were almost equivalent to ours; so that the sixth hour of the Jews was our eleventh or twelfth hour about midday.  That the day had already hastened to this point is not at all able to seem strange, if we attentively consider all that had been transacted on this morning.  Neither are we moved from this opinion by the example that we heard advanced above out of John 20:19, as if John had also followed there, not the Jewish, but the Roman manner of reckoning.  Indeed, LOMEIERUS in his Dierum Genialium Decade prima Dissertatione quinta, page 220, responds, “John, when he narrates that Jesus appeared to His disciples οὔσης—ὀψίας, τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων, at evening, on that first day of the week, when the doors were shut, indicates part of the natural day, and its last part; without respect to the civil day, which the Jews were counting from evening to evening, the Romans from midnight to midnight.”  In addition, Interpreters are indeed produced that expound the ὀψίαν/evening of John of the very late Evening and in the first part of the night; because Cleopas with his companion, when they were drawing near to Emmaus, say to Jesus, Μεῖνον μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν, ὅτι πρὸς ἑσπέραν ἐστί, καὶ κέκλικεν ἡ ἡμέρα, abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.  When, with Jesus agreeing, they then reclined at table in Emmaus, and from there they returned to Jerusalem, where they related to the Apostles congregated together those things that had happened to them, before the Lord appeared to that assembly:  now, Jerusalem and Emmaus were more than two hours distant from each other.  But it is not necessary for us to defer this appearance of the Lord unto such a late hour of the evening.  Jesus was even able to appear to the Apostles according to the Jewish manner of reckoning the civil Day, before the first Day had expired.  The Jews expressly made mention of two evenings, the evening of the day and the evening of the night; and the former evening they now begin to reckon from the half hour after noon, when the sun begins to go down:  they were especially beginning the evening from the time of the evening sacrifice, at the third hour of the afternoon according to our reckoning.  But it is even more likely that the disciples, directing their steps toward Emmaus, so that they might all the more easily persuade the Lord to turn aside with them, spoke in a certain measure, if not hyperbolically, at least κατ᾽ αὔξησιν, for amplification, by saying that night approaches and the day has declined; so that perhaps they reached Emmaus not much after the second hour:  and doubtlessly their fervid desire to share with the Apostles this unexpected happening and their joy hastened their journey in returning to Jerusalem.  In which manner it is easily conceived that both the disciples of Emmaus and the Lord Himself were able to present at the assembly of the Apostles at Jerusalem even before the setting of the sun on the first day of the week:  consult LAMPE on John 20:19, and what things I have noted on MARCKIUS’ Compendio Theologiæ, chapter XXIX, §24, in note i. l.

[1] Georg Elieser Edzardi (1661-1727) was a German Hebraist.  He taught Greek and Oriental languages at Hamburg.

[2] Luke 23:7-11.

[3] John 19:13.

Inadequate Understandings of John’s Sixth Hour

It is still less necessary with others to expound the sixth hour of John with reference to the time when παρασκευὴ τοῦ Πάσχα, the preparation of the Passover, began, but not with reference to the hour now completed, since it would have to be read ὥρᾳ ἕκτῃ, at the sixth hour, with the ι subscript, which does not appear in the text; neither will that reading and interpretion be reconciled in the best way either with that intervening particle δὲ/ but/and, ὥρα δὲ ὡσεὶ ἕκτη, or with the entire thread of the history. Moreover, it is a doubtful εὓρημα/invention/shift, that in John he might relate the sixth hour to the day of παρασκευῆς τοῦ Πάσχα, the preparation of the Passover, the beginning of which would have to be regarded from the third hour after the middle of the preceding night, and which would be finished on the third hour of the afternoon of this very fourteenth day of the month of Nisan, at which time the Passover Lambs began to be sacrificed, or which would also be a day longer than what is customary, of fifteen hours rather than twelve.  The sixth hour of this day would exactly coincide with the third hour of the natural day mentioned by Mark, the beginning of which is from the rising of the sun.  This reconciliation of the two Evangelists would be attractive, if that device both of beginning the preparatory of the feast Day from the third hour of the middle of the night, and also of extending it through fifteen entire hours, were not altogether destitute of all authority.  See what things are said in opposition both by DEYLING, in his Observationibus Sacris, part I, Observation LII, § 4, which are also repeated by WOLF out of Miscellaneis Lipsiensibus, and also Observationibus XLVII, § 6; and by ZELTNER in his Dissertatione de Horologio Cajaphæ.  Neither does that conjecture, which ZELTNER took up as worthy of embellishment, but which WOLF reminds had already previously come into the mind of ANDREW MASIUS also, any more approve itself to us; according to which the ὥρα ἕκτη of John would not be the sixth hour of the day, reckoned in one way or the other, but roughly the sixth hou from the beginning of the Acts or of the whole process with Christ in judgment both of the Jews, and of the Romans, continued all the way to this point:  which time of the events conducted with Christ before the tribunal should be reckoned from the first or second hour after the middle of the night; and thus the sixth hour of John well agrees with the second or third hour of the natural day, or our seventh or eighth hear of the morning.  But no matter how cleverly this hypothesis has been devised, John was obliged more distinctly and clearly to set forth an indication of this sort of unusual computation of hours, if he had desired his words to be understood according to this intention.  Compare what things WOLF sets against this opinion.

Reconciliation of Mark 15:25 and John 19:14 by Textual Emendation?

It could be thought overly rash, and a cutting, rather than a loosing, of the knot, if we should correct Mark out of John, by reading ἕκτη/sixth in the place of τρίτη/third, or John out of Mark, by reading τρίτη/third in the place of ἕκτη/sixth, to which one is allowed to come only when all else has altogether failed; which sort of necessity is not perceived to be present here yet.  Nevertheless, it is one thing as a result of bare conjecture to change the Reading of the Sacred Codex; it is another thing again to prefer to the Vulgar Reading another, somewhat less common Reading, but which is nevertheless supported by the authority of some Codices, by the testimony of the Ancients, and which is able to be accommodated without any incongruity to the matter which the speech concerns; especially if in addition one might detect the source of the error that caused or was able to cause the Copyists to veer from the genuine reading.  That the matter thus stands in John in the Reading of the number ἕκτη/sixth in the place of τρίτη/third, following BYNÆUS, de Morte Jesu Christi, book III, chapter IV, § 37, 43, most recently BENGEL, in his Apparatu Critico ad Novum Testamentum, contends, who hence believe with others that the Reading of τρίτη/third in the place of ἕκτη/sixth here in John is to be vindicated by right of restoration.  Thus Bengel, among other things, after he had observed that in no case is it easier to be led astray than in numbers; and that copyists often import a number, sticking in their mind from one passage, into another:  “Eusebius of Cæsaria thinks that Γ,[1] a note of the ternary, was changed by the copyists into the ἐπίσημον/distinguishing mark of the senary:[2] to which opinion subscribe Severus of Antioch,[3] Ammonius of Alexandria, and Theophylact, as they have it, Wettstein’s[4] Prolegomenis, page 6.  I saw on parchments the distinguishing mark, most exactly resembling Γ…. Moreover, the use of such notes, and the similitude of these two, have great antiquity….  Therefore, we readily allow this reason to be added to those above, that the change, introduced early and widely circulated, is inscribed in them either individually or conjointly…. Cam. has [τρίτη], and also the codex which is with Wettstein, that is, Bezæ, that is, Cantabrigensis.[5]Nonnus,[6] as we have seen:  the Chronicon Paschale Alexandrinum;[7] and in it an ancient writer (whom some falsely think to be Peter of Alexandria[8]), asserting thus to have τὰ ἀκριβῆ βιβλία αὐτό τε τὸ ἰδιόχειρον τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ, the accurate books and autograph of John preserved unto his own age in the Ephesian Church.  The authority of the assertion concerning the autograph of John Johann Frick[9] defends in his exceptional book de Cura ecclesiæ veteris circa canonem, page 130 and following.  Certainly in a matter of this sort the Alexandrian writer appealed to that autograph, in which everyone would wish to become acquinted with the very thing itself, as being ready sharply to criticize the writer, if he had been mistaken….  But nevertheless, if anyone is uncertain about the autograph, it must be the case that he thus had exemplars at that time certainly of impressive antiquity.  And so, if the writer of the Chronicon and the author cited in it, if Nonnus, were engaged in the function of copyists, and Johannine codices proceeded from their hand, and this reading in the codices, which they approved, was extant:  I would imagine that we are going to concur.  Why now otherwise?  With good reason do we rejoice when the true reading depends upon the greatest number of codices possible:  but certainly in this place the matter compels that we be content with a lesser number of codices.  There are elsewhere genuine readings, not resting upon a great many codices, which nevertheless, acknowledged by Erasmus, and familiar to us, we defend.”  Certainly, unless the sentence stand that I strive below to commend and to render probable in the highest degree, this opinion of Bynæus, Bengel, and others approves itself to me more than the other methods of reconciliation.  But it hinders that, as Bengel cautions, nearly all Codices today, together with the Versions, have ἕκτη/sixth, and that a convenient way of bringing the Evangelists into concord with the common Reading preserved remains, as shall be apparent further on.

[1] Γ is the third letter in the Greek alphabet, with a numerical value of three.

[2] Σ has a numberical value of either six or two hundred.

[3] Severus of Antioch (465-538) was the Monophysite bishop of Antioch, a controversialist, and a prolific theological writer.

[4] Johann Jakob Wettstein (1693-1754) was a Swiss Theologian.  His career was stormy; he was suspected of Arianism and Socinianism.  Nevertheless, his work in the collation of New Testament manuscripts has had enduring value.

[5] Codex Bezæ Cantabrigensis is a fifth century uncial of the Gospels and Acts, and is categorized as a Western text-type.

[6] Nonnus of Panopolis (flourished c. 400) was a Greek epic poet.  His Dionysiaca and Metabole (a poetic paraphrase of the Gospel of John) survive.

[7] The Chronicon Paschale Alexandrinum, composed in the seventh century by a Greek Christians, is a history of the world from the time of Adam to the time of the author.

[8] Peter I served as the head of the catechetical school at Alexandria, but ultimately was installed as Patriarch of Alexandria from 300 to 311, shepherding the church through the Diocletian persecution.

[9] Johann Frick (1670-1739) was a Lutheran Minister and Theologian.