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.

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