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.

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