Luke 23:45 - not an eclipse

Steven Avery

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Luke 3:45 - the sun was darkened (eclipse error in mvs)
One of the dozen or two dozen hard errors in the corruption Greek New Testament is the eclipse. Sometimes the eclipse falls under the radar. 🙂

Here are a couple of resources, from a post on a largely sketpic forum. I'll rewrite it here and later try to get it over to the PureBibleForum. The descriptions of the articles linked cover the salient points I know of.

Bible Criticism and History Forum
Luke 23:45 - and the sun was darkened - no eclipse


Luke 23:44-45 (AV)
And it was about the sixth hour,
and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
And the sun was darkened,
and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Matthew 27:45
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

John William Burgon covered the overwhelming evidence for the non-eclipse text.
Benjamin Wilkinson covers Burgon and a few others.

Answers to Objections (1931)
Benjamin Wilkinson…/Answers2Objecti…/answers2-6-B.htm

Revision Revised - p. 64-65
John William Burgon
...all the Versions (with the single exception of the Coptic*),—and the oldest Church writers, (Marcion, Origen, Julius Africanus, Hippolytus, Athanasius, Gregory Naz., Ephraem, &c.,) are all against them.—They cannot advance the claim of ‘ clearly preponderating evidence ; ’ for they have but a single Version,—not a single father,—and but three-and-a-half Evangelia to appeal to, out of perhaps three hundred and fifty times that number.— ... (continues)

The Revised Version of the First Three Gospels Considered in Its Bearings Upon the Record of Our Lord's Words and of Incidents in His Life (1882)
Frederic Charles Cook
"For the alteration the responsibility lies with Aleph, B, and L (C is marked by Tischendorf as doubtful), and some few cursives, against all other MSS., nine uncial, nearly all cursives, the best Italic MSS, the Vulgate, the Syraic of Cureton, and others, followed by Tregelles."

Laparola ... rif2=23:45

The Matthew reference makes it clear that it not an eclipse. They do not happen in Passover and only last a few minutes. This is simple.
Plus Luke was a super-accurate historian. And the sun being darkened, does not mean eclipse in many Bible usages, Luke's usage is consistent and accurate.

Granted, Burgon likely oversimplified the ECW, especially Origen, but the ms evidence is so overwhelming in Greek, Latin and Syriac and most all other lines that it is clear . .

It is just Westcott-Hort recension silliness that makes this any type of issue. Those against the accuracy and purity of the Bible will naturally gravitate to the absurd corruptions in the Westcott-Hort recension.

Afaik, nobody has done a good job yet on documenting the early references.


My reference was first simply to what we learn from the historical studies of scholars who looked closely at the history, including William Mitchell Ramsay (1851-1939), Colin J. Hemer (1930-1987) and Adrian Nicholas Sherwin-White (1913-1993).

Henry Joel Cadbury (1883-1974) was especially involved in the Preface studies. And even from a somewhat liberal position, he helps understand that Luke was close to the events, he also emphasizes the Luke-Acts distinctives.

The Knowledge Gained in Luke's Preface (1922)
Henry Joel Cadbury

Henry Joel Cadbury wrote:
Whether it implies an eyewitness or merely a contemporary, such a claim of intimate personal knowledge in the preface of Luke has an important bearing on the questions of date and authorship. Fifty out of the fifty-two chapters in the work go back no earlier than the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar. With much if not all the period from this date to the end of Acts, that is, about three decades, the author claims contemporary information. Many scholars will find here a fresh confirmation of the early date of composition recently urged by Professors A. von Hamack and C. C. Torrey.

To many who have cherished the belief that the two books to Theophilus were written by Paul’s doctor''friend and associate, the suggestion will come as a welcome surprise that the preface not only may, but perhaps must, be understood to claim contemporary and first-hand knowledge. p. 417

Both parties, however, whether arguing for or against early date and Lucan authorship, will do well to eschew the conventional habits of settled exegetical conformity. Whether we believe him or not, the possibility must be left open that the author is claiming in the very beginning of his work to have been long in such close contact with the series of events which he unfolds as to be possessed of first-hand contemporary knowledge about them, and that perhaps he means to claim the knowledge of an actual eyewitness. At any rate he says nothing of research. p. 419-420

And this is even with the error of Theophilus as a Christian (p. 413). Understanding that he is the high priest of 40-41 AD simplifies the exposition.



Came up again on BCHF

Solar Eclipse under Pilate
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Steven Avery

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