The Last Supper is commemorated a day late, a Cambridge University physicist claims in his new book, according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Belfast Telegraph.
Professor Sir Colin Humphreys argues that the last supper Jesus Christ shared with his disciples occurred on Wednesday, April 1, AD33, rather than on a Thursday as traditionally celebrated in most Christian churches.
The theory would explain the apparent inconsistencies between the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke - which say the Last Supper was a Passover meal - and that of John, which says Jesus was tried and executed before the Jewish festival.
It would explain another puzzle: why the Bible has not allowed enough time for all events recorded between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.
Sir Colin's book, The Mystery of the Last Supper, published this week, uses astronomy to re-create calendars, plus detail drawn from texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls to propose a timeline for Jesus' final days.
''The claim I make is that we're misinterpreting some parts of the Gospels because we don't understand sufficiently life in the first century AD,'' he said.
Sir Colin argues that Jesus celebrated Passover early using the pre-exilic calendar, dating from before the Jewish exile to Babylon, but still used by some marginal groups in society at the time. It would have been understood by early Christians as operating alongside the official Jewish calendar, he said.
He believes his findings, which are likely to cause ripples among millions of Christians, could present a case for finally introducing a fixed date for Easter, said the report in the Belfast Telegraph.
By ironing out all the perceived discrepancies in the timing of events, Prof Humphreys believes a date could be ascribed to Easter in our modern solar calendar.
New theory on date of Last Supper (Sydney Morning Herald)
Last Supper 'was held day earlier' (Belfast Telegraph)
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