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According to conventional scientific understanding, total solar eclipses should last only a maximum of about 8 minutes:

“Totality can range from a few seconds to 7 and a half minutes. The longest Total Solar Eclipse of the 21st century took place on July 22, 2009 when the totality lasted 6 mins and 39 secs.”


However, at the time Jesus was crucified the bible states that there was a three hour solar eclipse.

Mark 15:33 King James Version (KJV)

33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.


The book of Luke states the following:

Luke 23:44-46 King James Version (KJV)

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.


Many people may not realise that the new testament is a reliable historical document in its own right.  For example, Dr. William F. Albright, writes:

“The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible [by certain schools of thought] has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of numerous details.”[reference]


So did this total eclipse lasting three hours occur?  Well, the total eclipse is also confirmed by ancient non-biblical texts:

The Report of Pilate, a New Testament Apocryphal fragment, states:

“Jesus was delivered to him by Herod, Archelaus, Philip, Annas, Caiphas, and all the people. At his crucifixion the Sun was darkened; the stars appeared and in all the world people lighted lamps from the sixth hour till evening; the Moon appeared like blood.”


The Greek writer Phlegon reported that:

“In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was an eclipse of the Sun which was greater than any known before and in the sixth hour of the day it became night; so that stars appeared in the heaven; and a great Earthquake that broke out in Bithynia destroyed the greatest part of Nicaea.”


Sextus Julius Africanus further refers to the writings of historian Thallus:

This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun.”


Africanus also cites the 2nd-century chronicler Phlegon of Tralles:

“Phlegon records that during the reign of Tiberius Caesar there was a complete solar eclipse at full moon from the sixth to the ninth hour“.


The church historian Eusebius of Caesarea (264 – 340), in his Chronicle, quotes Phlegon as saying that during the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (AD 32/33)

a great eclipse of the sun occurred at the sixth hour that excelled every other before it, turning the day into such darkness of night that the stars could be seen in heaven, and the earth moved in Bithynia, toppling many buildings in the city of Nicaea”.[reference]


Born around 54 A.D. Cornelius Tacitus was another noted Roman historian who noted The Crucifixion of Jesus.

He stated that Jesus had been crucified by Pontius Pilate, and that Rome was in darkness during the reign of Tiberius the Caesar in AD 33.



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