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The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus Paperback – March 28, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Advance Endorsement: "There have always been great difficulties in knowing quite how to fit together the precise details of the Last Supper and Jesus's arrest and trial. With the clearest possible presentation of fresh evidence and good historical imagination, Colin Humphreys here tackles this problem in a completely fresh manner. His suggestions are likely to have a significant impact both on scholarly appraisal and on the regular Christian appreciation of these climactic events of the faith." - Hugh G. M. Williamson, University of Oxford

"Colin Humphreys' Mystery poses an intriguing detective story. ... The argument is presented so logically that non-specialists should be able to follow it easily." Owen Gingerich, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and History of Science, Harvard University and author of God's Universe "By linking scientific knowledge with biblical study, Colin Humphreys gives a welcome demonstration of a way apparent contradictions in the Gospel texts may be reconciled.' Alan Millard, University of Liverpool 'I would like to commend Colin Humphreys ... on this remarkable book reconstructing the final days of Jesus." John Sentamu, Archbishop of York "A gripping read that is hard to put down ..." Sir John Houghton, Chairman of the Scientific Assessment Committee of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change

Book Description

For hundreds of years, we thought we knew what happened during Jesus' last days. Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are not only observed by Christians around the world, but are also recognized in calendars and by non-practitioners as commemorating the true timeline of events in the life of Christ. But apparent inconsistencies in the gospel accounts of Jesus' final week have puzzled Bible scholars for centuries. In The Mystery of the Last Supper, Colin Humphreys uses science to reveal the truth about Jesus' final days. Reconciling conflicting Gospel accounts and scientific evidence, Humphreys reveals the exact date of the Last Supper in a definitive new timeline of Holy Week.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052173200X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521732000
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
We seem to be caught in an age where the Bible is just a story, and science regularly trumps religion. As a result, when there is apparent disagreement between science or reason and the Bible, both Christians and non-Christians alike tend to roll over and say one or the other must be wrong.

Yet, if we go back in history, the most learned and influential individuals did not settle for an easy way out or watered down theology. In this same manner, Humphreys approaches apparent disagreements among the gospels. Instead of saying that one or the other must be incorrect, he approaches the issue with a mindset of "what are we missing?" As a result, we learn that, once again, the Bible stands as an authority. We also learn about cultures of the time, and realize great symbolism in the Passion week.

This book is written in a simple presentation and remarkably easy to follow. He chooses to write to the average person, with references and lengthy supporting documentation (such as astronomical calculations) in footnotes and references. As a result, I sometimes forgot I was reading a scholarly work. Despite my tendency to peek ahead while reading, the book was suspenseful in an odd sort of way. I was continually looking forward to see exactly how pieces would fit together and what new bit of trivia would gain meaning as they did. Through his presentation, I learned of several apparent contradictions in the Bible that I had not realized, as well as a few I had, followed by an explanation of how they were actually clues to additional meaning that we do not readily recognize in today's world.

A few times in the second half of the book I found myself thinking one or the other arguments were weaker than others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent discussion (and I think solution) to a number of features that have been alleged as contradictions between the last supper accounts in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke) and the Gospel of John. Using astronomical information, a careful and sympathetic reading of the Gospels, and materials from the literature of the rabbis, Qumran and early Christians, the author is able to pin down a definite date for Jesus' crucifixion and a very reasonable explanation for these discrepancies. His solution points up some striking symbolism in the timing of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, and it provides some powerful evidence for the historical reliability of the biblical accounts.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book on several levels. First, it is rather astounding that the problem of dating the events of Holy Week has not been not tackled so clearly in all these years. Humphreys's approach is logical and step-by-step. He repeats his explanations in each chapter, puts the possibilities in little tables, and at the end of each chapter gives a concise summary. This makes the whole process clear and very easy to understand, and also makes it easy to go back and review his thinking. The author also distinguishes between those things about which we can be certain, and those which are likely, but at a somewhat lower confidence level.

He saves for a later chapter one of the most amazing confirmations of the Biblical account. I will not give it away, except to say that it depends on modern calculations not available to earlier researchers. It is really neat!

I would recommend this little book to a wide audience, beyond just those likely to read books of religious significance. It should also be read by all serious Christian clergy, starting with the Pope, who is very much nterested in the problem Humphrey tackles (and solves) here.
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Format: Paperback
The book is amazingly complex and diverse. Written very well. Humphreys is a true Renaissance man who is expert in many fields of knowledge and directs his enormous intellectual energies to supporting the biblical stories. In this era of obnoxious theophobes like Richard Dawkins, Professor Colin Humphreys is a true blessing who demonstrates that science properly used supports the biblical and spiritual world view.

The author is professor at Cambridge University. See links in comment below.

This book is extraordinary and highly respectful of the biblical narrative. Humphreys presents a number of very novel ideas:

1. He accepts the Good Friday crucifixion day, and believes from highly complex astronomical calculations that it occurred on April 3, 33 AD (Julian calendar).

2. He believes 3 hours of darkness were caused by a sandstorm and Peter's citing Joel in Acts 2 about the moon turning to blood reflects a lunar eclipse that occurred just at sundown of Passover night, the Friday night after Jesus' death and crucifixion. He says astronomical calculations show such an eclipse on that same date of April 3, 33 AD.

3. He believes that the Final Supper occurred on Wednesday night and that John and the Synoptics are in agreement and do not contradict each other on this. He says there is a pre exilic lunar calendar used by Moses and a post exilic lunar calendar used by the Jews returning from Babylon under Ezra that differed slightly. According to Dr. Humphreys Moses fixed the new lunar month when the earth moon and sun were in conjunction as per the Egyptian practice, whereas the Babylonians marked the beginning of the new lunar month by the first visible appearance of the new lunar crescent, which would occur 1-2 days after the Egyptian method.
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