Prof in Norwich to solve last supper mystery
2011: Solving the mystery of the last supper of Jesus and his disciples was the subject of Professor Sir Colin Humphreys at a special Science and Faith in Norfolk lecture at Norwich Cathedral on Monday night. Keith Morris reports.
Prof Humphreys pictured right) may have solved the last supper mystery but projectors and Powerpoint still seemed to be a conundrum to the combined brain powers of half a dozen members of the Science group at Norwich Cathedral on Monday (October 17).
Once the technical gremlins were sorted, Prof Humphreys was able to expound his very plausible and well-researched theory, contained in his recent book The Mystery of the Last Supper, which combines astronomical data, textual research and the rediscovery of an ancient Jewish calendar. His research has convinced the Cambridge University academic that Christ and the disciples' Last Supper actually took place on the Wednesday of Holy Week and not on the Thursday as widely believed across Christendom for two millennia.
Professor Humphreys seems to have solved the most obvious contradiction in the New Testament: the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke assert that the Last Supper coincided with the Jewish Passover on the Thursday, while John claims it was the day before. The Synoptic Gospels version has an implausible number of events taking place between the Last Supper on Thursday evening and Jesus' crucifixion at 9am on Good Friday morning.
The fact that the Jewish religious court or Sanhedrin was not allowed to meet at night, and the Wednesday of Holy Week being completely missing from the gospels' chronology, are other issues.
The missing piece of the jigsaw, which neatly brings all four Gospel accounts into agreement, argues Humphreys in his book, lies in an overlooked Jewish calendar which Christ and his disciples may have used and which John alone refers to.
Prof Humphreys also explained his painstaking research combining astronomical data, textual research and the rediscovery of an ancient Jewish calendar alongside widely historically accepted facts about known figures such as Pontius Pilate, Emperor Tiberius and the Sanhedrin, to also narrow the possible years and actual dates for the crucifixion to have taken place down to just one - April 3, AD33.
This date also coincides with the extremely rare occurrence of a lunar eclipse - seemingly turning the moon to blood red and fulfilling Joel’s prophecy of 500 years earlier.
Prof Humphreys said he believes that three miracles took place at this time. Two are the lunar eclipse and the exact correlation of Jesus’ death as the lamb of God with the slaying of the Passover lamb, as predicted in the Old Testament. Both indicate the events were all in the preordained will of God, said Prof Humphreys.
The third miracle was, of course, the resurrection of Jesus itself. Prof Humphreys said this was what scientists would call an Accidental – it is outside of the scientific regularity which we understand but as the creator of the universe and its rules God is able to do this.
“As a scientist I very happily believe in miracles such as these,” said Prof Humphreys. “Science does not reduce the mystery of God but instead it enhances the beauty and mystery of God.”