How Does the Book of Mormon Help Date Christ's Death? | LDS Living
BYU Studies, "Dating the Birth of Christ" . In this article, Jeffrey R. Chadwick, Jerusalem Center Professor of Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies, draws. BYU Studies, Vol, No.4, Dating the Birth of Christ, Poetics of the Restoration, CES and the Chicago Divinity School, etc. by Jeffrey R. Chadwick. I'm here today with Dr. Jeffrey R. Chadwick to discuss the dating of the birth of Christ. Jeffrey R. Chadwick is the BYU Jerusalem Center professor of archeology .
Did they count the year in which the sign was given as year one, or begin the year after? Blumell and Thomas A.
Specifically, it provides a limited range for the lifespan of Jesus which, once anchored to a solid death date, limits the possible time span within which the birth of Christ must have occurred.
If the proposed date of April AD 30 for the death of Jesus is correct, then possible birthdates for Christ are limited to sometime in 5 BC or in the early months of 4 BC. LDS archaeologist Jeffrey R. Chadwick reflected this attitude when he wrote: As a Latter-day Saint, I am not only duty-bound but personally grateful to accept and present data from the Book of Mormon, the genuine historical reliability of which I am both spiritually and materially convinced, to corroborate the evidence of the New Testament and the other avenues explored.
The Book of Mormon is absolutely clear on the overriding reality that the Lord Jesus did in fact condescend to come and dwell as a mortal among mankind, and to suffer and die, bringing to pass the resurrection and immortality of all the sons and daughters of God.
Just as the sign announcing his birth brought light and deliverance to the Nephites,  He will bring light and deliverance to all who come unto Him.
Further Reading Lincoln H. A Journal of Mormon Scripture 10 Some Latter-day Saints might be surprised to learn that not everyone, including respected authorities and apostles like Orson Pratt, Hyrum M. Pratt is an astronomer, and the eclipse is just the beginning; there is other evidence of an historical nature that Herod died in 4 B.
December 25 was celebrated as the winter solstice on the old Julian calendar. The Roman festival of Saturnalia ran for a week just up to that date, and the deity Sol Invictus Unconquered Sun was honored on that date.
So the dominant theory is that Christians chose that date to be able to celebrate at a time while others were celebrating, and so to do so unobtrusively. Information about the birth date was hard to come by, but the death date was easier, if still ambiguous.
Tertullian calculated that Jesus would have died on March And there was a common belief, found in rabbinic sources, that great things tend to happen at the same times of year. Compare our emphasis on the date April 6 in our history.
So the premise was made that Jesus was conceived on the same day he died: This became the Annunciation. And nine months later, December 25, became the birth.
This is explicitly described in a couple of fifth century Christian sources. Since Jesus and John the Baptist were six months apart, this became a neat and tidy framework: Remember how in the east they used a different calendar, and they originally conceived of the birth as being on January 6?
What is the date 9 months previous?
Dating the Birth of Christ | BYU Studies
That was the date of both the death and conception in the east, and the eastern date for the Annunciation. Note that the early guesses of the Church Fathers were all in the spring, probably for this reason. This possibility is not absolute, however, as shepherds could be outside with their sheep for much of the year. Personally I kind of lean towards a spring birth, and I think April 6 is an excellent guess—just not revelatory. In 1 Chronicles 24 we learn that the priests who served at the temple were divided into 24 priestly courses by familiesof which Abijah was the eighth.
Each course would serve a week at the temple starting with Nisan, which falls in March or April of our calendar, and then you would go through the 24 courses again in the second half of the year. In the lunar year there typically were 51 weeks, and this procedure covers The other three weeks were the major feasts, at which all priests were on duty.
So say that the eighth week excluding Passover, which would be a joint week of the temple year fell the last week of May, and that John returned home and Elizabeth conceived the first week of June. Counting nine months from then suggests a birth date of early September.
Any anniversary of a date from antiquity is more symbolic than actual due to the need to translate between ancient and modern calendrical systems. For instance, the old Julian calendar is currently 13 days out of alignment with our modern Gregorian calendar.
Thoughts on Jeffrey R.
Chadwick is a fine scholar, and I enjoyed the article. It was very helpful to have a complete survey of the issue from an LDS perspective.
Needless to say I agree with his rejection of April 6, 1 B. There were, however, a number of places where I disagreed with him on various points. First, Talmage was not the first one to float the April 6, 1 B. He cited Roberts, but was using a reprint of a text that was first published in It is well known that the Synoptics and John disagree here, if only by a day.
Dating the Birth of Christ
He assumes the Nephites would have used a solar year like the Mayan Haab. Doing this has the potential to wreak havoc with other issues in BoM chronology. For example, what does this do to the year prophecy?