Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

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Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:43 am

In late antiquity, Christians' perception of a day differed from that of the Roman tradition. For Romans, as for us today, a day extended from midnight to midnight, or from the twelfth hour to the twelfth hour.

https://books.google.com.br/books?id=HX ... 22&f=false
If that's true and the Gospel of Mark was written by Mark at Rome to a Roman audience and the Gospel of Mark was the first gospel why isn't 'the sixth hour' = 6 pm? And yes the Gospel of Mark now says 'third hour' but clearly sixth hour was the original or let's assume that the sixth hour was original for arguments sake. Why is it so firm that 'sixth hour' means 3 pm? Could the 'third hour' in our Mark be an attempt to adjust 'sixth hour' to the Roman time system or perhaps vice versa?
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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:00 am

Another implication of "sixth hour" = 6 pm is that the crucifixion of Jesus and the darkness that coincided with that act might have also meant the Sabbath started right then. In other words, he is affixed to the cross, he dies and the efforts to bring down the body are in vain because the Sabbath, calculated from the onset of darkness, had already begun and the curse was on the people from then. This would change the meaning of Mark 15:42 "Καὶ ἤδη ὀψίας γενομένης ..."
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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:10 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:43 am
In late antiquity, Christians' perception of a day differed from that of the Roman tradition. For Romans, as for us today, a day extended from midnight to midnight, or from the twelfth hour to the twelfth hour.

https://books.google.com.br/books?id=HX ... 22&f=false
If that's true and the Gospel of Mark was written by Mark at Rome to a Roman audience and the Gospel of Mark was the first gospel why isn't 'the sixth hour' = 6 pm? And yes the Gospel of Mark now says 'third hour' but clearly sixth hour was the original or let's assume that the sixth hour was original for arguments sake. Why is it so firm that 'sixth hour' means 3 pm? Could the 'third hour' in our Mark be an attempt to adjust 'sixth hour' to the Roman time system or perhaps vice versa?
The question of the hours is quite complicated, involving also the issue of the crowing of the cock for Peter's sake.

It ought to be kept in mind, however, regardless of any hypotheses about how the text got into its current state, that the extant text of Mark pretty much has to mean that the third hour is 9 am, the sixth hour 12 noon, and the ninth hour 3 pm, because the allusion to Amos 8.9 is too strong to ignore for the darkness extending from the sixth hour to the ninth. If the darkness descends at noon/midday (OG μεσημβρίας), then according to Mark 15.33 the sixth hour must be noon/midday.

Also, of course, the day of crucifixion begins early in the morning (15.1) and goes on to evening (15.42), a time slot into which the hours starting at 6 am fit quite neatly: early morning = 6 am or so, the third hour = 9 am, the sixth hour = 12 noon, the ninth hour = 3 pm, and evening = 6 pm. The possible liturgical connections here have been explored on this forum before to some extent.

Can you summarize, with all relevant references, the evidence for a crucifixion at the sixth hour instead of at the third? How does John 19.14 fit into that (or does it at all?), in which Pilate passes sentence at the sixth hour?
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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:12 am

Well my thoughts are rarely as thought out as yours. Here's my thinking. Paul clearly thinks that Jesus was left hanging through until the Sabbath. That's what was found in 'his gospel.' But that all the canonical gospels arrange a scenario where the curse is not established - i.e. that he was crucified on the 'preparation day' (a term I've never encountered in Jewish sources) - is highly suspicious to me given what Paul says. Given the fact the Marcionites followed Paul one would expect that Jesus was hanging on the Sabbath. It then sets up a scenario where God who foreknew everything before it happened arranged for the Passion to curse the Jewish nation which in turn leads to the destruction of the temple 49 years later.
Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
The consistency of invented terminology (Preparation Day) is striking to me. Seems like it could be a late editorial adjustment. But of central significance would be the idea that the darkness was considered the beginning of the Sabbath because 6 pm is so close to dusk. Not exactly a deeply researched scholarly point. Just an idea.
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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:19 am

If you read the Mishnah the onset of the Sabbath is determined simply by the onset of darkness. https://www.sefaria.org/Mishnah_Shabbat ... in&lang=bi The Samaritans do the same thing. They look outside. It's dark. It's a new day. If the crucifixion happened at the sixth hour and the sixth hour = 6 pm and it got dark - bingo! - it's the Sabbath. At the very least the argument could be made that way and in fact Joseph's actions carrying the body was also a Sabbath breaking (if indeed that was ever in the gospel). Perhaps even the Acts reference you mention where the Jews buried Jesus also points to law breaking - perhaps with the curse of Deuteronomy 21:23 in mind. Perhaps the point was argued whether the darkness constituted the beginning of the Sabbath or was a continuation of the previous day. But the idea was out there and then the destruction of the temple was the final confirmation - viz. the Jews were under a curse.
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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:26 am

Gregory of Nysa uses the darkness to argue for the beginning of a new day and thus 'the third day' resurrection is confirmed https://books.google.com/books?id=4mUas ... on&f=false But still you can see that this type of argument naturally would lead some (let's say Marcionites) to argue that the day had ended with the darkness and a new day, the Sabbath had begun.
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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:31 am

And then you start to see the crucifixion as a big FU to the Jewish nation. This is where the anti-Semitism of early Christianity is rooted. You say to yourself, there's no way the Jews would have let Jesus hang on a cross until the Sabbath because (a) they themselves were aware of their obligations to the Sabbath and the religious observance of the Sabbath and (b) the curse of Deuteronomy 21:23. But if God himself 'changed the rules of the universe' and brought the Sabbath on early then the second part of that equation (i.e. the logic of Galatians 3 viz. being made a curse) suddenly become a product of divine will. In other words, God wanted to set up a situation where the Jews were cursed. Not only did they kill their Christ but this one was chosen to be a curse unto the nation by having his body hang until the start of the Sabbath - a start which was initiated by God warping the fabric of the universe to make the Sabbath come early.
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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:35 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:12 am
Well my thoughts are rarely as thought out as yours. Here's my thinking. Paul clearly thinks that Jesus was left hanging through until the Sabbath. That's what was found in 'his gospel.' But that all the canonical gospels arrange a scenario where the curse is not established - i.e. that he was crucified on the 'preparation day' (a term I've never encountered in Jewish sources) - is highly suspicious to me given what Paul says.
Do you not count Josephus here?

Josephus, Antiquities 16.6.2 §162-163: Caesar Augustus, high priest and tribune of the people, ordains thus: Since the nation of the Jews hath been found grateful to the Roman people, not only at this time, but in time past also, and chiefly Hyrcanus the high priest, under my father Caesar the emperor, it seemed good to me and my counselors, according to the sentence and oath of the people of Rome, that the Jews have liberty to make use of their own customs, according to the law of their forefathers, as they made use of them under Hyrcanus the high priest of the Almighty God; and that their sacred money be not touched, but be sent to Jerusalem, and that it be committed to the care of the receivers at Jerusalem; and that they be not obliged to go before any judge on the sabbath day, nor on the day of the preparation to it [ἐν σάββασιν ἢ τῇ πρὸ αὐτῆς παρασκευῇ], after the ninth hour.

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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:36 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:19 am
If you read the Mishnah the onset of the Sabbath is determined simply by the onset of darkness. https://www.sefaria.org/Mishnah_Shabbat ... in&lang=bi The Samaritans do the same thing. They look outside. It's dark. It's a new day. If the crucifixion happened at the sixth hour and the sixth hour = 6 pm and it got dark - bingo! - it's the Sabbath. At the very least the argument could be made that way and in fact Joseph's actions carrying the body was also a Sabbath breaking (if indeed that was ever in the gospel). Perhaps even the Acts reference you mention where the Jews buried Jesus also points to law breaking - perhaps with the curse of Deuteronomy 21:23 in mind. Perhaps the point was argued whether the darkness constituted the beginning of the Sabbath or was a continuation of the previous day. But the idea was out there and then the destruction of the temple was the final confirmation - viz. the Jews were under a curse.
How could the darkness extend for 3 hours if it ended at 9 pm? Would it not already pretty much be dark by then?
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Re: Was the Sixth Hour = 6 pm? Was Mark's 'Third Hour' an Attempt at Harmonizing the Greek and Roman Time Calculations?

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:41 am

Well my broader point was that the Sabbath began once the darkness came on. For non-Jews look at the discussion in the Mishnah regarding the ritual preparation before the Sabbath for priests and the role of darkness:
The (meat of the) Pesach offering is lowered into the oven (on Sabbath eve) before dark (עִם חֲשֵׁכָה). And the fire of the wood-pile of the beth hamoked may be fed. And in the borders (i.e., outside the Temple), until the fire catch in most of it. R. Yehudah says: With charcoal, any amount (is sufficient).
עִם חֲשֵׁכָה means 'with darkness.' That means that the Sabbath was simply calculated by the onset of darkness. I am clearly after the meaning or what was written in the proto-gospel. Clearly the orthodox or what became orthodoxy were desperately trying to say that the Jews were not under a curse. That the crucifixion and death took place on the previous day. I am thinking the Marcionites who followed Paul's gospel had a different tradition.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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