15 comments on “Feedback and Discussion on The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion AD 33

  1. Hello I am looking for your excellent article regarding the events at the crucifixion in 33 AD.

  2. I am trying to understand one of your articles on the crucifixion of 33ad. You make a reference, yet you did not cite the confirming sources. Can you please tell me your source data for the following statement:

    The word Po-che used to describe the eclipse had a very precise meaning: it was an “eclipse neither on the first, nor on the last day,” (emphasis mine) viz. of the lunar month. It also meant an eclipse “outside the bounds of the ecliptic.”

    I have not be able to find any confirmation anywhere that Po-che means this. Can you please help?

    • This question is answered below

      • I have a further question. Can you cite where the Chinese actually quoted that this particular eclipse was “po-che”? I guess I am confused by the article, because it is quoted a number of times that this eclipse clearly happened on the “last day of the third month”. All other references that I can find regarding this eclipse also state the same thing. It seems pretty undisputable that it happened any other day that the last day of the month. I only see that Bouvet said that it was Po-Che– not where the Chinese actually said that about this eclipse.

        Since the Chinese seemed to believe that eclipses always happened on the first day of the new moon and this one (and others) had been occurring on the last day– they may have been stating it was outside of the normal ecliptic cycle. They were also probably trying to explain why this eclipse happened on Gui-Hai, since this was a sign that the Emperor may die, and that is likely why he was so freaked out.

      • I am not sure if my original response went through or not because it did not show up here. Thank you for your response and information. With regard to Po-Che– do you have actual sources that show that the Chinese called this particular elcipse po-che? I only show that Bouvet did in your material.

        Every description I can find on this eclipse specifically indicates that it happened on the “last day” of the month– including your literature. It may be that the Chinese were explaining that this eclipse was outside the bounds of the ecliptic because it occurred on Gui-Hai and because that seemed to mean that the Emperor could likely die– they were covering themselves.

        It seems like this eclipse was clearly on the last day of the 3rd moon, from what I can tell.

        Thanks for any assistance you can provide!

        • Hello again. The reference to Po-che in the Catastrophe at the Crucifixion article is as follows (with authority cited) marked in bold:

          “That the eclipse was not a result of a normal advance of the luminaries is clearly stated in the historical annals: the relevant entry reads: “In the seventh year of Quang-vou-ti [Guangwudi], on the day Quei-hay [Gui-hai], the last of the Third Moon, eclipse of the sun.” Gaubil summarizes the events following and resulting from this eclipse, thus: “After the observing of the eclipse the Emperor [Guangwudi] went into retirement for five days, so he could concentrate his thoughts wholly on his own conduct as regards the governing of his subjects, upon which he issued a decree of which the following is a précis. “The sight of the sun and moon warns us to think on our ways. It is necessary to correct one’s faults and thus preempt the evils with which Heaven threatens us. As for myself, I can scarcely speak, I tremble at the sight of my faults. I require that the Officers of my Court give me their sincere advice in sealed missives, and I require that none give me the title Ching [= “Holy, Sacred”].” In consequence of the imperial directives, the Officers supplied sealed missives to the Emperor. The history has preserved the memoir of that supplied by Tching-hing, and this is what he said: “According to the laws of astronomy, eclipses of the Sun can appear only on the first day of the Moon. While for several years, there have been seen many on the last day of the moon, this comes as a result of the fact that the Moon accelerated its movement, and thereby the time of the eclipse fell earlier than expected. The Sun is the image of the Sovereign. The Moon is the image of the Subjects. The faults of the latter usually have their origin in those of the former.” … Apart from the first Imperial Edict, the Great Chinese History [note 1: “Nien-y-sse, History of Quang-vou-ti [Guangwudi]. P. G.”] reports a second Edict issued on May 29 of the same thirty-first year of Jesus Christ [sic Gaubil who equates Year 28 of the 46th Cycle with AD 31], as follows: “The Yn and the Yang [Yin and Yang] are not in accord: the Po-che of the sun and moon makes us aware of the fact.”” The Yin and Yang were the bipolar principles of the universe: the concepts of down and up, the entities earth and heaven, female and male, ruled and ruler, etc., etc., reflected the omnipresence in nature of the two principles. If the Yin and Yang were not in accord, it meant the universe was in disarray. Guangwudi took the abnormal eclipse to be a sign that the universal laws were in disorder. The word Po-che used to describe the eclipse had a very precise meaning: it was an “eclipse neither on the first, nor on the last day,” (emphasis mine) viz. of the lunar month. It also meant an eclipse “outside the bounds of the ecliptic.” Thus, the eclipse in Guangwudi’s 7th year was, indeed, one which broke astronomical laws. There is little doubt that it was the catastrophic event in April AD 33, and not, as some, including Gaubil, have argued, a mere “miscalculated” eclipse, as these were only too familiar in the ancient Chinese Court, and were not occasions for imperial dismay and deep soul-searching of the kind described here.”

          I hope this answers your question. If not, please let me know.

  3. Can you please cite your source for the following statement that is made in one of your articles:

    The word Po-che used to describe the eclipse had a very precise meaning: it was an “eclipse neither on the first, nor on the last day,” (emphasis mine) viz. of the lunar month. It also meant an eclipse “outside the bounds of the ecliptic.”

    I have not been able to confirm this. Please let me know the cite that you pulled this reference from.

    Thanks, Kris Maxwell

    • Thank you for your close attention to this neglected proof of the Crucifixion event. As I reference Souciet and Gaubil in the article you quote, the passage you are asking about probably comes directly or indirectly from the following, which discusses the Crucifixion event in relation to the Chinese records: Gaubil in Observations Mathématiques, Astronomiques, Geographiques Chronologiques, et Physiques, Volume 2, 1732, By Etienne Souciet, p. 172f.: “II est cèrtain que dans l’Astronomie des Han antérieurs on voie que King-fang définissoit Po-che : Eclipse qui n’est ni au premier, ni au dernier jour. D’autres ont expliqué ainsi: Eclipse qui est hors du Kiao; c’est-à-dire, hors des termes Ecliptiques.” That is “It is certain that in the Astronomy of the Early Han {that is, the Western Han, prior to the time of Jesus, Guang-wudi being the first of the Later Han, immediately after their era} one can see that King-fang defines Po-che thus: An eclipse neither on the first day {of the month} nor on the last day. Others have explained it as follows: an eclipse that is outside the Kiao; that is, outside the bounds of the Ecliptic.” Though the author tries thereafter to represent the Guang-wudi event as a normal eclipse, the literary evidence he cites here points the other way entirely.

  4. hello,

    Can you clarify where you got this information:

    The word Po-che used to describe the eclipse had a very precise meaning: it was an “eclipse neither on the first, nor on the last day,” (emphasis mine) viz. of the lunar month. It also meant an eclipse “outside the bounds of the ecliptic.” — I have looked up the definition of po-che and have not been able to confirm that this is what it meant.

    Thanks!

    • Thank you for your determination to get to the facts regarding this important Chinese testimony to the Crucifixion event in AD 33. I have already answered your question above.

      The relevant passage is as follows:
      Gaubil in Observations Mathématiques, Astronomiques, Geographiques Chronologiques, et Physiques, Volume 2, 1732, By Etienne Souciet, p. 172f.: “II est cèrtain que dans l’Astronomie des Han antérieurs on voie que King-fang définissoit Po-che : Eclipse qui n’est ni au premier, ni au dernier jour. D’autres ont expliqué ainsi: Eclipse qui est hors du Kiao; c’est-à-dire, hors des termes Ecliptiques.” That is “It is certain that in the Astronomy of the Early Han {that is, the Western Han, prior to the time of Jesus, Guang-wudi being the first of the Later Han, immediately after their era} one can see that King-fang defines Po-che thus: An eclipse neither on the first day {of the month} nor on the last day. Others have explained it as follows: an eclipse that is outside the Kiao; that is, outside the bounds of the Ecliptic.”

      Gaubil’s reference is to King Fang, from which he takes the lines quoted.

      On King Fang:

      Lacouperie The Oldest Book of the Chinese, the Yh-King and Its Authors, vol. 1, London, 1892, p. 241:

      “Mong She and King Fang (note 4)…
      Note 4 On King Fang, philosopher and astronomer, of the first century B.C., see Mayer’s C. R. M. part i. n. 270. In the list of 1690 works given as references by the compilers of the Cyclopedia Tai-Ping Yu Lan, eight works connected with the Yh and divination are by or on King Fang.”

      The dates here are important as it has to predate Guang Wudi.

  5. Hello,

    I was wondering what you meant with this statement:

    Even Bayer, who disputed the fact, preferring to translate the relevant word in the Chinese annals as “densus,” was admitting it was “pitch-black,” for that is what “densus” means when applied to shadow

    Bayer disputed what fact? And where did Bayer admit that this eclipse was densus or pitch black? What was your source?

    Thanks!

    • Brother Richard Brother Richard

      06/28/2017 at 12:55 pm Reply

      Thanks for your inquiry. I have been looking for this reference (Bayer calling the eclipse “densus”) for a few days on and off, but can’t find it immediately. Maybe you can find it yourself somewhere in Bayer’s work on the eclipse at the following link: http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/ECHOdocuView?url=/permanent/library/3DPXWWKQ/index.meta.
      But anyway will continue to look for it. It was quoted in another study on the eclipse which compared the words used to describe the eclipse by different authors: “totalis” “densus” etc. On the “disputed the fact” statement, I meant that Bayer did not accept that the eclipse mentioned in the 7th year of Guangwudi was the supernatural event at the crucifixion, but he thought it referred to a normal eclipse at the end of a lunar cycle, not connected with the crucifixion, as you will see by reading his study linked above. He thought it was a partial eclipse of the sun in AD 31.

      ======
      UPDATE: 7/6/17
      I think I found the relevant passage in the work of Bayer I linked to, De Eclipsi Sinica liber singularis, p. 28. There Bayer refers to Andreas Müller’s Disquisitio on the eclipse (Speciminum Sinicorum Andreae Mülleri Greiffenhagii Decimae de Decimis, 1685, De Eclipsi Passionali Disquisitio) in which Muller translates the Chinese word hoei as 1) “obscuritas” (that is, “blackness, darkness”, in the Notae section of Müller’s Disquisitio, p. 5) and 2) “densus” (in the text section of the same work p. 2f., quoting the Chinese Annals of Guangwudi’s 7th year: sol … densam patiebatur Eclipsin, “the sun … suffered a pitch-black eclipse”). Bayer concurs explicitly with the translation “obscuritas”, “blackness”, as he quotes Diasus (Diaz, a Spanish writer) on the word: “Hoei. Luna de treinta dias, que no da claridad, obscuridad” that is, “Hoei. A moon thirty-days old, which gives no light, blackness”: Bayer quotes this passage in Spanish, then translates the Spanish “obscuridad” into Latin himself as “obscuritas”, “blackness, darkness”, with reference to the solar eclipse. In other words the Chinese word hoei was translated both by Müller and by Bayer as a noun “obscuritas”, “blackness, darkness” and Müller also translated it as “densam eclipsin”, a “pitch-black eclipse”. I seem to remember I got this reference to Bayer’s thoughts from a third-party study in Latin and that study said Bayer thought the Chinese word hoei meant “densus” that is, “pitch-black”. That is correct, as the quote from Diaz, with which Bayer agreed, described the Chinese word hoei as a “blackness” occurring when the 30-day old moon “gives no light at all”. What would have made my description of Bayer’s thoughts clearer would have been to put the English words “pitch black” within the quotation marks rather than the Latin word “densus” (which I think I found in the third-party study describing Bayer’s thoughts). That is, it was not Bayer himself who used the Latin word “densus”, it was the third-party work attempting to convey Bayer’s thoughts on the matter: and, indeed, the word “densus”, “pitch-black”, does accurately represent Bayer’s understanding of the Chinese word hoei. Thus Bayer acceded to Müller’s alternative translation “densus” indirectly, though he did not agree with Müller on the identity of the Chinese and the Scriptural eclipses.

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