According to the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, a great darkness struck the land from noon until three and the earth quaked splitting rock in twain when Christ was Crucified.

“From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split” – Matthew 27:45,51

Today, some authors and historians dismiss this record of events as simply imaginative fiction. What secular evidence do we have for darkness and an earthquake taking place at the Crucifixion?

Thallus in 52 A.D.

Thallus was earliest secular writer to mention Jesus; in fact, he is so ancient his complete volume of works does not even exist anymore. Writing not even twenty years after the Crucifixion, he is quoted by Julius Africanus around 221 A.D. as trying to provide an explanation for the darkness that occurred at the Crucifixion.

“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” – (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)

Thallus attempted to explain the darkness at the Crucifixion away as simply an eclipse. A reasonable explanation, except that a solar eclipse can last at most seven minutes, not a full three hours as recorded in the gospels. Even more evidence the darkness was not simply a natural phenomenon, a solar eclipse can only take place at the new moon, however Christ was crucified during Passover which takes place during the full moon.

Phlegon in 137 A.D.

Even more conclusive non-Biblical evidence comes from Phlegon, who wrote an extensive chronology around the year 137 A.D. In his writing, he confirms the year of the Crucifixion darkness, and records that an earthquake took place.

“In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad [33 A.D.] there was ‘the greatest eclipse of the sun’ and that ‘it became night in the sixth hour of the day [noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.'”

Geological Evidence

In a study conducted by secular geologists of an outcropping on the southwestern shore of the Dead Sea, a distinctive mixed sediment layer was linked to the Qumran earthquake of 31 B.C.

About a foot above the layer is a narrow band of another mixed sediment layer. Using sedimentation rates, the study determined the thin layer was placed about 65 years after the first, in the year 33 A.D.

This thin layer was determined to be caused by a prominent seismic event between the years 26 A.D. – 36 A.D., causing rocks to combine and form the thin mixed layer. According to the geological evidence, the earthquake that occurred at the Crucifixion was a real historical event.

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  1. God is so real people. This world is wicked and we will all be punished if we don’t repent. God is good, love to all who follow him. All u gotta do is love….made miracles for me

      • Actually, there is a good possibility that the Incan quipus were not only an accounting system, but also a form of writing. Unfortunately, no one has yet managed to decipher them. So, you are right: the Inca did not “record” an eartquake/darkness.(And, btw, the Inca were not around as a civilization until some 1400 years after the Crucifixion.). While I would love to see a verified Mayan record of the quake, I ain’t a-buyin’ it based on a sketchy, if wistful, online assertion!

  2. […] Was There Really Darkness & an Earthquake at the Crucifixion? – Billy Ryan, uCatholic The Papal Chapel of Good Friday in 1936 – Shawn R. Tribe, Liturgical Arts Journal Good Friday & the Hidden Meanings of Golgotha: Who’s Skull Was It? – Scott Smith J.D. Another Doctor at Calvary – Thomas McGovern M.D., National Catholic Register 9 Things You Need to Know About Good Friday – Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register This is the Dark Night, the Dance of Heaven, Our Redemption – Dan Burke, NC Register Triduum Traditions – Sister Christina M. Neumann, Catholic Lane God Is Dead – David Warren, The Catholic Thing Report to the Emperor-First Draft – Donald R. McClarey J.D., The American Catholic What Can We Learn From Thieves on Crosses? – John Clark, National Catholic Register Good Friday: The Start of a New Beginning – Fr. John A. Perricone, Crisis Magazine Sins & Forgiveness – A Reflection on the Passion – Dom Cingoranelli, Catholic Stand The Perfect Sacrifice, The Eucharist – Fr. Ian Van Heusen, uCatholic Passiontide Chronology: Good Friday – Msgr. Charles Pope, Community in Mission Through the Eyes of Faith: A Passion Play, Parts I, & II – Mark C. McCann, Catholic Stand Human Brotherhood – Erin Cain, Ignitum Today Note: A new post is published daily at 12:01 am U.S. Central Time […]


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