SURE! I'll be glad to call 911 for YOU.
And give me your EX-wife's number too!
7th Century 'Jesus Coin' Causes Shock Waves
Having the face of Jesus on a coin that previously was reserved only for the image of the Emperor "sent shock waves across the region in its time."
Justinian II was one of the last Roman Emperors. He was a Christian and the time during which he reigned from his royal throne in Constantinople, known as the Byzantine era, effectively marked the historic dividing line between the ancient world and the medieval world.
Thus, news of a Byzantine gold coin from the seventh century with an image of Jesus Christ on its face, issued by Emperor Justinian II has recently made news. According to a report from the University of Princeton, it's the first known coin to have a Christ image, and it now has a new home in the Princeton University Numismatic Collection.
All of my exes are Down in Texas.
 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
Darkness at the crucifixion: metaphor or real history?
by Daniel Anderson
Published: 6 April 2007
...During the last three hours of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, an eerie darkness struck the land. This darkness is documented by the gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is also confirmed by three extra-biblical historians: Thallus, Phlegon, and Africanus. A closer look will reveal strong historical evidence for this unparalleled event.
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke
Each of these authors briefly records the three-hour darkness during Christ’s crucifixion (Matthew 27:45,
Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44–45). Matthew was one of Jesus’ apostles and an eyewitness to the event. Mark was a close companion of Peter, one of Christ’s three innermost apostles. Mark also travelled with Paul, Luke, and many of the earliest Christians in the Book of Acts. Luke was a Greek physician and historian who carefully investigated the events of Christ’s life. His historical investigation was based on direct and indirect eyewitness accounts from Paul, Peter, James, Mark, Mary (the mother of Jesus), and many of Jesus’ first female followers.1 Luke is considered to be one of the most reliable historians of all time.1
J.A.T. Robinson, a liberal New Testament scholar, conducted an in-depth study in which he discovered strong historical, textual, and logical evidence for dating all of the gospels between AD 40–65.2 And Robinson was no friend of conservative biblical Christianity. Based on these dates, Matthew, Mark, and Luke would have written about the darkness a mere 7 to 32 years after the actual event....
Even more compelling is the fact that Rudolph Pesch, the German New Testament scholar, dates the source for Mark’s passion narrative no later than AD 37 based on language, style, grammar, and personal references.5 This is a maximum of four years after the actual event! It can be conclusively stated that the gospel accounts of the darkness at the crucifixion are extremely early, reliable, and based on eyewitnesses.
Thallus, Phlegon, and Africanus
Thallus wrote a history of the eastern Mediterranean world since the Trojan War. Thallus wrote his regional history in about AD 52.6 Although his original writings have been lost, he is specifically quoted by Julius Africanus, a renowned third century historian. Africanus states, ‘Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun—unreasonably as it seems to me.’ Apparently, Thallus attempted to ascribe a naturalistic explanation to the darkness during the crucifixion.
Phlegon was a Greek historian who wrote an extensive chronology around AD 137:
In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e., AD 33) there was ‘the greatest eclipse of the sun’ and that ‘it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e., noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.’7
Annular (ring) eclipse. An eclipse could NOT have caused darkness at the crucifixion because they don’t occur during the full moon.
Phlegon provides powerful confirmation of the gospel accounts. He identifies the year and the exact time of day. In addition, he writes of an earthquake accompanying the darkness, which is specifically recorded in Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 27:51). However, like Thallus, he fallaciously attempts to interpret the darkness as a direct effect of a solar eclipse.
Africanus composed a five volume History of the World around AD 221. He was also a pagan convert to Christianity. His historical scholarship so impressed Roman Emperor Alexander Severus that Africanus was entrusted with the official responsibility of building the Emperor’s library at the Pantheon in Rome. Africanus writes:
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. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Savior falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye. Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth—manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period.8
Africanus rightly argues that a solar eclipse could not have occurred during the lunar cycle of the Passover, as this diagram shows. He also questions the link between an eclipse, an earthquake, and the miraculous events recorded in Matthew’s gospel. Eclipses do not set off earthquakes and bodily resurrections. We also know that eclipses only last for several minutes, not three hours. For Africanus, naturalistic explanations for the darkness at the crucifixion were grossly insufficient, as he showed by applying real science.
Local or global?
Many have pondered whether or not the darkness was a regional or global phenomenon. A vast majority of biblical translations records that the darkness was ‘over the land’, ‘over all the land’, or ‘over the whole land’. However, some translations of Luke’s account state the darkness was ‘over all the earth’ or ‘over the whole earth’.
What we do have is a plethora of extremely early, historically reliable, and highly respected sources for the darkness during the crucifixion.
The Greek has the usual word for earth, gē,9 here, from which we derive ‘geology’. The language of most translations appears to strongly suggest that the darkness was a local or regional phenomenon, which is a possible rendition in some contexts. All the same, if it was regional, it was over an extensive region. Dr Paul Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, notes ‘This phenomenon, evidently, was visible in Rome, Athens, and other Mediterranean cities.’.....