Dating the Passion

The Life of Jesus and the Emergence of Scientific Chronology (200–1600)


The beginnings of scientific chronology are usually associated with the work of the great Renaissance philologist Joseph Scaliger (1540–1609), but this perspective is challenged by the existence of a vivid pre-modern computistical tradition, in which technical chronological questions, especially regarding the life of Jesus, played an essential role. Christian scholars such as Roger Bacon made innovative breakthroughs in the field of historical dating by applying astronomical calculations, critical exegesis, and the study of the Jewish calendar to chronological problems. Drawing on a wide selection of sources that range from late antiquity to 1600, this book uses the history of the date of Christ’s Passion to shed new light on the medieval contribution to science and scholarship.

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C. Philipp E. Nothaft, Ph.D. (2011) in History, University of Munich, is a research assistant at the Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies, University College, London. He has published several articles on the history of scholarship and chronology.
Chapter One: From Astronomy to the Crucifixion and Back
Chapter Two: The Origins of Computistical Chronography
Chapter Three: The Crisis of Computistical Chronography in the Early Middle Ages
Chapter Four: All Coherence Restored? The Age of the Critical Computists
Chapter Five: New Foundations: Chronology and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance
Chapter Six: A Science of Time: Roger Bacon and his Successors
Chapter Seven: Time for Controversy: Catholic Chronologers and the Date of the Passion in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century
Chapter Eight: The Life of Jesus and the Emergence of Scientific Chronology
Historians of science, biblical scholars, medievalists, Hebraists, and all those interested in chronology and intellectual and cultural history.
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