Late for the Last Supper

A Cambridge physics boffin claims Christians have been celebrating the last supper a day late for hundreds of years.

Bible Cambridge University cup Faculty of Divinity science Sir Colin Humphreys

The Last Supper could have happened a day earlier than usually accepted, claims a Cambridge scientist.

Sir Colin Humphreys, professor in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, has published a book proposing that the Last Supper actually occurred on a Wednesday – the day before it is celebrated.

The Mystery of the Last Supper uses astronomical, Biblical and historical evidence to ascribe the date of Wednesday April 1st AD 33 – a day before conventionally thought. Humphreys explains the long-standing inconsistency between the Gospels on the issue by suggesting that the four authors were simply using different calendars.

The theory has received praise from academics worldwide, as well as such notable members of the church as the Archbishop of York, who “commend[s] Colin Humphreys… on his remarkable book”.

Humphreys has used science to aid understanding of the Bible before. His latest book follows on from research published in 1983, which fixed a date for the crucifixion. The theory was widely accepted by Biblical scholars.

He told The Tab that it was while researching the crucifixion date “I realised that the four Gospels appeared to contradict themselves on various aspects of the last week of Jesus. I have been thinking about these problems, on and off, ever since.”

The prof’s dating of Easter week could have a much more practical consequence. He said “A more fixed date for Easter would be very convenient for many organisations (schools, industry, universities, etc). Since the original Easter Sunday was on 5 April, AD 33, this strongly suggests fixing Easter Sunday to be the first Sunday in April.”

However, the new discoveries are unlikely to change conventional Church celebrations or national bank holidays. Dr Justin Meggitt, an expert on the New Testament from the Div Fac, pointed out that “Biblical scholarship in the last century has rarely impacted upon the life of Christian churches even when a consensus is reached.”