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The Last Supper took place on a Wednesday -- a day earlier than thought -- and a date for Easter can now be fixed, according to a Cambridge University scientist aiming to solve one of the Bible's most enduring contradictions.
Christians have marked Jesus' final meal on Maundy Thursday for centuries but thanks to the rediscovery of an ancient Jewish calendar, Professor Colin Humphreys suggests another interpretation.
"I was intrigued by Biblical stories of the final week of Jesus in which no one can find any mention of Wednesday. It's called the missing day," Humphreys told Reuters. "But that seemed so unlikely: after all Jesus was a very busy man."
His findings help explain a puzzling inconsistency between the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, who said the Last Supper coincided with Passover and John, who said the meal took place before the Jewish holy day commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.
British astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees, whose research delves deep into the mysteries of the cosmos, has won the 2011 Templeton Prize for career achievements affirming life's spiritual dimension. The one million sterling ($1.6 million) award, the world's largest to an individual, was announced on Wednesday in London. Rees, master of Trinity College at Cambridge University, is former head of the Royal Society and a life peer.