“Christ on the Cross,” by Carl Heinrich Bloch from 1870, showing darkened skies. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

The ’Splainer (as in “You’ve got some ’splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which RNS staff give you everything you need to know about current events to hold your own at the water cooler.

(RNS) — It’s a scene familiar from movies and even some modern translations of the Bible: As Jesus Christ hangs on the cross, an eclipse blots out the sun.

But did a total solar eclipse actually darken the skies during the Crucifixion?

For centuries, scholars have debated

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