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How Many Years Has It Been Since Jesus Died?

For over two thousand years, the story of Jesus Christ has captivated people all around the world. His life, death, and purported resurrection form the basis for the world’s largest religion – Christianity. But when exactly did Jesus live and die?

Getting an accurate date is challenging, but historians have narrowed down the timeframe using a variety of clues from the Bible and other historical sources.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Most scholars believe Jesus was crucified around 30-33 AD. So as of 2024, it has been about 1,991-1,994 years since Jesus died.

When Was Jesus Born?

Born Between 6 and 4 BC

Most scholars believe Jesus was born between 6 and 4 BC based on historical information and clues from the Bible. Here are some of the key pieces of evidence:

  • The Gospel of Matthew says Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod the Great. Herod died in 4 BC, so Jesus had to have been born before then.
  • Luke’s gospel records that Jesus was born when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Historical records show Quirinius became governor in 6 AD. This means Jesus was born before 6 AD.
  • Some scholars think the Star of Bethlehem described in Matthew was an astronomical event that occurred in 5 BC or 4 BC.

So while we don’t have an exact date, most experts agree Jesus was likely born between 6 and 4 BC based on these historical clues.

Clues from the Bible

The Bible gives us some helpful clues about when Jesus was born:

  • Jesus was born late in Herod the Great’s reign which ended in 4 BC (Matthew 2:1).
  • He was born during a census when Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:2). Historical records show Quirinius became governor in 6 AD.
  • Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry (Luke 3:23), which is estimated to be around 27-29 AD.

Doing the math, these clues place Jesus’ birth somewhere between 6 and 4 BC. The Star of Bethlehem astronomical events in 5 BC and 4 BC also align with this timeline.

Secular Historical References

A few ancient non-Christian sources make reference to Jesus and when he lived:

  • The Jewish historian Josephus said Jesus was the brother of James who was stoned in approximately 62 AD. This suggests Jesus was born sometime in the decades before 1 AD.
  • The Roman historian Tacitus mentioned in about 116 AD that Christus (Jesus) suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius. Tiberius was Roman emperor from 14 to 37 AD, so again Jesus must have been born before then.
  • Pliny the Younger, Roman governor of Bithynia, wrote a letter in 112 AD referencing early Christian worship of Christ.

These independent historical sources provide corroborating evidence that Jesus was born sometime before 4 BC.

When Did Jesus Die?

Determining the exact date of Jesus’s death has been a matter of debate amongst religious scholars for centuries.

However, most agree his crucifixion occurred around 30-33 AD under the order of Pontius Pilate, the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from 26–36 AD.

Crucifixion Under Pontius Pilate

The biblical accounts describe Jesus brought before Pilate by the Sanhedrin, the supreme legal and ecclesiastical council of the Jews, and charged with blasphemy.

Despite finding no basis for a death sentence, Pilate acquiesced and ordered Jesus to be crucified (John 18:28–19:16).

This was a common Roman punishment for slaves and provincials.

Outside of the bible, Pilate is mentioned by 1st-century historians Josephus and Tacitus as playing a role in suppressing revolts and ruling Judea during the time period when Jesus lived.

These records lend credence to the biblical timeline of Jesus’s trial and execution occurring while Pilate held office.

Around 30-33 AD

Though the precise day and year are uncertain, most researchers agree Jesus’s crucifixion happened between 30-33 AD based on historical records about his public ministry and biblical details around his death. Some key reference points:

  • Jesus began his public ministry around 27-29 AD and it lasted 2-3 years until his death, putting the year between 30-33 AD.
  • All four gospels record Jesus was crucified at Passover, which supports the March/April timeframe.
  • The 31 AD date aligns with a volcanic dust veil and darkness described at his death.

Additionally, the April 3, 33 AD date correlates with calendars and astronomical conditions mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). However, there are well-reasoned arguments for 30, 32, and other years as well within this range.

Correlating With Other Events

The approximate date of Jesus’s death can also be extrapolated by cross-referencing what the bible and other historical sources from the time period say about other key figures and occurrences. A few notable correlations:

  • Jesus began preaching after John the Baptist‘s arrest. Per the historian Josephus, John the Baptist died around 36 AD, suggesting Jesus’s ministry started a few years prior in 27-29 AD.
  • The Apostle Paul’s epistles mention meeting Jesus’s brother James and the disciple Peter around 35 AD. As Jesus died shortly before their conversions, this points to 32-33 AD.
  • Caiaphas was the Jewish high priest who presided over Jesus’s Sanhedrin trial per the gospels. Historical records confirm he held this position from 18-36 AD.

So while the precise day and year may never be resolved, references to figures like Caiaphas, James, John the Baptist, and Peter help narrow down the window to around 30-33 AD for when Jesus was crucified.

A close-up photograph of a humble cross, bathed in ethereal light, symbolizing the redemptive power of Jesus' blood, evoking hope, forgiveness, and salvation.

Dating Issues and Debates

Calendar Changes

Calculating the exact year of Jesus’ death is complicated by changes in the calendar over the centuries. Jesus lived during the Julian calendar era, but in 1582 the Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, which corrected some of the inaccuracies of the Julian calendar.

This means there is some uncertainty in aligning dates from the Julian calendar with our modern Gregorian one.

When calculating years from the presumed year of Jesus’ birth, there is also the question of whether the year 0 exists.

In the Julian calendar, there was no year 0 – the calendar went straight from 1 BC to 1 AD. So technically, the year 2021 could be interpreted as either 2020 or 2021 years since Jesus’ birth, depending on whether you count year 0.

Missing Years

There is some debate around whether the traditional birth year of Jesus around 6-4 BC is accurate. Some scholars believe that the Gospel of Luke actually refers to a census by Quirinius in 6 AD, meaning Jesus was born around 4-6 AD.

If Jesus was born later than traditionally thought, this would mean the current estimate of years since his death should be reduced.

Additionally, some early Christians believed there was a several year gap between Jesus’ childhood and the start of his ministry around age 30. References to his “lost years” can be found in several non-canonical sources.

If such a gap did exist, the number of years since Jesus’ death would again need to be adjusted.

Differing Calculations

Estimates for Jesus’ year of birth vary anywhere from 6 BC to 4 AD. The commonly accepted date is between 6 and 4 BC. Estimates for Jesus’ age at the start of his ministry also range from around 25 to 35 years old.

Traditional Christian belief is he was around 30 when he began preaching.

Furthermore, the precise day and year of Jesus’ crucifixion is debated by scholars. Dates derived from the Gospels range from 30-36 AD. Most modern scholars estimate the year to be around 30-33 AD.

Given all these uncertainties around Jesus’ birth year, missing years, and crucifixion date, estimates for how long ago he died can differ by over a decade.

That said, most scholars believe it has been between 1985 and 2025 years since the death of Jesus as of 2024. The traditionally accepted estimate is around 2020 years.


Pinning down the exact date of Jesus’ death is challenging due to gaps in our historical records and discrepancies in calendars and timelines. However, most scholars agree he was crucified around 30-33 AD during the rule of Pontius Pilate.

Given the current year of 2024, that puts his death approximately 1,991-1,994 years ago. While the precise date may never be known, the story and legacy of Jesus continues to shape history and impact lives over two millennia after his death.

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