|Isenheim Altarpiece Detail|
“Suddenly, not only in Judea, but over the whole earth that was just then enjoying the blessing of sunlight, an abnormal, inexplicable darkness fell, one that was mentioned even by heathen writers. The sun simply failed the people of the world; his light was shut off. All nature was mourning at the climax of the suffering of Jesus. This darkness was a picture of the greater, deeper darkness that had fallen into the soul of the Redeemer. He was literally forsaken by God, given over into the power of the spirits of darkness, to suffer the indescribable agonies of hell. Christ, in these three hours, had to bear and feel the full strength, the full terror of the divine wrath over the sins of the world” (Kretzmann, 1921).
“Three hundred priests were told off [sic; the idea is that they were designated] to draw the veil (of the Temple) aside; for it is taught that Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel declared in the name of Rabbi Shimon the Sagan (or high priest’s substitute), that the thickness of the veil was a handbreadth. It was woven of seventy-two cords, and each cord consisted of twenty-four strands. It was forty cubits long and twenty wide. Eighty-two myriads of damsels worked at it, and two such veils were made every year. When it became soiled, it took three hundred priests to immerse and cleanse it” (Harris, 1901).
“And likewise all those that had come together near the place of the crucifixion and had remained to see this climax of the work of Christ, beat upon their breasts and turned to go back home, moved in a way which they could hardly explain to themselves. God had spoken, and men were filled with dread” (Kretzmann, 1921).