Scholar pretendus wrote:
: The facts are that there is secular evidence for 539 BCE for the Fall of Babylon
You're so predictable. I said you'd say that, and I explained why it's irrelevant to the question of 607 versus 587.
: and there are secular facts for establishing 537 BCE for the Return of the Jews during the the first year of Cyrus.
No, there are not. I've asked, cajoled, and demanded that you present any such facts. And as I said you would not, you've not provided any.
Your claims are a joke.
: There is no ambiguity in regard to the simple fact that the seventy years was a period of exile, servitude and desolation as confirmed by Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezra, Zechariah and Josephus which began with the Fall in 607 BCE and ended with the Return in 537BCE.
A careful reading of those passages shows unequivocally that the Watchtower interpretation / McFadzen Hypothesis causes various biblical passages to appear to contradict one another. And I've demonstrated on this board how Josephus demonstrably contradicts not only himself but various biblical statements. But we've been through this before, as for example, in my "15 hour" post which you claimed to be able to refute in a couple of hours but have entirely ignored.
Your claims are a joke.
: The only persons who believe that the principal 'seventy year' texts are ambiguous are the higher critics and devotees of the Jonsson hypothesis.
Which amounts to the rest of the world of good scholars.
You might just as well have said: "The only persons who don't believe that the JW Governing Body speaks for God are the higher critics and devotees of the Jonsson hypothesis." This is very good for reinforcing your personal self-deception, Neil, but only serves to reinforce what we already know about you: you worship the Watchtower Society.
: Your secular chronology is proved to be inconsistent
Where? Present facts, not unsupported claims.
: and cannot determine precisely the Fall of Jerusalem,
I've already explained why this is immaterial. Plenty of other posters have also shown why the Bible itself is the source of imprecision, because it gives ambiguous data.
: Scholar Jack Finegan advocates 586
Finegan changed his mind between the original edition of Handbook of Biblical Chronology of 1964 and the revised edition of 1998:
The second fall was in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar, the city being breached on Jul 29 and burned between Aug 25 and 28, 587 B.C. -- these dates are very probable. [Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology (1st edition), Princeton Univ. Press, 1964, p. 208, section 325]
: wheras the pseudo scholar Carl Jonsson pleads for the date 587.
As do many other scholars, including the ones who wrote The Cambridge Ancient History.
: Such a pitiful situation is the consequence of basing chronology on man-made theories which again lead only contradictions and stupidity.
Actually, the failure of JW writers and apologists to properly use facts leads to just one bit of consistency, a single figure for the insignificant date of Jersualem's destruction, but complete inconsistency with every date before 539 B.C. A better case of special pleading would be hard to find.
: The date of 539 is not based as you stupidly claim on 605, 597
On 605 B.C.:
The date 539 for the fall of Babylon has been reckoned from the latest dates on the contracts of each king in this period, counting from the end of Nabopolassar's reign in 605 B.C., viz., Nebuchadrezzar, 43: Amel-Marduk, 2: Nergal-shar-usur, 4: Labashi-Marduk (accession only): Nabonidus, 17 = 66. [R. Campbell Thompson, "The New Babylonian Empire", The Cambridge Ancient History, ed. J. B. Bury, S. A. Cook, F. E. Adcock, Vol. III, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1925, p. 224, ftn. 1]
Note the date of 1925 for the above quotation. This proves that, long before the Watchtower Society began moving away (in the 1940s) from claiming that 538 was the date of the fall of Babylon, good scholars had known the fact that the correct date was 539 (e.g., Smith's Bible Dictionary, edition of 1864) and had based their calculations on Nebuchadnezzar's accession year date of 605 B.C.
Thiele notes that two eclipses confirm 605 as the year of accession for Nebuchadnezzar. The first occurred on Apr 22, 621, in the fifth year of Nabopolassar, which puts Nabopolassar's death in the twenty-first year of his reign in 605 and thus the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's reign in that year too. The second eclipse was on July 4, 568, in the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, which also counts correctly from accession in 605. Thiele concludes that no date in ancient history is more firmly established than this. [Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology (revised edition), Hendrickson Publishers, 1998, p. 253, section 431]
Two eclipses establish beyond question 605 as the year when Nebuchadnezzar began his reign. . . No date in ancient history is more firmly established than is 605 for the commencement of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. The year 605 B.C. can thus be accepted with all certainty as the year when the first attack of Nebuchadnezzar on Jerusalem was made, and as the year when Daniel was taken to Babylon . . . [Edwin R. Thiele, A Chronology of the Hebrew Kings, Zondervan, 1977, p. 69]
With the close of Josiah's reign we find positive contacts with established Babylonian years. Nabonassar [sic, should be Nabopolassar] was then on the throne in Babylon, and his years have been confirmed by an eclipse of the moon that took place in the fifth year of his reign on 22 April 621 B.C. The 621 anchor date enables us to arrive at 605 as the twenty-first and last year of Nabopolassar and the accession of Nebuchadnezzar. This also provides fixed dates for the remaining rulers of Babylon and for any Hebrew rulers with whom precise contacts with Babylon took place. [Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, New Revised Edition, Kregel Publications, 1983, p. 181]
On 597 B.C.:
. . . the 597 date is one of the very few secure dates in our whole chronological repertoire. [Letter from Dr. Edward F. Campbell, Jr., dated August 9, 1981, to Carl Jonsson; cited in The Gentile Times Reconsidered, Carl Jonsson, 4th edition, 2004, p. 293]
The first fall was in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, on Mar 16, 597 B.C. -- this appears to be an exact date. [Jack Finegan, op. cit., p. 208, section 325]
Although the reign of Jehoiachin lasted only threee months, certain items about it are unique and important. Its date has been fully established by a Babylonian tablet that gives interesting details parallel to the biblical account. The Babylonian tablet states that Nebuchadnezzar in the seventh year of his reign made an expedition to the Hatti-land in the month of Kislev (17 December 598 to 15 Janurary 597). He besieged Jerusalem and captured the city on 2 Adar (Saturday, 16 March) 597. . . Thus Jerusalem fell to Nebuchanezzar in his seventh year according to his own reckoning but in his eighth year according to the reckoning in Kings. The overlap was from Tishri in the fall of 598 to Nisan in the spring of 597. Since Jerusalem fell in Adar, the last month of the Babylonian year, this was in the spring of 597. [Edwin Thiele, op. cit., Mysterious Numbers, p. 186]
: or 568/7
The tablet VAT 4956 astronomically establishes Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year as 568/7 B.C. This confirms 605/4 as his accession year. The latter is, as Thiele states in the above quotations, also established by an eclipse in 621 B.C. along with other historical records. Thus, Nebuchadnezzar's accession year is established on two astronomical grounds, and by anyone's standards (aside from those of self-serving JW apologists) is a "pivotal date", "anchor date", or whatever one likes to call a firmly established historical date.
: because such dates open to some disagreemnt within scholarship
Not 605 or 597, as indicated above. If you find such disagreement, then present it here and we will discuss the qualifications and arguments of those who disagree.
: and even Thiele did not use these as Absolute Dates.
Thiele did not use the term "Absolute Date" so far as I know, but the above citations prove that he considered 621 B.C. as an "anchor date" and 605 and 597 as "fixed dates".
: Jonsson in his GTR shows that the methodology for 539 is very much independent from the determination of those fore-mentioned dates.
Nonsense. Jonsson discusses this in detail on pages 77-88 of GTR4. After discussing why the Strassmeier tablet (Strm. Kambys. 400) is of dubious value (pp. 85-87), but still confirms the 539 date, Jonsson states:
Actually, to fix the date for the fall of Babylon, it is much safer to start with the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and count forward, instead of beginning with the reign of Cambyses and counting backward. The date 539 B.C.E. for the fall of Babylon was, in fact, first determined this way, as pointed out by Dr. R. Campbell Thompson in The Cambridge Ancient History:
Jonsson then cites Thompson as quoted above.
Your claims are a joke.
: The date of 537 for the Return is based upon the secular evidence for the reign of Cyrus and the scriptural account of the Return in 2 Chronicles 36 and Ezra Chapters 1-3:1. The Jews were by the end of Cyrus first year in the seventh month already at home in 537 BCE
I've already shown why the scriptural evidence is consistent with either interpretation, and therefore is ambiguous. The secular evidence for Cyrus' reign is immaterial as well, since it's consistent with both dates, as my quotation from Jonsson below indicates.
: and in the second year namely 536 BCE saw the temple foundations laid as also attested by Josephus.
Cite Josephus on this, if you dare. If you refuse, then you've once again been forced to concede that Josephus -- as I've proved conclusively -- points to the laying of the temple foundations in the spring of 537. Once again, this is the way it goes:
Josephus states that the foundations were laid in Cyrus' 2nd year. That year ran from Nisan of 537 to Adar of 536. Ezra 3:8 states that in the 2nd month of the 2nd year of the Jews' return to Jerusalem, the temple foundations were laid. Thus, it was in the 2nd month of Cyrus' 2nd year that the foundations were laid. That was in Iyyar (March/April) of 537 B.C. -- not 536 as you claim.
As usual, scholar pretendus, you make bald claims that you refuse to back up with facts or even argumentation.
: Your failure or inability to accept the well proven biblical chronology discerned by celebrated WT scholars
You're a broken record, Neil.
: over many centuries
Many centuries? There has only been a Watchtower Society since 1884, and its founder only began writing around 1872 at the earliest. By my count, that's at most about 136 years. Obviously you are mathematically handicapped.
: is because you cannot grasp the simple equation that chronology equals methodology and interpretation.
Oh, I understand that perfectly well. But I also understand what you refuse to: a methodology that deliberately ignores known facts is not a valid methodology, but special pleading that amounts to deliberately dishonest scholarship. And that is precisely what you and the Watchtower Society use for your chronology.
: This is the reason why theJonsson hypothesis along with Thiele's and others fails because their methodologies and interpretations do not assign primacy to the Bible but to Neo-Babylonian mythology and Ptolemy's Canon.
LOL! As plenty of people have proved, the Watchtower does not assign primacy to the Bible. Rather, it assigns primacy to the opinions of its leaders, who merely claim that their ever-changing opinions are not only based on the Bible, but the product of ever-changing "spirit direction".
Please, Neil, don't continue to embarass yourself like this!
On the other hand, you really should keep it up, since it proves to all onlookers to what lengths of dishonesty a JW will go to defend Mommy's Teachings.
: Josephus does not give 538 BCE for the Return and neither does he say that because the temple foundations was finished in Cyrus' second year, that this means that the Jews must have returned in 538.
I've shown above and in the post you refuse to reply to, why you're completely out to lunch about this. As usual, you simply make claims without discussing actual data. You simply refuse to make the obvious connection between Josephus and Ezra. But ignoring facts does not make them go away.
: The fact is that the Jews were home by the seventh month of 537 and in the following year, 536 the temple foundation was finished. Your calculation is out by one year.
: The fact of the matter is that the Society has given much data in its publications establishing 537
: and scholars do not dispute this matter.
Yes, they do.
: Jonsson himself, did not issue with this year
I believe he did "issue with this year".
: even though he pathetically supports 538 he provides no sustained criticism of the 537 date championed by scholarship for the Return.
You're nothing but a gross liar, scholar pretendus. On page 90 of GTR4, Jonsson states (ftn. 2):
. . . the evidence is that Cyrus issued his edict not long after the fall of Babylon. The so-called Cyrus Cylinder shows that Cyrus, soon after the conquest of Babylon, issued a decree that allowed the different peoples that had been deported to Babylonia to return to their respective home countries. . . Most likely the edict permitting the Jews to return to Jerusalem was a part of this general release of exiled peoples. As shown by the book of Ezra, the Jews who responded to the edict immediately began to organize themselves for the homeward journey (Ezra 1:5-2:70), and in "the seventh month" (Tishri, corresponding to parts of September and October) they had settled in their home cities. (Ezra 3:1) The context seems to imply that this was still in the "first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1-3:1). Most authorities, therefore, conclude that this was in the autumn of 538 B.C.E. and not in 537 as the Watch Tower Society insists. (See for example Dr. T. C. Mitchell's discussion in The Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd ed., Vol. III:2, Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 1991, pp. 430-432; also the thorough discussion of the historicity of Cyrus' edict by Elias Bickerman in Studies in Jewish and Christian History, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1976, pp. 72-108.) The Watch Tower Society, however, cannot accept the 538 B.C.E. date for the return, as that would move the beginning of their seventy-year period back to 608 B.C.E. This, of course, would destroy their Gentile times calculation.
Jonsson gives two citations of respected modern scholars who support the 538 date. What citations of modern scholars can you give who support the 537 date?
In preface to the next bit of discussion, readers might want to note the following scenario:
Suppose I told you that I had lived in New York until George Bush began to reign as president of the United States. Now, everyone knows that GWB began to reign in January, 2001. Suppose that you found out that I still lived in New York as of September, 2003. Would you conclude that I had deceived you? Of course. Or you might conclude that I was too stupid to remember when I lived where.
With that scenario in mind, consider what 2 Chronicles 36 states in the same vein, with respect to Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews. The chapter is concerned with the exile of the Jews in Babylon. Verse 20 states of Nebuchadnezzar, whom the chapter also calls "the king of the Chaldeans" (vs 17):
Furthermore, he carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon, and they came to be servants to him and his sons until the royalty of Persia began to reign.
"Until the royalty of Persia began to reign." Compare that with "until George Bush began to reign." Is there any difference in the meaning of "until"? Clearly not. It means that, after the date in question, a condition no longer held.
When did the royalty of Persia begin to reign over Babylon? Cyrus the Persian's accession year is generally accepted to have been 539/8 B.C., which means that he began to reign sometime in 539 or 538 B.C. We also know that Cyrus conquered Babylon in October of 539 B.C., and that his accession year ended with Adar (February/March) of 538 B.C. Therefore, "the royalty of Persia" began to reign sometime between October 539 and February/March 538. Therefore, the phrase "until the royalty of Persia began to reign" cannot apply to later than February/March of 538 B.C., just as the phrase "until George Bush began to reign" cannot apply to later than January, 2001.
In view of the above, just as I would have deceived you if I were still living in New York in September, 2003, the author of 2 Chronicles would have deceived his readers if the Jews were still servants to the Chaldean king of Babylon "and his sons" after February/March of 538 B.C. And that is exactly what the Watchtower Society would have its readers believe! This proves that the Watchtower Society does not accept the Bible when the Bible contradicts its teachings.
The phraseology of 2 Chronicles 36:20 is noteworthy in that it specifically mentions, not simply "the king of Babylon" in a generic sense, but "the king of the Chaldeans". Thus, 2 Chronicles specifically disallows a claim that the king of Babylon, in the sense of chapter 36, could apply to any such king except one who was himself a "Chaldean", i.e., a Babylonian by descent. This rules out a claim that the "king" spoken of might actually be a Mede or a Persian.
Another bit of phraseology in 2 Chronicles 36:20 precisely corresponds to a prophecy of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 27:6, 7 states:
And now I myself have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and even the wild beasts of the field I have given him to serve him. And all the nations must serve even him and his son and his grandson until the time even of his own land comes, and many nations and great kings must exploit him as a servant.
2 Chronicles refers to the captives as serving whom? "They came to be servants to him and his sons." Obviously, "him" refers to Nebuchadnezzar, and "his sons" refers to kings descended from or related to him, in view of the general biblical usage of "son" as a generic term implying some sort of descendant relationship. Jeremiah's use of "son" and "grandson" is similar: Nebuchadnezzar and the line of kings descended from or related to his descendants by marriage would be "served" by the Jews and other nations. It turns out that every king of Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar was either related to his family by marriage (e.g., Neriglissar; Nabonidus was his son-in-law) or descended from him (Nabonidus' son Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar's grandson).
Until when would Nebuchadnezzar's line of kings be served by the Jews and other nations? Jeremiah 27 is clear: "until the time even of his own land comes, and many nations and great kings must exploit him as a servant." In other words, Nebuchadnezzar's line of kings would be served until Babylon was conquered. Thus, in view of 2 Chronicles 36, "the king of the Chaldeans" was no longer served by the Jews or anyone else after the fall of Babylon, and the Jews served only "until the royalty of Persia began to reign."
The phrase "until the time even of his own land comes, and many nations and great kings must exploit him as a servant" is also extremely significant, and cannot possibly apply to any kings after Nabonidus and Belshazzar. Suppose that one claims that it applies to Cyrus the Persian as king of Babylon in 537 B.C. What event would qualify as "many nations and great kings" beginning to exploit Cyrus as a servant? There are none.
In view of the above, note the complete gibberish that scholar pretendus writes in an attempt to refute the clear biblical statements:
: 2 Chronicles 36:20 with the phrase 'until the royalty of Persia began to reign' clearly alludes not to the Fall of Babylon in 539 but to the first year of Cyrus which not only saw the decree but the Return. The context of this chapter clearly refers not to the end of the Babylonian dynasty but to Persian rule at Babylon. Whilst the Jews remained captive in Babylon they were still subject to a new king of Babylon, first the Medes and then Cyrus the Persian. Hence there is no problem with this verse of Chronicles as it simply refutes the whacky view that the seventy years ended with the Fall of Babylon.
This illustrates the sort of deadness of mind produced by long devotion to the Watchtower cult. Rather than admit that a Persian began to rule over Babylon in Cyrus' accession year, which is true by definition, scholar pretendus warps the facts and claims that his accession year was his first year! How anyone can be that braindead is beyond me. And so it goes with the rest of his foolishness.
: Your previous 15 hour post contains nothing new but a vain attempt to hijack 537, minimize Josephus and twist Jeremiah 25:12.
Your silly claims remain just that. And just as I predicted, you cannot refute anything I've said with data or arguments.