Flogging the Vat 4956 horse

by MightierThanTheSword 13 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • MightierThanTheSword

    I'm just curious about something & wonder if the experts could help.

    Basically I am documenting all of the main lines of evidence for the JWs being The One & then investigating each claim systematically.

    I have now reached the dreaded November 1st, 2011 Watchtower & am sitting in front of a copy of Cartes du Ciel and a Babylonian calendar converter I found at http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~gent0113/babylon/babycal_converter.htm

    I realise these claims have been challenged and documented in depth elsewhere, but I'm keen to do my own research rather than copy & paste. My question is regarding date conversion - when inputting the Gregorian dates as given at the bottom of the tablet's translation I found at http://www.caeno.org/pdf/F019_Translation.pdf then the lunar positions all seemed pretty close (visually, I wasn't dealing with exact degrees here). But the Gregorian dates in the above online converter are all shifted one day back, throwing out the lunar positions so that they don't really match.

    I'm more inclined to believe the ones that match. ie. the dates on the translation PDF, but I've seen other researchers use, for example, April 23rd for Nisanu 1 instead of the April 22nd that's on the translation PDF.

    I hope I'm not being dim and missing something obvious but, for example, one examination here uses April 22nd: http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/216051/do-all-13-sets-lunar-positions-on-vat-4956-fit-year-588-587-b-c-e?size=10&page=1

    And here uses April 23rd: http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/216056/vat-4956-comparison-lunar-three-time-intervals-years-568-7-bce-588-7-bce?size=10&page=1

    Is there really any reliable way to get a Gregorian date which I can put into Cartes du Ciel? I'm keen to work out the "official" Gregorian dates for 588 and put those in too (although I know this opens a can of worms as Furuli has his own dates for this).

    Who'd have thought disproving 100+ years of changing doctrine could be so hard?

  • Finkelstein

    The WTS has used many self supporting doctrines with the intent to prove that their organzation has been exclusively chosen as God's/Jesus's earthly mouth piece. (1918) These calculating dates were not instructions from God or Jesus when he was on earth. They occurred exclusively only in the minds of men who want to self empower themselves as such.

    The conversion from lunar dating years to Gregorian is somewhat interesting.

    Personally I dont see a visibly possible accurate mathematical conversion based from how the Ancient Hebrews made the adjustment.

    Here's a web site that brings forth some in depth information on the matter.


  • Crazyguy
    Its not hard at all, thousands of tablets including more released from private collection show the city destroyed in 587. The Kings list of babylonian also proves this as well. No need to spend a lot of time on details when the obvious is the obvious.
  • CharlieSmith1975

    Actually, if I understand what is going on, I think you need to supplement your investigation with a good astronomy program. There are lots of them out there that I think are reliable but some easier to use than others.

    At this stage of investigation though, you need to realize there are some relative issues as far as any given date. That's because the location you reference will make a difference in the date. May 1st in one place at noon might be May 2nd at Midnight in another place. So every seeming discrepancy may not be a true discrepancy.

    Also, the WTS only recently extended conversation about the VAT4956. Their focus document otherwise was a document called the "Strm. Kambyses 400" where they confirm the 7th year of Kambyses in 523 BC which relates to the return from Babylon in 537 BC. So be sure to also check out the Kambyses text. The VAT4956 and the Strm. Kambyses 400 are the only two eclipses specifically referenced in "The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy" by Robert R. Newton. Those two texts become the center of focus for this period and they are very similar in that both are "copies" from the Seleucid Period and both are in the form of a "diary."

    The WTS likes the Strm. Kambyses 400 because it supports their 537 BC return from Babylon upon which their 607 BC dating is derived. But they don't like the VAT4956 because it points to year 37 in 568 BC, which contradicts their dating to 588 BC. Only now they like the VAT4956 because Line 3 describes the "moon as 1 cubit in front of beta-Virginis" on the 9th of Nisan, which is a mismatch for 568 BC, but amazingly a match for 588 BC. This works for them even if it is just confusing since clearly all the planetary references only match 568 BCE and they know this.

    Enjoy your studies!

  • MightierThanTheSword

    Thanks for the input guys, I realise I'm probably in over my head here, and yes I know there is plenty of other evidence but I'm trying to stick to what the WT is offering & to then disprove it. I think it would be more powerful that way. If they say "This is our source that proves we have The Truth" then I want to be able to say "I've looked at that exact same source and you are proveably lying." I'd rather put the time in to do that if possible, and leave no stone unturned.

    the location you reference will make a difference in the date

    I'm not being argumentative, just asking: what difference will this make with a calendar converter? I realise with an astronomy program it will make a difference, but surely software converting from one calendar to another would not change location between calendars?

    I picked Cartes du Ciel since that's what the Society claims to have used in the 2011 WT endnote, and plonked in the coordinated of Babylon's ruins as found on Google Maps (this seems to tie in closely enough with the location specified in the Encyclopaedia Britannica).

  • CharlieSmith1975

    I'm not being argumentative, just asking: what difference will this make with a calendar converter? I realize with an astronomy program it will make a difference, but surely software converting from one calendar to another would not change location between calendars?//

    Oh, right. It shouldn't matter. But when comparisons were made with the calendar to some ancient Egyptian events they found good matches that were consistently a day off. I didn't look into this further beyond the suspicion that astronomers manipulated the timeline at one point, essentially eliminating a day from the calendar in connection with a manipulated astronomical picture. But that is far beyond my expertise. At one point I tried to get some professors in Hawaii to look at it, but ancient astronomy was just a class or two in their curriculum.

    Anyway, the unproven theory is, actually partly based on the VAT4956 vs. the Strm. Kambyses 400, that the Seleucids made some adjustments in the lunar times, only when they made the adjustments when discovered by modern astronomers, it made it seem the Earth's rotational speed was increasing. To distract from that picture, a day was gradually removed from the timeline, maybe just minutes at a time over thousands of years so that the references are a day off so that the Earth's rotational speed would seem to be slowing down, rather than increasing? In other words, a lunar position on one day might make it seem 12 hours early, but on the next day would seem 12 hours late. So they took a day out of the calendar to make it seem the Earth was slowing down rather than speeding up. And now with some ancient comparisons everything works only it's a day off, which would be a conversion issue. It's one of the jokes of ancient Greek astronomy. The revisionists ended making it seem the earth was moving slower back then than now, so that was fixed so that it seems the earth was moving faster back then than now, since it is more logical that the earth is slowing down due to lunar tidal drag or some other lame excuse then speeding up.

    Now, there may be another reason you are getting a day off but that missing day has always been an otherwise unexplained mystery for really ancient comparisons, say from the Iron Age back for whatever astronomy they had. Eclipse times can be precisely corrected when you compare Ptolemy's canon and the Strm. Kambyses 400. When you do, observations are reflected a day earlier. With the current adjustments scientists have made with the so-called "delta-T", things are a day later, generally speaking.

    Anyway, the converters don't work for really ancient dates. Apparently it is always a day off. An unproven suspicion is that modern astronomers have removed a day to support the deceleration theory, but that in reality, the Earth's rotational speed, using Egyptian records shows the Earth's speed has been constant as it is now, not varying even 1/100ths of a second.

    So as others have suggested, in this field of imprecision, don't take it too seriously if you're getting some unexplained results. You have dishonest or incompetent translators on top of dishonest scholars on top of dishonest historians. At one point, you can only go so far. My routine was simply to calculate things two different ways, one based on the dating, one based on the actual astronomy, then compare the two.

    Happy researching.

  • Pants of Righteousness
    Pants of Righteousness


    The VAT 4956 observations were well explained in this post:


    The observations much better match 568/7 BC rather than Furali's (WT) dating to 588/7 BC.

    The lunar three observations which were disregarded by the 2011 WT article as 'not reliable', exclude the possibility of the WT dating to 588/7 BC.

  • CharlieSmith1975

    588 BC is a JOKE because the 70 years Josephus talks about begin in year 23, the year of the last deportation. The WTS knows this! They know the 70 years begin with the last deportation. The "poor people" who spend 70 years in exile off the land are the last people moved off the land. The land cannot begin to pay back its sabbaths for 70 years until all the people are off the land! That did not occur until year 23 because those who ran down to Egypt returned to Judea for a short whlie. So the land was not desolate until after they left in year 23.

    JW get 607 BCE by adding 70 years to 537 BCE and claim that year 18 of Nebuchadnezzar is the year Jerusalem fell and thus 607 BCE and year 18 are the same year. But that's just not the case. the 70 years don't begin until the last deportation. People were left in the land after Jerusalem was burned down by the Babylonians. The land had to be completely desolate to begin the 70 years. That did not begin until year 23.

    So let me QUOTE:

    Josephus, Antiquities 9:7 "7. And when they were there, God signified to the prophet that the king of Babylon was about making an expedition against the Egyptians, and commanded him to foretell to the people that Egypt should be taken, and the king of Babylon should slay some of them and, should take others captive, and bring them to Babylon; which things came to pass accordingly; for on the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the twenty-third of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, he made an expedition against Celesyria; and when he had possessed himself of it, he made war against the Ammonites and Moabites; and when he had brought all these nations under subjection, he fell upon Egypt, in order to overthrow it; and he slew the king that then reigned (16) and set up another; and he took those Jews that were there captives, and led them away to Babylon. And such was the end of the nation of the Hebrews, as it hath been delivered down to us, it having twice gone beyond Euphrates; for the people of the ten tribes were carried out of Samaria by the Assyrians, in the days of king Hoshea; after which the people of the two tribes that remained after Jerusalem was taken [were carried away] by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon and Chaldea. Now as to Shalmanezer, he removed the Israelites out of their country, and placed therein the nation of the Cutheans, who had formerly belonged to the inner parts of Persia and Media, but were then called Samaritans, by taking the name of the country to which they were removed; but the king of Babylon, who brought out the two tribes, (17) placed no other nation in their country, by which means all Judea and Jerusalem, and the temple, continued to be a desert for seventy years; but the entire interval of time which passed from the captivity of the Israelites, to the carrying away of the two tribes, proved to be a hundred and thirty years, six months, and ten days."

    Jeremiah 44:14 and 28 clearly says that a remnant of those who ran down to Egypt would return to Judea. That means there were inhabitants as late as year 23! So that is when the 70 years must begin, year 23! Not year 18. So 607 BC is out as ever being the year Jerusalem fell. It's just that simple.

  • CharlieSmith1975

    Why JWs suddenly like the VAT4956? This is beyond belief. It's a FLUKE! What happened was that in Line 3, there is a reference to the "Moon being 1 cubit in front of the Rear Foot of the Lion (GIR ar sa UR-A)" That was falsely translated by Hunger as "1 cubit in front of beta-Virginis." This reference does is not a match for 568 BC and is so noted by the translators. But by strange and unfortunate coincidence, the moon is in that position in 588 BC! So now, all of a sudden, the WTS likes the VAT4956 since they can claim that there is a lunar match for Line 3 for 588 BC. And it is, but only coincidentally so. Why?

    Because hermann Hunger lies about the star assignment in Line 3. Line 3 is a reference to the "Rear Foot of the Lion" meaning the rear foot of Leo, which is SIGMA-LEONIS, not beta-Virginis. Lines 14 and 18 prove that beta-Virginis in this text is called the "Bright Star Behind the Lion's Foot" (MUL KUR sa TiL GIR UR-A). Thus line 3 and lines 14 and 18 refer to two different stars. The Bright Star Behind the Lions Foot is beta-Virginis. But the Rear Foot of the Lion is sigma-Leonis, the natural rear foot of Leo. So when this was pointed out to Herman Hunger who translated this text, he had to admit he was wrong and he had to correct this.

    The CORRECTION for Line 3 is to assign the "Rear Foot of the Lion" (GIR ar sa UR-A) to the proper rear foot of Leo, which is sigma-Leonis. So actually, the text match for Line 3 would be the moon 1 cubit in front of sigma-Leonis and not "beta-Virginis" as Hunger incorrectly states. Thus the WTS who jumped onto claiming there was a match for Line 3 in 588 BCE, have matched the wrong star based on Hunger's error. They found a coincidental match for the moon 1 cubit in front of beta-Virginis in a text that actually requires a match to 1 cubit in front of sigma-Leonis. So the WTS only found a coincidental match based on Hunger's lies and deceptions in the translation and star assignments. But when this is corrected, of course, the match evaporates.

    But what does that matter when the 70 years begin in year 23 rather than year 18? 607 BCE is wrong and 588 BC is wrong academically and fundamentally, long before the errors and misrepresentations in the VAT4956 by Hunger come into play.

    Bottom line, dealing with the VAT4956 is very complex and ends up being a very big joke if you don't correct the transliteration, which most are clueless to do.

    The VAT4956 doesn't happen to work for 607 BCE, but you can dismiss that date as a total false date using the Bible, which begins the 70 years in year 23, or using Josephus who also begins the 70 years in year 23, not year 18.

  • WheninDoubt

    Let me start off by saying that it is not that simple to debate VAT4596. There are too many variables to consider. If it was that clear cut, then the majority of Archeologist, chronologist, historians, and theologians would be on the same page. A page that would end a debate that started in the 70’s, with people such as Olof Jonsson, Franz, Penton, and Manson to name a few apostates.

    The O’Malley point of view is generally based on Mason’s assertions.

    You would need to study very hard on ancient times pertaining to astrology, calendar year, and language.

    There are many ancient tablets that tell us a story of ancient time, such as ABC 5, 7, 13, BM21901, BM22047, BM25127, BM33066, BM58872, BM61325, BM75106, BM75489, BM80920, Lachish Letters, Cambyses tablet, Dairy No 651 etc., and most recent discoveries by Filip Vukosavovic. (CUSAS 28)

    The point to make, is how people interpret this tablets.

    There are also many variables on ancient writers, historians such as the patriarchs to Berossus, Herodotus, Flavius Josephus, Ptolemy, Ussher, Pinches, Saggs, Winkler etc. and modern historians from Brinkman, Glassner Grayson, Mitchell, Pritchard, Sachs, Thiele, and Wiseman etc.

    Then you have tablets like the Walker Saturn tablet bm76738 that gets the picture just a little closer to reality.

    Then you have the Oslo conspiracy Furuli. A linguist that happen to agree with the time certain religions use by his own mathematical computations.

    The book presents new chronological schemes for the Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian empires

    the conclusion drawn on the basis of the study of thousands of cuneiform tablets is that the length of the Neo-Babylonian Empire must be expanded by twenty years. This means that the accession year of Nebuchadnezzar II is 625 and not 605 BCE, as is almost universally believed. The Neo-Assyrian and Egyptian empires are pushed back by twenty years as well.

    Then you have confusion like the Egibi business tablets from the house of Egibi a Family realtor from the 6th century B.C. that named Nebuchadnezzar III and IV to the time presented here. That would mean Nebuchadnezzar II would have reigned much earlier by modern scholars estimate as mentioned in the Oslo chronology and ancient historians.

    1. Every assertion made is based on one principle, the start of creation. Here you’ll find dozens of variations.

    2. Who used what type of calendar? Accession-Regnal year’s scenario. 354, 360, 362, 364, Autumn to Autumn, Spring to Spring, start of Winter or Fall year used. The mistakes on identifying the kings correctly. Identifying lost kingdoms within that time. Were the observations of eclipses started with Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and point of origin, Etc.?

    3. Who interpreted language variations? Remember written language was in its infancy, from shapes to letters.

    I had a debate with a ringer that goes by the tag of Jeffro long ago and his argument was the only truth to considered, as though he was God. So at the end, it’s not all that clear cut after all. To say it is, is being disingenuous. Your opinion or conclusion will be based on someone else’s word, unless you spend decades attempting to draw parallels from ancient history and the bible as the ancient historians did. Something that’s lacking in modern time. All in all, people will find a way to disagree with progress, unless someone happens to build a time machine to go back to see who ultimately was right. Wouldn’t it be funny if certain religions were? What would people say then?

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