: I will address only the part that is crucial to the arguments unlike those who addressed the issue above.
What this really means is that you've ignored everything you don't want to deal with. Ignoring arguments does not refute them.
: You make the argument about the 95 which does not appear in copy 1 but does appear in copy 2.
Again you misrepresent what I said. I actually made no arguments about "95". What I did was to show that you buggered your quotation of the stele H1 A that contained a "95" in the other stele H1 B, and to state some simple truths about the figure "95", such as the figure is crucial, 9 + 95 = 104, and 22 + 3 + 21 + 43 + 2 + 4 = 95. Here are my statements:
The figure "95" is crucial to figuring out how many years elapsed between Addad-guppi's birth and death. In conjunction with the statements that the Queen lived until Nabonidus' 9th year, it shows that the Queen lived for 104 years according to a simple-minded adding up of the years, but about 101 or 102 years according to a careful reading of the text.
I'll leave it at that, given your demonstrated difficulty in understanding much simpler things.
From the 20th year of Ashurbanipal to his 42nd year is 22 years. Then we have 3 years for Ashur-etil-ili, 21 years for Nabopolassar, 43 years for Nebuchadnezzar, 2 years for Awel-Merodach, and 4 years for Neriglissar. The rest is simple arithmetic: 22 + 3 + 21 + 43 + 2 + 4 = 95. I suggest that you consult a reputable mathematician to confirm this.
: But your argument proves nothing and you know it.
Since I made no argument -- yet -- your statement is meaningless.
: Copy 2 has everything 'correct' because 95 + 9 = 104 just as it states.
Yup. Simple arithmetic.
: However copy 1 has the inserted 95 + 6 = 104. This addition is faulty.
The translator obviously inserted the bracketed material into the text of H1 A, "[in summa 95 yea]rs, [the god was away] till Sin," because it wasn't there in the damaged text, and his aim was to complete the text to the best of his ability -- which he actually an excellent job of, as we can see by comparing the entire restored text with the more complete stele H1 B. He obviously inserted the figure "95" because he deduced it from the context along with a variety of other ancient sources.
How could he have done this? Since the translator, A. Leo Oppenheim, is probably dead by now (the ANET translation was published in 1950), we cannot ask him. But it's easy enough to a make reasonable guess. Since I've posted a link to a scanned pdf file for the H1 A text (my post 4595 above), it will be easy enough to follow along.
First, the undamaged portion of the text (see ANET pp. 311-2, 2nd paragraph of the translation) contains the full names of three kings (Ashurbanipal, Nebuchadnezzar, Neriglissar), the partial name of one king (Ashur-etillu-ilani), and a blank space for one more king, all in order, along with complete phrases like "43 years under Nebuchadnezzar" and incomplete phrases like "BLANK under Ashurbanipal". From that it's easy to deduce that the original text was a list of the lengths of the reigns of kings under whom the speaker lived. Next, one can fill in the blanks of the kings' names, and then fill in the blanks of the lengths of their reigns, using the known Neo-Babylonian chronology.
Next, one might note that the text has something like this: "BLANK the king of Assyria, BLANK whose BLANK I was born [LIST OF KINGS AND THEIR LENGTHS OF REIGN] BLANKrs, BLANK till Sin, the king of the gods, BLANK of his BLANK godhead . . . . Sin, the king of BLANK Nabonidus, the king of Babylon, the son BLANK BLANK make BLANK enBLANK in the temple e.hul.hul . . . . I did see myself Nabonidus, the king of Babylon, the offspring of my womb, reinstalled completely the forgotten rites of Sin, Ningal, Nusku, Sadarnunna, he rebuilt the temple e.hul.hul and completed its construction. . .". One might then deduce that the text contained a summary of the length of life of Nabonidus' mother.
Next one might go back and figure out how to fill in the blanks. In particular, how might one fill in the next to last blank in "[LIST OF KINGS AND THEIR LENGTHS OF REIGN] BLANKrs, BLANK till Sin"? Note that it's not a complete blank, but contains enough space for several words, and ends with a partial word: BLANKrs. A logical fill-in would be what the translator chose: "[in summa 95 yea]rs". And the translator guessed well, because the undamaged stele reads: "during these 95 years".
A check on these deductions might then be made by reference to the last paragraph in the stele, which in ANET reads: "(Postscript) In the [ninth] year of Nabonidus, king of Babylon, she died a natural death, and Nabonidus, king of Babylon, the offspring of her womb, the favorite of his mother, deposited her corpse . . ." Everything is consistent with the filled-in blanks in the section I've described above.
But how could the translator fill in the blank with "the [ninth] year of Nabonidus"? By reference to the famous "Nabonidus Chronicle" (BM 35382). A translation of this Chronicle can be found in A. K. Grayson's Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (Eisenbraun's, Winona Lake, Indiana, 2000; and J. J. Augustin, Locust Valley, New York, 1975). The Chronicle contains material from the beginning of Nabonidus' reign through the end, and is the source for our knowledge of the exact day of Babylon's fall. On page 107, ABC has: "The ninth year: . . . On the fifth day of the month Nisan the queen mother died."
I realize that serious deduction of this nature is beyond your ken, but good scholars are quite capable of it.
As for the faulty addition, 95 + 6 = 104, that has certainly given some scholars grief, but it can easily be explained -- as I have carefully explained to you -- as the result of a damaged cunieform symbol in the stele -- especially in view of the unambiguous figure of "9" derived from the Nabonidus Chronicle. But this is a minor point, and in view of the discovery of the more complete stele H1 B -- which contains a clear "9" in both places -- it is entirely irrelevant to our discussion. The fact that one very damaged stele contains a minor problem says nothing about a very complete stele that contains no problems. You can read about how some scholars might have dealt with this minor problem in the references given at the beginning of the translation of the stele on page 311 of the pdf file I linked to above. Good luck.
: But you say the 95 is not in copy 1. It is damaged and cannot be read.
This is a simple fact. Read the pdf file and see for yourself. Read the 1969 Watchtower material you quoted from and see for yourself.
: Nevertheless if you add all the years of the kings presented in copy 2 it will total up to 95. So surely copy 1, if it is like copy 2, must have had the 95 in it
: unless of course it was changed which is a possibility.
Extremely unlikely. As I already told you (are you really that stupid, so as not to have noticed this?): "It is inconceivable that twin stele commissioned by the King of Babylon to commemorate his mother the Queen would have contained such a glaring error." Furthermore, as kgav8r has observed:
You just don't get it do you thirdwitness? The two are contemporaries. One is not a copy of the other. They were written at the same time comissioned by the same person. They back each other up. What we can not determine from one, we can obtain from the other. I say thank goodness there are two! So what if a 6 was interpreted as a nine or vice versa. They do look an awful lot alike especially if one is damaged. The point is: They are the same!!! They compliment each other as well as othe contemporary texts.
: So lets say that it does not say 95. Lets say that it says 98 so that the addition is correct in it also: 98 + 6 = 104. Either way the copies differ from one another. And either way the addition is faulty somewhere along the way because the years provided for the kings does not add up to 98 but rather 95.
This is pure ridiculous speculation designed to fool yourself into thinking there might be a real problem. The problem is completely solved by observing that the two original stelae were identical, but that one suffered enough damage that the symbol for "9" in one spot could be mistaken for "6". Case closed.
: Your even bringing this up was pointless but was just an attempt at discrediting me. Maybe you thought I would not understand what you were saying. Or maybe you thought I would disagree with you.
I think I'm dealing with monkey here. You brought this point up:
The first copy does not actually have the year '95' in it. Interpreters have added the number to the copy. 95 only appears in the second copy. But this is not involved in my argument at all. Except that it proves that the first copy if it is like the 2nd copy having the number 95 has misadded the years. So this proves further that somebody changed something.
Your point was that "somebody changed something", and I refuted that.
: Either way, you have failed and this argument you make is a time and space waster on your part.
Nonsense. I've thoroughly refuted your claim that "somebody changed something".
: Now you argue that the 6 in copy 1 should be a 9 as it is in copy 2 but was misinterpreted. Then the question is: how many other numbers may have been interpreted incorrectly?
I don't know. How about this: you present some specific examples and then we can go from there.
Your wild speculations prove how desperate you are to find anything at all to discredit solid historical documents.
: How can we rely on the ancient writings as if they were gospel if they can't tell a 6 from a 9 or if some little symbol is broken off thus changing the entire text? We can't.
The Bible manuscripts contain many errors of this sort. How do scholars sort them out? By looking at all relevant information and making a decision based on weight of evidence. This is foreign to Watchtower drones, but that's neither here nor there in the world of scholarship.
: But we can rely on the Bible because it was inspired by God.
Yeah, right. God's view is that the earth is flat and has a center. Something like a pizza. LOL!
: But then, AlanF don't really believe that, do you Alan?
Nope. Furthermore, even if I did, no good scholar disputes the fact that whatever Bible manuscripts we have today contain errors of various sorts -- the same kind of errors that might result from a scribe mistaking a "9" for a "6".
: So whereas you give the greatest weight to what the worshipers of the gods of the Babylonians have written, we give the greatest weight to the writers who were inspired by the true God, Jehovah.
That's a monstrous misrepresentation, but pretty standard JW-defender fare. What we really have is a large body of historical documents that have little or nothing to do with religious worship that, in bulk, solidly fix the chronology of the Neo-Babylonian period. Simple documents such as receipts for grain purchases dated to some specific day in some king's reign. Secular documents such as accounting records (house of Egibi) that comletely span the Neo-Babylonian period. What Watchtower defenders have is nothing more than their sectarian interpretation of the Bible -- an interpretation that demonstrably misrepresents the Bible by leaving out important information, and worst of all, twists passages to say something other than what they do mean -- designed for one thing and one thing only: to bolster the claim of JW leaders to have been appointed in 1919 as a special "faithful and discreet slave" to lead mankind spiritually.
But you're not even consistent. The Watchtower Society accepts without question the material from that nasty, pagan Nabonidus Chronicle that establishes the exact date of Babylon's fall in 539 B.C. It actually uses a pagan cunieform document (Strassmaier No. 400) to establish the year of Babylon's fall as 539 B.C. Need I go on?
: On the Hillah Stele you did not disprove one thing I said.
I disproved everything that needed disproving. You're simply too stubborn to admit it.
Rather than trying to dive in to your infantile gibberish at this point, I'll establish some facts by referring to the Hillah stele's contents along with supporting documentation. In this, I'm going to heavily rely on Carl Jonsson's arguments in the 4th edition of The Gentile Times Reconsidered.
According to the scholar Paul-Alain Beaulieu, the Hillah stele "consists of a report on the accession year and the beginning of the first regnal year of Nabonidus" and may be shown, on the basis of internal evidence, to have been written toward the middle of his first regnal year in the autumn of 555 B.C. (The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon 556-539 B.C., Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1989, pp. 21, 22, 117-127). The stele mentions Nabonidus' visit soon after a New Year's festival to various places in southern Babylonia (see my pdf file link for the complete text in ANET, pp. 310-11; http://home.comcast.net/~alanf00/images/Addad_Guppi_H1A_Hillah.pdf ):
I am (also) a caretaker who brings large gifts to the great gods. In the month of Nisanu, the 10th day, when Marduk, the king of the gods, as well as (all) the (other) gods from the upper and the nether world were seated in the [chapel, I brought many gifts] . . . After they had performed the festival of the akitu -chapel, and Bel and the son of Bel (i.e., Nebo) had taken up their (respective) comfortable seats, I brought to them (further) sumptuous gifts. In the great sacred cities, I prostrated myself before (the other) god(s) and goddess(es): I went to Uruk, Larsa and Ur and brought silver, gold (and) precious stones to Sin, Shamas and Ishtar.
The year of Nabonidus' visit, 555 B.C., is documented in archival texts from Larsa dated to the first two months of Nabonidus' first year (Beaulieu, as above).
In several of his royal inscriptions (No. 1, 8, 24, and 25 in the numbering system of scholar Hayim Tadmor) (Hayim Tadmor, "The Inscriptions of Nabunaid: Historical Arrangement", in Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger on his Seventy-fifth Birthday (= Assyriological Studies, No. 16), ed. H. Guterbock & T. Jacobsen, Chicago, The Chicago University Press, 1965) Nabonidus says that in a dream in his accession year, he was commanded by the gods Marduk and Sin to rebuild Ehulhul, the temple of the moon god Sin in Harran. In connection with this, the Hillah stele (or Nabonidus No. 8 in Tadmor's system) provides a crucial piece of information (see my pdf link, p. 311):
As to the temple e.hul.hul in Harran which was in ruins for 54 years -- through a devastation by the Manda-hordes the(se) sanctuaries were laid waste -- the time (predestined) by the gods, the moment for the appeasement (to wit) 54 years, had come near, when Sin should have returned to his place. Now, Sin, the crown-bearer, did return to his place and remembered his lofty seat -- and as to all the (lesser) gods who had moved out with him from his shrine -- it was again Marduk, the king of (all) the gods who ordered (me) to gather them.
In GTR4, Carl Jonsson provides an alternate translation, from Beaulieu (op. cit., p. 107):
(Concerning) Harran (and) the Ehulhul, which had been lying in ruins for 54 years because of its devastation by the Medes (who) destroyed the sanctuaries, with the consent of the gods the time for reconciliation approached, 54 years, when Sin should return to his place. When he returned to his place, Sin, the lord of the tiara, remembered his lofty seat, and (as to) all the gods who left his chapel with him, it is Marduk, the king of the gods, who ordered their gathering.
Clearly, the above translations indicate that the Medes (Manda-hordes) devastated, ruined, destroyed, laid waste, both the city of Harran and the temple Ehulhul and its sanctuaries. They say that these had lain waste for 54 years from the time of writing of the stele in 555 B.C. Going back 54 years from 555 B.C. gets us to 609 B.C.
Thus the Hillah stele solidly indicates that Harran and the temple Ehulhul were laid waste in 609 B.C.
How do we establish a connection between the laying waste of the temple Ehulhul and the 16th year of Nabopolassar, which is the point of this whole discussion? By further cuneiform texts.
The first text is designated BM 21901 and covers the 10th through 18th years of Nabopolassar. An English translation can be found in A. K. Grayson's Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (op. cit., "Chronicle 3", "Fall of Nineveh Chronicle", pp. 90-96). The relevant material can be found on pages 95-6:
The sixteenth year: In the month Iyyar the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Assyria. From [the month ...] until the month Marchesvan he marched about victoriously in Assyria. In the month Marchesvan the Umman-manda, [who] had come [to hel]p the king of Akkad, put their armies together and marched to Harran [against Ashur-uball]it (II) who had ascended the throne in Assyria. Fear of the enemy overcame Ashur-uballit (II) and the army of Eg[ypt which] had come [to help him] and they aban[doned] the city [...] they crossed. The king of Akkad reached Harran and [...] he captured the city. He carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple. In the month Adar the king of Akkad left their [...] He went home. The Umman-manda, who had come to help the king of Akkad, withdrew.
This text is obviously talking about the Assyrian temple of Ehulhul in Harran, since "the king of Akkad" is said to have "reached Harran" and "captured the city", whence he "carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple." In the language of the Babylonian records, a statement like "vast booty was taken" generally implies that a lot of destruction took place along with the generalized looting. For example, in describing the sacking of Nineveh in 612 B.C., BM 21901 states that Nabopolassar and his allies "inflicted a major defeat upon a great people. . . They carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple and turned the city into a ruin heap." (Grayson, p. 94) In a campaign in his 15th year, Nabopolassar "marched to Assyria. . . and he captured Shu . . . plundered it, and carried off its vast booty." (Grayson, p. 95)
The second text, often designated the Addad-guppi stele (Nabonidus No. 24 in Tadmor's numbering system), clearly states that the city of Harran was ruined or desolated. The text has the Queen Addad-guppi saying (see my pdf link at http://home.comcast.net/~alanf00/images/Addad_Guppi.pdf and look at the first paragraph in the main text, which is from Pritchard's ANET (Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, edited by James B. Pritchard, Third Edition with Supplement, Princeton University Press, 1969, pp. 560-2)):
I who -- (even) in the 16th year of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, when Sin, the king of all gods, became angry with his city (i.e., Harran) and his temple, and went up to heaven and the city and the people in it became desolate.
In GTR4, Carl Jonsson provides an alternate translation, from C. J. Gadd ("The Harran Inscriptions of Nabonidus", in Anatolian Studies, Vol. VIII, 1958, p. 47):
Whereas in the 16th year of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, Sin, king of the gods, with his city and his temple was angry and went up to heaven -- the city and the people that (were) in it went to ruin.
So according to this stele, in the 16th year of Nabopolassar, Harran and its people became desolate, went to ruin.
Other inscriptions clearly show that the temple Ehulhul was laid to ruin at this time. The Sippar Cylinder (No. 1 in Tadmor's system) says: "(Sin) became angry with that city [Harran] and temple [Ehulhul]. He aroused the Medes, who destroyed that temple and turned it into ruins." (C. J. Gadd, op. cit, pp. 72-3; Beaulieu, op. cit, p. 58)
So according to these ancient, contemporary sources, in the 16th year of Nabopolassar the city of Harran and its people were desolated, and the temple Ehulhul was ruined, even destroyed.
Now let's put the above information together. Nabonidus clearly reckons the 54 years from the 16th year of Nabopolassar to the 1st year of his reign, shortly after "the gods" commanded him in a dream to rebuild the temple Ehulhul. Nabonidus' 1st year was 555 B.C.; going back 54 years gets us to 609 B.C. Therefore, Nabopolassar's 16th year was 609 B.C.
This is perfectly consistent with all of the reliable ancient sources for the lengths of reigns of the Neo-Babylonian kings. Nabopolassar reigned for 21 years, so 5 years remained from his 16th year to the end of his reign. Then Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 43 years, Awel-Marduk for 2, Labashi-Marduk for about 2 months (and can be disregarded), and Neriglissar for 4 years. Summing these figures we have: 5 + 43 + 2 + 4 = 54 years -- just as is recorded on Nabonidus' Hillah stele.
Of course, these figures are consistent with huge amount of other data from ancient times. In The Gentile Times Reconsidered, Carl Jonsson presents 14 independent lines of evidence in favor of standard Neo-Babylonian chronology, and a number of other lines as well. Jonsson also presents a number of synchronisms with the histories of other nations at the time. And as honest people know, and has been pointed out on this forum numerous times, the actual chronology of the Bible is completely consistent with all of this.
Back to the infantile gibberish:
: You admit that the bm chronicle does not say the temple in Harran was destroyed in the 16th year of Nabopolasser.
I "admitted" nothing of the kind. In fact, I said the opposite. With regard to the Addad-guppi stele, I clearly stated that:
In the language of the Babylonian records, a statement like "vast booty was taken" generally implies that a lot of destruction took place along with the generalized looting.
I further stated:
First, the text you quoted clearly states that the temple of Ehulhul was in a state of "devastation by the Medes (who) destroyed the sanctuaries". . . Obviously, that temple was ruined sufficiently that worshipers did not worship there for 54 years.
Second, the Addad-guppi stele clearly states that the city of Harran was ruined. So according to this stele, in the 16th year of Nabopolassar, Harran and its people "became desolate". Sounds pretty cut and dried to me.
So according to these ancient, contemporary sources, in the 16th year of Nabopolassar the city of Harran and its people were desolated, and the temple Ehulhul ruined.
I don't know how that could be any clearer.
It's painfully obvious that you are quite unable to argue by dealing with your opponent's actual arguments, but must misrepresent them in the usual strawman fashion.
: That is only an assumption.
Not at all. The above material shows conclusively that the Ehulhul temple was ruined sufficiently that no worship was carried on for the 54 years between its ruination and Nabonidus' writing. One even explicitly states that the temple was "destroyed".
: Then you quote Adad-Guppi as another source to prove the temple was destroyed at that time. But the truth is even the Adad-Stele, which has been shown at best faulty and at worst an outright fabrication, cannot be relied upon.
Nonsense. You've not shown anything to prove your stupid claim, other than pointing out what scholars have known for decades: there is a small error where a "6" was substituted for a "9" in the translation of a defective copy of the stele.
: However even that does not say the temple was destroyed.
Not explicitly, but what do you think statements like "the city became desolate" and "the temple went to ruin" mean? And of course, the other references completely clear up any possible ambiguity.
: The reader must again assume that it was destroyed in the 16th year of Nabopolasser when really the writing says that the city and people were ruined. It does not say what became of the temple.
The above references show you're totally wrong.
: Who can really say? Perhaps the Adad-Stele writer was basing his information on the bm chronicle in discussion and when he read that Nabopolasser looted the temple he did like you and other secular chronologists have done. He assumed that it was destroyed.
Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions. Your 'agument' consists almost exclusively of unfounded assumptions.
: But as you admit, the text of the bm chronicles does not say that at all. Nor does the Adad-Guppi even outrightly say that.
: So since you assume the temple of Harran was destroyed in the 16th year of Nabopolasser,
No, I've proved it.
: you erroneously began counting the 54 years from that point. There is no proof that it should start from that point since the temple may have only been plundered and not destroyed just as in the case of the temple in Jerusalem.
The texts we have concerning the taking of valuable items from the Jerusalem temple in 605 and 597 B.C. are explicit that the temple continued on. There are no such texts concerning the ruining of the temple Ehulhul in 609 B.C. If you have some, produce them.
: It was looted but not destroyed until over ten years had passed.
Yes, and the texts we have are completely clear about that -- just like the above mentioned Sippar Cylinder explicitly states that the Medes "destroyed that temple and turned it into ruins."
: So my contention is the the temple was looted in the 16th year of Nabopolasser but not destroyed for 20 years later around the 15th year of Neb.
But this wild conjecture is based purely on the claimed validity of Watchtower chronology. And it simply ignores the facts shown above.
: That is when the 54 years would commence. Counting 54 years from that point, using the true Bible chronology as established by the 70 year desolation of Judah, the 70 years upon Tyre, and the 40 year desolation of Egypt, we will arrive at the first year of Nabonidus.
Again based entirely on speculation and the assumption that WTS chronology is correct.
: But we actually establish the destruction of the Harran temple not by starting at the destruction of the temple because we don't know when that occured. We are not told.
Yes, we are, via the ancient texts quoted above.
: As you see the Hillah Stele in know way disproves 607 even if it were true.
It most certainly does. Of course, anyone can speculate wildly and invent all sorts of excuses as to why solid evidence should be ignored, or somehow twisted to fit their desired result. But speculation with no evidence is valueless.
: Now it is your turn. You may rant and rave and throw out the insults. But I think what onlookers are looking for is a presentation that disproves my points.
They've had one all along, and now they have a lot more. That you don't admit it is just a manifestation of your devotion to the JW cult.
: Not one that criticizes my grammar or insults my character.
Use of good grammar is not the point I made, although it does help your readers understand you. Your character is defined by you own actions, and when you tell lies, misrepresent every manner of evidence, misrepresent your opponents' arguments, ignore arguments, and even misrepresent the Bible itself -- you've defined your own character. To point this out is simply to point out a fact.
: I think you have let them down just as you did on the subject of the 40 year desolation of Egypt.
LOL! That's rich, coming from someone who must contradict the very Governing Body he's sworn to be loyal to in order to have some arguments. And of course, you're deathly afraid of tackling my challenge about the Society's view of Genesis.
: I will now brace myself for you insults. Proceed.
But what you really ought to do is carefully read and understand the above material. Not read it merely to find ways to "trash your opponent", but to understand that the material presented is completely consistent with a great deal of other material. Not WTS claims, of course, but you really need to quit worshiping the Governing Body. Those men are not God, and they do not speak for him. Good Lord! More than 35 years ago they actually appointed a habitual homosexual pedophile to their rank, one Leo Greenlees, who was dismissed from the GB in 1984 after a judicial committee comprised of the rest of the GB found him "repentent" of molesting a 10 year old boy. You don't believe it? Call up some high Bethel official in Brooklyn or Patterson and ask him about it. But be prepared to get your head handed to you. Not relevant to this thread, you say? Think again. Your entire defense of WTS chronology depends on the validity of WTS chronology, which is based on nothing more than the say-so of several generations of JW leaders. Think about it.
: AlanF said: First, the text you quoted clearly states that the temple of Ehulhul was in a state of "devastation by the Medes (who) destroyed the sanctuaries". So everything you've attempted to insinuate above by your stupid references to BM 21901 is completely irrelevant. Indeed, this text that you've quoted completely resolves any ambiguity with respect to how completely the Ehulhul temple was ruined according to BM 21901. Obviously, that temple was ruined sufficiently that worshipers did not worship there for 54 years.
: You are the one reasoning circular.
There's that grammar thing again: "circularly".
: Yes the Hillah Stele said the temple was destroyed and in ruins for 54 years but it does not say when the temple was destroyed. You have no writings confirming when the temple was destroyed. You have writings showing when it was looted. And you assume it was destroyed. But the writings as you admit do not really say that. The 54 years began at the destruction of the temple not at the looting of the temple or the conquest of the city.
Everything you've claimed here is disproved by the above material.