Jerusalem in Bible Times—What Does Archaeology Reveal?

by TD 14 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Earnest

    Thanks for the compliment, TD. You have no idea what trouble I get into when I show the same charity to other churches in my comments at the KH.

    With a sub-heading 'Jerusalem's Destruction in 607 B.C.E.' preceding those two paragraphs I am inclined to agree with you that the inference that 607 is supported by the archaeological findings is probably intended. Maybe the difference between me and your C.O. brother-in-law is that your brother-in-law wants to believe in such archaeological support (as, no doubt, do most JWs) whereas to me it is a matter of indifference. Unfortunately it would not be the first time that what is left unwritten is far more important than what is written.

  • Leolaia

    Earnest....You might be interested to know that in the latest issue of Science, there are two articles on recent advances in calibrated C14 dating that now narrows the error range for the New Kingdom to about 25 years, which is narrow enough to be quite useable as data for Egyptian chronology. This involves, in part, the dating of shorter lived plant materials than wood.

  • Earnest

    Thanks, Leolaia, very interested and look forward to reading the article. It will be interesting to see if these new methods can be utilised in the time of Judaean archaeology/chronology as well.

  • Earnest

    Now that I have read the article "Radiocarbon-Based Chronology for Dynastic Egypt" in Science (18 June 2010) I can comment on a few thoughts regarding its relevance in establishing the date of the destruction of Jerusalem.

    The article says about radiocarbon dating

    Radiocarbon dating, which is a two-stage process involving isotope measurements and then calibration against similar measurements made on dendrochronologically dated wood, usually gives age ranges of 100 to 200 years for this period (95% probability range) and has previously been too imprecise to resolve these questions.

    It then goes on to discuss how it overcame these limitations :

    We obtained short-lived plant remains from museum collections (e.g., seeds, basketry, plant-based textiles, plant stems, fruits) that were directly associated with particular reigns or short sections of the historical chronology. We avoided charcoal and wood samples because of the possibility of inbuilt age. We also avoided mummified material because of concerns about contamination from bitumen or other substances used in the mummification process and human material because of the possibility of riverine or marine components in the diet (which might contain older carbon). We selected samples according to the security of their archaeological context and relation to a given king’s reign, but in making the chronological associations, we were reliant on the judgement of excavators and curators and on the integrity of the collections themselves, because many of the excavations took place in the 19th or early 20th century.

    So you can see that even with these quite narrow specifications we are still left with a number of unknown unknowns as an American statesman might say. But the main point as regards its application to establishing whether the date of Jerusalem's destruction was 607 or 537 B.C.E is the conclusions reached by this study. They say :

    Our radiocarbon data indicate that the New Kingdom started between 1570 and 1544 B.C.E., and the reign of Djoser in the Old Kingdom started between 2691 and 2625 B.C.E.

    A difference, you will note, of more than twenty years in both cases so really it has no relevance to dating the destruction of Jerusalem. I should add that Leolaia never claimed that it did...and that I really appreciate her bringing these advances to our notice...and that I don't give a dam when Jerusalem was destroyed.

  • wobble

    I don't give a damn when Jerusalem was destroyed either Earnest, not with my total lack of belief in religion.

    But it sure is important to the whole farcical WT hierarchy, the Governing Body.

    If 607 is wrong, 1914 is wrong and no choosing of a FDS took place in 1919.

    Therefore, they have no credibility.

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