I remember when Londo was trying to explain to me that 607 isn't correct. Of course I didn't believe it, or I felt that IF the Society's information was wrong, it wasn't their fault. They must have accidentally misquoted people or took things out of context, because they wouldn't purposely be dishonest or misleading to us. Not them! It did take awhile for me to come around, but I did have an interest and curiosity in stuff I read on this site and other similar ones, and I enjoyed reading Ray Franz' books too. I am glad Londo found this site and others, and has been helped to learn about what God is truly like and what is really necessary to be pleasing to Him. And I'm glad he was persistent in sharing it with me. Like I told him, there comes a point when you can no longer keep ignoring the facts and the proof against the Society. Yes it's sad to find out they have to be dishonest in order to support their beliefs at times, but still, the truth can't be ignored.
WT Nov. 1, 2011 (public) - When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed - Part 2
Londo, this whole lie they spun, at great effort, to make Jerusalem be destroyed in 607, is to support their 1914 lie. Lies to cover lies, in a big progression because they are not willing to once admit they were wrong.
You know what G'kar said: It's an Earth food. They are called Swedish meatballs. It's a strange thing, but every sentient race has its own version of these Swedish meatballs! I suspect it's one of those great universal mysteries which will either never be explained, or which would drive you mad if you ever learned the truth.
Thanks for the BF quote! Too bad G'kar has to strangle me near the end of Season 5.
Londo, Kurt, Ann,...
It's nice to see we've got a few scattered astronomy and astrodynamics enthusiasts here. And in accordance with the intent of keeping this thread going, I'll add a little recollection here too. My apologies in advance for some missing details. This is not with full notes.
Not being a JW, but having JW issues turning the last few years into a nightmare, about 2 years ago my attention was directed to the 1914 date as something stemming out of a 2500 year old previous destruction of Jerusalem. That's all I knew other than noticing a discrepancy between secular histories and the literature I was supposed to study ("What the Bible Really Teaches") with a lot more obvious problems. I had read the Ray Franz book, "Crisis of Conscious" and had acquired a lot of information about matters as viewed from the inside of the organization, but being on the outside, I found his discussion about the 587/607 controversy less explicit. As I recall, he said early in the book that he spent twenty or thirty pages in "Reasoning from Scriptures" presenting an argument against findings of Assyrianologists and admitted that he had not convinced himself. There were too many thousands of Neo-Babylonian cuneiform tablets to counter.
Subsequently I did read one of the editions of Olaf Jonsson's book on "The Gentile Times Reconsidered". The reason I bring up "editions" is that at the time I was looking for it on Amazon, the price of used copies fluctuated crazily: sometimes $15.00, sometime $150. I was wondering if someone was buying crates full and then dumping them in an incinerator. Do you suppose?
Jonsson had several lines of argument which included astronomical records. After a while it dawned on me ( summer of 2010) that I had already available some software to examine this problem: The ephemeris program Alcyone that I had purchased earlier as a check for planet, moon and asteroid positions. I seldom use if for observing, but from time to time it was of help in looking at planetary or satellite positions for space mission studies. In one case, it solved a problem of why one return from lunar polar orbit was on target and the other was not: the relative position of the sun as a perturbing body...
Anyway, rather than attempting to reconstruct planetary positions as described above, I concentrated on the four reported lunar eclipses that would seem to bracket the "secular" date for destruction of Jerusalem in the second siege.
15 September 591 BC
08 February 579 BC
02 March 567 BC
05 September 563 BC
My criteria for identification were simultaneous:
1. )that solar and lunar celestial longitudes (right ascension) would be 180 degrees or 12 hours apart
2. ) that solar and lunar celestial latitude ( declination) were of the same magnitude and opposite in sign.
When I first attempted these searches in 2010, I had a problem somewhat akin to the Society's. In this case, the software treated BCE dates with a zero year and counted backward from there. So I had to load the 15 September date in above as "-591". I had some results in January and February 2011. I don't know if the table will be visible in this entry, but here is what I am looking at from one of my Alcyone runs.
At -590 (591BC), September 15, at Baghdad universal time + 3hours, 6:00 local
Solar position: 11h 05m 44sec 5deg 53 min 47 sec
Lunar position: 23h 01m 57.9sec -6deg 05 min 06 sec
Since the moon and sun are about half a degree wide, I'd say the closest match was at about 07:20. The other three observation dates had similarfeatures and tolerances.
Whether visible above the horizon in Baghdad or Babylon, the LBAT 1419, 1420 and 1421 tablet data appears to provide good predictions for lunar eclipses. If you were to reset those four dates by 20 years and x days, I see no way that a duplicate set of eclipses could be generated.
Subsequently, I took the time to build a spreadsheet with the astronomical events, kings' reigns over several kingdoms and many of the other items enumerated by Jonsson and other writers about ancient Iraq.
There are other matters I have debated with members of the forum, true. But as far as the 587/607 issue is concerned - I look forward to seeing a widely available app for phones...
Later, looking for where the 607 BC story got started, I traced it back to the Studies of the Scriptures volumes by C. T. Russell with the 606 date. He might have got the idea from reading one entry in Barnes Bible notes about the first chapter of Daniel, but Barnes states unequivocably elsewhere ( commentary on 2 Kings 25:8) that Jerusalem fell in the 580s. Russell subsequently worked with astronomer Piazzi Smith to concoct the pyramid "proof" based on passageways for an 1870s Return and then refining it in the next century, perhaps with a file for 1914 in later publications of the work.
And, of course, despite pyramids being "satanic" according to Russell, and a discrepancy of a year zero in the chronology, and the event being invisible... it all worked.
A post script. My efforts have not meant an iota of difference to anyone I know who got their ancient history via the Watchtower.
Later, looking for where the 607 BC story got started, I traced it back to the Studies of the Scriptures volumes by C. T. Russell with the 606 date. He might have got the idea from reading one entry in Barnes Bible notes about the first chapter of Daniel ...
It wasn't from Barnes. Russell inherited the 606/1874/1914 chronology from adventist Nelson Barbour. He insisted that the 70 years could only start after Zedekiah's dethronement and Jerusalem's destruction. He agreed with what was thought to be established historically at the time, that Cyrus' first year (when he allowed the exiles to return) was 536 BCE. Count back 70 years and hey presto.
As I recall, he said early in the book that he spent twenty or thirty pages in "Reasoning from Scriptures" presenting an argument against findings of Assyrianologists and admitted that he had not convinced himself.
Minor correction: It was the Aid to Bible Understanding. The Reasoning book came out in the '80s after Franz had left.
And yes, the lunar tablets you refer to can in no way be re-dated.
It is good to hear your story.
It was the Aid book that Ray Franz was writing for. The Reasoning book didn't come out until the 80's, long after he was given the boot. Russell also thought the Giza Pyramid was the "Bible in Stone", but in the late 20's, Rutherford his successor denounced it as satanic. Of course, Russell got a good part of his theology, including 606/1914 from the Second Adventists, and the whole seven times on Daniel 4 idea being 2520 years, from John Aquila Brown, who formulated it before Russell was born.
I would love to have an astronomy app on my phone for this. I downloaded one app, but of course, it only went back so far in time.
It is ironic that your software was called Alcyone, which is where both Russell and then Rutherford said the "throne of Jehovah" was, based on the long debunked central sun hypothesis.
Edited to add: Sorry, Ann! We were both saying the same thoughts at the same time.
bttt (it was about this time of year last year when I was reading this)
Don't forget, folks, this article went through the GB's rigorous "70 step" process before becoming "spiritual food"!
What 70 step process?
At the AGM it was explained how articles in the publications have to go through a 70 step process which includes careful and prayerful research, and close involvement by the GB before it is approved and printed. Only then does it become "spiritual food."