WT Nov. 1, 2011 (public) - When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed - Part 2

by AnnOMaly 322 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • sabastious
    At present, the majority of secular historians believe that Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 B.C.E. However, the Bible writers Jeremiah and Daniel clearly state that the Jews were in exile for 70 years, not 50 years. (Jeremiah 25:1, 2, 11; 29:10; Daniel 9:2) Those statements strongly indicate that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. As the above evidence shows, that conclusion has some secular support.

    This paragraph's argument is so weak that is sounds more like an admission of guilt!


  • sabastious
    Why not simply keep ignoring it like they've been doing all these years? Was this a cull of sorts

    Must have come to a head. Eventually they have to defend their name. Unfortunately they don't have a leg to stand on.


  • AnnOMaly

    VAT 4956 translated (PDF)


    A note of caution: the Caeno site's pdf of the ADT translation of VAT 4956 is a typed up copy and a few important errors have been spotted.

    Reconstruction of events recorded in VAT 4956


    You want to be careful of that one too - the comments in particular!

  • AnnOMaly

    outsmart and simon:

    Is the sleight of hand you are referring to in regard to the fact that the 3rd Babylonian month (Simanu) matches up with May/June of the Julian Calendar.....not July? Therefore a lunar eclipse that occurred on July 15, 588BCE would be irrelevant?

    I'm no calender expert but the eclipse occurred on the 15th day of the Babylonian month. That most likely matches to July 4th (correctly I presume?).

    There was an intercalary month - a 2nd month XII - toward the beginning of 568 BCE which bumped the following months on a bit. So yes, July 4th falling in Simanu is fine in this instance. One problem with July 15th, 588 BCE is that it means (counting back) Nisan had to begin on May 2/3. Never ever does Nisan begin in May - even with bumped on months from inserting an intercalary.

    Moreover, there is already an astronomical tablet (LBAT 1420) that details the July 15th, 588 BCE eclipse. It's dated to Nebuchadnezzar's 17th year and to month IV rather than III (Simanu). See HERE for more details (scroll nearly half way down).

  • Alleymom
  • zoiks

    outsmartthesystem and simon17 -

    Yes, I just thought that the inclusion Babylonian and Julian dates together was something that could be carelessly skimmed over as a corroborating link.

    It may be that the two dates do corroborate; the way that the whole article is written just bugs me. It comes across as smarmy.

  • Alleymom

    From my post 1159, November 2007 --

    The data in astronomical diary VAT 4956 was analyzed and verified by Dr. Richard Stephenson and Dr. David M. Willis. Their paper on VAT 4956 was presented at a conference on "Astronomy and Mathematics in the Ancient Near East," held in June 2001 at the British Museum. The research papers from the conference were published in 2002 in a book edited by Dr. John Steele, an archeo-astronomer in the Department of Physics at Durham University.

    The title of the book is Under One Sky: Astronomy and Mathematics in the Ancient Near East (Band 297 in the series Alter Orient und Altes Testament), edited by John M. Steele and Annette Imahusen, published in 2002 by Ugarit-Verlag, Munster. The name of the article is "The Earliest Datable Observation of the Aurora Borealis," by Dr. Richard Stephenson and Dr. David M. Willis, pp. 421-428.

    They discussed VAT 4956 again in an article with the same title, published in December 2004 in the journal Astronomy and Geophysics, volume 45, issue 6, pages 6.15 - 6.17: "The Earliest Datable Observation of the Aurora Borealis."

    I have read (and have copies of) both articles.

    The authors "confidently" confirm the accepted date of 568/567 BCE for the astronomical data found in VAT 4956.

    They especially emphasize that the results of the "lunar threes" observations in VAT 4956 are not observations that would have been repeated at Metonic-cycle intervals. They give a very clear explanation of the "lunar threes" --- briefly, these were three time-intervals which were tracked and recorded each month: 1) the interval from sunset to moonset (on the first of the month); 2) sunrise to moonset (middle of the month); moonrise to sunrise (near the end of the month) --- and they explain that these usually enable one to arrive at the exact date by comparing the observed time-intervals with computer calculations. The authors conclude that "the various lunar threes in the text are quite in keeping with a date for the tablet of 568-567 B.C. In addition, reference to Table 1 reveals that even at this early date, timing errors were typically of the order of 1[degree] - no mean achievement." p. 424

  • Crisis of Conscience
  • dozy

    With regard to the research that the WTBTS researchers has commissioned on VAT 4956 it would be helpful if they would publish the findings so that it can be peer reviewed and checked. An anonymous , unpublished study is somewhat valueless.

    WT Aug 2011....

    (1) Who published this material? What are the author’s credentials?

    (2) Why was this published? What motivated the writer? Is there any bias?

    (3) Where did the author get the information? Does he supply sources that can be checked?

    (4) Is the information current?

  • AnnOMaly

    It's great to see you here again, Alleymom! Thanks for drawing attention to the 'lunar threes' again.

    Notice how endnote 18a goes on to cast doubt on the reliability of these measurements, despite referencing the same work Alleymom cited - Under One Sky!

    18a. These time intervals ("lunar threes") are the measurement of time from, for example, sunset to moonset on the first day of the month and during two other periods later in the month. Scholars have tied these time measurements to calendar dates. ("The Earliest Datable Observation of the Aurora Borealis," by F. R. Stephenson and David M. Willis, in Under One Sky-Astronomy and Mathematics in the Ancient Near East, edited by John M. Steele and Annette Imhausen, published 2002, pages 420-428) For ancient observers to measure this period required some sort of clock. Such measurements were not reliable. (Archimedes, Volume 4, New Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, "Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Early Astronomers," by John M. Steele, published 2000, pages 65-66) On the other hand, calculating the position of the moon in relation to other celestial bodies was done with greater certainty.

    Regarding the 'lunar three' measurements' 'unreliability,' Steele's work is used as support (the pages can be viewed on Google books).

    The trouble is, Steele was specifically referring to the timings of eclipses - far longer events and therefore prone to a little more error. But even so, he says that these water clocks have an accuracy of about 8½%, so e.g. a 2h 40m eclipse would have an accuracy of just under 24 minutes (see p. 66).

    Typically, 'lunar threes,' 'lunar fours' and 'lunar sixes' are far smaller timings and are generally reliable - in the case of VAT 4956, to the order of 1°, according to Stephenson and Willis, as was mentioned above. As Alleymom has said before, the 'lunar three' timings on VAT 4956 would in themselves knock 588/7 BCE as a possible alternative year out of the running, and this will be why they are dismissed by the WT article writer.

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