# VAT 4956 - Comparison Of The Lunar Three Time Intervals For Years 568/7 BCE and 588/7 BCE

by AnnOMaly 53 Replies latest watchtower bible

• ##### AnnOMaly

Now they can say "The Faithful Slave has dealt with this matter, are you saying you know better than them ?"

Exactly. One JW's (error-ridden) research has now officially become the FDS's Truth. And believe me, if any JW was already familiar with the source of the WT article's research, this line will be used to squash any debate on the matter from within the ranks.

• ##### AnnOMaly

COMPARISON USING ALCYONE EPHEMERIS 2.8 (AE)

568/7 B.C.E., Nisanu 1 = April 22/23

 Month/Day Julian Date Interval Text AE Difference I.14 May 6 a.m., 568 SR-MS 4° 2.75° 1.25° II.26 June 17 a.m., 568 MR-SR 23° 23.25° 0.25° III.1 June 20 p.m., 568 SS-MS 20° 22.75° 2.75° III.15 July 5 a.m., 568 SR-MS 7.5° 7° 0.5° XI.1 Feb 12 p.m., 567 SS-MS 14.5° 17° 2.5° XII.1 Mar 14 p.m., 567 SS-MS 25° 25.75° 0.75° XII.12 Mar 26 a.m., 567 SR-MS 1.5° -0.5° ! 2°

Notes:

! No measurement of the type specified on the tablet could be taken that day according to this program's simulation. The moon set before the sun rose instead of the other way around. This time, a calculation has been included for all exclamation marked boxes.

Method:

1.5° (above horizon) to 0° (horizon) = 1.5° of time

0° (horizon) to -0.5° (below horizon) = 0.5° of time

Therefore, the difference between the tablet's figure and AE's computation is, here,

1.5 + 0.5 = 2°

AE's range of difference between its results and those of the text is 0.25° to 2.75°. Average difference 1.4°.

588/7 B.C.E., Nisanu 1 = May 2/3 (Furuli's calendar)

 Month/Day Julian Date Interval Text AE Difference I.14 May 16 a.m., 588 SR-MS 4° -9.5° ! 13.5° II.26 June 27 a.m., 588 MR-SR 23° 28° 5° III.1 June 301 p.m., 588 SS-MS 20° 5.5° 14.5° III.15 July 15 a.m., 588 SR-MS 7.5° -2.5° ! 10° XI.1 Feb 22 p.m., 587 SS-MS 14.5° 9.5° 5° XII.1 Mar 24 p.m., 587 SS-MS 25° 21.25° 3.75° XII.12 Apr 52 a.m., 587 SR-MS 1.5° -11.5° ! 13°

Notes:

! No measurement of the type specified on the tablet could be taken that day according to this program's simulations. See note on this above.

For notes 1 and 2 see notes for the opening post's second table.

AE's range of difference between its results and those of the text is 3.75° to 14.5°. Average difference 9.25°.

588/7 B.C.E., Nisanu 1 = April 3/4 (Parker and Dubberstein's tables)

 Month/Day Julian Date Interval Text AE Difference I.14 Apr 17 a.m., 588 SR-MS 4° -3.75° ! 7.75° II.26 May 29 a.m., 588 MR-SR 23° 15° 8° III.1 June 1 p.m., 588 SS-MS 20° 13.75° 6.25° III.15 June 16 a.m., 588 SR-MS 7.5° 4.5° 3° XI.1 Jan 24 p.m., 587 SS-MS 14.5° 16.25° 1.75° XII.1 Feb 23 p.m., 587 SS-MS 25° 27.25° 2.25° XII.12 Mar 7 a.m., 587 SR-MS 1.5° -8.25° ! 9.75°

Notes:

! No measurement of the type specified on the tablet could be taken that day according to this program's simulations. See note on this above.

AE's range of difference between its results and those of the text is 1.75° to 9.75°. Average difference 5.5°.

• ##### AnnOMaly

COMPARISON USING SKY MAP PRO 11.04

Contributed by another researcher.

568/7 B.C.E., Nisanu 1 = April 22/23

 Month/Day Julian Date Interval Text Sky Map Pro Difference I.14 May 6 a.m., 568 SR-MS 4° 3.82° 0.18° II.26 June 17 a.m., 568 MR-SR 23° 23° 0° III.1 June 20 p.m., 568 SS-MS 20° 22.90° 2.9° III.15 July 5 a.m., 568 SR-MS 7.5° 8.31° 0.81° XI.1 Feb 12 p.m., 567 SS-MS 14.5° 17.26° 2.76° XII.1 Mar 14 p.m., 567 SS-MS 25° 25.98° 0.98° XII.12 Mar 26 a.m., 567 SR-MS 1.5° 0.63° 0.87°

Sky Map Pro's range of difference between its results and those of the text is 0° to 2.9°. Average difference 1.2°.

588/7 B.C.E., Nisanu 1 = May 2/3 (Furuli's calendar)

 Month/Day Julian Date Interval Text Sky Map Pro Difference I.14 May 16 a.m., 588 SR-MS 4° -8.22° ! 12.22° II.26 June 27 a.m., 588 MR-SR 23° 27.74° 4.74° III.1 June 301 p.m., 588 SS-MS 20° 5.65° 14.35° III.15 July 15 a.m., 588 SR-MS 7.5° -1.18° ! 8.68° XI.1 Feb 22 p.m., 587 SS-MS 14.5° 9.81° 4.69° XII.1 Mar 24 p.m., 587 SS-MS 25° 21.43° 3.57° XII.12 Apr 52a.m., 587 SR-MS 1.5° -10.44° ! 11.94°

Sky Map Pro's range of difference between its results and those of the text is 3.57° and 14.35°. Average difference 8.6°.

• ##### AnnOMaly

A reminder of why we're going to all this trouble. The Nov. 1, 2011 Watchtower stated on p. 28 in one of its notes:

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. ... For ancient observers to measure this period required some sort of clock. Such measurements were not reliable.

As has been demonstrated - thus far having used 4 different astronomical programs - these time measurements only become 'unreliable' when they are applied to the wrong year. When they are applied to the correct year, the measurements fit - they are reliable. This is why "scholars have tied [them] to calendar dates" like 568/7 B.C.E. for VAT 4956! This is also why the researcher(s) behind the Watchtower article rejects them!

• ##### Doug Mason

Ann,

I know this question is slightly off-topic, but you have just mentioned the Watchtower article's rejection of "some sort of clock. Such measurements were not reliable".

What was the "reliable" method of measuring that the Watchtower article DOES accept?

It's one thing for the WT to criticise the use of clocks but they failed to explain the method they accept. Can you help?

Thanks,

Doug

• ##### AnnOMaly

Hi Doug,

Good question. The WT note 18a continues:

On the other hand, calculating the position of the moon in relation to other celestial bodies was done with greater certainty.

And before that, note 18 says:

Since the moon can easily be tracked, the positions of those other celestial bodies mentioned on VAT 4956 and connected to the moon can be identified and their positions dated with a good measure of certainty.

So it looks like the WT accepts the tablet's cubit distance measurements between the moon and other celestial bodies.

• ##### Alleymom

Doug and AnnOMaly --

You have probably seen this already, but for those who have not:

In the introduction to volume 1 of ADT (Sachs and Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts, 1988, ISBN 3-7001-1227-0), Sachs has a section on Time Measurement (p. 16 of the Introduction.)

He says that "From the diaries it is not apparent how time intervals were measured. The general assumption is that waterclocks were used. [footnote ref. to A. Aaboe, Centaurus 24 24]. These instruments are attested in texts ( see the dictionaries s.v. dibdibbu, maltaktu) but little is known about their construction. [Footnote ref to O. Neugebauer, Isis 37 37ff.] "

"Another candidate for time measurement is the sundial ... In any case sundials, which work only during daytime, would have been of very limited usefulness for the purposes of the diaries."

"It is of course also possible to measure time at night by means of fixed stars. Lists of ziqpu stars ... could be used for exactly this purpose. Unfortunately most time intervals recorded in the diaries, especially those concerning the moon, fall around sunrise or sunset when only few stars are visible. On the other hand, the inaccuracy of time measurement seems to have been of little importance for the development of Babylonian astronomy. [footnote ref. to O. Neugebauer, A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy.1975, page 545.]
• ##### Alleymom

AnnOMaly --

Thanks for the Sky Map Pro and Alcyone Ephemeris charts!

I have the results from the JPL [Jet Propulsion Laboratory] HORIZONS EPHEMERIDES for all three years. They are entirely consistent with the results from other software programs previously posted on this thread.

I will stick them into chart form and post them a little later.

Here is the address for the JPL HORIZONS site, along with the settings I used:

http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi#results

 Ephemeris Type [change] : OBSERVER Target Body [change] : Sun [Sol] [10] Observer Location [change] : user defined ( 44°24'00.0''E, 32°33'00.0''N ) Time Span [change] : Start=588 BC-04-15 UT+3, Stop=587 BC-05-01, Step=1m Table Settings [change] : QUANTITIES=1; RTS flag=TVH Display/Output [change] : default (formatted HTML)

 Ephemeris Type [change] : OBSERVER Target Body [change] : Moon [Luna] [301] Observer Location [change] : user defined ( 44°24'00.0''E, 32°33'00.0''N ) Time Span [change] : Start=568 BC-01-01 UT+3, Stop=567 BC-07-30, Step=1m Table Settings [change] : QUANTITIES=1; RTS flag=TVH Display/Output [change] : default (formatted HTML)

Note: RTS is rise, transit, set.

RTS MARKERS (TVH). Rise and set are with respect to the reference ellipsoid true visual horizon defined by the elevation cut-off angle. Horizon dip and yellow-light refraction (Earth only) are considered. Accuracy is < or = to twice the requested search step-size.

Since I set step-size to 1 minute, the accuracy is less than or equal to 2 minutes.

• ##### Alleymom
AnnOMaly, Post 2081: As has been demonstrated - thus far having used 4 different astronomical programs - these time measurements only become 'unreliable' when they are applied to the wrong year. When they are applied to the correct year, the measurements fit - they are reliable. This is why "scholars have tied [them] to calendar dates" like 568/7 B.C.E. for VAT 4956! This is also why the researcher(s) behind the Watchtower article rejects them!

If you add in my results from JPL, we now have 5 different astronomical programs which have been used to check the Lunar Three intervals on VAT 4956. The Lunar Threes have also been checked by scholars F. Richard Stephenson, David M. Willis, and Hermann Hunger.

The results confirm that the Lunar Three intervals on VAT 4956 fit the accepted year of 568/567 BCE, but do not fit 588/587 BCE.

In fact, we have demonstrated conclusively that several of the Lunar Three intervals are IMPOSSIBLE for the year 588/587 BCE. Why are they impossible? Because the moon set BEFORE sunrise and therefore the interval SR - MS (sunrise to moonset) is meaningless.

• ##### AnnOMaly

Thank you Alleymom! Looking forward to your chart.

"The observations analysed here are sufficiently diverse and accurate to enable the accepted date of the tablet - i.e., 568-567 BC - to be confidently affirmed. It should be emphasized that although the circumstances of conjunctions of the moon with stars tend to repeat at 19 year intervals (the Metonic cycle), this is not the case for lunar threes." - Under One Sky, p. 428 [emphasis mine].

The WT writer believes the lunar positions relative to other celestial bodies (meaning stars/constellations, obviously, as the moon's (timed) positions relative to the sun have been dismissed) are more reliable for dating purposes. Stephenson and Willis seem to be saying the opposite - that Lunar Threes don't repeat cyclically and therefore tend to be distinctive to a certain year.

• ##### Alleymom
AlleymomRe: WT Nov. 1, 2011 (public) - When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed - Part 2 posted 24 days ago (9/2/2011)

Post 1262 of 1372
Since 10/19/2001

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

• ##### Alleymom
AnnOMaly, Post 2083:

The WT writer believes the lunar positions relative to other celestial bodies (meaning stars/constellations, obviously, as the moon's (timed) positions relative to the sun have been dismissed) are more reliable for dating purposes. Stephenson and Willis seem to be saying the opposite - that Lunar Threes don't repeat cyclically and therefore tend to be distinctive to a certain year.

I've added highlighting to your post 2083 and to my post 1262 (quoting post 1159) above, for people who are just skimming.

And I will repeat:

The Lunar Three readings, by themselves, are enough to disqualify 588/587 BCE as a possible date for VAT 4956. Some of the Lunar Three intervals --- the sunrise to moonset (SR - MS) intervals ---- are impossible because the moon set BEFORE the sunrise.

Furthermore, if it is true, as many have suggested, that the Writing Dept. monitors this board, then they have known this since Nov. 2007. At the very least, they knew it when they added footnote 18a in between footnotes 18 and 19. Footnote 18a is a reference to the Stephenson/Willis article.

Just one more example of the WTS's misuse of scholarly sources.

• ##### Alleymom

JPL HORIZONS site: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi#results

• ##### Alleymom

Last entry in column 7 of the previous chart was missing the degree symbol. Here is the corrected chart:

• ##### Alleymom

Here are the Sky View Cafe results formatted to match the JPL chart in my previous post. Don't know why it is fuzzy.

• ##### Alleymom

AnnOMaly - Note that the IMPOSSIBLE! readings are impossible impossible for 588/587 BCE! Dead-as-a-doornail impossible!

From The Princess Bride: Miracle Max (Billy Crystal): Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. WT Writing Dept. (desperately trying to spin Lunar Three results): Maybe 588/587 BCE is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between MOSTLY dead and ALL dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. Maybe the clocks were wrong.

Memo to the Writing Department -- Your proposed year of 588/587 BCE for the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar is not just MOSTLY dead. It is ALL dead. It is not even SLIGHTLY alive! When the moon has set more than half an hour BEFORE sunrise, you can't measure the "sunrise to moonset" interval (SR - MS) because the moon isn't there to be measured! Marjorie Alley, still Keeping It Simple, Sweetie!

• ##### AnnOMaly

From never a jw's post on THIS THREAD.

--------

Here's a part of my research, only the good matches. Scroll to the right with the lower bar to see the entire table

 37th year of Nabuchadnezzar or Julian Year 568/567 BC, beginning April 23, 568 (more precisely April 22 after sunset) and ending April 12, 567 BC at sunset Month Day First Day Julian Interval Measured Begin End Interval Degrees Differ Abs. Judgement Difference (Babyl.) Julian Date VAT 4956 Sky X Sky X Sky X (decimal) ence Diff Call (minutes) I 14 23-Apr May 6, 568 SR-MS 4 5:13:42 5:30:08 0:16:26 4.11 0.11 0.11 Excellent 0.43 min. II 26 23-May June 17, 568 MR-SR 23 3:17:06 4:46:32 1:29:26 22.26 -0.74 0.74 Excellent 2.97 min. III 1 21-Jun June 20, 568 SS-MS 20 7:08:52 8:36:47 1:27:55 21.98 1.98 1.98 Good 7.92 min. III 15 21-Jun July 5, 568 SR-MS 7.5 4:49:11 5:23:21 0:34:10 8.54 1.04 1.04 Very good 4.17 min. XI 1 13-Feb Feb 12, 567 SS-MS 14.5 5:43:23 6:52:59 1:09:36 17.40 2.90 2.90 Acceptable 11.60 min. XII 1 15-Mar March 14, 567 SS-MS 25 6:06:26 7:49:07 1:42:41 25.67 0.67 0.67 Excellent 2.68 min. XII 12 15-Mar March 26, 567 SR-MS 1.5 6:08:52 6:12:00 0:03:08 0.75 -0.75 0.75 Excellent 3.00 min. Average difference 0.74 1.17
• ##### Phizzy

I wonder what Ethos will make of this thread ? LOL

Thanks to all for contributing this excellent research, which will forever be useful, well, until the WT finally abandon their silly 607BCE thingy.