"The following principal conclusions can be drawn on the basis of the discussion of VAT 4956: The Diary is most likely a genuine tablet made in Seleucid times, but in modern times someone has tampered with some of the cuneiform signs. Because of the excellent fit of all 13 lunar positions in 588/87, there are good reasons to believe that the lunar positions represent observations from that year, and that the original tablet that was copied in Seleucid times was made in 588/87. Because so many of the planetary positions are approximately correct, but not completely correct, there are good reasons to believe that they represent backward calculations by an astrologer who believed that 568/67 was year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar II. Thus, the lunar positions seem to be original observations from 588/87, and the planetary positions are backward calculations for the positions of the planets in 568/67."
VAT 4956 question: What is Dr. Furuli talking about? "backward calculations"?
...there are good reasons to believe...
Anything that follows a phrase like this is speculation. What it really means is .... he is trying to dig the WT's doctrine out of the crap.
Search this site for commentary on a recent Public WT that tries to prop up their 607 date. The article resembles a cut and paste from Furuli.
By "backward calculations" I assume he means that they were NOT observations, but calculated much later and as such to be prone to error. The facts show Furuli to be cherry picking and forcing a predetermined outcome (607).
"backward calculations" is what Furuli is indulging in to try and plaster over the WT's mistakes, so he is being a bit cheeky.
Furuli was finding all possible ways to eliminate certain sets of data that couldn't be shoehorned into his desired year - the signs/positions were ambiguous and could have various interpretations other than the accepted ones (p. 108f., p. 314-316); the planetary positions were only approximate so they must be Seleucid retro-calculations (p. 316, p. 333 [quoted in the OP]); they best fit 568/7 so the scribe must have made a mistake (or was part of a conspiracy) in dating them to Neb's 37th year (p. 121-123, p. 316), etc. All clutching at straws.
Extracts from Prof. Hunger's review:
Chapter 5 (p. 90-95) deals with the astronomical diaries. First, the possibility of errors is stressed. Then, the asymmetric preservation is described: only few diaries exist from before 400 BC, and some of these are copies. To say that they are virtually non-existing is not justified; there are just few of them. F. turns the argument around and says that diaries were not made during that time. Since there exist tablets that contain planetary observations from this period, F. immediately suspects them to represent backward calculations. However, the positions obtained by calculating backwards would soon have been rather wrong. At least one could see by modern calculations that they were wrong. However, there is no reason why backward calculation should have been done at all (see below on Appendix F).
"Appendix F: Which Positions Could Be Calculated?" (p. 352-362)
First F. quotes several modern scholars who state their belief that positions could be predicted. This means that future positions could be calculated in advance. F. however takes these statements to justify his belief that positions were calculated backwards. On p. 353, last paragraph, he also introduces the suspicion that a scribe by means of backward calculation wanted to give his readers a misleading impression that the other positions were observed. ... ...
... ... On p. 359, F. claims that "no scholar would deny that backward calculations did occur". But the scholars he quotes speak only of "predicting", not backward calculation. F. adduces the Goal Year texts as examples, quoting D. Brown. But Brown again only speaks of "predicting". The Goal Year texts collect, from earlier diaries, those data for each planet which are one whole period in the past of the Goal year. So these texts make predictions for the future by means of past observations. There is no need to make calculations of the past; the scribes had the records of past observations, and they used them to predict future phenomena. To try to calculate positions in the past must have seemed superfluous to the authors of the Goal Year texts.
Therefore, the "evidence" for backward calculation is based only on modern suspicion.
Excellent answers!!!! thank you soooooo much!!!