To all the apologists and those seeking the truth about this matter:
I've said this quite a bit, but I feel this bears repeating. The issue far is greater than the invalidity of 607 BC, and what that implies in regard to 1914 and 1918/19. People might honestly believe something and be mistaken. However, what opened my eyes to the truth about 'the Truth' was the Society's lack of total honesty and integrity in presenting their side of the issue.
For Christians, the larger issues should be:
(1) Worshiping God in "spirit and truth".
(2) Having agape love which "rejoices in truth".
The October/November 2011 articles on Jerusalem's Destruction in public Watchtower brought the issue of lack of honesty and journalistic integrity to the fore. The same goes for the June 2012 Awake quoting Ephraim Stern. I encourage all who have not done so to check the quotations and citations used in these articles in context.
They have quoted the words of scholars selectively in such a way to misrepresent their thoughts. It is better not to quote than to quote out of context. To back certain assertions, they listed references…but there references did not back their assertions at all.
Here are two examples that jumped out at me:
November 2011 Public Watchtower, page 28, note 18: "Though the cuneiform sign for the moon is clear and unambiguous, some of the signs for the names of the planets and their positions are unclear. (Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy—Astrology, by David Brown, published 2000, pages 53-57) Because of this, the planetary observations are open to speculation and to several different interpretations."
The reference Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology is cited to support why they should throw out the planetary observations on VAT4956. But the pages listed say nothing of the sort. VAT 4956 contains clear and unambiguous planetary names and positions.
Note 17: "Therefore, the first Babylonian month (Nisanu) would have started the new year two months earlier, on May 2/3. While normally the year of this eclipse would have begun on April 3/4, VAT 4956 states on line 6 that an extra month (intercalary) was added after the twelfth (last) month (Addaru) of the preceding year. (The tablet reads: “8th of month II2.”) Therefore, this made the new year actually not start until May 2/3."
Here is the problem with that: In all the centuries of the Babylonian calendar, the month of Nissan NEVER began in May. Intercalary months were only added so that the year wouldn't begin before the spring equinox. Never would it have been added in such a way to make the year start exceedingly late like this. The Society readjusts the known calendar for this year in order to point to a lunar observation and force it to agree with VAT 4956.
Never are the researchers named, never is the full results listed (if anything they could have posted a link to a website with the full results). In the real world, results like this would be peer reviewed by professionals in that field of study. Where is the peer review?
Notice the leaps of logic in this quote from the article: "Could others have ruled between the reigns of these kings? If so, additional years would have to be added to the Neo-Babylonian period. Therefore, neither the Babylonian chronicles nor the business tablets provide a basis to establish with certainty that Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 B.C.E."
Could + If so <> Therefore!!! In reality, the business tablets are really damning evidence that alone establish there were no other kings in the chronology.
What did Scholars who were cited think of these Watchtower articles and the way they were quoted?
Read the words of John Steele:
Dear Ms Alley,
Thank you for your email concerning the citation of my work in the recent Watchtower article. As you suggest the author of this piece is completely misrepresenting what I wrote, both in what they say about the lunar three measurement, and in what I say about the possibility of retrocalculation of eclipses (my comments on the latter were restricted to a distinct and small group of texts which are different to the Diary they are discussing). Just glancing through the Watchtower article I can see that they have also misrepresented the views of other scholars by selective quotation out of context.
I've looked at the date of VAT 4956 on several occasions and see no possibility that it can be dated to anything other than the conventional date.
Ronald Sack was more harsh, but perhaps deservedly so: "The watchtower article is a lie. The correct date is 587. I have NEVER been interviewed of this subject. "
If you look through this thread, you will see many scans of references, and quotes in context:
Of course, in regard to 607 BC, this is not the first time there was intellectual dishonesty on the matter. This goes all the way back to Russell. Unfortunately, I have found this is not the only matter in which quotations are taken out of context. This seems to have happened quite a bit in the history of the Watchtower Society.
For the apologists here, I say to you that this is something serious to ponder upon, regardless when Jerusalem was destroyed.