Thanks for keeping this conversation civil, and thanks for staying around to answer questions. I didn't know anything about Furuli's plans on writing a treatise on 607. You probably know that he's up against a mountain of evidence. I would love to see how he handles it.
The subject has been covered in some journals but a comprehensive overview is in my opinion long overdue.
I don't know what journals you mean. But I agree; it's high time there was a valid JW response.
Jonsson's GTR is as you say an exposure of WT chronology but it also is an hypothesis as it presents an interpretation of both biblical and secular evidence and presents some radical views in support of his hypothesis.
He tries to harmonize the Bible as best he can with the secular evidence. What specifically did you think was radical?
There is no way that the view that 586/587 and 607 can be viewed as Absolute Dates and no reputable scholar would make such a claim.
Do you remember why the WTS considered why 539 was an absolute date? What's the difference between 539 and 587?
If you believe that Fred Franz had misgivings about 607 then that is your right as you claim to have conversed with him. I cannot imagine for a moment how or why he would have had such doubts. Methinks your imagination has overtaken your excitement and privilige with having such a dialoque with a distinguished Bible scholar.
I admit that I was quite impressed when I first came to Bethel, and some of my public talks back home were little more than playing tapes of interviews with some old-timers. Fred had the entire Bible memorized without any mnemonic tricks evidently. (And I asked him.)
I have a lot to say about what passed for scholarship at Bethel, but as JW scholarship goes, I think he may have ranked highest on knowing the text so well, although Napolitano definitely had him beat at Hebrew and Aramaic (even Syriac!). There was one other person I would have to call a scholar, who was called on by the Writing Department for a few projects. He lives in New York, but never worked at Bethel. His expertise ran through the range of classical and Biblical languages. I wrote him after Bethel, but he never wrote back.
Yes I obtained my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Religious studies long after my baptism as a Witness in fact exactly 30 years. I was caused to do so becuse of a series of radio programs on the ABC hosted by the late Professor Eric.J. Sharpe at the University of Sydney.
I'll tell about as much as I've mentioned previously on the board. I'll try not to sound like I'm just dropping names, but you'll understand my opinion of Fred Franz a little better if I explain myself. For most of my time at Bethel I was a graphic artist. I did a lot of art for handbills, small articles, typography, book covers and charts, but only a couple major Wt and g articles. I can still do a good paradise landscape, but wasn't terribly good at drawing people. Still, the job brought me in contact with the Writing Dept a lot, and I made a couple of great friends there. Also, I would get to know who wrote most of the articles and who worked on most of the books. I admit that I took an interest in the personalities writing certain types of articles, even though we weren't supposed to talk about it.
Brother Schroeder and his wife befriended me almost from day one. They invited me to a surprisingly large gathering in his room on my second weekend there which even included live musical entertainment. Within a few weeks Brother Schroeder caught me reading a book in the 124 library by FFBruce and warned me that FFBruce was not very favorable to the JWs. I showed him that it was just a Gk study aid, no "harmful teachings." He made a lot over that incident, and as good as called me a scholar in public only a few days later. He gave me full access to the library in his office, so I could borrow "Vines," Gilead notes, and his Bible commentaries. Within weeks he had given me a couple of research assignments. (things like finding support for "from house to house" Acts 20:20) At the time, I thought the world of him, and of course it was great for my own ego. I was hardly 20 years old.
Out of friendship for some of these people, I have loyally not told my story for 20 years. But I witnessed first-hand that the scholarly abilities of those I had once trusted as scholars was actually quite weak. I was obviously only an amateur, and yet was being called -- and being treated as -- a scholar myself. At best, I was merely capable of reading commentaries and noticing which points could support and strengthen our existing viewpoints. In truth, for many months I was too enamored with the experience to notice a problem with this situation. But I finally realized that the people around me were not scholars. I found that one person who loved his commentaries, was quite capable of reading a commentary and completely missing the point. He was prone to see something he liked and take it "violently" out of context. And he authored more than one Wt study article! This is still amazing to me.
I did finally find friendships with some whom I could consider scholars -- and yet they were humble. Even if they didn't have the Bible memorized, they were much more knowledgable of the Bible than any member of the GB, including Fred Franz.