And in summary....
This chronology using the Babylonian records of the kingships is a well-established chronology, but it is precisely the one being criticized because it does not agree with the Bible's chronology nor that of Josephus.
The fact that it was mentioned that there are "tens of thousands of documents" supporting the Babylonian rulership is also a misconception and is circumstantially irrelevant in this case. Why? Because the claim is that the Babylonian revision involved a REDUCTION in the years of these kings, including the complete suppression of the 6-year rule of a king named Darius, the Mede. In that case, presuming there was a revision, then the records for those extra years would have been destroyed. That means all the archives in Babylon and Persia which were kept in one place, and all the records maintained at that time by the entire population. So it wouldn't matter if tens of thousands of the records that never needed to be destroyed still survive, they wouldn't prove anything but the reduced years, not the original extended years.
But of note, out of those tens of thousands of documents, which can be redated to any year you want, they are only relative dating, where are the ASTRONOMICAL TEXTS? Astronomical texts give you ABSOLUTE DATING. Where are they? Where are the tens of thousands of astronomical texts to add to those business records to support this chronology? Guess what? There MYSTERIOUSLY MISSING!
Furthermore, as I said, all those tens of thousands of documents that simply record events during certain years of the reign of those kings in the years not contested, don't give you specific dating. A text that says "year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar, I bought three sheep from the palace" doesn't give you the year. But if it said..."and in the fifth month there was a total eclipse of the sun and it got dark for 1 hour and 20 minutes...and I was at Babylon"....THEN you've got something!!! You can match that up to only so many possible actual years.
Thus the SIGNIFICANCE of astronomical texts in this debate is not a background item. Case in point the VAT4956 which is considered critical since it gives over 70 astronomical references to year 568BCE dated to year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar!! Therefore, you are FORCED to date year 37 in 568BCE....period! Per this text. And that is precisely what the chronologist have done.
How does the WTS get around this? Well, they claim the document comes fromt he Seleucid Period and it only reflected, therefore, the popular chronology. Is that a legit argument? YUP! Anybody could have taken the astronomical information from 568BCE and created a new document and put any king's year on it they wanted. The fact that we know from this text particularly that the astronomical information existed during the Persian Period but is now missing, leads us to believe these texts were destroyed during that period. But why? Obviously to prevent correction of the chronology being revised.
Now....that was a THEORY until the VAT4956 was reexamined with modern astronomical programs and it was discovered that some "errors" in the text actually are coordinated to the same year.
Do you REALIZE what I'm saying here?
Line 3 shows the Moon 1 cubit in front of the RFL. No match for 568BCE. Sachs/Hunger noted that. It's too early.
Line 14, the same thing. A no match for 568BCE for the moon 1 cubit in front of the bright star behind the Lion's foot.
Two errors? Two scribal errors? in a text with over 70 other accurate references? Perhaps. If the errors were simply haphazard. BUT....
BOTH lunar positions in Line 3 and 14 are to the SAME lunar cycle in a different year, namely 511BCE!!
So what do we have here?
How about us discovering an attempt by the astronomers who were destroying all the other original astronomical texts, to use this "diary" in order to hide at least one reference to the original chronology for the reign of Nebuchadnezzar? Now that would explain it, right? It gives over a hundred references to the revised chronology for year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar, as a front to cover a few secret references to the original chronology. But they got caught red handed.
Thus do we believe the VAT4956 is a reliable reference to 568BCE. Not any more. You can see how the Persians are manipulating the texts.
Since 511BCE seems to be the implied original chronology for the Babylonian period, therefore, and 568BCE DEFINITELY is a fake date per this text, then is 511BCE a reliable date for year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar.
Well, it's far more reliable than 568BCE, of course, since we know the Persians were lying about that date. Question is now only does 511BCE make any sense in any other chronology?
Well, that doesn't even matter. All I suppose that is critical is simply comparing various chronologies using the 511BCE dating for year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar, which you get the following to do with as you please. Now this is DIRECTLY from the text.
Year 37 -= 511BCE
Year 19 = 529 BCE
Year 23 = 525 BCE
Those are the corrected dates for the reign of Nebuchadnezzar per the VAT4956 which proves that 568BCE was faked.
These are dates without reference to the Bible or Josephus. Just a direct reference for the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.
And what about tens of thousands of business documents "from all over Babylon" (yeah right!) that prove this? NOTHING. Those documents, those legitimate documents, as I said, can be dated to any prevailing chronology. A text that shows a business transaction in "year 37" of Nebuchadnezzar works in 568BCE or 511BCE. That's why even bringing up the "relative" chronology texts in a discussion dealing with dating doesn't speak strongly for the argument.
But I don't get it anyway. If the Bible says that there were 70 years from the last deportation until the first of Cyrus and the Babylonian records say otherwise, then that proves the Babylonian records were revised. To presume the pagan records are more reliable than the Bible is nonsense to begin with...BUT...if you did want to put both on an even scale and try to resolve the issue, it has now been resolved. The VAT4956 is EVIDENCE that the original year for Nebuchadnezzar fell in 511BCE. That date does not disagree with the Bible dating which also dates his 37th year in 511BCE.
So...at this point...it's not a matter of debate, really, but simply being misinformed.....right?
I don't see any choice here.
If you go with the Bible, you'll have to date year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar in 511BCE.
If you go with the latest Babylonian text research, you'll have to date year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar in 511BCE.
So what basis do you have for any other dating?
I don't get it.