Great work as usual, Cofty. Just wanted to mention something; apologies for the sidetrack.
In the 18th century the calculations of Archbishop James Ussher regarding the age of the earth were still accepted without question. According to Ussher god made the earth at 6pm on the evening of Saturday 22nd October 4004 B.C.
James Ussher published "The Annals of the World" on 13 July 1650. The copy I have does not mention "6pm" as the time of the creation of the earth. It just states that the "beginning of time, according to our chronology, happened at the start of the evening preceding the 23rd day of October in the year... [4004BC]" I suspect he used that expression because he probably understood the whole planet could not be in one time zone, and he actually acknowledged that "day" and "night" were created the next day.
Ussher must have used the Masoretic (or Vulgate) version of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), not the Septuagint, because the book has Seth born 130 years after Adam, etc. I mention that because if Ussher used the Septuagint, he would have concluded the Flood occurred around 750 years earlier, and the beginning of time about 1000 years earlier. The book is incredibly impressive, given when it was written. It appears thoroughly researched with extensive biblical and "secular" cross-references.
Interesting for JW's:
1. Ussher puts the date of the destruction of Jerusalem as April 588 BC, and the fall of Babylon as occurring in 538 BC. Ussher probably used Ptolomy's canon, which you can use to calculate the correct dates +/- 1 year. (The reason any calc using Ptolomy's canon can be 1 year out, is that it is a list of eclipses by reference to list of rulers and years of rule, not a calendar.)
2. Ussher biblically interprets the "70 years" as commencing from the date Jehoiakim was led away in chains by Nebuchadnezzar, NOT the destruction of Jerusalem. He goes into a lot of detail on this point, but here is a quote:
775. Nebuchadnezzar chained Jehoiakim to carry him away to Babylon. 2Ch 36:6 Later upon submission and his promises of subjection, he let him stay in his own house where he lived as his servant for 3 years. From this time of the carrying of the king and people of the Jews into the bondage of Nebuchadnezzar, starts the 70 years of the captivity of Babylon which were foretold by the prophet Jeremiah. Jer 25:11 29:10.
BTW, anyone who thinks that the bible supports the JW version of when Jerusalem fell, rather than "secular history", should read those passages of Jeremiah.
3. Ussher concludes that Jesus must have been born in 4 BC.
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