The Bible And Secular Dating Part 4
by, 23rd May 2012 at 04:13 PM (719 Views)
The Importance Of The Death Of Herod To Dating Christ
Herod lived hard and fast, so not surprising Josephus said of his painful death: "an intolerable itching of the whole skin, continuous pains in the intestines, tumours in the feet as in dropsy, inflammation of the abdomen and gangrene of the privy parts, engendering worms, in addition to asthma, with great difficulty in breathing, and convulsions in all his limbs." - The Jewish War, I, 656 (xxxiii, 5).
The problem with the dating of his death when considering Bible chronology is that some put his death in the year 5 or 4 B.C.E. based primarily upon Josephus' history. In dating Herod's being appointed as king by Rome Josephus uses a consular dating, which is a location of events occurring during the rule of certain Roman consuls. According to this method Herod was appointed as king in 40 B.C.E., but another historian Appianos placed the event at 39 B.C.E.
Josephus places Herod's capture of Jerusalem at 37 B.C.E. but he also says that this occurred 27 years after the capture of the city by Pompey which was in 63 B.C.E. (Jewish Antiquities, XIV, 487, 488 [xvi, 4]) So in that case the date of Herod taking the city of Jerusalem would be 36 B.C.E. so 37 years from the time that he was appointed king by the Romans and 34 years after he took Jerusalem (Jewish Antiquities, XVII, 190, 191 [viii, 1]) would indicate the date of his death as 2 or 1 B.C.E.
It might be that Josephus counted the reigns of the kings of Judea by the accession year method which was the case with the kings of the line of David.
If Herod's was appointed king in 40 B.C.E. his first regnal year would probably begin at Nisan 39 to Nisan 38 B.C.E. and if counted from the capture of Jerusalem in 37 or 36 B.C.E. his first regnal year would have started in Nisan 36 or 35 B.C.E. so if Herod died 37 years after his appointment by Rome and 34 years after his capture of Jerusalem and those years are counted both according to his regnal year his death would have been 1 B.C.E.
In The Journal of Theological Studies (Edited by H. Chadwick and H. Sparks, Oxford, 1966, Vol. XVII, p. 284), W. E. Filmer indicates that Jewish tradition says that Herod's death occurred on Shebat (January - February) 2
Josephus stated that Herod died not long after an eclipse of the moon and before a Passover (Jewish Antiquities, XVII, 167 [vi, 4]; 213 [ix, 3]). There was a partial eclipse on March 11, 4 B.C.E. (March 13, Julian) and so some conclude that this was the eclipse mentioned by Josephus, but there was a total eclipse of the moon in 1 B.C.E. about three months before Passover on January 8 (January 10, Julian) 18 days before Shebat 2 the traditional day of Herod's death.
There was also another partial eclipse on December 27 (December 29, Julian).
Most scholars date Herod's death as 4 B.C.E. citing the March 11 eclipse as proof and so place the birth of Jesus as early as 5 B.C.E., but that eclipse was only 36 percent magnitude and early in the morning. The other two taking place in 1 B.C.E. would both fit the requirement of having taken place not long before the Passover. The one of December 27 would have been observable in Jerusalem but not as a conspicuous event. Oppolzer's Canon of Eclipses (p. 343), says the moon was passing out of the earth's shadow as twilight fell in Jerusalem so by the time it was dark the moon was shining full. That particular one isn't included in the Manfred Kudlek and Erich Mickler listing. I personally think you can rule that one out because it is uncertain that it was visible in Jerusalem.
The January 8, 1 B.C.E. was a total eclipse where the moon was blacked out for 1 hour and 41 minutes and would have been noticed. (Solar and Lunar Eclipses of the Ancient Near East From 3000 B.C. to 0 With Maps, by M. Kudlek and E. H. Mickler; Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany; 1971, Vol. I, p. 156.)
Also the calculation of Herod's age at the time of death is thought to be about 70, according to Josephus and he received his appointment as governor of Galilee (generally dated 47 B.C.E.) when he was 15, though scholars think that to be an error that should read 25. (Jewish Antiquities, XVII, 148 [vi, 1]; XIV, 158 [ix, 2]) Though Josephus has many inconsistencies in his dating of events and not the most reliable source. The most reliable source is the Bible itself.
The evidence is pretty clear that Herod likely died in the year 1 B.C.E. as Luke says that John began baptizing in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. (Luke 3:1-3) Augustus died on August 17, 14 C.E.. On September 15, Tiberius was named emperor by the Roman Senate. They (the Romans) didn't use the accession year method so the 15th year would have run from the latter part of 28 C.E. to the latter part of 29 C.E.
John was six months older than Jesus and began his ministry in the spring of that year (Luke 1:35-36) Jesus was born in the fall of the year and was about 30 years old when he came to John to be baptized (Luke 3:21-23) putting his baptism in the fall - about October of 29 C.E. Counting back about 30 years would put us at the fall of 2 B.C.E., the birth of Jesus. Daniel's prophecy of "70 weeks" points to the same time (Daniel 9:24-27) From the year 455 B.C.E. when King Artaxerxes of Persia, in the 20th year of his rule, in the month of Nisan, gave the order to rebuild the wall of the city of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8) to 29 C.E. when Jesus was baptized was 69 weeks or 483 years.
The Census Of Quirinius
Skeptics of the Bible often question the dating of accurate Bible chronology regarding Jesus' birth based upon the incorrect notion that there was only one census taken while Publius Sulpicius was governor of Syria, at about 6 C.E.. The one that sparked a rebellion by Judas the Galilean and the Zealots. (Acts 5:37) That was the second, actually. Inscriptions found at and near Antioch reveals that some years earlier Quirinius served as the emperor's legate in Syria. As the Dictionnaire du Nouveau Testament in Crampon's French Bible (1939 ed., p. 360) says: "The scholarly researches of Zumpt (Commentat. epigraph., II, 86-104; De Syria romana provincia, 97-98) and of Mommsen (Res gestae divi Augusti) place beyond doubt that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria."
In 1764 an inscription called the Lapis Tiburtinus was found which concurs.
All of this demonstrates without a doubt, the reliability of the Bible's historical value and the importance of Bible chronology. With the Bible one can accurately deduce a historical timeline from Adam's creation to the present day. The following link provides such a timeline from Adam to the death of the apostle John. Biblical Timeline0 Thanks, 0 Likes, 0 Dislikes
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