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Christ's BirthYear

    M badboy posted Wed, 03 Apr 2002 09:43:00 GMT(4/3/2002)

    Post 99 of 5767
    Joined 12/19/2001

    I have worked when Christ was born;6BC.

    Quirinus become governer of Syria 6BC.

    Herod The Great ordered the killing of all children under 2 years old
    (Herod The Great dield in 6BC

    aChristian posted Wed, 03 Apr 2002 14:58:00 GMT(4/3/2002)

    Post 502 of 539
    Joined 3/10/2001

    Bad,

    I think your conclusions are flawed. To begin with, all historians tell us that Herod died in 4 BC, not in 6 BC as you say.

    The evidence confirming Herod's death in 4 BC consists partly of a lunar eclipse which the First Century Jewish historian, Josephus, tells us occurred near the time of Passover in the year Herod died. ( Astronomers have dated this eclipse to March 11, 4 BC. ) But there is also much other evidence confirming the fact that Herod died in 4 BC, including dated coins, using the Olympiad system of dating, which were issued by Herod's sons who divided up their father's kingdom following his death. Here is a link to an excellent article presenting the abundant evidence that Herod died in 4 BC:
    http://doig.net/NTC04.html

    I have concluded that Christ was born in the Fall of 5 BC.

    The Watchtower Society teaches that Christ was born in 2 BC. They do so because Luke 3:23 tells us that Jesus was "about 30" when he started his ministry, and 30 years before 29 AD, "the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar" ( Luke 3:1 ), was the year 2 BC. However, most New Testament historians tell us Christ's birth must have occurred between the years 6 and 4 BC. They tell us this because Herod the Great, who sought to kill the new born Jesus by ordering the killing of all children 2 years old and under, is known to have died in 4 BC. And the Bible indicates Herod died shortly after ordering these murders. ( Matt. 2 )

    In support of their 2 BC date for Christ's birth the Society contends that astronomers have improperly identified the eclipse Josephus referred to, telling us that the eclipse he spoke of occurred on January 8th of 1 BC, despite the fact that this date is not "near the time of Passover."

    The Watchtower Society's reluctance to agree with the historical record seems to be entirely based on the fact that if Jesus was born in about 5 BC he would have been about three years past the age of 30, which Luke tells us Jesus was "about" ( Luke 3:23 ) when he began his ministry, "in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar." ( Luke 3:1 )

    I believe the solution to this problem can be found by taking a closer look at the word Luke used in Luke 3:23 which has been widely translated as "about." That Greek word is "hosei." Bible historians who date the birth of Christ to about 5 BC believe that Luke's saying that Jesus was "about 30" in 29 AD allows room for us to understand that Jesus could have been 2 or 3 years past 30 when he began his ministry. They also tell us that "hosei," the word Luke chose to use before the number 30, actually indicates a greater indefiniteness than the Greek word "hos" which Luke used elsewhere to convey the thought that the number he mentioned may not have been exactly as stated. And, Greek lexicons indicate that "hosei" may have actually been used here by Luke to mean more than just "about." They show that Luke may have used this Greek word to say that Jesus was then beginning his ministry "as if" he were 30, "as though" he were 30, "like" he was 30 or since he "had already been" 30. Why? Because Jewish men usually began their service to God at age 30 and were not permitted to do so before that age.

    Supporters of Watchtower chronology who maintain that Christ was born in 2 BC argue against such understandings. However, I have found what I consider to be other strong evidence which I believe clearly shows that Christ must have been born in the Fall of 5 BC. I believe the Bible very clearly indicates that John the baptist began his ministry 3 and 1/2 years before Jesus began his ministry. If this is true, and Jesus began his ministry in the fall of 29 AD, as the Society teaches in agreement with most New Testament historians, then John must have begun his ministry in the Spring of 26 AD. And since John was a Levite, and Levites according to the Jewish law began their service to God at age 30 (Numbers 4:1-3, 21-23, 29-30, 34-35, 46-49), then John must have been born in the Spring of 5 BC. And since John was about six months older than Jesus, as scripture indicates (Luke 1:36), then Jesus must have been born in the Fall of 5 BC.

    So, I believe Christ's birth can be properly dated by accurately identifying the length of time John preached before he baptized Christ. And if we find that he did so for three and a half years then we can confidently assign a 5 BC date to Christ's birth. I am now thoroughly convinced that John began his ministry three and a half years before Jesus Christ's ministry began. How did I become convinced of this? By answering the following questions.

    Why was John the baptist prophetically referred to as Elijah? (Malachi 4:5,6; Matt. 11:12-14; 17:10-13; Luke 1:17) Why was he compared to Elijah rather than some other prophet such as Elisha or Jeremiah or Isaiah or Ezekiel or Daniel or Zechariah or any one of Jehovah's many other prophets of years gone by? Though John denied that he really was Elijah (John 1:21), he clearly went to great lengths to copy part of Elijah's prophetic ministry. To make it quite plain exactly what he was doing, John even dressed like Elijah. (2 Kings 1:8; Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6) Why?

    I have found there is really only one way to answer these questions. The answers are found by studying the prophetic life of Elijah. Specifically, the part of his prophetic life which we read about in 1 Kings chapters 17 and 18. There we find that, during the reign of King Ahab, Elijah prophesied that in northern Israel there would "be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except by my word." (1 Kings 17:1) Elijah's prophecy proved true when a long drought followed causing a severe famine in the land. At the end of those "few years" Elijah introduced a long awaited and greatly needed shower of rain to Israel.

    Nowhere in the Old Testament are we told exactly how many years passed before Elijah ushered in the rain Israel had so long been waiting for. However, the New Testament provides us with this information twice. First, in Luke 4:25, Jesus himself told us that, "In Elijah's time the sky was shut for three and a half years." Later James told us that, "Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed and the heavens gave rain." (James 5:17,18)

    Why does the New Testament tell us exactly how long Elijah served as God's prophet while the people of his land waited for rain? I believe it does so in order to provide us with the chronological information we need to determine the time of Christ's birth.

    For just as Elijah served as a prophet of God for three and a half years while the people of Israel were longing for rain to come to their land, John the baptist prophesied "the coming of the Lord" while the people of Israel were longing for the Messianic rain to come to them. This Messianic "rain" was prophesied to come to Israel in the 72nd Psalm. There we read in part, "Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. He will judge your people in righteousness and your afflicted ones with justice. He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. All nations will be blessed through him and they will call him blessed." (Ps. 72: 1, 2, 6, 11, 17)

    With this Messianic prophecy in mind, it seems clear why the New Testament informs us of exactly how long Elijah prophesied while waiting for rain to fall on Israel. Why? So we today can understand that the latter day "Elijah," John the baptist, prophesied "the coming of the Lord" for exactly three and a half years before he introduced the long awaited and greatly needed Messianic "rain" to the Jewish people. (John 1:29-31)

    Now, no doubt some will ask, "Doesn't the Bible tell us that John the baptist began his ministry in 29 AD, 'in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar'? And if it does, since Jesus also began his ministry in 29 AD, doesn't that prove that John's ministry could have only been about six months long, since it began in the same year that Christ also began his ministry?"

    I believe the answer to both of these questions is, "No." The Bible does not tell us that John the Baptist began his ministry in "the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar" which was 29 AD. It only tell us that in that year "the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert." (Luke 3:1, 2) Now, the traditional thinking has been that "the word of God" there referred to instructed John to begin "calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way of the Lord.' " (Luke 3:4) The problem with this understanding is that it is only an assumption. And considering other information given to us in scripture, it does not appear to be a valid one. The Bible does not record any instructions given by God directly to John, telling him either how he should conduct his ministry or when he should begin it. It also seems unlikely that God would have ever given John such instructions.

    Why does this seem unlikely? Because scripture indicates that John was informed from the time he was an infant what God wanted him to do and when God wanted him to do it. Luke tells us that before John's birth his father Zechariah was informed by an angel that his future son had been chosen by God to minister to the people of Israel in a very important way. Zechariah was told that the child he was to name John would, "make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1:17) Zechariah later spoke to his son John, saying in part, "You, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most high; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins." (Luke 1 :76, 77) Clearly, Zechariah understood that his son John had been chosen by God to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of their long awaited savior. It is also clear that Zechariah explained to his son exactly what kind of ministry God had chosen him to perform.

    But what indication do we have that John did not need personal instructions from God telling him when he should begin his special ministry? The Bible provides us with the answer to this question. For it tells us that John was from the priestly tribe of Levi. (Luke 1:5-14) And according to the law of God recorded by Moses, all Levite men "at the Lord's command" were to begin their service to God at thirty years of age. Certainly John, who received instructions in the Law from his father Zechariah, was well aware of this command of the Lord recorded in scripture. John also must have known that all the men in his family had begun their service to God at this same time in their lives. These things being so, we can see that John would have required no personal instructions from God telling him either what He wanted John to do or when He wanted John to do it.

    But if "the word of God" which "came to John in the desert in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar" did not instruct John to then begin his ministry, what did God then tell him? I believe that the evidence shows that the pronouncement of God, referred to in Luke 3:1, 2, which then "came to John in the desert" is the same pronouncement of God recorded for us in Matt. 3:17. There we find the words God spoke immediately following John's baptism of Jesus Christ. Matthew tells us that at that time "a voice from heaven said, 'This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.' " Though God may have spoken to John in the desert on more than one occasion, the only time the Bible records in detail a "word of God" there coming to John was this "word of God" which came to John at the time of Christ's baptism. Since God's word spoken at this time divinely confirmed the identity of the long awaited Messiah, it seems reasonable to believe that this very important pronouncement was the "word of God" referred to in Luke 3:1, 2, which "came to John in the desert in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar."

    According to this understanding, Luke 3:1, 2 does not tell us that John the baptist began his ministry "in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar," but rather that John's ministry culminated in that year with his baptism of Jesus Christ. By understanding Luke chapter three in this way we find that John did not necessarily begin his service to God in 29 AD. We also find that Luke chapter three does not limit the time John prepared the way for Christ to only a few months. Rather, it allows us to understand that John began his ministry 3 and 1/2 years before introducing a greatly needed "rain" to Israel (Ps. 72: 1, 2, 6, 11, 17), just as Elijah had done before him. (1 Kings 17, 18)

    With this understanding of Luke 3:1, 2 in mind, we can also appreciate why Luke so carefully recorded the time of the event he was then referring to, and by so doing attached such great importance to it. Because in Luke 3:1, 2 Luke was not telling us when John the baptist began his ministry. Rather, he was recording for posterity the exact time that Jesus Christ began the most important service to God and mankind that has ever been rendered.

    To confirm this understanding is correct there is one more point that should be made. That is, that if Luke's words recorded in Luke 3:1,2 were intended to date the beginning of John the baptist's ministry, then Luke attached more historical significance to the ministry of John than he did to the ministry of Jesus Christ. For in Luke 3:1, 2, in an effort to help us accurately determine the time of the event he was there recording, Luke painstakingly listed seven different contemporary historical public figures by name, and five separate geographical regions which were controlled at the time by the five governmental officials on his list. If, as has been suggested, Luke 3:1, 2 is referring to the time John the baptist's ministry began, Luke went to great lengths to tell us the time John began his ministry but made no attempt at all in his gospel to tell us of the time when Christ's ministry began.

    There is only one sensible explanation for Luke's seemingly confused sense of priority. That is, to understand that in Luke 3:1, 2, Luke was not recording the time when John the baptist began his ministry. Rather, as stated earlier, he was recording the time when Jesus Christ began his public service to God.

    As a final thought in support of this understanding, I will point out that Luke tells us that in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, when "the word of God came to John" it came to him while he was already "in the desert." There John served God as "a voice crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way of the Lord.' " In other words, Luke 3:1, 2 tells us that when the word of God came to John, in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, John's ministry had already begun. And I believe all the facts from history and scripture combine to show that it had begun three and a half years earlier, in the Spring of 26 AD. And if that is the case, and if John began his ministry upon turning 30 years old, as all Levite men did, then John was born in the Spring of 5 BC. And since he was about six months older than Jesus, Jesus must have been born in the Fall of 5 BC.

    Fredhall posted Wed, 03 Apr 2002 19:14:00 GMT(4/3/2002)

    Post 2695 of 1972
    Joined 2/5/2001

    Christian,

    You can blab all you want to about Christ birth. At least he came down here and died for our sins. Plus, I hope you got it right about the lunar. Because it might not be a part lunar or a full lunar.

    Moxy posted Wed, 03 Apr 2002 19:54:00 GMT(4/3/2002)

    Post 955 of 989
    Joined 3/27/2001

    if anyone needs me to be die for the sins of mankind and be raised up a couple days later, lemme know. thatd be kinda cool. i could afford to miss a weekend to redeem the entire world.

    ...

    nice summary aChristian. you said the only reason for the chronology is the word 'about,' but i think the other more important reason is the relunctance to agree with secular historians about *anything*!

    mox

    $2.50 for a highball and a buck-and-a-half for a beer

    Double Edge posted Wed, 03 Apr 2002 20:12:00 GMT(4/3/2002)

    Post 92 of 4812
    Joined 1/21/2002

    FREDHALL:

    Christian,
    You can blab all you want to about Christ birth
    At least when he 'blabs' he makes intelligent comments and backs them up with researchable points.

    apostate man posted Wed, 03 Apr 2002 22:39:00 GMT(4/3/2002)

    Post 178 of 285
    Joined 2/12/2002

    This last Easter, Sunday night, there were several shows on Discovery Channel about Jesus. They have "proven" that Jesus was born 6 years earlier than previously thought and have "proven" that Jesus died on a "cross", not on a stake. They supposedly have a small peice of the "cross" in a museum somewhere. The story behind all of it was very believable and scientific. They also discovered that perhaps Jesus was not born in a "manger" and there was no "inn" as we think of it. Many interesting topics about Jesus were discussed.

    Break the chains that bind you,
    unless, of course, you're into that sort of thing.
    -A.M.

    aChristian posted Thu, 04 Apr 2002 03:37:00 GMT(4/4/2002)

    Post 503 of 539
    Joined 3/10/2001

    Moxy,

    You wrote: you said the only reason for the chronology is the word 'about,' but i think the other more important reason is the relunctance to agree with secular historians about *anything*!

    How true. And one of the classic marks of a cult. Create totally unfounded and totally unnecessary distinctions between "us and them." Then make these distinctions out to be very important, even if they are obviously quite petty. The JW invented "cross vs. stake" controversy is a good example.

    aChristian posted Thu, 04 Apr 2002 05:24:00 GMT(4/4/2002)

    Post 504 of 539
    Joined 3/10/2001

    Badboy,

    You wrote: Quirinus become governor of Syria 6BC.

    I would be interested in reading what evidence you have for this. From all I have read, I do not believe it is possible to establish that Quirinius was governor of Syria before AD 6.

    Historians tell us that Quirinius became governor of Syria in AD 6. They also tell us that Augustus issued a decree in that same year imposing a tax on all in his empire for the purpose of supporting his troops. And they tell us that this was the second time Augustus imposed such a tax. They tell us that he had done so once earlier, but they lack the historical documentation to tell us exactly how much earlier. I believe it was probably that earlier decree issued by Augustus for the purpose of supporting Rome's armies which was referenced by Luke as having "went out from Caesar Augustus" and which required "that a census be taken of all the world." (Luke 2:1)

    When writing the book of Acts, Luke himself referred to the AD 6 census, which was disrupted by Judas of Galilee. (Acts 5:37) The historical records are clear that Quirinius was governor of Syria then. Luke's gospel distinguishes the census at the time of Christ's birth by calling it "the first census" of its type. (Luke 2:2) I believe that Luke's intent was to say that the census which was taken at the time of Christ's birth for the purpose of imposing a tax to support the military was the first one of its kind, as distinguished from the later one like it which was taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. I do not believe Luke was saying that Quirinius was governor at the time of the first such census.

    The Greek usage can be interpreted to say, "This census was before that [census] when Quirinius was governor of Syria." Perhaps a better translation would be: "This census was the first one, before that under the governorship of Quirinius in Syria." I believe Luke was saying that the census that was taken at the time of Christ's birth was the one before a similar one which was taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria in AD 6, one which had become indelibly etched in the minds of first century historians due to the great civil unrest which it provoked.

    Again, I do not believe Luke was saying that Quirinius was governor when the first census was taken. A careful reading of the Greek in Luke 2:2 confirms this understanding to be the likely solution to the "Quirinius problem."

    M badboy posted Thu, 04 Apr 2002 11:57:00 GMT(4/4/2002)

    Post 104 of 5767
    Joined 12/19/2001

    NIV study Bible tells me so.

    M badboy posted Thu, 04 Apr 2002 12:53:00 GMT(4/4/2002)

    Post 108 of 5767
    Joined 12/19/2001

    U must remember Herod died in 4 BC, he ordered all children under 2 to B killed making it approxiametly 6BC.BIBLE EXAMINER.

    THANKS FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION

    Fredhall posted Thu, 04 Apr 2002 18:45:00 GMT(4/4/2002)

    Post 2699 of 1972
    Joined 2/5/2001

    Double Edge,

    Are you talking about stage research?

    expatbrit posted Thu, 04 Apr 2002 23:56:00 GMT(4/4/2002)

    Post 1612 of 3156
    Joined 2/13/2001

    Moxy:

    if anyone needs me to be die for the sins of mankind and be raised up a couple days later, lemme know. thatd be kinda cool. i could afford to miss a weekend to redeem the entire world.
    Well, you have to give credit where credit's due. It was a long weekend, after all!

    Expatbrit

    Double Edge posted Fri, 05 Apr 2002 00:14:00 GMT(4/5/2002)

    Post 113 of 4812
    Joined 1/21/2002

    FRED:

    Double Edge,

    Are you talking about stage research?

    No, I'm talking about REAL research, compared to OPINIONATED research that's printed on little newsprint paper that looks like a pennysaver ad magazine.

    Alleymom posted Fri, 05 Apr 2002 23:56:00 GMT(4/5/2002)

    Post 52 of 934
    Joined 10/19/2001

    Reply to "aChristian" --

    Until just a few years ago, the date of 4 BC is the one that was most widely accepted for Herod’s death. Alternate dates had been proposed, most notably by W.E. Filmer in 1966 (he argued for a date of 1 BC), but the consensus was that Filmer had been refuted in a journal article by T.D. Barnes in 1968. (One author said that Barnes “decisively reaffirmed” the 4 BC date).

    However, in 1995 new information on the date of Herod the Great's death was presented by David Beyer.

    Beyer settled a long-standing argument about the integrity of the text of Josephus, Antiquities 18.106, by doing things the old-fashioned way: he actually visited the British Museum and the Library of Congress and examined all of the extant Josephus manuscripts. He found that an error had indeed been introduced into the text after the invention of the printing press.

    When the first PRINTED edition of Josephus' Antiquities in Greek was published in Basel in 1544, the printer apparently accidentally introduced some errors. Which is not surprising, when you consider the difficulty of printing and proof-reading a Greek manuscript.

    The reason Beyer undertook his investigation of the original reading of the Josephus text is that the previous articles by Filmer and Barnes had focused on the length and dates of reigns of Herod’s three successor sons: Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip as crucial to determining the date of Herod’s death. Five days before he died, Herod had his son Antipater killed (after receiving permission to do so from Caesar Augustus), at which time he changed his will and split things up among Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip. There are references in Josephus to their lengths of reigns, which –apparently-- confirmed the 4 BC date of Herod’s death.

    But back in 1966, Filmer had suggested in an article in JTS that there was an error in the text of Josephus in Antiquities 18.106. Modern critical texts have Josephus saying that Herod Philip died in the twentieth year of Tiberius, after a reign of 37 years. Filmer thought that a figure had been dropped out, and the number should really read twenty-second year of Tiberius. He pointed to claims that an 18th century monk had supposedly seen old copies of Josephus which read 22nd year of Tiberius.

    Barnes replied that this reading was "ill-attested", and there matters rested for fifteen years, from 1968 until 1995, at which time David Beyer presented proof positive to the SBL that the modern edition of Josephus’ text was indeed in error.

    David Beyer’s article "Josephus Reexamined: Unraveling the Twenty-Second Year of Tiberius" details the results of his examination of 46 early editions of Josephus at the British Museum as well as his examination of the holdings at the Library of Congress.

    He found that an error was indeed introduced into Josephus at the time of the first Greek printing in Basel in 1544. All previous manuscripts read 22, but the Basel printed edition read 20. This error was copied when the Latin edition was printed in 1548, and after that, virtually all editions read "20" rather than "22".

    The original "22nd year" reading yields a date of 36 AD for Philip’s death; if he reigned 37 years, that gives a date of 1 BC for Herod’s death.

    BUT … Beyer (and others) think it unlikely that Philip actually reigned all 37 years, in spite of the numismatic evidence.

    At this point in the article Beyer records an additional printing error. The early manuscripts read "32" instead of "37" for the length of Philip’s reign.

    There follows a section on the question of "de jure" versus "de facto" reigns, and Beyer returns to this issue later when he discusses numismatic evidence which supports the practice of antedating.

    He has a brief discussion of the possible lunar eclipses of March 4 BC and 9/10 January 1 BC, pointing out that the March 4 BC eclipse was only a partial eclipse of minor magnitude, whereas the Jan 1 BC eclipse was total. Beyer asks, "Why would Josephus single out a minor, almost unnoticeable lunar eclipse and make it the focal point of his account?"

    After presenting the data from his examination of the early manuscripts, Beyer then reexamines the testimony of the early church fathers. He makes the point that his suggested revised date of Herod’s death is in harmony with the testimony of the following church fathers:

    Source I. Tertullian
    Sources 2 and 3. Irenaeus and Origen
    Source 4. Clement of Alexandria
    Sources 5 and 6. Julius Africanus and Hippolytus of Rome
    Source 7. Eusebius
    Source 8. Epiphanius
    Source 9. Appolinarius of Laodicea
    Source 10. Orosius

    In Finegan’s 1998 revision of Handbook of Biblical Chronology, he accepts Beyer’s date, marking a major change in his chronology for the nativity of Christ.

    Finegan provides a summary of Beyer’s research in the 1998 edition, but if you want to read the entire article, it is:

    Beyer, David W. "Josephus Rexamined: Unraveling the Twenty-Second Year of Tiberius," pp. 85-96. Chronos, Kairos, Christos II: Chronological, Nativity, and Religious Studies in Memory of Ray Summers. ed. E. Jerry Vardaman. Mercer University Press: 1998. ISBN 0-86554-582-0

    I don't know if Beyer's article is available on the internet, but I have a paper copy which I have scanned and saved as a Word file (except the charts got messed up). I could email it to you if you are interested.

    Beyer's conclusions seem to be sound, based as they are on his examinations of the actual manuscripts. For someone of the stature of Finegan to have accepted it and revised his chronology accordingly is extremely significant. It will probably take awhile for this to become common knowledge (encyclopedias, for instance), but I believe it will definitely become the accepted date in academia.

    Regards,
    Marjorie Alley

    [edited for a typo]

    aChristian posted Sat, 06 Apr 2002 01:01:00 GMT(4/6/2002)

    Post 505 of 539
    Joined 3/10/2001

    Marjorie,

    You wrote: I don't know if Beyer's article is available on the internet, but I have a paper copy which I have scanned and saved as a Word file (except the charts got messed up). I could email it to you if you are interested.

    I would be interested in reading it. Thank you. I have a copy of Jack Finegan's "Handbook Of Biblical Chronology" published in 1964. I knew of his 1998 revision, which you say discusses Beyer's article, but was unaware that it contained any significant changes from his original work.

    The fact of the matter is, I don't really believe that determining the correct date of Herod's death is necessary in order for us to ascertain the time of Christ's birth. The primary reason I discussed the time of Herod's death was that Badboy who started this thread said in his opening post that Herod died in 6 BC, which of course would make a 5 BC birth date for Jesus an impossibility since Herod died after Christ's birth. If you read my first post in this thread you saw that I date Christ's birth to 5 BC by understanding AD 29 to be "the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar" at which time John the baptist's ministry culminated with his baptism of Jesus, and by understanding that John's ministry began 3 and 1/2 years earlier at age thirty, and by understanding that John was six months older than Jesus.

    The Bible tells us that Herod died after Christ's birth. It seems to imply that his death occurred shortly after he ordered the killing of male children two years old and under. However, it does not actually tell us how long afterwards Herod lived. It may very well have been five years.

    Have you read Finegan's revised work? In it does he continue to maintain that "A date for the birth of Jesus sometime in the winter of 5/4 B.C. best satisfies all the available evidence," as he did in his first edition? (page 248)

    Mike

    Alleymom posted Sat, 06 Apr 2002 12:10:00 GMT(4/6/2002)

    Post 53 of 934
    Joined 10/19/2001

    Mike --

    Have you read Finegan's revised work? In it does he continue to maintain that "A date for the birth of Jesus sometime in the winter of 5/4 B.C. best satisfies all the available evidence," as he did in his first edition? (page 248)

    Yes, I have a copy of it, and no, he no longer holds to his 1964 edition's date of 5/4 BC. If you re-read my post, I said:

    For someone of the stature of Finegan to have accepted it and revised his chronology is extremely significant.
    I guess that wasn't too clear ... I meant that Finegan accepts Beyer's new date for the death of Herod and Finegan has revised his chronology for the birth of Christ accordingly. If you are interested in chronology, you should probably go ahead and invest in a copy of the revised edition. I also recommend Chronos, Kairos, Christos volumes I and II (vol. II is uneven but it contains the Beyer article).

    I don't really believe that determining the correct date of Herod's death is necessary in order for us to ascertain the time of Christ's birth.
    Yes and no ... if Herod's death is moved up to 1 BC, that allows for a 2/3 BC birthdate of Christ, since he was born before Herod died. OTOH, it continues to allow for birthdates considerably further back ... I know there are a few scholars who steadfastly maintain a much earlier birthdate for Christ, and I find their reasons interesting though not compelling <s>.

    My daughter and I will be gone all day today, but I'll try to email you the Beyer article later tonight or tomorrow, if you are interested.

    Regards,
    Marjorie
    (edited because I messed up the quotes)

    M Yerusalyim posted Sat, 06 Apr 2002 12:15:00 GMT(4/6/2002)

    Post 1205 of 5774
    Joined 4/17/2001

    I personally buy the 6 BC date for several reasons. There is an alignment of the planets in 6 BC that works out quite well for the Star of Bethlehem (which not everyone would have noticed, only star gazers).

    Apostate man, you are quite correct in stating that Jesus was not necessarily born in a stable, at least in the sense most people think. The word used for "Inn" as in no room in the Inn, is also the same word used for "Upper Room" as in where the last supper was held.

    As far as Christ dying on a cross, the JW's would have to provide evidence that Christ's implement of death was NOT a "T" formed cross as this was the most common type of execution by crucifixion by the Romans.

    aChristian posted Sat, 06 Apr 2002 14:19:00 GMT(4/6/2002)

    Post 506 of 539
    Joined 3/10/2001

    Marjorie,

    You wrote: If you are interested in chronology, you should probably go ahead and invest in a copy of the revised edition [of Finegan's work].

    I am now ordering a copy.

    You wrote: I know there are a few scholars who steadfastly maintain a much earlier birthdate for Christ, and I find their reasons interesting though not compelling.

    You have not commented on my reason for doing so. I would be interested in hearing your opinion of it.

    You wrote: My daughter and I will be gone all day today, but I'll try to email you the Beyer article later tonight or tomorrow, if you are interested.

    Thank you. I am.

    Mike

    Alleymom posted Sun, 07 Apr 2002 02:57:00 GMT(4/7/2002)

    Post 54 of 934
    Joined 10/19/2001

    Hi, Mike --

    I just emailed you the Beyer article, so let me know if it comes through ok.

    You wrote: I know there are a few scholars who steadfastly maintain a much earlier birthdate for Christ, and I find their reasons interesting though not compelling.

    You have not commented on my reason for doing so. I would be interested in hearing your opinion of it.

    I wasn't thinking of the date you mentioned (5 BC) but rather of the 12 BC date which is definitely not mainstream.

    I really enjoy reading the various proposed chronologies: I like seeing how different scholars try to fit the jigsaw pieces together. You probably know about Nikos Kokkinos's Nativity conferences? Various scholars present papers which are later published. The two volumes of Chronos, Kairos, Christos were very interesting, with articles by well-known scholars such as Yamauchi, Martin, Maier, Hoehner, Kokkinos, Humphreys & Waddington, Kokkinos, etc.

    In fact, speaking of Hoehner, his book Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ is another one I have enjoyed, although it is a bit dated.

    Beyer's findings about the errors introduced into the printed editions of Josephus in 1544 will now have to be factored in as one more piece of the puzzle.

    Marjorie

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