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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Patristic etc. revising of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, Part 1

Introduction: From Christ ... back to Homer

There appears to be a certainty among the ancients that Christ was crucified in the second year of the 192nd Olympiad. By examining the Greek histories dealing with the Olympics, and historical markers along the way, we can more deeply appreciate the freshness and vitality of the history of the New Testament, and of Christ. Further, we find, that from the Greeks themselves, they have family ties to Egypt through the Hyksos; the Syrians who oppressed the Jews as Egyptians (cf. Isaiah 52:4); and that the Romans are themselves, de facto Greek cousins, and co-descendants of these same Hyksos.

The reckoning of ancient histories outside the Bible is often a task of trying to complete a puzzle that is not clear to many ancient historians themselves. It is easier to attack the Bible, rather than to hold the same thoughtful consideration in reconstructing facts through the historical dative methods, et al.

To this day, there is hostility to biblical history spoken by those closest to the events.

The Church Fathers utilized the Greeks’ own histories against them. I have found that they could often do so successfully -- as long as they refrained to the reckoning within the first two millennia B.C. To the untrained eye, at the first, the numbers reckoning the years appear quite wild; but to the trained eye, knowing the use of Greek means of reckoning in the period in which the debate takes place, it is within the confinement of “reasonability” in a pre-calculator society.

The inability to understand ancient Greek history with certainty prior to Alexander the Great, may be summed up in this way: ‘The greatest difficulty lies with the Greek historians themselves, who were often wildly at variance with one another in their reckonings.’ And it is true, that when you have variances and debates of up to 420 or even 500 years difference among the Greek historians themselves, you have to really find whom the more reliable and non-speculative source data might be.

This search is exacerbated by modern academic hypocrisy when it comes to acceptance of ancient testimonies in regard to non-biblical history versus biblical history. Non-biblically related Greek and Roman histories are often accepted almost without question as if Gospel, and Gospel is scorned as fable or myth-making. Virtue is pooh-poohed upon 1100 and 1200 year severances between oldest manuscripts extant and its Greek and Roman original authors, with no chain of custody accountability in between. In contrast, the New Testament has over 24,000 more manuscripts extant, with portions to within a generation (30 - 40 years) of one of its authors, John the Apostle; and within two or three generations from others. Yet, the New Testament is attacked relentlessly.

In the case of the study of the chronologies of the ancient Greeks, the best handle of some of the wild variances their ancient historians gave for who did what, and when, -- in reference to the ages prior to the Olympiads, -- appears to have been grasped by early Church Fathers: Theophilus, Julius Africanus, Clement of Alexandria.

Julius Africanus tells us,
“Up to the time of the Olympiads there is no certain history among the Greeks, all things before that date being confused, and in no way consistent with each other.
But these Olympiads were thoroughly investigated (hekribonto) by many, as the Greeks made up the records of their history
-- not according to long spaces, but
-- in periods of 4 years.”

(Julius Africanus, fragment extant 13.1)

Even with the noteworthy Galilean Israelite, Josephus, there is a chronic margin of error, and inconsistency, that plagues his formulation and calculations as well.

Therefore, if we can place our calculations within a generation of the actual events, using Greek reckoning of how they arrived at such calculations, we are to consider ourselves within their own margin of error.

The following formula is probably as close as we can get in trying to establish what calculations the ancient Patristic writers and Josephus used.

The Formula

1) The Greeks who existed before Cyrus I conquering Babylon in circa 539 B.C., reckoned their years upon a 10-month or ca. 305-day calendar (Theophilus to Autolycus, 3.27). This was probably due to glacier recession on the European continent altering consistent seasonal reckonings.

Using the example of how the Hebraic 480 years of I Kings 6:1 is tabulated:
-- Pre-539 B.C., against a 10-month calendar of about 305 days. Hence, equal to Josephus' tabulation of 592 years in Antiquities, 8.3.1., according to what he calls as a "Macedonian" Greek calendar.

This is a fraction of about .8106 - .8108 of a now observed calendar year of 365.25 days. In other words, for every 81 years we have, they would have reckoned 100 years in their calculations in the pre-539 B.C. period.

2) It was with Cyrus I in Babylon, that the Greeks reckoned a 48-month cycle for each Olympiad in place of the 40-month cycle (Julias Africanus, Fragment 13 -.3). --Post-539 B.C., we are to calculate against a 12-month calendar.

3) According to Herodotus, by his era, the Greek calendar became reckoned as 12 months of 30 days, with every other year being given an extra inter-calculated month of 30 days -- Year 1 being 360 days, and Year 2 being 390 days, and then repeating itself thereafter (Herodotus, Histories, 1.33).

-- From 539 B.C. to 46 B.C., the average Macedonian / Greek year appears to have become tabulated on average of 375 days long: being 360 days 1 year, then 390 the next. So this era of 46-539 B.C. is the point of the greatest trouble in calculating actual years in Greek reckonings.

4) In 46 B.C., the Greeks adopted the standard Roman or Julian calendar of 365 days. In that particular year, adjustments were made, and 46 B.C appears to have been 445 days long.

5) The Olympiads were suspended during the Peloponnesian Wars, thus there lies a possibility of adding a 13-year addendum to any reckoning exclusively by Olympiads. My personal calculations, taking all data into advisement, point to a loss of 2 Olympiads, or another 8 years of common reckoning, during this period.

Inter-calulatory era:
As covered above, we are gaining time in our inter-calculatory period before the standard Roman calendar, and the auto-implementation of a 360-day Persian calendar. This adds one full year of inter-calculation between 46 B.C. and 539 B.C., for every 61 years that we must reckon within the confines of these years only. In short, a total of 8 years become now as variable. There appears to be a lack of consistent solar and lunar adjustments to the annual cycles, so that one Olympic might occur in summer, another in springtime, and yet another in winter; and still be true to their calendars.

It is questionable as to whether this variable is to be “factored-in” by the Patristic fathers - who must inter-calculate the Greek historical example they cite. If, however, we take the hypothetical example that the Greek reverts to the Macedonian calendar in 336 B.C.; after Herodotus’ histories -- we then find the reversion to the 10-month year of about 305 days. This will be the Macedonian influence of Philip and Alexander upon Greece, and the process (as respecting Greek calendar reckoning), thus reverts to the pre-Cyrian inter-calculation of times for only 336 B.C. to 46 B.C. This too, without the aid of the modern convenience of a calculator, led to some discrepancies in citing the same calculation in different years in different letters or apologetics.

The art of comparative dative analysis is much like the sifting of modern intelligence data. While in the process of determining exegetical accuracy, you can commit isogetical errors quite easily. The solution is to find a factual historical bane by which you can pinpoint and say, “Here. This year and event we know. Now, do the historians mention that point in time we know, and what is his calculations from that point in time?”

Julius Africanus tells us,

“…Cyrus became king of the Persians at the time of the 55th Olympiad,
as may be ascertained from the Bibliothecoe of Diodorus, and the
histories of Thallus and Castor, and from Polybius and Phlegon,
and others beside these, who have made the Olympiads a subject of
study. For the date is a matter of agreement among them all.
And Cyrus then, in the first year of his reign, which was the first year of the 55th Olympiad….”
[ca.562 B.C.] (Julius Africanus, Extant 13.2)

The Olympiad reckoning
Traditionally, the first Olympiad is thought to have occurred around 776 B.C. In reality, the early Olympiads, which contained 4 years of 10 months each, first started when Ahaz reigned in his first year in Jerusalem, in 741 B.C. (Julius Africanus, Fragment 15).

Therefore, any year before 741 B.C. is pre-Olympic history to the Greeks. By being able to balance proper Biblical Chronology early on, we can more properly reckon the older dates of both Greek and Hebrew Histories as presented in Patristics.

It is entirely important that we know that 741 B.C., like the Diaspora of 586 B.C., be a fixed year and immutable. Once such a year is fixed firmly, such as the Bible does do for us, we can then springboard with greater accuracy as to what the testimony of the past really is.

When discussing their histories in the Olympic periods of 741 B.C., onwards: the Greeks took care to designate an event as happening in the number of the Olympiad, and the year. Each Olympiad being a cycle of four years, they would thus say: “In the first year of the 12th Olympiad”, so-and-so did thus-and-thus. Therefore, we can calculate that 11 cycles of 4 years at the correct annual fraction to have occurred. This is 44 times that fraction from 741 B.C., or to circa 705 to 704 B.C. (for example), for such-and-such a one, doing thus-and-thus.

Preferably, in regards to the Greeks, the calculations should be limited to within the times of the first settlements of Attica, which appear to have begun as little as 40 years before the Israelite Exodus from Egypt.

By both a biblical Redating and some comparative Greek reckoning, that date of the Israelite Exodus occurred on or about First fruits, the 17th of Nisan, in the spring of 1551 B.C.

Properly dating Homer

One example of using the Patristic reckoning of Greek history is found in the dating of Homer, the author of many Greek myths and false deities. But in order to date Homer, we also need to date the fall of Troy.

During the times of the 62nd Olympiad, Heraclitus wrote that the Trojan War and the First Olympiad were separated by 407 [10-month] years (Clement, Miscellanies, 1.21).

By that reckoning, the Trojan War ends in 1071 B.C. But Clement also cites the Greek historian Eratosthenes, who appears to “phrase” an oversight to historians.

a) From the capture of Troy to the descent (or expedition) of the Heraclidae: are 80 [10-month] years

b) From the Heraclidae to the founding of Ionia: are 60 [10-month] years

c) From the Heraclidae to the protectorate of Lycurgus: are 159 [10-month] years

d) From the protectorate of Lycurgus to the First Olympiad: are 108 [10-month] years

First Assumption ------------------------------- Actual Testimony

1070 B.C. --- The fall of Troy ------------------ 1032 B.C.
1005 B.C.--- The descent of Heraclidae ------------957 B.C.
957 B.C.---- Ionia is founded --- -----------------909 B.C.
828 B.C.--- The “Protectorate of Lycurgus” ------- 828 B.C.
741 B.C. ---- The First Olympiad ----------------- 741 B.C.

In the above, we find that the testimony hinges on a double reckoning from the descent of Heraclidae. Once this ‘double reckoning’ is established as being the ‘actual intent’ of the Greek historian: it is then corrected, and the Greek reckoning falls in line with the biblical testimony.

It also casts a light of importance on the ‘double reckoning’ as well, because to Eratosthenes, the descent of the Heraclidae is a major calculable event in Greek history. Therefore, prior to the Olympics, the Greeks must have used this as an event year from which to reckon from for about 216 years actual, or about 256 years on their calendars.

In analyzing this period, we find that the late Second Century A.D. scholar of Alexandria, Egypt, -- Clement of Alexandria -- cites Homer as having been an Egyptian, and not a Greek.

Like Herodotus, Clement lists all sorts of dates that various ancient Greeks have speculated through the centuries on the man called Homer. The most reliable of these historians, tells us that Homer died 90 years before the first Olympiad (Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1.15, 1.21).

Taken after the percentage of what a 10-month year is to a 12-month year, we then calculate 90 years times that fraction to achieve a death of Homer in 814 B.C. (the calculation being now about 73 years prior to the First Olympiad).

His birth, according to Philochorus, was 180 years after the Trojan War (Clement, Miscellanies, 1.21). After the calculation of 180 years times the inter-calculatory fraction, the Greek percentage of a 10-month versus the later 12-month calendar, we find that Homer was born in 886 B.C. Therefore, by reckoning Greek history from fixed dates, we find that Homer died in his 71st or 72nd year of life. No more, and no less.

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