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Thread: September 11th: Happy Birthday Jesus?

  1. #41
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Yes, I know that that the common dating is 4 B.C. As I pointed out previously, some scholars suggest a 1 B.C dating instead. Would you like me to send those to you via PM?

  2. #42
    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    <raises hand> Me, too?

  3. #43
    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    The one argument of the 1 BC supporters that I agree with is this: Too many things happened, and more than one month was needed, for the events between Herod's death and the following Passover.

    Here is a chronology of the events leading up to the death of Herod the Great and the massacre that took place in the temple court during the following Passover by Archelaus, Herods's son:

    * Prominent Rabbis Judas ben Saripheus and Matthias ben Margalothus, and their students mistakenly hear that Herod had died. They tear down golden eagle which Herod had set up in the temple. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:155; Whiston xvii.6.3); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:647-53; Whiston i.33.1-3).)

    * Another Matthias, the high priest, is replaced by Herod with Joseph son of Ellemus in order to perform the sacred priestly duties.1 (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:164-5; Whiston xvii.6.4).)

    * Herod orders the death of Rabbis Judas and Matthias and their students. Rabbi Matthias ben Margalothus is put to death by burning. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:167; Whiston xvii.6.4); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:655; Whiston i.33.5).)

    * A lunar eclipse took place that night after the execution of Rabbi Matthias ben Margalothus. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:167; Whiston xvii.6.4).)

    * Herodís illness grows worse. He takes a trip to the hot baths at Callilrrhoe and is attended by the physicians. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:171-2; Whiston xvii.6.5); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:656-8; Whiston i.33.5).)

    * Herod returns to his palace at Jericho; he orders all important men in all villages to come to Jerusalem, then has them imprisoned. He changes his will, stipulating that they are all to be put to death when he dies, so that there would be no celebrations on the day of his death. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:174; Whiston xvii.6.5); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:659-60; Whiston i.33.6).)

    * Herodís pains become unbearable; he attempts suicide. Hearing the commotion, his son Antipater assumes Herod had died and demands to be released from prison to assume the throne; learning of this, Herod orders that Antipater be executed in prison. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:183-7; Whiston xvii.7.1); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:662-3; Whiston i.33.7).)

    * Herod changes his will again, eliminating Antipater from the will and dividing his kingdom to Antipas, Philip and Archelaus, and a smaller portion to his sister Salome. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:188-9; Whiston xvii.8.1); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:664; Whiston i.33.7).)

    * Herod dies five days after the death of Antipater. He had reigned 34 years since death of Antigonus, 37 years since he was proclaimed king by the Romans. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:190-1; Whiston xvii.8.1); War, Book 1 (Niese 1:665; Whiston i.33.8).)

    * Archelaus plans an elaborate funeral. The funeral procession travels from Jericho to the burial place at Herodium, twenty five miles distant, traveling only one mile per day. This would take twenty five days. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:196-9; Whiston xvii.8.3).)

    * Archelaus sets aside another seven days of mourning. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:200; Whiston xvii.8.4).)

    * Archelaus assumes rule over Herodís entire kingdom temporarily until Herodís last will can be confirmed by Augustus Caesar. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:202; Whiston xvii.8.2); War, Book 2 (Niese 2:1-3; Whiston ii.1.1).)

    * Archelaus ordered the massacre of 3,000 worshipers inside the temple at Passover. (14 Nisan; around Wednesday April 11, 4 BC) (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:218; Whiston xvii.9.3); War, Book 2 (Niese 2:10-13; Whiston ii.1.3).)

    Note the fourth point listed above, which connects the date of the execution of Rabbi Matthias ben Margalothus with a lunar eclipse. To complicate things, there was another incident with another Matthias at about the same time, the latter being the high priest. Josephus goes on to explain:

    Now it happened during this Matthias term as high priest that another high priest was appointed for a single dayĖthat which the Jews observe as a fastĖfor the following reason. While serving as a priest during the night preceding the day on which the fast occurred, Matthias seemed in a dream to have intercourse with a woman, and since he was unable to serve as priest because of that experience, a relative of his, Joseph, the son of Eliemus, served as high priest in his place. Herod then deposed the other Matthias, who had stirred up the sedition, he burnt him alive along with some of his companions. And on that same night there was an eclipse of the moon. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:165-7; Whiston xvii.6.4), trans. Ralph Marcus, Ph.D. Josephus, with an English Translation In Nine Volumes, Vol. VIII (Jewish Antiquities, Books XV-XVII). (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969) 447,449.))
    Although the high priest had the authority to perform the ordinary tasks of the priests whenever he wished, there was only one occasion when only the high priest could perform the functions: during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Only the high priest could sacrifice the ox and the goat. Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies. And that was only during Yom Kippur. Which meant that on the eve of Yom Kippur, it was absolutely essential that the high priest keep himself ceremonially pure.

    High priest Matthias ben Theophilus, had a seminal discharge in his sleep, a wet dream during the night before Yom Kippur, which made him ceremonially unclean and thus unable to perform his duties as high priest during the next day. For this reason Herod had him replaced with a relative, Joseph ben Ellemus, on a temporary basis. It was also about that time that Herod had Rabbi Matthias ben Margalothus put to death by burning. On the night of the execution of Matthias ben Margalothus there was a lunar eclipse. But which one? It had to take place before Passover, April 11, 4 BC.

    This could only refer to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The last Yom Kippur prior to the Passover of 4 BC was on September 13, 5 BC. There was a total lunar eclipse two days later, on the night of September 15-16. Totality lasted 99 minutes, beginning around midnight, while the moon was nearly directly overhead. This took place seven months before Passover of 4 BC, more than enough time for the events as described to take place.

    Those who argue for the 1 BC death of Herod the Great correctly argue that the span of twenty nine days from the eclipse on March 13, 4 BC to Passover on April 11, 4 BC is too short a time for the events listed in the second chronology above. How many days after the execution of Matthias ben Margalothus did Herod wait before taking a trip to the hot baths at Callilrrhoe? How many days did he stay there before returning to Jericho? Then he sent messages throughout Judea and Galilee summoning the local leaders to Jerusalem to be held captive, then it would take several days for the most distant in Galilee to arrive. And how long after that did he try to kill himself? Then five days later he finally died. Then It would take several days for Archelaus to send messages to all the leaders around the Roman Empire, inviting them to the funeral. It would take several days for the dignitaries and armies to arrive. Then there were seven days of mourning, and twenty five days for the funeral procession to reach Herodium. And how long after that did Passover take place? Added together, with much uncertainty, we could be talking several months. The eclipse that took place on the night of January 9-10, 1 BC gives us three months before Passover of AD 1.

    Supporters of the 1 BC theory argue that maybe Augustus removed Herod from office in 4 BC as a result of Herodís improper actions. Antipater was made king. Archelaus, became king in 1 BC after the death of Herod, but probably counted his reign from the dethroning of Herod. Not only is this speculation, but if falls flat in the account of Herod ordering the death of Antipater, who was in prison, five days before Herodís death. Then there was Herodís authority to revise his will, declaring who would succeed him. Herod was definitely in power up to the day of his death.

    If the supporters of a 1 BC death of Herod have other arguments beside this one, feel free to bring them up for discussion.

  4. #44
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Thanks for the breakdown Faber. They're good points, and, believe it or not, are actually addressed in the peer reviewed papers that I can PM to you. You're correct in assuming that part of the argument is that "Too many things happened, and more than one month was needed, for the events between Herod's death and the following Passover," but there's a bit more to it than that. Your request to discuss it on the forum openly is perfectly reasonable, but condensing 42 and 29 paged peer-reviewed papers into a simple reply is not possible. I'll attempt to summarize a reply to your points in a new thread. In the meantime the offer to view the papers themselves is still open. So far only Teal has taken up the offer (you go girl!).

    Again, while I think this topic is incredibly interesting, and the argument not short on explanatory power, I am not asserting that Jesus was, for certain, born on Sept. 11, 3 B.C. (or BCE if you go for that sort of dating). Merely that there is an argument among certain Biblical scholars that lean that way. I certainly don't believe anyone's faith hinges on this subject, and while I'm sorta kinda taken aback that it's getting the kickback that it's getting simply discussing it, I suppose I get it, especially Sparko's cautionary approach to the subject vis-ŗ-vis astrological silliness to future prophecy.
    Last edited by Adrift; 09-16-2019 at 05:13 PM.

  5. #45
    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    I'm definitely a BC/AD person. (Although I think that Dionysius Exiguus messed up on the year.) I think of the BCE/CE notation as a slap in the face of the Christian faith.

    If you are interested in starting another thread on the subject, feel free to. (Maybe have these last few posts transferred to it.) Then send me the documents. They sound rather lengthy. Bring up some of the arguments so that everybody else can understand what we're talking about.

  6. Amen Teallaura amen'd this post.

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