Marianne Luban
Re: Astronomical Dating
Fri Feb 15, 2008 16:54 (XFF:

TE: I freely confess my ignorance of things celestial as far as ancient chronology is concerned. But I also confess my great scepticism about this whole subject. I appreciate the attraction of trying to calculate an absolute date or dates from lunar, solar, eclipse, sothic observations etc. But I do not find this sort of thing at all convincing. In fact I think it is usually counter productive.

ML: First of all, nobody appreciates the difficulty of attempting to get absolute dates more than I do--as I have said here more than once. In fact, with present information, it may not ever be possible. On the other hand, others have proposed various models on this forum--so I fail to see why mine should have evoked such a strong objection on your part. Must have struck a nerve. Secondly, I haven't espoused some chronology that I would defend to the death. You seem to me to be one of those erring in that direction. The minute someone takes such a stance, he loses the ability to be flexible. Not a warranted position--given the subject at hand. Thirdly, you admit "ignorance of celestial matters", so you are missing a crucial element in determining any kind of chronology. Even the "ballpark" kind. It is not something that can be ignored or dismissed. I am not forcing any dates upon you or anyone else. I have merely proposed something that *can work*.

TE: The records involved are rarely unambiguous in what they say or mean and usually can be read in a number of different ways.

ML: No. When someone wrote "psDntiw", we know what that means. It is the "new moon" or "no moon". Such things are calculable. That was true even without modern software, although technology has made it much easier. So, when you have a recorded psDntiw on a given date in the civil calendar, that is something to work with.

TE: At best the dates produced depend on a number of assumptions and if any one of those assumptions is not correct then the date(s) calculated are wrong.

ML: Again, no. One gets some variables, dates in 25-year increments. So one works within the framework of reasonable increments. There is that "southern sky" as interpreted by V. Spaeth. He gave a date, right or wrong, but it works fine with the New Moon data--and for the reasons I supplied. V. Spaeth did not, BTW, supply a date for that sky that is "out of the loop" for the 18th Dynasty.
So one is free to wonder, speculate, upon just what such a date could mean.

TE: The same applies to this illustration. What does it mean? Was it just an illustration or does it have chronological significance? We simply don't know and from what you say there is nothing recorded to enable us to decide.

ML: See above.

TE:It is quite common for persons interested in ancient chronology to have their own preferred chronology (yes, that includes me) for all sorts of reasons and then to search for astronomical data which confirms their existing conclusions. I might have tried this but I don't have the knowledge to do so.

ML: Sorry, Terry, but that puts you at a disadvantage. You cannot have a "preferred chronology" that ignores astronomical data. There is some! Sothic and lunar. Some of it is ambiguous--but some is not.

TE: What is not at all common is for astronomical evidence to be interpreted or accepted as supporting a chronology that is radically different to the one already championed.

ML: Where have I done that?

TE: The problem with fixing dates in this way is that everything must then be interpreted in accordance with that fixed point or fixed points. This can lead to evidence being dismissed, distorted or interpreted in the most unlikely manner in order to stretch it out or squeeze it into the time span required.

ML: Not guilty here!

TE: Kitchen does this repeatedly in the interests of his two fixed points for Shishak and Ramesses II. See for example his parade of golden oldies in paragraphs 63-65 of his TIPE.

ML: You'll have to take that up with Kitchen, but here we're talking 18th Dynasty. No Shishak, no Ramesses. No Bible. Not this time.

TE: Others supporting radically different chronologies usually start out with their idea of how long (or usually how short) the chronology should be and then try to shoehorn everything into the calculated period. Many radical chronologies are proposed on the basis that King A = King X and King B = King Y for no other reason than to force the chronology into the desired shape. I do not think this is a valid way to proceed.

ML: Why belabor me with "radical"?? There is nothing "radical" about a 1482 date for the 23rd Year of Thutmose III. That's been accepted by many for a long time.
Same goes for the 1570 accession date of Ahmose I. There is no "squeezing" or "stretching" required between those two dates.

TE: For me the correct way to organise the chronology is to base it on the mass of contemporary evidence for the period such as year dates, genealogies, synchronisms etc, supplemented by an assessment of other evidence such as the later writings of such as Manetho and the Greek historians.

ML: Terry, what is manifestly missing from the records of remote antiquity is "year dates". All we get is "year of King X". Genealogies are fine, but what is missing from that is the life-span of the individuals involved. I think I am as much as expert on "Manetho and the Greek historians" as anybody [wrote a book about them] and they, sorry to say, are helpful and confusing by turns. Chronology? How does it help when a certain historian wrote "490 years from the time of Abraham" or "Ahmose lived in the time of Inachus the Argive"? Or "Deucalion's flood occured in the reign of Misphragmoutosis"?

TE: I do not think we should assume anything odd or incredible, e.g. two calendars in force at the same time or multiple kings and High Priests coming and going in the same place and at the same time, just to make things fit our favoured fixed point(s).

ML: Well, two calendars being in force at the same time isn't incredible. There were, at times, multiple kings [and some High Priests doing some coming and going] at the same time. At one point in Egyptian history, there was not only a high priest and a king coming and going, they ruled jointly.


TE: I have posted my reasons for the various chronological changes that I propose. In my view the approximate date for the start of the New Kingdom is about 1400 BCE for the accession of Ahmose I.

ML: Terry, you complain about "odd" and "unusual" but I don't think it should come as a shock to you that most reasonable persons interested in Egyptian chronology would find a 1400 BCE accession date for Ahmose I "very odd". For reasons far too numerous to mention here.

TE: I do not therefore agree the dates that you quote for the Thutmosides, not because of anything to do with Senenmut's Ceiling, but because those dates do not in my opinion fit the evidence of the chronology working back to that period.

ML: Sorry that I couldn't find anything to support your own theory. If I ever do, you'll be the first to hear about it.

  • Astronomical DatingTerry E, Fri Feb 15 05:31
    Dear Marianne, I freely confess my ignorance of things celestial as far as ancient chronology is concerned. But I also confess my great scepticism about this whole subject. I appreciate the... more
    • Re: Astronomical Dating — Marianne Luban, Fri Feb 15 16:54
      • Re: Astronomical DatingTerry E, Sat Feb 16 04:29
        Dear Marianne, Thank you for your comments. First an apology: I did not intend my post to be a blast at you or your chronological views although I realise on re-reading it why you think I might have... more
      • Astronomical DatingDavid Rice, Sat Feb 16 01:54
        > Marianne (or others) -- do you have a convenient list of these at hand? -- David Rice
        • Post Exhilic Sabbath YearsDavid Rice, Sun Feb 17 00:09
          Hello, all -- a different subject just for a moment. There are different views about the dates on which Sabbath years were kept after the exile. Some conclude that a Sabbath commenced in 38 bc,... more
          • Post-Exilic Sabbath YearsTory, Sun Feb 17 10:27
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            • Re: Post-Exilic Sabbath YearsTory, Sat Feb 23 19:25
              Hi David, Or -- if we take 573 BCE to be the year of a Yovel (Jubilee), the 25th year of the captivity as reported in Ezekiel 40:1, then the fall of 515 BCE would be the start of the first year of a... more
          • Post-Exilic Sabbath YearsTory, Sun Feb 17 10:25
            Hi David, We need to know for certain the dates of Ezra's and Nehemiah's activity and which Persian kings they served. There is no explicit statement linking the public reading of the Torah by Ezra,... more
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