Terry E
Astronomical Dating
Fri Feb 15, 2008 05:31
81.106.127.202 (XFF: 81.106.124.212)

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 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.

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

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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).

Unless there is clear evidence of odd goings on we should I think always organise the chronology to presume 'business as usual' with perfectly ordinary life-spans, generation gaps, calendars, political events etc. We should never adopt Kitchen's dictum that the evidence supporting a chronological change should be rejected unless it is possible to 'pay back' the lost/gained years elsewhere in the chronology in order to preserve the fixed points. The evidence should be evaluated on its own merits, not as a way to justify a predetermined outcome.

If a fixed point is correct then the ultimate corroboration is that it coincides with the other evidence. As it happens I think the other evidence does support the Shishak/Shoshenk I equation, although I don't think either the Egyptian or Biblical evidence is sufficient to narrow this event down to exactly 925 BCE.

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. 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.


Best Wishes
Terry


  • Hatshepsut's Heb-sedMarianne Luban, Thu Feb 14 13:42
    I wrote: 1534 BC is probably the year of the birth of Hatshepsut, herself, if that southern sky has been correctly interpreted. It can work out. Look: 1534 Year of the birth of Hatshepsut 1534 minus... more
    • Astronomical Dating — Terry E, Fri Feb 15 05:31
      • Re: Astronomical DatingMarianne Luban, Fri Feb 15 16:54
        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 ... more
        • 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
              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
              • 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
    • Re: Hatshepsut's Heb-sedTory, Thu Feb 14 17:24
      Yes, that is 'no moon' at dawn on II-Peret 30 in 1530 BCE (8-Mar Julian), and 'no moon' at dawn on I-Shemu 21 in 1532 BCE (28-May Julian). Regards, Tory
      • V. Spaeth and the Birth of MosesMarianne Luban, Sun Feb 17 05:52
        Another conjunction and date from the very interesting Von Spaeth: http://www.moses-egypt.net/book1/moses1-cap1_en.asp
        • Re: V. Spaeth and the Birth of MosesTory, Sun Feb 17 06:51
          So Moshe, born according to Spaeth in 1534, was the historical Senenmut. It seems like that is where Spaeth is headed from what little of his website I have read? There is at least one orthodox rabbi ... more
          • Re: V. Spaeth and the Birth of MosesMarianne Luban, Sun Feb 17 09:38
            Tory: So Moshe, born according to Spaeth in 1534, was the historical Senenmut. It seems like that is where Spaeth is headed from what little of his website I have read? There is at least one orthodox ... more
            • Re: V. Spaeth and the Birth of MosesMarianne Luban, Sun Feb 17 10:34
              Oh--and BTW, in my own work, "The Exodus Chronicles: Beliefs, Legends & Rumors from Antiquity Regarding the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt" [2003] I also proposed Senenmut as a candidate for... more
              • Re: V. Spaeth and the Birth of MosesMarianne Luban, Sun Feb 17 22:29
                You know, this is pretty wild. That date for the birth of Moses works out every time. The Torah says that Moses didn't return to Egypt until he was 80 "because all who had sought his life were dead". ... more
                • But, as usual--disagreement even in antiquityMarianne Luban, Tue Feb 19 06:14
                  Naturally, wouldn't you know that some ancient authors, like Eusebius and Artapanus failed to believe that the Hebrews left Egypt 430 years after they had arrived--and that's one of the reasons... more
                  • But, as usual -- disagreement in antiquityCullom, Tue Feb 19 19:50
                    Hello Marianne, Your comments are very interesting and informative. I think the church historians engaged in a bit of historical revision for political as well as religious reasons. It might have... more
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