Site – Comments

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In the future we may link to a page that supports discussions in a better format. In the meantime, there are many good forums where JWs and ex-JWs have had good success getting their questions and issues answered.

JW.org does not have a forum, and we doubt it ever will.

8 thoughts on “Site – Comments”

  1. The claims of Furuli regarding Old Testament chronology have been fairly well covered on your website. I am currently examining claims made by witnesses and others that Artaxerxes Longimanus acceded to the throne not in 465 BC but in 475 BC.

    I have come across an article, Dating the Reigns of Xerxes and Artaxerxes, by Gerard Gertoux, a French JW, who argues that BM 32234 “proves” this. I do not have a background in astronomy and am unable to evaluate his claims.

    I would be enormously grateful if you or someone connected to Kristen Frihet would comment on his article.

    Thanks

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCEQFjAAahUKEwjhgNT4-e7HAhXJWxoKHT18CN4&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.academia.edu%2F2421036%2FDating_the_reigns_of_Xerxes_and_Artaxerxes&usg=AFQjCNEcK1EYxzCZEpJRlEVWcxwQKmUdmQ&bvm=bv.102537793,bs.2,d.bGg

    1. Thanks for your question. Furuli’s first book on chronology covered that point. I made a response at the time, but as I recall, there was a much better and more detailed response by Carl Olof Jonnson. I’ll find it to post, and perhaps comment on.

    2. anthony,

      Note also a follow-up here focusing on BM 42567:
      http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/187804/new-tablet-double-dated-that-refuted-idea-co-regency-between-darius-xerxes

      Some clarification about BM 42567 was provided by Ann O’maly stating:

      Darius I reigned 36 years. This tablet is a receipt for tax duty that was owed during Darius’ 36th year. The tax was actually paid on the 24th day of [month damaged] in Xerxes’ accession year. Apparently, Darius must have died between the time the debt was owed and when it was paid off (other evidence indicates he died about November and Xerxes was reigning by December). Anyway, this tablet refutes the idea of a co-regency between Darius and Xerxes.

      See, the WTS and their apologists argue that ‘the word going forth to rebuild Jerusalem’ occurred in 455 BCE in Artaxerxes I’s 20th year which, using Daniel’s ‘weeks of years’ prophecy, gets to the year 29 CE for when the Messiah appeared. The trouble is, all the evidence points 10 years later to 445 BCE as being Artaxerxes’ 20th year.

      To get around that, to ‘lose’ 10 years and keep the 455 BCE date, the apologists argue that there must have been a co-regency between Darius and Xerxes (the two kings preceding Artaxerxes). If that were true, then Xerxes’ accession year would have been synonymous with something like Darius’ 25th year. However, according to this tablet, Xerxes’ accession follows a year 36 of the previous king thereby demolishing any claim of a co-regency and any attempt to wipe 10 years off the Persian/Babylonian calendar.

  2. The information you seek is already covered on Carl Olof Jonsson’s site: http://kristenfrihet.se/english/artaxerxes.htm
    Note especially the information under the following heading:

    Artaxerxes’ reign astronomically fixed

    The decisive evidence for the length of Artaxerxes’ rule is the astronomical information found on a number of tablets dated to his reign. One such text is the astronomical “diary” “VAT 5047”, clearly dated to the 11th year of Artaxerxes. Although the text is damaged, it preserves information about two lunar positions relative to planets and the positions of Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. This information suffices to identify the date of the text as 454 B.C. As this was the 11th year of Artaxerxes, the preceding year, 455 BC, cannot have been his 20th year as the Watch Tower Society claims, but his 10th year. His 20th year, then,must have been 445/44 BC. (See Sachs/Hunger, Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia, Vol. 1, Wien 1988, pp. 56-59.)

    There are also some tablets dated to the 21st and last year of Xerxes. One of them, BM 32234, which is dated to day 14 or 18 of the 5th month of Xerxes’ 21st year, belongs to the group of astronomical texts called “18-year texts” or “Saros texts”. The astronomical information preserved on this tablet fixes it to the year 465 BC. The text includes the following interesting information: “Month V 14 (+x) Xerxes was murdered by his son.” This text alone not only shows that Xerxes ruled for 21 year, but also that his last year was 465 BC, not 475 as the Society holds!

    There are several “Saros texts” of this type covering the reigns of Xerxes and Artaxerxes. The many detailed and dated descriptions of lunar eclipses from different years of their reigns establish the chronology of this period as an absolute chronology.

    Two other astronomical tablets from the reigns of Xerxes and Artaxerxes, BM 45674 and BM 32299, contain dated observations of the planet Venus. Again, these observations establish the chronology of this period as an absolute chronology.

    Thus we have numerous astronomical observations dated to different parts of the reigns of Xerxes and Axtaxerxes preserved on cuneiform tablets. In many cases, only one or two of these observations would suffice to establish the beginning and end of their reigns. The total number of astronomical observations dated to their reigns, however, are about 40 or more. It is impossible, therefore, to change their reigns even one year! The Society’s dating of Artaxerxes’ 20th year to 455 BC is demonstrably wrong. This, of course, also proves that their interpretation of the 70 weeks of Daniel is wrong.

  3. Thank you for these comments. I am already familiar with Carl Olof Jonsson’s work,which is immensely useful. My question specifically concerns BM 32234 which Gerard Gertoux uses as the basis for his argument that Xerxes died in 475 BC and that Artaxerxes’ 20th year is therefore to be dated to 455 BC. Jonsson to my knowledge doesn’t discuss this particular tablet, though he usefully discusses a number of others.

    I do not have a background in Assyriology or Astronomy, but it seemed clear to me that there were nevertheless a number of flaws in Gertoux’s arguments. I attempted to engage Gertoux in dialogue but without much success.

    I have contacted Ann O Maly and professor Hermann Hunger on this matter. I am currently making good my lack of knowledge in the field of Astronomy and Assyriology and am in the process of completing a draft paper on Gertoux’s arguments and Professor Hunger has kindly agreed to read it. I will also send a copy to Ann O Maly.

    BTW Gertoux to his credit challenges the WTS (and Furuli’s) 607 BC date for Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem and published his findings on his old website. He was threatened with excommunication by the WTS if he didn’t close the website down. He chose to comply though the paper is still available in his account on the Academia website.

    1. Yes, I downloaded the paper. As he attempts to adjust the dates around Xerxes, he ends up admitting how solid the evidence is for Nebuchadnezzar’s dates. This hurts the WTS position on 607 and 1914. BTW, I haven’t searched out the reasons he took down the site, but if you have seen any documentation about the reasons you claim, I would be very interested. Also, I have communicated with Ann and, as you are likely aware, she will be expanding upon that initial response as time permits.

  4. Dear Sir” I am reading Apocalypse Delayed and am learning and understanding more about the JW beliefs from it. I am not a JW, but they have involved me in their lives because of my husband. I did notice that you still think that the word in the Bible, namely, Stauros, means stake and that you believe that Jesus was crucified on a stake. I found a linguist- on-line at “bethinking.org” by the name of Trevor R. Allin, who wrote an article under the title, “Did Christ die on a cross or a stake?” and I was convinced by his analysis. Some of the highlights was that in the time of the famous classic poet, Homer, the word Stauros did mean stake; but when the Romans conquered lands much much later, they changed some Greek words to Latin to cover their administrative and legal usages. The word Stauros was one of those words. He pointed out that the Romans were the only ones that crucified, and the word “crucified” itself, means cross and fixation. The Jews did not crucify people, nor the Greeks, only the Romans. Even, if one looks at any Greek church today, there will be a cross on top of it…due to later Roman influence. I realize I am talking to a scholar and am shaking in my boots, but I feel that the points that Trevor Allin brought forth is accurate.

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