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Noah and the Deluge

Chronological, Historical and

Archaeological Evidence

PhD candidate in Archaeology and history of Ancient World


Jacket photograph: erratic boulder called the Gros Caillou (Lyon Croix-Rousse, height 254 m). In
his ‘Geology of Lyon’, Roman (1926) attributes the Gros Caillou to the Mindel glacial period. David (1967)
estimated that in the Lyon region, Würmian glaciers (70,000-20,000) spread more than those of Mindel
(480,000-430,000) or Riss (180,000-100,000). The regional geological guide of G. Demarcq (1973)
attributes this glacier to the Würm III period around -35,000. As the closest outcrops of this type of land
are located in Haute Maurienne and Tarentaise, more than 175 km from Lyon, this erratic boulder must
have been moved by glaciers during Riss toward -140,000 but according to the moving of ancient glaciers,
based on the movement of moraines (rock debris), there is no evidence that any glaciers have reached less
than 20 km from Lyon1 (with the exception of the Gros Caillou!).
As a result, explanations about erratic boulders are completly erratic.

Big Rock: The Okotoks Erratic. According to geologists, this enormous quartzite block,
weighing about 16,500 tonnes and measuring about 41 x 18 x 9 metres, was carried here on the surface of a
glacier. It came from the Rocky Mountains (Canada) in the Jasper area (a location 450 km away), probably
between 18 and 10 thousand years ago. That means that Canada was completely under a sheet of ice 10,000
years ago (a deluge of ice). This explanation gives you the shivers to think of it.

1S. COUTTERAND, P. SCHOENEICH, G. NICOUD – Le lobe glaciaire lyonnais au maximum Würmien glacier du rhône ou/et
glaciers savoyards ? in: Collection EDYTEM Cahiers de Géographie n° 8 (2009) pp. 11-22.
A Dating of the Deluge is it Attainable?
Abstract. Historians consider the biblical account of the Deluge as a myth. However, this famous event
occurred at the earliest times of recorded history (Sumerian King List). Today scientists believe in the last ice
age called Pleistocene ending in 10,000 BCE, but there is no witness (prehistory) of this planetary
cataclysmic event and its existence is based solely on the (controversial) interpretation of its consequences and
their dating. The existence of erratic blocks and the disappearance of mammoths are presented as evidence of
the last glaciation, but contrary to what one might think 14C dating provides conflicting results. Moreover,
the sudden extinction of mammoths (some were found with food undigested in their stomachs or still
unchewed in their teeth) would have been spread over thousands of years! Likewise, during the last glaciation
the sea level would have decreased by at least 140 m (which is currently explained by the melting of glaciers)
but such variations of the sea level did not occur during previous glaciations. Dating obtained by calibrated
C is considered absolute by most experts but confrontation with the Egyptian chronology, in which some
dates are fixed by astronomy, reverses this widespread belief. This comparison shows that dates obtained by
C calibrated by dendrochronology match those from astronomy until 2200 BCE but before this date
increase exponentially. Thus the rate of 14C tends gradually to 0 around 3500 BCE, which implies an
important consequence: before 3500 BCE 14C dating is no longer possible.
The biblical and Sumerian accounts of the Deluge are very similar (which occurred in year 600 of
Noah or Ziusudra) and suppose a dating around 3170 BCE according to the Septuagint. The period
3170-2800 is very poorly documented, the only remarkable event is the construction of the Tower of Babel
then its abandonment and the emergence of languages. According to Mesopotamian literature the ziggurat of
Babylon called "temple of the foundation of heaven and earth" in Sumerian was dedicated to Marduk.
Many scholars estimate that these mythological texts have no historical value, but several Sumerian and
Babylonian inscriptions have confirmed the antiquity of this ancient ziggurat and the name of its builder.
Sumerian stories confirm the biblical version on four key points: a universal deluge; only one language at the
origin; construction of the Tower of Babel and a sudden and simultaneous onset of languages (like Sumerian,
Akkadian, Egyptian, etc.). Human longevity seems to have remained constant over the entire period from
3100 BCE up to now, which contradicts the biblical data concerning the relatives of Abraham who would
have lived, prior to 1600 BCE, much more than 130 years. However, contrary to what popular common
sense suggests, human limits are difficult to set by science. Studies on human longevity provide amazing data
in accordance with the Bible. Thus, for unexplained reasons, the maximum age at death is not constant but
increases regularly and since 1960 there is an unexplained acceleration of the increase.
The transmission of much historical and chronological data (reigns, lifetimes, long periods, etc.) as well
as many proper names, is necessarily flawed, unless one believes in an unlikely infallibility of scribes. Thus,
ancient texts, that have been preserved in more than one copy, have been compared to determine how much
variation occurs between manuscripts. This kind of study showed that the most stable texts surveyed are
those containing ritual instructions, which have led, for example, to the exact transmission of the Torah in
the late Second Temple period. The accuracy of the transmission of the biblical text can be checked according
to the accuracy of its chronology and through the comparison between the sum of the intermediate values and
the total value indicated in the text. Textual criticism now favours an anteriority of the Septuagint text
Vorlage (H*) on the proto-Masoretic which comes from an overhaul of this Vorlage, including chronological
data from the book of Genesis. According to the reconstruction of chronological data, Jewish corrections of the
Hebrew text (preserved in the Septuagint) were performed in two steps: after the onset of the Book of Jubilees
(c. 160 BCE) durations in Genesis 5:3-31 were reduced by 100 years and were adopted by a part of the
Jews, such as Eupolemus and by the Samaritans, and afterward, at the Synod of Yabneh (c. 90 CE),
durations in Genesis 11:10-26 were also reduced by 100 years and were canonized by the rabbis
(Pharisees). There was no dispute since the priests (Sadducees) no longer existed, neither did scrolls of the
temple (except some of them which were retrieved by Josephus thanks to emperor Titus in 70 CE).
Is it important to want to date the Flood? James Barr, editor of the Journal of Semitic
Studies and author of ‘Escaping From Fundamentalism’ also wrote about this topic2: I fear
that the reading of this paper may lead to my expulsion from this Society: for the Society since its foundation
has been expressly devoted to “useful knowledge,” and it is doubtful whether either Benjamin Franklin or
Thomas Jefferson would have considered biblical chronology to be useful knowledge, or indeed to be
knowledge at all. The only person I can appeal to for assistance is, perhaps, Sir Isaac Newton, whom they
would both have respected. Newton devoted much time and effort to biblical chronology, and indeed at one
stage, actually in his early thirties, made it his “dominant concern” and allowed it to crowd out his work on
mechanics, optics, and such things. Moreover, I am encouraged by a happy recent event: namely, that the
well-known scientist Stephen Jay Gould in a recent book has also gone back to the subject of biblical
chronology and indeed has done me the honour of quoting my earlier writings on this matter. So perhaps I
shall not be expelled after all. Anyway, what I want to say is that, though biblical chronology may in
modern times seem to be an area for cranks and crackpots, in older times it occupied some of the greatest
minds. Alongside Newton we may mention Martin Luther, who wrote a Supputatio annorum mundi
or Reckoning of the Years of the World, and the great classical scholar Joseph Justus Scaliger (...) The
striking thing about the biblical figures is the extreme longevity of the early humans according to the data
used for biblical chronology. Adam was 130 years old when he had his son Seth and he lived 800 more
after that. Methuselah was the record-breaker, living to 969 years of age. This sounds like a long time. But
it was as nothing when compared with figures known from Mesopotamia. By the Sumerian King List, the
first king ruled for 28,800 years and the second for 36,000. A total of eight kings took up 241,000 years,
and then the Flood swept over the earth. This is known from modern discovery, but similar facts had been
known from the writings (in Greek) of the Mesopotamian priest Berosus (believed to have had lived about
290 B.C.). This seems to indicate a common myth, with immensely long times culminating in a disastrous
flood. The Hebrew figures for the first period are very much lower but still roughly proportional and belong to
a similar legendary world. That is not to say that all the biblical figures are mythical, or “symbolic” as
people often say. Many of the biblical figures, for example in the reigns of individual kings, may well be
historical and accurate (...) This is significant for the question of modern “creationism,” which will certainly
be in the minds of some of you. Modern creationists commonly want a world with a shorter duration than
evolutionary theory requires, a world perhaps twelve thousand or fifteen thousand years old. Such a figure
would be more like the biblical world but would not agree with it exactly or literally (...) In my opinion it
was a big mistake for many of the mainline religious organizations when they opposed the creationists by
saying that the Bible should not be taken literally. This is not what the creationists do. It is, on the contrary,
what the churches and other organizations should do: that is, to argue that, in this respect, the Bible’s figures
should be taken literally, because it is when they are taken literally that it becomes clear that they are not
historically or scientifically true. Dating the deluge is in fact, at the present time, the touchstone
of chronology and as chronology is the backbone of history, dating the Flood is therefore
the touchstone of history in order to decide between myths and truth. Some would argue
that the biblical flood must be a myth because scientists have found no evidence. Once
again we have to define what is a proof. Thus what proves the existence of the last ice age
called Pleistocene ending in 10,000 BCE because as there is no witness (that’s why this
period is called prehistory) of this planetary cataclysmic event, its existence is based solely
on the (controversial) interpretation of its consequences and their dating. The existence of
erratic blocks and the disappearance of mammoths are presented as evidence of the last
glaciation, but is it true?
Erratics were once considered evidence of a vast flood approximately 10,000 years
ago (according to radiocarbon measures), similar to the legendary floods described in the
texts of ancient civilizations throughout the world. Ancient legends of an epic flood come
2 J. BARR – Pre-scientific Chronology: The Bible and the Origin of the World
in: Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 143:3 (1999) pp. 379-387.
from many cultures including Mesoamerican, Sumerian (Epic of Gilgamesh), Hebrew (Old
Testament) and Indian culture. In the 19th century, many scientists came to favour erratics
as evidence for the end of the last glacial maximum (ice age) 10,000 years ago, rather than a
flood. Geologists have suggested that landslides or rockfalls initially dropped the rocks on
top of glacial ice (some of them are traced for more than 3,000 km!)3. The glaciers
continued to move, carrying the rocks with them. When the ice melted, the erratics were
left in their present locations. In fact erratics only prove that a large part of the earth was
under water about 10,000 years ago. If the existence of this fact is not disputed its dating is
still very problematic and even contradictory. For example, the erratic block called Le Gros
Caillou in Croix-Rousse (Lyon, France) shows that the dating of glaciers is based on
speculation and varies according to the authors4. In his ‘Geology of Lyon’, Roman (1926)
attributes the Gros Caillou to the Mindel glacial period. David (1967) estimated that in the
Lyon region, würmian glaciers (70,000-20,000) spread more than those of Mindel (480,000-
430,000) or Riss (180,000-100,000). The regional geological guide of G. Demarcq (1973)
attributes this glacier to Würm III period around -35,000. As the closest outcrops of this
type of land are located in Haute Maurienne and Tarentaise, more than 175 km from Lyon
this erratic block would have been moved by glaciers5 during Riss toward -140,000. That
(provisional) conclusion is doubly hypothetical because the reconstruction of ancient
glaciers is mainly based on the movement of moraines (rock debris) and erratic blocks
(which could also be explained by a worldwide flood) and even if one accepts this
hypothesis there is no evidence that glaciers reached less than 20 kilometres from Lyon6. As
the dating of rocks derived from the original interpretation it relies on measures of the
C/12C ratio in carbon (or oxygen 18O/16O) of elements contained in the strata in which are
housed moraines and erratic blocks. Contrary to what one might think 14C dating provides
results even more surprising and often contradictory.
The extinction of mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, steppe bison, giant deer, the caves
lion, caves bear, caves hyena, to speak only of the larger species, is linked to the end of the
last glaciation toward -10,000. That mass extinction of many species is difficult to explain7
and even paradoxical because the global warming from -10,000 should have promoted the
growth of vegetation needed for feeding these prehistoric animals. Furthermore, such
climate changes were nothing new; numerous very similar warming episodes had occurred
previously within the ice age of the last several million years without producing comparable
megafaunal extinctions, so why should the last climate change have played a decisive role?
In addition, the time and duration of that extinction cannot be dated. Most paleontologists
located it about -10,0008 but some mammoths were still alive about -17009! The extinction
of mammoths would have been spread over thousands of years. This new hypothesis has
two problems: the cause of the extinction becomes incomprehensible and graveyards of
mammoths show that these animals likely died suddenly. For example, a “cemetery” of
about 156 mammoths was discovered10 (between 1970 and 1980) on the banks of the river
3 G. BOND & ALS – Evidence for massive discharges of icebergs into the North Atlantic ocean during the last glacial period
in: Nature 360 (19 November 1992) pp. 245-249.
4 http://www.cnrs.fr/cw/dossiers/Origine/methodologie/sch_glace2.swf http://perso.ens-lyon.fr/yves-francois.le-lay/?p=170
5 The height of the ice had to be at least 500 meters because the Gros Caillou is located on a hill 254 meters high.
6 S. COUTTERAND, P. SCHOENEICH, G. NICOUD – Le lobe glaciaire lyonnais au maximum Würmien glacier du rhône ou/et

glaciers savoyards ? in: Collection EDYTEM Cahiers de Géographie n° 8 (2009) pp. 11-22.
7 P.S. MARTIN – Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America

California 2005 Ed. University of California Press.

8 G. HAYNES – The catastrophic extinction of North American mammoths and mastodonts

in: World Archaeology Vol. 33:3 (2002) pp. 391–416.

9 S.L. VARTANYAN – Radiocarbon Dating Evidence for Mammoths on Wrangel Island, Arctic Ocean, until 2000 BC

in: Radiocarbon Vol. 37:1 (1995) pp. 1-6.

10 Same problems with a cemetery of 3 mammoths, 30 mastodons, 10 giant bisons, etc., in Snowmass Village (Colorado, 2010).
Berelekh (Siberia). Despite the fact that many mammoths died in the same place gives the
impression of a simultaneous death due to catastrophe such as a flash flood, a tusk from the
base of the bone layer gave a date of 14,000 years ago, while scraps of skin and ligament
from another spot were dated to 16,300 years ago11. Some mammoths were found with
food undigested in their stomachs or still unchewed in their teeth, indicating that they died
suddenly. It is estimated, from the trade in ivory tusks, that bones of tens of thousands of
such mammoths have been found. The fossil remains of many other animals, such as lions,
tigers, bears, and elk, have been found in common strata, which may indicate that all of
these were destroyed simultaneously, not over a long period of time. As we can see all these
data are contradictory. Is the biblical explanation better? Biblical explanations are usually
rejected by the scientific community for the following reasons12: Positions and claims of
creationists are incompatible with the advances of modern science, which proves that the Bible is not a book
of science. Affix the label of scientist to creationism label is a real intellectual imposture and scientists need to
inform the general public (...) The rejection of creationism from the scientific community is therefore a
movement of liberation to archaic ideas and unsuited to the modern world, ideas are also a literal
interpretation of Scripture rejected by the majority of believers (...) What to malicious attacks against
science? Further research, whatever happens. To disseminate the results of numerous scholarly articles and
popular mass market, accompanying documentary films and lectures. Using new communication technologies
such as the Internet, among others. Maintain and develop education often compromised data science and its
specific methods. This must be especially true mechanisms of evolution. Indeed, ignorance is an ally of
literalists and revisionist (...) If such a flood had existed, geological evidence would be multiple. However,
there is nothing (...) Firstly, geologists showed that marine transgression (rising of the sea level) in Lower
Mesopotamia, a few hundred kilometres of the city flooded Ur, the capital of the Sumerians, about 5000
BCE (...) The floods mentioned in other mythologies could transmit the memory of the devastating effects of
the rapidly melting ice of the last glaciation. Indeed, the latter has caused around the world, giant floods of
streams, rivers and lakes, recorded by the geological record near the glacier, whose thickness can exceed 2000
meters. But it was not a universal flood. It is ironic that despite the enormous disproportion of
media these scientists present themselves as victims of some “fundamentalists”. The so-
called flood deception is explained through a surprising reasoning: since the geological
record proves the existence of generalized giant floods then there was no universal flood
(where is the logic?)! Similarly, thousands of entirely frozen mammoths found in Siberia are
explained as follows: The death of mammoths can often be related to surface melting, in summer,
permafrost, frozen ground in surface over thirty meters in Siberia. Their bodies then sink into the mud,
where they cannot escape because of their weight (page 360). How can we imagine some herds of
thousands of mammoths advancing calmly on the Siberian permafrost, disappearing
gradually by getting bogged down in the mud? Such a scenario does not seem credible
unless supposing a mammoth congenital stupidity.
The sudden disappearance of many animal species as well as moving erratic blocks
would fit better with the biblical explanation of the Flood. The flood story is presented as
an authentic history in the Gospels (Mt 24:37-39, Lk 17:26-27). According to the Bible
there was at the origin some waters upon the earth (sea and ocean) and waters above the
earth in the form of a vault of water (Gn 1:7). At the time of the Flood, in the year 600 of
Noah, the vault of water fell to earth as rain for 40 days and all the mountains were covered
and all living creatures disappeared with the exception of Noah and his ark (Gn 17-23). The
disappearance of the vault of water (2Pe 3:5-6) resulted in a new climate (Gn 8:22) and its
11 A. LISTER, P.G. BAHN – Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age
London 1994 Ed. Frances Lincoln Ltd p. 62.
12 J. CHALINE, C. GRIMOULT – Les sciences de l'évolution et les religions

Paris 2011 Éd. Ellipses pp. 148, 348, 389, 402.

collapsing on the earth's crust led to the emergence of big mountains (Ps 104:6-8), which is
consistent with the model of Pangaea in the plate tectonics. In the past the oceans were
smaller and the continents were larger than they are now, as is evidenced by river channels
extending far out under the oceans. It should also be noted that scientists have stated that
mountains were much lower than at present, and some mountains have even been pushed
up from under the seas. As to the present situation, it is said that: there is ten times as much
water by volume in the ocean as there is land above sea level. Dump all this land evenly into the sea, and
water would cover the entire earth, one and one-half miles [2,400 m.] deep (National Geographic, January
1945, p. 105). With the sudden opening of the ‘springs of the watery deep’ and "the
floodgates of the heavens," untold billions of tons of water deluged the earth (Gn 7:11).
This may have caused tremendous changes in earth's surface. The earth's crust is relatively
thin (estimated at between 30 km and 160 km thick), stretched over a rather plastic mass
thousands of kilometres in diameter. Hence, under the added weight of the water, there was
likely a great shifting in the crust. In time new mountains evidently were thrust upward, old
mountains rose to new heights, shallow sea basins were deepened, and new shorelines were
established, with the result that now about 70 per cent of the surface is covered with water.
This shifting in the earth's crust may account for many geologic phenomena, such as the
raising of old coastlines to new heights. It has been estimated by some that water pressure
alone was equal to "2 tons per square inch", sufficient to fossilize fauna and flora quickly13.
Not only a universal flood would better explain the sudden and simultaneous disappearance
of many animal species, but it would solve the following two enigmas:
Ø During the last glaciation the sea level
would have decreased by at least 140
m14 (up to 170 m)15. The rise is
currently explained by the melting of
glaciers16, but it does not seem that
these variations of the sea level (so
important) occurred during the
previous glaciations.
Ø The concentration of 14C during the
last glaciation was much lower than at
present17, this fact has been highlighted
by dendrochronology (measure of age
by the rings of a tree). Scientists suppose that the long-term variation correlates with
fluctuations in the earth's magnetic field strength (the geomagnetic moment). The
geomagnetic moment affects 14C production because cosmic rays are charged particles
and are therefore deflected by a magnetic field. If the magnetic moment is high, more
cosmic rays are deflected away from the earth and production of 14C will fall; if low, the
production rises. This explanation is contradicted by measurements of changes in the
13 D.W. PATTEN – The Biblical flood and the ice epoch: a study in scientific history
Seattle 1966 Ed.Pacific Meridian Publ. Co. p. 62.
14 K. LAMBECK, M. NAKADA – Late Pleistocene and Holocene sea-level change along the Australian coast

in: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (Global and Planetary Change Section) 89 (1990) pp. 143-176.
15 During the 1999 expedition, Robert Ballard’s team discovered (in the Black Sea) a submerged ancient shoreline with a flat

beach area beneath about 170 meters of water. Radiocarbon dating and paleontological evidence from a sample of shells
(coming from a former freshwater Lake) and sediment collected from the site suggested that a massive flood occurred about
7,500 years ago. Furthermore, calculations made by Mark Siddall predicted an underwater canyon that was actually found
(Nature 2004).
16 P.U. CLARK, J.X. MITROVICA, G.A. MILNE, M.E. TAMISIEA – Sea-Level Fingerprinting as a Direct Test for the Source of

Global Meltwater Pulse IA in: Science Vol 295 (29 March 2002) pp. 2438-2441.
17 S. BOWMAN – Interpreting the Past. Radiocarbon Dating

London 1990 Ed.British Museum Publications. pp. 16-19.

geomagnetic field. Earth's magnetic field is the magnetic field that extends from the
Earth's inner core to where it meets the solar wind, a stream of energetic particles
emanating from the Sun. Its magnitude at the Earth's surface ranges from 25 to 65 µT. It
is approximately the field of a magnetic dipole tilted at an angle of 11 degrees with
respect to the rotational axis — as if there were a bar magnet placed at that angle at the
centre of the Earth. However, unlike the field of a bar magnet, Earth's field changes over
time because it is generated by the motion of molten iron alloys in the Earth's outer core
(the geodynamo) and it is influenced by the Sun's magnetic field. Variations of the
geomagnetic field are very complex because they involve its intensity, its inclination
(latitude and longitude) and its declination (height). The results of the magnetic field
measured at Paris18 have shown that, from -1000 to 2000, its average intensity varied
from 45 to 85 µT19, its inclination varied from 55° to 75° and its declination from -30° to
+30° (see below). Measures in different parts of the world20 have shown that variations
in the magnetic field intensity between -5000 and 2000 are similar, with the same
fluctuations, to those measured in Paris.

18 J. EVIN, C. OBERLIN – La méthode de datation par le radiocarbone

Paris 2005 Ed. Errances pp. 125-162.
19 Y. GALLETA, A. GENEVEY, F. FLUTEAU – Does Earth's magnetic field secular variation control centennial climate change?

in: Earth and Planetary Science Letters Vol. 236:1-2 (2005) pp. 339-347.
20 I.G. USOSKIN – A History of Solar Activity over Millennia (Revised on 22 April 2010)

in: Living Reviews in Solar Physics Vol. 5 (2008) pp. 3-88.

Y. GALLETA, A. GENEVEY, M. LE GOFFA, F. FLUTEAUA, S.A. ESHRAGHI – Possible impact of the Earth's magnetic field on the
history of ancient civilizations in: Earth and Planetary Science Letters Vol. 246:1-2 (2006) pp. 17-26.
If we compare these curves with the results of measurements of calibrated 14C ages
we see that (figures on the right) the variations of the geomagnetic field between -1000 and
2000 have no significant effect on the average level of 14C (deduced from the gap between
the calibrated and uncalibrated curves)21. According to the curve of carbon-14 calibrated by
dendrochronology the age of the samples increases gradually from -1000 to -5000 (1000
years too old in -5000) thus the level of carbon-14 gradually decreased from -1000 to -5000,
which would imply a gradual increase in the Earth's magnetic field during this period, when
in fact it decreased slightly (average value K08). In conclusion, magnetic field variations do
not allow one to explain the gradual decrease in the rate of carbon-14 from -1000 to -5000.
According to the biblical account, the earth was surrounded by a vault of water
before the Deluge (perhaps in the stratopause where the temperature is at present around
0°C). Now water has the remarkable property of stopping neutrons very effectively since a
screen of 23 mm thick stops 90% of neutrons (and a screen of 46 mm thick stops 99%), as
demonstrated by nuclear pools. If there was water, 14C production could not take place,
which would explain the decrease in 14C before -1000 (decreasing up to 0). Dating pharaohs'
reigns both by carbon-14 and astronomy shows (by extrapolation) that the rate of carbon-
14 fell to 0 around -3500 +/- 500. The orientation of the pyramids aligned with the stars
(Dynasties IV and V) provides an astronomical dating and wooden sarcophagi (and other
objects with carbon) allow a radiocarbon dating.
In principle the method of radiocarbon dating is very simple since it is based on the
following reaction:
neutron (coming from a cosmic proton of galactic origin)

Nitrogen 14 (atmosphere)

proton Carbon 14

(half-life 5730 years)

Nitrogen 14 electron (+ neutrino)

This reaction takes place in the upper atmosphere but over time an equilibrium is
established in the layer of ambient air (98.89% of 12C; 1.11% of 13C; 1.18 10-12 of 14C). As
carbon is present in the molecules of carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbed by all living beings,
the rate of 14C is the same for all organisms that breathe carbon dioxide. When an organism
dies the equilibrium with the atmosphere stops and the number of 14C atoms in its body
decreases because of its natural disintegration (13.65 disintegrations/min/1g). It suffices to
measure the rate of residual 14C and compare it to the current average rate knowing that the
number of 14C atoms decreases by half every 5730 years22 following an exponential
decrease. For example, if a residue has only 50% of the average rate in 14C its age can be
estimated around 5700 years, if its residual rate is 25% then its age is 11,400 years, etc. If the
21 A.R. MILLARD – Comment on article by Blackwell and Buck

in: Bayesian Analysis 3, Number 2 (2008), pp. 255–262.

J.VAN DER PLICHT – Radiocarbon, the Calibration Curve and Scythian Chronology
in: Impact of the Environment on Human Migration in Eurasia (2004), pp. 45-61.
22 Laboratories continue to use the conventional value of 5568 years (measured in 1950).
initial average rate in 14C was 20% lower (80% instead of 100%) that would induce an
artificial aging of the sample by about 2000 years (13,400 years instead of 11,400). And a
variation of +/- 1% of the initial 14C modifies the age of the residue +/- 100 years (the
effects of this change are not linear but exponential).

To correct these variations in 14C versus time the actual age obtained thanks to
dendrochronology is used to establish calibrated 14C curves. The method is based on the
assumption that neutron production (average value) is substantially constant, but studies23
have shown that the rate of 14C has been modified by long-term factors such as:
Ø Isotopic fractioning: the lightest carbon atoms have chemical reactivity a little larger than the
heavier ones, so that at the end of the chain of reactions there may be an enrichment (or
depletion) of some isotopes compared to the natural environment. This can lead to a
correction of 400 years.
Ø Reservoir effect: the surface of the ocean absorbs a large part of atmospheric carbon dioxide
which when dissolved travels along the depths of the great ocean circulation loop.
Injected in depth in the North Atlantic, it returns to the surface after more than a
thousand years (thus 14C ocean is delayed 400 years versus that of the atmosphere, thus
aging all the dates by 400 years). This effect is significant because the reservoir of
Oceanographic carbon is 40 to 60 times greater than that of the atmosphere24.
Ø Earth's magnetic field: it deflects charged particles from cosmic radiation, such as protons,
which are at the origin of C14 (14C production is 5 times greater at the poles than at the
equator). This field has varied by about a factor 2 in the past, which may age some dates
of 50%.
Ø Magnetic field from the solar wind: the primary cosmic flux is largely modulated by the
magnetic field from the interplanetary solar wind which fluctuates during the solar cycle
of 11 years, leading to a correction of dates of +/- 5%.
Ø Burning of fossil materials: the massive release of carbon dioxide from (industrial)
combustion of fossil fuel poor in 14C may age the environment artificially. A shrub that
grows along highway, for example, can be "conventionally dated" from -10,000 or older.
Similarly, on the flanks of volcanoes, fumaroles emission can locally enrich the
atmosphere in ancient carbon.
Ø Reuse of materials: construction timber being a precious material, it was often reused. Thus
the date of construction differs from that of the original wood.
23 S. CHALLEMEL – La datation au carbone 14

Thèse soutenue au CNAM Paris, le 19 janvier 2000.

24 C. LAJ, A. MAZAUD, J.C. DUPLESSY - La datation par le carbone 14

in: Dossier pour la Science n°42 janvier/ mars 2004 pp. 50-53.
Ø Atomic explosions: those of 1963 increased the level in 14C by 10%.
Ø Cosmic proton production of galactic origin: most of the galactic particles are accelerated in the
shocks of supernova remnants for only a few thousand years25.
Measurements of 14C rate are unusable in its raw state to provide a dating, they must
be calibrated by dendrochronology. Correspondence between the uncalibrated years BP and
calibrated years BCE is complex, in addition, some parts of the curve are unusable such as
the period 800-400 BCE called 'plateau of Hallstatt26' (because the value remains constant in
years BP). Consequently reading the curve is difficult. The city of Rehob, for example, was
burned in 2775 BP (stratum VI of the destruction), according to 14C dating27, corresponding
to 970-960 BCE, during the (only) campaign of Shoshenq I in Palestine (as attested by the
biblical text of 1Kings 14:25). Finkelstein and Piasetzky28 have reinterpreted these data to
lower the date to 925-915 BCE (figure below on the right) to conform it to the "classic"
chronology of Thiele (with many supposed and wrong co-regencies)29. However, this
solution is unlikely, because differences in duration between the layers VI-V and V-IV
would pass without reason from 45 and 50 years (ratio of 1) to 12 and 43 years (amazing
ratio of 3.5). Such asymmetry in duration between the strata is not realistic30.

This example of calibrated 14C dating shows that the accuracy is about +/- 10 years
over the period 1000-900 but overlapping areas can induce an uncertainty of at least 50
years for unfavourable locations. Also be aware that these measures are generally a cloud of
points (statistically equated to a Gaussian curve). Furthermore, aberrant measurements are
systematically ignored31 and rarely published to avoid reinforcing the sceptics32. In addition,
interpretation of 14C measurements is complicated by the frequent presence of unknown
contamination. The proportion in carbon 14 (in time) is reconstructed from measurements
calibrated by dendrochronology. The result is not a linear correlation, but a sinuous curve33
with an increasing gap for dates before 1500 BCE:
25 G. FERRAND – Étude de l’accélération des rayons cosmiques par les ondes de choc des restes de supernovae
Toulouse (December 18, 2007) PhD Thesis at the Université Toulouse III, p. 142.
26 M. FONTUGUE – Progrès de la datation par le carbone 14

in: Archéologia N°323 (mai 1996) pp. 26-33).

27 H.J. BRUINS, J. VAN DER PLICHT, A. MAZAR – 14C Dates from Tel Rehov: Iron-Age Chronology, Pharaohs, and Hebrew Kings

in: Science Vol 300 (11 April 2003) pp. 315-318.

28 I. FINKELSTEIN, E. PIASETZKY – Wrong and Right; High and Low 14C Dates from Tel Rehov: Iron-Age Chronology

in: Tel Aviv 30:2 (2003) Ed. Tel Aviv University pp. 283-294.
29 R. THIELE – The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew King

Grand Rapids 1983 Ed. Kregel Publications pp. 98-136.

30 H.J. BRUINS, J. VAN DER PLICHT – Reponse to Comment on “14C Dates from Tel Rehov: Iron-Age Chronology, Pharaohs,

and Hebrew Kings” in: Science Vol 302 (24 October 2003) p. 568c.
31 VALESTRO - Radiocarbon 17:1

Austin 1975 University of Texas pp. 52-98.

32 M.C. VAN OOSTERWYCK-GASTUCHE - Le radiocarbone face au Linceul de Turin

Paris 1999 Éd. François-Xavier de Guilbert pp. 15-118.

33 G. N. LAMBERT - Dendrochronologie, la calibration avec le radiocarbone

in: Dossiers de l'archéologie n°39 novembre/décembre 1979 pp. 66-67.

G.W. PEARSON ET AL. – High Precision 14C Measurement of Irish Oaks to Show the Natural 14C Variation
in: Radiocarbon n°328:2B (1986) pp. 911-934.

Carbon-14 dates are noted BP (Before Present) and BC (Before Christ) with the
equivalence: age BC = age BP - 1950. Differences in dates come from variations in 14C rate,
according to the two opposite curves34
(∆14C = difference in 14C ‰). We note
that the short-term variations in Carbon-14
seem chaotic (similar to a background
noise) and in the long term there is a
growing deficit from 1400 BC (e.g. Δ14C ≈
8% in -3600, which corresponds to a gap of
about 800 years). Datings before -10,000 by
Carbon-14 are contradictory and their
interpretation is controversial35
(Thermoluminescence measurements give
the same surprising results)36. As these
calibration curves date back well before -
5000, this induces a question: how is it
34 I.G. USOSKIN – A History of Solar Activity over Millennia (Revised on 22 April 2010)

in: Living Reviews in Solar Physics Vol. 5 (2008) pp. 27.

35 N.A. SPOONER - Human occupation at Jinmium, northern Australia: 116,000 years ago or much less?

in: Antiquity 72 (1998) pp. 173-178.

R.G. ROBERTS, R. JONES, M.A. SMITH - Beyond the radiocarbon barrier in Australian prehistory.
in: Antiquity 68 (1994) pp. 611-6.
J. ALLEN, S. HOLDAWAY - The contamination of Pleistocene radiocarbon determinations in Australia
in: Antiquity 69 (1995) pp. 101-12
J.A.C. CHAPPELL, J. HEAD, J. MAGEE - Beyond the radiocarbon limit in Australian archaeology and Quaternary research
in: Antiquity 70 (1996) pp. 543-52.
36 R.L.K. FULLAGAR, D.M. PRICE, L.M HEAD - Early human occupation of northern Australia: archaeology and

thermoluminescence dating of Jinmium rockshelter, Northern Territory, in: Antiquity 70 (1996) pp. 751-773.
JONES, R.L.K. FULLAGAR, G. JACOBSEN, Q. HUA - Optical and radiocarbon dating at Jinmium rock shelter in northern Australia
in: Nature 393 (May 28, 1998): pp. 358-362.
possible to measure the rings of a tree 7000 years old? In reality there is no such tree so old,
the current record is a Bristlecone Pine in Nevada, called Prometheus, dated -2898 (to +/-
18 years) by counting the rings, consequently an artifice is used. The thickness of the rings
depends on the climate of the year in which they are formed (the reality is much more
complex because of frequent changes of climate in the past)37, giving a series of rings
resembling a kind of bar code. It then suffices to put end to end the series obtained from
different strains of ancient trees, as is done with a set of dominoes (figures below).
It is obvious that a particular
sequence originating from a strain
can be inserted in several places
among the series, because of its
short length from 100 to 300 years.
In this case (very common), how
does one choose the right position
among the various possibilities?
The answer is simple: depending on
its probable position according to
the carbon-14 chronology38, as
recognized a specialist39: It is not
uncommon that the various calculations
involved do not absolutely agree. One must
then decide. In almost all cases, the date
finally chosen is always chosen in the best
calculated proposals (...) it is very difficult
to date an isolated wood less than 100
rings. With the support of radiocarbon,
which sets a chronological range from 150
to 300 years, one can go down to 80
rings. Below this "length" the risk is great of falling into a well-known trap type, which is: the "beautiful"
relationship in a "wrong" position. This means that if a set of rings is misplaced in the chain (see
the figures above), all the calibration is distorted. The loop is closed and thus carbon-14 in
fact serves to calibrate carbon-1440. There is clearly a failure in method.
Dating obtained by calibrated carbon-14 is considered absolute by most experts but
confrontation with the Egyptian chronology, which some dates are fixed by astronomy,
reverses this widespread belief41. This comparison42 shows that: dates obtained by carbon-
14 calibrated (by dendrochronology) match to those from astronomy until -2200 (errors of
measurement are not significant); before -2200 carbon-14 dating ages historical dates
exponentially about 100 years around -2200 and 500 years around -2600. Radiocarbonists
obviously offer to Egyptologists to adjust their dates by their own.

37 D. HOUBRECHTS, G.N. LAMBERT - Les arbres, témoins du temps qui passe

in: Dossier pour la Science n°42 janvier/ mars 2004 pp. 70-75
38 J. EVIN, C. OBERLIN – La méthode de datation par le radiocarbone

in: La datation en laboratoire. Paris 2005 Ed. Errances pp. 96-101.

39 G. N. LAMBERT – La dendrochronologie, mémoire de l'arbre

in: La datation en laboratoire. Paris 2005 Ed. Errances pp. 45, 58.
40 C. BLÖSS, H.U. NIEMITZ - The Self-Deception of the C14 Method and Dendrochronology

in: Zeitensprünge 8 (1996) 3 pp. 361-389.

41 S.W. MANNING – Radiocarbon Dating and Egyptian Chronology

in: Ancien Egyptian Chronology (Brill 2006) pp. 327-355.

42 H. HAAS, ET AL – Radiocarbon Chronology and the Historical Calendar in Egypt

in: Chronologies in the Near East (1987) Ed. O. Aurenche et al pp. 585-606.

Carbon-14 dating provides a relative Egyptian chronology43 but the astronomical

dating from the precise orientation of the pyramids44 of Dynasties IV and V (with the
exception of that of Khephren, which is interpreted differently45) gives an absolute
chronology (below). The accuracy of astronomical dates is about +/- 5 years46 based on a
calculated difference of 19" per year due to the precession of the equinoxes. This angle
variation is very low but if a building is now aligned on the pole star (celestial north), in 95
years it will be shifted relative to this star by approximately 0.5 degree (or 30'), which is the
apparent diameter of the moon.
A.J. SHORTLAND - Radiocarbon - Based Chronology for Dynastic Egypt in: Science Vol 328 (10 june 2010) pp. 1554-1557.
44 K. SPENCE – Ancient Egyptian Chronology and Astronomical Orientation of the Pyramids

in: Nature Vol. 408 (November 2000) pp. 320-324.

45 G. MAGLI – On the Astronomical Orientation of the IV Dynasty Egyptian Pyramids and the Dating of the Second Giza

Pyramid in: http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0307100

46 This figure may be optimistic because Egyptian observations were depending on visual acuity of human eye which has only a

resolution of 1' (60") which is 3 times higher than the value of the difference.
Accession according to: Gap
King of Egypt TC Astronomy (1) # +/- C14 calib. (2) # +/- (2) – (1)
Dynasty IV Snefru 24 2526-2480 46 7 2612-2594 18 34 86
Kheops 23 2480-2457 23 5 2594-2573 21 36 114
Djedefre 8 2457-2448 9 2573-2566 7 37 (116)
Khephren 2[9] 2448-2415 33 5 2566-2543 23 37 118
Mykerinos 18/28 2415-2388 27 10 2543-2516 27 39 128
Shepseskaf 4 2388 - 8 2516-2508 8 40 (128)
Thamphthis 2 -2380 - - -
Dynasty V Userkaf 7 2380-2372 8 2508-2501 7 40 (128)
Sahure 1[2] 2372-2359 13 25 2501-2443 58 41 129
Neferirkare (Kakaï) ? 2359-23[**] ? 25 2443-[***] [*] 43 84
The duration as well as order of the reigns according to astronomy is in good
agreement with the data coming from the Turin Canon (TC) except for Snefru. However
even in this case the astronomical dating is better because it is confirmed by the number of
cattle censuses, which were not bi-annual, as Egyptologists claim. The reconstruction47 of
the early years of the reign of Djedkare Isesi (2323-2285) shows that cattle censuses were on
a ratio48 of 1.7 (= 30/18). The ratio of "years after" compared to normal years, for the first
8 years of the reign is 0.37 (= 11/30) the same ratio, 0.36 (= 9/25) of intercalary years of
the 25 years lunar cycle. The date of the first sed festival (= 30 years of reign) of Pepi I
coincided with his 18th livestock census49, which confirms the theoretical ratio of 1.7 (=
25/14) between census years and regnal years (= 30/18). Years "after" (= intercalar) are
consistent with reign durations50 according to the equation: minimum duration of reign =
number of census years x 1.7. The comparison is excellent between the durations calculated
by astronomy and those from the Turin Royal Canon, which confirms the reliability of this
document on chronology (but values from Manetho are often too high). A few durations in
the Turin Canon (TC*) have been corrected. Snefru's reign is dated 2526-2480 and lasted 46
years, which is in agreement with the minimum length of 41 years (= 24x1.7) coming from
the number of censuses. First years of the reign of Djedkare Isesi (the arrangement of
"intercalary years" is too incomplete to allow a reconstruction of the 25-year lunar cycle):
Djedkare number of Name of the year for [not attested]
Year lunar months 13 12 Djedkare Snefru Kheops
1 12 1 of the Beginning of the Beginning
2 12 2 of the 1st occasion
3 13 1 after the 1st occasion
4 12 3 of the 2nd occasion of the 2nd census
5 12 4 of the 3 occasion
6 13 2 after the 3rd occasion
7 12 5 of the 4th occasion of the 4th census
8 13 3 after the 4th occasion
9 12 6 of the 5th occasion of the 5th census
10 12 7 of the 6 occasion after the 5th census
11 [13?] 4 [after the 6 occasion] [of the 6th census]
th th
12 12 8 of the 7 occasion of the 7 census [of the 7th census]
13 13 5 after the 7 occasion [after the 7th census]
th th
14 12 9 of the 8 occasion of the 8 census of the 8th census
15 12 10 of the 9 occasion [of the 9th census]
47 M. VERNER – Archaeological Remarks on the 4th and 5th Dynasty Chronology
in: Archiv Orientalni 69:3 (2001) Ed. Brill pp. 363-418.
48 J.S. NOLAN – Lunar intercalations and "cattle counts" during the Old Kingdom: the Hebsed in context

in: Chronology and Archaeology in Ancient Egypt. Ed. Czech Institute of Egyptology, Prague 2008, pp. 44-60.
49 M. BAUD – The Relative Chronology of Dynasties 6 and 8

in: Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Leiden 2006) Ed. Brill pp. 144-157.
50 G. GREENBERG – Manetho. A Study in Egyptian Chronology.

Pennsylvania 2004 Ed. MPM8 pp. 147,171,184.

16 [13?] 6 [after the 9th occasion] [after the 9th census]
17 12 11 of the 10th occasion th
of the 10 census of the 10th census
18 13 7 after the 10th occasion after the 10th census [after the 10th census]
19 12 12 of the 11th occasion [of the 11th census] [of the 11th census]
20 12 13 of the 12th occasion of the 12th census of the 12th census
21 [13?] 8 [after the 12th occasion] after the 12th census [after the 12th census]
22 12 14 of the 13th occasion of the 13th census of the 13th census
23 12 15 of the 14th occasion after the 13th census after the 13th census
24 13 9 after the 14th occasion [of the 14th census]
25 12 16 of the 15th occasion of the 15th census
26 [13?] 10 [after the 15th occasion] [after the 15th census]
27 12 17 of the 16th occasion of the 16th census
28 12 18 of the 17th occasion of the 17th census
29 13 11 after the 17th occasion [after the 17th census]
30 heb-seb 12 19 of the 18th occasion of the 18th census
The ancient harbour of Kheops (Wadi el-Jarf) delivered some papyri describing
shipments of stones for his pyramid of which the highest date, corresponding to the end of
his reign, is: after the 13th census51 (= year 23, like in the TC), which confirms the ratio 1.7 (=
23/13) between the years of reign and the number of censuses. If this ratio was 2, Kheops'
reign (50 years in Herodotus II:127!) would have lasted 28 years instead of 23 years.
Dynasty Astronomy # TC Man. cens x1.7 date + TC* Reign
IV Snefru 2526-2480 46 24 29 24≤ ≥41 44 2523-2479
Kheops 2480-2457 23 23 63 13+≤ ≥23 23 2479-2456
Djedefre 2457-2448 9 8 25 11?≤ ≥18? 8 2456-2448
Khephren 2448-2415 33 2[9] 66 13≤ ≥22 29 2448-2419
Baka 2415-2415 - 0 2419-2419
Mykerinos 2415-2388 27 18/28 63 11≤ ≥19 28 2419-2391
Shepseskaf 2388 - 8 4 7 1+≤ ≥3 1 4 2391-2387
Thamphthis -2380 - 2 2 2387-2385
V Userkaf 2380-2372 8 7 28 3≤ ≥5 7 7 2385-2378
Sahure 2372-2359 13 12* 13 7+≤ ≥12 15 14 2378-2364
Neferirkar (Kakaï) 2359-23[**] ? ? 20 5≤ ≥9 11 10 2364-2354
Shepseskare 7 7 7 2354-2347
Neferrefre 1 20 1≤ ≥1 1 2347-2346
Niuserre (Ini) 11+x 44 7≤ ≥12 sed* 14 2346-2332
Menkauhor 8 9 8 2332-2324
Djedkare (Isesi) 28 44 22≤ ≥38 sed 38 2324-2286
Unas 30 33 8≤ ≥14 sed 30 2286-2256
VI Teti ? 30 11≤ ≥18 18 2256-2238
Userkare 0 2238-2238
Pepi I 2243-2200 43 20 53 25≤ ≥43 42 43 2238-2195
Merenre I 44 7 5+≤ ≥10 14 2195-2181
Pepi II 9[4] 94 31+≤ ≥54 54? 2181-2127
Merenre II 1 1 1 2127-2126
Mesopotamian chronology can be reconstructed up to Sargon of Akkad. This period
has few synchronisms which are precisely datable by astronomy (highlighted in blue) but
reigns duration of the dynasties of Akkad, Uruk IV-V and Ur III are accurately known52
furthermore Sargon, Iš'ar-Damu King of Ebla and Pepi I were contemporaries53. The
chronology of dynasties IX to XII is locked to the beginning of the XIIth in 1975 BCE and
based on the sum of regnal years. The duration of the dynasties VII and VIII was brief
because, according to Manetho, 70 kings would have ruled 70 days each (70x70 days =
around 13 years) or a period about 8? years of instability (2126-2118?).
51 Le port de Kheops ressurgit des sables, in: Sciences et Avenir N°796 (juin 2013) pp. 52-53.
52 J.-J. GLASSNER – Chroniques mésopotamiennes
Paris 2004 Éd. Les Belles Lettres pp. 137-141.
53 F. JOANNÈS - Dictionnaire de la civilisation mésopotamienne

Paris 2001 Éd. Robert Laffont p. 264.

Pepi I Nefersahor 43 2238-2195 Sargon (AKKAD) 2243-2187 56
Merenre I 14 2195-2181 Rimuš 2187-2178 9
Pepi II Neferkare 54? 2181-2127 Maništusu 2178-2163 15
Merenre II Antiemsaf 1 2127-2126 Narâm-Sîn 2163 - 37
Nitocris <1? 2126-2126 (insurrections)54 -2126
Dynasties VII-VIII (instability) 8? 2126-2118 Šar-kali-šarri 2126 - 25
Dynasty XI (Dynasties IX-X)
Mentuhotep I - 16 2118 -
Antef I Sehertauy - 2102 -2101
Antef II Uahankh 49 2102 - Irgigi/ Imi/ Nanum/ Ilulu 2101-2098 3
Dudu 2098-2077 21
Šu-Turul 2077-2062 15
-2053 Ur-Nigin (URUK IV) 2062-2055 7
Antef III Nekhtnetepnefer 8 2053 - Ur-Gigir 2055-2049 6
-2045 Kuda 2049-2043 6
Mentuhotep II Nebhepetre 51 2045 - Puzur-ili 2043-2038 5
Ur-Utu 2038-2032 6
Utu-hegal 2032-2021 7 [11?]
Ur-Nammu (UR III) 2020-2002 18
-1994 Šulgi 2002 - 48
Mentuhotep III Seankhkare 12 1994-1982
Mentuhotep IV Nebtauyre 7 1982-1975
Dynasty XII -1954
Amenemhat I Sehetepibre 29 1975-1946 Amar-Sîn 1954-1945 9
Senwosret I Kheparkare 45 1946 - Šu-Sîn 1945-1936 9
-1901 Ibbi-Sîn 1936-1912 24
Amenemhat II Nebkaure 38 1901-1863 Collapse of Ur
Senwosret II Khakheperre 8 1863-1855
Senwosret III Khakaure 19 1855-1836
The relative chronology of the Ist Dynasty is very approximate due to uncertainty in
the names of pharaohs as well as the length of their reigns55:
Dynasty I Grimal Carbon 14 Vercoutter von Beckerath Malek Krauss [Gertoux]
Âha - Atoti 3125-3100 3100 - 3125-3095 3007-2975 +/- 25 2972-2939 [?]-2870 2870-2810
Djer 3100-3055 -3080 3095-3040 2975-2927 +/- 25 2939-2892 2870-2823 2810-2769
Djet - Wadji 3055-3050 3080-3000 3040-3030 2927-2914 +/- 25 2892-2879 2822-2815 2769-2759
Den 3050-2995 3000 - 3030-2985 2914-2867 +/- 25 2879-2832 2814-2772 2759-2727
These chronologies (above) of the Ist dynasty were reconstructed using data from
Manetho (Man.), calibrated carbon 14 dating (C14 calib.), the Turin Canon (TC) and the
Palermo Stone (PS). Although the Sothic rising during the reign of Djer (2774 BCE) is
known56 it is not used for dating. These chronologies are improved if they are based on the
astronomical dating of the reign of Snefru (2523-2479) and using a mean reign of 15 years
(calculated from the 3rd Dynasty) for the reigns of the two first dynasties. The 2nd dynasty
includes several pharaohs at Abydos in parallel with those at Memphis57 and the reigns
calculated from the Palermo Stone are hypothetical58 (PS*) or speculative (bracketed). The
reign of 40 years assigned to Ninetjer seems excessive compared with other pharaohs of the
54 According to the curse of Agade, the inordinate expansionism of Naram-Sin had caused uprisings throughout the empire that
would eventually cause the loss (progressive) of his capital Agade.
55 M. DESSOUDEIX – Chronique de l'Égypte ancienne

Paris 2008 Éd. Actes Sud p. 31.

56 J. VERCOUTTER – L'Égypte et la vallée du Nil Tome 1 Des origines à la fin de l'Ancien Empire

Paris 1992 Éd. Presses Universitaires de France pp. 199-263.

57 P. VERNUS, J. YOYOTTE - Dictionnaire des pharaons

Paris 1998 Éd. Noésis pp. 177-179.

58 T.A.H. WILKINSON – Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt

London 2000 Ed. Kegan Paul International pp. 75-81, 256-259.

IInd Dynasty, in addition, it has no Sed festival (celebrated when a reign is above 30 years)59.
Dynasty I Astronomy # TC Man. PS* date+ TC* mean reign Reign
(Memphis) (Abydos) C14 calib. # (15-year)
Menes/Narmer 60 2823-2808
Âha - Atoti 3100 - 27 2808-2793
Djer -2774 29 41 Sed 41 2793-2778 2810-2769
Djet (Wadji) 3080-3000 42 [10] [10] 2778-2763 2769-2759
Den 3000 - 20 32 31 32 2763-2748 2759-2727
Andjib 26 10 10 2748-2733 2727-2717
Semerkhet 18 9 9 2733-2718 2717-2708
Qaa 2925 - 26 33 Sed 33 2718-2703 2708-2675
Dynasty II
Hotepsekhemwy 38 [10] 2703-2688 2675-2665
Nebra (Raneb) 39 [10] 2688-2673 2665-2655
Ninetjer / Peribsen 47 40 7 [24] 2673-2658 2655-2631
Uneg(nebti) / Senedj (?) 17 [ 7] 2658-2643 2631-2624
Neferkara / Sekhemid 25 [ 2] 2 2643-2628 2624-2622
Neferkasokar -2679 8 48 [ 9] 8 2628-2613 2622-2614
Khasekhemwy 2679-2658 11 27 30 18 17 2613-2598 2614-2597
Dynasty III
Djoser - Netjerikhet 2658-2641 17 19 29 28 19 2598-2583 2597-2578
Sekhemkhet 2641 - 6 7 7 6 2583-2568 2578-2572
Nebka[ra]/ Sanakht 19 28 19 2568-2553 2572-2553
Khaba 6 17 7 6 2553-2538 2553-2547
Huni 24 42 24 2538-2523 2547-2523
Dynasty IV 15
Snefru 2526-2480 46 24 29 41 44 2523-2479

According to the above reconstruction, the reign of Djer is

situated near -2800. The Djer's plate (opposite figure) mentions the
oldest known heliacal rising of Sirius60, which was exceptional because
this event occurs every year (around 17 July at that time). This
astronomical phenomenon is depicted at top right by three symbols: the
sun Râ above a cow with a feather on her head amidst of two horns and
above a papyrus swamp. The star amidst of 2 horns (bottom left)
symbolizes a heliacal rising of Sirius (the brightest star in the sky)
associated with the goddess Hathor, just after a rising of Orion
(associated with Horus) and after a rising of Venus (the brightest planet in the solar system),
associated with the goddess Isis. Maat feather on her head symbolized the goddess Isis and
the two horns symbolized the goddess Hathor (bottom right).

According to the Decree of Canopus (dated 238 BCE) the rising of Sothis (Sirius)
and the rising of Isis (Venus) could occur at the same time. This extremely rare coincidence
59Semerkhet celebrated a Sed festival (not mentioned in the Palermo Stone) which was probably the same one of his father Den.
60A.S. VON BOMHARD - Le calendrier Égyptien. Une œuvre d'éternité
London 1999 Ed. Periplus pp. 48-49.
occurs only once every 243 years61 which explains why it was noteworthy to Egyptians. In
addition, the coincidence between the beginning of the Nile’s flooding at the summer
solstice (17 July)62 and the heliacal rising of Sirius63 was performed only at Buto in 2774
BCE64 (18 July). By chance there was also the heliacal rising of the new moon65 on I Akhet
1 (= 18 July)66. All these coincidences must have impressed the Egyptians. The double
heliacal rising of Sirius and Venus was later represented by a heron associated with Isis with
a star above the head (rising of Venus) at the same level of Sothis’ ankles (rising of Sirius).
The origin of the Egyptian civil calendar is difficult to establish because of the lack of
documents. However as the name of the first season (of 4 months each) was Akhet
“flooding” it is logical to conclude that this calendar started with the flooding of the Nile,
which coincided itself with the summer solstice (17 July at that time). The names of the
next two periods of the calendar: Peret “offspring” and Shemu “heat”, are also in accordance
with the seasons. From the 1st dynasties the sign of the year appears on ivory labels which
implies the existence of a calendar and also annals were held from the beginning of
historical times. On the ivory plate of king Djer there is a connection between the heliacal
rising of Sirius in Buto (north of Heliopolis), represented as a cow (Hathor) and the
beginning of the flood recorded by the sign Akhet. The hieroglyph depicting a sun (Ra‘) in
the middle of 2 cow horns is read wpt-r‘ and means “beginning of the year”. Consequently
the three hieroglyphs on Djer's plate (top right) means: Beginning of the year (sun Râ between 2
cow horns), rising of Sirius (Hathor cow) and rising of Venus (Isis’ feather) at the beginning of the flooding
(I Akhet 1), which occurred only on 18 July 2774 BCE (see Annex).
By extrapolating the previous results, the C14 dating gives older reigns in an
exponential way (4 times the gap, 7454 BCE instead of 3214 BCE through astronomy):
Pharaoh C14 calib. Astronomy Gap
[7454 -] [3214 -] +4240 (= 4x1060)
[4074 -] [3014 -] +1060 (= 4x265)
Djer 3080 - 2814-2773 + 266 (= 4x66)
Khasekhemwy 2679-2658 2614-2597 + 65 (= 4x16)
Despite measurements of the lengths of the 1st dynasty reigns by calibrated C14 being
imprecise67 (+/- 120 years) they age reigns toward -2800 by about 300 years compared to
the Egyptian chronology anchored on the Sothic rise of Djer.
14 14
Accession according to: C C calib. Astronomy gap1 gap2 gap3 ∆14C*
(1) (2) (3) (1) – (2) (2) – (3) (1) – (3) (‰)
Djer -3890 -3090 -2774 800 315 1115 100
Snefru -3140 -2620 -2523 520 95 615 55
Pepi I -2710 -2355 -2237 350 120 470 40
Dynasty VII -2540 -2225 -2120 315 105 420 30
Mentuhotep II -2330 -2045 -2045 285 0 285 25
Senwosret III -2105 -1865 -1855 240 10 250 20
From -2100 the difference in carbon-14 (Δ14C: 115 years <=> 1 ‰) increases much
faster if one takes into account the additional correction calculated from the dates obtained
by astronomy. For example, the difference of dating by means of astronomy versus C14
61 G.W. VAN OOSTERHOUT – Sirius, Venus and the Egyptian Calendar

in: Discussions in Egyptology 27 (1993) pp. 83-96.

62 http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/temps/saisons.php
63 http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/phenomenes/sothis/index.php (arcus visionis = 8.9; Buto: Lat 31°12' North 30°45' East).
64 http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Yourhorizon (Universal Time: -2773-07-18 2:05; Field of view: 90°).
65 http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/phenomenes/phases_lune/index.php
66 http://www.chronosynchro.net/wordpress/convertisseur/
67 J. VERCOUTTER - L'Egypte et la vallée du Nil

Paris 1992 Éd. Presses Universitaires de France pp. 200-244.

(gap3) is 250 years in 1855 BCE but 1115 years in 2774 BCE. As a result we obtain a
corrected Δ14C* curve in red (the calibrated ΔC14 curve is in grey):

The equation of the curve showing 14C rate (in %) versus time (t in years) is of the
form: A = A0(1-e-(t+t0)/b). Calibrating the 14C measures by the dates from the Egyptian
chronology based on astronomical dating gives the following curve68 (the reliability of
dating by astronomy is assessed in the Annex):

Extrapolated part of the curve (before -2800) shows that the rate of C14 tends
gradually to 0 around -3500, which implies an important consequence: before 3500 BCE
calibrated C14 dating is no longer possible. Thus, because the carbon-14 dating is not
calibrated by calculations based on astronomy the results are nonsensical because millions
of years or even hundreds of millions of years appear. For example A piece of wood is
fossilized in the Hawkesbury Sandstone, Australia, which most geologists date to the middle
Triassic, about 225 to 230 million years ago. The wood was dated by Geochron (a
commercial dating laboratory) using the C14 dating method. They determined its age to be
only 33,720 +/- 430 years Before Present69 (contamination by recent microbes or fungi
cannot explain the discrepant age). Another example comes from the polystrate fossils. Tree
trunk fossils are frequently found cutting across many geological layers70 —hence the name
polystrate fossils (poly = many; stratum = layer). It is not possible that polystrate fossils
were buried gradually over many thousands or hundreds of thousands of years because the
68 R.H. BROWN – Compatibility of Biblical Chronology with C-14 Age

in: Origins 21:2 (Geoscience Research Institute, 1994) pp. 66-79.

69 K. HUNT – Carbon-14 in Coal Deposits, in: The TalkOrigins Archive May 22, 2002.
70 For example, Eroding cliffs at Joggins, Nova Scotia, reveal abundant polystrate tree trunks and horizontal coalified wood.
top part of any tree would have rotted away before it could be protected by sediment.
Polystrate fossils point to rapid burial and are evidence in favour of the reality of the global
Flood recorded in the Bible. This is how Derek Ager, Emeritus Professor of Geology,
University College of Swansea, trained under strict Lyellian uniformitarianism, describes
some polystrate fossil tree trunks (below) that he illustrated in his book71: If one estimates the
total thickness of the British Coal Measures as about 1000 m, laid down in about 10 million years, then,
assuming a constant rate of sedimentation, it would have taken 100,000 years to bury a tree 10 m high,
which is ridiculous. Alternatively, if a 10 m tree were buried in 10 years, that would mean 1000 km in a
million years or 10,000 km in 10 million years (i.e. the duration of the coal measures). This is equally
ridiculous and we cannot escape the conclusion that sedimentation was at times very rapid indeed and at
other times there were long breaks in sedimentation, though it looks both uniform and continuous72.

Derek Ager was no Bible believer, in fact he was disparaging of creationists, yet he
could see, in spite of his training, that the geological evidence pointed to rapid
sedimentation and burial. Further, although sedimentation looked ‘uniform and
continuous’, he assumed that there had to be ‘long breaks in sedimentation’. Why? To
preserve the idea that life on the earth is billions of years old (theory of evolution) —in
spite of the evidence. In addition, Geologists have also found that some of the larger
upright fossil trees found within Carboniferous coal-bearing strata show evidence of
regeneration after being partially buried by sediments. In these cases, the trees were clearly
alive when they were partially buried by sediments. The accumulated sediment was
insufficient to kill the trees immediately because of their size. As a result, some of them
developed a new set of roots from their trunks just below the new ground surface. Until
they either died or were overwhelmed by the accumulating sediments (through millions of
years!), these trees would likely have continued to regenerate by adding height and new
roots with each increment of sediment, eventually leaving several meters of former "trunk"
buried underground as sediments accumulated. For these geologists the fact that some trees
continued growing during millions of years is scientifically logical!
71 Ager’s illustration —an old print showing fossil trees that appear to be in growth position at Nant Llech in the Swansea Valley,

South Wales, UK. The trees are now preserved outside Swansea Museum.
72 D.V. AGER – The New Catastrophism: The Importance of the Rare Event in Geological History

Cambridge 1993, Ed. Cambridge University Press, p. 49.


Years ago, National Geographic published a remarkable photograph of a polystrate

fossil, a fossilized tree that extended stratigraphically upward through several layers of rock
in Tennessee. Its roots were in a coal seam, and the overlying deposits included bedded
shale and thin carbon-rich layers. An advocate of any form of uniformitarianism would
believe that it took many, many years to deposit this sequence of layers (much longer than it
takes for a tree to grow and eventually die and decay), yet one vertical fossil extends
through them all. The specific strata surrounding the fossil provided a history. According to
uniformitarianism, many years are required for a thick layer of peat to accumulate in a
swampy environment. This type of location is quite different from the marine environment
in which tiny shale-sized particles are deposited. Over "millions and millions of years" of
heat and pressure generated by the subsequently deposited overlying marine sediments, the
peat is thought to have metamorphosed into coal. The tree was a mature tree, yet could not
have grown in the location where the surrounding
shale was deposited, since trees don't live long under
the sea. Furthermore, the time required for shaley
sediments to accumulate must be added to the tree's
lifespan, as must the time to deeply bury the coal
precursor and create the pressure to generate enough
heat to alter the peat into coal. No scenario possible
today could account for this sequence of events if
evolution’s interpretation of earth history is true.
Creationists immediately recognized the educational
value of this remarkable fossil73, but evolutionists
routinely ignore it. The name polystrate ("many
layers") is used only by creationists. You will seldom
find it in the standard literature, even though the
related concepts are easily grasped. Unfortunately,
National Geographic requires a not-insignificant fee
for the use of its photographs, and only on occasion
was this one (opposite photo) used by creationists. In addition to dating, the fact of finding
a scientific explanation for the formation of fossils, is another source of troubles for
geologists. For example some sea fossils have been found on mountaintops, consequently,
these indicate that the sea once covered the mountains, as teaches the Bible. The
ammonites slab of Digne-les-Bains (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence) is a remarkable natural site
consisting of a rock stratum containing a large number of fossilized ammonites. This slab
73 J.D.MORRIS – A Classic Polystrate Fossil
in: Acts & Facts 38 (October 2009), p. 15.
inclined at 60° is made of limestone (photo below). It has approximately 1500 ammonites
of which 90% are of the species Coroniceras multicostatum dating from Sinemurian (Jurassic).
These ammonites can reach a diameter of 70 cm. One can also see some nautilus,
Belemnites, scallops and other bivalves. It is estimated that the thickness of the deposit to
20 cm was set up over a period of about 100,000 years.

As one can see the slab (44°7'10" N, 6°14'2" E) is on a mountaintop (c. 700 m). This
means that the Alps were under the ocean (65 million years ago)! However, analysis of fossil
allows an even more startling conclusion, not only the Alps were under water but the
thickness of this layer of water would have been between 3,000 and 5,500 meters. The
appearance of these fossils helps us to understand the sedimentation conditions. The
excellent preservation of the shells shows information regarding the marine dynamism
having presided over the deposition conditions: a stirred medium, such as a beach, coast,
where wave action is strongly felt, tends to break the shells and leads to accumulation of
fragments, forms deposits in the form of gong or coquina. The vast majority of the shells of
the slab being intact, almost, this has led to the hypothesis of a depositional environment
quieter, deeper, and longer preserved. In addition, this deposition is carried out above the
Carbonate Compensation Depth (CCD), and therefore at an average depth74. Paradoxically,
despite their making fun of the biblical Flood, which says: He has established the earth on its
foundations; It will not be moved from its place forever and ever. You covered it with deep waters as with a
garment. The waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; At the sound of your thunder
they ran away in panic —Mountains ascended and valleys descended— to the place you established for
them. You set a boundary that they should not pass, that they should never again cover the earth (Ps
104:4-9), geologists yet use the same explanation for the formation of the earth. In fact the
main disagreement between those who believe in geology and those who believe in the
Bible is the dating of a worldwide deluge (called Paleo-Tethys Ocean): several tens of
millions of years for geologists versus several thousands of years for believers. Most of the
time the main reason to make one’s choice is not based on scientific evidence (because
there isn’t any) but rather on belief in creation (Bible) or in the theory of evolution. In the
last chapter of his famous book: On the Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin explains:
As this whole volume is one long argument, it may be convenient to the reader to have the leading facts and
74 Calcite compensation depth (CCD) is the depth in the oceans below which the rate of supply of calcite (calcium carbonate)
lags behind the rate of solvation, such that no calcite is preserved. Aragonite compensation depth (hence ACD) describes the
same behaviour in reference to aragonitic carbonates. Aragonite is more soluble than calcite, so the aragonite compensation
depth is generally shallower than the calcite compensation depth. The exact value of the CCD depends on the solubility of
calcium carbonate which is determined by temperature, pressure and the chemical composition of the water - in particular the
amount of dissolved CO2 in the water. Calcium carbonate is more soluble at lower temperatures and at higher pressures. It is
also more soluble if the concentration of dissolved CO2 is higher. Adding a reactant to the above chemical equation pushes the
equilibrium towards the right producing more products: Ca2+ and HCO3−, and consuming more reactants CO2 and calcium
carbonate according to Le Chatelier's principle. At the present time the CCD in the Pacific Ocean is about 4200 - 4500 metres
except beneath the equatorial upwelling zone, where the CCD is about 5000 m. In the temperate and tropical Atlantic Ocean the
CCD is at approximately 5000 m. In the Indian Ocean it is intermediate between the Atlantic and the Pacific 4300 meters. The
variation in the depth of the CCD largely results from the length of time since the bottom water has been exposed to the
surface; this is called the "age" of the water mass.
inferences briefly recapitulated. That many and grave objections may be advanced against the theory of
descent with modification through natural selection, I do not deny. I have endeavoured to give to them their
full force. Nothing at first can appear more difficult to believe than that the more complex organs and
instincts should have been perfected, not by means superior to, though analogous with, human reason, but by
the accumulation of innumerable slight variations, each good for the individual possessor. Nevertheless, this
difficulty, though appearing to our imagination insuperably great, cannot be considered real if we admit the
following propositions, namely, —that gradations in the perfection of any organ or instinct, which we may
consider, either do now exist or could have existed, each good of its kind,— that all organs and instincts are,
in ever so slight a degree, variable, —and, lastly, that there is a struggle for existence leading to the
preservation of each profitable deviation of structure or instinct. The truth of these propositions cannot, I
think, be disputed. Yet, as we have reason to believe that some species have retained the same specific form
for very long periods, enormously long as measured by years, too much stress ought not to be laid on the
occasional wide diffusion of the same species; for during very long periods of time there will always be a good
chance for wide migration by many means. A broken or interrupted range may often be accounted for by the
extinction of the species in the intermediate regions. It cannot be denied that we are as yet very ignorant of the
full extent of the various climatical and geographical changes which have affected the earth during modern
periods; and such changes will obviously have greatly facilitated migration. As an example, I have attempted
to show how potent has been the influence of the Glacial period on the distribution both of the same and of
representative species throughout the world. We are as yet profoundly ignorant of the many occasional means
of transport. With respect to distinct species of the same genus inhabiting very distant and isolated regions, as
the process of modification has necessarily been slow, all the means of migration will have been possible
during a very long period; and consequently the difficulty of the wide diffusion of species of the same genus is
in some degree lessened. As on the theory of natural selection an interminable number of intermediate forms
must have existed, linking together all the species in each group by gradations as fine as our present varieties,
it may be asked, Why do we not see these linking forms all around us? Why are not all organic beings
blended together in an inextricable chaos? With respect to existing forms, we should remember that we have
no right to expect (excepting in rare cases) to discover directly connecting links between them, but only
between each and some extinct and supplanted form. Even on a wide area, which has during a long period
remained continuous, and of which the climate and other conditions of life change insensibly in going from a
district occupied by one species into another district occupied by a closely allied species, we have no just right
to expect often to find intermediate varieties in the intermediate zone. For we have reason to believe that only
a few species are undergoing change at any one period; and all changes are slowly effected. I have also shown
that the intermediate varieties which will at first probably exist in the intermediate zones, will be liable to be
supplanted by the allied forms on either hand; and the latter, from existing in greater numbers, will generally
be modified and improved at a quicker rate than the intermediate varieties, which exist in lesser numbers; so
that the intermediate varieties will, in the long run, be supplanted and exterminated. “We have reason to
believe” is a philosophical or religious allegation, not a scientific demonstration.
Because many clever people believe in the theory of evolution, which it is usually
used to justify millions of years in dating, it is necessary to understand why such a theory is
not scientific at all but rather a modern fairy tale: once upon a time (several millions of years
ago) in a faraway country (somewhere in Africa) appeared by chance, thanks to a very tiny
coincidence but possible statistically (natural selection), a new species: the first man (Pongo-
Tarzan) and, in the same place at the same time, the first woman (Cheetah-Lucy). This
theory (of evolution) is scientifically impossible. First, the concept of species, which is the
core of the theory, is not defined and the concept of subspecies is deliberately confused
with the concept of varieties or races. The only scientific definition of species is interfertility
(ironically, as in the Bible), but it involves a contradiction because two different species
cannot have a common ancestor because the species barrier would have been breached. For
example, there are many varieties (or races) of dogs which had a common ancestor "a
couple of dog", similarly, there are many varieties (or races) of cats which had a common
ancestor "a couple of cat", but dogs and cats of today were not able to have a common
ancestor "a couple of dog-cat" because there has never been interfertility between dogs and
cats. In the same way, there are many varieties (or races) of apes which had a common
ancestor "a couple of ape", similarly, there are many varieties (or races) of human beings
which had a common ancestor "a couple of human being", but monkeys and human beings
of today were not able to have a common ancestor "a couple of ape-man" because there
has never been interfertility between apes and human beings. Apes and human beings
belong to two distinct species, not to two distinct varieties (or subspecies). In fact even the
process of the evolution is not defined, because the “natural selection (a fairy godmother)”,
which is its main cause, is only based on an unpredictable random process involving
complex favourable/unfavourable features. Consequently, paleontologists are always able to
predict the past but never the future. In fact, natural selection is really a wicked fairy
because each year many species disappear but absolutely none appear. Biologists often
argue that new species of flies, mice or mosquitoes have emerged, but this is completely
wrong because they replace the words "varieties/ races/ kinds" with the word "species". As
a result the common ancestor of the present fly was “a couple of fly”. According to the
theory of evolution, there should be millions of intermediate species because there are
millions of species. These intermediate species (shown in dotted lines in the family trees of
species) are called “transitional species” or “missing links”. If you ask a biologist: How
many “missing links” did you find, he will answer first: hundreds (or thousands), but if you
ask him to give you exactly one demonstrable example, he will be in the inability to respond
clearly. Besides, if you read some books specifically written to defend the theory of
evolution and fight against creationist explanations, you will notice that these biologists use
an impressive Newspeak in order to fool their readers. For example, modern paleontology
has often classified Archaeopteryx as the most primitive bird, and several authors have done
so75. However now it is not thought to be a true ancestor of modern birds, but rather, a
close relative of that ancestor76 (“a cousin”), which means nothing scientifically. Each
75 Lowe (1935) and Thulborn (1984) questioned whether Archaeopteryx truly was the first bird. They suggested that Archaeopteryx

was a dinosaur that was no more closely related to birds than were other dinosaur groups. Kurzanov (1987) suggested that
Avimimus was more likely to be the ancestor of all birds than Archaeopteryx. Barsbold (1983) Zweers and Van den Berge (1997)
noted that many maniraptoran lineages are extremely birdlike, and they suggested that different groups of birds may have
descended from different dinosaur ancestors. The discovery of the closely related Xiaotingia in 2011 led to new phylogenetic
analyses that suggested that Archaeopteryx is a deinonychosaur rather than an avialan, and therefore, not a "bird" under most
common uses of that term. A more thorough analysis was published soon after to test this hypothesis, and failed to arrive at the
same result; it found Archaeopteryx in its traditional position at the base of Avialae, while Xiaotingia was recovered as a basal
dromaeosaurid or troodontid. The authors of the follow-up study noted that uncertainties still exist, however, and that it may not be
possible to state confidently whether or not Archaeopteryx is a member of Avialae or not, barring new and better specimens of
relevant species. Phylogenetic studies conducted by Senter, et al. (2012) and Turner, Makovicky, and Norell (2012) confirmed
that Archaeopteryx was more closely related to living birds than to dromaeosaurids and troodontids. On the other hand, Godefroit, et
al. (2013) recovered Archaeopteryx as more closely related to dromaeosaurids and troodontids in the analysis included in their
description of Eosinopteryx brevipenna. The authors used a modified version of the matrix from the study describing Xiaotingia,
adding Jinfengopteryx elegans and Eosinopteryx brevipenna to it, as well as adding four additional characters related to the development
of the plumage. Unlike the analysis from the description of Xiaotingia, the analysis conducted by Godefroit, et al. did not find
Archaeopteryx to be related particularly closely to Anchiornis and Xiaotingia, which were recovered as basal troodontids instead.
Agnolín and Novas (2013) found Archaeopteryx and (possibly synonymous) Wellnhoferia to be the basalmost avialans (Avialae being
defined by the authors as including Archaeopteryx lithographica and Passer, their most recent common ancestor and all of its
descendants), with Microraptoria, Unenlagiinae, and the clade containing Anchiornis and Xiaotingia being successively closer
outgroups to the Avialae. Another phylogenetic study by Godefroit, et al., using a more inclusive matrix than the one from the
analysis in the description of Eosinopteryx brevipenna, also found Archaeopteryx to be a member of Avialae (defined by the authors as
the most inclusive clade containing Passer domesticus, but not Dromaeosaurus albertensis or Troodon formosus). Archaeopteryx was found
to form a grade at the base of Avialae with Xiaotingia, Anchiornis, and Aurornis. Compared to Archaeopteryx, Xiaotingia was found to
be more closely related to extant birds, while both Anchiornis and Aurornis were found to be more distantly so
76 J.A. CLARKE, M.A. NORELL – The Morphology and Phylogenetic Position of Apsaravis ukhaana from the Late Cretaceous of

Mongolia in: American Museum Novitates n° 3387 (2002): 1-46.

prominent biologist has his own definition for classifying the Archaeopteryx among birds,
for some it is “a kind of missing link”, for others a “transitional species” which would be a
“brother group (sic)77”, a “close relative”, a “cousin”, etc., according their imagination (and
yours). For evolutionists, the Life Chain is a chain without intermediate links because they
all have been lost because of bad luck. In the same way, fairies and witches existed in the
past but we have no more trace today (probably because they only existed in fairy tales).
The most recent archaeological research on the prehistory of the Middle East78 trace
the presence of man toward -600,000, homo sapiens toward -65,000 then Sumerian (Kish I)
and Egypt (Dynasty I) civilizations simultaneously occurring toward -3000. This
presentation of scientific appearance is actually a clever evolutionary propaganda because
Paleolithic man never existed, the skeletons found only belonging to extinct species of
primates. Australopithecus, for example, should be classified in the family of chimpanzee
depending on the shape of his skull and feet (see pictures below).

The analysis of the skeletons79 show that “prehistoric men” most represented are
those aged about 15 (70% of sinanthropes die at the age of 15 years), then Neanderthal
man: 80% die before the age of 30 years, 95% before the age of 40, Cro-magnon: 62% die
before the age of 30 years, 88% before the age of 40, Mesolithic man: 86% die before the
age of 30 years, 95% before the age of 40). These lifetimes are characteristic of different
species of monkeys (chimpanzees) or apes (gorillas, etc.).
The prehistorical datings are impressive but meaningless because they are beyond 10
periods of C14 (= 10x5730 years) the residual rate falling below 0.1% which is the lower
limit of measurements. Ages beyond -60,000 only require that the original C14 ratio was
close to 0 at this time, which could mean a period before the Flood. In addition, prehistoric
men supposed to be the ancestors of the Sumerians had dolichocephalic skulls while the
Sumerians had, without exception, brachycephalic skulls. There is therefore no relationship
between these two groups of men. Archaeological explanations are misleading.
Egyptian religion kept the legend of a universal deluge in a simplified form: life (all
first living beings including the gods) would have come from the primordial waters of chaos
called the "Noun", the "Abyss" of Greeks80. Chapter 175 of the Book of the Dead
describes81 thus: You are for millions of millions of years, a lifetime of millions of years. But I [Atum],
I'll destroy everything I created, this country will return to the state of Noun, in the state of floods, as its first
77 C. FORTIN, G. GUILLOT, G. LECOINTRE – Guide critique de l’évolution

Paris 2006, Ed. Belin, pp. 93,107-108,181,187.

78 J.-C. MARGUERON, L. PFIRSCH – Le Proche-Orient et l'Égypte antiques

Paris 2012 Éd. Hachette pp. 41-42, 121-122, 133, 402-408.

79 P.A. JANSSENS -Paleopathology – diseases and injuries of prehistoric man

New York 1970 Ed. Humanities Press.

80 R.J. THIBAUD – Dictionnaire de la mythologie égyptienne

Paris 1996 Éd. Dervy pp. 34, 226, 236-237, 291

81 P. BARGUET – Le livre des morts des anciens égyptiens

Paris 1967 Éd. Cerf p. 261.

state. I'm what will remain, with Osiris, when I'll be transformed back into a snake, that men may not
know that the gods cannot see. According to Egyptian mythology Atum was generated himself
from Noun, it is the personification of the first order from chaos, the image of the Creator,
the potter and craftsman of the world, the successor of Ptah (a god hypostasis of Noun).
This ancient mythology could explain why some pharaohs of the first dynasty built "naval
tombs" in the desert (at Abydos 12 huge vessels of 22-29 meters are side by side)82. Kheops
(Dynasty V) was the last pharaoh to have built a giant boat next to his pyramid. The only
unusual detail agreeing with the biblical flood in Egyptian mythology, describing the
emergence of a world from primeval waters, is the “ogdoad” describing the initial reign of
“8 gods” over world formation. This myth is similar to the story of Noah with his three
sons and their wives or “8 souls” (Gn 9:18-19, 1Pe 3:20). The curious detail of "8 characters
from the water" is also found in the ancient Chinese civilization (the oldest Chinese
characters are dated c. 1300 BCE). In fact, the Chinese character for the word "boat",
appearing in some scripts of the Western Zhou83 (1000-770), is composed of three
characters meaning literally "8 mouths [people of the same family] in a vessel":

vessel 8 mouth = boat

Because of the venerable age of this Chinese character one can not invoke an
(unlikely) biblical influence or a mere coincidence, as the boats of antiquity were large
vessels with any number of passengers and the number 8 has no symbolic meaning in
ancient Chinese84. The Egyptian version of the flood has links with the biblical narrative but
also merges with other legends describing the onset of the world as for example the
narrative on the walls of a small chamber in the tomb of Seti I, called: The Legend of the
Destruction of Mankind. In contrast to the Sumerians who owned annals and chronicles dating
back well before the flood, the Egyptians were not interested in their history prior to the 1st
dynasty. Information regarding the predynastic period (Egyptian prehistory), called
"Dynasty 0" by Egyptologists and dated very approximately to 3500-3000 are very
conjectural85. The Sumerian version of the flood of the same time is much more detailed.
The Gilgamesh flood myth is a deluge story in the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet XI in the
“standard version” similar to the flood story from the Epic of Atrahasis). A short reference
to the flood myth is also present in the much older Sumerian Gilgamesh poems, from
which the later Babylonian versions drew much of their inspiration and subject matter.
Gilgamesh’s supposed historical reign is believed to have been ca. 2460-2400, shortly before
the earliest known written stories. The discovery of artefacts associated with Agga and En-
me-baragesi of Kish, two other kings named in the stories, has lent credibility to the
historical existence of Gilgamesh. In the WB-62 Sumerian king list recension, Ziusudra of
Shuruppak is recorded as having reigned as both king and gudug priest for 10 sars, or periods
of 60x60 years. In this version, Ziusudra inherited rulership from his father Šuruppak who
ruled for 10 sars. The line following Ziusudra in WB-62 reads: Then the flood swept over. The
next line reads: After the flood swept over, kingship descended from heaven; the kingship was in Kish.
The city of Kish flourished in the Early Dynastic period soon after an archaeologically
attested river flood in Shuruppak86 and various other Sumerian cities. The earliest Sumerian
82 B. MANLEY – Les soixante-dix grands mystères de l'Égypte ancienne
Monaco 2004 Éd. du Rocher pp. 38-41.
83 A. PEYRAUBE – Ancient chinese

in: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languares (Cambridge University Press, 2004) pp. 988-992.
84 But it means "make a fortune" in Cantonese where its current importance in present Chinese mentality.
85 P. VERNUS, J. YOYOTTE – Dictionnaire des pharaons

Paris 1998 Éd. Noêsis pp. 198, 206.

86 Modern Tell Fara, Iraq: 31°46’38” N, 45°30’39” E.
Gilgamesh poems date from as early as the dynasty of Ur III87 (c. -2000). One of these
poems mentions Gilgamesh’s journey to meet the flood hero, as well as a short version of
the flood story. The earliest version of the flood myth written in Sumerian is preserved
fragmentarily in the Eridu Genesis (c. -1600)88. The “standard” Akkadian version including
a long version of the flood story was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni (c. -1200). The flood story
was included because the flood hero Utnapishtim is granted immortality by the gods and
that fits the immortality theme of the Epic. Ziusudra "life of long days" in Sumerian,
Hellenized Xisuthros, is subsequently recorded as the hero of the Sumerian flood epic. He
is also mentioned in other ancient literature89. Akkadian Atrahasis "extremely wise" and
Utnapishtim "he found life", as well as biblical Noah "rest" are similar heroes of flood
legends of the ancient Near East. Although each version of the flood myth has distinctive
story elements, there are numerous story elements which are common. Strong parallels are
notable with other Near Eastern flood legends, such as the biblical account of Noah.
The Shatapatha Brahmana (written in Sanskrit) is considered the first great work of
Vedic literature. This anonymous work, dated between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE,
includes a creation myth and deluge story90. The old Sumerian version of the flood confirms
the Egyptian version describing eight gods (ogdoad) emerging from the chaos of primeval
waters (Noun), but more importantly it allows dating this event because it is precisely
located at the end of the reign of Ziusudra and before the first dynasty of Kish.
For honest and scientific historians, “truth” is based on two main pillars: 1) an
accurate chronology anchored on absolute dates (Herodotus’ principle) and 2) reliable
documents coming from critical editions (Thucydides’ principle), consequently the theory
of evolution is ahistorical, because it is impossible to know in which year the first couple of
human beings appeared and it is impossible to find even one witness of this pivotal event
among the oldest writings (dated c. -2,500). In contrast, if we compare the oldest writings
from Egypt and Sumer, including the Bible which appeared later (c. -1500), it is possible to
know when and where the first human beings appeared on Earth.
There have been numerous flood stories identified from ancient sources scattered
around the world. The stories that were discovered on cuneiform tablets, which comprise
some of the earliest survived writing, have obvious similarities. Cuneiform writing was
invented by the Sumerians and carried on by the Akkadians. Babylonian and Assyrian are
two dialects of the Akkadian, and both contain a flood account. While there are differences
between the original Sumerian and later Babylonian and Assyrian flood accounts, many of
the similarities are strikingly close to the Genesis flood account. The Babylonian account is
the most intact, with only 7 of 205 lines missing. It was also the first discovered, making it
the most studied of the early flood accounts. Some of the similarities are very striking, while
others are very general. The command for Ziusudra (Utnapishtim in Akkadian) to build the
boat is remarkable, lines 23 to 30 read (tablet XI): O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubar-Tutu, tear
down the house, build a ship; abandon wealth, seek after life; scorn possessions, save the living. Bring up the
seed of all kinds of living things into the ship. For the boat that you will build, let its dimensions match
among them: will be equal the width and length. The cause of the flood as sent in judgment on
man's sins is striking also, line 180 reads: Lay upon the sinner his sin; lay upon the transgressor his
87 R.J. TOURNAY, A. SHAFFER – L'épopée de Gilgamesh

in: Littératures Anciennes du Proche-Orient 15 (Cerf, 1994) pp. 1-18, 222-247.

88 S.N. KRAMER – The Sumerian Deluge Myth: Reviewed and Revised

in: Anatolian Studies Vol. 33 (1983) pp. 115-121.

89 Including “The Death of Gilgamesh”, “The Poem of Early Rulers” and a late version of “The Instructions of Shuruppak”.
90 A fish (Vishnu in his incarnation as Matsya) instructed Manu (mankind's ancestor) by preparing a ship to survive the flood.
transgression. A study of these parallels to Genesis 6-9 demonstrate the non-coincidental
nature of these similarities. The widespread nature of flood traditions throughout the entire
human race is excellent evidence for the existence of a great flood from a historical point of
view. Dating of the oldest fragments of the Gilgamesh account originally indicated that it
was older than the assumed dating of Genesis but the presence of numerous errors or
inconsistencies in the Sumerian story (highlighted in orange) with respect to the biblical
account91 proves that it is actually older than the Sumerian accounts which were altered
restatements of the original. Despite superficial similarities, the differences between the two
accounts are quite significant:
1 Reason for the Flood human wickedness excessive human noisiness
2 Response of deity the Lord was sorry He made man gods could not sleep
because of his wickedness
3 Warned by Jehovah Ea
4 Main character Noah “rest” in Hebrew Ziusudra “Life of long days” Sumerian
Utnapishtim “He found life” Akkadian
5 Why character chosen a righteous man no reason given
6 Intended for All humans except Noah and his all humans except Utnapishtim
7 Decision to send flood Jehovah council of the gods (primarily Enlil)
8 Builders Noah and family Utnapishtim, his family, and many
craftsmen from city
9 Character's response Noah warned his neighbours of Told by Ea to lie to neighbours so that
upcoming judgment as "Preacher of they would help him build the boat
10 Building time ≈ 70 years 7 days
11 Boat size 450x75x45 feet 200x200x200 feet (unseaworthy cube)
12 Boat roof wood slate (top heavy?)
13 Number of decks 3 6
14 Humans Noah and family Utnapishtim, his family, and craftsmen
from city
15 Cargo animals and food animals, food, gold jewels, and other
16 Launching by the floodwaters pushed to the river
17 Door closed by Jehovah Utnapishtim
18 Sign of coming flood none bright light sent by the Annanuki
(collection of Sumerian gods)
19 Waters sent by Jehovah Adad, with help from gods Shamash,
Shullat, Hanish, Erragal, Ninurta
20 Reaction of deity to the in control of waters The gods scrambled to get away from
Flood water like "whipped dogs"
21 Duration of rain 40 days 7 days
22 Duration of flood 370 days 14 days
23 Boat landing Mt. Ararat (39°34’ N, 44°16’50” E) Mt. Nisir (35°44’18” N, 45°17’38” E)?
24 Deity's reaction to no regret mentioned regretted that they had killed all the
human deaths humans
25 Birds sent out Raven returns, dove returns second Dove returns, swallow returns, raven
time with olive branch, then leaves does not return
26 Offering after the Flood one of every clean animal and bird wines and a sheep
27 Aftermath God promises not to destroy The gods quarrel among themselves,
humanity by flood again god Ea lies to Enlil. Utnapishtim given
immortality like the gods
28 Repopulation Noah and family told to multiply and Ea and Mami created 14 human beings
repopulate the earth to help repopulate the earth
91 Likely preserved either as an oral tradition or in written form handed down from Noah through the patriarchs.
The first striking thing that one notices when reading the Epic of Gilgamesh is how
steeped in polytheism the story is (No. 2, 7, 19, 20, 27, 28). If the text of Genesis was
inspired by the story of Gilgamesh why is there no trace of polytheism? Even with these
major changes not considered, there are many dissimilarities that would not be expected
from a story copied from another story. For example, the timings of the flood accounts are
vastly different. The Gilgamesh flood took only 3x7 days (No. 21,22), whereas the Genesis
flood lasted over a year (370 days). The Gilgamesh flood included several 7 day long events
(Building time No. 10)92. This "perfect" number is found throughout the Bible, so would be
expected to be retained if copied from the epic of Gilgamesh. However, the Bible uses
numbers like 150 and 370 (Gn 7:24, 8:14) — much longer timeframes and without symbolic
meaning. On the other hand the phrase "for 7 days and 7 nights" is a term typically Eastern
for expressing great duration of trouble (Job 2:13). The boats in the two accounts are quite
different. According to the Sumerian account Ziusudra built a boat which was an
unseaworthy cube of 120 cubits with a slate roof (No. 11). Obviously, such a design would
immediately flip over or roll around in the water. In contrast, the ark had dimensions (300,
50, and 30 cubits) that were ideal for a seaworthy ship93. This fact might be surprising, since
both cultures were not noted for their nautical skills. It is obvious that the gods of the
Sumerians had no expertise in shipbuilding. Probably the most unique feature common to
both accounts is the release of birds to determine when the waters had receded (No. 25).
However, there are some significant differences between the two accounts. In Gilgamesh, a
dove is sent out first, whereas in Genesis, it is a raven. The second bird sent is a swallow in
Gilgamesh and a dove in Genesis. A third bird, a raven, is sent out in Gilgamesh, whereas
the dove is sent out again in Genesis and returns with an olive leaf. In Genesis, the dove is
sent out a third time and does not return. If the Genesis account was copied from
Gilgamesh, these details were changed significantly for no apparent reason. One has to
notice that, according to naturalists, the crafty raven is a bird most adaptable and most
ingenious. It was therefore advised to start with the raven to test the state of the country
and finish with the dove, a simpleminded bird (Ho 7:11). Finally, according to the Sumerian
story, Ziusudra was an immortal man (No. 27) living in a land called Dilmun (now Bahrain
Island). However, according to the Bible, even if the days of Noah were extended to 950
years he eventually died. So despite appearances the biblical story of the Deluge is likely
older than its Sumerian version.
Josephus quoted Babylonian archives and its chronology to confirm the biblical
flood: Now all the writers of barbarian histories make mention of this flood, and of this ark; among whom
is Berosus the Chaldean. For when he is describing the circumstances of the flood, he goes on thus: "It is said
there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people
carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs
(...) Berosus mentions our father Abram without naming him, when he says thus: "In the tenth generation
after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans a man righteous and great, and skilful in the celestial
science" (Jewish Antiquities I:93, 158). Mainstream historians do not give much credit to the
list of Berosus94 (c. -280) even if the discovery of several Sumerian royal lists have since
confirmed its authenticity95. These lists, separated by more than two thousand years are
92 A building time of around 70 years is clearly more realistic rather than only 7 days. In the biblical account Noah was 500 years
old when he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gn 5:32) and 600 years old when the flood of water came upon the
earth (Gn 7:6). Thus, Noah could start his construction when his sons became adults (around 30 years).
93 The current large cargo ships, designed to carry large volumes safely and stably, have the exact proportions of the biblical ark,

a ratio length/width of 6/1, which is ideal for buoyancy according to specialists in shipbuilding.
94 Pliny the Elder (23-79) was the first to express doubts about the high ages of ancient characters (Natural History VII: 48).
95 J.-J. GLASSNER – Chroniques mésopotamiennes

Paris 2004 Éd. Les Belles Lettres pp. 71-72.

relatively identical. The list of Berosus appears in the Chronicle of Eusebius (325 CE), who
quotes the account of Assyria-Babylonia (lost) of Alexander Polyhistor. In addition, an
ambiguity in the Akkadian numbering system had to cause these prodigious ages. Indeed,
the unit (vertical nail) and number 60 (pressed vertical nail)96 are written in the same way
and were noted by a "finger" in Sumerian (normal or pressed)97. Thus the expression "5
fingers" read "5x1 in Sumerian" was read "5x60" in Akkadian. This Akkadian reading of the
Sumerian "finger" artificially multiplied by 60 old numbers appearing in the original.
Berosus reign List A reign List C reign
1 Alôros 36000 years Alulim 67200 years Alulim 28800 years
2 Alaparos 10800 years Alalgar 10800 years Alalgar 72000 years
3 Almêlon 46800 years Amme-lu-ana 36000 years [x]kidunnu 72000 years
4 Ammenôn 43200 years En-sipazi-ana 43200 years [x]alima 21600 years
5 Amegalaros 64800 years Dumuzi 28800 years
6 Daônos 36000 years Dumuzi 36000 years Amme-lu-ana 21600 years
7 Euedôrakos 64800 years Enme-dur-anki 6000 years En-sipazi-ana 36000 years
8 Amempsinos 36000 years [-] [-] Enme-dur-ana 72000 years
9 Otiartes 28800 years [-] [-] Šuruppak 28000 years
10 Xisuthros 64800 years Ziusudra 36000 years
Deluge 43200 years 38100
If we compare the C list (the only one complete) with the major antediluvian biblical
characters (Gn 5:3-32, Lk 3:36-38), there is another remarkable parallelism in both the
number of characters (10) as in the duration of their life or their reign:
Genesis 5; Luke 3 Length Character (List C), king of: City Reign/60
1 Adam 930 years Alulim Eridu 480 years
2 Seth 912 years Alalgar Eridu 1200 years
3 Enosh 905 years [x]kidunnu Larsa 1200 years
4 Kenan 910 years [x]alima Larsa 360 years
5 Mahalalel 895 years Dumuzi the pastor Bad-tibira 480 years
6 Jared 962 years Amme-lu-ana Bad-tibira 360 years
7 Enoch 365 years En-sipazi-ana Larak 600 years
8 Methuselah 969 years Enme-dur-ana Sippar 1200 years
9 Lamech 777 years Šuruppak son of Ubar-Tutu98 Šuruppak 480 years
10 Noah 600 years Ziusudra son of Šuruppak Šuruppak 600 years
Deluge Arpakshad 565 years ? ? ?
From the Flood, the two stories, biblical and Sumerian, give a chronology of events
which is verifiable. Joannes note: After the Flood, civilization continued, and Berosus gave the
complete list (which does not reach us) of the eighty-six kings who reigned between Xisuthros and the
destruction of the empire of Akkad by Gutis, over a period which varies depending on the source from
33,091 to 34,090 years. Book II ended with the reign of Nabonasaros (Nabu-nasir), which Berosus says
he would voluntarily destroy the sources prior to his reign to mark it as an absolute origin. The third and
last book listed the dynasties having reigned in Babylon from the Neo-Assyrian kings until the conquest of
Alexander, some passages closely following the Babylonian Chronicles which have survived99. Berosus was
very knowledgeable and his information reliable. Taking into account the multiplicative
factor of 60, the period between the Flood and the end of Akkad by Gutis is reduced to a
length of 560 +/- 8 years. Destruction of Akkad by Gutis can be dated approximately by
the royal lists, which vary from 92 to 125 years to estimate the total duration of this dynasty.
96 R. CAPLICE, D. SNELL – Introduction to Akkadian
Rome 1988 Ed. Biblical Institute Press, pp. 94-95.
97 J.M. STEELE – Calendars and Years

Oxford 2007 Ed. Oxbow Books pp. 85-92.

98 Šuruppak means “The healing place” but Ubarat-Utu could mean “Ararat Sun(god)”.
99 F. JOANNÈS – Bérose

in: Dictionnaire de la civilisation mésopotamienne (Robert Laffont 2001) p. 124.

As the last king of Akkad was Šu-Turul the beginning of the dynasty of Kish could date
back to around 2630 BCE (= 2070 + 560). Using Sumerian King lists, a total of
approximately 32,400 years (due to many variations) is found between the beginning of the
dynasty of Kish and King Sargon I (2243-2187), which would give a beginning around 2800
BCE (= 2240 + 32400/60). In order to date the Flood the figures in Chapter 11 of Genesis
are used and those from the Sumerian royal lists. Unfortunately due to the great antiquity of
these genealogical lists many figures were poorly copied. Regarding the Sumerian lists the
manuscript G100 seems to be the most reliable and concerning the biblical lists of different
traditions (Jewish, Samaritan, Christian), the text of the Septuagint seems the oldest and the
one that was used by all of the chronographs (Jews and Christians), until at least the end of
the first century of our era.
Babylonian chronology currently used101 should be lowered 92 years (= 2004 - 1912)
using synchronisms102 from kings of Akkad, Uruk and Lagash. The period 2243-2020 has
few synchronisms which are precisely datable by astronomy, but the duration of reigns of
the dynasties of Akkad, Uruk IV-V and Ur III is known103 , furthermore Sargon of Akkad,
Iš'ar-Damu (Ebla), and Pepi I (Egypt) were contemporaries104. The chronology of dynasties
IX to XII is locked to the beginning of the XIIth in -1975 and based on the sum of regnal
years. The duration of the dynasties VII and VIII was brief because, according to Manetho,
70 kings had ruled 70 days each (70x70 days = around 13 years) or a period of about 10
years of instability. The set of Assyrian reigns (which are without intercalation before Aššur-
Dan I), combined with the construction length between temples, enable us to date precisely
the death of Šamšî-Adad I in 1680 BCE, which fixes the reign of Hammurabi (1697-1654)
and therefore those of Ibbi-Sîn (1936-1912) and Ammisaduqa (1551-1530). The lunar
eclipse at the end of Ibbi-Sîn's reign and at the end of Shulgi's reign, the risings and settings
of Venus dated according to a lunar calendar during Ammisaduqa's reign, allow us to obtain
absolute astronomical dating that anchor Mesopotamian chronology.
Synchronisms between Babylonian and biblical accounts of this period (2000-1500)
are difficult to check because kings are not named or easily identifiable (Chedorlaomer).
Abraham, for example, after arriving in Canaan in 1963 BCE, time of Shulgi (2002-1954), at
75 years old (Gn 12:4-5), changed the name of Kiriath-arba “city of four" into Hebron
“joining” (Gn 13:8; 23:1) and then, 7 years later, founded the Egyptian city of Tanis (Nb
13:22) which was the first capital of the Hyksos. The settlement of the Hebrews located in
the land of Goshen is also referred to as the "field of Tanis" (Gn 45:10; 47:11; Ps 78:12,43).
Tanis would have been founded by Amenemhat I105 (1975-1946, time of the famous Prince
Sinuhe), but the biblical version might be right because the name of Tanis (ṣo‘an) means
"moving tents" in Hebrew whereas in Egyptian (da‘an) it doesn’t mean anything. Babylonian
chronology (synchronisms are highlighted)106:
100 J.-J. GLASSNER – Chroniques mésopotamiennes

Paris 2004 Éd. Les Belles Lettres pp. 137-140.

101 G. ROUX - La Mésopotamie

Paris 1995 Éd. Seuil pp. 552-554.

102 F. JOANNÈS - Dictionnaire de la civilisation mésopotamienne

Paris 2001 Éd. Robert Laffont p. 264.

103 J.-J. GLASSNER – Chroniques mésopotamiennes

Paris 2004 Éd. Les Belles Lettres pp. 137-141.

104 P. VERNUS, J. YOYOTTE - Dictionnaire des pharaons

Paris 1998 Éd. Noésis p. 159.

105 N. GRIMAL - Histoire de l'Égypte ancienne

Paris 1988 Éd. Fayard p. 212.

106 Astronomical dating are highlighted in blue sky, underlined dates are adjusted from one year to take account of the absence

of intercalation, framed dates represent exact values deduced from synchronisms and dates in italic represent the average values
deduced from synchronisms.
Ur-Nammu 2020-2002 18 [-]-lu 2015-1990 25
Šulgi 2002-1954 48 Chedorlaomer 1990-1954 36
Amar-Sîn 1954-1945 9
Šu-Sîn 1945-1936 9 ISIN Reign
Ibbi-Sîn 1936-1912 24 Išbi-Erra 1923 - 33
Puzur-Aššur I 1913-1900 14 Collapse of Ur
Šalim-ahum 1900-1886 14 -1890
Ilu-šumma 1886-1873 14 Šû-ilîšu 1890-1880 10
Êrišu I 1873 - 40 Iddin-Dagân 1880-1859 21
-1834 Išme-Dagân 1859-1839 20
Ikunum 1834 - 14 Lipit-Eštar 1839-1828 11
-1821 Ur-Ninurta 1828-1800 28
Sargon I 1821-1782 40 Sûmû-abum 1799-1785 14 Bûr-Sîn 1800-1779 21
Puzur-Aššur II 1782-1774 8 Sûmû-la-Il 1785 - 36 Lipit-Enlil 1779-1774 5
Naram-Sîn 1774 - 54 Erra-imittî 1774-1767 7
-1749 Enlil-Bâni 1767-1743 24
Sâbium 1749 - 14 Zambîya 1743-1740 [3]
Iter-piša 1740-1736 [4]
-1722 -1735 Ur-dukuga 1736-1732 [4]
Êrišu II 1722-1712 10 Apil-Sîn 1735-1717 18 Sîn-mâgir 1732-1721 11
Šamšî-Adad I 1712 - 33 Sîn-muballiṭ 1717-1697 20 Damiq-ilîšu 1721-1698 23
-1680 Hammurabi 1697-1680 17 Isin annexed
Išme-Dagan I 1680-1670 11 1680 - 26
Aššur-dugul 1670-1664 6
Aššur-apla-idi 1664 0
Nâṣir-Sîn 1664 0
Sîn-namir 1664 0
Ipqi-Ištar 1664 0
Adad-ṣalûlu 1664 0
Adasi 1664 0
Bêlu-bâni 1664-1654 10 -1654
Libbaya 1654 - 17 Samsu-iluna 1654 - 38 ELAM Reign
-1638 Kutir-Nahhunte I 1645 - 25
Šarma-Adad I 1638-1626 12
Puzur-Sîn 1626-1615 12 -1616 -1620
Bazaya 1615-1588 28 Abi-ešuḫ 1616-1588 28 Temti-Agun II 1620-1595 25
Lullaya 1588-1582 6 Ammiditana 1588 - 37 Kutir-Silhaha 1595-1570 25
Šû-Ninûa 1582-1568 14
Šarma-Adad II 1568-1565 3
Êrišu III 1565-1553 13 -1551 Kuk-Našur II 1570 - 25
Šamšî-Adad II 1553-1547 6 Ammiṣaduqa 1551 - 21 -1545
Išme-Dagan II 1547-1531 16 -1530 Kudu-zuluš II 1545-1525 20
Šamšî-Adad III 1531-1516 16Samsuditana 1530 - 31 Tan-Uli 1525-1505 20
Aššur-nêrârî I 1516-1491 26 Fall of Babylon -1499 Temti-halki 1505 - 20
Puzur-Aššur III 1491 - 24Agum II 1503-1487 16 -1485
-1467 Burna-Buriaš I 1487-1471 16 Kuk-Našur III 1485-1465 20
Enlil-nâṣir I 1467-1455 13 Kaštiliaš III 1471-1455 16 Kidinu 1465-1450 15
Nûr-ili 1455-1443 12 Ulam-Buriaš 1455 - 16 Inšušinak-sunkir- 1450 - 10
Aššur-šadûni 1443-1443 0 -1439 nappipir -1440
Aššur-rabi I 1443-1433[10] Agum III 1439 - 16 Tan-Ruhuratir II 1440-1435 5
Aššur-nâdin-aḫḫe I 1433-1424 [10] -1423 Šalla 1435-1425 10
Enlil-naṣir II 1424-1418 6 Kadašman-Harbe I 1423 - 16 Tepti-ahar 1425 - 20
Aššur-nêrârî II 1418-1411 7 -1407
Aššur-bêl-nišešu 1411-1403 9 Kara-indaš 1407 - 16 -1405
Aššur-rê’im-nišešu 1403-1395 8 -1391 Igi-halki 1405 - 20
Aššur-nâdin-aḫḫe II 1395-1385 10 Kurigalzu I 1391 - 16 -1385
Erîba-Adad I 1385 - 27 -1375 Pahir-iššan 1385-1375 10
Kadašman-Enlil I 1375 - 15 Attar-Kittah 1375-1365 10
-1358 -1360 Unpaḫaš-Napiriša 1365-1360 5
Aššur-uballiṭ I 1358 - 35 Burna-Buriaš II 1360 - 27 Kidin-Ḫutran I 1360-1355 5
-1323 -1333 Ḫumban-numena 1355-1345 10
Mesopotamian chronology can be reconstructed up to Sargon (of Akkad) thanks to
years of reign and the synchronism with Pepi I:
EGYPT length Reign AKKAD length of Reign
Dynasty VI of reign URUK IV, UR III reign
Teti Seheteptauy 18 2255-2237
Userkare <1 2237-2237
Pepi I Nefersahor 42 2237-2195 Sargon 2243-2187 56
Merenre I 14 2195-2181 Rimuš 2187-2178 9
Pepi II Neferkare 64 2181-2117 Maništusu 2178-2163 15
Merenre II Antiemsaf 1 2117-2116 Narâm-Sîn 2163 - 37
Nitocris <1 2116-2116 (insurrections)107 -2126
Dynasties VII-VIII (instability) 2? Šar-kali-šarri 2126 - 25
Dynasty XI (Dynasties IX-X)
Mentuhotep I - 16 2118 -
Antef I Sehertauy - 2102 -2101
Antef II Uahankh 49 2102 - Irgigi/ Imi/ Nanum/ Ilulu 2101-2098 3
Dudu 2098-2077 21
Šu-Turul 2077-2062 15
-2053 Ur-Nigin 2062-2055 7
Antef III Nekhtnetepnefer 8 2053 - Ur-Gigir 2055-2049 6
-2045 Kuda 2049-2043 6
Mentuhotep II Nebhepetre 51 2045 - Puzur-ili 2043-2038 5
Ur-Utu 2038-2032 6
Utu-hegal 2032-2021 11?
Ur-Nammu 2020-2002 18
-1994 Šulgi 2002 - 48
Mentuhotep III Seankhkare 12 1994-1982
Mentuhotep IV Nebtauyre 7 1982-1975
Dynasty XII -1954
Amenemhat I Sehetepibre 29 1975-1946 Amar-Sîn 1954-1945 9
Senwosret I Kheparkare 45 1946 - Šu-Sîn 1945-1936 9
-1901 Ibbi-Sîn 1936-1912 24
Amenemhat II Nebkaure 38 1901-1863 Collapse of Ur
Senwosret II Khakheperre 8 1863-1855
Senwosret III Khakaure 19 1855-1836
Amenemhat III Nimaatre 45 1836-1791 Sûmû-abum (BABEL) 1799-1785 14
The synchronisms obtained by a prosopographical study of the kings of Lagash, Mari
and Ebla108 allow a chronological rebuilding109 (estimated regnal years are in brackets). Since
there are 15 intervals between the 1st king of Lagash (Ur-Nanše) and the last one (Ikun-
Išar), each interval should have a duration of 6 years (= [2320-2234]/15), except the last
ones: Iš'ar-Damu, king of Ebla, who reigned 35 years and his two viziers: Ibrium who ruled
15 years and Ibbi-zikir 17 years. Late Uruk I overlapped the beginning of Lagash I by about
80 years because Lugal-kigine-dudu was a contemporary of En-metena. The end of Kish I
overlapped the beginning of Uruk I by about 40 years, King Agga having been defeated by
Gilgamesh110, we obtain (synchronisms have been highlighted):
107 According to the curse of Agade, the inordinate expansionism of Naram-Sin had caused uprisings throughout the empire that
would eventually cause the loss (progressive) of his capital Agade.
108 A. ARCHI – Chronologie relative des archives d'Ébla

in: Amurru 1 (1996) pp. 11-28.

109 F. JOANNÈS – Chronologie

in: Dictionnaire de la civilisation mésopotamienne (Robert Laffont 2001) pp. XVI, XVII
D.R. FRAYNE – Presargonic Period (2700-2350 BC)
Toronto 2008 Ed. University Press pp. 13-14,39,42-43,121,125,193,237-241,248,295-297,335-337,359,410
110 E. SOLLBERGER, J.-R. KUPPER – Inscriptions royales sumériennes et akkadiennes

in: Littératures Anciennes du Proche-Orient n°3 (1971, Cerf) pp. 8, 70-71, 84, 282-291.
LAGASH I MARI EBLA (Vizier) UR I N° period
Ur-Nanše (18) Ikun-Šamaš Abur-Lîm Mesannepada (20) 2340-2320
Akurgal (5<) Aannepada 1 2320-2318
E-anatum (30) Ikun-Šamagan Agur-Lîm Meski’agnuna (36?) 2 2318-2312
Ibbi-Damu 3 2312-2306
Iški-Mari Baga-Damu 4 2306-2300
Elulu (25) 5 2300-2294
Anubu Enar-Damu 6 2294-2288
En-anatum I 7 2288-2282
En-metena (30) Sa’umu Iš’ar-Malik 8 2282-2276
Itup-Išar Kun-Damu Balulu (36) 9 2276-2270
Adub-Damu 10 2270-2264
Iblul-Il Igriš-Halab Darmia 11 2264-2258
12 2258-2252
En-anatum II Nizi Irkab-Damu Tir UR II 13 2252-2246
En-entarzi (5) Enna-Dagan Arrukum 14 2246-2240
Lugal-Anda (7) Ikun-Išar Iš’ar-Damu ASSYRIA AKKAD 2240-2234
Urukagina (11) Hida’ar Ibrium Tudiya Sargon I 2234-2217
Išqi-Mari Ibbi-Zikir Adamu 2217-2200

The synchronism among Iš'ar-Damu (2235-2200) king of Mari, Ibrium (2237-2220)

vizier of Ebla, Tudiya (2240?-2220?) king of Assyria and Sargon I (2243-2187) king of
Akkad, is confirmed. This chronology can be improved by the following synchronisms111:
Ø Year 1 of Irkab-damu king of Ebla corresponds to year 1 of Nizi king of Mari.
Ø Year 7 of Irkab-damu king of Ebla corresponds to year 1 of Iš'ar-Damu king of Ebla.
Ø Hida'ar king of Mari was defeated by Ibbi-Zikir in year 32 of Iš'ar-Damu king of Ebla.
Ø The destruction of Ebla by Sargon is dated to year 35 of Iš'ar-Damu king of Mari.
Ø The destruction of Mari in year ? Sargon112 is dated to year 9 of Išqi-Mari king of Mari.
Ø Year 1 of Puzur-Estar king of Mari corresponds to year 44 of Šulgi king of Ur.
Ø The reign of Ur-Nammu king of Ur is included in Apil-Kîn's reign, king of Mari.
LAGAŠH I Reign MARI Reign EBLA Reign EGYPT Reign
Ur-Nanše 2338-2320 Ikun-Šamaš 2340-2318 Abur-Lîm 2340-2318 Menkauho 2332-2324
Akurgal 2320-2318 Ikun-Šamagan 2318 - Agur-Lîm 2318-2312 Djedkare 2324 -
E-anatum 2318 - -2306 Ibbi-Damu 2312-2306 (Isesi)
-2288 Iški-Mari 2306-2294 Baga-Damu 2306-2294 -2286
En-anatum I 2288-2282 Anubu 2294-2282 Enar-Damu 2294-2282 Unas 2286 -
En-metena 2282 - Sa’umu 2282-2276 Iš’ar-Malik 2282-2276
Itup-Išar 2276 - Kun-Damu 2276-2270
-2264 Adub- 2270-2264
-2252 Iblul-Il 2272-2252 20? Igriš-Halab 2264-2252 12? -2256
En-anatumII 2252 - Nizi 2252-2249 3 Irkab-Damu 2252 - 7 Teti 2256 -
-2246 Enna-Dagan 2249-2245 4?
AKKAD Ikun-Išar 2245-2245 - -2245 -2238
Sargon 2243 - Hida’ar 2245-2210 35 Iš’ar-Damu 2245-2210 35 Pepi I 2238 -
Išqi-Mari 2210-2200 9 Fall of Ebla - 2195
-2187 Fall of Mari 2200 - Merenre I 2195 -
Rimuš 2187-2178 - 2181
Maništusu 2178-2163 military governor -2164 Pepi II 2181 -
Narâm-Sîn 2163-2126 Ididiš 2164 - 60 - 2127
Šar-kali-šarri 2126-2101 -2104
LAGASH II Šu-Dagan 2104-2099
Pirig-me 2100-2090 Išmah-Dagan 2099-2054
111 D. CHARPIN – Mari au IIIe millénaire d'après les sources écrites

in: Supplément au dictionnaire de la Bible. Fascicule 77-78 (2008) pp. 222-233.

112 C.H. GORDON, G.A. RENDSBURG – Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language

Indiana 2002 Ed. Eisenbrauns pp. 62-72.

MARI reign EBLA reign LAGAŠH I reign
Ikun-Šamaš 2340-2318 Abur-Lîm 2340-2318 Ur-Nanše 2340-2322 18
Ikun-Šamagan 2318 - Agur-Lîm 2318-2312 Akurgal 2322-2318 4
-2306 Ibbi-Damu 2312-2306 E-anatum 2318 - 30
Iški-Mari 2306-2294 Baga-Damu 2306-2294 -2288
Anubu 2294-2282 Enar-Damu 2294-2282 En-anatum I 2288-2282 [6]
Sa’umu 2282-2276 Iš’ar-Malik 2282-2276 En-metena 2282 - 30
Itup-Išar 2276 - Kun-Damu 2276-2270
-2264 Adub-Damu 2270-2264
Iblul-Il 2272-2252 20? Igriš-Halab 2264-2252 12? -2252
Nizi 2252-2249 3 Irkab-Damu 2252 - 7 En-anatum II 2252 - 7
Enna-Dagan 2249-2245 4? -2245
Ikun-Išar 2245-2245 - -2245 AKKAD
Hida’ar 2245-2210 35 Iš’ar-Damu 2245-2210 35 Sargon 2243 - 56
Išqi-Mari 2210-2200 9 Fall of Ebla
Fall of Mari 2200 -2187
? Rimuš 2187-2178 9
military governor 2164 Maništusu 2178-2163 15
Ididiš 2164 - 60 Destruction of Ebla Narâm-Sîn 2163-2126 37
-2104 Šar-kali-šarri 2126-2101 25
Šu-Dagan 2104 - 5 (Ebla rebuilt) Irgigi/ Imi/ 2101 - 3
-2099 Nanum/ Ilulu -2098
Išmah-Dagan 2099 - 45 Dudu 2098-2077 21
Šu-Turul 2077-2062 15
-2054 URUK IV Ur-Nigin 2062-2055 7
Nûr-Mêr 2054-2049 5 Ur-Gigir 2055-2049 6
Išdub-El 2049 - 11 Kuda 2049-2043 6
-2038 Puzur-ili 2043-2038 5
Iškun-Addu 2038-2030 8 Ur-Utu 2038-2032 6
Apil-Kîn 2030 - 35 Utu-hegal 2032-2021 11
UR III Ur-Nammu 2020-2002 18
-1995 Šulgi 2002 - 48
Iddin-Ilum 1995-1990 5
Ilum-Iš’ar 1990-1978 12
Turâm-Dagan 1978-1958 20
Puzur-Eštar 1958 - 25 -1954
Amar-Sîn 1954-1945 9
-1933 Šu-Sîn 1945-1936 9
Hitlal-Erra 1933-1926 7 ISIN Ibbi-Sîn 1936 - 24
ASSYRIA Išbi-Erra 1923 - 33 -1912
Puzur-Aššur I 1913-1900 14 Collapse of Ur
Šalim-ahum 1900-1886 14 -1890
Ilu-šumma 1886-1873 14 Šû-ilîšu 1890-1880 10
Êrišu I 1873 - 40 Iddin-Dagân 1880-1859 21
-1834 Išme-Dagân 1859-1839 20
Ikunum 1834 - 14 Lipit-Eštar 1839-1828 11
-1821 Ur-Ninurta 1828-1800 28
Sargon I 1821-1782 40 Bûr-Sîn 1800-1779 21 Sûmû-abum 1799-1785 14
Puzur-Aššur II 1782-1774 8 Lipit-Enlil 1779-1774 5 Sûmû-la-Il 1785 - 36
Naram-Sîn 1774 - 54 Erra-imittî 1774-1767 7
Enlil-Bâni 1767-1743 24 -1749
Zambîya 1743-1740 [3] Sâbium 1749 - 14
Iter-piša 1740-1736 [4]
-1722 Ur-dukuga 1736-1732 [4] -1735
Êrišu II 1722-1712 10 Sîn-mâgir 1732-1721 11 Apil-Sîn 1735-1717 18
Šamšî-Adad I 1712 - 33 Damiq-ilîšu 1721-1698 23 Sîn-muballiṭ 1717-1697 20
-1680 Isin annexed Hammurabi 1697-1680 17
Išme-Dagan I 1680-1670 11 1680 - 26
Aššur-dugul 1670-1664 6
Bêlu-bâni 1664-1654 10 -1654
The following reconstitution (below) is confirmed by the similar average of the reigns
of Uruk I (16 years) and Assyria (14 years). With an average of 14 years for the 9 reigns of
the Lagash I dynasty its end is fixed in 2200 (= 2340 - 9x14). The chronology prior to King
Ur-Nanše (Lagash I) is only indicative because it is based solely on the durations of reign
from Sumerian lists divided by 60:
KISH I /60 Reign
Ilku’u 900 15 2535-2520
Ilta-šadum 1200 20 2520-2500 URUK I
En-me-baragesi 900 15 2500 - Mes-ki’aggašer 2496-2490 6*
-2485 En-merkar 2490-2483 7
Agga 625 30* 2485 - Lugal-banda 2483-2463 20
Dumuzi 2463-2461 20*
-2455 Gilgamesh 2461 - 60*
Uhub Ur-Nungal 2401 - 30 En-hegal
Mesalim -2371 Lugalšagengur
Udul-kalama 2371-2356 15
Labašum 2356-2347 9
KISH II En-nun-dara-anna 2347-2339 8 LAGASH I
Susuda 201 15* 2325-2310 Mesḫe 2339 - 36 Ur-Nanše 2338-2320
Dadasig 81 15* 2310-2295 -2303 Akurgal 2320-2318
Mamagal 360 6 2295-2289 Melam-ana 2303-2297 6 E-anatum 2318-2288
Kalbum 195 15* 2289-2274 Lugal-kigine-dudu 2297 - 36 En-anatum I 2288-2282
Tub-e 360 6 2274-2268 -2261 En-metena 2282 -
Men-numa 180 3 2268-2265 URUK II (16) -2252
Enbi-Ištar 290 15* 2265-2250 Enšakušanna En-anatum II 2252-2246
Lugalmu 360 6 2250-2244 Lugalkinišedudu En-entarzi 2246-2240
KISH IV Lugalgitarsi Lugal-anda 2240-2233
Puzur-Sin URUK III Urukagina 2233 -
Ur-Zababa Lugalzagesi -2222
AKKAD -2220 Sargon 2243-2187

This chronological reconstruction based on synchronisms shows that royal dynasties

from Sumerian lists all took place in parallel and some successions seem artificial (Kish I, II,
III and IV). However, all these dynasties appear fairly consistent and can be used to date
Sumerian reigns. The Awan dynasty is a special case because it appears after the dynasty of
Ur I (2340-2252) and before the dynasty of Kish II (2325-2244) which is impossible since
these two dynasties were parallel113: (Dynasty of Ur I) Meš-ane-pada was king 80 yrs; Meš-ki-ag-
nuna, son of Meš-ane-pada, was king 36 yrs; Elulu reigned 25 yrs; Balulu reigned 36 yrs; 4 kings reigned
177 yrs. Ur was defeated, its kingship passed to Awan (Dynasty of Awan I) [-] was king [- yrs]; [-]-
lu, he reigned [- yrs]; Ku-ul-[-] was king, he reigned 36 yrs. 3 kings ruled 356 yrs. Awan was defeated, its
kingship passed to Kish (Dynasty of Kish II) Susuda, the Fuller, was king 201+ yrs; Dadasig, he
reigned 81 yrs; Mamagal, the Boatman, he reigned 360 yrs; Kalbum, son of Mamagal, he reigned 195 yrs;
Tuge, he reigned 360 yrs; Men-nuna, he reigned 180 yrs; Enbi-Ištar, he reigned 290 yrs; Lugalmu, he
reigned 360 yrs. 8 kings reigned 3,195 yrs. Kish was defeated, its kingship passed to Hamazi. The
transcription114 of the 3rd and last name of the Awan dynasty is read ku-ul[-] but as no
Elamite name115 begins in kul- the reading should be ku-du7[-] because Elamite names
starting in ku- are always in ku-du[-] and the ul sign may also be read du7. The last king
113 J.J. GLASSNER – Chroniques mésopotamiennes

Paris 2004 Éd. Belles Lettres pp. 138-141.

114 T. JACOBSEN – The Sumerian King List

Chicago 1939 Ed. The University of Chicago Press pp. 94-96, 156-157.
115 There are only two Elamite words that start with kul- (not ku-ul-) which are kula "request" and kullak "sacrifice" (F. GRILLOT-

SUSINI – L'élamite éléments de grammaire. Paris 2008 Éd. Geuthner p. 104), but they are never used in proper names.
mentioned on this prism is Sîn-mâgir (1732-1721), a king of Isin. The following
reconstitution is confirmed by the similar average of the reigns of Kish I (15 years), Uruk I
(16 years) and Assyria (14 years). With an average of 14 years for the 9 reigns of the Lagash
I dynasty its end is fixed in 2200 BCE (= 2340 - 9x14). The name Kullassina-bel "They are
all lords" seems to be an allusion to the beginning of kingship in Mesopotamia. The
indeterminate period after the flood (undocumented in Babylonian King Lists)116 until the
beginning of Kish I (3170-2800) covers the Egyptian period called Dynasty 0 and Kish I (c.
-2800) was contemporary with Dynasty I (names in bold are attested in archaeology)117.
LXX born SUMERIAN KING Length /60 Reign Reign
Noah 600 -3770 Ziusudra 600 (600)
Deluge 0 -3170 Deluge ?
Arpakshad 2 -3168
Kainan 135 -3033
ARATTA Nimrod 2950-2900
Shelah 130 -2903
Ensuhkešdanna ? Tower of Babel c. -2900
(Noah's end) (350) -2820
KISH I -2800 DYNASTY I c. -2800
Gu[-]ur 1200 20 2800-2780
Eber 130 -2773 Kullassina-bel 960 16 2780-2764
Nan-giš-lišma 1200? 20 2764-2744
En-dara-ana 420 7 2744-2737
Babum 300 5 2737-2732
Pu’annum 840? 14 2732-2718
Kalibum 960 16 2718-2702
Kalumum 840 14 2702-2688 DYNASTY II c. -2700
Zaqaqip 900 15 2688-2674
Atab 600 10 2674-2664
Mašda 840 14 2664-2650
Arwi’um 720 12 2650-2638
Peleg 134 -2639 Etana 1500 25 2638-2613 URUK / AGADE
Baliḫ 400 7* 2613-2606
Enme-nuna 660 11 2606-2595 DYNASTY III c. -2600
Melam-Kiš 900 15 2595-2580
Barsal-nuna 1200 20 2580-2560
Samug 140 10* 2560-2550
Tizkar 305 15* 2550-2535
Ilku’u 900 15 2535-2520
Reu 130 -2509 Ilta-šadum 1200 20 2520-2500 URUK I c. -2500
6* En-me-baragesi 900 15 2500 - Mes-ki’aggašer 2496-2490
7 -2485 En-merkar 2490-2483
20 Agga 625 30* 2485 - Lugal-banda 2483-2463
20* Dumuzi 2463-2461
60* -2455 Gilgamesh 2461 -
(/60) (15) -2401
Serug 132 -2377 30 Ur-Nungal 2401-2371
15 Udul-kalama 2371-2356
9 Labašum 2356-2347
LAGAŠH I -2340 8 En-nun-dara-anna 2347-2339
Ur-Nanše 2340-2322 18 36 Mesḫe 2339 -
Akurgal 2322-2318 4 -2303
E-anatum 2318-2288 30 6 Melam-ana 2303-2297
En-anatum I 2288-2282 [6] 36 Lugal-kigine-dudu 2297 -
En-metena 2282 - 30 -2261
-2252 (16)
En-anatum II 2252-2245 7
En-entarzi 2245-2240 5
116 Inscriptions delivered some names as Uhub, Mesalim, Enna-il, Lugal-TAR-si, Lugal-UD, Urzage, but none of these kings of
Kish (city) appears in King Lists. On the other hand, some kings of other cities are awarded the title "King of Kish (land)".
117 ANET pp. 44-47.
Synchronisms over the period 2800-2500 are few because Sumerian records did not
yet exist118 since the invention of cuneiform writing is attributed to En-merkar (c. -2500),
King of Uruk: Because the messenger's mouth was too heavy, and he could not repeat it. The lord of
Kulab (En-merkar) patted some clay and put the words on it as on a tablet. Before that day, there had been
no putting words on clay; But now, when the sun rose on that day —so it was: The lord of Kulab had put
words as on a tablet —so it was!119 During the period 2800-2500 a synchronism can be noticed
because there is only one exceptional event reported: Etana the shepherd, who ascended to heaven
and consolidated all the foreign countries, he reigned 1500 years. Etana had the ancient title "gods
drawn the city"120. The Bible states that in the days of Peleg “Division” the earth was
reorganized after the failure of the Tower of Babel, a building that had reached heaven: To
Eber were born two sons: the first was called Peleg, because it was in his time that the earth was divided
(Gn 10:25). This exceptional event, which was the fortification of Sumerian cities (Agade,
Uruk) and the building of ziggurats121 “built in high/ skyscraper”, is dated around -2640 in
both chronologies. The period 3170-2800 is very poorly documented (the first available
data appear only from -2500)122, the only remarkable event is, according to the Bible, the
construction of the Tower of Babel then its abandonment and the emergence of languages:
Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words. And it came about that in their
journeying eastward [from Ararat] they eventually discovered a valley plain in the land of Shinar [Sumer],
and they took up dwelling there. And they began to say, each one to the other: “Come on! Let us make
bricks and bake them with a burning process.” So brick served as stone for them, but bitumen served as
mortar for them. They now said: “Come on! Let us build ourselves a city and also a tower with its top in the
heavens, and let us make a celebrated name for ourselves, for fear we may be scattered over all the surface of
the earth.” And Jehovah proceeded to go down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men had built.
After that Jehovah said: “Look! They are one people and there is one language for them all, and this is
what they start to do. Why, now there is nothing that they may have in mind to do that will be unattainable
for them. Come now! Let us go down and there confuse their language that they may not listen to one
another’s language.” Accordingly Jehovah scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth, and they
gradually left off building the city. That is why its name was called Babel, because there Jehovah had
confused the language of all the earth, and Jehovah had scattered them from there over all the surface of the
earth (Gn 11:1-9). And Kush [Kish?] became father to Nimrod. He made the start in becoming a mighty
one in the earth. He displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah (...) And the beginning of
his kingdom came to be Babel and Erech [Uruk] and Accad [Agade], all in the land of Shinar (Gn
10:8-11). Nimrod, whose name means “Let us rebel” in Hebrew, was the last son of Kush,
so he was probably born at the same time of his cousin Kainan (3033-2573) and initiated
the building of the Tower of Babel from 3000 to 2950.
Noah 3770-2820 ZI.U.SUD.RA
-3170 Deluge
Arpakshad 1st 3168-2630 Building of Babel Tower ZI.U.SUD.RA (Shuruppak) 3100 -
Kainan 2nd 3033-2573 by Nimrod “Let us rebel” AMAR.UTU.[KA] -2950
Shelah 3rd 2903-2470 Onset of languages. EN.SUH.KEŠDA.AN.NA c. 2900
(Noah's end) -2820 First Sumerian kingdom GU[-]UR (KISH I) c. -2820

118 Cuneiform writing replaced pictographic writing (ideograms with a few phonograms) reserved for accounting records.
119 H.L.J.VANTIPHOUT, J.S. COOPER – Epics of Sumerian Kings
Leiden 2004 Ed. Brill p. 85.
120 R. LABAT – Les religions du Proche-Orient asiatique

Paris 1970 Éd. Fayard Denoël pp. 294-305.

121 16 ziggurats have been discovered, the ziggurat at Sialk (Elam) is dated c. -2300, those of the city of Agade (not yet found) are

only mentioned in some texts. The ziggurat of Babylon was called É.TEMEN.AN.KI “temple of the foundation of heaven and earth”.
122 A. WITTKE, E. OLSHAUSEN, R. SZYDLAK – Brill's New Pauly Historical Atlas of the Ancient World

Leiden 2010Ed. Brill pp. 10-11.

Despite its claim to reconstruct history (sometimes
better than historians), archaeology cannot do anything prior to
-2500. The ancient Sumerian capital Agade, for example, has
still not been recovered and the remains of the Tower of Babel
are a square hole with 90 m sides (the site is visible on Google
earth at 32°32'11" N, 44°25'15" E). Archaeologists can only say
that the bricks of this ancient ziggurat were used to build the
city of Hille nearby but are not able to give even a dating.
According to Mesopotamian literature the ziggurat of Babylon
called É.TEMEN.AN.KI "temple of the foundation of heaven and
earth" in Sumerian and dedicated to AMAR-UTU-[KA]123 “bull-
calf of the Sun”, was the first building made after the Flood (c. -2640). For example,
according to the Enûma Eliš (a Babylonian creation myth written prior to -1100): When
universal law was set up and the gods allotted their calling, then the Annunnaki, the erstwhile fallen, opened
their mouths to speak to Marduk: Now that you have freed us and remitted our labour how shall we make
a return for this? Let us build a temple and call it The-inn-of-rest-by-night. There we will sleep at the season
of the year, at the Great Festival when we from the Assembly; we will build alters for him, we will build the
Sanctuary. When Marduk heard this his face shone like broad day: Tall Babel Tower, it shall be built as
you desire; bricks shall be set in molds and you shall name the Sanctuary. The Anunnaki gods took up the
tools, one whole year long they set bricks in molds; by the second year they had raised its head Esagila, it
towered, the earthly temple, the symbol of infinite heaven. Inside were lodgings for Marduk and Enlil and
Ea. Majestically he took his seat in the presence of them all, where the head of the ziggurat looked down to
the foot. When that building was finished the Anunnaki built themselves chapels; then all came in together
and Marduk set out the banquet. This is Babylon, "dear city of god" your beloved home! The length and
breadth are ours, posses it, enjoy it, it is your own. When all the gods sat down together there was wine and
feasting and laughter; and after the banquet in beautiful Esagila they performed the liturgy from which the
universe receives its structure, the occult is made plain, and through the universe gods reassigned their places
(Enûma Eliš VI:50-79)124. According to a Sumerian version of this poem: No city built, no
agglomeration had been arranged (...) It was then that Eridu was made, then Esagil built (...) Afterwards,
Babylon was made and Esagil completed! Marduk then, having disposed of the gods, the Anunnaki, into
two equal groups, they agreed to Babylon her sublime destiny of Holy City125.
Many scholars estimate that these mythological texts have no historical value, but
several Sumerian and Babylonian inscriptions have confirmed the antiquity of this ancient
ziggurat and the name of its builder126. The earliest royal inscription from Babylon, dated on
paleography to Early Dynastic II (c. -2500), reads: Lo[rd] of BA7KI.BA7 son of Ahu-ilum man of
Ilum-beli man of Ur-Kubi builder of the temple of AMAR-UTU set up [this votive]. The name BA7KI.BA7
could be read Bar.bar, Ba.bar or even Bar.ki.bar (the letter r was read r/l). The second royal
inscription (dated c. -2100) reads: In the year when Šar-kali-šarri laid [the foundations of the] temple
of Annûnîtum [and of the] temple of Ilaba in KA-DINGIRKI and when he defeated Šarlak (early) king of
Gutium. The name of the city KA-DINGIRKI means "Gate of the God" in Sumerian, it was
translated into Akkadian as Bâb-ilim "Gate of the God". The city of Babylon was destroyed
in 689 BCE by Sennacherib, who claims to have destroyed the Etemenanki. The city was
restored by Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar II. It took 88 years to rebuild the
123 The name Amar-utu-[ka] was gradually transcribed Martuka then Marduk (who was maybe Nimrod “let us rebel”).
124 J.B. PRITCHARD - Ancient Near Eastern Texts
Princeton 1969 Ed. Princeton University Press pp. 68-69.
125 J. BOTTÉRO, S.N. KRAMER – Lorsque les dieux faisaient l'homme. Mythologie mésopotamienne

Paris 1993 Éd. Gallimard pp. 497-499.

126 E.C. CANCIK-KIRSCHBAUM, M. VAN ESS, J. MARZAHN – Babylon: Wissenskultur in Orient Und Okzident

Berlin 2011 Ed. Walter de Gruyter pp. 71-74.

city; its central feature was the temple of Marduk (Esagila), with which the Etemenanki
ziggurat (rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar II) was associated. The 7-storey ziggurat (but 4 prior
to 700 BCE)127 reached a height of 91 meters and contained a temple shrine at the top,
according to a tablet from Uruk and to Herodotus' account (The Histories I:181-183). In
331 BCE, Alexander the Great captured Babylon and ordered repairs to the Etemenanki;
when he returned to the ancient city in 323 BCE, he noted that no progress had been made,
and ordered his army to demolish the entire building, to prepare a final rebuilding. His
death, however, prevented the reconstruction. The Babylonian Chronicles and
Astronomical Diaries record several attempts to rebuild the Etemenanki, which were always
preceded by removing the last debris of the original ziggurat. The Ruin of Esagila Chronicle
mentions that the Seleucid crown prince Antiochus I (281-261) decided to finally rebuild it,
sacrificed, stumbled and fell, and angrily ordered his elephant drivers to destroy the last
remains. There are no later references to the Etemenanki from antiquity, except some
mentions of its ruin in the first century BCE128.
Sumerian and Babylonian inscriptions confirm three points of the biblical narrative:
the Tower of Babel was the first building after the Flood, it was made of moulded baked
clay bricks, its top had to reach the heavens (the first skyscraper, the word ziqqurratu means
"high building" in Akkadian). We do not know exactly what was the form of the first
ziggurat (there are some attempts at reconstruction based on the writings of the 5th century
BCE describing only the restored tower but not the original). It has probably been used as a
model for the following ziggurats as the one of Ur, finalized around 2000 BCE by Ur-
Nammu and Shulgi, which remained well preserved. As such brick ziggurats required a huge
maintenance personnel (20,000 people in Ur) those that were not regularly restored
gradually disappeared129 . The Tower of Babel is linked to a famous event, easier to date: the
confusion of languages: Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words (...)
Look! They are one people and there is one language (...) Come now! Let us go down and there confuse their
language that they may not listen to one another’s language. Accordingly Jehovah scattered them from there
over all the surface of the earth, and they gradually left off building the city. That is why its name was called
Babel, because there Jehovah had confused the language of all the earth, and Jehovah had scattered them
from there over all the surface of the earth (Gn 11:1-9). The Sumerian account called Enmerkar and
the Lord of Aratta (§§ 1-12; 134-155), composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. -2000),
describes the conflicts between Enmerkar (ca. -2490), king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and an
unnamed king of Aratta (Ararat?): In those days of yore, when the destinies were determined, the great
princes allowed Unug Kulaba's E-ana (Uruk's ziggurat) to lift its head high. Plenty, and carp floods-(fish
aplenty, barley abundance), and the rain which brings forth dappled barley were then increased in Unug
Kulaba (Uruk). Before the land of Dilmun (Bahrain) yet existed, the E-ana of Unug Kulaba was well
founded (...) the incantation of Nudimmud: On that day when there is no snake, when there is no scorpion,
when there is no hyena, when there is no lion, when there is neither dog nor wolf, when there is thus neither
fear nor trembling, man has no rival! At such a time, may the lands of Šubur and Ḫamazi, where there are
so many-tongued Sumer, the great land to divine laws of principality, Akkad, the land possessing all that is
befitting, and the Martu land, resting in security —the whole universe, the well-guarded people— addressed
Enlil together in a single language! For at that time, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for
the ambitious kings, Enki, for the ambitious lords, for the ambitious princes, for the ambitious kings, for
the ambitious lords — Enki, the lord of abundance and of steadfast decisions, the wise and knowing lord of
127 S.N. KRAMER – L'histoire commence à Sumer

Paris 1994 Éd. Flammarion pp. 151-154.

128One reads: for the palaces and the other buildings, time has either entirely effaced them or left them in ruins; and in fact of Babylon itself

(Diodorus Siculus -Historical Library II:9:9; Strabo -Geography XVI:1:5).

129 J.-L. HUOT – Une archéologie des peuples du Proche-Orient. Tome I

Paris 2004, Éd Errance pp. 149-153.

the Land, the expert of the gods, chosen for wisdom, the lord of Eridu, changed the speech in their mouths,
as many as he had placed there, in the speech of mankind which had been one130 . Sumerian stories
confirm four key points the biblical version: a universal deluge; only one language at the
origin; construction of the Tower of Babel (to be closer to the sky) and a sudden and
simultaneous onset of languages. This precise scenario can be confronted with that
proposed by scholars to trace back the family tree of languages131, but only in broad terms:
According to the Bible Facts According to linguists
Man and language (proto- There is no trace of language The first language appeared
Hebrew) both suddenly appear between 100,000 and 10,000 BCE. between 100,000 and 10,000 BCE
around 5500 BCE. then continued to evolve.
Languages suddenly appear Sumerian, Egyptian, proto-Indian, The first writing appears between
around 3000 BCE after the proto-Elamite, Proto-Semitic 10,000 and 3,000 BCE then
episode of the Tower of Babel. suddenly appear around 3000 BCE. continued to evolve.

Current linguistic theories largely impregnated with evolutionism are mainly refuted
on their assumption of evolution because the facts show conclusively that the oldest listed
languages all appear at the same time in different parts of the world, they have no ancestor,
they are all complex at the origin and all are immediately functional. Historians of writing,
who also traced the family tree of languages, have found that all the ancient languages
(Sumerian, Egyptian, Hittite, Elamite, Chinese, Proto-indian, Cretan) had originally the
same system of pictographic writing (undeciphered) composed of ideograms132 (and
perhaps a few phonograms) and that these systems have suddenly mutated into various
systems becoming fixed logo-syllabic. For example: Sumerians used a cuneiform writing
consisting of ideograms (few) and syllabic phonograms (around 400)133 , Akkadians used the
same cuneiform writing but with another syllabic phonograms standard, Egyptians used
hieroglyphs consisting of ideograms and consonant clusters phonograms (around 700
different signs originally), Hittites used hieroglyphs consisting of ideograms (few) and
syllabic phonograms, etc.
Not only does the biblical account satisfactorily explain why languages appear
simultaneously in different parts of the world but it also explains some coincidences that are
incomprehensible with current theories, because although ancient civilizations had different
languages some of their techniques and beliefs were identical. For example:
Ø The first pyramids of Egypt (made of brick and not stone) are similar to the ziggurats of
Mesopotamia. The Pyramid of Djoser (c. -2600) was originally a ziggurat 4-storey brick
like the one in Ur (in addition, the religion of the Egyptians was stellar during the early
dynasties before becoming lunisolar)134. In Ancient Elam a ziggurat, also like the one in
Ur, was discovered135 dated around 2300 BCE. In China several ziggurats were
discovered136, the oldest date back to the Hongshan culture (2500-2200).
Ø The central scene on Narmer's palette (c. -2800) represents two men tying together the
stretched necks of two fabulous animals. The same scene appears on a cylinder-seal at
Uruk (c. -2500) and in ancient Elam on cups and vases at Jiroft (c. -2300).
130 A. PARROT – Bible et archéologie. Déluge et Arche de Noé / La Tour de Babel (1970 Éd. Delachaux & Niestlé) pp. 79, 81.
131 P. ROSS – L'histoire du langage, B. VICTORRI – Débat sur la langue mère, &ALS
in: Les langues du monde (Bibliothèque pour la science, 1999) pp. 28-136.
132 I.-J. GELB – Pour une théorie de l'écriture

Paris 1973 Éd. Flammarion pp. 80-113.

133 L.-J. BORD, R. MUGNAIONU – L'écriture cunéiforme. Syllabaire sumérien, babylonien, assyrien

Paris 2002 Éd. Librairie orientaliste Paul Geuthner pp. 39-44.

134 Sumerian word god AN is represented by a 8-pointed star, reads ištar in Akkadian and was pronounced in time: aster or ’star.
135 J. PERROT, Y. MADJIDZADEH – Récentes découvertes à Jiroft (Iraan): résultats de la campagne de fouilles 2004

in: Comptes-rendus des scéances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-ettres. 148:3 (2004) pp. 1105-1117.
136 These ziggurats are not accessible, but one can see them with Google maps (34°21'48" N, 108°37'50" E).

All these coincidences are difficult to explain unless one admits that all these ancient
civilizations, despite their very different languages, had been closely associated in the same
place (Sumer) during an early period of history (3000-2900). What was the language of the
builders of Babylon and what was the purpose of the first ziggurat, is the biblical
explanation (proto-Hebrew and to reach the sky) correct?
According to the Bible, Noah's sons (the first 3 families in -3170) initially in Ararat
moved and settled in the land of Sumer and generated 70 ancestral families. Around 3000
BCE, an eminent man Nimrod “We rebel” proposed to his compatriots (about 100,000
people) to build a ziggurat to reach heaven and (getting reputation with their descendants)
this place was called Babel. The emergence of language led to a total confusion among the
builders who dispersed and migrated to different regions. Numerous ethnic clans, speaking
a new language, would move into a
new geographic area, most would
stay there (Egypt, Ethiopia, Media,
Elam, Assyria, Crete, Ionia, Indus,
etc.) and some would continue to
migrate (nomads like Aram). This
change in language led to a resetting
of human history. For example, what
was the name of the hero of the
Flood, Noah or Ziusudra, the city of
builders, Babel or Ka.dingir?
Berosus (330-260), from his position as a Babylonian priest, had the best means of
knowing the Babylonian traditions, he wrote, according to Alexander Polyhistor (100-50?), a
Greek scholar: After the death of Ardates, his son Xisuthrus reigned 18 sari [18x3600 years]. In his
time happened a great deluge; the history of which is thus described. The deity Cronos appeared to him in a
vision, and warned him that upon the 15th day of the month Dæsius [=Ayyar] there would be a flood, by
which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to write a history of the beginning, procedure,
and conclusion of all things, and to bury it in the city of the Sun at Sippara; and to build a vessel, and take
with him into it his friends and relations; and to convey on board every thing necessary to sustain life,
together with all the different animals, both birds and quadrupeds, and trust himself fearlessly to the deep.
Having asked the Deity whither he was to sail, he was answered, 'To the Gods;' upon which he offered up a
prayer for the good of mankind. He then obeyed the divine admonition, and built a vessel 5 stadia in length
[5x157m], and 2 in breadth [2x157m]. Into this he put everything which he had prepared, and last of all
conveyed into it his wife, his children, and his friends. After the flood had been upon the earth, and was in
time abated, Xisuthrus sent out birds from the vessel; which not finding any food, nor any place whereupon
they might rest their feet, returned to him again. After an interval of some days, he sent them forth a second
time; and they now returned with their feet tinged with mud. He made a trial a third time with these birds;
but they returned to him no more: from whence he judged that the surface of the earth had appeared above the
waters. He therefore made an opening in the vessel, and upon looking out found that it was stranded upon
the side of some mountain; upon which he immediately quitted it with his wife, his daughter, and the pilot.
Xisuthrus then paid his adoration to the earth: and, having constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the
gods, and, with those who had come out of the vessel with him, disappeared. They, who remained within,
finding that their companions did not return, quitted the vessel with many lamentations, and called
continually on the name of Xisuthrus. Him they saw no more; but they could distinguish his voice in the air,
and could hear him admonish them to pay due regard to religion; and likewise informed them that it was
upon account of his piety that he was translated to live with the gods, that his wife and daughter and the
pilot had obtained the same honour. To this he added that they should return to Babylonia, and, as it was
ordained, search for the writings at Sippara, which they were to make known to all mankind; moreover, that
the place wherein they then were was the land of Armenia. The rest having heard these words offered
sacrifices to the gods, and, taking a circuit, journeyed towards Babylonia. The vessel being thus stranded in
Armenia, some part of it yet remains in the Corcyræan mountains of Armenia, and the people scrape off the
bitumen with which it had been outwardly coated, and make use of it by way of an alexipharmic and
amulet. The story of the flood is relatively well preserved, but Berosus called Ziusudra
(transcribed Xisuthrus in Greek) the Babylonian Noah and did not use his Babylonian name
Utnapishtim. In fact, Ziusudra is not a birth name but a nickname meaning "life of long
days" in Sumerian. Noah, "rest" in Hebrew, was a birth name and "consolation" his
nickname (Gn 5:29). It makes more sense that the hero of the Flood has received his birth
name before the flood and not after, thus the genuine name had to be Noah, implying that
he and his sons (Gn 7:32) spoke a kind of Hebrew (Shem means "Name" in Hebrew, Ham
"Hot" and Japhet "May he be open").
Babylon's name is very old but perplexes the grammarians because of its
incompatibility with the well established biblical etymology, which connects this name with
the root "to mix, to confuse" (Gn 11:9) and the grammatical meaning given by some
archaeological evidence, which is "Gate of God". This name was translated into Akkadian
as Bab-ilu. Afterwards, once the Sumerian language had disappeared, this name was read as
Bab-ili, or sometimes as Bab-ilani "Gate of [each individual] god". The expression "Gate of
God" was understood as "Gate of Heavens" or "Heavenly Gate", in agreement with the
concepts of this epoch. For example, to express his admiration Jacob said: How fear-inspiring
this place is! This is nothing else but the house of God and this is the gate of the heavens (Gn 28:17). The
place-name Bab-Ea137 "Gate of Ea" is mentioned in the inscriptions of a city dated around -
2200. It seems illogical that the builders of a city would call it "Confusion" especially as the
Bible recorded that these builders were presumptuous (Gn 11:4). Which language was used
to name it? In ancient documents (from -2100) the name of the city is written
KA.DINGIR(.RA) "Gate of God" (and also KA-DIŠ "Unity gate", NUN "Prince Land", etc.) ,

but in the earliest royal inscription (c. -2500) the name is written BA.BAR/L (vocalized Babilu
in Babylonian)139 which doesn’t mean anything in Sumerian, but is close to the Hebrew
name Babel and goes probably back to a Proto-Euphratic Babil140. The Bible likely kept an
exact transcription of this antique city, however the etymology of the name was modified
because the transcription is Babel (‫ )בבל‬not Bab’el (‫ )בבאל‬which would have kept the exact
etymology. The biblical definition is based on a play on words not on a rigorous definition,
like Gilgal "wheel" instead of Galîl "rolling away" (Jos 5:9). The Babylonians themselves
proceeded in the same way, believing that the same sound is connected to the same sense.
In Hebrew to express "confusion / discomfiture" the word mehumah is used (Dt 28:20).
Thus, the word Babel "Gate of heavens" came to be owing to a wordplay as ba-bîl (‫" )בביל‬in
the confusion", which remains close to the name babêl. The changing of balal into ba-bîl is
identical with the name Be-ṣal-’el (Ex 31:3) which means "in [the] shadow of God". The
word ṣel "shadow" comes from the verb ṣalal "to be shaded" in the same way that the
Aramaic passive participle bîl comes from the verb balal "to mix".
The name of these ancestral families being Semitic, the nations which kept their
ethnic name to their new countries (by transcribing it in their new language)141 created a
paradox since the name no longer had any meaning. For example, the Assyrians called their
country, and their national god, Aššur (Gn 10:22) while the word doesn’t mean anything in
Assyrian but "step" in Hebrew. Similarly, the Greeks are called Ionian (from Javan) which
137 A.M. MAHDI -Important centre Agadéen (La Babylonie)
in: Dossiers histoire et archéologie n°103 (mars 1986) p. 67.
138 R. LABAT, F. MALBRAN-LABAT – Manuel d'épigraphie akkadienne

Paris 1999 Éd. Librairie orientaliste Paul Geuthner p. 297.

139 P. LECOQ – Les inscriptions de la Perse achéménide

Paris 1997 Éd. Gallimard p. 140.

140 E. LIPINSKI – Semitic Laguages Outline of a Comparative Grammar

in: Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 80 (2001) p. 586.

141 The name Elam (‫ )עילם‬is written ELAM.MAKI in Sumerian, Elamtu in Akkadian, Hallatamti/ Haltamti/ Hatamti in Elamite.

The word ‘elam could mean "young man" in Hebrew.

doesn’t mean anything in Greek but "clay" in Hebrew. The Egyptians did not give a specific
name to their country but in the Babylonian tablets of Tell el-Amarna (c. 1350 BCE) it is
called Miṣri as in Hebrew: Miṣraim (Gn 10:6). This name doesn’t mean anything in
Babylonian but "distresses" in Hebrew (Lm 1:3). Armenia is called Uruatri (Ararat) in the
inscriptions of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser I (c. 1300 BCE). Once again the name
doesn’t mean anything in Assyrian but "Mountain" in Hebrew142. More surprisingly, in the
early Pyramid Texts (time of Unas), for the ascension into heaven of the pharaoh, Egyptian
priests used formulas of incantation transcribed into Old Hebrew! For example, several
sentences in Hebrew are found inside Egyptian incantations143 . Reading of certain words is
controversial because the original pronunciation it is unclear. The Egyptian words Aamu
(‘3mw) and Retenu (Rtnw), for example, are usually translated as "Asiatics" and "Syria-
Palestine", they fit well with the biblical terms "people of Canaan" and "Canaan". As the
Execration Texts144 transcribe the names Ascalon and Jerusalem by ’Isq3nw (Ašqalun) and
3wš3mm ([U]rusalimum), the Egyptian letter 3 being used for sound r/l (up to 1800 BCE),
the word ‘3mw, could be read Aramu "those of Aram". The region of Aram is very ancient,
it appears as A-ra-meki in inscriptions of Naram-Sin (c. 2200 BCE), but its location seems to
have changed over time, from area of Akkad to Syria145. "Aramean ancestor" is rendered
"Syrian" in the Septuagint (Dt 26:5). The Egyptian word Setiu (Styw) is also translated as
"Asiatics", but refers more specifically to Suteans [of Moab]. When Idrimi (c. 1500 BCE)
fled to the south of Syria, he met the Sutu [Suteans], and then lived 7 years with the Habiru
[Hebrews] in the country of Ki-in-a-nimki [Canaan]146. This term Canaan, which is Semitic,
does not appear in Egyptian texts, moreover, because of migration, it has designated
different areas: Lebanon at the time of Ebla around 2300 BCE (kù nig-ba dBE(lum) Ga-na-na-
im "gift (for) the lord of Canaan"; é dGa-na-na-im "temple of divine Canaan")147, Upper
Mesopotamia at the time of Mari around 1800 BCE (Ki-na-aḫ-nu)148, Syria-Palestine at the
time of Idrimi (c. 1500 BCE), Philistia at the time of Merenptah (c. 1200 BCE).
The purpose of the first Egyptian pyramids (ziggurats) was to allow pharaoh to join
the stars, which was also the purpose of the Mesopotamian ziggurats149, which are called
"House of the mountain of the Universe" (Assur), "House of the seven guides of heaven
and earth" (Borsippa), "House of the King adviser of fairness" (Ur), "High house of Zabada
and Innina which the head is as high as heaven" (Kish), "House of the mountain" (Nippur),
"House of the link of heaven and earth" (Larsa), "House of foundation of heaven and earth
"(Babylon). Nimrod by building a tower to get to heaven was thus the originator of a
universal belief that is severely condemned: upon her forehead was written a name, a mystery:
Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth (Rv 17:5).
142 H.W.F. GESENIUS – Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 8:9)
Michigan 1991 Ed. Baker Book House pp. 82, 232.
143 Like: His spell: “Come, come to my house” (ḳabōbuhu: ’itē, ’itē baytī), His whispering, the uttering of his spell: “God is in me” (’asōsuhu, ḳawwu

ḳabōbihu: ala biya) the word ala is written 333 in hieroglyph (R.C. STEINER – Early Northwest Semitic Serpent Spells in the
Pyramid Texts in: Harvard Semitic Studies 61, pp. 21-58).
144 R. DUSSAUD – Nouveaux textes égyptiens d'exécration contre les peuples syriens

in: Syria 21:2 (1940) pp. 170-182

145 E. LIPINSKI – The Aramaeans. Their Ancient History, Culture, Religion

in: Analecta 100, Peeters 2000, pp. 25-40.

146 P. GARELLI, J.M. DURAND, H. GONNET, C. BRENIQUET - Le Proche-Orient Asiatique

Paris 1997 Éd. P.U.F. pp. 139-140.

147 J.N. TUBB – Peoples of the Past. Canaanites

London 1998 Ed. British Museum p. 15.

A. ARCHI –The Head of Kura-The Head of ’Adabal in: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 64:2 (2005) pp. 81-100.
148 G. DOSSIN – Une mention des Cananéens dans une lettre de Mari

in: Syria n°50 1973, pp. 277-282.

149 A. PARROT – Bible et archéologie. Déluge et Arche de Noé / La Tour de Babel

Paris 1970 Éd. Delachaux & Niestlé pp. 107-108.

Despite this historical evidence the biblical narrative is rejected for the following
reasons: the rapid increase in the population at the origin is considered impractical, the
duration of the first events is considered too short and the age of the patriarchs is deemed
impossible. List of the first generations of mankind (Gn 10:1-32):
Deluge 1st generation 2nd generation 3nd generation 4th generation 5th generation
Noah died in -2820
Japhet Gomer (Cimmerians) Ashkenaz ?? ??
Riphath ?? ??
Togarmah (Armenia) ??
Magog [6?] ?? ??
Mede [6?] ?? ??
Javan (Ionic Greece) Elishah ?? ??
Tarshish ?? ??
Kittim (Cyprus?) ?? ??
Dodanim ?? ??
Tubal [6?] ?? ??
Meshech [6?] ?? ??
Tiras [6?] ?? ??
Ham Kush (Kish?) Seba (Meroë) ?? ??
Havilah ?? ??
Sabtah ?? ??
Raamah Sheba (Yemen) ??
Dedan ??
Sabteca ?? ??
Nimrod Babel (city) ??
(Tower of Babel) Uruk (city) ??
Agade (city) ??
Mizraim (Egypt) Lud ?? ??
Anam ?? ??
Lehab ?? ??
Naphtuh ?? ??
Pathros (S. Egypt) ?? ??
Casluh ?? ??
Caphtor (Crete) Philistines ??
Put [6?] ?? ??
Canaan Sidon ?? ??
Heth (Hatti) ?? ??
Jebus ?? ??
Amor ?? ??
Girgash ?? ??
Hiv ?? ??
Ark ?? ??
Sin ?? ??
Arvad ?? ??
Zemar ?? ??
Hamath ?? ??
Shem Elam [6?] ?? ??
Ashur (Assyria) [6?] ?? ??
Arpakshad Kainan Shelah Eber Peleg
(3270-2668) (3168-2630) (3033-2573) (2903-2470) (2773-2269) (2639-2300)
Lud [6?] ?? ??
Aram Uz (N Arabia) ?? ??
Hul ?? ??
Gether ?? ??
Mash ?? ??
Total: 16 95 [570] [3420] [20520]
year -3170 -3040 -2910 -2780 -2650

When Noah died (2820 BCE) there were around 570 “nations” on the earth.
As the oldest Mesopotamian kings attested by inscriptions are In-me-baragesi and
Agga, around 2500 BCE, Mesopotamian chronology cannot be checked prior to this date.
The biblical text of Genesis chapter 10 gives the partial genealogy of the first generations
after the flood and a genealogy simplified from Arpakshad which allows dating the Deluge
in 3170 BCE. We note that the 3 sons of Noah generated 5 sons (= 16/3) on average, who
in turn generated 6 sons (= 95/16). One can assume that there was an equal number of
daughters (not mentioned). This number of births is high but it follows the biblical
injunction for swarming (Gn 9:7), moreover, Joktan (6th generation) still had 13 sons (Gn
10:25-29). Similarly, the king of Lagash Ur-Nanše (2338-2320) appears on a bas-relief with
11 characters: his wife Abda, 7 of his sons (including his heir and successor Akurgal) and 3
servants. For many specialists, biblical genealogies are legendary, however they contain
many names which existence and antiquity have confirmed.
Another way to test the authenticity of this chronology is to reconstruct it assuming
that the first generation gave birth to 6 sons when it reached 30 years old and the other
generations (from the sixth) gave birth to 3 sons when they reached 20 years old. There
were therefore 32 persons (= 16x2) in the first generation (3170-3140), then 190 persons (=
95x2) in the second generation (3140-3110) and so on:
Period 3170-3140 3140-3110 3110-3080 3080-3050 3050-3020 3020-2990
total: 32 190 (1,140) (6,840) (41,040) (246,240)
-30 years- 3020-2990 2990-2960 2960-2930 2930-2900
x6 (246,240) (1,477,440) (8,864,640) (53,187,840)
-20 years- 3020-3000 3000-2980 2980-2960 2960-2940 2940-2920 2920-2900
x3 (123,120) (369,360) (1,108,080) (3,324,240) (9,972,720) (29,918,160)
-20 years- 3020-3000 3000-2980 2980-2960 2960-2940 2940-2920 2920-2900
x2 (82,080) (164,160) (328,320) (656,640) (1,131,280) (2,626,560)
-15 years- 3020-3005 3005-2990 2975-2960 2960-2945 2930-2915 2915-2900
x1.5 (61,560) (92,340) (207,765) (311,648) (701,207) (1,051,810)

We can see that the different scenarios, including the worst with a fertility rate of
only 3 children per woman (3 children = 1.5 boy + 1.5 girl), all predict a population over 10
million in -2800, because these growth curves are exponentials. These figures bring two
questions: is this growth realistic and is it consistent with the population estimates for this
time? Population studies despite scientific methods of evaluation are mainly based on
conjectural estimates and speculative extrapolations due to the exponential rise of
demographic growth. For example, Africa would reach a population of 115,000 billion (!) in
2300 and Europe and North America would disappear if these populations were
extrapolated from the 2000 fertility rate150. In fact, this rate is not constant, it was 5 children
per woman before 1950 then it has gradually decreased to 3.5 in 2000 (due mainly to
contraceptive methods) and could stabilize around 2 toward 2050 (zero growth). A second
factor plays an important role in the curves of population: "the infant mortality rate". For
example, the world population was approximately multiplied by 2 during the period 1800-
1900 with a fertility rate of 5 when it was multiplied by 4 between 1900 and 2000 with a
fertility rate of 3.5. This apparent paradox stems from the improvement of hygiene which
reduced the mortality rate during the 20th century. Thus the actual fertility rate has to be
adjusted from 5 to 2.5 (1800-1900) and from 3.5 to 3 (1900-2000). Some studies151 assume a
global population (figure hereafter) of 20 million inhabitants in -5000, 60 million in -3000
and 6 million in 10000, but are these figures correct?
150 F. HÉRAN – La population du monde pour les trois siècles à venir: explosion, implosion ou equilibre ?

in: Population & sociétés N° 408 (INED janvier 2005) pp. 1-4.
151 J.-N. BIRABEN – L'évolution du nombre es hommes

in: Population & sociétés N° 394 (INED octobre 2003) pp. 1-4.

In fact, the figures vary widely by source reference (UN, INSEE, INED, etc.)152, for
example, the population is estimated to be between 6 and 60 millions in -5000. In addition,
it is easy to see that part of the curve before -5000 is ideological and only serves to validate
the theory of evolution, assuming the appearance of Homo sapiens around -65000. This
part of the curve is wrong for two reasons: despite wars and epidemics153 the curve is still
exponential during the verifiable period154 from 1 to 2000, so it is impossible to have a
stabilizing (unless Homo sapiens were aware of highly effective methods of contraception);
population estimates of the two most ancient civilizations (Egyptian and Sumerian), based
on their records indicating the number of people to feed in temples and livestock censuses,
give figures155 hardly exceeding one million people around -2500.
Date: -400 1 500 1000 1300 1400 1500 1700 1800 1900 2000
Total (million): 152 250 205 257 429 374 458 682 968 1613 6062
As the growth curve is exponential, extrapolation error is itself also exponential. For
example, assuming a growth factor of 4, then between 1900 and 2000, the world population
would appear around 500 and assuming a factor of 2, then between 1800 and 1900, it would
appear about -1000. If one uses a growth factor of 24, then between 1000 and 2000 (from
257 to 6,062 million people), humankind would have appeared about -5000. These different
extrapolations show that the calculation method is very approximate and an onset date for
humankind around -3000 is scientifically reasonable, particularly since it corresponds to the
appearance of writing which is the best evidence of human existence.
152 J.-N. BIRABEN – L'évolution du nombre des hommes
in: Population & sociétés N° 394 (INED octobre 2003) pp. 1-4.
153 It may be noted that neither the two world wars in the 20th century, or epidemics (Spanish flu) and famines, have

substantially altered the growth curve of the world population.

154 Population of modern Egypt was (in million): 2.4 (1800), 4.4 (1850), 9.7 (1900), 16.5 (1939), 65 (1997) and will be 157? (2075).
155 D.& M. FRÉMY – Quid 2000

Paris 1999 Éd. Robert Laffont pp. 110-111.

A global population of 60 million inhabitants is assumed in -3000, but it completely
contradicts the estimates made from contemporary documents. For example, some
Egyptian lists were established to count the cattle coming from plunder156:
Pharaoh period cattle sheep
Narmer -2800 400,000 1,422,000
Snefru -2500 200,000
Sahure -2350 123,400 248,688
These figures are obviously propaganda figures, even when they are accurate157, but
they give indirectly an order of magnitude of the population of Egypt assuming a head of
cattle was used to provide for live an Egyptian family, or total between 1 to 2 million.
According to Herodotus 100,000 Egyptians worked together to build the pyramid of
Cheops (around -2500) and were recorded regularly every 3 months (The Histories II:124)
which supposes a total of 400,000 workers (= 4x100,000) and a population of about
2,400,000 inhabitants (= 6x400,000). These figures are very approximate, but can be
intersected with those of the Mesopotamian population at the same time, which should be
substantially the same size as the Egyptian population. For example, a text of King
Urukagina (2234-2217) assigns 36,000 inhabitants in the state of Lagash (and not just one
city). This figure (symbolic?) is in agreement with the one, more safe, of 1200 people at the
service of Bawa temple, as 20 temples are known in Lagash, and assuming equal importance
to each of them, we obtain a population of 24,000 people working in all the temples. As at
that time there was throughout the Middle East about thirty city-state like Lagash this gives
a total of about 1,000,000 inhabitants (= 30x36,000) in the Middle East around 2200 BCE.
Assuming that the nomadic tribes (important at that time) had as many people we get a
grand total of 2,000,000 (= 2x1,000,000). A second way to check the population of a city
comes from the excavations of the ancient city-state of Ur regarded as the greatest of its
time at its zenith around 2200-2000. This walled city of slightly rectangular shape (1000 m x
700 m) was composed of about 4500 large houses (15 m x 10 m on average). Assuming a
family of 7 persons per dwelling we arrive at a total of 31,500 inhabitants (= 4500x7). Even
quadrupling all these figures it is difficult to imagine that the world population was able to
pass 10,000,000 around 2200 BCE. As noted previously, a beginning in 3150 BCE with
only 32 people is more than enough to generate a population of 10 million people in 2200
BCE. The most pessimistic reconstruction is based on a fertility rate of 3 children every 15
years (age of marriage). These figures raise two questions: are these values realistic and the
chronological reconstitution given by the Bible is it consistent with all archaeological and
historical data?
The demographics of ancient civilizations are virtually non-existent, however one can
find them again through durations of reigns which are well known. If one lists all the reigns
over 40 years during the period 2600-600, there has been no significant change either in
time or in space (Egypt and Mesopotamia). Longevity had to remain substantially constant
otherwise the number and duration of these reigns would have changed. These figures are
consistent with those of the Bible as the longest reign is 55 years (Manasseh).
2500 1 Snefru 2523-2479 44
2200 2 Pepi I 2237-2195 42 Sargon of Akkad 2243-2187 56
2150 3 Pepi II 2181-2117 64 Ididiš 2164-2104 60
156 F. JOANNÈS – Les premières civilisations du Proche-Orient
Paris 2006 Éd. Belin pp. 76, 80.
157 J.A. WILSON – The Royal Myth in Ancient Egypt

in: Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society N° 100:5 (Oct. 15, 1956) pp. 439-442.
2100 4 Antef II 2102-2053 49
2050 5 Mentuhotep II 2045-1994 51 Šulgi 2002-1954 48
1950 7 Sesostris I 1946-1901 45
1850 8 Êrišu I 1873-1834 40
1800 9 Amenemhat III 1836-1791 45 Sargon I 1821-1782 40
1750 10 Naram-Sîn 1774-1722 54
1600 Moses 1613-1573 40
1450 11 Thutmosis III 1472-1418 54 Joshua 1493-1463 30
1250 12 Ramses II 1283-1216 67
1150 13 Aššur-dân I 1179-1133 46 Eli 1162-1122 40
1050 14 Psusennes I 1064-1018 46 David 1057-1017 40
1000 15 Aššur-rabi II 1013-972 41 Solomon 1017-977 40
900 16 Osorkon II 909-865 44 Joas 879-839 40
850 17 Shoshenq III 840-800 40 Uziah 810-758 52
650 18 Psammetichus I 663-609 54 Aššurbanipal 669-627 42 Manasseh 696-641 55
As these kings generally succeeded one another, from father to son, it establishes the
following equation158 : x + y + z = L, because kings ceased reigning at their death. If there
was a regular succession, usual case, we get: x = z. As the average length over all reigns is 17
years one can deduce that the average age of marriage should be 17 years. The average
duration of these 23 long reigns is 47 years, which implies a life expectancy of about 64
years (= 17 + 47), assuming that all these kings began to reign very young and at an age to
marry. A life expectancy of 60 years is consistent with the ideal age estimated at 110 years159
by Egyptian scribes of dynasties III-V160. A knowledge of the number of sons, daughters
and wives of the Pharaohs of Dynasties IV-VI161 allows one to calculate the fertility rate (F)
during this period:
King Reign Son Daughter Total Wife Fertility
Dynasty IV 1 Snefru 2523-2479 44 years 8 4 12 1 12 5
2 Kheops 2479-2456 23 years 8 4 12 2 6
3 Djedefre 2456-2448 8 years 4 2 6 2 3
4 Khephren 2448-2419 29 years 11 4 15 4 4
5 Mykerinos 2419-2391 28 years 3 - 3 1 3
6 Shepseskaf 2391-2387 4 years - 2 2 1? 2
Dynasty V 1 Userkaf 2385-2378 7 years 2 - 2 1 2 3.5
2 Sahure 2378-2364 14 years 4 - 4 1 4
3 Neferirkare (Kakaï) 2364-2354 10 years 2 - 2 1 2
Shepseskare 2354-2347 7 years
Neferefre 2347-2345 2 years
4 Niuserre (Ini) 2345-2331 14 years - - 1 1 1
Menkauhor 2331-2323 8 years
5 Djedkare (Isesi) 2323-2285 38 years 4 4 8 1 8
6 Unas 2285-2255 30 years 1 6 7 2 3.5
Dynasty VI 1 Teti 2255-2237 18 years 2 4 6 3 2 1.5
2 Pepi I 2237-2195 42 years 3 2 5 6 1
3 Merenre I 2195-2181 14 years - 1 1 1? 1
4 Pepi II 2181-2117 64 years 5 - 10 5 2
These demographic data regard only pharaohs, are they representative of the rest of
the Egyptian population? One can see that the lifespan of Egyptian officials was generally
higher than that of kings as many scribes and viziers were employed under several
158 x = age of marriage, y = period between marriage and the beginning of reign, z = reign's length, L = longevity. With n =
number of King's brothers who succeeded instead of pharaoh's son, the equation becomes: x + y + z/n = L.
159 W.K. SIMPSON – The Literature of Ancient Eypt

Paris 2008 Éd. Actes Sud pp. 18, 148.

160 The real longevity being probably half (L = 55 years, thus y = 21 years).
161 M. DESSOUDEIX – Chronique de l'Égypte ancienne

Paris 2008 Éd. Actes Sud pp. 57-107.

pharaohs. Fertility rate seems to decline as it passes from 5 (Dynasty IV) to 1.5 (Dynasty
VI), but it is not sure that this decline affected the entire population since Mereruka, the
vizier of Teti, had 4 sons, which corresponds to the average of the previous dynasties.
Using a fertility rate of 4 children, age at marriage of 17 years and a life expectancy of 55
years, the population doubles every 17 years and is multiplied by 64 every 100 years:
Period -3100 -3050 -3000 -2950 -2900 -2850 -2800 -2750
total: 200 1,600 12,800 102,400 819,200 6,553,600 52,428,800 419,430,400
This increase is not realistic because it assumes a negligible infant mortality rate and
ignores the influence of epidemics and famines that diminish the growth of the population
drastically, but it shows that under normal conditions the world's population was able to
increase from 200 people in -3100 to 6,000,000 in -2850. A fertility rate of 4 children was
considered high in -1750: And the sons of Israel became fruitful and began to swarm; and they kept on
multiplying and growing mightier at a very extraordinary rate, so that the land got to be filled with them
(Ex 1:7). When the Israelites came into Egypt (c. -1750) they were 75 people (Ac 7:14) and
when they came out (c. -1500) there were 603,550 men over 20 years (Nb 1:46), implying a
grand total of 3,621,300 people (= 603,550x[1+1+4]). Using a fertility rate of 4 children per
woman, an age at marriage of 20 years and a life expectancy of 60 years, the population
multiplied by 2,33 every 20 years:
Period -1750 -1730 -1710 -1690 -1670 -1650 -1630
total: 75 175 408 953 2,223 5,187 12,104
-1610 -1590 -1570 -1550 -1530 -1510 -1490
28,242 65,899 153,763 358,781 837,155 1,953,362 4,557,844
The chronological reconstitution given by the Bible is therefore consistent with all
archaeological and historical data:
ü3170 BCE. After the Deluge the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Gn 8:4).
Noah started off as a farmer and planted a vineyard, which caused him to be intoxicated,
and during his sleep his grandson Canaan did an immoral act (not specified) on him (Gn
9:19-25). After this incident, and probably because the climate became cooler due to the
elevation of mountains (Ps 104:8), Noah's family moved to the east (Gn 11:1-2).
üCa. 3100 BCE. Noah's family, which was
composed of 70 great-grandsons (Gn 10:1-
32), arrived in Shinar (Sumer). The Bible
does not specify the place but according to
the Epic of Gilgamesh (tablet XI), Ziusudra
(Noah) dwelled in the city of Shuruppak,
which is very likely for the following
reasons: 1) this very old city (abandoned
after the fall of Ur) was the centre of Sumer
and 2) although she had two important
administrative structures (É.GAL, É.URU)
these didn’t depended on a temple, that
situation was an exception in Sumer162.
üCa. 3000 BCE. Nimrod, a great grandson of Noah and a cousin of Kainan (3033-2573),
initiated the construction of several cities as Agade, Uruk and Babel (Gn 10:9-10).
üCa. 2950 BCE. When the Tower of Babel had been built, before Shelah was born, God
confused the language of all the earth, scattered the 70 families then the building ceased
162F. JOANNÈS - Dictionnaire de la civilisation mésopotamienne
Paris 2001 Éd. Robert Laffont pp. 825-827.
(Gn 11:1-9). Iawan's family went into the Ionian Islands (Gn 10:4-5), Kaphtor's family
went into Crete and later (c. -2400?)163 a part of the Cretans went into a land initially
called Keftiu “those of Kefte” by Egyptians and then the “Philistines’ land” (Jr 47:4).
Human longevity seems to have remained constant over the entire period from 3100
BCE up to now, which contradicts the biblical data concerning the relatives of Abraham
(prior to 1600 BCE) who would have lived much more than 130 years. These abnormal
ages raise two questions: did they involve everyone and are they impossible?
This difficult question implicitly assumes a definition of historical truth that can
separate the wheat (history) from the chaff (myth). Historians who claim that ancient
history is legendary, or seeking historical truth is a utopia, are liars, because unmasking myth
needs to have criteria of truth, as Herodotus already understood. In fact, believing the
statement "there is no truth" is absurd since it is by definition impossible to prove the
truthfulness of this assertion. For scientists truth has to be measured, its degree of certainty
being related to the precision of its measurements. In history the facts are not directly
measurable, since they are not reproducible in a laboratory, but the time (chronology) and
the place (geography) where they occurred are measurable. According to these two criteria
of truth, the existence of Jesus in Judea in the first century is virtually certain. If we want to
increase the accuracy about time and place, the degree of certitude decreases (Heisenberg
uncertainty principle of measurement). And the death of Jesus of Nazareth under governor
Pontius Pilate is highly probable, but the place of residence (Nazareth) and the title of the
governor (procurator or prefect) are more difficult to determine. For historians (scientific)
truth can be established if it meets the following criteria (necessary and sufficient):
1. Historical records exist and can been used locating place and dating time. According to
this first criterion the disappearance of Atlantis is a fable, but the Trojan War is history
regarding to place (Troy) and period (1184 BCE).
2. Chronological and geographical data have been successfully transmitted. According to this
criterion only some parts of the story from Manetho are historical and Homer's stories
belong more to poetry than history.
3. Chronological and geographical data of the document are not contradicted by another
document more reliable. According to this criterion Themistocles would have met
Artarxerxes c. 475 BCE (cf Thucydides), not Xerxes c. 465 BCE (cf Diodorus of Sicily).
4. The data mentioned in the document do not violate the laws of physics. This last point is
not as obvious as it sounds as shown in the case of Habib Miyan164 who died on 19
August 2008. Indeed, this Indian of Rajasthan claimed to be 138 years old before he died.
Should this aberrant age be rejected? We know that he had retired at 68, according to him
(which seems plausible, but in India, at this time, the retirement age was not imposed),
and had received his pension since 1938. The official document by the registered
retirement fund dates his birth on May 20, 1878, instead of 1870. Thus this man would
have retired at 58 instead of 68, which would give an age "more realistic" of 130 years.
This value, more than double the life expectancy at birth in 2000 in India (62.5 years) is
however beyond current statistics (maximum authenticated: 122 years), but it is not
impossible because current scientific knowledge can not certify a limit of human longevity.
According to the first criterion, the deluge took place on the earth (since birds
entered into the ark, otherwise they would have flown just a few hundred miles if the flood
was local) and in year 600 of Ziusudra, long before Gilgamesh who was king of Uruk (2460-
163 For example a boat from Byblos drawn in Sahure's tomb (2378-2364) at Abusir was around 15 m long with 20 rowers.
164 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habib_Miyan
2400), or in year 600 of Noah, long before Abraham (2038-1863) who was a leading figure
of Ur. The second criterion is less well satisfied because chronological and genealogical data
were transmitted with a few changes or errors (common for older documents). According
to the royal lists the Deluge took place around -3000 +/- 200 (depending on variants and
corrections) and according to the biblical text it took place c. -3170 (Septuagint) or c. -2400
(Masoretic text). The disagreement between the biblical document in Greek (c. -280) and
the one in Hebrew (c. 90 CE) shows that there was a transmission problem. However, a
careful examination shows that the figures of the Septuagint for the Antediluvian Patriarchs
were properly transmitted (see Annex). Historical records which are apparently aberrant
should not be dismissed without this preliminary review. For example, the Turin Royal
Canon gives an aberrant value of [1]53 years for (at least) 50 kings during the 13th Dynasty,
which nevertheless is accepted165 even if this improbable succession of very short reigns
(50x3 years) has not yet received a satisfactory explanation (the succession of the Pharaoh
was perhaps carried by his brothers instead of his sons?). Another example comes from
Sumerian royal lists which have many reigns with abnormal durations such as those of En-
me-baragesi (king of Kish for 900 years), Akka (king of Kish for 625 years) and Gilgamesh
(king of Uruk for 126 years). Because of these aberrant durations, all these ancient kings
have been dismissed as mythical. Yet the discovery of inscriptions in their name, dated c.
2500 BCE, proved that they had indeed existed. In fact, Sumerian royal lists were
misdirected by Babylonian scribes due to a confusion between units and tens sexagesimal
implying a multiplication by 60. Despite some obvious errors, corrected durations give an
acceptable chronology which is in agreement with the few existing synchronisms. If one
requires an absence of errors it is impossible to reconstruct any chronology of the past.
Biblical chronology has several data considered aberrant because they are impossible
according to current statistical data. This review is simplistic because it confuses longevity
(maximum lifespan) and life expectancy (average lifespan) and assumes that these values are
universal constants which is obviously false. Indeed, these "impossible ages" are only
extrapolated values based on current statistics (the mortality rate reaches 100% for an age of
133 years for men and 138 years for women)166, moreover, they do not explain why
longevity is different 1) between men and women (more than 5 years apart), 2) between
countries (up to a factor 7)167 and 3) increases with time (0.16% per year).

165 N. GRIMAL -Histoire ancienne de l'Égypte

Paris 1988 Éd. Fayard p. 596.
166 N. BLANPLAIN – 15 000 centenaires en 2010 en France, 200 000 en 2060 ?

in: INSEE Première N° 1319 (Oct. 2010) pp. 1-4.

167 The rate of centenarians in 2007 out of 10,000 people aged 60 in 1967 was 102 in France, 64 in Sweden, 39 in Austria, 15 in

Contrary to what popular common
sense suggests, human limits are difficult to
set by science. Studies on human longevity
are rare, but they provide amazing data in
accordance with the Bible. A study168 on the
maximum age at death, involving only two
countries (France and Sweden) for reasons of
reliability (check of birth certificates) gave
surprising results: for unexplained reasons 1)
the maximum age at death (longevity) is not
constant but increases regularly and 2) since
1960, there has been an acceleration of the
increase. For example in Sweden, the
maximum age at death was 104 years in 1960
and 108 years in 2000, an increase of 1 year
every 10 years. In France in 1960, the
maximum age at death was 104 years and 112
years in 2000, an increase of 2 years every 10
years. Extrapolating these results, there
should be a maximum age in France at death
of 132 years in 2100 and 152 years in 2200.
The age of Jacob (147 years) is unlikely
in 2000 but will become likely in 2200.
Another study169 on longevity has not only
confirmed the previous study, but showed
that this increasing longevity is an old
phenomenon that has existed since at least
750 CE. The continual increase in life is a
phenomenon observed and measured but the
explanation remains an enigma for scientists.

168 J. VALLIN, F. MESLÉ – Vivre au-delà de 100 ans

in: Population et Sociétés n°365, février 2001 pp. 1-4. (dont 170 centenaires sur une population d'environ 3 millions)
169 J.M. LEGAY, A. HEIZMANN, N. GAUTIER, J.L. CHASSE – La longévité des hommes célèbres. Évolution séculaire des hommes

célèbres. in: Natures Sciences Sociétés vol. 9 (2001) Éditions scientifiques et médicales pp. 19-28.
Contrary to what was believed in the past, human longevity seems to have no limit.
One study170 has even established a projection for the next century. Life expectancy at birth
was 23.8 years for men in France in 1750 CE and 75.2 years in 2000 CE, implying an
extrapolated value of 91.3 years in 2100 CE. This increase of 0.16 year per year can be
extrapolated for life expectancy at birth of 155 years in 2500 CE. According to scientists,
the life of Jacob, 147 years, will have become commonplace in 2500 CE! To say that a
maximum age of 150 years was impossible in 2500 BCE one has to know the factors that
influence longevity, however, we ignore them. We only know they exist. Some researchers
believe that the enzyme telomerase, present only in germ and cancer cells could repair the
telomeres, which confer to cells the capacity of infinite division. Michael Fossel, professor
of medicine at the University of Michigan, concluded that man could live for centuries if
telomerase was activated171. The biblical narrative, with its antediluvian longevity ten times
longer than the current longevity, would no longer be considered abnormal. In fact, the
earliest Mesopotamian royal chronicles have mentioned this unusual longevity172. It seems
also impossible that a man could father at 91, case of Jacob, yet this case has been observed.
In 1992 Lee Colley, an Australian miner aged 92 (died at 100), had with his second wife a
little boy Oswald. In August 2007, an Indian farmer, Nanu Ram Jogi (village Paanchimli in
the state of Rajasthan) became father to his 21st child at 90. Pliny the Elder (23-79)
observed already in his time these exceptional cases: Woman does not generate after her 50th year
and for the most menstrual flow ceases at her 40th. For men, we know that king Masinissa begot a son at
86 that he called Methymathnus and Cato the Censor, at 80, had one daughter from Salonius, his client
(...) Moreover, it is usual meeting ordinary people who generate up to 75 (Natural History VII:12). As
evidence regarding extraordinary longevities is usually difficult to verify, and is often
exaggerated, it can not be used. The only scientific way to determine the longevity of a
group of people in the past, at a given time, is deducing it from the lifetimes of a sufficient
number of individuals. The first (and oldest) census concerning the age of Roman citizens
(3 million) was performed in 74 CE and according to Pliny the Elder: First of all, however, it
must strike us that the variations which have taken place in this science prove its uncertainty; and to this
consideration may be added the experience of the very last census, which was made four years ago, under the
direction of the Emperors Vespasian, father and son. I shall not search through the registers; I shall only cite
some instances in the middle district that lies between the Apennines and the river Padus. At Parma, 3
persons declared themselves to be 120 years of age; at Brixellum, 1 was 125; at Parma, 2 were 130; at
Placentia, 1 was 130; at Faventia, 1 woman was 132; at Bononia, L. Terentius, the son of Marcus, and
at Ariminum, M. Aponius, were 140, and Tertulla, 137. In the hills which lie around Placentia is the
town of Veleiacium, in which 6 persons gave in their ages as 110 years, and 4 as 120, while 1 person, M.
Mucius, the son of Marcus, surnamed Felix, and of the Galerian tribe, was aged 140. Not, however, to
dwell upon what is generally admitted, in the 8th region of Italy, there appeared by the register, to be 54
persons of 100 years of age, 14 of 110, 2 of 125, 4 of 130, the same number of 135 to 137, and 3 of 140
(Natural History VII:49-50). As the statistical distribution of these longevities is consistent
with current curves (in 2000 CE) one can assume that it reflects the reality of the time. The
analysis of the results raises the same problem as today: the number of exceptional
longevities is very low compared to the general population, only 170 centenarians identified
among 3 million people (0.005% of the population) and they are well above (4x) the average
lifespan of the time (around 35 years for men).
170 F. MESLÉ, J. VALLIN – Montée de l'espérance de vie et concentration des âges au décès
Paris 2002 Institut National d'Études Démographiques n°108 pp. 1-6.
171 Aging is a process of great complexity that involves multiple genetic and environmental factors. There are, for example, the

complex relationship between caloric intake, breakdown of sugars and fats in the diet and longevity.
172 J.J. GLASSNER – Chroniques mésopotamiennes

Paris 2004, Éd. Les Belles Lettres pp. 137-153.

An important distinction needs to be kept in mind at this point. There is a difference
between "life expectancy" and "life span." "Life expectancy" refers to "the probable number
of years remaining in the life of an individual or class of persons determined statistically,"
and thus life expectancy was relatively short for ancient societies faced as they were with
war, disease and high infant mortality, "Life span," however, refers to "the longest period
over which the life of any organism or species may extend." Thus, while the average life
expectancy of a society may be short, its life span may be longer, because "life span"
presupposes the age one might reasonably achieve barring life-threatening circumstances. In
a work on ancient Greece median age at death is not, of course, the same as ‘when most
people die’. The so-called mortality curve has peaks at birth, early childhood and early
twenties173. For example, infant mortality in Egypt of late antiquity was very high: nearly
1/3 of all children died before their 1st birthday and more than 2/5 by the age of 5174. Once
a child survived early childhood, however, he or she could expect to live much longer: life
expectancy at age 10 for females of Roman Egypt was found to be from 34.5 to 37.5 years
and at age 15, it was 48, for males, at age 5, life expectancy would have been 40.6 years175.
As we can see it is difficult to connect "life expectancy" and "life span". As we can see it is
difficult to reliably extrapolate values for longevity (extraordinary phenomenon) only thanks
to some calculated lifetimes from a small group of people. These values of life being
isolated, extrapolation is impossible. The exceptional longevity of some leading figures in
Greece (mainly philosophers) is insufficient to establish an upper limit with certainty176:
Leading figure Lifetime Leading figure Lifetime
Pittacos 650-569 81 years Isocrate 436-338 98 years
Solon 638-558 80 years Plato 428-348 80 years
Xenophane 570-478 92 years Diogenes 410-327 86 years
Pythagoras 570-490 80 years Xenocrates 400-314 86 years
Sophocles 495-406 90 years Theophrastus 372-287 85 years
Gorgias 487-380 107 years Pyrrho 365-275 90 years
Democritus 460-370 90 years Philemon 361-262 99 years
Hippocrates 466-377 83 years Cleanthes 331-232 99 years
Antisthenes 444-365 80 years Carneades 215-129 86 years

According to these figures the maximum longevity would be 107 years old, however,
Solon (638-558) who was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet, stated at his time:
Croesus, you ask me about human affairs, and I know that the divine is entirely grudging and troublesome
to us. In a long span of time it is possible to see many things that you do not want to, and to suffer them,
too. I set the limit of a man’s life at 70 years (The Histories I:32). According to Herodotus
himself (around 450 BCE): When they came to Tartessus [South of Spain] they made friends with the
king of the Tartessians, whose name was Arganthonius177 [690-570]; he ruled Tartessus for 80 years and
lived a 120 (The Histories I:163). More surprisingly, Philo (c. -20 to 50) cites Hippocrates in
support of his discussion in the “perfecting power of seven”. In his work On the Creation,
Hippocrates is said to have stated that there are 7 “ages of man” of 7 years each in the life
cycle of a male person: In man's life there are seven seasons which they call ages, little boy, boy, lad,
173 R. GARLAND – The Greek Way of Life: From Conception to Old Age

Ithaca 1990 Ed. Cornell University Press p. 246.

174 R.S. BAGNALL – Egypt in Late Antiquity

Princeto 1993 Ed. Princeton University Press p. 182.

175 R.S. BAGNALL, B.W. FRIER – The Demography of Roman Egypt

Cambridge 1994 Ed. Cambridge University Press pp. 83, 90, 102, 120.
176 T. HALAY – Histoire des centenaires et de la longévité

Paris 2007 Éd. L'Harmattan pp. 34-35.

177 Similar names (e.g. Argantoni) appear in inscriptions of the Roman period in or near former Tartessian territory. A similar

name or title Argantoda(nos) is found on silver coinage in Northern Gaul and may have had a meaning akin to "treasurer".
young man, man, elderly man, old man. He is a little boy until he reaches 7 years, the time of the shedding
of his teeth; a boy until he reaches puberty i.e. up to twice 7 years; a lad until his chin grows downy, i.e. up
to thrice 7 years; a young man until his whole body has grown, till 4 times 7; a man till 49, till 7 times 7;
an elderly man till 56, up to 7 times 8; after that an old man (On the Creation §105). These
quotations show that Greek authors were not interested in longevity but only to lifetime as
confirmed by the translation of the Greek words for different seasons of life:
1) παιδἰον "little boy": 0-7 years, 2) παϊς "boy": 7-14 years, 3) μειράκιον "lad": 14-21 years, 4)
νεαἰσκος "young man": 21-28 years, 5) ἀνήρ "man": 28-49 years, 6) πρεσβύτης "elderly man":
49-56 years, 7) γέρων "old man": 56-x.
Like the Greeks, the Babylonians were interested only in lifetime and not in
longevity. For example, according to a text from the Sultantepe tablets178, dated around 650
BCE: 40 [years mean] prime of life (lalûtum); 50 [years mean] short life (ūmū kurûtu); 60 [years mean]
mature age (meṭlūtu); 70 [years mean] long life (ūmū arkūtu); 80 [years mean] old age (šibūtu); 90 [years
mean] exreme old age (littūtu). The term "extreme old age" concerned only "normal lifetime"
because Queen Adad-guppi (658-554), the mother of Nabonidus, lived 104 years.
Babylonian chronology is considered one of the most reliable, yet it fits remarkably well
with the biblical chronology (LXX). As the Bible does, it distinguishes three main periods:
the first going from the creation of man to the deluge, the second from the deluge to the
first kingdom and the latest ending with Nabonidus. During these three periods, human
longevity strongly decreased.
1. Period from the creation of man to the deluge. According to Sumerian King lists there were 10
kings before the flood who each reigned on average 700 years (list C), the 10th, Ziusudra,
having reigned 600 years. According to the Bible there were 10 characters before the
flood who lived 800 years on average (Gn 5:1-32), the 10th, Noah, having lived 600 years
(Gn 7:6). This period lasted approximately 2500 years according to the Great Babylonian
Genesis: When the gods made man (...) They did count their years of task: [two thousand] and five
hundred years and more (...) When Enlil had heard their rumour, he addressed the great gods: The
rumor of human beings became too strong, I can no longer sleep with that racket! So cut them food
supplies179. According to the Bible, this first period lasted about 2250 years.
2. Period from the deluge to the first kingdom. Reigns duration over the period 2800-2500 was
multiplied by 60, likely due to the fact that the invention of cuneiform writing (instead of
pictographic writing) is attributed to En-merkar (c. 2500 BCE). Babylonian scribes
(deliberately?) mistook the signs for units and tens (base 60), which were identical. This
error was consistent with their knowledge of the past because according to a Sumerian
text (c. 2100 BCE): When the flood had swept everything away and caused the ruin of the land,
ensured however, remained permanently men and preserved their offspring: the black-heads [Sumerians]
could resurface from their clay. But when An and Enlil had again called into existence the men, if they
instituted the Government, the Monarchy jewel of cities, they did not set it down here on earth! To the
disappeared crowd of humanity successors they did not put more in place, by (?) Ningirsu, spade or hoe,
or bassinet, or plough, which animate the earth! In those days the, men had for 100 years, and when they
reached their old age, they still had for 100 years! But, unable to perform the work required, their
number was greatly reduced [...] In his time, there was not yet writing (Journal of Cuneiform
Studies XXI p. 279 s.). According to this text, men after the Flood and prior to Sumerian
kingship were all bicentenary. Biblical life spans decreases gradually from 600 years to
300 years over the period 3170-2500.
178 M. ENG – The Days of Ours Years: A Lexical Semantic Study of the Life Cycle in the Biblical Israel
New York 2011 Ed. Bloomsbury Publishing pp. 36-50.
179 J. BOTTÉRO, S.N. KRAMER – Lorsque les dieux faisaient l'homme. Mythologie mésopotamienne

Paris 1993 Éd. Gallimard pp. 520-522, 530-531, 543.

3. Period from the first kingdom to Nabonidus. During this last period the two chronologies
coincide. Babylonian life span is around 65 years and biblical life span decreases regularly
from 300 years to 70 over the period 2500-1500 and then stabilizes.
The agreement between the two chronologies is excellent, the only thing to check
being some abnormal life spans. Lifetime of some biblical characters:
lifespan character (LXX) Fathered (1) Died (2) (2)/(1) reigned reference
3270-2668 Shem 102 years 602 years 5.9 Gn 11:5:32; 10-11; Lk 3:36
3168-2630 Arpakshad 135 years 538 years 4.0 Gn 11:10-13; Lk 3:36
3033-2573 Kainan 130 years 460 years 3.5 Gn 11:13; Lk 3:36
2903-2470 Shelah 130 years 433 years 3.3 Gn 11:14-15; Lk 3:35
2773-2269 Eber 134 years 504 years 3.8 Gn 11:15-17; Lk 3:35
2639-2300 Peleg 130 years 339 years 2.6 Gn 11:16-19; Lk 3:35
2509-2170 Reu 132 years 339 years 2.6 Gn 11:18-21; Lk 3:35
2377-2047 Serug 130 years 330 years 2.5 Gn 11:20-22; Lk 3:35
2247-2039 Nahor I 79 years 208 years 2.6 Gn 11:24-25; Lk 3:34
2168-1963 Terah 70 years 205 years 2.9 Gn 11:25-26; Lk 3:34
2038-1863 Abraham 86 years 175 years 2.0 Gn 16:16; 25:7; Lk 3:34
2028-1901 (Sara) (90 years) 127 years - Gn 23:1
1952-1815 Ismael ? 137 years - Gn 16:16; 25:17
1938-1758 Isaac 60 years 180 years 3.0 Gn 25:6; 35:28; Lk 3:34
1878-1731 Jacob 91 years 147 years 1.6 Gn 47:28; Lk 3:34
1788-1678 Joseph 37 years 110 years 3.0 Gn 41:46-50; 50:22
[1710-1500] Job ? 210 years - Job 42:12-17
[1683-1550] Qehat ? 133 years - Ex 6:18
[1643-1506] Amram ? 137 years - Ex 6:20
1616-1493 Aaron ? 123 years - (40 years) Nb 33:39
1613-1493 Moses 40 years 120 years 3.0 (40 years) Dt 34:7
1573-1513 [generation lifespan] 20 years 60 years 3.0 - Nb 32:11-13
1573-1463 Joshua ? 110 years - (30 years) Jg 2:8
1573-1493 [generation longevity] ? 80 years - - Ps 90:1,10
[1406-1306] Ehud ? [100 years] - (80 years) Jg 3:26-30
[1280-1211] Jaïr ? [70 years?] - (22 years) Jg 10:3-5
1220-1122 Eli ? 98 years - (40 years) 1Sa 4:15,18
[1162-1062] Samuel ? [100 years] - - 1Sa 1:24,25; 25:1
1107-1027 Barzillaï ? 80 years - - 2Sa 19:33-36
1131-1057 Saul 16 years? 74 years 4.6 40 years Ac 13:21; 2Sa 2:10
1115-1057 Jonathan ? 58 years - (18 years) 1Ch 8:33
1087-1017 David 30 years 70 years 2.3 40 years 2Sa 5:4
1035-977 Salomon 17 years 58 years 3.4 40 years 1Ki 11:42; 14:21
1018-960 Roboam ? 58 years - 17 years 1Ki 14:21
1010-840 Yehoyada ? 130 years - - 2Ch 24:15
1007-885 Ahaziah ? 23 years - 1 year 2Ch 22:2
886-839 Joas 22 years 47 years 2.1 40 years 2Ch 24:1
863-809 Amasiah 38 years 54 years 1.4 29 years 2Ch 25:1
826-758 Uziah 52 years 68 years 1.3 52 years 2Ch 26:1
782-741 Jotham 21 years 41 years 2.0 16 years 2Ch 27:1
762-726 Achaz 11 years 36 years 3.3 16 years 2Ch 28:1
751-697 Hezekiah 42 years 54 years 1.3 29 years 2Ch 29:1
708-641 Manasseh 45 years 67 years 1.5 55 years 2Ch 33:1
633-609 Amon 16 years 24 years 1.5 2 years 2Ki 21:19
648-609 Josias 13 years 39 years 3.0 31 years 2Ch 34:1
623-561 Joiakîn ? 84 years - (26 years) 2Ki 23:36; 25:27
[617-537] Daniel ? 80 years - - Dn 1:1; 11:1-12:13
[485-405] Nehemiah ? [80 years?] - - Ne 1:1-2:1; 12:22
[ 84 - 1] (Widow) (?) 84 years - - Lk 2:36,37
[ 1 -100] John ? [100 years] - - Rv 1:9
Before examining the authenticity of these exceptional longevities (prior to Moses)
several preliminary issues must be resolved:
Ø Have these figures been correctly transmitted? It seems so because there is little
difference180 (from Abraham's story) between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint (or
the Samaritan Pentateuch).
Ø Did the word "year" mean a period of one month prior to Abraham? In this case Terah
would have lived 17 years and would have fathered at 6, which is a new aberration.
Ø Did these exceptional longevities involve the entire population or only the ancestors of
Moses? According to a prayer attributed to Moses: The span of our life is 70 years — 80 for
those who are strong — but their whole extent is anxiety and trouble, they are over in a moment and we
are gone. (Ps 90:10). According to the Pentateuch (written by Moses), the Levites had to
start working at 20 and had to retire at 50 (Nb 8:25). All the generation of Moses,
constituted of men 20 years old upward, died after staying 40 years in the wilderness (Nb
32:11-13). These remarks are consistent: at this time the lifetime of the population was
around 60 years and its longevity was around 80 years. The 120 years of Moses are not
representative of a normal longevity. Likewise the longevities of the predecessors of
Moses are different from the rest of the population. For example, Abraham lived 175
years but Sara (his first wife) lived only 127 years and when she learned that she would
have a child at the age of 90, her husband being 100 years old, she left in a nervous giggle
(Gn 18:12-14). David aged 70 and Barzillai 80 are presented as old men (1Ki 1:1, 2Sa
19:32). In the New Testament old age begins between 50 and 60 (Jn 8:57, 1Ti 5:9).
Exceptional durations in the biblical text are not representative of the whole population,
they are in fact limited to the ancestors of Moses, and many of these durations are
presented as miraculous. For example, Job who lived 210 years (240 years according to
the Septuagint)181 received miraculously an additional182 140 years (Job 42:16). Exceeding
the age of 100 years is presented as being common in the messianic world to come (Is
Ø Are genealogies and extraordinary longevities of antediluvian men and patriarchs inspired
by Sumerian legends? It is true that the similarities are obvious as can be seen in the
following table:
Genesis 5 Lifespan King List (List C) Lifespan
1 Adam 5426-4496 930 years Alulim 5660-5180 480 years
2 Seth 5196-4284 912 years Alalgar 5450-4250 1200 years
3 Enosh 4991-4086 905 years [x]kidunnu 5240-4040 1200 years
4 Kenan 4801-3891 910 years [x]alima 5030-4670 360 years
5 Mahalalel 4631-3736 895 years Dumuzi the sheper 4820-4340 480 years
6 Jared 4466-3504 962 years Amme-lu-ana 4610-4250 360 years
7 Enoch 4304-3939 365 years En-sipazi-ana 4400-3800 600 years
8 Methuselah 4139-3170 969 years Enme-dur-ana 4190-2990 1200 years
9 Lamech 3952-3175 777 years Šuruppak 3980-3500 480 years
10 Noah 3770-(3170) 600 years Ziusudra 3770-(3170) 600 years
Deluge Deluge
Arpakshad 3168-2630 565 years (city of Šuruppak) ? ?
Kainan 3033-2573 460 years Amar-utu (Marduk) 3050-2850 200 years
Shelah 2903-2470 433 years Gu[-]ur 2850-2780 60-80 years
Peleg 2639-2300 339 years Etana the sheper 2675-2610 60-70 years
Moses 1613-1493 120 years Hammurabi 1719-1654 60-70 years
[generation in Sinai] 1573-1513 60 years Samsuditana 1564-1499 60-70 years
Uzziah 826-758 68 years Tiglath-pileser III 795-727 68 years
180 Main differences with the Septuagint: 240 years for Job (210), 130 years for Kohath (133), 132 years for Amram (137), 90

years for Eli (98).

181 Job's friends (Job 2:11) belong to the 5th generation from Abraham (starting around 1750-1700). Job in the Septuagint is

identified as Jobab, a chief of Edom (Gn 36:9-39). Moses would have written the Book of Job (Talmud Baba Batra 14b) to the
end of his life (Dt 31:1-9). According to the Seder Olam §3, Job would have lived 210 years (= 140 + 140/2).
182 Solomon lived only 58 years but his does not contradict the text of 1 Kings 3:14 (conditional promise of longevity).
The biblical text could not have been copied from Sumerian stories for the following
reasons. Concerning the longevities of the antediluvian biblical text: they are all of the same
order of magnitude about 900 years (except Enoch) which is more logical than the royal
lists that vary randomly by a factor of three (360 to 1200 years); they are all different which
is more logical than the royal lists in which all the values are quoted at least twice; they have
no connection with one another which is more logical than the royal lists many of which are
multiples of 60 years. Concerning the flood story: the ark was a huge cube of side 60 meters
according to the Mesopotamian story which is an absurdity for buoyancy and Ziusudra was
eternal and living in Bahrain, which is evidently not possible. With the exception of
miracles, presented as such, the Bible contains no information contrary to modern science,
yet most of this scientific information was unknown in the Middle Ages183. The
extraordinary longevities in the Bible can not be dismissed as impossible as scientists do not
know the factors that come into play184 (climate, food, genetics, age of paternity, etc.). In
the present state of our knowledge, the cause of these variations remain a mystery, they can
not be used to disqualify the biblical text seeing that all its historical data have a high
coherence between them as, for example, Sumerian and biblical lifespans:

Time, which is a major preoccupation of European literary tradition, is seldom a

central issue in Akkadian literature. The Babylonian concept of time was linear rather than
cyclical. Time was concrete and calendric, the sum total of days, months, and years. Normal
time and normal human lifespans were thought to have existed only since the Flood. Prior
to the Flood, the synchronism of biological and calendric time was different185. Sumerian
183 The universe began in a Big Bang (Gn 1:1) then appeared in order: plants, fish, mammals, and finally men, there is no

spontaneous generation (Gn 1:25) and no possible crossing between species (Gn 1:21), there are as many stars as grains of sand
on the earth (Gn 22:17); animals are governed by Mendel's law (Gn 31:8-12); the earth is upon nothing (Job 26:7), we must bury
feces [to prevent cholera] (Dt 23:13), we must apply the quarantine patients (Lv 13:46-59); psychosomatic illnesses exist (Pr 14:30),
co-blood marriages are discouraged (Lv 18:6), as well as astrology and spiritism (Dt 18:10-11), there is a water cycle (Ec 1:7).
184 Josephus noted already in his time (1st century CE), most of the Essenes lived beyond 100 years. He assumed that such an

unusual longevity was due to a simple and orderly life (Jewish War II:151).
185 D. O’CONNOR – Boat graves and Pyramid origins. New discoveries at Abydos, Egypt.

in: Expedition n° 33:3 (1991), pp. 5-17.

and biblical accounts agree with the genealogies of prominent people prior to the flood and
their chronologies. Nothing allows us to say that these exceptional longevities involved the
entire population. It is possible that this feature was linked to a genetic aspect. One can
note also that the decrease in lifespan curves is exponential which is characteristic of living
processes. The exceptional antediluvian longevities would have therefore quickly
disappeared after the Deluge, around 2800 BCE, but only toward 1600 BCE for the
offspring of Arpakshad. In the present state of our knowledge it is not possible to explain
the presence of the extraordinary longevities prior to Jacob/Israel as well as it is impossible
to prove that they are exaggerated. Some rationalists claim that Noah was a legendary
character and the Deluge was local, but the New Testament introduces Noah as one of the
ancestors of Jesus (Lk 4:23-36; Heb 11:7; 1Pi 3:20) and the Deluge as a global disaster of
the past foreshadowing the end of the world to come (Lk 17:26-27; Mt 24:37-39; 2Pi 2:5).
Without the Flood, many events of the past would be unexplainable. For example,
Sumerians appeared suddenly around 3000 BCE ("after the Deluge" according to Sumerian
king lists!) without any known ancestors and differed from Semites (Akkadians) only by
their language186 . Similarly, Egyptians appeared suddenly around 2950 BCE without any
known ancestors. Sumerian and Egyptian are two languages that are complex from the
outset and which come from no other! Etana (2638-2613), a king of Kish I, created the
Sumerian ziggurat (a skyscraper with 4 floors) to connect his earthly kingship to heaven (a
concept from the Tower of Babel) and at exactly the same time Khasekhemwy (2614-2597),
an Egyptian king, created the same ziggurat for its funeral complex in Abydos by burying
also 12 large vessels (22-29 meters long)187! Djoser (2597-2578) built the same ziggurat for
its funeral complex (apparently without a boat)188.
Some sceptics argue that the Bible carries lots of legendary data that is incorrect. This
recurrent accusation, often repeated by conformism, is based on texts which are
misunderstood, taken out of context or in opposition to official teaching189. Thus, another
indirect way to test the authenticity of biblical figures is to check if they induce
chronological contradictions (inside the text itself / with absolute dates). First, a critical
edition of the biblical text, free from errors and skilful corrections, is needed.

186 M.-J. SEUX – Sumer in: Supplément au dictionnaire de la Bible. Fascicule 73 (2002) pp. 338-359.
187 R. HOBSON – The Exact Transmission of the Texts in the First Millenium B.C.E.
Sydney 2009 Ed. University of Sydney (Thesis) pp. 1-538.
188 However, King Kheops (2479-2456) buried a large vessel, of 43,4 meters long, next to his pyramid.
189 Some examples of pseudo contradictions: The hare is classified as ruminants (Dt 14:7), yet it has only one stomach and according to

modern science a ruminant digests its food in two stages with multiple stomachs. The contradiction exists in relation to the current definition
of biologists but for an observer an animal ruminates if it digests its food twice, usual definition of rumination in dictionaries.
François Bourlière, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Paris V who taught animal ecology at the Faculty of
Science, writes: The habit of 'double digestion', which involves passing food twice by the intestine instead of one, seems to be a common phenomenon in
rabbits and hares. In principle, domestic rabbits eat and swallow without chewing their droppings at night, which form in the morning up to half the
volume of the stomach. In the case of the wild rabbit, double digestion takes place twice a day (...) It is believed that this habit gives the animal a
significant contribution in B vitamins that are produced by the action of bacteria on food in the large intestine (The Natural History of Mammals,
1964, p. 41). The bat is ranked among the birds (Lv 11:19), but it is a mammal according to science. In fact, the Bible class bats and birds
just among flying creatures (Lv 11:13). Teeming winged creatures with 4 legs should not be consumed, except the grasshopper
(Lv 11:20), as these insects have 6 legs. Yes, but the next verse says that the grasshopper has 4 legs for walking and 2 for
jumping. The sun comes down (Is 38:8), but it is the sun which revolves around the earth. The fact is presented as a miracle and not a
normal phenomenon, again, the sun was down for a terrestrial observer (in the same way as the sun rises and sets). The Bible
does exceptionally refer to an outside observer (God): He extends north on the empty place, he hangs the earth on nothing (Jb 26:7). There
is Someone who lives above the circle of the earth (Is 40:22). The earth is placed prior to the stars (Gn 1:1,16), but the stars appeared prior to the
earth. Indeed but, according to the Bible, God created the heavens and (then) the earth or the heavens are composed of the sun,
moon and stars (Gn 2:1). Light is created in the 1st day and then again at the 4th day (Gn 1:3,14-16). The sun (greater light) is created at
the 1st day (the duration of which is not specified), and is made or completed (not created) by the 4th day. According to the
biblical text, a terrestrial observer could see the succession of night and day from the 1st day and then, from the 4th day, the two
luminaries (the Sun and the Moon) became distinct in the sky.
Dating the Biblical Chronology
Abstract. The transmission of many historical and chronological data (reigns, lifetimes, long periods,
etc.) as well as many proper names, is necessarily flawed, unless one believes in an unlikely infallibility of
scribes. Thus, ancient texts, that have been preserved in more than one copy, have been compared to
determine how much variation occurs between manuscripts. This kind of study showed that the most stable
texts surveyed are those containing ritual instructions, which have led, for example, to the exact transmission
of the Torah in the late Second Temple period. The accuracy of the transmission of the text can be checked
due to the accuracy of its chronology and through the comparison between the sum of the intermediate values
and the total value indicated in the text. Textual criticism now favours an anteriority of the Septuagint text
Vorlage (H*) on the proto-Masoretic which comes from an overhaul of this Vorlage, including chronological
data from the text of Genesis. According to the reconstruction of chronological data, Jewish corrections of the
Hebrew text (preserved in the LXX) were performed in two steps: after the onset of the Book of Jubilees (c.
160 BCE) durations in Genesis 5:3-31 were reduced by 100 years and were adopted by a part of the Jews,
such as Eupolemus and by the Samaritans, and afterward, at the Synod of Yabneh (c. 90 CE), durations
in Genesis 11:10-26 were also reduced by 100 years and were canonized by rabbis (Pharisees). There was
no dispute since the priests (Sadducees) no longer existed, neither did the scrolls of the temple (except some of
them which had been retrieved by Josephus thanks to emperor Titus in 70 CE). The biblical and Sumerian
accounts of the Deluge are very similar (which occurred in year 600 of Noah or Ziusudra) and suppose a
dating 3170 BCE according to the Septuagint.


The transmission of many historical and chronological data (reigns, lifetimes, long
periods, etc.) as well as many proper names, is necessarily flawed, unless one believes in an
unlikely infallibility of scribes. The biblical text, although it has been exceptionally well
transmitted, is no exception. Certain ancient Near Eastern texts develop over time towards
a reasonably stable state of transmission. However, the development towards a single
‘stabilised’ transmitted form that marks the biblical manuscripts between the 2nd century
BCE and 2nd century CE is often considered to permit the Hebrew bible to have a unique
position in the ancient Near Eastern textual corpus. A study190 compared the accuracy with
which ancient texts of varying genres and languages were transmitted (texts from the Neo-
Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian and Late Babylonian periods that range in date from the late 8th
century BCE to the 3rd century BCE and Torah scrolls from the Dead Sea area that range in
date from the 3rd century BCE to the 2nd century CE). Texts that have been preserved in
more than one ancient copy have been compared to determine how much variation occurs
between manuscripts of the same text. The accuracy with which the cuneiform texts were
transmitted has been then compared with the biblical evidence. This study showed that the
most stable texts surveyed are those containing ritual instructions, which led, for example,
to the exact transmission of the Torah in the late Second Temple period.
All people of the past used their own calendar to count years, months and days.
Israelites were not an exception, and they were concerned about accurately placing events
on the time scale, as can be proved by long genealogical lists and frequent recordings of
how many years kings or judges ruled. Jews even considered that their book, the Bible, was
laying down history and there was no need to write any other specific book. The only
exception was the Seder Olam written around 160 C.E. This book mostly was an attempt to
reconstruct biblical chronology, and it tried to solve a problem occurring each time one
190R. HOBSON – The Exact Transmission of the Texts in the First Millenium B.C.E.
Sydney 2009 Ed. University of Sydney (Thesis) pp. 1-538.
works on chronology: When does one particular period of time begin and when does it
end? A scientific chronology must fill two basic standards: it must be consistent with itself
and also with all key historical date (i.e. dates based on accurately dated astronomical
phenomena). Such standards get rid of the inconsistent Septuagint based chronology on the
period 1000-500 BCE191 and the Seder Olam chronology which dates reigns of Persian
kings about 170 years backwards (e.g. Cyrus would have begun ruling in 369 BCE and
would have died in 367 BCE)192. Current calculations of historical data are based on Thiele's
biblical chronology which is about 45 years off near 900 BCE193.
As attested by Qumran texts, the Bible Masoretic text was very well preserved. This
text is the one used to establish the scientific biblical chronology. Though it does not
mention any astronomical phenomenon, it does mention reigns of several Egyptian,
Babylonian and Persian rulers, as well as famous battles or the fall of well-known cities.
This allows indirect comparisons with key dates. Moreover, the biblical text often contains a
two-fold chronology: one by adding years of rules, and the other one by linking "anchor
periods". These periods appear as spans (often hundreds of years) telling how much time
elapsed between two major events. For example, Israelites were to be oppressed during 400
years (Gn 15:13). According to the biblical text, this period began with the persecution of
Abraham's son Isaac (Gn 21:8-9) and ended with the escape from Egypt and the end of
slavery (Ga 4:29).
Several important questions must be settled before any chronological calculation may
be done: How long is a year, a month or a day? When does the year, the month or the day
begin? Is the number of years inclusive or exclusive? For example, "the second year" of a
rule may count for one year (if the second year is beginning) or for two years (if the second
year is ending). At the very beginning of the Bible, time is already counted: Let luminaries
come to be in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night; and they must
serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years (Gn 1:14). Since the sun and the moon are
mentioned, the year would be solar (365.24 days) and the months would be lunar (29.53
days). Only the beginning of the day is indicated: it began when the previous one ended
(Gn 1:5) like Babylonian computation. For example (in 474 BCE):
midnight midday midnight
19 20 21 22 23 24 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 1 2 3 4 5 6
Babylonian computation
18 Kislev 19 Kislev
Julian computation
4 January 5 January 6 January
Egyptian computation
16 Thoth 17 Thoth
The beginning of the year is not stated, but it should be synchronized with
agricultural activity, which ended after the crop, before winter cold (Gn 8:22). Old
Mesopotamian calendars all started at the autumn equinox; the 1st month was called Tishri
“beginning”. The Bible says that from Exodus onward (c. -1500) years no longer had to
begin in Tishri but in Nisan (Ex 12:2), at the spring equinox. Josephus (Jewish Antiquities
I:81) confirms that the Jews used to count from Nisan for religious or solemn (royal)
activities, but continued counting from Tishri for commercial activities.
191 J. HUGHES – Secrets of the Times. Myth and History in Biblical Chronology
in: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 66 (1990) pp. 57, 267-272.
F. NOLEN JONES – The Chronology of the Old Testament
Texas 2005 Ed. Master Books pp. 170-173, 326.
192 H. GOLDWURM, N. SCHERMAN - Daniel: la Bible commentée

Paris 2001Éd. du Sceptre p. 334.

193 M.C. TETLEY – The Reconstructed Chronology of the Divided Kingdom

Winona 2005 Ed. Eisenbrauns pp. 178-186.

The transmission of the biblical text after the First Temple to the late Second Temple
period will be examined here. There are several independent Jewish transmissions, those of
the Septuagint (LXX), Josephus (FJ), Masoretes (MT), Theophilus of Antioch194 (TA) and
the Seder Olam (SO). Duplication of historical data195 permits the finding of errors
(highlighted in grey) and corrections (highlighted in orange):
Chronology from: MT LXX FJ TA SO Period reference
Abraham in Ur 75 75 75 75 75 2038-1963 Gn 12:4-5
Stay in Canaan+Egypt 430* 430 430 430 430* 1963-1533 Ex 12:40-41
Moses (Exodus) 40 40 40 40 40 1533-1493 Ex 16:35
Joshua 110 - 80 110 - 80 110 - 80 27 28 1493-1463 Jos 14:10;24:29
Without Judge [11] [11] 18 - 0 1463-1452 Jos 24:31
Total of [40 +/- 1]* = [41] [41] [48] [27] [28] 1493-1452 Nb 32:13
Kushan-Rishataïm 8 8 8 8 0 1452-1444 Jg 3:8
Othniel 40 40/50 40 40 40 1444-1404 Jg 3:11
Eglon 18 18 18 18 18 1404-1386 Jg 3:14
Ehud 80 80 [80] 8 80 1386-1306 Jg 3:30
Madian 7 7 7 7 7 1306-1299 Jg 6:1
Gideon 40 40 40 40 40 1299-1259 Jg 8:28
Abimelech 3 3 3 3 3 1259-1256 Jg 9:22
Tola 23 23 [23] 23 23 1256-1233 Jg 10:2
Jair 22 22 22 22 22 1233-1211 Jg 10:3
Anarchy 18 18 18 18 18 1211-1193 Jg 10:8
Total of 300* = 300 300 307 214 287 1493-1193 Jg 11:26,30
Jephthah 6 6/60 6 6 6 1193-1187 Jg 12:7
Ibzan 7 7 7 7 7 1187-1180 Jg 12:9
Elon 10 10 10 10 10 1180-1170 Jg 12:11
Abdon 8 [8] [8] 8 8 1170-1162 Jg 12:14
[Eli] Philistines 40 20/40 40 40 40 1162-1122 1Samuel 4:18
Samson 20 20 20 20 20 1122-1102 Jg 16:31
Samuel's sons [5] [5] 12 12 10 1102-1097 1Sa 8:1-3
Saul [40] [40] 20/40 20 3 1097-1057 Ac 13:21
David 40 40 40 40 40 1057-1017 1Ki 2:11
Solomon (year 4) 4 4 4 4 4 1017-1013 1Ki 6:1
Total of 480* = 480 440* 474 467 448 1493-1013 1Ki 6:1
Salomon 40 40 80 40 40 1017 - 977 1Ki 11:42
Roboam 17 17 17 17 17 977-960 1Ki 14:21
Abiyam 3 6 3 7 3 960-957 1Ki 15:2
Asa 41 41 41 41 41 957-916 1Ki 15:10
Josaphat 25 - 2 25 - 2 25 - 2 25 - 2 25 - 2 916-893 1Ki 22:42
Joram 8 10 8 8 8 893-885 2Ki 8:17
[Athaliah] 7-1 7-1 7-1 6 7+1 885-879 2Ki 11:4
Joas 40 40 40 40 40 879-839 2Ki 12:2
Amasiah 29 29 29 39 22 839-810 2Ki 14:2
Uziah 52 52 52 52 52 810-758 2Ki 15:2
Yotham 16 16 16 16 16 758-742 2Ki 15:33
Achaz 16 16 16 17 16 742-726 2Ki 16:2
Hezekiah 29 29 29 29 29 726-697 2Ki 18:2
Manasseh 55 55 55 55 55 697-642 2Ki 21:1
Amon 2 2 2 2 2 642-640 2Ki 21:19
Josiah 31 31 31 31 31 640-609 2Ki 22:1
Joiaqim 11 11 11 11 11 609-598 2Ki 23:36
Zedekiah 11 11 11 11 11 598-587 2Ki 24:18
Total of 390* = 390 190* 390 405 385 977-587 Ezk 4:5-6
Babylonian dominion: 70* 70* 70* 70* 70* 609-539 Jr 25:11-12
194 THÉOPHILE D'ANTIOCHE – Trois livres à Autolycus
in: Sources chrétiennes 20 (1948 Cerf) pp. 49-53, 154-159.
195 J. HUGHES – Secrets of the Times. Myth and History in Biblical Chronology

in: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 66 (1990) pp. 57, 267-272.
The chronology of Theophilus of Antioch is considered of Hebrew origin because he
used several figures closer to the Masoretic text and Seder Olam rather than to the Greek
text of the Septuagint (as for example 6 years for Joram instead of 8 and 40 years for Eli
instead of 20). There are two ways to check the accuracy of these numbers: 1) events dated
in several chronologies, do they give the same date? and 2) the sum of all the intermediate
periods, does it correspond to the value indicated in the biblical text?
BCE Event dated in several chronologies Reference
1954 When Abraham is 84 years old, he killed King of Elam Kudur-Lagamar in Gn 14:5,17
his 14th year of reign corresponding to the 47th year of Shulgi, King of Ur.
1533 Death of Pharaoh [Seqenenre Taa, year 11]: year 80 of Moses, during a total Ps 136:15
solar eclipse over the north of the Red Sea (May 10, 1533 BCE). Ezk 32:2-8
1347 Barak killed Sisera the chief of army of Jabin II in his 20 year of reign after Jg 4:2-3, 22-
the 40 years of Ehud. Sisera is mentioned in the El-Amarna letters just 24
before the war of Apiru in southern Syria which is dated year 6 of
Shuppiluliuma I.
972 Shoshenq I [year 9] came against Jerusalem in the 5th year of Roboam. 2Ch 12:2
722 Shalmanazer V, in his 5th year, lay siege against Samaria for 3 years, from the 2Ki 18:9-10
720 4th to 6th year of Hezekiah. Samaria is captured in the 2nd year of Sargon II.
609 Battle of Harran in the 31st and last year of Josiah, 1st year of Nechoh, 17th 2Ki 22:1,
year of Nabopolassar, 3rd and last year of Assur-uballit II. 23:29
587 Destruction of the Temple in year 11 of Zedekiah, year of 18 Jr 52:1,12,29
Nebuchadnezzar II (but his 19th year according to the previous Egyptian
561 Year 1 of Amel-Marduk is year 37 of Jehoiachin's exile which began just after 2Ki 25:27
the attack on Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II in the year 7 of his reign (in Jr 52:28
598 BCE).
550 Persia and Media, form a double power in the 3rd year of Belshazzar. Dn 8:1-4,20
539 Fall of Babylon after 70 years of domination over all the nations in 14th year Jr 25:11-12
of Belshazzar and year 0 of Cyrus and Darius the Mede (Ugbaru). Dn 5:30
When one knows the difficulty of establishing a reliable chronology, this agreement
proves that the chronological data transmission has been remarkable. The second means of
checking is derived from the comparison between the sum of the intermediate values and
the total value indicated in the text.
ØPeriod of 390 years (Ezk 4:4-6) from the 1st year of Roboam to the 11th of Zedekiah. The Masoretic
text has preserved the exact total value196 because the sum of all the reigns is actually 390
years197 which is not the case of the 190 years indicated in the Septuagint. This period
begins when the 40-year reign of Solomon (1Ki 11:42) ended by the schism of his
kingdom into Israel and Judah. This rebellion (977 BCE) considered as a fault (1Ki 12:19)
ended with the destruction of the Temple (587 BCE). Otherwise, the 190 years of the
Septuagint would have begun when the northern kingdom disappeared (720 BCE) and
would have ended at the beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple (537 BCE). But in this
case the calculation is: 720 - 537 = 183 years, not 190 years. Therefore this duration has
been changed in the Greek text for theological reasons. Similarly, the period from Abiyam
to Athaliah which is complex because of two co-regencies was also recalculated198 . As the
text of Ezekiel was translated into Greek c. 190 BCE199 this indicates that the Jews of that
time were already producing chronological changes and not copy errors.
196 D. BARTHÉLEMY – Critique textuelle de l'Ancien Testament Tome 3
Göttingen 1992 Éd. Universitaires Fribourg pp. 22-23.
197 390 = 17 + 3 + 41 + (25 – 2) + 8 + (7 – 1) + 40 + 29 + 52 + 16 + 16 + 29 + 55 + 2 + 31 + 11 + 11.
198 F. NOLEN JONES – The Chronology of the Old Testament

Green Forest 2007 Ed. Master Books pp. 12-13.

199 M. HARL, G. DORIVAL, O. MUNNICH – La Bible grecque des Septante

Paris 1988 Éd. Cerf p. 111.

ØPeriod of 480 years since the departure from Egypt to the 4th year of Solomon (1Ki 6:1). The Masoretic
text has preserved the exact value of 480 years because the sum of all the reigns is actually
480 years200 which is not the case of the 440 years indicated in the Septuagint. The value
of Saul's reign in Acts 13:21, which appeared in 1Samuel 13:1 can be deduced from the
biography of Ishbaal, a son of Saul, who was born at the beginning of the reign of his
father (1Ch 8:33) since he was 40 years old after the death of Saul (2Sa 2:10). Josephus
hesitated between 20 and 40 years (Jewish Antiquities VI:378, X:143) also in the sum of
the reigns (Jewish Antiquities VIII:61, XX:230). The Sinai desert belonged to Egypt
because it was located in front the Wadi of Egypt, which marked the border (2Ki 24:7).
The Israelites were definitely out of Egypt when they passed this wadi and therefore after
40 years in the desert201. According to this scheme, we obtain: y + 475 = 480, which gives
y = 5 years. The translators of the Septuagint who knew this period of 480 years,
beginning with the departure from Egypt after 40 years in the desert, subtracted it, instead
of adding it202 , to obtain 440 years (= 480 - 40). According to the Talmud (Megilla 72cd),
the duration of the conquest of Canaan would have been 7 years and the one of the
sanctuary of Shiloh 369 years, which gives: 480 = (7* + 369* + 20 + 40 + 40 + 4)203.
ØPeriod of 300 years from the departure from Egypt to the vow of Jephthah (Jg 11:26,30). The value of
300 years corresponds actually to the sum of all the reigns204. Caleb and Joshua were 40
years old at the beginning of the exodus and therefore 80 afterwards (Jos 14:7). As Joshua
died at the age of 110 (Jos 24:29) he must have stayed 30 years in Canaan. The period that
followed [11] is not specified, but can be estimated. Indeed, the generation that came into
Canaan with Joshua had to take possession of the land (Jg 2:6-10). But as the previous
generation had lasted 40 years (Nb 32:13), this suggests that: [40] = 30 + x, x = 10. In fact
the exact calculation gives x = 11.
ØPeriod of 430 years for the stay in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan (Ex 12:40-41). The
last part "and in the land of Canaan" found in the Septuagint is missing in the Masoretic text.
As it is also found in the Samaritan Pentateuch written in Paleo-hebrew, which is
consistent with the context indicating that this period of 430 years is the whole stay of the
son of Israel out of the Mosaic covenant (Ga 3:17), it had to be in the original text. This
period consists of two parts: the first one starting with Abrahamic covenant quickly
followed by the bullying of Ishmael over Isaac (Gn 21:9) and ending with the arrival of
Jacob in Egypt and a second period starting with the bondage in Egypt and ending with
the Exodus. This chronological account was known because it was quoted by the Jewish
chronograph Demetrius (c. 220 BCE) who calculated that the stay in Egypt was 215 years
(Evangelical Preparation IX:21). The same value appears in a book written in Hebrew
(150-50) found at Qumran, called the Testament of Amram205. However according to
Josephus (c. 95 CE): the residence in Egypt lasted 400 years (Jewish Antiquities I:185), or: 205
years (Jewish Antiquities II:318). According to the Seder Olam206 (c. 160 CE): the residence in
Egypt lasted 210 years because of the lifetime of Job or maybe 400 years according to Genesis 15:13.
200 480 = 300 + 6 + 7 + 10 + 8 + 40 + 20 + [5] + [40] + 40 + 4.
201 The Israelites who died in the wilderness (Nb 26:65) had desired repeatedly to die in Egypt (Ex 14:11; 16:3). This paradoxical
desire has been fulfilled.
202 From the initial output of Egypt (in 1533 BCE) to the 4th year of Solomon (in 1013 BCE) there are 520 years (= 480 + 40).
203 In fact: 480 = 5 + 366 + 20 + 5 + 40 + 40 + 4. The conquest of Canaan lasted 5 years and the sanctuary of Shiloh 366 years

(= 1488 - 1122) because it is installed just after the conquest of Canaan (Jos 18:1), in -1488, and disappeared at the death of the
high priest Eli (1Sa 4:1-7:1) in 1122 BCE.
204 300 = (110 - 80) + [11] + 8 + 40 + 18 + 80 + 7 + 40 + 3 + 23 + 22 + 18.
205 K. BERTHELOT, T. LEGRAND – La bibliothèque de Qumrân 2

Paris 2010 Éd. Cerf pp. 207-209.

206 H.W. GUGGENHEIMER – Seder Olam. The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology

Lanham 2005 Ed. Roman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc pp.

As the books of Ezekiel and Kings were translated during the period 190-160207, the
changes of durations in the Septuagint, 390 years (Ezk 4:4-6) and 480 years (1Ki 6:1), show
that the Jews of that time were already doing chronological corrections for theological
reasons in order to protect the "right understanding" of the Bible. The chronology of the
period from the deluge to Abraham is based solely on the 17 verses of Genesis 11:10-26
(not found at Qumran) and has only one synchronism with the Babylonian chronology: the
Deluge (c. -3200 +/- 200). The Masoretic text is used to establish the scientific chronology
of the Bible, but there are significant differences (highlighted in red) among the various
recensions of the Pentateuch (traditional dates of original writing are in brackets):
Septuagint (LXX), Samaritan Pentateuch (SP), New Testament (NT), Flavius Pentateuch
(FJ) and Masoretic Text (MT):
From the Deluge to LXX (-280) PS (-130) NT (65) MT (90) FJ (95) gap MT
Sem fathered 2 2 [2] 2 12 0
Arpakshad fathered 135 135 [135] [-]35 135 100
Kainan fathered 130 - [130] - - 130
Shelah fathered 130 130 [130] [-]30 130 100
Eber fathered 134 134 [134] [-]34 134 100
Peleg fathered 130 130 [130] [-]30 130 100
Reu fathered 132 132 [132] [-]32 132 100
Serug fathered 130 130 [130] [-]30 130 100
Nahor I fathered 79 79 [79] 29 120 50
Terah fathered 70 70 [70] 70 70 0
Nahor II208 fathered (+60) (+60) (+60) (+60)
Abraham. Total: 1132 years 1002 years 352 years 1053 years 780 years
(Date of the deluge): (-3170) (-3040) (-2390) (-3030)

Normally, according to the usual rules of textual criticism, when the Greek text of
the Septuagint and the Hebrew Samaritan Pentateuch both agree against the Masoretic text,
this common text has to be retained. This is even truer when there is a third important
witness of weight: the Hebrew Pentateuch of Josephus209. It is obvious that the text of the
Septuagint kept the original Hebrew version because according to the Masoretic text the
deluge took place towards 2390 BCE implying an absurd consequence: the pharaohs of
Dynasties IV (2523-2385) and V (2385-2255), whose reigns can be dated by astronomy
thanks to the alignment of their pyramids, not only never underwent any flood (if the Flood
had taken place at that time all the Egyptians should have died!) but didn’t even see it.
The Masoretic text goes back to a Hebrew original210 (H* written c. 400 BCE) but
was later canonized at the Synod of Yabneh (c. 90 CE). Christian quotes of the Old
Testament are similar (90%) to the text of the Septuagint even when they have important
theological implications211. The Masoretic text did not yet authority at that time (during 50-
100). The biblical manuscripts from Qumran212 (all dated before 70 CE) are composed of
60% of pre-Masoretic texts, 20% Qumran style, 10% of non-aligned texts, 5% of texts
207 M. HARL, G. DORIVAL, O. MUNNICH – La Bible grecque des Septante

Paris 1988 Éd. Cerf pp. 90-111.

208 Abraham was born 60 years after Nahor II (60 + 70 = 205 - 75), because when he left Haran at the age of 75, his father

Terah had just died at the age of 205 years (Gn 11:32-12:4).
209 E. NODET - Le Pentateuque de Josèphe

Paris 1996 Éd. Cerf pp. 72-83.

210 D.N. FREEDMAN – The Massoretic Text and the Qumran Scrolls. A Study in Orthography

in: Textus 2 (1962) p. 91.

211 As the rank of Qaïnan (Lk 3:36 # Gn 10:24). This Qaïnan (Kainam) also appears in the Book of Jubilees (Jub. 8:2) and is

different from the other Kenan (Jub. 4:14). There are also angels who pay homage (Heb 1:6; Dt 32:43 #), a body to be sacrificed
(Heb 10:5; Ps 40:6 #), the nations that hope in His name (Mt 12:21 # Is 42:4), etc. There are also some cases contrary: my son
(Ho 11:1 = Mt 2:15), whom they have pierced (Zc 12:10 = Jn 19:37), etc.
212 L.H. SCHIFFMAN – Les manuscrits de la mer Morte et le judaïsme

Paris 2003 Éd. Fides pp. 187-192.

supporting the Septuagint and 5% texts based on the Samaritan Pentateuch213. This statistic
shows that the Masoretic text was the most prevalent (among the Essenes), but prior to 70
CE other recensions existed. The Masoretic version of chapters 1-11 of Genesis is currently
preferred only because of Methuselah who would have died 14 years after the flood,
according to the chronology of the Septuagint, which is obviously absurd214. No Hebrew
manuscript of this part of Genesis was found at Qumran, thus its pre-Masoretic version is
not known, but the chronological reconstruction implies the existence of a Hebrew text
(H*) near the Septuagint215. We know that this Hebrew text was revised very early216, but it
is unclear whether the corrections made by the auditors have preserved the original or, in
contrast, "canonized" an altered form. This analysis must be performed book by book,
because the Hebrew rolls of Jeremiah (4QJerb) and Samuel (4QSama), for example, and
dated c. 250-150, are closer to the text of the Septuagint than the Masoretic text217. It is the
opposite for the Hebrew rolls of Exodus (4QpaleoExm) and Numbers (4QNbb). Textual
criticism218 now favours an anteriority of the Septuagint text Vorlage (H*) on the proto-
Masoretic which comes from an overhaul of this Vorlage, including chronological data from
the text of Genesis219 (Gn 5:3-31; 8:13-14, 11:10-26).
An essential element currently hampering textual criticism: if errors are detectable
through overlapping it is not the case of corrections. We know that the Jewish copyists
have corrected the Biblical text through Rabbinic lists (but on a list of 15 or 16 referred
"alterations" only 4 or 5 remain in our manuscripts)220. The Jerusalem Talmud (Megilla 71d),
for example, reported 13 amendments (including those of Genesis 2:2 and Exodus 12:40)
made for King Ptolemy II (to 280 BCE). These verses were changed in the Greek version
either because they were felt potentially offensive221, resulting in a reduction of meaning to
"protect" the text, or because they were too difficult to understand222 (sometimes these
verses are explained in the Targums). There were also 18 scribes corrections223 of the
Hebrew text called: tiqqun Sopherim224. What complicates things is that the process of
corrections and copying was spread over several centuries. Although he preferred the
Masoretic text, D. Barthélemy225, a leading scholar of textual criticism, warns: This is from an
anti-apocalyptic, anti-sapiential, but especially anti-Christian controversy that is due the elimination of a
213 In fact, this statistic artificially lowers the proportion attributed to the LXX because only differences being characteristic, the

Masoretic text being used as a reference (strictly speaking one should compare all the texts in relation to an original text
214 R. S. HENDEL – The Text of Genesis.

1998, Oxford Ed. Oxford University Press, pp. 61-80.

215 Luke starts his Gospel: after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning (Lk 1:1) Shelah, son of Cainan (Lk 3:36 = Gn 10:24).
216 E. TOV – Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible

Assen 1992 Ed. Fortress Press pp. 11, 32-35, 168, 190-197.
217 F. MÉBARKI, É. PUECH – Les Manuscrits de la mer Morte

Paris 2002 Éd. du Rouergue pp. 178-184.

218 M. RICHELLE – Le testament d'Élisée. Texte massorétique et Septante en 2Rois 13:10-14:16

in: Cahiers de la revue biblique n°76 (2010) pp. 70, 121-125.

219 E. TOV – Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible

Assen 1992 Ed. Fortress Press pp. 337-338.

220 M. HARL, G. DORIVAL, O. MUNNICH – La Bible grecque des Septante

Paris 1988 Éd. Cerf pp. 203-210.

221 In order not to offend the Greeks certain biblical passages have been changed: "son of God" (Gn 6:2) becomes "angels",

"Jehovah stood before Abraham" (Gn 18:22) >> "Abraham stood before Jehovah", "curse God" >> "bless God", etc.
222 Thus the text of Genesis 2:2: God concluded the 7th day his work which he had made, and, on the 7th, he rested after all the work he had done

(it seems paradoxical that God stops working at the beginning of the 7th day) has been simplified in the text of the Septuagint:
And God ended the 6th day his work which he had done, and he rested on the 7th day from all his work which he had made.
223 W. EMERY BARNES – A Companion to Biblical Studies

Cambridge 1916 Ed. Cambridge University Press p. 42.

224 Masoretic note on Genesis 18:3 points out the 134 places where the Tetragram was replaced by its substitute Adonay "Lord".

14 theophoric names that includes the name baal "master", as Jerubbaal (2Sa 11:21), were changed into boshet "shame", etc.
225 D. BARTHÉLEMY – Critique textuelle de l'Ancien Testament

Göttingen 1982 Éd. Universitaires Fribourg pp. 110*-111*.

crucial portion at the closing of the tradition in 100 CE, that is to say, a large part of sapiential and
apocalyptic materials. Never a Christian theologian should adopt the Masoretic canon, because there is a
significant break in the continuity which leads to the New Testament. It seems to me that among the
influences that humanism has exerted on the Reformation, one of the most far-reaching was the confusion
that has been established between the Pharisaical reducing of the Canon and the Masoretic textual tradition
in which one returned as a ‘humanist’ source. Gese before Origen had protested against the project that
would, indeed, be one of Jerome (Letter to Africanus §4s): « And, forsooth, when we notice such things, we
are immediately to reject as spurious the copies in use in our Churches, and enjoin the brotherhood to put
away the sacred books current among them, and to coax the Jews, and persuade them to give us copies which
shall be untampered with, and free from forgery! Are we to suppose that that Providence which in the sacred
Scriptures has ministered to the edification of all the Churches of Christ, did not take care of those bought
with a price, for whom Christ died ». This preliminary comment is used to justify the choice of
the biblical Committee: When the Committee of the Alliance Biblique Universelle specified that it was
responsible for the textual analysis of the Hebrew Old Testament, it intended to leave the door open to a
similar study which could focus on textual analysis of the Greek old Testament (...) It is out of fidelity to
tradition that has dominated since Jerome in the Churches of the West that the Committee focused its efforts
on the Hebrew text. It was indeed to help churches which have used it, since Jerome, to translate their Old
Testament from Hebrew. But the Committee felt more clearly the need not to spoil the Septuagint to edit the
Masoretic Text. Thus the biblical Committee privileged (religious) tradition because of the
Churches, while recognizing that the text of the Septuagint should be better taken into
account. Tov226, another leading scholar of textual criticism, also recognized that scrolls
from Qumran support, in many cases, the text of the Septuagint.
Differences in durations being 100 years they are not errors but (theological)
corrections which are poorly understood227. The explanation usually given is as follows228:
Jewish translators of the Septuagint, influenced by the work of Manetho, would have increased by 100 years
the numbers of the Hebrew text to conform their chronology to its prestigious Egyptian rival, but this is
not consistent with the historical context. Indeed, at this time, Hellenism was triumphant
and the initiative of Ptolemy II to enrich his famous library of Alexandria has encouraged
foreign scholars to promote their own history. This is not a coincidence if at this time (280
BCE) the Egyptian priest Manetho, the Babylonian priest Berossus and the Israelite priests
in Alexandria all seized the opportunity offered to them to write their "national" history.
Berosus accused the Greeks of his time (not the Egyptians) of ignoring Babylonian history
(Against Apion I:142). These historians wrote for Greeks not for Egyptians, they did not
need to increase their chronology. The durations in Genesis were not corrected by the
translators of the Septuagint since they existed in ancient Hebrew manuscripts from this
period as evidenced by the text of the Samaritan Pentateuch229 written in paleo-Hebrew
around 150-100 BCE230. So Paul, a converted Jew and Hebrew-speaking (Ac 21:40),
recognizing that some of his former coreligionists distrusted him, mostly cites in his letter
to the Hebrews (written around 60 CE), a text close to the Septuagint (Heb 1:6; 10:27, 11:5,
12:13), not the Masoretic text, without arousing criticism from these former Jews.
Genealogies were a sensitive issue for Jews of the first century (1Ti 1:4, Tt 3:9). Now all
226 E. TOV – Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible

Assen 1992 Ed. Fortress Press pp. 114-117.

227 M. HARL – Genèse

in: Bible d'Alexandrie I (1986, Cerf) pp. 120-124.

228 G. LARSSON – The Chronology of the Pentateuch a Comparison of the MT and LXX

in: Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 102 (1983) pp. 401-409.

Origen points, towards 250 CE, the existence of a Greek version of the Samaritan Pentateuch, but according to E. Tov this
Samariticon would be a translation of a Samaritan revision of the LXX rather than a translation (late) of the Samaritan text.
230 E. TOV & ALS – Emanuel: Studies in Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, and Dead Sea Scrolls in Honor of Emanuel Tov

Leiden 2003 Ed. Brill p. 239.

these recensions are consistent, with the exception of the Masoretic text. Luke and
Josephus insist on the accuracy of their information. Luke specifies: I resolved also, because I
have traced all things from the start with accuracy, to write them in logical order to you, most excellent
Theophilus, that you may know fully the certainty of the things that you have been taught orally (Lk 1:3-4).
However, he cites Qaïnan in his genealogy (Luke 3:36 = LXX Genesis 11:12). How could
these two famous writers use a different genealogy of the official Hebrew text without
being roundly criticized? This was not the case. The comparison of some verses illustrates
the existence of variants231 of the Hebrew text in the first century, which were eliminated
during later revisions (original in light green, modified in hatching orange). The Jews
therefore revised early a few verses for theological reasons (perhaps as early as the setting of
the text by Ezra towards 400 BCE). Order:
1) to revise the text on variants favourable to the Jews (Is 42:1-4 / Mt 12:18-21):
LXX 4QDtq, 1Qa, 4QExodb NT MT
Jacob is my servant, Look! My servant, Look! My servant Look! My servant,
I will help him: on whom I keep fast hold! whom I chose, on whom I keep fast hold!
Israel my choosen My chosen one, [whom] my beloved, whom My chosen one, [whom]
my soul has accepted him my soul has approved! my soul approved! my soul has approved!
I have put my spirit upon him. I have put my spirit in him. I will put my spirit upon I have put my spirit in him.
he shall bring forth judgment to Justice to the nations is what he him, and what justice is Justice to the nations is what
the nations. will bring forth. he will make clear to the he will bring forth.
He shall not cry, nor lift up his He will not cry out or raise [his nations. He will not He will not cry out or raise
voice, nor shall his voice be heard voice], and in the street he will wrangle, nor cry aloud, [his voice], and in the street he
without. not let his voice be heard. No nor will anyone hear his will not let his voice be heard.
A bruised reed shall not break, crushed reed will he break; and voice in the broad ways. No crushed reed will he break;
and smoking flax shall he not as for a dim flaxen wick, he will No bruised reed will he and as for a dim flaxen wick,
quench; but he shall bring forth not extinguish it. crush, and no he will not extinguish it.
judgment to the truth. He shall In trueness he will bring forth smouldering flaxen wick In trueness he will bring forth
shine out, and shall not be justice. He will not grow dim nor will he extinguish, justice. He will not grow dim
discouraged, until he have set be crushed until he sets justice in until he sends out justice nor be crushed until he sets
judgment on the earth; the earth itself; with success. justice in the earth itself;
Indeed, in his name nations will and for his law the islands Indeed, in his name and for his law the islands
hope. themselves will keep waiting. nations will hope. themselves will keep waiting.
2) to prune some verses too favourable to Christians (Dt 32:43 / Rm 15:10; Heb 1:6)
retaining only obscure variants (Ps 40:6 / Heb 10:5):
LXX 4QDtq, 1Qa, 4QExodb NT MT
Rejoice, YOU heavens, with him, Rejoice, YOU heavens, with him,
and let all the angels of God and let all the angels of God and let all God’s angels [-]
worship him; worship him; do obeisance to him [-]
Rejoice YOU nations, with his [-] Be glad, YOU nations, Be glad, YOU nations, with
people, [-] with his people his people,
and let all the sons of God [-] [-]
strengthen themselves in him; [-] [-]
For he will avenge the blood of his For he will avenge the blood of his For he will avenge the blood
sons, and he will render vengeance, sons, and he will render vengeance, of his servants,
and recompense justice to his and recompense justice to his And he will pay back
enemies, enemies, vengeance to his adversaries
and will reward them that hate and will reward them that hate [-]
him; him; [-]
and the Lord shall purge the land and the Lord shall purge the land and will indeed make
of his people. of his people. atonement for the ground of
his people.
Sacrifice and offering you did not Sacrifice and offering Sacrifice and offering you did
want, you did not want, but not delight in; These ears of
but you prepared a body for me. you prepared a body for mine you opened up.
231 H. COUSIN – La Bible grecque. La Septante
in: Supplément au Cahier Évangiles 74 (1990 Cerf) pp. 24-25, 84-85.
3) to simplify the text or give it a symbolic value (Ex 1:5 / Ac 7:14):
LXX 4QDtq, 1Qa, 4QExodb NT MT
And Joseph was already in all the souls who issued out of Joseph sent out and called all the souls who issued out of
Egypt. Jacob’s upper thigh came to be Jacob his father and all Jacob’s upper thigh came to be
And all the souls born of 75 souls, but Joseph was his relatives from that place, 70 souls, but Joseph was
Jacob were 75. already in Egypt to the number of 75 souls. already in Egypt

4) to change some verses unfavourable to Judeans (Hab 1:5 / Ac 13:41):

Behold it, YOU despisers, Behold it, YOU despisers, Behold it, YOU despisers,
See, YOU people, among the
and wonder and wonder at it, and wonder at it, nations, and look on, and stare
marvellously, in amazement at one another.
and vanish, and vanish away, and vanish away, Be amazed;
because I am working because I am working because I am working for there is an activity that one
a work in YOUR days, a work in YOUR days, a work in YOUR days, is carrying on in YOUR days,
a work that YOU people will a work that YOU people will a work that YOU will by no [which] YOU people will not
not believe although it is not believe although it is means believe even if anyone believe although it is
related. related. relates it to YOU in detail. related.

This verse allows one to fix the date and the reasons for changes. The translators of
the Bible d'Alexandrie influenced by textual criticism assumed that the original text should be
Masoretic and that it had been misread by the translators of the Septuagint232 but this
contradicts the contextual and historical analysis of this verse233. The immediate context
(Hab 1:4) is clearly against the Judeans that God is going to punish by means of the
Chaldeans (Habakkuk 1:6). This description is consistent with the historical context (Jr 3:8-
20). The meaning of this verse is different depending on whether one reads it in the
Septuagint or in the Masoretic text. In the first case God would punish the Judeans because
they were despisers, while in the other case nations would be spectators of a disaster. The
Hebrew word "despise" is very sharp because it literally means "traitors" (Is 24:16), exactly
translated into Greek by καταφρονηταί. The change of meaning comes from a single letter
read d (‫ )ד‬or ô (‫)ו‬: bogedîm (‫" )בגדים‬traitors" or bagôyim (‫" )בגוים‬among the nations."
Barthélemy assumed that a Greek manuscript of Habakkuk, dated the 1st century was a
recension of the Septuagint from the Masoretic text. But if the recension of Aquila (129
CE) translates "among the nations", the manuscript 8HevXIIgr contains the words: tr]a[itors
be am]azed, because a wo[rk in d]ays of you, that [you would not believe though it] was told. The
Hebrew script used in the recension was therefore the word "traitors" and not "among the
nations." The Pesher of Habakkuk (1QpHab II:1-6), dated the 1st century BCE, is written in
Hebrew and comments on the text of Habakkuk 1:5: [... The explanation of the word is about]
traitors with the man of lie, because they did not [believe to the words of the] Teacher of Righteousness
(coming) from God's mouth, and about trai[tors of the new covenant] bec[ause] they did not believe in God's
covenant [and have profaned] his holy na[me]. And similarly the explanation of the word [is about tr]aitors
of the last days. The fact that the word "traitors", in full writing (‫)בוגדים‬, is repeated three
times indicates that the Essene writer focused on it. He explained that the traitors were the
Judeans (of his time). The fact that the destruction of the Temple could be interpreted as a
punishment from God against the Judeans because they had become traitors would be
unbearable for most Jews after 70 CE. The Hebrew text was therefore modified to be
acceptable. In addition, changing a specific sanction into a dramatic general description is
more logical than the reverse.
232 M. HARL & AL – Les douze prophètes 4 - 9 in: Bible d'Alexandrie

1999 Paris Éd. Cerf pp. 260-263.

233 I. HIMBAZA -Texte massorétique et Septante en Habaquq 1,5a. Réévaluation des témoins textuels en faveur de l'antériorité de

la LXX in: Orbis biblicus et orientalis n°233 (2007), pp. 45-57.

Chronological corrections are more difficult to detect when they are isolated, as in
the case of the text of 1 Samuel 2:22; 4:15,18234:
[H*] (-400) 4QSama (-250) LXX (-160) MT (+90)
And Eli was very old, and And Eli was very old, he And Eli was very old and And Eli was very old, and
he had heard of all that was 90 years old. And he he had heard of all that he had heard of all that
his sons kept doing to all had heard of all that his his sons kept doing to all his sons kept doing to all
Israel and how they would lie sons kept doing to all Israel Israel and how they would lie
down with the women that Israel [- -] [- -] down with the women that
were serving at the entrance of were serving at the entrance of
the tent of meeting. the tent of meeting.
Eli was 98 years old, and Eli was 90 years old, and Eli was 90 years old, and Eli was 98 years old, and
his eyes had set so that he his eyes had set so that he his eyes were fixed and he his eyes had set so that he
was unable to see. was unable to see. saw not. was unable to see.
he died, because the man he died, because the man he died, because the man he died, because the man
was old and heavy; and he was old and heavy; and he was old and heavy; and he was old and heavy; and he
himself had judged Israel himself had judged Israel himself had judged Israel himself had judged Israel
40 years. 20 years. 20 years. 40 years.
These variants show that the text of the Septuagint is based on an ancient Hebrew
text (c. 250 BCE). Differences compared to the original (H*) are explained by glosses,
simplifications (often without ideological value such as the "90 years" of Eli) and pruning.
However, the "40 years" come from a change because with a period of "20 years" the total
would be 460 years instead of 480 years (this value was also changed into 440 in the
Septuagint). This period is confirmed, because after 8 years of judicature of Abdon there
was a period of oppression by the Philistines (Jg 12:13-13:1) during which he acted as judge.
At his death, the ark was captured by the Philistines and the Israelites went back after 7
months (1Sa 6:1-21), which marked the end of the oppression. Samson was then judge for
20 years (Jg 13:5, 16:31). Eli the high priest officiated throughout the duration of the
oppression of the Philistines, 40 years, in agreement with the Masoretic text and data from
Flavius Josephus (Jewish Antiquities V:359). As this duration was typically a reign of peace
(David or Solomon) it was halved retrospectively by scribes of that time (Sadducees) in
order to present priesthood in a more favourable way. This example (4QSama) shows two
points: chronological changes in the Hebrew text started very early (before 250 BCE) but
also that the original text (H*) was maintained until the end of the 1st century (in the temple
of Jerusalem) because Josephus could see it.
To identify the origin of a text correction one must determine at which epoch it
appears and then to understand "who benefits from the crime ". For example the text of
Deuteronomy 27 and translation is inherited by all Jews and Christians (Protestants, Roman
Catholics, and others) in the world. The lone exception are the Samaritans because their
text in 27:4 reads “Mount Gerizim”. For non-Samaritans this passage is problematic. Why?
The Mount of Blessing is the beautiful Mount Gerizim235; there Israel gathers to bless (Dt
27:12). But, our text records a very perplexing commandment: to build the altar on Mount
Ebal, the Mountain of Cursing. Did some scribe mistakenly copy “Ebal” for “Gerizim”?
Should we imagine that once the text read “Mount Gerizim.” For centuries, experts have
assumed that the Samaritans changed the text and that “the received text” is original. There
are reasons to doubt these experts; and a recently discovered text may prove their argument
ceases to be persuasive236.
Text of Deuteronomy 27:4-5:
234 M. HARL – Premier livre des Règnes 9.1

in: Bible d'Alexandrie (1997 Paris) Éd. Cerf pp. 28-29, 167.
235 The beauty of Mount Gerizim is due to its fertility in contrast with rocky, largely barren Mount Ebal.
236 J. H. CHARLESWORTH – The Discovery of an Unknown Dead Sea Scroll: The Original Text of Deuteronomy 27?

in: Ohio Wesleyan Magazine. Retrieved 29 July 2012.

LXX (280 BCE) PS (130 BCE) Qfrag (30 BCE) MT (90 CE)
[when YO]U [have [when YO]U [have [when YO]U [have when YOU have crossed
crossed] the Jo[r]dan, crossed] the Jo[r]dan, crossed] the Jo[r]dan, the Jordan, YOU should
YOU shall set up [these YOU shall set up [these YOU shall set up [these set up these stones, just as
stones, about [which I stones, about [which I stones, about [which I I am commanding YOU
charge YOU t]oday, on charge YOU t]oday, on charge YOU t]oday, on today, in Mount Ebal, and
Mount Ebal, and coat Mount Gerizim, and coat Mount Gerizim, and coat you must whitewash them
[them with plaster. (And [them with plaster. (And [them with plaster. (And with lime. You must also
there, you shall build an there, you shall build an there, you shall build an build an altar there to
altar to YHWH your altar to YHWH your altar to YHWH your YHWH your God, an
God, an altar of] st]ones. God, an altar of] st]ones. God, an altar of] st]ones. altar of stones. You must
[You must] not [wie]ld [You must] not [wie]ld [You must] not [wie]ld not wield an iron tool
upon them an iron (tool). upon them an iron (tool). upon them an iron (tool). upon them.
The fragment from Qumran of Deuteronomy 27:4-5 confirms the existence of two
versions of the Pentateuch237. Two other manuscripts agree with this reading238:
Furthermore it is written: When Jehovah your God has brought you into the land that you are entering
to occupy, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal (Dt 11:29). Thus,
it is unthinkable that any text of Deuteronomy would report that God wanted Israel to
build an altar on the Mount of Cursing, Ebal. King Abimelech (1259-1256), for instance,
considered Mount Gerizim as a blessed mount (Jg 9:6-7) as did the Samaritan woman who
spoke to Jesus (Jn 4:19-20). On the other hand Non-Samaritans follow the Davidic
tradition, stressed in Deuteronomy, that only on Zion is one to worship: Jehovah has chosen
Zion; he has desired it for his habitation: This is my resting place forever; here I will reside, for I have
desired it (...) It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there Jehovah
ordained his blessing, life forevermore (Ps 132:13-14, 133:3). According to Josephus, Sanballat said
to Alexander (332 BCE) that he would build a temple similar to that in Jerusalem on Mount
Gerizim (Jewish Antiquities XI:310-311). In order to discourage a parallel cult (1Ki 9:3),
scribes of the Temple (Sadducees) changed the text of Deuteronomy 27 to discredit the
legitimacy of Mount Gerizim. The text of Joshua 8:33 in the LXX adds the following
comment to confirm the text of Deuteronomy 27:4: they erected an altar on Mount Ebal, which
is not in the Masoretic text! These examples show that textual criticism, which relies only on
existing texts, can not detect theological corrections. This is particularly evident for the
Book of Daniel. Textual criticism239 now considers that the Masoretic text of Daniel dates
back to around 165 BCE240 and differences with the text of the Septuagint are generally in
favour of the Hebrew text but with some exceptions. These findings are generally accepted
in the academic all world, but are illogical for two reasons: Daniel is always presented as a
real person (Ezk 14:14,20; 28:3) who wrote and finished his account in the 3rd year of Cyrus'
reign (Dn 10:3), and highly accurate prophecies of Daniel are essential to identify the
Messiah and the end of times (1Pe 1:21, Mt 24:15). It is moreover the book of Daniel,
which was used by Jews and Christians in the famous quarrel of Barcelona (1263 CE) to
find out who was the Messiah through the debate organized by the King of Spain between
Paul Christiani, Jewish convert to Catholicism, and Rabbi Moses ben Nahman (Ramban),
one of the highest authorities of Spanish Jewry241 . The book of Daniel is thus a key book in
the Bible, the prophetic book par excellence, hence the importance of its accuracy. Several
237 C. NIHAN – Garizim et Ébal dans le Pentateuque
in: Semitica n°54 (2012) pp. 185-210.
238 The Old Latin Bible (Codex 100) has garzin and the Greek manuscript Pap. Giessen 19: en ar(?) gar[i]sim “on Mount(?) Garizim”.
239 D. BARTHÉLEMY – Critique textuelle de l'Ancien Testament Tome 3

Göttingen 1992 Éd. Universitaires Fribourg pp. 435-496.

240 J. MARGAIN – Le Livre de Daniel. Commentaires philologique du texte araméen

Paris 1994 Éd. Beauchesne pp. 7-8.

241 NAHMANIDE - La dispute de Barcelone

in: collection «Les Dix Paroles» 1984 Éd. Verdier pp. 45-47.
Hebrew manuscripts of Daniel are dated c. 100 BCE, however they are close to the
Masoretic text but not identical to it242. The Greek translation of the book of Daniel (LXX)
is not literal and contains errors or corrections (highlighted), but it is unclear whether it
would not be the case of the Hebrew text as well243 . The only way to know is to do a
chronological analysis of historical data inside the two texts244:
Old Greek LXX (c. 140 BCE) Theodotion LXX = MT (c. 90 CE) Daniel
O King, you made a feast for your friends, and and you have exalted yourself against the Lord 5:23
you were drinking wine, and the vessels of the God of heaven, and the vessels of his house
house of the living God were brought to you, they brought before you, and you and your
and you were drinking with them, you and your nobles and your concubines and your consorts were
nobles drinking wine with them
Then Baltasar the king clothed Daniel in purple, and he And Baltasar spoke and they clothed Daniel in purple, 5:29-30
put a gold torque on him, and he gave him authority over and the gold torque they put around his neck, and he
a 3rd part of his kingdom. proclaimed concerning him that he was 3rd in the
And the meaning came upon Baltasar the king, kingdom.
and the rule was taken away from the Chadeans
and was given to the Medes and to the Persians, In that very night Baltasar the Chaldean king, was
and Xerxes who was king of the Medes, received the killed and Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being
kingdom. 62 years old.
(...) and shattered their bones, and Daniel was (...) and pulverized all their bones. 6:24
appointed over the whole kingdom of Darius.
And King Darius was added to his fathers, and Cyrus And Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the 6:28
the Persian received the kingdom reign of Cyrus the Persian
During the 3 year, when Baltasar was king, there was In the 3rd year of the reign of King Baltasar a vision 7:1,20

a vision, which I, Daniel, saw (...) appeared to me —I, Daniel (...)

The ram that you saw, which had the horns, is the king The ram that you saw, which had the horns, is the king
of the Medes and Persians. of the Medes and Persians.
70 weeks have been decided for your people and 70 weeks have been cut short for your people 9:24-27
for the city, Sion: for sin to be consummated and for the holy city: for sin to be consummated
and to make iniquities scarce and to blot out and to seal sins and to atone for iniquities and to
iniquities and to comprehend the vision and for bring everlasting righteousness and to seal vision
everlasting righteousness to be given and for the and prophet and to anoint a holy of holies. And
vision to be consummated and to gladden a holy you shall know and shall understand: from the going
of holies. And you shall understand and will rejoice forth of the word to respond to and to rebuild Ierousalem
and will discover ordinances to respond, and you [Daniel] until an anointed [Messiah] leader, there will be 7 weeks
will build Ierousalem as a city for the Lord. And after 7 and 62 weeks, and it [Ierousalem] will return, and
and 70 and 62 weeks, an anointing will be removed and streets and a wall will be built, and the seasons will be
will not be. And a king of nations will demolish the city emptied out. And after the 62 weeks, an anointing will
and the sanctuary along with the anointed one [Messiah], be destroyed, and there is no judgment in it. And it
and his consummation will come with wrath will destroy the city and the sanctuary along with the
even until the time of consummation. He will be leader who is to come. And they will be cut off by a
attacked through war. And the covenant will flood, and there will be annihilations to the
prevail for many, and it will return again and be finish of a shortened war. And it will strengthen
rebuilt broad and long and at the consummation of a covenant with many, 1 week, and by half of the
times and in half of the week the sacrifice and the week sacrifice and libation will cease, and in the temple
libation will cease, and in the temple there will be an there will be an abomination of desolations even until a
abomination of desolations until the consummation of a consummation, and a consummation will be
season, and a consummation will be given for the given for the desolation.
at a set time. And he will enter into Egypt, and At the appointed time he will return and will 11:29-
as the first so the last will be. And the Romans will come come into the south, and as the first even so the last 30
and will expel him and rebuke him [the king of Egypt]. will not be. And the Kitians who go forth will come
And he will back [and will be angered] against against him [the king of the north], and he will be
the covenant of the holy one humbled, and he will return and will be enraged
against the holy covenant
242 J.J. COLLINS, P.W. FLINT, C. VANEPPS – The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception, Volume 2

Leiden 2002 Ed. Brill pp. 573-607.

243 S. PACE JEANSONNE - The Old Greek Translation of Daniel 7-12

in : The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 19 Washington 1988 pp. 103-133.
244 R.T. MCLAY – Daniel. Old Greek / Theodotion

in : New English Translation of the Septuagint (2007) Ed. Oxford University Press pp. 991-1022.
From the time that the [perpetual] sacrifice was From the time of the removal of the regular 12:11
taken away and the abomination of desolation offering and the abomination of desolation will
was prepared to be given, there are 1290 days. be given —1290 days.
The two Greek translations (LXX) are similar, but the original Hebrew text used
(H*) had to be very close to the Masoretic text (MT). The first translator has corrected the
Hebrew text to match the desecration of the Temple of Jerusalem by Antiochus IV245 that
lasted about 3 years (from 15 Kislev in 167 BCE to 25 Kislev in 164 BCE). The name
Kittim was formerly understood by the Jews as representing the Greeks, from Alexander to
Antiochus IV (1M 1:1, 8:5), then from Antichus IV (not before), according to the Pesher
Nahum (4Q169)246, the Kittim represented the Romans. As one can see the text of Daniel
9:24-27 is translated differently, several indicators show that the Hebrew text of reference
was indeed the Masoretic text. A Qumran manuscript in Hebrew (11Q13), dated around
100 BCE, explains the text of Daniel 9:26247 : He will proclaim to them the Jubilee, thereby releasing
them from the debt of all their sins. He shall proclaim this decree in the 1st week of the jubilee period that
follows 9 jubilee periods. Then the "Day of Atonement" shall follow after the 10th jubilee period, when he
shall atone for all the Sons of Light, and the people who are predestined to Melchizedek (...) "The
messengers" is the Anointed [Messiah] of the spirit, of whom Daniel spoke; "After the 62 weeks, an
Anointed [Messiah] shall be cut off" (Dn 9:26). The "messenger who brings good news, who announces
Salvation" is the one of whom it is written; "to proclaim the year of YHWH's favor, the day of the
vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn" (Is 61:2). The quoted text is strictly that of the
Masoretic text, while that of the Septuagint is (incomprehensible): And after 7 and 70 and 62
weeks, an anointing will be removed. The word Messiah has disappeared and the durations have
been changed (those of the Masoretic text are logical since the total duration of 70 weeks is
equal to the sum of the intermediary durations: 7 + 62 + 1 = 70).
The book of Daniel is little commented on in the Qumran manuscripts with two
exceptions: when it is commented on the Book of Jubilees serves as a reference and the
"son of man, chosen by God himself, who has to become the king of the coming world"
(Dn 7:9-14) is widely quoted and commented on the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch XLVI:1-4,
XLVIII:2-7; LXII:6-16). These texts show that most of the first-century Jews were
expecting a messianic king (rather than a messiah for salvation). For example, according to
Tacitus: The majority [of the Jews] were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the
present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to
rule the world. This mysterious prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people,
true to the selfish ambitions of mankind, thought that this exalted destiny was reserved for them, and not
even their calamities opened their eyes to the truth (Histories 5:13). According to Suetonius: There
had spread over all the Orient an old and established belief, that it was fated at that time for men coming
from Judaea to rule the world. This prediction, referring to the emperor of Rome, as afterwards appeared
from the event, the people of Judaea took to themselves (The Life of Vespasian IV:5). According to
Dio Cassius: This prophecy about the tooth became a reality on the following day; and Nero himself in his
dreams once thought that he had brought the car of Jupiter to Vespasian's house. These portents needed
interpretation; but not so the saying of a Jew named Josephus: he, having earlier been captured by Vespasian
and imprisoned, laughed and said: You may imprison me now [in 68 BCE], but a year from now, when

245 M. HADAS-LEBEL – La révolte des Maccabées

Clermont-Ferrand 2012 Éd. LEMME edit pp. 41-46.
246 [The interpretation of it concerns Jerusalem, which has become] a dwelling for the wicked ones of the nations. "Where the lion went to enter, the

lion's cub [and no one to disturb". The interpretation of it concern Deme]trius, King of Greece, who sought to enter Jerusalem on the advice of the
Seeker-After-Smooth-Things, [but God did not give Jerusalem] into the power of the kings of Greece from Antiochus until the rise of the rulers of the
Kittim; but afterwards [the city] will be trampled [by the Gentiles ...]
247 M. WISE, M. ABEGG JR, E. COOK – Les manuscrits de la mer Morte

Pari 2001 Éd. Plon pp. 257-260, 598-600.

you have become emperor, you will release me (Roman History LXV:1). According to Josephus: But
now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found
in their sacred writings, how about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable
earth. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were
thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who
was appointed emperor in Judea. However, it is not possible for men to avoid fate, although they see it
beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure, and some of them
they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city and their own
destruction (Jewish War VI:312-315).
The text of Daniel 7 was well known at that time, but if Josephus was able to apply
the prophecy of the "Son of man" to Vespasian it is because he read and interpreted the
Hebrew text (MT): And it will destroy the city and the sanctuary along with the leader who is to come
[Roman ruler?], rather than the Greek text (LXX): And a king of nations will demolish the city and
the sanctuary along with the anointed one [Messiah]. Despite the fact that he was reading the same
text as Christians, Josephus understood it according to Jewish tradition, identifying the
"disgusting thing that causes desolation standing in the holy place" with the armies of
Antiochus Epiphanes248 while Christians identified it with Roman armies (Mt 24:15; Lk
21:20) and the "Son of man" with Jesus (Mt 26:64), not Vespasian. The Jews expected the
coming of a messianic king until the defeat of Bar Kochba in 135 CE.
What proves that the text of Daniel was written in 535 BCE rather than in 165 BCE?
In fact, several very precise information inside could only have been known prior to -535,
which have been known only since the 19th century through archaeological discoveries:
Ø Babylonian kings were in the habit of drinking wine with their concubines and their
consorts at royal banquets. Former historians did not know this strange custom.
Ø The inscriptions of Nabonidus249 show that in his 3rd year of reign (in -553) he entrusted
the kingdom to his eldest son, Belshazzar (Baltasar), and retired to Tema. According to
these indications, the actual king of Babylon in -539 was therefore Belshazzar, (in his 14th
year of reign), not Nabonidus. Prior to 1854, Belshazzar had been an enigma for
historians and archaeologists who knew nothing of him outside the book of Daniel. Both
Xenophon (Cyropaedia VII:5;28-30) and Herodotus (The Histories I:191) recount the
fall of Babylon to Cyrus the Great, yet neither of these writers give the name of the king
of Babylon. Additionally, both Berossus’ and Ptolemy's king lists have Nabonidus as the
last king of Babylon with no mention of Belshazzar.
Ø According to Daniel 8:1-6,20 a ram with two horns appeared in the 3rd year of
Belshazzar, in 550 BCE, representing the kings of Media and Persia. Indeed in 550 BCE
Cyrus II became king of Persia and Harpagus, his coregent, was king of Media.
248 Daniel had become so illustrious and famous, on account of the opinion men had that he was beloved of God (...) God showed to him that it should
fight against his nation, and take their city by force, and bring the temple worship to confusion, and forbid the sacrifices to be offered for 1296 days.
Daniel wrote that he saw these visions in the Plain of Susa; and he hath informed us that God interpreted the appearance of this vision after the
following manner: He said that the ram signified the kingdoms of the Medes and Persians, and the horns those kings that were to reign in them; and
that the last horn signified the last king, and that he should exceed all the kings in riches and glory: that the he-goat signified that one should come and
reign from the Greeks, who should twice fight with the Persian, and overcome him in battle, and should receive his entire dominion: that by the great
horn which sprang out of the forehead of the he-goat was meant the first king; and that the springing up of four horns upon its falling off, and the
conversion of every one of them to the four quarters of the earth, signified the successors that should arise after the death of the first king, and the
partition of the kingdom among them, and that they should be neither his children, nor of his kindred, that should reign over the habitable earth for
many years; and that from among them there should arise a certain king that should overcome our nation and their laws, and should take away their
political government, and should spoil the temple, and forbid the sacrifices to be offered for 3 years' time. And indeed it so came to pass, that our nation
suffered these things under Antiochus Epiphanes, according to Daniel's vision, and what he wrote many years before they came to pass. In the very same
manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them. All these things did this man leave
in writing, as God had showed them to him, insomuch that such as read his prophecies, and see how they have been fulfilled, would wonder at the honor
wherewith God honored Daniel (Jewish Antiquities X:263-280).
249 J. BRIEND M.J. SEUX Les textes du Proche-Orient ancien et l'histoire d'Israël

Paris 1977 Éd. Cerf pp. 147-150.

The chronology of Median kings comes from Herodotus250 who mentions a total
solar eclipse at the end of Cyaxares reign (dated 28 May 585 BCE according to astronomy).
ØAccording to the Nabonidus Chronicle, Ugbaru (Gobryas) was the governor of Gutium,
the Darius the Mede of Daniel, who actually led Cyrus the Great's army that captured
Babylon on 17/VII/17 from Nabonidus (10/539) and then Cyrus entered Babylon on
3/VIII/17. Ugbaru, his co-ruler, installed governors in Babylon251. According to the
timeline of the Nabonidus Chronicle the [actual] king of Babylon was Ugbaru (even if he
was not formally enthroned) during the period from 3/VIII/00 to 11/VIII/01 of Cyrus.
As Cyrus received the title of "King of Babylon" only after month X of the 1st year of his
reign252 (prior this date, he was only "King of Lands"), year 1 of Cambyses coincided with
year 2 of Cyrus. Cyrus chose Cambyses as King of Babylon from [-]/X/01, he was
enthroned by the Babylonians only from 4/I/02 (Akitu feast) 2 months later. The co-
regency between Cyrus (actual King of Babylon) and Cambyses (official king of Babylon)
began informally from [-]/X/01 of Cyrus as confirmed by a double dated document (TuM
2-3, 92)253: month XI, day 25, year 1 of [Cyrus] year of accession of kingship! of Ganzyse! King of
Babylon and of Lands. It is interesting to notice that Ugbaru was likely 62 years old254 in 539
BCE (Dn 5:31).
The extraordinarily precise historical and chronological data from the Hebrew book
of Daniel (MT) prove its authenticity and reliability. Chronology is essential for testing the
accuracy of a document. First Jewish chronographs255 such as Demetrius (c. 220 BCE) and
Eupolemus (c. 160 BCE) dated all the major biblical events from the creation of Adam, or
by age of the world (AM). However, in the Book of Jubilees256 (c. 160-150) the whole
biblical story is dated by jubilees of 49 years instead of 50 (Lv 25:10-11). The Book of
Biblical Antiquities257 (LAB), written by a Jew (pseudo-Philo) between 80 BCE and 70 CE
(c. 50 CE?), still had chronological data in agreement with those of the Septuagint. Finally,
the Seder Olam258 (SO) permanently fixed (c. 160 CE) Jewish chronology, in agreement
with the Masoretic text. The Septuagint (LXX), completed around 160-150 BCE, the
Masoretic Text (TM), around 90 CE, and the work of Josephus (FJ), in 95 CE, have very
different chronological data259. Those for the period from Adam to Deluge come from
Genesis 5:3-31 and those from the Deluge to Abraham in Genesis 11:10-26:
250 The Histories I:101-108. He also wrote that Astyages, after a reign of 35 years, was defeated by Cyrus who thus became the

ruler of Persia and Media, Harpagus becoming a coregent (The Histories I:127-130, 162, 177-178) called "Lieutenant of Cyrus" by
Strabo (Geography VI:1) or "Commandant of Cyrus" by Diodorus Siculus (Historical Library IX:31:1). Harpagus is called Oibaras
by Ctesias (Persica §13,36,45). According to Flavius Josephus, Cyrus took Babylon with the help of Darius the Mede, a "son of
Astyages", at the epoch of Belshazzar, in the year 17 of Nabonidus (Jewish Antiquities X:247-249).
251 As he died on October 26, 538 BCE he cannot be the Gubaru appearing 3 years later in November 535 BCE.
252 S. ZAWADZKI - Gubaru: A Governor or a Vassal King of Babylonia?

in: Eos vol. LXXV (1987 Wroclaw) pp.69-86.

253 O. KRÜCKMANN – Neubabylonische Rechts- und Wervaltungstexte

in: Texte und materialien der Frau prof. Hilprecht collection of Babylonian antiquities II-III, Leipzig 1933, N°92.
254 One can suppose that Harpagus (Ugbaru) was at least 20 years old at the birth of Cyrus (The Histories I:108) who began to

reign in 559 BCE, when he was probably 20 years old. Under this assumption, Harpagus was born in 599 BCE (= 559 + 20 +
20) and was around 60 years old at the time of the fall of Babylon in 539 BCE, which agrees with the biblical text.
255 J. FINEGAN - Handbook of Biblical Chronology

Massachusetts 1999 Ed. Hendrickson Publishers pp. 140-145.

256 A. NYLAND – The Book of Jubilees

Uralla 2010 Ed. Smith and Stirling Publishers 5-122.

JAMES C. VANDERKAM -The Book of Jubilees
2001, Sheffield Academic Press pp. 17-21.
257 C. PERROT, P.-M. BOGAERT – Les antiquités bibliques Tome II

Paris 1976 Éd. Cerf pp. 74, 81-92.

258 H.W. GUGGENHEIMER – Seder Olam. The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology

Lanham 2005 Ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.

259 J. HUGHES – Secrets of the Times. Myth and History in Biblical Chronology

in: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 66 (1990) pp. 57, 267-272.
(-400) (-280) (-160) (-130) (50?) (90) (95) (160)
Adam 230/700 230/700 130/800 130/800 [130]/700 130/800 230/700 130/800
Seth 205/707 205/707 105/[--] 105/807 105/707 105/807 205/707 108/[--]
Enosh 190/715 190/715 [-]90/[--] [-]90/815 180/715 [-]90/815 190/715 [-]90/[--]
Qenan 170/740 170/740 [-]70/[--] [-]70/840 170/730 [-]70/840 170/740 [-]70/[--]
Mahalaleel 165/730 165/730 [-]66/[--] [-]65/830 165/730 [-]65/830 165/730 [-]68/[--]
Yered 162/800 162/800 [-]61/[--] [-]62/785 162/800 162/800 162/800 162/[--]
Henok 165/200 165/200 [-]65/[--] [-]65/300 165/200 [-]65/300 165/200 [-]65/[--]
Mathusalem 187/782 167/802 [-]65/[--] [-]67/653 187/782 187/782 187/782 187/782
Lamek 182/565 188/565 152/[--] [-]53/600 182/585 182/595 [-]82/625 182/[--]
Noah 600/350 600/350 608/342 600/350 300/[--] 600/350 600/350 600/350
Adam-Deluge - - 1308 - 1652 - 1662 1656
[Total] [2256] [2242] [1412] [1307] [1746] [1656] [2156] [1662]
Sem 100/500 100/500 103/[-] 100/500 [-]/[-] 100/500 [100]/[-] 100/500
Deluge-Sem 2 2 2 2 2 12 2
Arpakshad 135/403 135/430 [-]35/[-] 135/303 [-]/[-] [-]35/403 135/[-] [-]35/[-]
Kainan 130/330 130/330 [-]30/[-] - - - -
Shelah 130/303 130/330 57/[-] 130/303 [-]/[-] [-]30/403 130/[-] [-]30/[-]
Eber 134/370 134/370 71/[-] 134/270 [-]/[-] [-]34/430 134/[-] [-]34/[-]
Peleg 130/209 130/209 64/[-] 130/209 [-]/[-] [-]30/209 130/[-] [-]30/[-]
Reu 132/207 132/207 12/[-] 132/207 [-]/119 [-]32/207 132/[-] [-]32/[-]
Serug 130/200 130/200 108/[-] 130/100 29/67 [-]30/200 130/[-] [-]30/[-]
Nahor I 79/129 79/129 57/[-] 79/[-]69 34/200 29/119 120/[-] 29/[-]
Terah 70/135 70/135 62/[-] 70/65 70/[-] 70/135 70/135 70/135
Nahor II (+60) (+60) 70/[-] (+60) (+60) (+60) (+60)
Deluge-Abraham - - - - - 992 -
[Total] [1072] [1072] [568] [942] [292] [993] [292]

H* LXX Dem. Jub. Eup. PS LAB TM FJ SO

(-400) (-280) (-220) (-160) (-158) (-130) (50?) (90) (95) (160)
Deluge (AM) [2256] 2242 2264 1308 [1307] 2146* [1656] 2156* 1656
Abraham (AM) [3328] [3314] 3334 1876 2064 [2309] [2008] [3208] [2008]
Abraham (BCE) [2038] [2038] [2038] 3243 [2038] [2038] [2038] [2038]
Adam (BCE) 5352 5372 4118 5307 4347 4046 5246 4046

According to this reconstruction of chronological data, corrections were performed

in two steps: after the onset of the Book of Jubilees (c. 160 BCE) durations in Genesis 5:3-
31 were reduced by 100 years and were adopted by a part of the Jews, such as Eupolemus,
and by the Samaritans and 2) then, at the Synod of Yabneh (c. 90 CE), durations in Genesis
11:10-26 were also reduced by 100 years and were canonized by the rabbis260 (Pharisees).
Errors (in red) are detectable because: they are random and/or they affect a written
total and/or create inconsistencies in the order of events. Methuselah is a good example: he
would have fathered Lamech at the age of 167 and would have still lived 802 years, which
generates chronological inconsistency, because in that case he would have survived the
Flood by 14 years [= 802 - (188 + 600)]. It is indeed an error since Demetrius (c. 220 BCE)
dated the flood in 2264 AM (year of the world) instead of 2242 AM, 20 years later than in
the text of the Septuagint. The couple 167/802 therefore comes from a change: (187 -
20)/(782 + 20), Methuselah would have died the year of the flood (782 = 182 + 600). The
Samaritan Pentateuch corrected this error by drawing on the Book of Jubilees making
Lamech die at the time the flood as well as Methuselah (653 = 53+600, 600 = 565+35, 53
= 88 - 35). Similarly, as Abraham is mentioned first among the son of Nahor II, the
copyists of the Samaritan Pentateuch assumed he would have been the first-born and
therefore decreased the age of Nahor from 135 to 65 (= 135 - 70).

260 There were disagreements between Pharisees and former Sadducees regarding "genuine" holy texts (M. Yadaim 4:6-8).
The first 100-year shifts appeared after the restoration of the Temple (c. 160 BCE),
profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, seen as a prophetic fulfilment of Daniel 9261. The
Pentateuch (Temple) was copied by Sadducean scribes while those used in synagogues were
copied by Pharisean scribes. A scribe (Pharisee) at this time had such prestige that he was
called scribe of justice (1Enoch 12:4; 15:1). We note that the paternities greater than 130
years have all been reduced by 100 years, they have in fact been “Hellenized”, in agreement
with the text of Genesis 18:12 assuming a maximum of 100 years (prodigious ages were
accepted, because they corresponded to heroic times of Greek mythology). But in order not
to change the final age of the characters, their remaining lifetime was increased by 100
years. If the Jewish scribes of the Septuagint (c. 280 BCE) had corrected the text by
increasing all ages 100 years, the age of Nahor should be 129 years instead of 79 and the
ages of Yered, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah would have been 100 years higher.
Genesis 5:3-31 H* (-400) LXX (-280) Jub. (-160) PS (-130) TM (90) FJ (95)
Adam 230/700 230/700 130/800 130/800 130/800 230/700
Seth 205/707 205/707 105/[--] 105/807 105/807 205/707
Enosh 190/715 190/715 [-]90/[--] [-]90/815 [-]90/815 190/715
Qenan 170/740 170/740 [-]70/[--] [-]70/840 [-]70/840 170/740
Mahalaleel 165/730 165/730 [-]66/[--] [-]65/830 [-]65/830 165/730
Yered 162/800 162/800 [-]61/[--] [-]62/785 162/800 162/800
Henok 165/200 165/200 [-]65/[--] [-]65/300 [-]65/300 165/200
Mathusalem 187/782 167/802 [-]65/[--] [-]67/653 187/782 187/782
Lamek 182/565 188/565 152/[--] [-]53/600 182/595 [-]82/625
Noah 600/350 600/350 608/342 600/350 600/350 600/350
Adam-Deluge - - 1308 - - 1662
[sum] [2256] [2242] [1412] [1307] [1656] [2156]

The chronology of the Samaritan Pentateuch for the first period, from Adam to the
Flood, is similar to that of the Book of Jubilees since the total is 1307 years in line with the
1308 years indicated in the Book of Jubilees (while the calculated sum is 1412 years!). This
coincidence is not accidental because whereas the worship in the Temple had been restored
thanks to the heroic sacrifices of the Maccabees, the choice of the high priest however had
led to a disagreement about his legitimacy and various reactions of support or rejection (the
great priest being considered impious) according to religious groups262: Pharisees,
Sadducees, Essenes and Samaritans (Jewish Antiquities XIII:171-172) or political groups:
Hasmoneans, Hellenists and Maccabeans. This split had a significant impact on the copying
of the biblical text. Indeed, while Ezra the priest had initiated the copying process of the
Law (Ezr 7:6-12), this task was then assigned to the Levites (Ne 13:13). Although the
Samaritans are syncretic, like the Jews of Elephantine, they were not related to the Gentiles
(2Ki 17:24-41). During the Jewish uprising Judah Maccabee used Samaria as his rear base
(2M 15:1) which meant support in that region. Similarly, Jews and Samaritans were both
associated because during the repression by the Greeks the temples of Jerusalem and
Gerizim are both desecrated (2M 6:2). The period 168-128 is extremely complex because
the reports of different religious groups with the authorities fluctuated between support and
rejection regarding the high priest chosen by the Greek power263. Thus, Antiochus IV
deposed the high priest Onias III (185-175) and replaced him with Jason (175-172) who
was also deposed and replaced by Menelaus (172-164) who was not Sadducee "son of
Zadoc," which was a violation of biblical law (Ezk 40:46). Menelaus then had murdered
261 Josephus (former Pharisee) applied Daniel's prophecy to Antiochus IV for proving God's providence (Jewish Antiquities X:276).
262 J.P. MEIER - Un certain juif Jésus Les données de l'histoire III
Paris 2005 Éd. Cerf pp. 195-401.
263 S.C. MIMOUNI – Le judaïsme ancien du VIe siècle avant notre ère au IIIe siècle de notre ère

Paris 2012 Éd. Presses Universitaires de France pp. 298-351, 585-595.

Onias III (170 BCE) which led Jason to go into Egypt (168 BCE) and Onias IV, the son of
Onias III, to found a temple in Leontopolis (Is 19:19). Antiochus V deposed Menelaus and
replaced him with Alcimus (164-161) who was considered illegitimate and was replaced by
Jonathan (161-143) by Judah Maccabee.
Confusion regarding the high priest climaxed in 161 BCE since Jason was accepted
by the Sadducees but considered illegitimate by the Pharisees and Samaritans who only
recognized Jonathan (the Essenes were more radical by rejecting this high priest as impious
because of Onias IV the only high priest belonging to the legitimate branch). During the
period 168-128 appeared a Rabbinic version of the Bible, copied by scribes of the Pharisees
(Mk 2:16), alongside the priestly version copied by Sadducees. These two versions differed
only on theological issues such as the role of the temple, the legitimacy of the high priest
and the eschatological chronology264. The rabbinical version appeared at the same time as
the texts of Daniel (in Greek) and Sirach, while now applying the murder of the Messiah
(Dn 9:25-27) to Onias III265 (1M 1:54). In addition, the legitimacy of high priests was no
longer respected266 and a new biblical chronology appeared at the beginning of the Book of
Jubilees267 : This is the history of the division of the days of the law and of the testimony, of the events of the
years, of their weeks, of their jubilees throughout all the world's years, which the Lord told Moses on Mount
Sinai when he went up there to receive the tables of the law and the commandment (...) God said: Listen to
everything that I'm going to tell you on this mountain, and write it in a book. This is so that their
generations will know that I have not abandoned them despite all the evil which they do by disobeying the
covenant which I will establish this day on Mount Sinai between you and me for their generations. So then
when all these things happen to them, they will realize that I am more honourable than they are in all their
judgments and their actions, and they will realize that I have been straightforward with them. Indeed, you
are to write down everything I tell you this day. I know their rebellious, stubborn nature. I will bring them to
the land I promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I said to them: I am giving a land
flowing with milk and honey to your descendants. They will eat and be full, and they will turn to strange
gods, to gods which cannot rescue them from any of their troubles. This will be heard as a witness against
them. They will forget all my commandments. They will forget everything that I commanded them. They will
live like pagans, and be ritually unclean, and disgraceful, and will serve their gods. This will prove to be an
offence, an ordeal, an affliction, and a trap to them. Many will die and many will be taken captive. Many
will fall into the hands of the enemy, because they have abandoned my decrees, my commandments, the
festivals of my covenant, my Sabbaths, and my sacred place which I consecrated for myself amongst them,
and my tabernacle, my sanctuary which I consecrated for myself amongst them (...) I will send witnesses to
them to bear witness against them. However, they will not listen to them, and furthermore will kill the
witnesses too. They will persecute those who seek the law, and they will annul or change everything in order
to do evil in my sight. I will turn my face from them, and I will hand them over as captives to the pagans, to
be made victims, to be devoured. I will remove them from the land. I will scatter them among the pagans.
They will forget all my laws, commandments, and judgments, and will go off the right path with regard to
new moons. Sabbaths, festivals, jubilees, and decrees.
The Pharisees arose from Hasidim "pious" who fought for the survival of the cult.
The Book of Jubilees was used to legitimize their rival religious institution compared to that
of the Sadducees too closely linked to Greek rulers. According to Josephus: Then a certain
Jonathan, one of Hyrcanus' close friends, belonging to the school of Sadducees, who hold opinions opposed to
264 The creation of the world is dated 2450 years prior to entry into Canaan (Jubilees 50:4), instead of 3604 years (LXX).
265 H. COUSIN – La Bible grecque. La Septante
in: Supplément au Cahier Évangiles 74 (1990 Cerf) pp. 109-111.
266 S.C. MIMOUNI – Le judaïsme ancien du VIe siècle avant notre ère au IIIe siècle de notre ère

Paris 2012 Éd. Presses Universitaires de France pp. 298-309.

267 A. NYLAND – The Book of Jubilees

Uralla 2010 Ed. Smith and Stirling Publishers 7-8.

those of the Pharisees, said that it had been with the general approval of all the Pharisees that Eleazar had
made his slanderous statement; and this, he added, would be clear to Hyrcanus if he inquired of them what
punishment Eleazar deserved for what he had said. And so Hyrcanus asked the Pharisees what penalty
they thought he deserved —for, he said, he would be convinced that the slanderous statement had not been
made with their approval if they fixed a penalty commensurate with the crime—, and they replied that
Eleazar deserved stripes and chains; for they did not think it right to sentence a man to death for calumny,
and anyway the Pharisees are naturally lenient in the matter of punishments. At this Hyrcanus became very
angry and began to believe that the fellow had slandered him with their approval. And Jonathan in
particular inflamed his anger, anil so worked upon him that he brought him to join the Sadducaean party
and desert the Pharisees, and to abrogate the regulations which they had established for the people, and
punish those who observed them. Out of this, of course, grew the hatred of the masses for him and his sons,
but of this we shall speak hereafter. For the present I wish merely to explain that the Pharisees had passed
on to the people certain regulations handed down by former generations and not recorded in the Laws of
Moses, for which reason they are rejected by the Sadducaean group, who hold that only those regulations
should be considered valid which were written down (in Scripture), and that those which had been handed
down by former generations need not be observed. And concerning these matters the two parties came to have
controversies and serious differences, the Sadducees having the confidence of the wealthy alone but no following
among the populace, while the Pharisees have the support of the masses (Jewish Antiquities XIII:293-
298). The abundant literature of Maccabean inspiration would be adopted by Pharisaic
tendencies, but also Samaritan and even Essenian. Chronology from the Book of Jubilees
would replace that of chapter 5 of Genesis268 . When John Hyrcanus destroyed the
Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim in 128 BCE (Jewish Antiquities XIII:254-256) Jews
and Samaritans broke up, which froze the Samaritan Pentateuch. When Roman armies
destroyed the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE, Jews and Judeo-Christians separated. The rabbis
(Pharisees), at the Synod of Yabneh269 (c. 90 CE), harmonized the chronology of Genesis
chapter 8 with that of chapter 5, but for some unknown reasons three durations were
restored: those of Jared, Methuselah and Lamech. Sadducees disappeared after 70 CE as
well as copies of the Bible from the temple. Most biblical texts found at Qumran are likely
to be copies made by scribes who were Pharisees or Essenes. A historical retrospect shows
that many periods have strongly influenced the Jews: Hellenism from 330 BCE, religious
nationalism from -160, anti-Samaritan feeling from 128 BCE (destruction of the temple of
Gerizim), anti-Christian feeling from 70 CE (destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem), and
then total rejection after 135 CE (defeat of Bar Kochba). Chronologies from Jewish
chronographs over the period -220 to 160 can track the evolution of biblical chronology:
ØDated c. 1500 BCE, administrative documents from Sealand (northern Sumer) contain the
oldest epigraphs in paleo-Hebrew and Midianite/Temanites theophorous names in
Ya(h)u. The name Ali-din-ili-UB-KU-[-] (cuneiform) is transcribed ’LDN’L GB‘ in paleo-
Hebrew270 . It was at this time that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. This book would remain
in the custody of the high priest and every future king had to write his own copy (Dt
17:18, 31:26). According to the Egyptian priest Manetho (c. 280 BCE) the Exodus took
place under Ahmose (1530-1505) and: It was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity
and their laws, was by birth of Heliopolis, and his name Osarsiph (Aauserre-Apopi), but that when he
was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses (Against Apion I:250).
268 A. LANGE – The Hebrew Bible in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls
in: Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 209 (Vandenhoeck & Ruuprecht, 2012) p. 17.
269 This Synod collected "legal" traditions/ prophecies (Tosefta Eduyot 1:1) and chose "genuine" holy books (M. Yadaim 4:6).
270 L. COLONNA D'ISTRIA – Épigraphes alphabétiques du pays de la Mer §48

in: Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires 3 (2012) pp. 61-63.

S. DALLEY – Babylonian Tablets from the First Sealand Dynasty in the Schøyen Collection
in: Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology Vol. 9 (CDL Press, 2009) pp. 1-4.
ØDated 1050-970 the Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon271 contains the oldest known biblical text
(Lv 19:13). At that time, the Law of Moses (Pentateuch) was known outside Jerusalem
only by oral teaching carried out by the priests (2Ch 17:9; 34:15).
ØIn 622 BCE the Pentateuch of Moses is found in the 18th year of King Josiah (2Ki 22:3-
10). Two scrolls have been found in Ketef Hinnom272 (near Jerusalem) with the text of
Numbers 6:24-25 dated to 650-600.
ØJews in Elephantine (whose cult was syncretic) were given letters in Aramaic273 (dated 419
BCE), which had been sent by the priests of Jerusalem, so they celebrated the Passover in
their temple according to the instructions of Exodus 12:18-19.
ØIn 406 BCE Jerusalem was completed and inaugurated late in the reign of Darius II (Ne
12:22-43). According to the Mishna: Since the death of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the last
prophets, the Holy Spirit ceased in Israel (Tosephta Sota 13:2-4); when they deserved, under Ezra, it
[the Torah] recovered in "modern Hebrew" (Megillah 71b; Tosephta Sanhedrin 4:7). The
Babylonian Talmud states: Moses wrote his book and the section of Balaam and Job, Joshua wrote his
book and eight verses [completing] the Torah (...) [and finally] Ezra wrote his book and the genealogies of
Chronicles (Baba Batra 14b). Ezra was a skilled copyist who initiated a program of annual
reading of the Bible (in the Jerusalem Temple) with comments (Ne 8:1-9).
ØFrom 400 to 330 appeared partial Greek translations of the Law as for example those of
Theopompus (378-323) and Theodectes (375-334). These translations are disapproved by
Jewish authorities (Letter of Aristeas XII:312-316). The mention of such translations
illustrates the growing diffusion of Greek texts274. During this period appeared the
technique of qere/ketib consisting in reading another word instead of what was written275.
ØIn 331 BCE, after the victory of Alexander on Gaza, the Samaritans took advantage
building their own temple on Mount Gerizim (Jewish Antiquities XI:324) without Jews
opposing it, but the scribes of the Temple replaced "Mount Gerizim" by "Mount Ebal"
(Dt 27:4) in their copies for places of prayer (former synagogues).
ØTowards 315-305, Hecataeus of Abdera, a Greek historian, mentioned the Law of Moses
(Pentateuch), according to Diodorus Siculus (Historical Library I:28:94, XL:3).
ØAround 280 BCE, Ptolemy II promoted historical writings in order to equip his library of
Alexandria. At this time appeared official translation of the Pentateuch into Greek, known
as the Septuagint, heavily influenced by Hellenism (such as the text of Exodus 3:14). The
Samaritans continued to use the old version of the Pentateuch in paleo-Hebrew.
ØGreek prevailed very early in the synagogues, as proven by one of the earliest (c. 250
BCE) of the dedicatory inscriptions276 from Schedia near Alexandria. The place of prayer
was an elementary synagogue according to the text of Acts 16:13,16.
ØJewish chronograph Demetrius established (c. 220 BCE) a biblical chronology, which
agreed only with the text of the Septuagint.
ØTowards 190-180, the grandfather of Ben Sirach was reading the Bible in its traditional
Jewish form: Law, Writings and Prophets (Ecclesiasticus prologue; 1:39). The Old
271 E. PUECH –L'Ostracon de Khirbet Qeyafa et les débuts de la royauté en Israël
in: Revue Biblique 117 (2010) pp. 162-184.
272 G. BARKAY – The Priestly Benediction on Silver Plaques From Ketef Hinnom in Jerusalem. in: Tel Aviv Vol. 19 n°2 (1992).

R. MARTIN-ACHARD – Remarques sur la bénédiction sacerdotale in: Études Théologiques & Religieuses tome 70 (1995/1) pp. 75-84.
273 P. GRELOT – Documents araméens d'Égypte

in: Littératures Anciennes du Proche-Orient 5 (1972) Éd. Cerf pp. 95-96.

274 Hebrew having become a liturgical language of the priesthood after returning from the Babylonian exile.
275 For example, due to a formalistic reading of some verses: Adonay "Lord" is read instead of Yehowah (Ex 20:7), boshet

"shame" instead of Baal "Master" (Ho 2:16) or Moloch "King" (Ex 23:13) etc. This reading technique will affect the subsequent
276 W. HORBURY D. NOY - Jewish Inscriptions of Graeco-Roman Egypt

1992 Ed. Cambridge University Press, Inscription n°22.

Testament was widely circulated according to Ben Sirach.
ØIn 160 BCE, Simon Maccabeus inaugurated the Hasmonean era after the victory of his
brothers over the Greek forces of occupation which had desecrated the Temple in
Jerusalem. Pharisees advocate religious legalism and Sadducees favoured Hellenism. The
Greek translation of the other books of the Bible, such as those of Samuel and Kings, was
made. The Book of Jubilees (160-150) appeared developing a new chronology based on
jubilees of 49 years commencing at the creation of the world dated 2450 years prior to the
entry into Canaan (Jubilees 50:4), instead of 3604 years (LXX).
ØJewish historian Eupolemus set (c. 160 BCE) a biblical chronology which agreed only with
the text of the Septuagint.
ØJewish writers of the 2nd century BCE considered that the Greek text (LXX) as identical to
the Hebrew text, as explained Aristeas towards 160-130 (Letter of Aristeas §310-§311).
Thus, towards 160-150, Scripture quoted by the Jews was in line with the text of the
Septuagint such as the text of 1 Maccabees 7:16-17 which quotes Psalm 79:2-3 (LXX).
ØDuring a dispute concerning the temple on Mount Gerizim towards 150-145 (Jewish
Antiquities XIII:72-79) the Jews never accused the Samaritans of having a falsified
Pentateuch (2M 6:2) that proves they had kept a text close to the Septuagint.
ØIn 128 BCE, John Hyrcanus destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim as well as
Shechem (in 107 BCE) the capital of Samaria (Jewish Antiquities XIII:254-256). Jews and
Samaritans separated (Sirach 50:25-26), which froze the Samaritan Pentateuch277 which
agrees in 1900 places278 with that of the Septuagint against the Masoretic text279.
ØJewish writers until the end of the 1st century CE were unanimous in saying that the Greek
text of the Septuagint rendered the Hebrew text exactly (from the Temple in Jerusalem),
like Philo of Alexandria, towards 30-50 (Vita Mosis II:40), the apostle Paul towards 50-60
(NT) and Josephus towards 90-100 (Jewish Antiquities XII:108-109). For all these Jewish
authors, the text of the Septuagint (Pentateuch) was based on an authoritative Hebrew
text and the latter was not considered different from its Greek version (at this time)
ØCa. 50 CE, according to Rabbi Hiyya ben Abba (190-220): The Targum of the Prophets was
composed by Jonathan ben Uzziel under the guidance of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, and the land of
Israel [thereupon] quaked over an area of 400 parasangs (2240 km) by 400 parasangs, and a Bath Kol
(voice from heaven) came forth and exclaimed, Who is this that has revealed My secrets to mankind?
Jonathan ben Uzziel thereupon arose and said, It is I who have revealed Thy secrets to mankind. It is
fully known to Thee that I have not done this for my own honour or for the honour of my father's house,
but for Thy honour I have done it, that dissension may not increase in Israel. He further sought to reveal
[by] a targum [the inner meaning] of the Hagiographa (of Daniel), but a Bath Kol went forth and said,
Enough! What was the reason? —Because the date of the Messiah is foretold in it (B. Megilla 3a).
ØFrom 70 CE (destruction of the Temple and its archives), Rabbinic Judaism began
unifying and revising the texts of the Old Testament280, written in reaction against the
Judeo-Christians who identified Jesus as the Messiah through the gospel of Matthew
written in Hebrew (towards 41 CE according to Christian tradition).
ØAround 90 CE, the Synod of Yabneh led by Gamaliel II, Rabbis set the text of the Torah
using three copies from the Temple. The Jerusalem Talmud states that these copies had
variants in spelling (B. Taanit 68a). According to the Babylonian Talmud (B. Qiddushin
277 E. TOV – Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Assen 1992 Ed. Fortress Press pp. 80-100.
278 K.-R. Kim counts merely 964, of which 493 are meaningful, and 328 are common harmonization.
279 C.A. EVANS – Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies

Michigan 2005 Ed. Baker Academic pp. 156-158.

280 C. AMPHOUX – Le texte de la Bible

in: Dictionnaire encyclopédique de la Bible (Brepols 1987) pp. 1256-1258.

30a), the Pentateuch (H*?) at the time contained 5888 verses, whereas there are 5853
according to current count (MT). Rabbis settled the canon of Torah and began to
harmonize the text of the Septuagint on their new textus receptus (MT). This synod is dated
towards 90 CE since Josephus mentions in 94 CE the existence of a canon of biblical
books (Against Apion I:38-41) that did not exist prior to this date (moreover the first
codex of the Septuagint still contained Jewish Apocrypha next canonized books). Some
corrections were also used to discourage the calculations of Messianic time (B. Sanhedrin
97b) made by the Judeo-Christians (Lk 3:1,15; Ac 1:6).
ØIn 94 CE Josephus published his book Against Apion to defend the historicity of the
biblical text including using its historical data. The Hebrew text he used is often close to
that of the Septuagint, mainly the Pentateuch, but not identical. Josephus in order to
defend Jewish history, through its chronology, wrote: So the exact data of the Scriptures which
will be developed in this paper, each in its place, and I am committed to doing this in this book, without
adding or omitting (Jewish Antiquities I:17,149). He was aware that some of his readers were
hostile to him (most Jews considered him a traitor) and this is why he said: However, some
despicable characters tried to attack my story (...) Archaeology, as I said [in Jewish Antiquities I:5], is
translated from the holy books, because I hold the priesthood from my birth and I started philosophying
[rabbinic interpretation] these books (Against Apion I:53-54). He added: I, after the fall of my
hometown with nothing dearer to me keeping my own misfortunes console, I asked Titus release a number
of prisoners of free birth, and I accepted, by gracious offer of Titus, [a collection of] holy books
(Autobiography §418). The Pentateuch of Josephus had to be made, in his time (70-90), of
Hebrew scrolls281 (written prior to 70 CE) in accordance with those in the Temple.
However, this Hebrew text was not identical to that of the Septuagint because it ignored,
for example, Qainan in the Messianic genealogy, and on the other hand it knew the
ancient Ur which was ignored in the Septuagint.
ØFrom 110 CE, Rabbi Akiba (50-132) in person recommends using "corrected" biblical
scrolls: when you teach your son, teach him from a corrected scroll (B. Pesahim 112a). Prior to its
destruction the temple of Jerusalem employed professional282 maggihim "correctors" or
"revisers", whose task was to safeguard precision in the copying of the text: correctors
[maggihim] of books in Jerusalem received their fees from the temple funds (B. Ketuboth 106a; Y.
Sheqalim 4.48a). This description implies that the correcting procedure based on the
master copy in the temple was financed from the temple resources which thus provided
an imprematur. This was the only way to safeguard the proper distribution of precise copies
of Scripture because: Three mistakes (in one column) may be corrected, but if there are four (in one
column), it must be put into the Geniza (B. Menahot 29b). The pilgrims who came to Jerusalem
had their text corrected by the temples scribes: on the middle days of the three regalim one is not
allowed to correct even one single letter, not even from the scroll in the temple court (M. Moed Qatan
3.4). Another such precise copy was the scroll of the king, which accompagnied the king
everywhere. The Talmud tell us that this scroll was corrected from the copy in the temple court
in accordance with the court of 71 members [the Sanhedrin] (Y. Sanhedrin 2.20c; Sifre
Deuteronomy 160). At the same time, according to the Talmud: a book not corrected do not be
dwelt in a house any longer than 30 days (B. Ketuboth 19b). Prior to 70 CE the temple
(Sadducees) provided the imprematur for corrected scrolls but after 70 CE it was only from
the Rabbis (Pharisees). If corrections were validated by the rabbinical authorities, and are
therefore difficult to detect, errors were noted by the Masoretes (from 900 CE) in the
281 É. NODET – Le pentateuque de Flavius Josèphe

Paris 1996 Éd. Cerf pp. 6-10.

282 E. TOV – Hebrew Bible, Greek Bible and Qumran

Tübingen 2008 Ed. Mohr Siebeck pp. 179-180.

margin of biblical manuscripts283 called the Masorah "tradition/transmission".
Unfortunately, these errors lists themselves were copied with errors284 and there are also
variants in the Babylonian Masorah itself285. The present textus receptus (MT) is therefore
not true to the original, however it is an ‘average text’ in which reliability in transmission
exceeds 98%286. The choice among all the variants in the remaining 2% (especially for
vocalization problems) depends on who has given his confidence287 (Masoretes, Rabbis,
Sopherim, Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees, Christians or Essenes) obtaining an eclectic
textus receptus OT (as the one of the NT).
ØIn 129 CE, Aquila, a Jewish proselyte and former Christian, produced the first revision of
the Septuagint to make it conform to the Masoretic text.
ØMasada rebels (131-135) only used scrolls agreeing with the ‘authorized text’ (MT).
ØAccording to Rabbi Yonathan, after Bar Kochba died (in 135 CE) as Messiah (Y. Taanit
68d): Blasted be the bones of those who calculate the end. For they would say, since the predetermined time
has arrived, and yet he has not come, he will never come (B. Sanhedrin 97b)288.
ØJustin, towards 152 CE, criticized the Jews of his time for having removed or modified
some verses in the Hebrew text (Masoretic text instead of the original H*) when they were
favorable to Christians (Dialogue with Trypho §71-§72, §124, §137).
ØAround 160 CE the Seder Olam fixed the official Jewish chronology in agreement with the
Masoretic Text and the Book of Jubilees.
ØDated 165-200, Eleazar ben Yacob II (or Simon) criticized the Samaritans for having
falsified their Pentateuch (Y. Sotah 7:3; 21c). As the main disagreement concerned the
legitimacy of Mount Gerizim (Jn 4:20) this belated criticism reveals who was the real
forger about this topic.
According to this historical retrospective, the original Hebrew text (Pentateuch) was
considered by the Jews to be the same as the Septuagint, at least until the end of the 1st
century CE, controversies over falsification appearing with Christians and Samaritans after
150 CE. A conclusion seems to impose: the Alexandrian Jews generally translated well their
Hebrew Pentateuch, then from the Hasmonean era an abundance of wisdom texts appeared
(Apocrypha of the Old Testament). The Hebrew text, including its chronology, was
influenced by this religious literature as evidenced by some differences between the
Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint. At the Synod of Yabneh (90 CE) the canon of
the Old Testament was fixed (MT) by the Rabbis of this time (Pharisees). Afterwards texts
in agreement with the Septuagint were not used anymore by Jewish authorities and were,
from 90 to 135 CE, censored and ostracized289: The Law was written in Greek in the days of King
Ptolemy. And for 3 days darkness came over the world (Megillat Taanit 13); The day the Law was
translated was as hard for Israel as the day they made the golden calf (Masechet Sefer Torah I:8-9).
283 G.R. DRIVER – Introduction to the Old Testament
in: The New English Bible (UK Penguin Books, 1974) p. XVI.
284 M. COHEN – The Idea of the Sanctity of the Biblical Text and the Science of Textual Criticism

Tel-Aviv, 1979 in: HaMikrah V'anachnu (Ed. Uriel Simon, HaMachon L'Yahadut U'Machshava Bat-Z'mananu and Dvir).
285 P. KAHLE – Der Masoretische Text des Alten Testaments nach der Ueberlieferung der Babylonischen Juden

Leipzig, 1902 Ed. Hildesheim, G. Olms pp. 13-18, 79-83.

286 G.STUDENT – On the Text of the Torah 2002 http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en_text.html

To compare texts (MT, SP, LXX and Qumran) see B. VAN ELDEREN -The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Text of the Hebrew Bible
and History of Judaism http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/oracleofdelphi/DSS_Bas_afternoon.pdf
287 E. TOV – Book review: The Pentateuch: The Samaritan Version and the Masoretic Version

in: Dead Sea Discoveries 18 (Brill 2011) pp. 385–391.

288 Similarly, Pope Leo X in his Constitution Supernae majestatis Praesidio (Session 11 of the Vth Lateran Council, January 1516) has

forbidden Catholic preachers, under pain of excommunication, to pretend giving a fixed date for the Antechrist’s advent and the
end of the world (Cit. ap. Ferraris, Prompta bibl., verbo Prædicare. - Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum collectio, t. XXXII, p. 945-947).
289 D. BODI – Les problèmes de la version grecque du livre d'Ézéchiel

in: Semitica 52-53 (2007) pp. 57-81.

1057 977 960 957 916 893 885 879 839 810 758 742 726 697 642 640 627 609 598 588 587 539 538 517
a b c d e f g h i j
40 40 17 3 41 23 8 6 40 29 52 16 16 29 55 2 13 18 11 10 1
65 40
390 70
18x50 50
a) End of Solomon's 40-year reign (1Ki 11:42). The splitting of his kingdom in two parts
(Israel and Judah) marked the start of a 390-year period that would end with the
destruction of Jerusalem (see §c). His successors would be Rehoboam: 17 years of reign
(1Ki 14:21), Abijam: 3 years of reign (1Ki 15:1-2) and Asa: 41 years of reign (1Ki 15:9-10).
b)Jehoshaphat ruled for 25 years (1Ki 22:41-42), but we must remove the 2-year co-regency
with his son Jehoram who became king in Jehoshaphat's 23rd year of reign, and not after
the 25th year. This can be checked: Jehoram, king of Judah, who ruled for 8 years, became
king in the 5th year of Jehoram, king of Israel (2Ki 8:16-17), whose rule had begun in the
18th year of Jehoshaphat (2Ki 3:1); 18 + 5 do amount to 23. After the death of Jehoram,
king of Judah, Athaliah ruled for 6 years (2Ki 11:3), then Jehoash for 40 years (2Ki 12:1),
Jehoahaz for 17 years (2Ki 13:1), Amasiah for 29 years (2Ki 14:2), Uzziah for 52 years
(2Ch 26:3), Jotham for 16 years (2Ki 15:32-33), Ahaz for 16 years (2Ki 16:2), Hezekiah for
29 years (2Ki 18:1-2), Manasseh for 55 years (2Ki 21:1), Amon for 2 years (2Ki 21:19),
and Josiah for 31 (= 13 + 18) years (2Ki 22:1).
c) The fall of Samaria began in year 4 of Hezekiah (2Ki 18:9-10) and ended in his year 6
corresponding to year 2 of Sargon II (720 BCE). There were 65 years between the
annexation of Samaria (Is 7:8-9), the death of King Pekah and the enthronement of King
Hosea by Tiglath-pileser III during his 8th campaign (738 BCE) and the deportation of
King Manasseh (2Ch 33:11; 2Ki 17:24) and the people of Samaria (Ezr 4:2) by
Esarhaddon during the eponymy of Atarilu290 (673 BCE).
d)In Josiah's 13th year (Jr 25:3,11), Jeremiah began proclaiming the destruction of Jerusalem,
which happened 40 years later. This 40 years period, foretold in Ezekiel (Ezk 4:6), ends
with the disappearance of the kingdom of Israel, which had been born 390 years before.
e) Start of Babylonian's 70-year rule over all the nations. This rule started at the beginning of
Jehoiakim's reign (Jr 27:1-7), after the battle of Haran during which king Josiah was killed
(2Ki 23:29), 4 years before the battle of Carkemish (Jr 46:2), and it terminated with the
destruction of Babylon. After Josiah's death, Jehoahaz ruled 3 months (2Ki 23:31).
Jehoiakim, brought on the throne by pharaoh Necho, reigned for 11 years (2Ki 23:34,36),
and afterwards Zedekiah, enthroned by Nebuchadnezzar reigned for 11 years (2Ki 24:17-
18) until the destruction of the temple.
f) In Zedekiah's 10th year (Jr 32:1) the temple was destroyed and the people were deported to
Babylon because they deliberately broke a Jubilee291, the liberation that should have
occurred was postponed to the next Jubilee (Jr 34:8-11, 13-22).
g) Destruction of the temple on the 10th day of the 5th month of Nebuchadnezzar's 18th year
according to Babylonian computation (Jr 52:12-13, 29).
h)Destruction of Babylon in 539 after 70 years of slavery (Jr 25:11-12).
i) 1st year of Cyrus, the liberation from Babylon occurred.
j) End of the 70-year desolation period and of the exile (from Babylonia, but also from
290 J. BRIEND M.J SEUX - Textes du Proche-Orient ancien et histoire d'Israël
Paris 1977 Éd. Cerf pp. 99-102,128,129.
291 J.-F. LEFEBVRE - Le jubilé biblique

Göttingen 2003 Éd. Universitaires Fribourg pp. 369-370.

Assyria and Egypt); beginning of a new 50-year Jubilee cycle.
The year of Nebuchadnezzar's rule during which the temple was destroyed and the
70-year period began is controversial: When the seventy years granted to Babylon are over (Jr 29:10,
Jerusalem Bible, London 1974). To set the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's rule, the writer
of Jeremiah's book, who lived under Egyptian and then Babylonian authority, used both a
computation including the accession year (Egyptian system) and a computation not
including the accession year (Babylonian system). This could explain several 1-year gaps.
However, those dates can be fixed through chronological reconstitution combining
information given by other biblical writers and indications from Babylonian tablets (the
start of the exile can be set between the 7th and the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar).
Therefore, although Jeremiah's disconcerting dating sets the destruction of the temple in
Zedekiah's 11th year, i.e. either in Nebuchadnezzar's 19th year (Egyptian computation) or in
his 18th year, according to Babylonian computation (Jr 52:12,29), it is of no consequence
since this 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar is linked to Zedekiah's 10th year (Jr 32:1). The 70-
year period is abundantly described, and it first relates to Babylonian rule over all nations.
According to the Bible, Judea would be devastated, and all contemporary nations would
serve the king of Babylon during 70 years: The word that occurred to Jeremiah concerning all the
people of Judah in the 4th year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, that is, the 1st year of
Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon (...) And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of
astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon 70 years. And it must occur that
when 70 years have been fulfilled I shall call to account against the king of Babylon and against that nation
(...) even against the land of the Chaldeans, and I will make it desolate wastes to time indefinite (Jr 25:1-
26). Then the Chaldeans' country would become desolated. It may be noted that this
prediction was issued in the 1st year of Nebuchadnezzar (604 BCE). Babylonian rule had
already begun, but the devastation of Judah was still to come. The period of slavery was to
begin before the period of desolation. The 70-year period of slavery applied to all the
nations including Egypt. This period started after the victory of Babylonian forces over the
armies of Assyria and Egypt at Haran, and then extends from 609 to 539 BCE292 . If the "70
years" ended in 539 they began in 609 BCE293.
Some translations use the words "70 years at Babylon (Jr 29:10)" instead of "70 years
for Babylon294: For thus said Jehovah, After 70 years are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you, and
perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place (1947 Revised Standard Version).
This would mean that the Israelites dwelt in Babylon for 70 years. In the phrase "70 years
for Babylon", the word "for" is used to translate the Hebraic particle le meaning "for, of

292 As the start of Jehoiakim's rule can be dated to Tishri 609, the period of slavery is the same for Judah as for other nations: In

the beginning of the kingdom of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah (...) And now I myself have given all these lands into the hand of
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon (...) And all the nations must serve even him and his son and his grandson until the time even of his own land
comes (…). And as for You men, do not listen to Your prophets (...) who are saying to You: "You men will not serve the king of Babylon (Jr 27:1,6-
9). The 70-year Babylonian domination [from 609 to 539] outshone Tyre's position: And it must occur in that day that Tyre must be
forgotten 70 years, the same as the days of one king. At the end of 70 years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of a prostitute (...) And it must occur
at the end of 70 years that Jehovah will turn his attention to Tyre, and she must return to her hire and commit prostitution with all the kingdoms of the
earth upon the surface of the ground (Is 23:15-17). Because Tyre had rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem, it was foretold that the city
would be attacked by Nebuchadnezzar (Ezk 26:1-12) and completely destroyed (Zc 9:4). Josephus states (Against Apion I:156;
Jewish antiquities X:228) that the siege of the city of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar lasted 13 years (587-574). Since Nebuchadnezzar
received no "wages", a text by Ezekiel (Ezk 29:17-20) dated to the 27th year of exile (571 BCE) says that the Babylonian monarch
would receive the wealth of Egypt as a compensation for 40 years. This inheritance may begin with the reign of pharaoh Amasis
(569 BCE) and last till the end of Cyrus' rule (Is 43:1,3) in 530. After the fall of Babylon, Tyre resumed its immoral business (Ne
13:6, 15-17), but it was finally destroyed by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE. However, there is a controversy over one word of
Jeremiah's text about the 70 years. Daniel foretold the fall of Babylon just before it happened: MENE, God has numbered [the days
of] your kingdom and has finished it (...) PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians (Dn 5:26-28).
293 R.E. WINCKLE – Jeremiah's Seventy Years for Babylon: A Re-assessment

in: Andrews University Seminaries Studies 25:2 (1987) pp. 289-299.

294 See the Danish (or Swedish) version on http://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/jeremiah/29#v-10
(belonging to), to, toward (direction)". The translation "70 years at Babylon" is ambiguous,
for the particle le commonly conveys the meaning of a direction (to, toward) and not of
being "in" or inside. When "inside" is meant, the Hebrew language uses the particle be, as
can be seen everywhere in Jeremiah's book295.
A Babylonian chronicle (BM 21901) dates the final part of the battle of Haran to the
17 year of Nabopolassar, in the month of Duzu296 (July 609). During that year Assyrian

king Ashur-uballit II was killed (as well as Josiah); as Jehoahaz reigned 3 months,
Jehoiakim's rule must have begun around Tishri (October) 609. Since, the fall of Babylon
happened in Tishri 539, Babylon dominated over the world for exactly 70 years. It can be
noted that after king Josiah's death, pharaoh Necho II brought the Judean kingdom under
subjection and changed the name of its king to Jehoiakim (2Ch 36:3-4). The 70-year period
is delimitated by two events apparently providential: the death of king Josiah (1Ki 13:2; 2Ch
35:20-24) and the accession of king Cyrus (Is 43:1, 45:1). Subjection to Egypt lasted 8 years
and was succeeded by subjection to Nebuchadnezzar after the battle of Carkemish.
Babylonian domination began in 609 and was exerted on Judah first through Egypt and
then directly (from king Jehoiakim's 8th year) 3 years before the end of his rule (2Ki 24:1).
The Bible makes a difference between the Babylon's legal rule297 from 609 and the effective
Babylonian rule from 601 BCE.
King Rule Length Reference King Rule Length Reference
Josiah 640-609 31 years 2Ch 34:1 Zedekiah 598-587 11 years 2Ch 36:11
Jehoahaz 609 3 months 2Ch 36:2 [Gedaliah]* governor 587 2 months? 2Ki 25:25
Jehoiakim 609-598 11 years 2Ch 36:5 Jehoiachin 587-561 26 years ? 2Ki 25:27
Jehoiachin 598 3 months 2Ch 36:9 Babylonian dominion 609-539 70 years Jr 25:11,12

Eusebius saw chronology as of great importance, writing: For with those authors whose
record of times is inconsistent, the history cannot possibly be true (Preparatio evangelica X:11:5; X:9:3-
5; X:10:5; IX:40:11). He compared Babylonian chronology to the biblical one, particularly
295 For example, le may be translated "I will send to [toward] Babylon (Jr 51:2)", speaking of a direction, or "I will pay back to
[for] Babylon (Jr 51:24)", meaning that something belongs to someone. To mean "in" (inside), the particle be is used, as in
"prophets in [inside] Babylon (Jr 29:15)", "the body of exiles of Judah that is in [inside] Babylon (Jr 29:22)". To be precise, those
"70 years for Babylon" terminate on the 16 Tishri (12 October) 539 BCE.
296 J.B. PRITCHARD - Ancient Near Eastern Texts

Princeton 1969 Ed. Princeton University Press p. 305.

297 In the Hebrew Scriptures, Judean kingship legally represented God's authority (1Ch 29:23). We can read in the book of

Ezekiel: Remove the turban [symbolizing the priesthood], and lift off the crown [symbolizing the kingship]. This will not be the same. Put on high
even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no [one's] until he
comes who has the legal right, and I must give [it] to him (Ezk 21:26-27). According to the Gospels, Jesus was "he who has the legal
right", since we read (Lk1:32-33): God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and
there will be no end of his kingdom. The Septuagint renders Shilo “it belongs to him (Gn 49:10)” by “for him to which it is reserved”.
So, the following text: This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low [the pagan kingdoms], and bring low even the high one [Judean legal
kingdom]. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it [temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar], refers to pharaoh Necho II bringing the Judean
kingdom under subjection, Josiah being the last legal king. In the Bible, a king is considered legal only if he is anointed by God
or by one of His representatives (a prophet or a high-priest). All the "legal" kings were appointed in the same way (1Ki 1:39; 2Ki
11:9-12). Otherwise they were illegal and were consequently not buried in the city of David. All Judean kings, from David to
Josiah included, were buried in the city of David, except Athaliah who was replaced by high-priest Jehoiada (2Ch 24:15-16).
Athaliah had (illegally) appointed herself as king. She was executed 6 years later (2Ki 11:1-20) and was not buried. Kings after
Josiah were illegal kings: Jehoahaz was appointed by the people, Jehoiakim by pharaoh Necho II, and Jehoiachin by Babylonian
king Nebuchadnezzar (2Ch 36:1-8). These kings died in exile, except Jehoiakim, who nevertheless received “the burial of a he-
ass (Jr 22:18-19)”. The text stipulates that from Jehoiakim included “he will come to have no one sitting upon the throne of
David (Jr 36:30)”. Therefore, after Josiah's death, the Judean kingdom legally fell under the control of the nations. The period of
slavery ended when the Babylonian power fell in 539 BCE and Cyrus (in his 1st year (Ezr 1:7-8), i.e. 538, appointed Zerubbabel
(Sheshbazzar) as governor, and not as king. According to the Bible, this appointment was legal because it was God's will.
Though the Judean kingship was not restored in 538, it was rehabilitated. Indeed, high-priest Joshua was given the turban, legal
symbol of the priesthood, and the crown, legal symbol of the kingship (Zc 1:7; 3:5) in 518. We can understand that this kingship
was put aside for a future high-priest (Zc 6:11-14), Jesus Christ, according to the Gospels, who was to receive the crown (Zc
9:9,16). Isaiah also tells about a kingly turban (Is 62:3), thus confirming the paradoxical combination of kingship and priesthood
(that was impossible under Mosaic Law, since kingship belonged to the tribe of Judah, and priesthood to the tribe of Levi).
regarding the 70-year period. He stated: The 2nd year of Darius coincides with the 1st year of the 65th
Olympiad: and the 15th of the reign of Tiberius at Rome falls in with the 4th year of the 201st Olympiad
(...) But since the 70th year of the desolation of the temple in Jerusalem was in the 2nd year of Darius. So,
according to Eusebius, the 70 years "of the desolation of the temple" run from 590/589 to
520/519 and were different from the 70 years of Babylonian domination. He said: Cyrus in
the 1st year of his reign (...) made the first partial dismissal of the people by the hand of Zerubbabel,
contemporary with whom was Jesus the son of Josedek, after the completion of the 70 years. According to
Eusebius, the 70 years of Babylonian domination run from 609/608 to 539/538. He could
then add: Nebuchadnezzar in the 18th year of his reign laid waste our temple, and it remained unregarded
50 years. This 50-year desolation of the temple ran from 589/588 to 539/538 BCE. There
are therefore two periods of 70 years: the "70 years for Babylon", from 609 to 539, meaning
that there would be no legal sovereignty in Judah; and the "70 years of desolation", from
587 to 517 BCE, meaning that there would be no worship in the temple at Jerusalem. The
exile of the people reached its peak in 587, then strongly decreased in 537 (end of the exile
in Babylon) and ended in 517 (return from Egypt and Assyria)298. This is what Josephus
says: [Berosus] comes down to Nabolassar, who was king of Babylon, and of the Chaldeans. And when he
was relating the acts of this king, he describes to us how he sent his son Nabuchodonosor against Egypt, and
against our land, with a great army, upon his being informed that they had revolted from him; and how, by
that means, he subdued them all, and set our temple that was at Jerusalem on fire; nay, and removed our
people entirely out of their own country, and transferred them to Babylon; when it so happened that our city
was desolate during the interval of seventy years, until the days of Cyrus king of Persia (...) These [Berosus]
accounts agree with the true histories in our books; for in them it is written that Nebuchadnezzar, in the
eighteenth year of his reign, laid our temple desolate, and so it lay in that state of obscurity for 50 years
298 Isaiah 44:28-45:13 relates how this slavery period was to end. He points out five features: The future conqueror of Babylon

was 1) to be called Cyrus; 2) to submit the nations; 3) to rebuild Jerusalem; 4) to lay the foundations of the temple; 5) and to free
the Jews from their exile in Babylon. The One saying of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and all that I delight in he will completely carry out'; even in
[my] saying of Jerusalem, 'She will be rebuilt,' and of the temple, 'You will have your foundation laid. This is what Jehovah has said to his anointed
one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue before him nations (...) For the sake of my servant Jacob and of Israel my chosen one, I
even proceeded to call you by your name; I proceeded to give you a name of honour, although you did not know me (...) I myself have roused up someone
in righteousness, and all his ways I shall straighten out. He is the one that will build my city, and those of mine in exile he will let go. Babylonian
domination began in 609 and ended in 539. Those "70 years for Babylon" are succeeded by a 2nd period that would close with
the end of the exile and the rebuilding of the temple. According to Ezra 1:1-3: And in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia, that
Jehovah's word from the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah roused the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persia so that he caused a cry to pass
through all his realm, and also in writing, saying: This is what Cyrus the king of Persia has said: All the kingdoms of the earth Jehovah the God of
the heavens has given me, and he himself has commissioned me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among You of
all his people, may his God prove to be with him. So let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of Jehovah the God of Israel.
A passage of the Chronicles explains that if the 70 years of slavery in Babylon ended at Cyrus time, the main reason for the
desolation (that was still lasting at Cyrus time) was the breaking of the sabbaths. According to 2Ch 36:17-23: So he brought up
against them the king of the Chaldeans, who (...) proceeded to burn the house of the [true] God and pull down the wall of Jerusalem (...) Furthermore,
he carried off those remaining from the sword captive to Babylon (…) until the royalty of Persia began to reign [in 539]; to fulfil Jehovah's word by the
mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had paid off its sabbaths. All the days of lying desolated it kept sabbath, to fulfil 70 years. And in the 1st year of
Cyrus the king of Persia, that Jehovah's word by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished (…) This is what Cyrus the king of Persia has said:
All the kingdoms of the earth Jehovah the God of the heavens has given me, and he himself has commissioned me to build him a house in Jerusalem.
According to Leviticus 26:31-44: I shall indeed give Your cities to the sword and lay Your sanctuaries desolate (...) And I, for my part, will lay
the land desolate (...) And You I shall scatter among the nations (...) At that time the land will pay off its sabbaths [during] all the days of its lying
desolated, while You are in the land of Your enemies. At that time the land will keep sabbath, as it must repay its sabbaths. [During all] the days of
its lying desolated it will keep sabbath, for the reason that it did not keep sabbath during Your sabbaths when You were dwelling upon it (...) Yet I, for
my part, proceeded to walk in opposition to them, and I had to bring them into the land of their enemies. "'Perhaps at that time their uncircumcised
heart will be humbled, and at that time they will pay off their error. And I shall indeed remember my covenant (...) and the land I shall remember. All
the while the land was left abandoned by them and was paying off its sabbaths while it was lying desolated without them and they themselves were
paying for their error (...) And yet for all this, while they continue in the land of their enemies, I shall certainly not reject them. According to this
text, the desolation period starts with the destruction of the city and of its sanctuary. The land and its temple must stay desolated
for 70 years, and this period includes a time of humiliation or of deportation in an enemy country. The exile is included in the 70
years, but its length is not stipulated. It is linked to the desolation, but it differs from it. The beginning of the exile at Babylon is
dated to Jehoiachin's 1st year (Ezk 40:1), that is 11 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, and the last exile is dated to
Nebuchadnezzar's 23rd year (Jr 52:30), that is 4 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. However, the exile is at it maximum in
587, the year of the destruction of the temple (Jr 52:28-30). According to the adopted chronology, the exile at Babylon ended in
the 50th year of a Jubilee [588 to 538].
(Against Apion I:131-132, 154). Josephus makes a distinction between two periods: one [of
slavery] of 70 years which started at the end of Nabopolassar's reign and which ended at the
beginning of Cyrus' reign, and another period of 50 years which started at the destruction of
the temple and ended with the liberation by Cyrus and his command to rebuild the temple
(Ezr 1:1-2). Eusebius (Preparatio evangelica IX:40:11; X:9:3-5; X:10:3-6) also distinguishes
between several periods: two periods of 70 years and another one lasting 50 years. There
were the "70 years for Babylon" from 609 to 539 and the "70 years of desolation" when
there was no cult rendered in the temple at Jerusalem from 587 to 537. Although Mordecai
(Esther 2:6) was still called a son of the exile under Xerxes' reign around 470, the bulk of
the exiles went back to Jerusalem between 537 and 517. Zechariah's book throws some light
on the link between the "70 years for Babylon" which end with the fall of Babylon and the
"70 years of desolation" which begin with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the
The twofold period of 70 years is confirmed by a passage from Daniel. According to
Daniel 9:1,2,17-24: In the 1st year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus of the seed of the Medes (...) I myself,
Daniel, discerned by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of Jehovah had occurred to
Jeremiah the prophet, for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem, [namely,] 70 years (...) And now listen, O
our God, to the prayer of your servant and to his entreaties, and cause your face to shine upon your
sanctuary that is desolated (...) Do open your eyes and see our desolated conditions and the city that has been
called by your name. Let us say first that Darius the Mede is called Ugbaru in a Babylonian
tablet300; he ruled over Babylon and appointed governors (Dn 6:1) during the 5 last months
of his reign and died at the end of his 1st year of reign, on the 11 Arahsammu (November
538). So, one year after the destruction of Babylon, Daniel explained that the 70 years
would also be the length of the desolation (which was to end in 517, since the temple was
destroyed in 587). The words "desolated and devastated land" are controversial, for they
can mean either a "land deserted and without inhabitants" (literal meaning) or a "land
without worshippers" (religious meaning). The biblical text favours the second meaning.
Indeed, the start (as well as the end) of the literal exile cannot be dated accurately, since it
expands between Nebuchadnezzar's 7th and 23rd year (Jr 52:28-30) and the exile was still
going on at Esther's time (Est 2:6) around 470. However, the length of the religious exile
(the period when there were "no worshippers") is easier to settle, since it ran from the
destruction of the temple to the "liberation of the captives" in the 50th year of the Jubilee
(religious meaning). The words "causing desolation (Dn 9:27)" was understood by the Jews
as the disappearance of the sacrifices in the temple (and consequently of the worshippers)
and not as the disappearance of the inhabitants. When we read "by reason of my house that
is waste, while you are on the run, each one in behalf of his own house (Hg 1:1,9)", text
299 According to Zechariah 1:7, 12, 16: On the 24th day of the 11th month, that is, the month Shebat, in the 2nd year of Darius (…) the angel of
Jehovah answered and said: "O Jehovah of armies, how long will you yourself not show mercy to Jerusalem and to the cities of Judah, whom you have
denounced these 70 years? (...) I shall certainly return to Jerusalem with mercies. My own house will be built in her (...) and a measuring line itself will
be stretched out over Jerusalem. This message (dated to January/February 520) announced the near end of the 70 years of desolation
and the oncoming completion of the temple and rebuilding of Jerusalem. According to Zechariah 7:1-5: And it came to pass in the
4th year of king Darius, that the word of Jehovah came unto Zechariah in the 4th day of the 9th month, even in Chislev (...) Should I weep in the 5th
month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years? (...) Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and
mourned in the 5th and in the 7th month, even these 70 years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? (1901 American Standard Version). The words
"these 70 years" in Zechariah 7:5 are the same as in Zechariah 1:12. They may be understood in two ways: "[in relation with]
those 70 years", or "[during] those 70 years". The first meaning goes better with the context of Zechariah 1:12, the declaration
being dated to Darius' 4th year [518], soon before the end of the 70-year desolation. Moreover, the fast of the 5th month that
marked the destruction of the temple in 587 (beginning of the desolation) was still observed in 518, since we read: "Shall I weep
in the fifth month?" and not "Had I to weep in the 5th month?" This 70-year span was to end with the liberation of the captives
(end of the Jubilee) and with the rebuilding of the temple, an expression of God's mercy according to Jeremiah. The temple was
inaugurated soon thereafter, in Darius' 6th year (Ezr 6:15-16).
300 J.B. PRITCHARD - Ancient Near Eastern Texts

Princeton 1969 Ed. Princeton University Press p. 306.

written in Darius' 2nd year, that is on 520, we may understand also that the temple was waste
of worshippers, not of people. This religious meaning is used in Ezekiel 29:10-12 where it is
said that Egypt would be: desolate waste (...) for 40 years. This could not be understood in a
literal way (a deporting of all Egyptian people in a foreign land would have left some
traces). But the religious meaning "without worshippers (Ezk 30:7,13)" is appropriate301,
since Jeremiah states that the sign (the 40-year period was beginning) would be pharaoh
Hophra's death (Jr 44:29,30; Ezk 30:20-22), exactly as Zedekiah's death marked the end of
worship in the temple. Pharaoh Hophra (whom Egyptians were viewing as a living god) was
replaced in 570 by Amasis, a mere general, who ruled from 569 to 526. Pharaoh Hophra
(Apries in Greek) died a few years after the beginning of Amasis' reign, probably in 566, his
death being reported as occurring soon after Amasis' 3rd year302. Egypt then had no visible
god (Pharaoh) between 566 and 526. Herodotus wrote: It is said however that Amasis, even when
he was in a private station, was a lover of drinking and of jesting, and not at all seriously disposed (...) when
finally he became king he did as follows: —as many of the gods as had absolved him and pronounced him
not to be a thief, to their temples he paid no regard, nor gave anything for the further adornment of them, nor
even visited them to offer sacrifice, considering them to be worth nothing and to possess lying Oracles (The
Histories II:174).
According to the biblical text, a jubilee lasted 50 years and ended with a release of the
captives, regarded as a "jubilant" year. This system was codified after the Exodus, but as
Maimonides says, even if the Sabbatical cycles (every 7 years) and Jubilee (every 50 years)
were not observed, however, they were counted. The greyed areas mark periods of reigns or
events in the life of a character, the dark grey areas indicate anchored periods and those
coloured in blue refer to periods of 50 years of Jubilee cycle.
609 598 588 587 539 538 518 517 468 455 -18 29 33 133
a b c d e f g h i j k
31 11 10 1 70 49 13 483 4 100
70 46
18x50 50 50 9x50 50 2x50
a) Beginning of the 70-year Babylonian domination (609 BCE) which ended with the
seizure of Babylon by Cyrus (539 BCE). The death of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:29), 4
years before the battle of Carchemish (Jr 46:2) in 605 BCE, marked the end of the
Judean kingdom legitimately established. Jehoahaz was enthroned by the people and
reigned only 3 months (2Ki 23:31). Pharaoh Necho II, satrap of Nebuchadnezzar from
301 The role of the Jubilee to mark the end of a captivity is a recurrent theme in the Bible. When Zerubbabel was appointed, Ezra

1:1-3 says: And in the 1st year of Cyrus [538] (...) Whoever there is among YOU of all his people, may his God prove to be with him. So let him go
up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of Jehovah the God of Israel-he is the [true] God-which was in Jerusalem. Zerubbabel's
mission was twofold: To gather the Jews (Ne 1:8-9; 7:5) and to rebuild the temple (Ezr 3:1-2): And it must occur in that day that there
will be the root of Jesse [Zerubbabel] that will be standing up as a signal for the peoples [in 538]. To him even the nations will turn inquiringly, and
his resting-place must become glorious [the temple will be rebuilt] (...) to acquire the remnant of his people who will remain over from Assyria and from
Egypt and from Pathros and from Cush and from Elam and from Shinear and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. And he will certainly
raise up a signal for the nations and gather the dispersed ones of Israel; and the scattered ones of Judah he will collect together from the four extremities
of the earth (Is 11:10-12). The gathering of the dispersed ones would end by a Jubilee: The spirit of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is upon me
[Zerubbabel according to Zechariah 4:6-14], for the reason that Jehovah has anointed me to tell good news to the meek ones. He has sent me to bind
up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to those taken captive [in 518/517 a Jubilee will put an end to the desolation] and the wide opening [of the
eyes] even to the prisoners (...) And they must rebuild the long-standing devastated places; they will raise up even the desolated places of former times,
and they will certainly make anew the devastated cities, the places desolate (Is 61:1-4). According to the Gospels, Zerubbabel's mission
foretold in details Jesus' one. We read in Luke that Jesus proclaimed a year of liberation to come (Lk 4:18), and John reports that
this liberation (Jubilee year) was to exceed a traditional Jubilee (Jon 8:36). This year of liberation is linked to Jesus' death (Rm
8:2) in 33 CE, which marked a Jubilee (see Dating the death of Jesus). The Biblical chronology, based on Jubilee cycles, then is
independent from other chronologies.
302 G. DARESSY - Stèle de l'an III d'Amasis

in: Recueil de travaux relatifs à la philologie et à l'archéologie. Paris, 1900, pp. 1-9.
609 BCE (Against Apion I:133-137), enthroned Jehoiakim who reigned 11 years (2Ki
23:34-36). Nebuchadnezzar then enthroned Zedekiah who reigned 11 years (2Ki 24:17-
18) until the destruction of the Temple. Josiah's death marked the beginning of a period
of 70 years of Babylonian domination (Jr 25:11-12) beginning with the reign of Jehoiakim
(Jr 27:1-7) after the Battle of Harran (609 BCE) and ending with the destruction of
Babylon. It is noteworthy that the text of Matthew sets the beginning of the captivity
"of" Babylon (Βαβυλῶνος) not "at", but after the reign of Josiah (Mt 1:11,17).
b) During the 10th year of Zedekiah a jubilee "to proclaim liberty" was deliberately violated
(Jr 32:1), resulting in the destruction of the Temple and deportation to Babylon. The
release associated with this jubilee occurred 50 years later (Jr 34:8-11, 13-22).
c) Destruction of the Temple dated 10/V/18 of Nebuchadnezzar (Jr 52:12,13) according to
the Babylonian reckoning (October 587 BCE). This "devastation of the temple" would
last 70 years (Dn 9:2).
d) Destruction of Babylon (539 BCE) and liberation of exiles in Babylon on Cyrus' 1st year
(Ezr 1:1-4) in 538 BCE.
e) End of the 70-year desolation period and of the exile (517 BCE); beginning of a new 50-
year Jubilee cycle, from the 4th year of Darius (Zc 7:1-5) in 518 BCE.
f) First Jubilee celebrated, dated to Artaxerxes' 7th year, because Ezra's text mentions that in
this year there was a tax exemption (Ezr 7:1,8,24) and a liberation of captives (Ezra 8:35).
Jewish authorities agree that the count of Jubilees must have started in this year303.
g) Start of the 483-year period leading to the appearance of the Messiah, according to
Daniel 9:25. Nehemiah adds that the command to re-establish and to rebuild Jerusalem
was issued by Artaxerxes I in the 20th year of his rule (Ne 2:1,5,8). According to this
calendar, the Messiah was to come 483 years after Artaxerxes' 1st year, i.e. on the 13th year
(= 20 - 7) after the first Jubilee of Ezra dated to Artaxerxes' 7th year. The appearance of
the Messiah foretold by Daniel then was to occur 4 years before the end of the 11th
Jubilee. Eusebius had already noted this point in his Chronicle, where he said that Jesus
started preaching on Olympiad 202:1 (29 CE), which corresponded to the 81st Jubilee
according to Hebrew tradition. Eusebius304 dated the 71st Jubilee to 472/471 and noted
that 500 years (equivalent to 10 Jubilees) elapsed between -483 and -472.
h) The sanctuary (naos) of the temple was completed in 46 years at the 1st Passover on April
30 CE (John 2:20), in agreement with Josephus (Jewish Antiquities XV:354, 380, 421).
i) Appearance of the Messiah. According to Luke 3:1,23, Jesus the Messiah came in
Tiberius' 15th year (29 CE).
j) Messiah was cut off with nothing for himself at the half of the last week (Dn 9:26-27) [of
years], i.e. 3,5 years (7/2) after his appearance around October 29 CE.
k) Some coins dated during the revolt of Bar Korkhba were minted for a jubilee dated 133
CE, because the Bar Kokhba revolt took place over a period305 from December 131 to
September 135 during which the Jews minted two coins306 dated: one of year 1 for the
redemption of Israel (132 CE) and another one: year 2 for the freedom of Israel (133 CE).

303 A. STROBEL - Ursprung und Geschichte des frühchristlichen Osterkalenders

in: Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 121 (1977) pp. 92-95.
304 EUSÈBE - S. Hieronymi interpretatio chronicæ Eusebii pamphili

Paris 1846 Éd. Migne Patrologiæ Latina XXVII pp. 438-442, 570-574
305 M. SARTRE – D'Alexandre à Zénobie

Paris 2001 Éd. Fayard pp. 601-607.

G. GOYAU – Chronologie de l'Empire romain
Paris 2007 Éd. Errances pp. 114-116.
306 D. HENDIN – Guide to Biblical Coins

New York 2001 Ed. Amphora pp. 273-302.

1533 1493 1488 1452 1386 1366 1299 1211 1193 1122 1097 1013
a b c d e f g h i j k l
40 5 25 x 8 40 18 20 20 40 7 40 3 23 22 18 6 7 10 8 40 20 y 40 40 4
[41] 80 [180]
450 18x50

a) Exodus from Egypt and start of 40-year wandering in the wilderness of Sinai before
entering Canaan (Ex 16:35).
b) Israel came out of the Sinai and entered Canaan; beginning of a 300-year period which
would end with Jephthah's vow (Jg 11:26,30). Caleb entered Canaan when he was 80
years old and the country was pacified when he was 85 years old (Jos 14:7,10).
c) Joshua, the same age as Caleb, died 110 years of age (Jos 13:1; 24:29; 2Sa 19:32). The
following period [x] is unknown, but it may be calculated. Indeed, the generation which
entered Canaan with Joshua was to take possession of the country (Jg 2:6-10), now as the
preceding generation had lasted 40 years (Nb 32:13), that makes it possible to suppose
that: [40] = 5 + [25] + x (25 = 110 - 85). In fact calculation gives x = 11 years, because
300 = 5 + 25 + x + 8 + 40 + 18 + 20 + 20 + 40 + 7 + 40 + 3 + 23 + 22 + 18. Joshua
gives Israelites the pacificated Canaan country (Jos 11:23); start of the Jubilee cycle to
cancel the debts and free the captives every 50 years (Lv 25:8-11). The cycle started when
Canaan was given to the Israelites, that is 5 years after they entered the Promised Land
(Dt 6:10,11; Jos 14:7,10).
d) Cushan-rishataim, a king from Mitanni (Šauštatar I) oppressed Israel for 8 years, then
Othniel judged for 40 years, then Eglon, a Moabite king, oppressed Israel for 18 years,
then Ehud judged the country (Jg 3:8-15).
e) Ehud started a period of peace for 80 years (Jg 3:30) in the South (Judea), which ended
by 40 years of full peace (Jg 5:31) preceded by 20 years of oppression in the North
(Samaria) by Jabin (Jg 4:3), a Canaanite king of Hazor. Ehud then Shamgar307 judge for
the 20 first years of full peace and Barak the last 40 years (Jg 3:26-31, 4:22-24).
f) The country of Midian oppressed Israel for 7 years, then Gideon judged for 40 years,
then Abimelech is king for 3 years, then Tola judged for 23 years and finally, Jair judged
for 22 years (Jg 6:1, 8:28, 9:22, 10:1-3).
g) Jair judged Israel for 22 years, but after his death no judge succeeded him and the land
was given over to oppression by Philistines, Ammonites, Egyptians, etc. This period of
trouble began in 1211 and got Israel into great distress for 18 years (Jg 10:3-13).
h) Jephthah as a judge over Israel for 6 years, Ibzan for 7 years, Elon for 10 years, Abdon
for 8 years. Then followed a 40-year period of oppression by the Philistines (Jg 12:7-
13:1). The period of 176 years from Jephthah to Solomon may be calculated in two ways,
first: 176 = 480 - 300 - 4, or 176 = 6 + 7 + 10 + 8 + 40 + 20 + 5 + 40 + 40.
i) Samson, who acted as a judge for 20 years, put an end to oppression by the Philistines (Jg
13:5; 16:31). The ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines, then given back to
the Israelites 7 months later. It was moved to Kiriath-jearim where it would stay for 20
years308 (1Sa 6:1; 7:2).
307 The southern part of Israel was ruled in peace during 80 years (Jg 3:30), from 1386 to 1306. Shamgar judged less than 1 year

according to Josephus (Jewish Antiquities V:197), his name (Ši-ma-qa-ri) appears in several Nuzi texts (c. 14th century BCE).
308 This 20-year period would correspond to the judicature of Samson which was characterized by peace (1Sa 7:13-15). During

the reign of Saul, the arch was located in Nob (1Sa 21:1, 22:19), a town near Qiriat-jearim north of Jerusalem (1Sa 14:16-18).
After 40 years of Saul's reign (1097-1057), David decided a few years after the beginning of his reign, to bring it back from Qiriat
jearim to Jerusalem (1 Ch 13:5).
j) Undetermined period (x) between the temporary end of idol use and Samuel defeating
the Philistines. This period took place before Saul's reign (1Sa 7:4,13; 9:15-16).
k) Saul ruled for 40 years309 (Ac 13:21), then David for 40 years (2Sa 5:4).
l) Solomon ruled for 40 years. A 480-year period that began at the Exodus from Egypt
terminated in his 4th year of reign (1Ki 6:1; 11:42).
Three time spans in this period are controversial: the 5 years after the departure from
Egypt, the 480 years and the undetermined period (x). The 5-year period can be calculated
from the age of Caleb. According to the book o Joshua, Caleb was 85 when the Israelites
received the land of Canaan as their inheritance. This was what God had promised to
Moses 45 years before. The account specifies that Caleb was 40 when he explored the
country from Kadesh-Barnea (Jos 14:1,7,10). This exploration is dated to the 1st month of
the 2nd year after the departure from Egypt (Nb 9:1, 13:25). Counting these years however
proves difficult, because Caleb was born in Egypt and was counting his years according to
the old calendar which began in Tishri, e.g. September/October. Then, after having come
out of Egypt, years were counted from Nisan (Ex 12:2, 23:15), e.g. March/April, and no
longer from Tishri. There was therefore a 6-month discrepancy with the former system.
39 40 41 79 80 81 82 83 84 85
1 2 40 41 42 43 44 45
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 49 50
The 50-year Jubilee system did not begin in the first year after entering Canaan, but
only in Caleb's 85th year, because Israelites were given the land only after the pacification
period (Jos 1:15). It would have been impossible to cultivate the land and then to observe
Jubilee prescriptions during the war of conquest. The conquest was quick, and the Israelites
(circa 1490 BCE) only burnt three cities: Jericho, Ai and Hazor (Jos 6:1,24, 8:19, 11:11-13).
Confirming exactly the biblical account, archaeology dates310 the destruction of these three
cities to the 15th century B.C.E. The first year of the 50-year Jubilee period started in Nisan
but was only celebrated on 10th Tishri of the same year (Lv 25:9-10).
The 480 years are controversial: And it came about in the 480th year after the sons of Israel
came out from the land of Egypt, in the 4th year, in the month of Ziv, that is, the 2nd month, after Solomon
became king over Israel (1Ki 6:1). We might conclude that the period began after Israel left the
country of Goshen, but this would contradict other biblical data. If we calculate the time
starting before (and not after) the 40 years in the wilderness of Sinai, we find: 40 + 300 + 6
+ 7 +10 + 8 + 40 + 20 + 40 + 40 + 4 = 515 + x (if 515 + x = 480, x = -35!). In fact the
wilderness of Sinai belonged to Egypt since it was located in front of the torrent valley of
Egypt which marked its border (2Ki 24:7). Israelites therefore definitely left Egypt when
they crossed this torrent valley (after having spent 40 years in the wilderness)311. Thus: 475
+ x = 480, with x = 5 years. The translators of the Septuagint, who knew about this 480-
year period beginning at the Exodus from Egypt and ending after the 40 years in the
wilderness amended the figure to 440 years (= 480 – 40)312. According to the Jerusalem
Talmud (Megilla 72cd), the time of the conquest of Canaan would have been 7* years, and
the sanctuary at Shiloh 369* years, which gives: 480 = 7* + 369* + 20 + 40 + 40 + 4313.
309 The length of the reign, which had to appear in 1Samuel 13:1, can be deduced from the biography of Ishbosheth, a son of

Saul, who was born at the beginning of his father's reign (1Ch 8:33) because he was 40 years at Saul's death (2Sa 2:10). Josephus
gives 20 and 40 years (Jewish Antiquities VI:378, X:143), also in the sum of the reigns (Jewish Antiquities VIII:61, XX:230).
310 B.G. WOOD - Let the Evidence Speak in: Biblical Archaeology Review March/ April 2007 pp. 26,78.
311 The Israelites who died in the wilderness (Nb 26:65) had desired to die in Egypt repeatedly (Ex 14:11; 16:3). This paradoxical

wish was fulfilled.

312 From the departure from Egypt (1533 BCE) to Solomon's 4th year (1013 BCE) there were 520 years (= 480 + 40).
313 In fact: 480 = 5 + 366 + 20 + [5] + 40 + 40 + 4. The duration of the sanctuary at Shiloh was 366 years (= 1488 - 1122) since

it was installed just after the conquest of Canaan (Jos 18:1) in -1488 was gone at the high priest Eli’s death (1Sa 4:1-7:1) in -1122.
Occurrence of different spans between two seemingly identical events can be found
also about the ark when it was moved from Kiriath-jearim. The ark was brought to this city
where it stayed for 20 years. We also read that David decided to bring the ark back from
Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem (1Ch 13:5) after Saul's 40-year reign. Where are those 40 years
to be found? It may be that meanwhile the ark was moved to Baale-judah, a city near
Kiriath-jearim (2Sa 6:2), or to Gibeah (1Sa 7:1) according to the Vulgate314 .
According to the biblical chronology, the anonymous pharaoh who confronted
Moses died in 1533 BCE. The departure from Egypt, which began in Ramses city, is dated
to 15/I (Nb 33:3). As the arrival in the Wilderness of Sin is dated 15/II (Ex 16:1) and the
final confrontation took place near Pihahiroth (Ex 14:9), midway between Rameses and the
Wilderness of Sin, pharaoh's death would have occurred on 1/II, which is dated on 9/10th
May 1533 BCE. A later biblical text (Ezk 32:2,7,8, Ps 136:15) mentions pharaoh's tragic
death and links it with a solar eclipse: Son of man, lift up a dirge concerning Pharaoh the king of
Egypt, and you must say to him: As a maned young lion of nations you have been silenced. And you have
been like the marine monster in the seas (...) And when you get extinguished I will cover [the] heavens (...)
All the luminaries of light in the heavens —I shall darken them on your account, and I will put darkness
upon your land. This text alludes to the Pharaoh of the Exodus, because the expression
“marine monster” refers to appoints this leader: For Egypt’s help is completely useless. So I have
called this one: Rahab, who sits still (...) Was it not you who broke Rahab to pieces, who pierced the sea
monster? Are you not the one who dried up the sea, the waters of the vast deep? The one who made the
depths of the sea a roadway for the repurchased ones to cross? (Is 30:7; 51:9-10). The expression “All
the luminaries of light in the heavens [sun and moon]” has a symbolic meaning but could
be understood by Jews only if it had also a literal meaning. Since pharaoh was considered a
god (the son of the sun-god Ra) by Egyptians, the eclipse (and also the moonless night)
would have impressed the people. The only total solar eclipse in this part of the world and
at this time315 occurred on 9th May 1533 BCE316 . A total sun eclipse in a given area is very
rare. Between 1500 and 100 BCE, for example, there were only 11 total eclipses on the
territory of Israel during this period, that is to say on average every 120 years317. The date of
1/II thus agrees perfectly with the eclipse date. The spring equinox is dated on 3rd April in
1533 BCE and the 1st lunar crescent318 after the spring equinox is dated to 10/11th April (the
next one is dated to 9/10th May). Egyptian chronology, which is based on Sothic rises, also
dates to May 1533 BCE the violent death of pharaoh Seqenenre after confronting Apopi,
the Hyksos king who went off to Palestine. The other pivotal date comes from the book of
Acts where heavenly phenomena are mentioned in connection with Jesus' death: The sun will
be turned into darkness and the moon into blood (Ac 2:20). Usually, the moon does look blood-red
during a lunar eclipse (the more natural explanation for the above passage319). The only
lunar eclipse which was visible from Jerusalem on a Friday between 30 and 33 CE was the
one dated Friday 3rd April 33 CE.
Consequently, the biblical chronology is anchored on two significant events: Jesus'
death on 3 April 33 CE (during a lunar eclipse) and the death of the Pharaoh who opposed
Moses (beginning of the Exodus), on 9 May 1533 BCE (during a solar eclipse).
314 The translation in the Hill (Jos 24:33) is unlikely because ba-guibeah is translated in Gibeah (1Sa 22:6). Gibeah was geographically
near Kiriath-jearim, moreover, Saul requested the ark to be brought to him when he was in Gibeah (1Sa 14:16-18).
315 http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/SEcat/SE-1599--1500.html
316 This eclipse of magnitude 1.08 (covering a strip of land 250 km wide) could be seen in Northern Egypt (at the level of

Heracleopolis city) around 4.40 p.m. and lasted more than 6 minutes.
317 F.R. STEPHENSON – Astronomical Verification and Dating of Old Testament

in: Palestine Exploration Quaterly 107 (1975) pp. 107-117.

318 http://portail.imcce.fr/fr/ephemerides/astronomie/Promenade/pages4/441.html
319 J.P. PARISOT, F. SUAGHER - Calendriers et chronologie

Paris 1996 Éd. Masson pp. 165, 166.

2038 1963 1938 1933 1878 1788 1748 1678 1573 1533 1493 1488
a b c d e f g h i j k l
5 400
75 25 150 40 215 40 5
100 60 90 110 105 40
100 450
a) Birth of Abraham (in 2038 BCE).
b) Abraham entered Canaan when he was 75 years old (Gn 12:4-5); 430-year alien
residence began (Ex 12:40-41).
c) Birth of Isaac (in 1938 BCE), ancestor of the people of Israel, when Abraham was 100
years old (Gn 21:5); 450-year period began (Ac 13:17-20).
d) Isaac was weaned at 5 years old320 ; 400 years of affliction321 began (Gn 15:13). This
period starts when Isaac was persecuted by Agar's son322 (Gn 21:8-9) and ended with
the Exodus from Egypt and the end of slavery323 (Ga 4:25-29).
e) Birth of Jacob (in 1878 BCE) when Isaac was 60 years old (Gn 25:26).
f) Birth of Joseph in Jacob's 91st year since he was 130 years old (Gn 41:46-47, 53-54;
45:11; 47:9) when Joseph was 39 (= 30 years + 7 years of plenty + 2 years of famine).
g) Israelites (Jacob and his family, 75 individuals) came to Egypt in Joseph's 40th year (Gn
45:11; 46:5-7); beginning of a 215-year dwelling.
h) Joseph died in 1678 BCE, when he was 110 years old. Israelite chiefs appointed by
Joseph and later on by pharaohs as kings (Great Hyksos) administrated the land of
Goshen for 105 years (Gn 47:6; Ex 5:14).
i) Moses was banished for 40 years (1573-1533) in Madian before coming back to Egypt324
(Hb 11:24; Ac 7:21-23, 29-36).
j) Exodus from Egypt and beginning of 40-year (1533-1493) wandering in the wilderness
of Sinai before entering Canaan (Ex 16:35). Moses stood as the last “great personality in
Egypt”, because he was considered as “pharaoh's son” for 40 years (Ex 2:15; 11:3; Dt
34:7), that is from 1613 to 1573 BCE.
k) Israel came out of Sinai and entered Canaan (in 1493 BCE); beginning of a 5-year
pacification period (Jos 14:7,10) ending in 1488 BCE and fixes the beginning of Jubilees
(every 50 years). Moses died at 120 years old (Dt 34:1-7).
l) Joshua completed pacification of Canaan (in 1488 BCE).
The 430-year period is controversial. We read: the dwelling of the sons of Israel, who had
dwelt in Egypt, was 430 years (Ex 12:40). Does that mean that Israel dwelt in Egypt for 430
years? This would contradict other biblical data. Jewish translators of the Septuagint were
aware of this ambiguity and thus chose to add an interpolation in order to prevent any
misunderstanding: The dwelling of the sons of Israel which they dwelt in the land of Egypt [and in the
land of Canaan] was 430 years long. This interpolation, that is also found in the Samaritan
Pentateuch, is in keeping with the context which says that the 430-year period covers the
total span of the painful dwelling of the sons of Israel outside the Mosaic covenant (Ga
3:17). This period does include two parts: one which started in Canaan with the Abrahamic
covenant rapidly followed by harassment of Isaac by Esau (Gn 21:9) and ended when Jacob
left for Egypt. The second period began with the slavery in Egypt and ended with the
320 According to 2Maccabees 7:27, breastfeeding usually lasted at least 3 years (see 2Ch 31:16).
321 The 400-year period begins with the oppression of Isaac and not from his birth.
322 The meaning of the Hebrew verb is "mocking" and not "play". The Talmud (Sotah 6:6) even mentions of abuse.
323 Maimonides (Epistle to Yemen III) and Rashi wrote that the 400 years run from birth of Isaac to the departure from Egypt.
324 It is possible that Moses knowing the prophecy of Neferty stated under Amenemhat I (1975-1946), similar to the 400 years'

prophecy of Genesis 15:13, wanted to achieve it in 1575 BCE (= 1975 - 400), 40 years too early.
Exodus. The above verse should be read as follows: the dwelling of the sons of Israel, who had
dwelt in Egypt [for 215 years], was 430 years long. Joshua's genealogy indirectly confirms this
215-year period (1Ch 7:23-28). Joshua was 40 years old when Israel fled Egypt (Jos 14:7) in
1533 BCE, thus he would have been born about -1573. Assessing 20 years elapse between
each generation, we get the following dates of birth:
Jacob 1 Father in Father in Father in
Joseph 2 -1760 Resheph-Telah 6 -1680 Elishama 10 -1600
Ephraim 3 -1740 Tahan 7 -1660 Nun 11 -1580
Beriah 4 -1720 Ladan 8 -1640 Joshua 12 -1560
Rephah 5 -1700 Ammihud 9 -1620 (Exodus) 13 -1540

As Joseph was 17 years old when he came to Egypt (Gn 37:2), the period of time
from his marriage in 1758 (Gn 41:45-46) to the Exodus in 1533 amounts to 225 years (=
1758 – 1533), which is fully consistent with the 215 years that have just been calculated.
This chronological point was known in antiquity, since Josephus refered to it in his works
(Jewish Antiquities II:318). Demetrius (c. 220 BCE), already knew that the period in Canaan
lasted 215 years (Prepraratio evangelica IX:21:16). The biblical chronology therefore sets
rather precisely the date of the Exodus from Egypt in 1533.
Israelite ruler period # Egyptian King synchronism
Noah (after the Deluge) 3170 - (Ziusudra) 3170 - Deluge
First cities of Sumer -2900 Tower of Babel
-2820 Naqada Proto-Dynasty 2900-2820
1st Dynasty (Abydos) reign
Menes/Narmer 2840-2820
Âha - Atoti 2820-2810
Eber (Gn 11:15-16) 2773-2269 Djer 2810-2769 astronomy
Djet (Wadji) 2769-2759
Den 2759-2727
Andjib 2727-2717
Semerkhet 2717-2708
Qaa 2708-2675
2nd Dynasty
Hotepsekhemwy 2675-2665
Nebra (Raneb) 2665-2655
Ninetjer/ Peribsen 2655-2631
Peleg (Gn 11:16-19) 2639-2300 Uneg(nebti)/ Senedj (?) 2631-2624 Etana (2638-2613)
Neferkara/ Sekhemid 2624-2622 1st ziggurat
Neferkasokar 2622-2614
Khasekhemwy 2614-2597
3rd Dynasty
Djoser - Netjerikhet 2597-2578
Sekhemkhet 2578-2572
Nebka[ra]/ Sanakht 2572-2553
Khaba 2553-2547
Huni 2547-2523
(Mes-ki’aggašer (2500-2490) 4th Dynasty
1 king of Uruk) Snefru 2523-2479 astronomy
Reu (Gn 11:18-21) 2509-2170 Kheops 2479-2456 astronomy
Djedefre 2456-2448
Khephren 2448-2419 astronomy
Baka 2419-2419
Mykerinos 2419-2391 astronomy
Shepseskaf 2391-2387
Thamphthis 2387-2385
5th Dynasty
Userkaf 2385-2378 astronomy
Serug (Gn 11:20-22) 2377-2047 Sahure 2378-2364 astronomy
Neferirkare (Kakaï) 2364-2354
Shepseskare 2354-2347
Neferefre 2347-2346
(Mesannepada (2340-2320) Niuserre (Ini) 2346-2332
1st king of Ur) Menkauhor 2332-2324
Djedkare (Isesi) 2324-2286
Unas 2286-2256
6th Dynasty
Nahor I (Gn 11:24- 2247-2039 Teti 2256-2238 Sargon of Akkad
Userkare 2238-2238
Pepi I 2238-2195 2243-2187
Merenre I 2195-2181
Terah (Gn 11:25-26) 2168-1963 Pepi II 2181-2127
Merenre II 2127-2126
Nitocris 2126
7th-8th Dynasty 2226-2118
11th Dynasty 9th-10th Dynasty
Mentuhotep I 2118 -
Antef I -2102
Antef II 2102-2053
Antef III 2053-2045
Abraham 2038 - 175 Mentuhotep II 2045-1994
Mentuhotep III 1994-1982
Mentuhotep IV 1982-1975
12th Dynasty
1963-1957 Amenemhat I 1975-1946 Founding of Tanis
Senwosret I 1946-1901 Execration texts
- 1863 Amenemhat II 1901-1863
Jacob 1878 - 147 Senwosret II 1863-1855
Senwosret III 1855-1836 astronomy
Amenemhat III 1836-1791
Amenemhat IV 1791-1782
Neferusebek 1782-1778
-1731 13th Dynasty
Joseph 1788 - 110 Sobkhotep I 1778-1775
Sonbef 1775-1771
[-] Nerikare 1771-1765
Amenemhet V 1765-1761
Qemaw 1761-1757
(vizier) 1758 - Amenemhet VI 1757-1753 Hyksos
Nebnuni 1753-1753
Iufeni 1753-1753
-1744 Sihornedjherkef 1753-1741 14th Dynasty
[-] Sewadjkare 1741-1739 [Yakbim]
[-] Nedjemibre 1739-1739 [Ya‘ammu]
Sobkhotep II 1739-1733 [Qareaḫ]
Reniseneb 1733-1733 [‘Ammu]
Hor I 1733-1729
Amenemhet VII 1729-1722 [Sheshi]
Wegaf 1722-1720
Khendjer 1720-1716
Imyremeshaw 1716-1712
Antef V 1712-1708
Seth 1708-1705
Sobkhotep III 1705-1701
Neferhotep I 1701-1690 [Nehesy]
Sihathor 1690-1690 ?
Sobkhotep IV Knaneferre 1690-1682 Great Hyksos
-1678 Sobkhotep V 1682-1678 15th Dynasty
Chiefs of cattle 1678 - 65 Sobkhotep VI 1678-1673 Stele of year 400
Ibiaw 1676-1665 [Šamqenu?]
Aya 1665-1652
Ini I 1652-1650 [‘Aper-Anati?]
Sewadjtu 1650-1647
Ined 1647-1644
(Job’s trial) (1640) Hori 1644-1639 [Sakir-Har?]
Sobkhotep VII 1639-1637
Ini II 1637-1633
Neferhotep II 1633-1629 Khyan?
-1613 ? -1613
Moses (pharaoh) 1613 - 40 ? 1613 - Apopi Aauserre
-1573 -1573 Khamudi?
17th Dynasty 16th Dynasty
(in Madian) 1573 - 40 Rahotep 1573-1569 Djehuti
Sobekemsaf I 1569-1567 Mentuhotepi
Sobekemsaf II 1567-1557 Nebiriau I
Antef VI 1557-1555
Antef VII 1555-1545 Bebiankh
Antef VIII 1545-1545
Senakhtenre 1545-1544
-1533 Seqenenre Taa 1544-1533 Dedumose
(Exodus) 1533 - 40 Kamose 1533-1530 Hyksos’ War
18th Dynasty
-1493 Ahmose 1530-1505
Joshua 1493 - 30 Amenhotep I 1505-1484 Shasu Land
Thutmose I 1484-1472
-1463 Thutmose II 1472-1469
Without Judge 1463-1452 11 [Hatshepsut] [1469-1450]
Cushan-Rishataim 1452-1444 8 Thutmose III 1469-1418 Šauštatar I (Mitanni)
Othniel 1444-1404 40 Amenhotep II 1420-1392 Tribe of Asher
Eglon 1404-1386 18 Thutmose IV 1392-1383
Ehud /(Shamgar) 1386-1366 20 Amenhotep III 1383-1345
Jabin/ Sisera 1366-1346 20 Akhenaten 1356 - War of Apirus
Barak 1346 - 40 -1340
Semenkhkare 1340-1338
-Ankhkheperure 1338-1336
Tutankhamon 1336-1327
-1306 Aÿ 1327-1323
Madian 1306-1299 7 Horemheb 1323-1295
19th Dynasty
Gideon 1299 - 40 Ramses I 1295-1294
Seti I 1294-1283
-1259 Ramses II 1283 -
Abimelek 1259-1256 3 (-1279) 1st Israelite king
Tola 1256-1233 23
Jair 1233-1211 22 -1216
Anarchy 1211 - 18 Merenptah 1216-1207 Stele of Israel
Seti II 1207-1202 Sea Peoples
[Amenmes] [1206-1202] come in Philistia
Siptah 1202-1196
-Tausert 1196-1194
-1193 20th Dynasty
Jephthah 1193-1187 6 Sethnakht 1196-1192
Ibzan 1187-1180 7 Ramses III 1192 -
Elon 1180-1170 10
Abdon 1170-1162 8 -1161 Shasu >> Aamu
[Eli] Philistines 1162 - 40 Ramses IV 1161-1155
Ramses V 1154-1151
Ramses VI 1151-1144
Ramses VII 1144-1137
Ramses VIII 1137-1137
-1122 Ramses IX 1137-1119
Samson 1122-1102 20 Ramses X 1119-1116
Samuel's sons 1102-1097 5 Ramses XI 1116-1090
Saul 1097 - 40 [Herihor] [1098-1085] 1st king of Israel
21st Dynasty
Smendes 1090-1064
-1057 Amenemnesut [1064-1060]
David 1057-1017 40 Psusennes I 1064-1018
Solomon 1017 - 40 Amenemope 1018-1009
Osorkon the Elder 1009-1003
(-993) Siamon 1003 - 984 Gezer attacked
Psusennes II/III 994-980
-977 22nd Dynasty
Rehoboam 977-960 17 Shoshenq I 980-959 Campaign in Palestine
Abiyam 960-957 3 Osorkon I 959 -
Asa 957 - 41 -924
Shoshenq II 924-922
Shoshenq IIb -922
-916 Takelot I 922 -
Jehoshaphat 916 - 25 -909
-891 Osorkon II 909 -
Jehosaphat/Jehoram [893-891] [2]
Jehoram 893-885 8
[Athaliah] Jehoyada 885-879 6
Joash 879 - 40 -865
-839 Takelot II 865-840 astronomy
Amasiah 839-810 29 Shoshenq III 840 - 23rd Dynasty
Uzziah 810 - 52 -800
[Azariah] [796 - Shoshenq IV 800-788
Pamiu 788-782 24th Dynasty
-758 Shoshenq V 782 -
Jotham 758-742 16 -745
Ahaz 742-726 16 Osorkon IV (Sô) 745 - Alliance with Sô
Hezekiah 726 - 29 -712 25th Dynasty
-697 Chabataka 712 -
Manasseh 697 - 55 -689
Taharqa 689-663
26th Dynasty
-642 Psammetichus I 663 -
Amon 642-640 2
Josias 640 - 31 -609
-609 Necho II 609 - Death of Josias
Jehoiaqim 609-598 11 -594
Zedekiah 598-587 11 Psammetichus I 594-588
Jehoiachin (exile) 587 - 26 Apries 588-570
Apries/ Amasis 569-567
-561 Amasis 569-526
Zerubabbel 538-525 Psammetichus III 526-525 Governor
27th Dynasty
Cambyses II 526-522
Bardiya (Artaxerxes 0) 523-522
Darius I 522-486
Esther 489-425 Xerxes I 496-475 Queen
Nehemiah 455-443 Artaxerxes I 475-434 Governor
Darius B 434-426
Artaxerxes I 426-425
Xerxes II 425-424
Ezra 468-400 Darius II 424-405 Elephantine
Various editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica reflect the collapse of belief in the
historicity of the ark in the face of advancing scientific knowledge. Its 1771 edition offered
the following as scientific evidence for the ark's size and capacity: Buteo and Kircher have proved
geometrically, that, taking the common cubit as a foot and a half, the ark was abundantly sufficient for all
the animals supposed to be lodged in it (...) the number of species of animals will be found much less than is
generally imagined, not amounting to a hundred species of quadrupeds. By the 8th edition (1853–60),
the encyclopedia said of the Noah story: The insuperable difficulties connected with the belief that all
other existing species of animals were provided for in the ark are obviated by adopting the suggestion of
Bishop Stillingfleet, approved by Matthew Poole (...) and others, that the Deluge did not extend beyond the
region of the Earth then inhabited. By the 9th edition, in 1875, no attempt was made to reconcile
the Noah story with scientific fact, and it was presented without comment. In the 1960
edition, the article on the ark stated that: Before the days of 'higher criticism' and the rise of the
modern scientific views as to the origin of the species, there was much discussion among the learned, and
many ingenious and curious theories were advanced, as to the number of animals on the ark. The
existence of Noah and the Deluge was replaced by the theory of evolution, although several
biologists have explained why the "transforming process" in the theory of evolution is
impossible325. Similarly the appearance of man (and woman) from an apelike ancestor is
scientific myth (propagated by Nazi doctors), the appearance of languages from an original
proto-language is also a scientific myth326 (propagated by Nazi linguists). Egyptians had
designated their writing by “god's words”.
ü 5426 BCE. Creation of the first human couple: Adam and Eve, in Eden, a region
between the Tigris and Euphrates (Gn 2:14). There was a layer of water above the earth
(Gn 1:7) and there was not winter and summer at that time (Gn 8:22).
ü 3170 BCE. After the Deluge the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Gn 8:4).
After this incident, and probably because the climate became cooler due to the elevation
of mountains (Ps 104:8), Noah's family moved to the east (Gn 11:1-2).
ü Ca. 3100 BCE. Noah's family, which was composed of 70 great-grandsons (Gn 10:1-32),
dwelt in Shinar (Sumer) where they remained.
ü Ca. 3000 BCE. Nimrod, a great grandson of Noah and a cousin of Kainan, initiated the
construction of several cities like Agade, Uruk and Babel (Gn 10:9-10).
ü Ca. 2950 BCE. When the Tower of Babel had been built God confused the language of
all the earth (Old Hebrew), scattered the 70 families then the building ceased (Gn 11:1-9).
Iawan's family went into the Ionian Islands (Gn 10:4-5), Kaphtor's family went into
Crete and later a part of Cretans went into a land initially called Keftiu “those of Kefte”
by Egyptians and then “Philistines’ land” (Jr 47:4).
ü Ca. 2820 BCE. When Noah died several civilizations appeared, having each a very
complex and structured language, for example the Sumerian dynasty at Kish and the first
Egyptian dynasty at Abydos (Gn 10:6), the first Elamite dynasty at Awan (Gn 10:22), etc.
ü Ca. 2640 BCE. Building of ziggurats, the first skyscrapers (Gn 10:25).
325 For the biologist Jean Rostand: conventional explanations of the genesis of the species are fairy tales for use by adults, because the

transforming process was rather a magic process rather than a rational process (Ce que je crois, Grasset 1953, p. 41). The
biochemist Michael Denton explains that the transforming process is impossible in the same way that it is impossible to change a sentence by
adding or subtracting a few letters to words to get a new sentence, while keeping at each step a phrase that makes sense (Evolution a Theory in
Crisis, 1985). In fact even the simple changing of the word "Yes" into "No" is impossible. The biochemist Michael Behe
explains that even the seemingly simple processes such as wound healing or vision require the simultaneous synchronization of several complex chemical
processes, which makes their gradual onset impossible (Darwin’s Black Box, 1996), each organ works first time or does not work, to
function partially is nonsense. For example, if the wings of an aircraft are slightly modified this aircraft get crashing immediately.
326 J.-P. DEMOULE – Mais où sont passés les Indo-Européens ? Le mythe d’origine de l’Occident

Paris 2014, Ed. Seuil. Librairie du XXI siècle.

Basic astronomy for historians to get a chronology
Abstract: "Chronology is the backbone of history" is usually taught in schools but in the same time
the first fall of Babylon is currently fixed either in 1595 BCE or in 1651, 1531, 1499 depending on
historians! Such a difference in timeline prevents one from reaching the historical truth. It is for this reason
that from Herodotus, the "father of history" (in fact the father of scientific and chronological inquiry), Greek
historians gradually established a system of scientific dating in order to write a universal history. Many
astronomical phenomena (observed and described by Babylonian astrologers), which are well identified such
as eclipses, enable anyone today (with at least an undergraduate level) to synchronize these ancient dating
systems and anchor them on absolute dates. As incredible as it may seem this is still not done (among the
hundreds of thousands of theses in history there is none which focuses on chronology, except the one of Isaac
Newton in 1728 entitled: Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended). The purpose of the present item is
to understand the origin of this anomaly and above all to give the tools for easily verifying important dates in
history thanks to numerous practical examples like Jesus' birth on Monday 29 September 2 BCE, Herod's
death on Monday 26 January 1 BCE, the destruction of Jerusalem's Temple on Sunday 27 August 587
BCE, the first fall of Babylon soon after April 1499 BCE, etc.
Anyone interested in history has been able to see that every Egyptologist has their
own chronology (and consequently their own truth about history) and all the history books
just mention in their introduction that some dates are controversial and in order to solve
this crucial problem they argue that most academic historians have used the "Middle
Chronology" as reference (it's magic), because the truth always belongs to the majority in a
democracy. How can one explain this anomaly? Academic historians claim that chronology
is a complex science and historical documents are difficult to interpret. These two lame
excuses are false. In fact the primary purpose of academic historians is to validate and to
spread an official history aimed at magnify the national novel of their country (it's a part of
the process called "manufacturing consent"). The official history is that of the winner (for
every country) and the vanquished are always pictured as barbarians, unworthy of owning
their own country such as the American Indians, the Palestinians in the West Bank, the
Armenians in Turkey, etc. The only history that most academic historians are really seeking
to promote is their own history (their cursus honorum), not the truth1. The criticizing of ones
colleagues is not very polite and it gets you immediately blacklisted, as was already the case
for Herodotus (until today among Egyptologists!), but that's life (Luke 6:26).
Chronology is at the heart of our lives, the day we die the only information that will
be listed next to our name is our date of birth and date of death. Truth is very often
mundane, but quite different from fairy tales "once upon a time in a far away country".
These two dates are not kept by chance but because they are a link to the great mystery of
humankind: the question of origin and end. That's why calendars are religious, Anno Domini
"Year of the Lord" for Christians (Gregorian calendar), Annus Mundi for Jews (Seder Olam),
Anno Hegirae for Muslims, Chinese Zodiac for some Asiatics, etc. The main difficulty is to
convert the dates from a calendar to another one. Given that most calendars have changed
in time because of some readjustments, scientists use today as reference the Julian
astronomical calendar (quite similar to the ancient Julian calendar). All calendars are based
on the sun and the moon: year is related to an Earth rotation around the sun (365.25 days),
month to a moon rotation around Earth (29.5 days) and day to an Earth rotation around
itself. The synchronization between the solar year of 365 days and the 12 lunar months of
354 days has always been a problem of great complexity. The first exercise is therefore to
know the functioning of the Julian calendar (Gregorian after 1582 AD).
1 All those who deeply know the academic world will be able to check my disillusioned opinion.
The calendar was a reform in 1582 CE (Christian Era) of the Julian calendar. It was
introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named. The motivation for
the adjustment was to bring the date for the celebration of Easter to the time of the year in
which the First Council of Nicaea had agreed upon in 325 CE. Although a canon of the
council specified that all Christians should celebrate Easter on the same day, it took almost
five centuries before virtually all Christians achieved that objective by adopting the rules of
the Church of Alexandria. The reform adopted was a modification of a proposal made by
the Calabrian doctor Aloysius Lilius. Lilius's proposals had two components. Firstly, he
proposed a correction of the length of the year. The mean tropical year is 365.24219 days
long, while the mean vernal equinox year is 365.2424 days. As the average length of a Julian
year is 365.25 days, the Julian year is almost 11 minutes longer than the mean year. The
discrepancy results in a drift of about 3 days every 400 years. Lilius's proposal resulted in an
average year of 365.2425 days. At the time of Gregory's reform there had already been a
drift of 10 days since the Council of Nicaea, resulting in the (astronomical) vernal equinox
falling on 11 March instead of the ecclesiastically fixed date of 21 March, and if unreformed
it would drift further. Accordingly, when the new calendar was put in use, the error
accumulated in the 13 centuries since the Council of Nicaea was corrected by a deletion of
10 days. The Julian calendar day Thursday, 4 October 1582 CE was followed by the first
day of the Gregorian calendar, Friday, 15 October 1582 CE.
Dionysius Exiguus (470-544) was the inventor of the Anno Domini era, which is used
to number the years of both the Gregorian and Julian calendar. He used it to identify the
several Easters in his Easter table, but did not use it to date any historical event. When he
devised his table, Julian calendar years were identified by naming the consuls who held
office that year —he himself stated that the "present year" was "the consulship of Probus
Junior", which he also stated was 525 years: since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He
invented a new system of numbering years to replace the Diocletian years that had been
used in an old Easter table because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who
persecuted Christians. There exists evidence that Dionysius' desire to replace Diocletian
years with a calendar based on the incarnation of Christ was to prevent people from
believing in the imminent end of the world. At the time it was believed that the
Resurrection and the end of the world would occur 500 years after the birth of Jesus. The
current Anno Mundi calendar commenced with the creation of the world based on
information in the Septuagint. It was believed that based on the Anno Mundi calendar Jesus
was born in the year 5500 (or 5500 years after the world was created) with the year 6000 of
the Anno Mundi calendar marking the end of the world. Anno Mundi 6000 (c. 500 CE) was
thus equated with the resurrection of Christ and the end of the world. Because Dionysius
did not place the Incarnation in an explicit year, competent scholars have deduced both 1
CE and 1 BCE. Most have selected 1 BCE (historians do not use a year zero). Because the
anniversary of the Incarnation was 25 March, which was near Easter, a year that was year
525 "since the Incarnation" implied that 525 whole years were completed near that Easter.
Consequently 1 year after the Incarnation would have meant 25 March 1 CE, meaning that
Dionysius placed the Incarnation on 25 March 1 BCE. How did he manage to get such a
result? Dionysius knew that Epiphanius dated Jesus birth in the year when Augustus XIII and
Silvanus were consuls (Panarion LI:22:3) and Paul Orosius in the year 752 of the founding of Rome
(Histories against the pagans VI:22.1). As he stated that the "present year" was "the
consulship of Probus Junior", he was able to reckon 525 consular years2 between the
consulship of Probus Junior and the one of Augustus XIII and Silvanus according to the list of
Roman consuls. Consequently he defined a new era beginning at Jesus birth with the
equation: consulship of Probus Junior = 525 Anno Domini. As one can see he made a little
mistake because the consulship of Probus Junior3 was the 526th after 525 consulships, what
postponed Jesus birth to 1 BCE instead of 2 BCE. For this period of history we have
several synchronistic lists, which give correspondences between different dating systems4:
Year Consulship rank Roman consuls Olympiad Year of Year of
after Jesus birth Rome Seleucid era
4 BCE Gaius Calvisius Sabinus 194:1 750 309
Lucius Passienus Rufus
3 BCE Lucius Cornelius Lentulus 194:2 751 310
Marcus Valerius Messalla Messallinus
2 BCE 0 Imperator Caesar Augustus XIII 194:3 752 311
Marcus Plautius Silvanus
1 BCE 1 Cossus Cornelius Lentulus 194:4 753 312
Lucius Calpurnius Piso
1 CE 2 Caius Iulius Caesar 195:1 754 313
Lucius Aemilius Paullus
This first example shows that one must always check the calculations even those
from competent scholars because they can make mistakes (nobody's perfect). Calculations
to determine Jesus birth are easy to carry out because they are all consistent. For example
Clement of Alexandria (Stromata I:21:145) put it 194 years before Commodus death on
December 31, 192 CE and Tertullian (Against the Jews VIII:11:75) in the 41st year of
Augustus' reign5, 28 years after Cleopatra's death on August 29, 30 BCE. By combining
these data, Jesus birth has to be fixed in 2 BCE between September 1 and October 30.
A chronological detail from the book of Luke allows the fixing of the exact date of
Jesus' birth. Indeed, John the Baptist was born 6 months before Jesus (Lk 1:26) and his
conception was announced at the Temple 9 months earlier. This announcement may be
dated toward June, because this was the class of Abijah, to which belonged Zechariah father
of John the Baptist, who officiated at this time of the year (Lk 1:5-13). The name and the
order of classes of priests were very old (1Ch 24:7-18). According to Josephus (Jewish
Antiquities VII:365-366), each class officiated for a week from the Sabbath to the next
Sabbath (1Ch 9:25; 2Ch 23:8), and the Mishna (Sukka 4:7) states that during the great
annual festivals the 24 classes served together synchronizing both cycles of 24 weeks, the 1st
beginning in Nisan and the 2nd in Tishri. Manuscripts found at Qumran (4Q321) confirm
the seasonal order of such a calendar6. The turnover of classes of priests was cyclic on the
year, this system worked until the destruction of the Temple in September 70 CE (Tosephta
Taanit 2:10 b)7. The cycle of 24 classes, which lasted 24 weeks, coincided with lunar year, as
the 1st cycle began after the Passover (14 to 21 Nisan) and lasted 24 weeks and the 2nd cycle
began after the Feast of Tabernacles (10 to 21 Tishri). A period of 6 lunar months lasts
exactly 177 days (= 6x29,5), or approximately 25 weeks (25x7 = 175 days). The religious
year began on 1 Nisan. As the weeks went from Saturday to Saturday, the 8 days of
Passover overlapped 1 or 2 weeks (depending on the year). Similarly, the calendar year
3 http://www.roman-empire.net/articles/article-024.html
4 E.J. BICKERMAN - Chronology of the Ancient World
London 1980 Ed. Thames and Hudson pp. 115-166.
5 Augustus' reign began from the second triumvirate of October 43 BCE, made official a few weeks later, according to Appian

(Civil Wars IV:5-7), by the law lex Titia on November 27, 43 BCE. Ancient writers reckoned the reign of Augustus not from
January 27 BCE, but from October 43 BCE when Octavian, later Augustus, formed the second triumvirate. The 42nd year of
Augustus began (at the end of his 41st year), so in October 2 BCE.
6 M. WISE, M. ABEGG, E. COOK – Les manuscrits de la mer Morte

Paris 2001 Éd. Plon pp. 388-398.

7 J. BONSIRVEN – Textes rabbiniques des deux premiers siècles

Roma 1955 Ed. Pontificio Istituto Biblico p. 264.

started on 1 Tishri, thus the Feast of Tabernacles (Tishri 10 to 21) covered 2 or 3 weeks.
Therefore, the 24 classes of priests officiated all together on average 2 weeks during the two
major festivals (the Feast of Tabernacles starting with Yom Kippur from 10 to 21 Tishri),
since the solar year of 365 days is 52 weeks long (= 24x2 + 2x2). The conception of John
the Baptist occurred after the announcement during the office of Abijah class and therefore
at the beginning of the next class, that of Jeshua. The conception of Jesus is placed 3
months before the end of the gestation of John the Baptist (Lk 1:56). The birth of John the
Baptist therefore precedes exactly by 6 months that of Jesus. This previous calendrical
information has to be combined with the following constraints (which imposes a
chronological framework): Sabbaths coincide with Saturdays; Tishri 1 (Jewish calendar)8
coincides with the 1st visible crescent just after the autumn equinox (September 25 at that
time)9; the duration of human gestation is on average 273 days10 (one can assume that the
pregnancies of John the Baptist and Jesus took place normally), consequently:
Ø Spring equinox was on 23 March in 3 BCE.
Ø 1st lunar crescent11 after the spring equinox (= 1st Nisan): Tuesday 16 April 3 BCE.
Ø Passover on 14 Nisan: Monday 29 April, 3 BCE.
Ø Start of the first cycle of 24 classes on 26 Nisan: Saturday 11 May 3 BCE.
Ø Class of Abijah (8th week), beginning on 16 Siwan: Saturday 29 June 3 BCE.
Ø Class of Jeshua (9th week), beginning on 23 Siwan: Saturday 5 July 3 BCE. Beginning of
the gestation of John the Baptist (born 273 days later).
Ø Yom Kippur on 10 Tishri: Saturday 19 October (3 BCE).
Ø Start of the second cycle of 24 classes on 24 Tishri: Saturday 2 November 3 BCE.
Ø Angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus 6 months after that of John the Baptist on 23
Kislev: Monday 30 December 3 BCE (2 days before the Festival of Dedication).
Beginning of the gestation of Jesus (born 273 days later).
Ø Birth of John the Baptist on 1 Nisan: Saturday 5 April 2 BCE.
Ø Birth of Jesus on 1 Tishri: Monday 29 September 2 BCE (after 273 days of gestation).
As can be seen calculations to determine the date of Jesus' birth are quite attainable
and give on Monday 29 September 2 BCE (not 25 December 1 BCE). Using his
mathematical equations, Kepler believed he could predict the appearance of the night sky
for any day in history, as seen from any place on earth. In December 1603 CE he witnessed
a Jupiter-Saturn-conjunction followed by a conjunction of Jupiter-Mars. He then made a
rapprochement with the star of the Magi thanks to a Hebrew text of Rabbi Abravanel: For
Jewish astrologers, the Messiah would come from a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation of
Pisces. Kepler calculated that the same conjunction occurred three times in the same year of
7 BCE: 29 May, 3 October and 4 December. The repetition of this alignment is extremely
rare, he concluded that careful observers of the sky such as the Magi would have been able
to notice it, he likened this event with the Star of Bethlehem and thus placed the Nativity in
the year 7 BC in his book De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarti (first published in 1605). Based on
the coincidence of the lunar eclipse of 13 March 4 BC, just after the Fast of Esther of 12
March, Academician Wallon12 concluded that the 37-year reign of Herod, having started in
40 BC was completed in 4 BC and therefore the birth of Jesus should be set at 25
December 7 BC. This dating without scientific rigor is still the choice of the "prestigious"
8 http://www.livius.org/caa-can/calendar/calendar_babylonian.html
9 http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/temps/saisons.php
10 C. NAUDIN, N. GRUMBACH – Larousse médical

Paris1995 Éd. Larousse p. 449.

11 http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/phenomenes/phases_lune/index.php
12 H. WALLON – Mémoire sur les années de Jésus-Christ

Paris 1858 Ed. Comptes Rendus Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.

French Academy13, but is easy to check that the link made with the conjunction of Saturn
and Jupiter in 7 BCE and the Star of Bethlehem is absolutely baseless.
According to the text of the Gospels (New International Version): After Jesus was born
in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked,
‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to
worship him (...) Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had
appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find
him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’ After they had heard the king, they went on their
way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the
child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his
mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented
him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to
Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared
to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until
I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother
during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod (...) When Herod realised that
he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and
its vicinity who were 2 years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi (Mt
2:1-16). The word Magi comes from the Greek magos, which also appears in the text of
Daniel 2:2,10 (LXX). It was a term originally applied to Persian priests14, a tribe of the Mede
according to Herodotus (The Histories I:101), thus Magi means "astrologers". It is
noteworthy that many Bible translations prefer to use the term "wise men" instead of
"astrologers" because astrology is severely condemned in the Bible (Dt 18:10-12). As the
text of Matthew clearly states: the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped
over the place where the child was, it was a miraculous "star", not an astronomical event (even a
comet can't go ahead and stop over a house!).
In his thesis (1605) the Polish historian Laurentius Suslyga was the first to suggest
that Christ was born around 4 BCE instead of 2 BCE, based on the coincidence of the
lunar eclipse of 13 March 4 BCE just after the Fast of Esther dated 12 March, deriving this
date from the chronology of Herod the Great found in Josephus' works. Once again these
"scientific" claims are completely preposterous for 3 reasons: 1) the fast of Esther in the 1st
century did not exist because it did not appear until the 12th century15, in addition on 13
Adar was the Feast of Nicanor (Jewish Antiquities XII:412); 2) according to current
astronomical calculations, the eclipse of 13 March 4 BCE had a magnitude of 36% only and
would have drawn attention to very few people in the early morning when it happened16; 3)
if Herod died on March 4 BCE, it is impossible to make a reconstitution respecting all the
13 G. PICARD – La date de naissance de Jésus du point de vue romain
in: Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 139e année, N. 3, 1995. pp. 799-807.
14 W.E. VINE – An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

New York 1985 Ed. Thomas Nelson Publishers, p. 587.

15 The She'iltot of R. Aḥa of Shabḥa (8th century) has the earliest record of the custom of fasting on the 13th of Adar. It quotes

the declaration of R. Samuel b. Isaac (Megillah 2a): The 13th day of Adar is the time for public gathering, Maimonides accepts the
custom of public fasting on this day finding his scriptural authority in the words: Regarding the fasting and the crying (Est 9:31).
Comparing it with other public fasts he declares: Whereas the other fasts are postponed to the following day if they would otherwise fall on the
Sabbath the Fast of Esther is anticipated to the Thursday, since fasting here must precede the celebration (Yad, Ta'anit 5:5). An earlier tradition
of fasting (c. 750 CE) in connection with Purim is preserved in the Talmud (Soferim 14:4), which specifically excludes fasting on
the 13th of Adar: because of Nicanor and his men. This is in accordance with the prohibition of Megillat Ta'anit against fasting on
those days on which the Maccabean victories over Nicanor and their other enemies were celebrated. Elsewhere tractate Soferim
asserts: Our Rabbis in the West [i.e., Ereẓ Israel] are accustomed to fast at intervals after Purim [i.e., on the 3 subsequent days: Monday, Thursday,
and Monday] in commemoration of the 3 days fasted by Esther and Mordecai and those who joined them (Soferim 21:1). Maimonides stated that
the commemoration of fasting should precede the festival (Hilkhot Ta'aniyot 1:14), which instituted the Fast of Esther on 13
Adar, before the feast of Purim on 14 and 15 Adar.
16 4 BCE = -3* http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE-0099-0000.html
synchronisms (16 in all) mentioned by Josephus which are all consistent with a date of
death around 1 BCE/1 CE17. According to the texts of Josephus: Herod died after a day that
the Jews observe as a fast which happened just before an eclipse of the moon (...); after he had reigned for 34
years from the time when he had put Antigonus to death, and for 37 years from the time when he had been
appointed king by the Romans (...); before the Passover (Jewish Antiquities XVII:166-167, 191, 213).
The first years of Herod's reign are described by Josephus in great chronological detail,
which explains the discrepancy between his legal kingship received from the Roman Senate
in 40 BCE and the beginning of his effective reign in 36 BCE, dated year 3 on his first
minting. According to Josephus, Herod came to Rome in winter (Jewish War I:279) at the
end of the year 40 BCE (Jewish Antiquities XIV:487), since he conquered Jerusalem in July
37 BCE, just 3 years after his enthronement by the Romans in December 40 BCE (Jewish
War I:343; Jewish Antiquities XIV:389). The Roman Senate named him king and celebrated
his first day of reign (Jewish War I:285) on 1st January, 39 BCE, because the posts of
governors were awarded on that date18. After the capture of Jerusalem in July 37 BCE,
Sossius, the governor of Syria, handed over King Antigonus to Marc Antony. Herod,
fearing a possible restoration of Antigonus by the Roman Senate, greased Mark Antony's
palm to kill his rival (Jewish Antiquities XIV:473, 487-491). Mark Antony who left Italy for
Greece in the autumn of 37 BCE, then went to Antioch which he reached in winter.
Antigonus was executed just before Herod took power19 (March 36 BCE). Cassius Dio
confirms the chronological data of Josephus, he writes: These people Antony entrusted to a certain
Herod to govern; but Antigonus he bound to a cross and flogged, — a punishment no other king had
suffered at the hands of the Romans, — and afterwards slew him (...) Antony spent the entire year [37
BCE] in reaching Italy and returning again to the province (Roman History XLIX:22-23). All these
synchronisms involve Herod having died between April 2 BCE and March 1 BCE20.
Although Josephus dates Herod's victory in July 37 BCE, he fixes the beginning of his
effective reign in 36 BCE, as he states that Herod ended a Hasmonean era which had
started 126 years earlier (Jewish Antiquities XIV:490) and as he dates the beginning of the
period in 162 BCE the reign of Herod started therefore in 36 BCE (= -162 + 126). This
figure is confirmed by two other indications of Josephus: the beginning of his reign is fixed
27 years after the victory of Pompey (Jewish Antiquities XIV:487) dated July 63 BCE, that
is 36 BCE (= -63 + 27) and 107 years before the destruction of the Temple (Jewish
Antiquities XX:250) dated August 70 CE, that is 36 BCE (= 70 -107 + 1, no year 0). The
first coins minted by Herod after his victory over Jerusalem (in July 37 BCE) are dated year
321 (wrote LΓ in Greek). Since Jewish reigns begin on 1st Nisan (new moon +1)22, this coin
therefore appeared in April of 36 BCE. This method of reckoning reign, from 1st Nisan
after an accession, was usual for kings of Judea (Talmud Rosh Hashanah 1:1). If Herod died
in 4 BCE, year 3 of his reign would have been in 38 BCE, 2 years before his victory, that is
unlikely, moreover, at that date Antigonus still ruled Judea. The Jews fasted 4 times a year
(Zc 8:19): on 17 Tammuz, 9 Ab, 3 Tishri and 10 Tebeth. The Mishnah (Taanit 4:6) only
describes the fasts of 17 Tammuz and 9 Ab. It is noteworthy that 13 Adar was not a fast at
17 B. MAHIEU – Between Rome and Jerusalem. Herod the Great and his Sons in their Struggle for Recognition

in: Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 208 (Brill 2012) pp. 235-243.

18 C. SAULNIER - Histoire d'Israël

Paris 1985 Éd. Cerf p. 207.

19 R. MARCUS – Josephus. Jewish Antiquities, Books XIV-XV

Cambridge 2004 Ed. Harvard University Press page 255 note e, page 479 note b.
20 J. FINEGAN - Handbook of Biblical Chronology

Massachussetts 1999 Ed. Hendrickson pp. 299-301.

21 J. MALTIEL-GERSTENFELD - 260 Years of Ancient Jewish Coins

1982 Tel Aviv Ed. Kol Printing Service Ltd pp. 125-131.
22 http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/phenomenes/phases_lune/index.php
the time because it was the Feast of Nicanor (Jewish Antiquities XII:412). This feast of
Nicanor on 13 Adar was formerly known as the feast of Mordecai (2M 15:36). The Mishna
(Taanit 2:10, Rosh Hashanah 1:3) also stipulates that there was no fasting at Purim in the
month of Adar. The fast of the 7th month (Tishri) commemorated the murder of Governor
Gedaliah and the one of the 10th month (Tebeth) commemorated the beginning of the siege
of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki 25:1, Ezk 24:1-2) as recalled by Josephus (Jewish
Antiquities X:116). The fast of 10 Tebeth (January 5 in 1 BCE), observed only in Judea
(Jerusalem Talmud, Taanit 4:6), actually preceded by a few days (5) the total lunar eclipse on
14/15 Tebeth23 (9/10 January in 1 BCE)24.
The ancient Roll of fasts25 (Megillat Taanit 23a) says: On Shebat 2 a feast-day, no mourning.
The date 2 Shebat was 26 January in 1 BCE26. The Scholion of Megillat Taanit speaks of the
death of Herod in three copies: at 7 Kislev (Oxford, hybrid text) or at 2 Shebat (Parma)
which agrees with the date of the Roll of fasts (7 Kislev is linked with King Alexander
Jannaeus's death). Astronomy enables us to date the events mentioned by Josephus: (1) a
memorial fasting followed by (2) an eclipse of the moon and then (3) Herod's death, three
events which succeeded in a short time before (4) Passover (-1 = 0 BCE):
date in 1 BCE in 4 BCE
month (1) fast (2) eclipse (3) death # #
VII 3 Tishri 1 Oct. 2 BCE 4 Oct. 5 BCE
VIII Heshvan
IX Kislev 7 Kislev ? 3 Dec. 2 BCE 6 Dec. 5 BCE NO#
X 10 Tebeth 5 Jan. 1 BCE YES 8 Jan. 4 BCE
15 Tebeth 10 Jan. 1 BCE Total 13 Jan. 4 BCE
XI Shebat 2 Shebat 26 Jan. 1 BCE YES 29 Jan. 4 BCE NO#
XII [13] Adar [9 Mar. 1 BCE] [12 Ma. 4 BCE] NO#
14 Adar 13 Mar. 4 BCE Partial
I [1st] Nisan [25 Mar. 1 BCE] 1 Apr. 4 BCE? NO#
[14] Nisan (4) Passover [7 Apr. 1 BCE] [10 Apr. 4 BCE]
II Iyar
III Siwan
IV 17 Tammuz 7 Jul. 1 BCE 10 Jul. 4 BCE
V 9 Ab 29 Jul. 1 BCE 1st Aug. 4 BCE
VI Elul
VII Tishri
VIII Heshvan
IX Kislev 7 Kislev ? 21 Nov. 1 BCE 25 Nov. 4 BCE

On the death of Herod, his sons sought the endorsement of Caesar Augustus to
legitimize their royalty, as had done Herod himself. Josephus explains that in the past:
Caesar received the boys [in 20 BCE] with the greatest consideration. He also gave Herod the right to
secure in the possession of his kingdom whichever of his offspring he wished (Jewish Antiquities
XV:343). Herod having died on 2 Shebat (Monday 26 January 1 BCE), the first year of
effective reign of his sons could start at 1st Nisan (24 March 1 BCE). Herod Philip did as his
father. The coins minted27 from his first year of reign in 1 BCE are dated year 3, wrote LΓ
in Greek, which referred to Herod's testament made at the end of the legation of Varus in 4
23 Astronomy requires matching the eclipses of the moon with the full moon days.
24 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE-0099-0000.html
25 W.E. FILMER - The Chronology of the Reign of Herod the Great

in: The Journal of Theological Studies Vol. XVII. Oxford 1966 p. 284.
H. LICHTENSTEIN - Die fastenrolle eine untersuchung zur jüdisch-hellenistishen geschichte
in: Hebrew Union College Annual Cincinnati 1931-32 pp. 271-280.
26 A.E. STEINMANN – When Did Herod the Great Reign?

in: Novum Testamentum Vol. 51 (2009) pp. 1-29.

27 J. MALTIEL-GERSTENFELD - 260 Years of Ancient Jewish Coins

1982 Tel Aviv Ed. Kol Printing Service Ltd p. 144.

BCE, a year being considered as an accession year (without having been co-regency). This
point is crucial to understanding the chronology of Herodian reigns. Indeed, fictional
accessions, legally back-calculated, were not uncommon at that time28. All of the Herods
acknowledged receiving their kingdom from Augustus (Jewish Antiquities XVII:244-246). A
testament establishing the kingdom of Herod's sons was written in front of Augustus at the
end of the legation of Varus (Jewish Antiquities XVII:202-210). This document served as a
reference after the death of Herod to confirm the kingdom of his sons29. For that reason,
just after the death of Herod, Archelaus rushed to Rome to validate by Augustus the
testament of his father who made him king (Jewish War II:1-2). Similarly, Antipas disputed
succession to the throne because he was referring to the first testament of Herod, who
designated him as king, in his view that testament annulling its codicil (Jewish War II:20).
Therefore, that testament, not Herod's codicils, had to be used to set the beginning of their
statutory royalty because only the decision of Augustus, which validated it, was considered
as a last resort (Jewish War II:20-21,28). Herod's sons had to have been legally established
kings (in Rome) before taking office (in Jerusalem). Josephus relates Antipater's dialogue
with his father: And indeed what was there that could possibly provoke me against thee? Could the hope
of being king do it? I was a king already (Jewish War I:625-631). If it was only about the
certitude of reigning, this explanation would have accused Antipater, because he would
have been able to accelerate his accession to the throne by committing parricide, while in
recalling that he was King already, Herod's death did not change anything for him; this
argument had already been used in the past to prove his innocence (Jewish War I:503).
According to Josephus, Herod Archelaus reigned 10 years. The 9th year of his reign (Jewish
War II:111), at the end of which he was dismissed, is dated 6 CE according Dio (Roman
History LV:25:1, 27:5) and the beginning of his 10th year (Jewish Antiquities XVII:342),
marked by the census of Quirinius, is dated 7 CE30 (Jewish Antiquities XVIII:26).
The above examples illustrate two important points: do not believe by word the
"mainstream chronologies", even if they come from prestigious academics, but follow this
wise biblical advice: Make sure of all things (1Th 5:21); believe what you have checked and question
the rest (1Jo 4:1) specially regarding chronology (2Th 2:2). In fact, the main difficulty does
not come from astronomy or calculations but from wrong readings of historical texts! It is
indeed necessary to first ensure that a historical text, used for dating, aptly describes an
astronomical phenomenon and not a non-reproducible exceptional event or a symbolic
event like the "eclipse" of a king, which was frequently pictured as a real (total) eclipse.
As noted K.A. Kitchen, a prominent Egyptologist, chronological and historical data
from the Bible is generally consistent with archaeological findings, at least until Abraham (c.
2000 BCE), however the chronology of the prehistoric period, especially the Deluge, is
absolutely insoluble31 (one might say). For example, the global flood is dated around 2350
BCE, according to the chronology from the Masoretic text, but Sargon of Akkad (c. 2300
BCE) already knew of the Deluge which had occurred before Gilgamesh’s time (c. 2700
BCE), four centuries earlier! On the other hand, some geologists estimate that the biblical
flood could be a memory of the last ice age, which ended around -10,000. All this data is
apparently irreconcilable, but in fact not. First the explanation of the chronologies of the
28 E.J. BICKERMAN -Notes on Seleucid and Parthian Chronology
in: Berytus VIII (1943) pp. 73-83.
29 W.E. FILMER - The Chronology of the Reign of Herod the Great

in: The Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. XVII. Oxford 1966 pp. 283-298.
30 Consular years used by Cassius Dio were reckoned from January 1 to December 31, 6 CE, but the 37th of Actium was

reckoned from September 6 CE to September 7 CE. The 9th year of Archelaus was reckoned from April 6 CE to April 7 CE.
31 K.A. KITCHEN – On the Reliability of the Old Testament

Cambridge 2003 Ed. Eerdmans Publishing Company pp. 439-447.

Deluge are all based on ideological interpretations, religious or scientific, without any
verification with the absolute dating based on astronomy. For example, the Jews date the
Deluge in 2104 BCE (= -3761 + 1656) as it is explained in their Seder Olam32, but there is a
wide variety of results33. In fact it is clear that there is no evidence of such a statement but
only conjectures. Finally, Catholics date the Deluge, equated with the last ice age, around
13,000 BCE in their official Bible34. Consequently, it is necessary to use astronomy.
Astronomical concepts necessary for historians are actually quite rudimentary. One
just has to know the working of solar and lunar cycles, which served to define the years and
months. As solar and lunar cycles are actually very complex, they could not be predicted in
the past with sufficient accuracy in order to fix calendars (as is the case today with software
very easy to use) and consequently they had to be visually observed.
From Earth, the Sun is seen projected against the remote background of the celestial
sphere35. This apparent path of the Sun around the sky in the course of a year is known as
the ecliptic. Since most of the planets revolve around the Sun in more or less a flat plane,
viewed from Earth the paths of the other planets across the sky tend to stay fairly close to
the ecliptic. Knowing this, ancient people attached great importance to this band of
constellations on the ecliptic, known as the zodiac. However, the Earth's axis is not
perpendicular to the ecliptic —rather, it is tipped at an angle of 23½ degrees. The ecliptic,
therefore, is tipped with respect to the celestial equator by the same angle. Because of this,
Northern and Southern Hemispheres experience opposite seasons. In June, the Southern
Hemisphere is in winter because it is leaning away from the Sun, while the Northern
Hemisphere is experiencing midsummer. The Sun's rays no longer reach the South Pole,
and for half the year there the Sun will fail to rise, resulting in continuous night. Six months
later, in December, the Earth will have gone half-way round the Sun. The Northern
Hemisphere is now in midwinter, while the Southern Hemisphere is in midsummer. In
March and September, however, both hemispheres have an equal share of day and night
("equinox" means "[day] equal night"). The length of summer days and the corresponding
brevity of winter days increases as you move to higher latitudes. During winter, the Sun is
low in the sky, which means that the days are short and the nights long. Also, the Sun's rays
must pass through a greater thickness of the atmosphere; some of the heat is absorbed, and
the low angle from which the rays come means that they are more spread out. In summer,
on the other hand, the Sun passes high across the sky as it rises and sets each day, yielding
longer days than in winter. Also, because the Sun is high during this season, the Sun's rays
are less spread out and it heats the Earth more directly. Midway between sunrise and sunset
the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky around noon. If, over the course of a year, you
observed the shadow cast by a stick on a flat piece of ground, you would graphically see
how the Sun's height in the sky at noon varies with the passing of the seasons (see
32 H.W. GUGGENHEIMER – Seder Olam. The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology
Lanham 2005 Ed. Roman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. pp. 3-21.
33 Many of the earliest Christians who followed the Septuagint calculated creation around 5500 BC: Clement of Alexandria

(5592), Theophilus of Antioch (5529), Julius Africanus (5501), Hippolytus of Rome (5500), Gregory of Tours (5500), Panodorus
of Alexandria (5493), Maximus the Confessor (5493), George Syncellus (5492) Sulpicius Severus (5469), Isidore of Seville (5336).
Eusebius (5228), Jerome (5199). Proposed calculations using the Masoretic text: Marianus Scotus (4192), Henry Fynes Clinton
(4138), Maimonides (4058), Henri Spondanus (4051), Benedict Pereira (4021), Louis Cappel (4005), James Ussher (4004),
Augustin Calmet (4002), Isaac Newton (4000 BC), Johannes Kepler (3977), Melanchthon (3964), Martin Luther (3961),
Cornelius Cornelii a Lapide (3961), John Lightfoot (3960), Joseph Justus Scaliger (3949), Gerardus Mercator (3928), Benito Arias
Montano (3849), Andreas Helwig (3836), David Gans (3761 BC), Gershom ben Judah (3754), Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller (3616).
34 Bible de Jérusalem (Cerf, 1986), p. 1805.
35 D. LEVY – Skywatching. The ultimate guide to the Universe

1995 London Ed. Harper Collins pp. 84-85.

illustration below). During summer, the shadow is shortest at noon on the solstice, the day
with the longest daylight hours. Here, the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky for the
year. In winter, the Sun traces its lowest path across the sky on the day of the "winter"
solstice. It is during this time that the Sun casts the longest shadows and gives us the day
with the fewest daylight hours.

The path of the Sun across the sky at different times of the year (below), as viewed
by a Northern Hemisphere observer (a Southern sky-watcher would look north, instead of
south, to see the same effect). In the past, there were 2 seasons: summer started with the
flax harvest at the spring equinox and winter with the concluding harvest at the autumn
equinox with ploughing. At the equinox both day and night have to last exactly 12 hours.

It is now easy to reconstruct a past calendar anchored on the equinoxes like the
Jewish religious year, which began on 1st Nisan. This particular day coincides with the 1st
visible lunar crescent in Jerusalem after the spring equinox. In 2 BCE, or -1 in astronomy,
the spring equinox is dated36 25/9/-1 at 19:59 UT (Universal Time). The 1st lunar crescent
after 25/9/-1 (25 September 2 BCE) is dated 29/9/-1 (new moon 28/9/-1 at 6:50 UT)37.
The 1st Tishri is dated 25 September 2BCE,then the 1st Heshvan (next 1st lunar crescent) is
dated 29 October and so on. One can see that the 2 Shebat in 1 BCE is dated 26 January
and years 4 ad 1 BCE were embolismic with 13 lunar months instead of 12 (because 1st
Nisan must be just after the spring equinox, not before):
36 http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/temps/saisons.php
37 http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/phenomenes/phases_lune/index.php
Event month Jewish calendar Julian calendar Julian calendar
[autumn equinox] 2 BCE [25 September -1] 5 BCE [25 September -4]
Jesus birth VII 1st Tishri 9 29 September 9 2 October
VIII 1st Heshvan 10 29 October 10 31 October
Magi visit IX 1st Kislev 11 27 November 11 30 November
Firstborns murder X 1st Tebeth 12 27 December 12 29 December
Herod's death XI 1 Shebat 1 BCE 25 January 0 4 BCE 28 January -3
Return from Egypt XII 1st Adar 2 25 February 2 27 February
[XIIb] [1st Adar2] - -
[spring equinox] [3] [22 March 0] [3] [22 March -3]
I 1st Nisan 3 25 March 3 28 March
II 1st Iyar 4 23 April 4 26 April
III 1st Siwan 5 23 May 5 25 May
IV 1 Tammuz 6 21 June 6 24 June
V 1st Ab 7 20 July 7 24 July
VI 1st Elul 8 19 August 8 22 August
VII 1st Tishri 9 17 September 9 21 September
[autumn equinox] (embolismic year) 9 [25 September 0] 9 [25 September -3]
VIII 1st Heshvan 10 17 October 10 21 October
IX 1st Kislev 11 15 November 11 19 November
X 1st Tebeth 12 15 December 12 19 December
XI 1 Shebat 1 CE 14 January 1 3 BCE 18 January -2
XII 1st Adar 2 13 February 2 16 February
Embolismic year XIIb 1st Adar2 3 14 March 3 17 March
[spring equinox] [3] [22 March 1] [3] [22 March -2]
As many commemorations were related to a lunar calendar in the past, it is possible
to calculate precisely the date of these celebrations. For example the earliest source which
dates precisely Jesus' death is the Greek historian Phlegon of Tralles who completed in 140
CE his chronology of the most important events dated by Olympiads. He gives a specific
date, reported by Eusebius: In the 4th year, however, of Olympiad 202, an eclipse of the sun happened,
greater and more excellent than any that had happened before it; at the 6th hour [12:00], day turned into
dark night, so that the stars were seen in the sky, and an earthquake in Bithynia toppled many buildings of
the city of Nicaea38. The 4th year of the 202nd Olympiad is from July 32 to June 33 CE. This
information was considered reliable at the time because Origen (248 CE) quoted it to refute
Celsus (Against Celsus II:14,33,59), a Greek philosopher very critical of Christianity but
familiar with history. Eusebius39 also states in his quotation from Phlegon that Jesus began
his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius and he died 3 years later in the year 18. He gives a
more accurate duration of not quite 4 years in another of his books (Ecclesiastical History
I:10:2). Jerome, who published the chronicle of Eusebius, regarded it as reliable. According
to Irenaeus, some heretics propagated (177 CE) a period of only 1 year for the ministry of
Jesus (Against Heresies II:22:5). Likewise Matthew mentions both an earthquake and
surprising darkness (Mt 27:45-54) during the death of Jesus from noon to 3 p.m., the hour
of prayer, according to Acts 3:1. It was not a solar eclipse because it lasted 3 hours, far
beyond the duration of a solar eclipse (7 mn 30 s). Several authors report this exceptional
darkening for example Thallus a Samaritan historian of the 1st century who says in the third
book of his Histories, quoted by Julius Africanus40 (in 220 CE): A most terrible darkness fell
over all the world, the rocks were torn apart by an earthquake, and many places both in Judea and the rest
of the world were thrown down. Thus Jesus death is dated 33 CE, two elements provided by the
38 EUSÈBE - Chronicorum
Paris 1857 Patrologiae Graecae t. XIX Ed. Migne p. 535.
39 R. HELM – Eusebius Werke

Berlin 1956 Ed. Akademie-Verlag Berlin pp. 174,175.

40 JULIUS AFRICANUS - Chronographiæ

Turnhout 1966 Ed. Brepols (Migne) Patrologiæ Graecae t. X p. 91.

Gospels enable one to fix it on 3 April 33 CE by astronomy. The day of the Passover could
coincide with any day of the week, but the next day, corresponding to the 1st day of the
feast of unleavened bread was to be a Sabbath (Lv 23:5-7). If this Sabbath (15 Nisan)
coincided with the usual Sabbath on Saturday, it was called a "great Sabbath". As Jesus was
resurrected on the 1st day of the week, on Sunday in the Jewish calendar (Jn 19:31; 20:1), he
must have died on Friday 14 Nisan. It is noteworthy that the only year for which 14 Nisan
matches on a Friday41 during the period from 27 to 35 CE is the year 33 CE. Depuydt
proposes Friday 15 April 29 CE assuming an error of one day on the observation of the 1st
crescent, but this is unlikely because one would have to admit that the 1st crescent was seen
one day too early, but a new moon is not visible. The day corresponding to 14 Nisan over
the 26-36 CE period is as follows:
CE 14 Nisan in Julian calendar Lunar eclipse (in Nisan) Event
26 Friday 22 March -
27 Wednesday 9 April -
28 Monday 29 March -
29 Saturday 16 April - Jesus' baptism (Jn 1:28-34)
30 Wednesday 5 April - 1st Passover (Jn 2:13)
31 Monday 26 March - 2nd Passover {Jn 5:1}
32 Monday 14 April (no visible in Jerusalem) 3rd Passover (Jn 6:4)
33 Friday 3 April OK 4th Passover (Jn 12:1)
34 Monday 22 March -
35 Monday 11 April -
36 Friday 30 March -

A second confirmation of 33 CE comes from the book of Acts describing celestial

phenomena that occurred at the death of Jesus: The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon
into blood (Acts 2:20), text already describing a lunar eclipse just before the destruction of the
first Temple42 (Joel 3:3-5). Generally, during a lunar eclipse it appears blood-red, which is
the most natural explanation of the text of Acts. The Roman historian Quintus Curtius
suggests, for example, a lunar eclipse, in terms that illuminate how this phenomenon was
perceived at the time (c. 50 CE): Alexander made in this place, a halt of two days, and the next, gave
the order to start. But near the eve of the day, the moon was eclipsing, the brightness of its disk began to
disappear, and then a kind of veil of blood came sullying its light: worried already about the approaches of a
so terrible accident, the Macedonians were imbued with a deep religious feeling, and fear at the same time.
This was against the wishes of the gods, they said, that drew them to the ends of the earth, the rivers were
already unaffordable and the stars did not pay more than their former clarity and everywhere they met
wastelands, deserts everywhere: and why so much blood? to satisfy the vanity of one man! He disdained his
homeland, he disowned his father Philip, and in the pride of his thoughts, aspired to heaven! Sedition would
burst, when Alexander, still inaccessible to fear, command chiefs and principal officers of his army to
assemble in his tent body and at the same time the Egyptian priests, whom he considered very skilful in
knowledge of the sky and stars, to express their opinion. Those knew well that, in the course of time, a series
marked by revolutions is accomplished, and that the moon is eclipsed when it passes under the earth, or it is
hidden by the sun, but what calculation revealed, they careful avoid sharing with vulgar. At hearing them,
the sun is the heavenly body of the Greeks, the moon for the Persians: also, whenever it vanishes, it is to the
Persians a portent of ruin and desolation, and they cite to examples of ancient kings of this empire, in which
the moon by eclipsing, testified that they were fighting with opponent gods. Nothing so powerfully governs the
minds of the multitude that superstition carried, cruel, fickle as any other occasion, when vain ideas of
42There was a lunar eclipse in 587 BCE on 4 July (13 Tammuz), which coincided with the legal end of blood sacrifices in the
Temple (Dn 9:27). The Talmud relates that the sacrifices in the Temple ceased on 17 Tammuz because of a total lack of sheep
(Mishnah 4:6 Taanit 28b) and the Bible dates the beginning of the fall of Jerusalem from 9 Tammuz (2Ki 25:1-4 ).
religion dominate, it obeys the priests much better than its leaders. Also, the response of the Egyptians, just
published in the army, revived the drooping spirits of hope and confidence (Histories of Alexander the
Great IV:10). Curtius gives an accurate description of the eclipse dated 13/VI year 5 of
Darius III (20 September 331 BCE) by a Babylonian astronomical tablet (BM 36761), but
the alleged Egyptian source of his explanations is actually a truncated quotation from
Herodotus (Histories VII:37) because it states that the Persians also sacrificed to the sun
and the moon (Histories I:131). Quintus Curtius himself recognized the point: It was a
traditional use among the Persians, not turn on after sunrise, when the day was shining in all its brilliance.
The starting signal given by the trumpet, left the tent of the king over the tent, loud enough for everyone could
see it, shone like the sun embedded in the crystal (...) then came a chariot dedicated to Jupiter, drawn by
white horses, and followed by a courier of an extraordinary size, which is called the messenger of the sun:
golden wands and white garments distinguished the conductors of these horses (Histories of Alexander
the Great III:3). When Curtius explains that a lunar eclipse with a veil of blood cannot be a
harbinger of death he expresses the ideas of his time in cultivated circles but also indicates
that these eclipses were seen as prescient in popular circles. In the 1st century Josephus
shared this view: do not you disturb yourselves at the quaking of inanimate creatures, nor do you imagine
that this earthquake is a sign of another calamity; for such affections of the elements are according to the
course of nature, nor does it import any thing further to men, than what mischief it does immediately of itself
(Jewish War I:377). The evangelist Luke, who was a doctor, must have shared this scientific
view about lunar eclipses (sometimes abnormal darkness is caused by thick clouds made of
dust or ash). There was actually a partial eclipse of the moon on Friday 3 April 33, which
began towards 15:40 (Local Time) and was visible in Jerusalem from 17:50 to 18:30. It was
also, according to astronomical calculations43, the only one falling on Friday44 between 26
and 36 CE, period of Pilate's legation in Judea:
Tiberius reign CE 14 Nisan: Julian calendar Lunar eclipse Event
15/16 29 Saturday 16 April - Baptism of Jesus (Lk 3:1-23)
16/17 30 Wednesday 5 April -
17/18 31 Monday 26 March -
18/19 32 Monday 14 April (no visible in Jerusalem) death of John the Baptist
19/20 33 Friday 3 April OK death of Jesus
20/21 34 Monday 22 March - death of Herod Philip
21/22 35 Monday 11 April -

Dates from the lunar calendars are easy to check because astronomical new moon
precedes 1 day the 1st day of each month, which was keyed on the 1st visible crescent. The
Hebrew lunar calendar sets the Passover at 14 Nisan, the traditional date of Jesus' death.
This date can be back-calculated by astronomy to the period beginning with the ministry of
Jesus in the year 15 of Tiberius (29 CE) until the end of the legation of Pontius Pilate (36
CE). In addition, the lunar eclipse requires dating Jesus' death on Friday 3 April 33 CE.
Thus, using chronological data from historical narratives requires knowledge of the
functioning of ancient calendars and also their changes over time, particularly with regard to
the duration and the exact beginning of the year, month and day. The only way to verify
their accuracy is to compare calendar dates with astronomical data calculated in the Julian
calendar, an astronomical calendar which serves as a reference. For some highly localized
astronomical phenomena such as eclipses (eg a solar eclipse lasts less than 8 minutes) it is
necessary to know not only the day but also the hour at which they occurred.
43 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE0001-0100.html The maximum eclipse is at 14:47 UT and its beginning is set 86
minutes earlier, dated in Jerusalem at 15:41 (= 14:47 – 86 + 2:20).
44 J.P. PARISOT, F. SUAGHER - Calendriers et chronologie

Paris 1996 Éd. Masson pp. 164-166.

Joseph Scaliger proposed in 1583, one year after the creation of the Gregorian
calendar, a new way to calculate dates in astronomy: the Julian days. He chose the adjective
Julian in honour of his father, whose name was Jules (Julius as Caesar). Julian day refers to a
continuous count of days since the beginning of the Julian Period used primarily by
astronomers. The Julian Day Number (JDN) is the integer assigned to a whole solar day in
the Julian day count starting from noon Greenwich Mean Time (longitude 0°), with Julian
day number 0 assigned to the day starting at noon on 1 January, 4713 BCE proleptic Julian
calendar. The Julian Date (JD) of any instant is the Julian day number for the preceding
noon plus the fraction of the day since that instant. A Julian date is the continuous addition
of days since that reference date of 4713 BCE, with years of 365.25 days. Its greatest
advantage is enabling the synchronization of the multitude of ancient calendars (including
the old Julian calendar). Let us note that between 1 January of the year 1 BCE, and 1
January of year 1 CE, there were only 365 calendar days, that is one year (not two). Between
4713 BCE and 1770 there were 6482 years (= 4713 + 1770 - 1). Thus, noon on 1 January
1770 of the Julian calendar was the Julian day 2367551 (= 365.25 x 6482), while noon on 1
January 1770 of the Gregorian calendar (i.e. the same day) was the Julian day 2367540, due
to the 11 days removed during the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in England and
its American colonies in 1752.
Since 1972, the duration of the second in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) was
fixed to the value determined by an average of atomic clocks (TAI: International Atomic
Time) around the world and leap seconds have been added to align to about 0.9 second the
UTC. This definition allows one to measure the time regardless of the slight slowing of the
Earth (about 1 second per year). The mean tropical year, as of 1st January 2000 was
365.2421897 or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.19 seconds (but it changes slowly)45. It is
called "tropical year", which is the time measured between two vernal equinoxes.
For practical reasons, the dates are presented in a standard pattern. Thus, 31
December 2001 at 11 o'clock, 59 minutes, 28 seconds and 73 hundredths (on the
Greenwich meridian) appears as: 2001-12-31 23:59:28.73 UTC and corresponds to the
Julian46 day 2452275.4996. Dates are expressed in the Gregorian calendar (introduced by
Pope Gregory XIII) from Friday, 5 October 1582, and in the Julian calendar for prior dates.
Thus we switch in 1582 from Thursday 4 October (Julian) to Friday 15 October
(Gregorian) corresponding to Friday 5 October 1582 (Julian). The Gregorian calendar was
introduced to correct the progressive advance of the Julian calendar (11 days in 1582)
compared to the spring equinox, which is astronomically fixed in the year.
To improve the synchronization of the Gregorian calendar with the tropical year 3
days must be removed every 400 years. A year becomes a leap year.
Ø if it is divisible by 4. A "29 February" is added and the year has 366 days instead of 365
(since 1996/4 = 499, 1996 is a leap year), except:
Ø if it is divisible by 100. This Gregorian year is a normal year of 365 days (for example
1900/100 = 19, so 1900 is a normal year), except:
Ø if it is divisible by 400 (for example 2000/400 = 5, 2000 is a leap year).
These three rules are designed to keep seasons close to fixed dates in the calendar, as
the spring equinox keyed on March 21, however this benchmark of spring varies slightly in
the Gregorian calendar.
45 The length in days for the distant past is: 365,2421905166 - 61,5607x10-6T - 68,4x10-9T2 + 263x10-9T3 + 3,2x10-9T4 where T is

in Julian centuries of 365,25 days measured from noon January 1, 2000 TT (in negative numbers for dates in the past).
46 http://www.nr.com/julian.html
For example the equinox of spring varies slightly in the
Gregorian calendar (green curve) and more strongly in the Julian
calendar (line in red), thus one day more should be added in year
3952 CE.
Calendar duration in days shift / tropical year
Lunar 354.36346 -10.88 days every year
Idealized 360 -5 days every year
Egyptian (civil) 365 -1 day every 4 years
Julian 365.25 +1 day every 128 years
Gregorian 365.2425 +1 day every 3,420 years
Tropical (in 1900) 365.24219647 +1 day every 160,256 years

The tropical year (which is observed) is not constant

because it decreases 0,539 s each year.

The Gregorian and Julian

calendars are solar calendars based on
calculation. They were created to
overcome both the difficulties in
observation and complexity to
synchronize the lunar year with the
length of the solar year. The original
calendars were for the most part drawn
from the observation, the year being
based on seasons (equinox or solstice),
the month coinciding with the lunar
cycle (new or full moon) and the day
being related to the daily cycle of the sun (sunrise or sunset or midday etc.). All these
astronomical cycles are more or less irregular and their exact durations are very complex to
calculate47. If the day is measured between two successive culminations of the sun, the
average duration is 24 hours, but varies by up to 15 minutes (see graph above), depending
on the time of year. The average length48 of the lunar month is 29.530288 days between two
successive new moons (or full moons), but can vary between values ranging from 29.2679
to 29.8376 days. The difficulties of observation led the Romans to replace their lunar
calendar (observed) by a calculated lunar calendar of 355 days and finally by a calculated
solar calendar. After 150 BCE, the year began at the winter solstice (25 December),
Mercedonius, an intercalary month of 22 or 23 days, being inserted every 2 years, the 6th day
before the Kalends of March, giving an average of 366.25 days for the year. After 46 BCE,
the intercalary month was deleted, the number of days of some months was changed and 1
day is added every 4 years (the 6th day before the calends of March). In addition, the year
began on January 1 and the spring equinox fell on 25 March. To resynchronize this calendar
the year 708 of Rome (46 BCE) lasted 455 days and was called the "year of confusion"
(which means that the Julian dates used by Roman historians can be shifted by 90 days in
some cases compared to UTC Julian dates). The pontiffs inserting 1 day every 3 years
instead of 4 and there were 12 leap years in 8 BCE instead of 9 planned which led Augustus
to remove the next leap years for 12 years. These reforms were discussed by Macrobius
47 A. DANJON – Astronomie Générale
Paris, 1994, Éd. Librairie scientifique et technique A. Blanchard.
48 This average varies slightly over time: D = 29,5305888531 + 216,21x10-9T – 0,364x10-9T2 with T = (JD - 2451545.0)/36525

and JD = Julian Day, thus D = 29,53058424 days in 1 CE (JD = 4713x365,25 ; T = -20).

(Saturnalia I:14), Censorinus (De Die Natali XX:8), Suetonius (Life of Julius Caesar XL),
Solin (De mirabilibus mundi I), Pliny the Elder (Natural History XVIII,LVII) and Dion
(Roman History XLIII:26). Chronology of pre-Julian calendars:
Lunar calendar (calculated) Solar calendar (calculated)
From 150 to 46 BCE Days From 46 to 8 BCE Days From 8 BCE to 1582 Days
All these variations show that historical dates from a calendar in a given time may be
different from the Julian (UTC) calendar. Through astronomy, it is possible to check the
accuracy of some of these ancient dates. For example, according to Roman authors, Julius
Caesar was assassinated on 15 March of the year 710 of Rome, or 15 March 44 BCE in the
old Julian calendar. However, according to astronomy, the vernal equinox fell on 23 March
in the Julian (UTC) calendar, implying a shift of 2 days from the official date of 25 March.
Consequently Julius Caesar died on 13 March 44 BCE in the Julian (UTC) calendar49. This
correction, inconsequential, especially enables one to check the consistency of dates.
Given that astronomical data depends on the place of observation, any point on the
Earth is defined by its longitude (from West to East) and latitude (from Equator to North
Pole). Equator is latitude 0° and Prime Meridian (Greenwich) is longitude 0°.

For example the latitude of Jerusalem is 31°46' (or 31.77°) North and its longitude is
35°14' (or 35.23°) East50 (1° = 60' =60x60"). As the Earth rotates on its axis once every 24
hours each degree of longitude is traversed in 4 minutes (= 24x60 minutes/360°). A
calculated phenomenon 0:00 Universal Time actually occurs in Jerusalem 2:21 Local Time
later (LT = UT + 2:21), because 2:21 = 141 minutes = 4 minutes x 35.23°. Eclipses occur
only when the earth, moon and sun are perfectly aligned, consequently, solar eclipses occur
only during the day (between sunrise and sunset) and lunar eclipses occur only during the
49 http://www.imcce.fr/page.php?nav=fr/ephemerides/astronomie/saisons/index.php
50 http://www.astro.com/cgi/aq.cgi?lang=e
night (between sunset and sunrise). For example, the lunar eclipse dated on 3 April 33 CE
occurred at 17:37:53 UT (maximum of eclipse) and its umbra (shadow) lasted 170 minutes51.
Using these figures the eclipse began at 16:13 UT (= 17:38 – 1:25; 1:25 = 85 = 170/2) and
ended at 19:03 UT (= 17:38 + 1:25), or from 18:34 LT (= 16:13 + 2:21) to 21:24 LT. After
clicking on Jerusalem, a software52 gives: sunrise at 5:25 LT and sunset at 17:59 LT,
consequently the lunar eclipse of 3 April 33 CE could have been seen in Jerusalem.
The main challenge for historians is not mastering the complex concepts of
astronomy, because at present powerful software easy to use is available on the internet, but
decrypting ancient texts to know whether they were describing symbolic or astronomical
phenomena. People once believed that the darkness of a celestial body (as was the case with
eclipses) was a bad omen for the king or the whole country, but on the other hand an
exceptional brightness (like a comet or meteor) was a good omen. Ancient texts describing
lunar eclipses speak of "veils of blood", solar eclipses are described by "the sun was
swallowed by the sky" or just a "bad omen from the sun". Ancient astronomical texts
describing eclipses are more scientific in their description, however when they are
connected to official kings list, errors may arise because co-regencies between kings and
(official) usurpers were systematically removed, which obviously changes the chronology.
Modern historians who naively trust in the Babylonians kings list don't believe that there
were co-regencies and likewise they believe that all those kings were legitimate because they
say so (the name Sargon means "legitimate king", actually because he was not). Comparing
of royal chronologies in different calendars, as well as some dated contracts, enables one to
find the genuine dates. The dating of Alexander's death is a good example and will illustrate
the difficulty in properly synchronizing multiple calendars in a given place. This famous
conqueror died in Babylon and luckily several official reports were written to date that
memorable day53, but it is clear that the multiplicity of dates raises problems. The cycle of
lunar months during the Babylonian period 323-319 BCE comes from the astronomical
tablets BM 34075 and BM 45962 (theoretical cycle is highlighted in grey):
Date (in 323 BCE) Calendar Source Julian date Lunar phase
29 Ayyaru Babylonian Tablet BM 34075 10/11 June 1st crescent
4 Pharmouthi Egyptian Pseudo Callisthenes 13 June
28 Daisios Macedonian* (old) Royal ephemeris 10 June
30 Daisios Macedonian (new) Aristobulus 12 June New moon
30 29 30 29 30 29 30 29 30 29 30 29 30
323 [30] 29 30 30 30 30 29 30 29 29
322 29 30 30 [29] 30 29 30
321 30 30 [29] 30 29
320 29 30 [29] 30 29
319 30
The most reliable document is the Babylonian tablet dating the event on 29 Ayyaru
(from 10 June to June 11 at 18:00). In fact, the date of Alexander's death was immediately
known in Babylon as he died in that city. Astronomy confirms the length of the sequence of
9 consecutive months (below) in the Babylonian tablets. The spring equinox is dated on 25
March in 323 BCE (= -322) and the 1st lunar crescent of 12 April (day after the new moon,
highlighted in black)54 is dated on 13 April.
51 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE0001-0100.html
52 http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/
53 E. GRZYBEK - Du calendrier macédonien au calendrier ptolémaïque

in: Schweizerische Beiträge zur Altertumswissenschaft 20 Basel 1990 pp. 29-35.

54 http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/phenomenes/phases_lune/index.php
Spring equinox Nisan (I)
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
March -322 April
Nisan (I) Iyyar (II)
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Iyyar (II) Siwan (III)
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Siwan (III) Tammuz (IV)
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Tammuz (IV) Ab (V)
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Ab (V) Elul (VI)
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2
Elul (VI) Tishri (VII)
25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3
Tishri Heshvan (VIII)
27 28 29 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5
Kislev (IX)
30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 1 2
6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6
Tebeth (X) Shebat (XI)
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 1 2 29 1 2
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
January -321 February

This remarkable agreement shows two things: the Babylonian months were
determined by observation not by a theoretical calculation and the Babylonian priests were
good observers. As Aristobulus (Alexander's Secretary) also specifies that the death
occurred on the evening of June 10 (after 18:00) it matches the 29 Daisios. The difference
with the 30 Daisios received various explanations55. Depuydt56 having noticed that the
indication of Alexander's death was recorded in the late 29th Ayyaru observations, the date
could only have been June 11 around 17:00. In fact, this conclusion is not logical because
extra astronomical comments could be recorded at the end but not during the account of
observations because they were known only after a while. In addition, can we talk about
evening at 17:00? Plutarch states: He [Alexander] gave a splendid entertainment to Nearchus, and
then, although he had taken his customary bath before going to bed, at the request of Medius he went to hold
high revel with him; and here, after drinking all the next day, he began to have a fever. This did not come
upon him after he had quaffed a "bowl of Heracles," nor after he had been seized with a sudden pain in the
back as though smitten with a spear; these particulars certain writers felt obliged to give, and so, as it were,
invented in tragic fashion a moving finale for a great action. But Aristobulus says that he had a raging fever,
and that when he got very thirsty he drank wine, whereupon he became delirious, and died on the 30th day of
the month Daisios. Moreover, in the court "Journals" there are recorded the following particulars regarding
his sickness (...) on the 28th, towards evening, he died (Life of Alexander 75:4-76:1). According to
the pseudo-Callisthenes, Alexander died at sunset (Alexander Romance III:35), thus
Alexander died shortly after sunset (c. 18:00). The disagreement between the two dates, 28
and 30 Daisios, can be explained by reference to two Macedonian calendars: the old one
55 H. HAUBEN - La chronologie macédonienne et ptolémaïque mise à l'épreuve
in: Chronique d'Égypte LXVII (1992) fasc. 133 pp. 146,147.
56 L. DEPUYDT - The Time of Death of Alexander the Great: 11 June 323 BC, ca 4:00-5:00 PM

in: Die Welt des Orients 28 (1997) pp. 117-135.

with the 30th, which started at sunset, and the new one with the 28th, which began at sunrise.
In addition, in the Greek calendar the last day of the month (29 or 30) was called the 30th.
Plutarch relates: Aristander the seer made a sacrifice, and after taking the omens, declared very
confidently to the bystanders that the city would certainly be captured during that month. His words
produced laughter and jesting, since it was then the last [29th] day of the month, and the king, seeing that he
was perplexed, and being always eager to support his prophecies, gave orders to reckon that day, not as the
30th of the month, but as the 28th (Life of Alexander 25:1-2). Prolonging the month by 1 day
allowed the prediction to come true but did not affect the calendar57.
Calendar death
(in 323 BCE) 00---6:00---12:00---18:00---24 00---6:00---12:00---18:00---24 00
1 Julian (astronomical) 9 June --> <----------- 10 June ----------> <----------- 11 June ---------->
2 Natural (Day/Night) Night Day X Day Night
3 Babylonian <-------- 28 Ayyaru --------> <-------- 29 Ayyaru ---------> <1- Simanu
4 Macedonian* (old) <-------- 28 Daisios --------> <-------"30" Daisios -------> <1- Panemos
5 Macedonian (new) 27 Daisios -> <-------- 28 Daisios ---------> <-------- 29 Daisios -------->
6 Egyptian (civil) 30 Phamenoth -> <------- 1 Pharmouthi------> <------- 2 Pharmouthi ------->
The 4 Pharmouthi corresponded to 13 June in 323 BCE58! One way to resolve this
discrepancy is to assume that the original date was the 1 Pharmouthi and it was damaged (in
Greek) according to the following process: Pharmouthi A became Pharmouthi Δ and then
Pharmouthi tetradi. This explanation, however, requires a synchronization between the
Macedonian and Egyptian calendars, which is unlikely because of the large distance between
the cities of Babylon and Alexandria. It is nevertheless quite possible that the news of
Alexander's death reached Alexandria 4 days later. Indeed, these two cities are separated by
about 1700 km by land routes, it took at least 4 days for the royal steeds, moving at an
average speed of 15.3 km/h59 to deliver this exceptional news. For example, the death of
Alexander which was announced on 01/III/1 in Babylon was known on 05/III/1 in
Idumea, that implies 5 days to cover about 1800 kilometres60. Under these conditions, the 4
Pharmouthi could match the 29 Ayyaru 4 days later, because of the delay from travel Even
in the best case where two calendars (Egyptian and Macedonian) would have been available
at the same place, the synchronization of dates remained difficult. The Rosetta Stone, for
example, is an official document, precisely and doubly dated, it reads: Ptolemy, living forever,
beloved of Ptah, in his year 9 (...) the 4 of month Xandikos, corresponding to the Egyptians to the 18th day
of Mecheir61. This dating is surprising because the year 9 of Ptolemy (196 BCE) began actually
on 1 Thoth (11 October 197 BCE) and ends on next 1 Thoth (11 October 196 BCE), thus
18 Mecheir matches to 27 March. The Macedonian calendar began with the month of Dios
keyed on the autumnal equinox which began on 26 September in 197 BCE. The 1st lunar
crescent after the equinox (= 1st Dios) is dated 25 October 197 BCE and the 1st visible
crescent of the 6th month (Xandikos) is dated 22 March 196 BCE. Consequently the 4
Xandikos corresponds to the 25 March 196 BCE. There are 2 days difference from the 27
March from the Egyptian calendar. A clerical error in an official document is quite unlikely,
this difference of 2 days proves that Greek calendars were sketchy. In fact, the Greek lunar
months were not set on observation but seem to alternate regularly between months of 29
57 As the normal sequence 29*-30 became artificially 30*-29.
58 http://www.chronosynchro.net/wordpress/convertisseur/
59 A.E. MINETTI - Physiology: efficiency of equine express postal systems

in: Nature n° 426 (18 décembre 2003) pp. 785-786.

60 T. BOIY – Between High and Low. A Chronology of the Early Hellenistic Period

Leuven 2007 Ed. VerlagAntike pp. 130-131.

61 C. ANDREWS – La Pierre de Rosette

London 1993 Ed. British Museum Press p. 26.

and 30 days, which could induce a shift (sometimes up to 10 days!) with astronomical
observations62. The Battle of Gaugamela, which Darius III lost against Alexander the Great,
dated in Athenian and Babylonian calendars, illustrates the inaccuracy of the Greek
calendar. According to an astronomical diary, this famous battle is dated 24/VI in the 5th
year of Darius (1 October 331 BCE)63 just after the lunar eclipse of 13/VI. According to
Plutarch: on the 6th day of the month of Boedromion the Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon, on the
3rd day at Plataea and Mycale together, and on the 26th day at Arbela [Gaugamela]. Moreover, it was
about full moon of the same month that the Athenians won their sea-fight off Naxos (Life of Camillus
19:3). He states: It so happened that in the month Boedromion the moon suffered an eclipse, about the
beginning of the Mysteries at Athens, and on the 11th night after the eclipse (Life of Alexander 31:8).
These details show that the Babylonian calendar was keyed on the first visible crescent (in
331 BCE), while the Athenian calendar, which was keyed on the new moon was in advance
of two days compared to the Babylonian calendar.
331 BCE Julian Astronomy Babylonian Athenian
September 6 New moon 29 1
7 Astronomical crescent 30 2
8 1st visible crescent 1 3
9 2 4
10 3 5
11 4 6
12 5 7
13 6 8
14 7 9
15 8 10
16 9 11
17 10 12
18 11 13
19 12 14
20 Eclipse of the moon 13 15 0
21 14 16 1
22 15 17 2
23 16 18 3
24 17 19 4
25 18 20 5
26 19 21 6
27 20 22 7
28 21 23 8
29 22 24 9
30 23 25 10
October 1 24 26 11
2 25 27
Some historians, knowing the difference between Greek calendars and astronomy,
referred sometimes to it for clarification. Thucydides wrote, for example, new month depending
on the moon (The Peloponnesian War II:28, IV:52). Josephus is also obliged to specify: in the
month Xanthicos, on the 15th day of the lunar month (...) In the month of Xanthicos, which is by us called
Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the 14th day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries
(Jewish Antiquities II:318, III:248), suggesting a difference between the official month and
the astronomical lunar month. This simple overview illustrates this: the precise dating of a
well referenced event, even in several calendars, brings up complex problems because our
understanding of ancient calendars is approximate and the synchronization of a date in
multiple calendars, even for a event as important as the death of Alexander, remains
difficult and approximate to within plus or minus few days.
62 E.J. BICKERMAN - Chronology of the Ancient World
London 1980 Ed. Thames and Hudson pp. 28-33.
63 J.A. BRINKMAN - BM 36761, the Astronomical Diary for 331 B.C.

in: Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires (1987) §63.

Large distances between Upper and Lower Egypt made it difficult to synchronize the
calendar throughout the whole territory even inside the country64. To determine the
beginning of the solar year the Egyptians referred to the rising of Sirius, which was
appearing at that time on approximately c. 19 July in the Julian calendar. Despite the
importance of this day in their calendar, since it coincided with the beginning of the Nile
flood, they never mentioned that the Sothic rising was observed a day late by degree of
latitude, involving a delay of 7 days between the observatory of Elephantine (24°) and the
one of Buto (31°)65. The Persian Empire being larger than Egypt, it was impossible to
synchronize the lunar calendar over the whole territory since a courrier needed on average
one month to reach the ends of the empire. The Persians, though they had a Royal Mail
known for its speed66, needed however at least two weeks to deliver an outstanding new
event throughout the whole empire.
The royal road from Susa to Sardis, 2750 km long, could be covered in about 10 days
by postal couriers who were moving at an average speed of 15.3 km/h. This duration67
could even go down to less than one week if the couriers were taking turns day and night,
as Xenophon claims (Cyropaedia VIII:6:17-18). Despite this performance, the
synchronization of local calendars from a single city remained an impossible feat to achieve,
even for two cities as close as Susa and Babylon about 400 km apart, because the new moon
was determined each month through an observation and not through a theoretical
computation as the Metonic cycle that would have predicted dates in advance68. If a scribe
of Susa, the day after the 29 Ayyaru, had to wait for the response of Babylonian priests to
determine whether the day was 30 Ayyaru or 1st Simanu he could not date his writings for 2
days. This delay amounted to 4 days for the cities of Susa and Persepolis about 800 km
apart. Actually for practical reasons, each satrapy had to deal with the management of its
own lunar calendar (through the temples). The synchronization was actually obtained by
observation. These examples show that the calendars of the past depended on local
observation. Concerning the Greek calendar it was reformed about 520 BCE and according
to Censorinus, Cleostrate of Tenedos introduced at that time an intercalation cycle of 8-
year. Several astronomers then proposed other systems of intercalation: 19-year cycle of
Meton in 433 BCE, 76-year cycle of Calippe in 330 BCE and 304-year cycle of Hipparchus
in 125 BCE. These reforms, which were in fact only theoretical, confirm that throughout
the Classical period (500-323) the Greek calendar was in practice not very accurate (+/- 5
days), as Aristoxenus of Tarentum (355-300?) confirms: Moreover, the data from physicists about
tones is perfectly analogous to the marching of days. For example, when the Corinthians count the 10th day
[of month], the Athenians count the 5th and some other peoples the 8th (Harmonic Elements II:22).
Likewise Plutarch (46-125) adds: This battle [of Marathon] was fought on the 4th of the month
Boëdromion, as the Athenians reckon time; but according to the Boeotian calendar, on the 27th of the month
Panemus, the day when, down to the present time, the Hellenic council assembles in Plataea, and the
Plataeans sacrifice to Zeus the Deliverer for the victory. We must not wonder at the apparent discrepancy
between these dates, since, even now that astronomy is a more exact science, different peoples have different
beginnings and endings for their months. (Life of Aristides XIX:7). According to R.F. Avienus
64 W.A. WARD - The Present Status of Egyptian Chronology
in: Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 288 (1991) pp. 53-66.
65 A.S. VON BOMHARD - Le calendrier Égyptien. Une œuvre d'éternité

London 1999 Ed. Periplus pp. 46,47.

66 P. BRIANT - Histoire de l'empire perse. De Cyrus à Alexandre

Paris 1996 Éd. Fayard pp. 382,383.

67 B. LAFONT - Messagers

in: Dictionnaire de la civilisation mésopotamienne (Laffont, 2001) p. 526-528.

68 In the Metonic cycle each 64th day was taken away to the months of 30 days, which was disrupting the regular alternation

30/29 by a couple 30/30 every 15 months.

Plataeans sacrifice to Zeus the Deliverer for the victory. We must not wonder at the apparent discrepancy
between these dates, since, even now that astronomy is a more exact science, different peoples have different
beginnings and endings for their months. (Life of Aristides XIX:7). According to R.F. Avienus
(The(The prognostics
prognostics ofofAratus),
Aratus),the theonly
reformof the Greek
of the Greek calendar was was the the synchronizing
of of
archonticyear year(which
(which beganbegan at the winter
at the solstice
winter priorprior
solstice 433 BCE) with the
433 BCE) withOlympic year
the Olympic
(startingat atsolstice summer).
the solstice Diodorus
of summer). states that
Diodorus it that
states tookitplace in 432in BCE
took place on 13
432 BCE on
13 Scirophorion
Scirophorion(= (= 28
28 June
June == summer
summer solstice)
solstice) of
of the
the Athenian
Athenian calendar
XII:36:1-3). ThisThis multiplicity
multiplicity of of calendars
calendars lasted
lasted until
until 100100 BCE,
BCE, prior
prior it eacheach
to which city city
had had
its own
own wayway of counting
counting days,
days, starting,
starting, naming
naming andand intercalating
months . .The Thefollowing
65 stst
of of somecalendars
some calendarsillustrates
illustrates the
70 thecomplexity
complexity of of the
the situation
situation (the 11 month month ofof each
calendar is month
is month 1 andallallcalendars
1 and calendarsare arealigned

TheThe Greek Greekcalendar started

calendar started(from(from520 BCE) at theatfirst
520 BCE) thenewfirstmoonnew after
solstice (28 June) in Athens, Delphi and Epidaurus, after
summer solstice (28 June) in Athens, Delphi and Epidaurus, after the autumnal equinox (28 the autumnal equinox (28
September) in in
Rhodes,Cos Cosand andMacedonia,
Macedonia,atatthe the winter
winter solstice (28 December)
solstice (28 December)ininDelos, Delos,
andand afterafterthethespring
equinox(26 (26March)
March) inin Babylonia
Babylonia and Miletus. In
and Miletus. In addition,
addition, these
calendars usedweretheusing
samethe month
same names,
month but
but at different
placed times of
at different the year.
times of theTheyear.month
st nd th
month Panemos,for example,for was
example,the 1
was month
the 1st of the
month year
of in
the Cos,
year inthe 2
Cos, thein Thessaly,
in the
Thessaly, 5 thein
th th th
th the 6 in
5 in Miletus, theDelos,
th the 9 the
6 in Delos, in Macedonia
9 in Macedonia and inandBoeotia, the 10
in Boeotia, the 10 in Rhodes
in Rhodes andand
12 thein 12 Aetolia.
th The Greek
in Aetolia. astronomer
The Greek astronomerGeminos of Rhodes
Geminos (80-10?)
of Rhodes also states
(80-10?) that some
also states that
Greeks were content to alternate months of 29 and 30
some Greeks were content to alternate months of 29 and 30 days, and thus the first days, and thus the first crescent
could fall between
crescent could fall 1 and 3 of the
between 1 and month 3 of(Introduction to phenomena
the month (Introduction VIII:34, IX:14).
to phenomena This
IX:14). This of calendars
multiplicityis ofsurprising
calendarsbecause many because
is surprising Greek cities
manywereGreek closely
cities related to the
were closely
satrapy of Sardis (directly connected to the Persian capital Susa which used a Babylonian
64 W. KENDRICK PRITCHETT – Athenian Calendars andstEkklesias
Amsterdamwell synchronized
Ed. J.C. 6-11.the 1 lunar crescent). Several difficulties complicate the
Gieben Publisher pp.on
65 E.J. B the year beginning was different depending on the system of dating, the year
ICKERMAN - Chronology of the Ancient World
London 1980 Ed. Thames and Hudson pp. 27-40.
duration was different depending on eras. In addition these systems evolved over time (that
partially put them out of sync). The year of Rome, for example, which should have started
on 21 April began in fact, for practical reasons, on 1st January. The Olympic year began
from the 1st full moon after the summer solstice (28 June), the Seleucid era began on 1st
69 W. KENDRICK PRITCHETT – Athenian Calendars and Ekklesias

Amsterdam Ed. J.C. Gieben Publisher pp. 6-11.

70 E.J. BICKERMAN - Chronology of the Ancient World

London 1980 Ed. Thames and Hudson pp. 27-40.

Tishri in Macedonia (7 October 312 BCE), but on 1st Nisan in Babylonia (3 April 311
BCE). In addition, the duration and beginning of the year varied over time. The Roman
year, for example, gradually moved from an observed lunisolar year (beginning at the winter
solstice) into a computed solar year which began on 1st January. The Greeks remained
faithful to a lunisolar year first observed, then computed, but the intercalary month was
added in a lax manner and variably. We understand better why Thucydides (460-398),
despite his desire of accuracy, could not use a Greek reference calendar as well as the
remark of Herodotus (484-425) who lamented about the functioning of the Greek calendar.
Thucydides is obliged to specify: new month according to the Moon (The Peloponnesian War
II:28) to mark the difference between the 1st day of the month and the 1st visible crescent
(or new moon). Greek months usually beginning at the new moon, the Greek word neomenie
"new month" was understood as "new moon" and it is in this sense that Thucydides used it
(The Peloponnesian War IV:52). Herodotus and Thucydides knew Persian and Babylonian
calendars since they mention them but these systems were not employed in Greece, despite
the superiority of their functioning because the concept of a universal calendar did not exist
at that time, only a calendar related to a king or city made sense. The unreliability of the
Greek calendar in its counting of days and months handicapped the Greek historians, then
Roman, at least until the beginning of our era. Diodorus of Sicily (90-21 BCE), for example,
managed to synchronize the Greek archontic years with the Roman consular year only
about 8 years. Herodotus, the father of History, was the first who understood the crucial
role of chronology to authenticate historical narratives. However, he had to face a technical
problem for dating events: the lack of a universal calendar, which forced him to invent a
dating system based on Olympiads, eponymous archons, periods from well-known events
such as: battles, King's deaths, religious festivals, eclipses, etc71.
The Greeks knew various calendars but Herodotus explains why he did not used
them: these calendars gave dates only on months and days, but not on years or eras and the
same dating of an event varied according to Greek cities (The Histories I:32, II:4).
Thucydides too, despite his strong desire for accuracy, didn’t use any of them. At the
beginning of his account, he explained his way of proceeding: Here is the account of operations,
written in chronological order, by winter [from autumn equinox] and by summer [from spring equinox]. The
peace, which after the winning of Eubœa, was concluded for 30 years, lasted 14 years. But in the 15th year,
being the 48th of the priesthood of Chrysis in Argos: Ænesias being then ephor at Sparta, and Pythodorus
being, 4 months yet archon of Athens, in the 6th month after the battle at Potidæa and in the beginning of
the spring (...) The same summer, at the beginning of a new lunar month, the only time by the way at which
it appears possible, the sun was eclipsed after noon. After it had assumed the form of a crescent and some of
the stars had come out, it returned to its natural shape (The Peloponnesian War II:1-2; 28). All this
detailed information enable us to reconstruct an absolute chronology. According to the list
of Athenian archons72, Pythodorus was archon in 432-431 BC and the solar eclipse
observed near Athens, among all the solar eclipses between 440 and 420 BCE visible near
Athens which took place in the afternoon73, is dated 3 August 431 BCE. This eclipse fits
well with the description given by Thucydides74, its magnitude was 0.88 in Athens at 17:30
LT75 (0.96 in Babylon at 19:00 LT).
71 Olympiads (Enquête II:160, V:22, VI:127, VII:206, VIII:72, IX:33); eponymous archons (Enquête VIII:51; 131); periods (Enquête
I:209, II:142, III:14,67); batlles (Enquête VI:117); King's death (Enquête VII:1-7); religious festivals (Enquête VII:206, VIII:72); solar
eclipses (Enquête I:74, VII:37?, IX:10?).
72 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archon_of_Athens
73 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEatlas/SEatlas-1/SEatlas-0439.GIF
74 F.R. STEPHENSON - Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation

Cambridge 1997 Ed. Cambridge University Press pp. 346-348.

75 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsearch/SEsearchmap.php?Ecl=-04300803
Thucydides also says that a treaty with Darius II (424-405), in his 13th year of reign,
was concluded during the spring of the 20th year and the last year of the war when
Alexippidas was ephor (The Peloponnesian War VIII:58-60), in the spring 411 BCE
because Alexippidas was ephor from September 412 to September 411 BCE and Darius II
began his 13th year of reign on 1st Nisan (29 March 411 BCE). A difficulty arises because
Thucydides says that the treaty was concluded in late winter (spring equinox) and therefore
before 26 March 411 BCE, slightly before the beginning of the 13th year of Darius II. Some
have speculated that this was the 13th year reckoned from the date of accession to the
throne76, but this is without parallel. Actually, the 13th year of Darius began either on 1st
Nisan (Babylonian New Year) or on 1st Thoth (4 December 412 BCE)77 in Egypt78. The
spring equinox was used to separate winter from summer in Greece. Thucydides begins, for
example, the 8th year by linking it with a solar eclipse: Thus the winter ended, and with it ended the
7th year of this war of which Thucydides is the historian. In first days of the next summer there was an
eclipse of the sun at the time of new moon, and in the early part of the same month an earthquake (The
Peloponnesian War IV:51-52). There was indeed a partial solar eclipse on 21 March 424
BCE in Athens (0.71 magnitude)79. Thus the first days of summer ranging from 21 to 26
March. However, as the 13th year of Darius II had a 2nd Adar (month 12b), 1st Nisan was
therefore shifted one month and started on February 27 and not on 29 March (411 BCE).
The contract dated 24/12b/14 of Darius II should be read 24/12b/13! as the previous
intercalary year was in year 1080. Thus, the treaty was concluded in 411 BCE between 27
February and 26 March. Given its reliability why did Thucydides not use archon years more
often? It is because the archons took their office in January until 433 BCE, but to
synchronize archontic years with Olympic years, the Greeks decided, from Apseudes, that
archons would take their office along with the Olympiads (in July):
Year Athenian archon Roman consuls Olympiad Year of Year of
BCE Rome Seleucid era
435 Antiochides Caius Iulius Iullus II 86:1 319 -122
Lucius Verginius Tricostus I 86:2
434 Chares Caius Iulius Iullus III 320 -121
Lucius Verginius Tricostus II 86:3
433 Apseudes Military tribune 321 -120
with consular power 86:4
432 Military tribune 322 -119
Pythodorus with consular power 87:1
431 Titus Quinctius Poenus Cincinnatus 323 -118
Euthydemus Cnaeus Iulius Mento 87:2
430 Lucius Papirius Crassus II 324 -117
Apollodorus Lucius Iulius Iullus 87:3
The remark of Thucydides: Pythodorus being 4 months yet archon of Athens, involves dating
the beginning of the 1st year of the Peloponnesian War about March 431 BCE, which
actually corresponds to the beginning of the summer (spring equinox). The recent change in
reckoning of archontic years also explains why Thucydides did not consider appropriate to
use a system which was still evolving at his time.
76 L. DEPUYDT - Evidence for Accession Dating under the Achaemenids
in: Journal of the American Oriental Society 115/2 (1995) pp. 193-204.
77 http://www.chronosynchro.net/wordpress/convertisseur
78 L. DEPUYDT - Regnal Years and Civil Calendar in Achaemenid Egypt

in: The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 81 (1995) pp. 151-173.

79 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsearch/SEsearchmap.php?Ecl=-04230321
80 V. SCHEIL – Notules

in: Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Oriental 16, 1919, pp. 111-112.

BCE month [A] [B] [C] [D] [E]
432 1 X 322 -119 1 [A] Archon Apseudes
2 XI
4 I 2 [E] Darius B (Babylonian year)
5 II
7 IV [A] Archon Pythodorus
8 V
9 VI
10 VII -118 [D] Year of Seleucid era
12 IX
431 1 X 323 [C] Year of Rome
2 XI
3 XII 1 1 [B] 1st year of the Peloponnesian war
4 I 2 3
5 II 3
6 III 4
7 IV [A] Archon Euthydemus
8 V *** Solar eclipse dated 3 August 431 BCE
9 VI
10 VII -117
12 IX

Thus the chronology reconstituted by Greek historians is accurate and reliable81.

However, when they began (mainly from 330 BCE) to harmonize their chronology with
that from the Babylonian king lists, a major disagreement arose (highlighted in orange):
King (according to Greek historians) Reign King (according to Babylonian King Lists) Reign
Cyrus II 539-530 Cyrus II 539-530
Cambyses II 530-522 Cambyses II 530-522
Bardiya (usurper during 7 months) 522-521 Darius I 522 -
Darius I 522-486 -486
Xerxes I (coregency with Darius) 496-475 Xerxes I 486 -
Artabanus (usurper) 475-474 - -465
Artaxerxes I 475-434 Artaxerxes I 465 -
Darius B (coregency with Artaxerxes) 434-426 -
Artaxerxes I 426-425 -
Xerxes II (45 days reign not reckoned) 425-424 -
Sogdianus (usurper during 6.5 months) 424-424 - -424
Darius II 424-405 Darius II 424-405
The Babylonian chronology from King Lists, used in Ptolemy's Canon, is wrong
because there are no coregents and usurpers82. One has to know that very early, historians
modified the Greek chronology in order83 to fit it on Babylonian chronology, creating a
great confusion over the period 475-455 BCE. For example, the battle of the Eurymedon
between the Delian League of Athens and its Allies, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I —
essential step of Greco-Persian relations— is fixed, according to modern authors, at
extreme dates from 476 BCE to 462 BCE84. According to Diodorus of Sicily, the battle of
the Eurymedon took place under the archonship of Demotion, in 470 BCE, but also under
the consulship of Publius Valerius Publicola and Gaius Nautius Rufus, in 475 BCE
81 M.S. KOUTORGA - Recherches critiques sur l'histoire de la Grèce, pendant la période des guerres médiques
in: Mémoires présentés par divers savants à l'Académie royale des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres de l'Institut de France, 1re série. t. VII, Paris 1861.
82 T. BOIY – Between High and Low. A Chronology of the Early Hellenistic Period

2007 Leuven Ed. Verlag Antike pp. 95-131.

83 E.J. BICKERMAN - Chronology of the Ancient World

London 1980 Ed. Thames and Hudson pp. 165-171.

84 P. BRIANT, P. LEVEQUE, P. BRULE, R. DESCAT, M.M. MACTOUX - Le monde grec Tome 1

Paris 1995 Éd. Presses Universitaires de France pp. 37-40.

(Historical Library XI:60-61). In fact the Roman chronology of Diodorus was shifted from
5 to 8 years over this period around 465 BCE85. Diodorus (Historical Library I:68:6) dated
the beginning of the Persian domination in Egypt in the 3rd year of the 63rd Olympiad [in
526 BCE] and the end in the archonship of Euclid [in 403 BCE], or in the year 2 of
Artaxerxes II, when Amyrtaeus had become the new pharaoh of the XXVIII dynasty
(Historical Library XIV:11:1-12:1, I:44:3). This data taken from his Greek chronology is
accurate, however, Diodorus wrote in summary: The Persians were the masters, after King
Cambyses had subjected the nation by force of arms, for 135 years, contradicting his own
chronological calculations (length of 123 years between 526 and 403 BCE). In fact, the total
period of 123 years corresponds to an amount calculated with a 40-year reign for Artaxerxes
I, while that of 135 years corresponds to an actual reign of 51 years. Diodorus compiled
numerous data, probably thanks to an Egyptian informer (Historical Library III:11), without
trying to harmonize it.
Length according to: dated event: official reign actual reign Reign
Cambyses II (in Egypt)* 526 - 6* years 6* years [526-521]*
Darius I 36 years 36 years 522-486
Xerxes I 20 years 21 years 496-475
Artaxerxes I 40 years 51 years 475-424
Darius II 19 years 19 years 424-405
Artaxerxes II (in Egypt) -403 2 years 2 years 405-[403]
Total: 123 years 123 years 135 years 526-403
The previous example highlights several points: the using of chronological data from
historical narratives requires a good understanding of how usurpers, co-regencies and
parallel dynasties (instead of consecutive) have biased official chronologies, in addition,
former historians have compiled many documents of different origin (Greek, Babylonian,
Egyptian, Persian) without knowing how ancient reigns had been reckoned, as accession
years (with or without), beginning of regnal years (on 1st Nisan, 1st Tishri, 1st Thot), etc.
The only way to get an absolute chronology is the dating of some historical
synchronisms by astronomy. For example, the partial eclipse in year 7 of Cambyses II
(tablet BM 33066) may be dated 523 BCE July 16/17 [mag. 0.54] and the total eclipse 522
BCE January 9/10. Claudius Ptolemy had to have known the original tablet because he gave
the right magnitude of 0.50 for the partial eclipse (Almagest V:14). Another astronomical
tablet (BM 36879) describes the eclipses in years 1-4 of Cambyses II, dated by astronomy in
529-526 BCE86. An astronomical journal (BM 38462) list some lunar eclipses in the years 1
to 27 of Nebuchadnezzar which are dated from 604 to 578 BCE87. Other dated lunar
eclipses88 are these of year 1 and 2 of Merodachbaladan (19/20 March 721 BCE, 8/9 March
and 1/2 September 720 BCE); year 5 of Nabopolassar (21/22 April 621 BCE); year 2 of
Šamaš-šuma-ukîn (10/11 April 666 BCE) and year 42 of Nebuchadnezzar (2/3 March 562
BCE). A diary (VAT 4956)89 contains numerous astronomical conjunctions in years 37 and
38 of Nebuchadnezzar dated from astronomy in 568 and 567 BCE. Babylonian and Greek
chronologies give the same results, except for the death of Xerxes: 465 or 475 BCE?
85 J. HAILLET - Diodore de Sicile Bibliothèque historique livre XI.
Paris 2001 Éd. Les Belles Lettres pp. XV-XX; XXVII-XXXII.
86 P.J. HUBER, S. DE MEIS – Babylonian Eclipse Observations from 750 BC to 1 BC

Milano 2004 Ed. Mimesis pp. 94-96.

87 H. HUNGER - Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia vol. V n° 6

Wien 2001 Ed. Akademie der Wissenschaften pp. 27-30,396.

88 F.R. STEPHENSON - Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation

Cambridge 1997 Ed. Cambridge University Press pp. 99-100, 151-152, 166-167, 206.
89 A.J. SACHS, H. HUNGER - Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia vol. I

Wien 1988 Ed. Akademie der Wissenschaften (n° -567).

For example, Herodotus says that Xerxes prepared his campaign against Greece one
year after Darius' death (486 BCE) and the crushing of an Egyptian revolt (The Histories
VII:7). He explained that after the Egyptian revolt (in 485 BCE), Xerxes began his
campaign (Battle of Salamis) at the end of the 5th year (480 BCE) in the archonship of
Calliades (The Histories VII:20; VIII:51) and during (the 73rd) Olympic games (The
Histories VII:206). The following year there was the battle of Plataea (479 BCE) when
Xanthippus was archon (The Histories VIII:131). One can see that all historical data
provided by Herodotus is coherent. In the same way it is possible to check data coming
from various historians.
Year Athenian Roman consuls Olympiad Year of Year of
BCE archon Rome Seleucid era
481 HypsichidesKaeso Fabius Vibulanus II 72:4 273 -168
Spurius Furius Fusus
480 Calliades Marcus Fabius Vibulanus II 73:1 274 -167
Cnaeus Manlius Cincinnatus
479 Xanthippus Kaeso Fabius Vibulanus III 73:2 275 -166
Titus Verginius Tricostus Rutilus
478 Timosthenes Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus II 73:3 276 -165
Caius Servilius Structus Ahala*
477 Adimantus Caius Horatius Pulvillus I 73:4 277 -164
Titus Menenius Agrippae Lanatus
476 Phaedon Aulus Verginius Tricostus Rutilus 74:1 278 -163
Spurius Servilius Priscus Structus
475 Dromoclides Publius Valerius Publicola I 74:2 279 -162
Caius Nautius Rutilus I
474 Acestorides Aulus Manlius Vulso 74:3 280 -161
Lucius Furius Medullinus
473 Menon Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus III 74:4 281 -160
Vopiscus Iulius Iullus
472 Chares Lucius Pinarius Mamercinus Rufus 75:1 282 -159
Publius Furius Medullinus Fusus
471 Praxiergus Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus I 75:2 283 -158
Appius Claudius Crassinus Regillensis Sabinus

According to Thucydides: Themistocles manifested a desire to visit the king of Persia (...) The
storm caused the vessel to drift towards the camp of the Athenians who then besieged Naxos (...)
Accompanied by a Persian coast, then he penetrated into the interior of the country and sent to Artaxerxes,
who had succeeded Xerxes, his father a letter (The Peloponnesian War I:98;137). Therefore, he
reports the fall of Naxos after the one of Skyros dated at the beginning of the archonship of
Phaedon (476 BCE), according to Plutarch (Life of Theseus §§35,36). Thus, the meeting
with Themistocles would have occurred soon after 475/474 BCE. Furthermore,
Themistocles died under the archonship of Praxiergus (471 BCE), according to Diodorus
Siculus (Historical Library XI:54-60), and Herodotus situated the transfer of power from
Darius to Xerxes at the time of the revolt of Egypt (The Histories VII:1-4), 4 years after
Marathon (in 490 BCE) and the change Xerxes/ Artaxerxes shortly after the storming of
Eion [in 476 BCE], the last event of the reign of Xerxes (The Histories VII:106-107).
If Artaxerxes began his reign in 465 BCE, Themistocles, who died in 471 BCE, could
not have met him. Aware of this aberration, many historians today reject the death of
Themistocles in 460 or even in 450 BCE. But this choice comes up against a problem: the
life of Themistocles is well documented. This paradox is not new, as already evoked by
Cornelius Nepos: I know most historians have related that Themistocles went over into Asia in the reign
of Xerxes, but I give credence to Thucydides in preference to others, because he, of all who have left records of
that period, was nearest in point of time to Themistocles, and was of the same city (Life of Themistocles
IX). Plutarch says: Thucydides and Charon of Lampsacus say that Xerxes was dead, and that
Themistocles had an interview with his son; but Ephorus, Dinon, Clitarchus, Heraclides, and many others,
write that he came to Xerxes. The chronological tables better agree with the account of Thucydides, and yet
neither can their statements be said to be quite set at rest (Life of Themistocles XXVII). Cicero
relates: Who was more eminent in Greece than Themistocles, who more powerful? But he, after having
saved Greece from slavery by his leadership in the war with Persia, and after having been banished because
of his unpopularity, would not submit to the injustice of an ungrateful country, as he was in duty bound to
do: he did the same thing that Coriolanus had done among our people 20 years before. Not one single
supporter could be found to aid these men against their country; therefore, each took his own life (Laelius
on Friendship XII§42). Livy (Roman History II:34-39) dates precisely the life of
Coriolanus, indicating that he betrayed in the consulship of Marcus Minucius and Aulus
Sempronius (491 BCE) and died 3 years later when Spurius Nautius and Sextus Furius were
consuls (488 BCE). The parallel between these two famous men who had a similar purpose
would involve the death of Themistocles around 468 BCE. Plutarch also says that
Themistocles ended his days in the city of Magnesia, having lived 65 years (Life of Themistocles III;
XXXI). According to Cornelius Nepos, Themistocles and Aristides were about the same
age (Aristides I:1). Elien says: Themistocles, and Aristides Son of Lysimachus, had the same
Governours, they were also brought up together, and taught by one Master, but whilest yet Boyes, they were
alwaies at variance ; and this emulation continued from their childhood, to extreme old age (Various
History XIII:44). Plutarch wrote: Aristides being the friend and supporter of that Clisthenes (...) had
Themistocles, son to Neocles, his adversary on the side of the populace. Some say that, being boys and bred
up together from their infancy, they were always at variance with each other in all their words and actions
(Aristides II:1). Now, to be part of the Boule (Senat), you had to be at least 30 years old90.
So Aristide had to have been born a little before 538 BCE, for the constitution of
Cleisthenes was in 508 BCE. With an estimated birth around 538 BCE, the death of
Themistocles 65 years later would have been c. 473 BCE. Ælian wrote: On a time Themistocles,
yet a boy, returning from School, his Master bade him, meeting Pisistratus the Tyrant, to go a little out of
the way. Whereto he generously answered, "Is not here way enough for him?" So much did something
ingenious and generous appear in Themistocles at those years (Various History III:21). As Pisistratus
died in the archonship of Philoneos (in 527 BCE), according to Aristotle (Constitution of
Athens XVII:1-2), Themistocles had to have risen about 537/536, as being a παϊς "boy" at
this meeting he was around 10 years old91. If Themistocles, who died at the age of 65, was
born in 536 BCE, his death was therefore in 471 BCE and he met Artaxerxes I in 474 BCE.
Xerxes' death is actually dated in 465 BCE because it comes from the official
Babylonian chronology based on the tablet BM 34576 (King List copy dated 99 BCE)92,
however, the testimony of Thucydides as well as some Egyptian records from Elephantine
rather support the dating 475 BCE. In addition the official Babylonian chronology is partly
false93 because it deliberately ignores all coregents and usurpers. Despite the reputation of
chronological accuracy granted to Thucydides, historians prefer Babylonian chronology.
90 C. ORRIEUX, P. SCHMITT PANTEL - Histoire grecque.

Paris 1995 Ed. Presses Universitaires de France pp. 165,197.

91 According to Hippocrates (On the Creation §105) there are 7 “ages of man” of 7 years each in the life cycle of a male person:

1) παιδἰον "little boy": 0-7 years, 2) παϊς "boy": 7-14 years, 3) μειράκιον "lad": 14-21 years, 4) νεαἰσκος "young man": 21-28
years, 5) ἀνήρ "man": 28-49 years, 6) πρεσβύτης "elderly man": 49-56 years, 7) γέρων "old man": 56-<.
92 T. BOIY - Dating Problems in Cuneiform Tablets

in: Journal of the American Oriental Society 121 (2001) pp. 645-649.
93 T. BOIY - Dating Method During the Early Hellenistic Period

in: Jounal of Cuneiform Studies 52 (2000) pp. 115-121.

S. ZAWADZKI - The Fall of Assyria (...) in Light of the Nabopolassar Chronicle
Poznan 1988 Ed. A. Mickiewick University Press.
Fortunately the death of Xerxes dated 14/V is mentioned between two lunar eclipses dated
[14/III] and 14/VIII in an astronomical tablet94 (BM 32234) and although its beginning is
damaged it contains enough information for dating:

1' at ˹18°?˺ [...]

2' 40° onset, ma[ximal phase, and clearing]. The "garment of the sky [rain-clouds]" was there.
3' In the area of the 4 rear stars of Sagittarius it was eclipsed. Month VI was intercalary
4' Month V, the 14?, ˹Xer˺xes —his son killed him.
5' Month VIII, the 14th, 13° after
6' sunset, [the moon] came out of a cloud,
7' ˹1/4˺ of the disk on the [...]
8' and west side was covered. 8°? [onset? and]
9' clearing [...]

Given that the second lunar eclipse is dated 14/VIII (November/ December) it is
easy to check in which year it occurred95 and also that the first dated event 14/V had no
connection with an eclipse (475 BCE = -474*, P = Partial; T = Total; N = Penumbral):
year [14 III] eclipse 14 V eclipse 14 VIII eclipse
BCE (Sivan) (Ab) (Heshvan)
476 6-Jul. P 3-Sept. _ 1-Dec. _
475 26-Jun T 24-Aug. _ 20-Dec. P
474 15-Jul. _ 12-Sept. _ 9-Dec. N
473 3-Jul. _ 31-Aug. _ 28-Nov. _
472 23-Jul. _ 20-Sept. _ 17-Dec. _
471 12-Jul. _ 9-Sept. _ 6-Dec. _
470 1-Jul. _ 29-Aug. _ 25-Nov. _
469 19-Jun _ 17-Aug. P 14-Nov. _
468 9-Jul. _ 6-Sept. _ 3-Dec. _
467 28-Jun _ 26-Aug. _ 22-Nov. _
466 16-Jul. N 13-Sept. _ 11-Dec. _
465 5-Jun P 4-Aug. _ 29-Nov. T
464 25-Jul. _ 22-Sept. _ 19-Dec. _
This preliminary analysis shows that only two years may agree: 475 or 465 BCE. A
complete analysis of these eclipses (when they began and ended and how much area of the
moon was darkened) enables one to keep only the year 475. Contrary to the mainstream
academic interpretation of astronomical data (which support the “Standard Chronology”),
94 H. HUNGER - Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia vol V
Wien 2001 Ed. Akademie der Wissenschaften pp. 20-21, 396.
95 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE-0499--0400.html
which supports the date 46596, the analysis of this tablet is easy and gives 475 BCE. First of
all, Babylonian astronomical tablets are extremely accurate as regards their describing of
astronomical events. For example, the astronomical tablet BM 71537 fixes the death of
Artaxerxes III97 after the solar eclipse of 29/IV (dated 11 March 358 BCE)98:
[year] 21, month IV, (after) 5 month, the 29 [...] not observed
month VI, Umakuš [Artaxerxes III] went to his fate.
Aršu, his son sat on the throne.
King Name according to astronomical tablets Greek name
Xerxes I Ḫišiaršu Xerxes
Artaxerxes I Artakšatsu Artoxerxes
Darius II Umakuš, whom name is Darawušu Ochos
Artaxerxes II Aršu, whom name is Artakšatsu Arsakes
Artaxerxes III Umakuš, whom name is Artakšatsu Ochos
Artaxerxes IV Aršu, son of Umasu, whom name is Artakšatsu Arses
Darius III Artakšatsu, whom name is Dariyawuš Darios

Babylonian astronomers used a reference system based of course on a local observer.

Stars position in the sky were measured according to their altitude, or elevation, in degrees
between horizon (0°) and zenith (90°) and their azimuth in degrees from north (0°), east
(90°), south (180°) or west (270°). Altitude is the angle above the observer's horizon and
azimuth is the angle measured clockwise from north along the horizon to the point on the
horizon that lies beneath the star. Meridian is an imaginary great circle that passes through
the zenith from north to south, dividing the sky in two: the eastern and the western halves.
It is important to be aware of this line because when an object crosses it, it's as high in the
sky as it's going to get. The Sun crosses the line of the meridian around noon every day. We
say that the Sun, or any star, culminates when it crosses the meridian. Meridian covers a
total angle of 180° (-90° to 90°) and horizon a total angle of 360°.

Babylonian astronomers measured the sky with their hands (extended arms) knowing
that the little finger has an apparent width of 1° and a span (distance between the ends of
the thumb and little finger) has an apparent width of 15°. Thus the moon has an apparent
96 M.W. STOLPER - The Evidence of Cuneiform Texts for the date of Xerxes' Death
in: The Journal of Hellenic Studies vol CVIII (1988) pp. 196-198.
M.W. STOLPER - Late Achaemenid Babylonian Chronology
in: Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires (1999) N°6 pp. 9-12.
97 F. JOANNÈS - La Mésopotamie au 1er millénaire avant J.C.

2000 Paris Ed. Armand Colin p. 145.

98 H. HUNGER - Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia vol V

Wien 2001 Ed. Akademie der Wissenschaften p. 45.

width of 0.5° (30') as does the Sun (half of a little finger). Each zodiac constellation has an
apparent diameter of around 15° ("a span"), so there are 12 constellations in the celestial
vault. The darkness of the sky appears when the sun is 6° below the horizon. Given that the
full celestial sphere (360°) is covered in a 24-hour day (24x60 = 1440 minutes), each
celestial degree corresponds to a duration of 4 minutes (= 1440/360). For example the
technical indication: 14° after sunset, means [the eclipse began] 56 minutes (= 14x4) after sunset,
likewise: 14° before sunrise, means [the eclipse began] 56 minutes before sunrise. Paradoxically a
lunar eclipse in the Babylonian astronomical records may start slightly before sunset or end
slightly after sunrise, which normally is not possible (not observable), but as the beginning
and end of eclipses are symmetrical, Babylonian astronomers used to add some appropriate
calculations to their observations.
There are two types of eclipse, total and partial. For a total eclipse (left below) the
“1 onset” points out the beginning of the penumbra (highlighted in grey) on the moon (in
yellow), the “2nd onset” the beginning of the full eclipse (in dark red), the “3rd onset” the
end of total eclipse and the “4th onset” the end of the penumbra. The full length of the
eclipse is given by the time between the 1st and the 4th onset (maximum of 52° or 3.5
hours). For a partial eclipse (right below) the 1st onset point out the beginning of the
penumbra and the 2nd onset the end of it. In this case the surface covered by the shadow is
given by means of a fraction of the lunar disk (around 2/3 for the example).

4th, ,3rd 2nd, 1st onset 2nd, 1st onset (Moon)

Total lunar eclipse Partial lunar eclipse

Total eclipse dated 13 December 317 BCE (-316*)

5' Month IX, the 15th. When it began on the south and east side,
6' in 19° all was covered. 5° maximal phase.
7' In 16° it cleared to between north and east.
8' 40° onset, maximal phase and clearing. During onset (and) maximal phase
9' it was slow, during clearing fast.
10' Its eclipse was red. 1 1/2 cubits
11' in front of β Geminorum it was eclipsed. At 44° after sunset.
According to astronomy, the total eclipse dated 13 December 317 BCE (-396)
lasted 220 minutesto
According astronomy,
and the total
was total during 83 eclipse
13 December
. It began 317 BCE
at 20:36 (local time)(-316*)
or 3:34lasted
after minutes and was
sunset, which was total during
at 17:02 in Babylon 95
. This .length
83 minutes It began at 20:36
of 3:34 (local time)
corresponds to 54°.or 3:34 after
sunset, which was at 17:02 in Babylon100. This length of 3:34 corresponds to 54°.
Description of the eclipse (total) according to the tablet according to astronomy difference
1 onset [beginning]
st of the eclipse (total) according to
44° after sunsetthe tablet according to
54° after sunset astronomy difference
10° (40 min.)
11st onset
2nd onset [penumbra] 44°
19°after sunset 54° after sunset 2° (8 min.)
17° 10° (40 min.)
st nd
1 onset – 2 onset [penumbra]
2 nd onset – 3 rdonset [maximal]
nd rd 19°
5° (20 min.) 17°
21° (83 min.) 2° (8 min.)
16° (64 min.)
32rdrd onset
onset––4th3 onset
onset [maximal]
[clearing] 16° 5° (20 min.) 17° (64 min.)21° (83 min.) 16° (64 min.)
1° (4 min.)
3 onset – 4 onset [clearing]
1stst onset – 4ththonset [length] 16°
40° (160 min.) 17° (64 min.)
55° (220 min.) 1° (4 min.)
15° (60 min.)
1 onset – 4 onset [length] 40° (160 min.) 55° (220 min.) 15° (60 min.)
Partialeclipse dated
eclipse 5 April
dated 397397
5 April BCEBCE
2' Month XII , the 14th
2' Month XII22, the 14th
3' ititbegan
began on the south side,
on the south side,
4' 1/4 of the disk
1/4 of the disk was
5' It cleared to the west.27°
It cleared to the west. 27°
6' onset, maximal
onset, maximal phase,
7' The "garment of the sky" wasthere,
The "garment of the sky" was thethe
there, south wind
south blew.
wind blew.
8' At 48° after sunset.
At 48° after sunset.

According to astronomy,this
to astronomy, thispartial
eclipse dated
dated 5 April
5 April 397397
63 63
minutes and its magnitude (covered surface of the lunar disk) was 0.08
minutes and its magnitude (covered surface of the lunar disk) was 0.08 . It began at 21:34. It began at 21:34
(local time)or
(local time) or3:09
after sunset, which
sunset 97 , which
was was at 18:25
at 18:25 in Babylon.
in Babylon. This length
This length
of 189
189 minutes
47°.AsAsthethe "garment
"garment of the
of the sky"sky" means
means "rain-clouds
"rain-clouds 98
", the ", the
observation must
observation had to behave been difficult (in that case missing observations were usually
replaced with some assessments).
Description of the eclipse (partial) according to the tablet according to astronomy difference
Description of
1 onset [beginning]
st the eclipse (partial) according to
48° after sunsetthe tablet according to
47° after sunset astronomy difference
1° (4 min.)
1 onsetsurface
Covered [beginning]
of the disk 48°
0.25after sunset 47° after sunset
0.08 3X 1° (4 min.)
Covered surface of the disk
1stst onset – 2ndndonset [length] 0.25
27° (108 min.) 0.08
16° (63 min.) 3X
11° (44 min.)
1 onset – 2 onset [length] 27° (108 min.) 16° (63 min.) 11° (44 min.)
Huber104 compared the dates given by the astronomical tablets with those obtained
in astronomy today. compared the dates
According to his given by indications
analysis, the astronomical tablets
concerning thewith those and
beginning obtained
of the eclipsetoday.
respect to to his analysis,
sunrise and sunsetindications
can reachconcerning
a maximumthe beginning
deviation of and
+/- of
20°the eclipse
(+/- 1 hourwith20respect
minutes) to and
sunrise and sunset
indications can reachofathe
of duration maximum deviation
eclipse can reach aof +/-
20° (+/- deviation
maximum 1 hour 20 of minutes)
+/- 10° (+/-and indications
40 minutes).ofHuber duration of the
explains the eclipse
origin ofcan reach a
differences deviation of +/- 10°of (+/-
by some difficulties 40 minutes).
observing (when thereHuber explains
were clouds the
for origin of these
copying errors by some difficulties
in the tablets, ofmisinterpretation
observing (whenofthere were clouds
a poorly for example),
preserved copying
text, false
errors in the tablets,
identifications misinterpretation
of eclipses especially when of an aeclipse
poorly preserved
predicted text, false
an eclipse identifications
replaced missing of
eclipses especially when an eclipse was predicted because
st nd rdit was replaced
or not observed. At last the Babylonian concept of 1 , 2 , 3 and 4 st contact th by
an may
when it was
be slightly not observed.
different Finallyastronomical
from the present the Babylonian concept of 1 , 2 , 3 and 4th contact
nd rd

(onset) may be slightly different from the present astronomical concept.

94 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/5MCLEmap/-0399--0300/LE-0316-12-13T.gif
99 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/5MCLEmap/-0399--0300/LE-0316-12-13T.gif
95 H. HUNGER - Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia vol V
100 H.2001 Ed. Akademie
HUNGER der Wissenschaften
- Astronomical pp. Related
Diaries and 6-7, 395.Texts from Babylonia vol V
Wien - Historical
2001 Ed. Akademie Eclipses
der and Earth's pp.
Wissenschaften Rotation
6-7, 395.
Cambridge 1997 Ed. Cambridge
F.R. STEPHENSON University
- Historical EclipsesPress
andpp. 176-177.
Earth's Rotation
96 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/5MCLEmap/-0399--0300/LE-0396-04-05P.gif
Cambridge 1997 Ed. Cambridge University Press
97 H. HUNGER - Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from pp. 176-177.
Babylonia vol V pp. 12-13, 395.
101 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/5MCLEmap/-0399--0300/LE-0396-04-05P.gif
F.R. STEPHENSON - Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation pp. 169-170.
98 A. HUNGER -The- Astronomical
Sky-Garment. ADiaries and
Study of theRelated
HarappanTexts fromand
Religion Babylonia voltoVthepp.
Its Relation 12-13, 395. and Later Indian Religions
Studia Orientalia vol.-57
(1985). Eclipses and Earth's Rotation pp. 169-170.
A. PARPOLA -The Sky-Garment. A Study of the Harappan Religion and Its Relation to the Mesopotamian and Later Indian
99 P.J. H UBER, S. DE MEIS – Babylonian Eclipse Observations from 750 BC to 1 BC
Milano 2004in:Ed.
Religions Mimesis
Studia pp. 3,22,28-31.
Orientalia vol. 57 (1985).
104 P.J. HUBER, S. DE MEIS – Babylonian Eclipse Observations from 750 BC to 1 BC

Milano 2004 Ed. Mimesis pp. 3,22,28-31.

Astronomical analysis showed two important points: the Babylonian measures were
excellent but their lack of precision could reach 1 hour, that is to say around "a span" (15°),
and the way of describing eclipses depended on their nature, either partial or total. It is easy
to verify that the two lunar eclipses which occurred in 475 BCE, first total then partial, were
in reverse in 465 BCE, first partial then total.
Lunar eclipses in 475 BCE105

Lunar eclipses in 465 BCE106

Stolper107 dated on 4 August 465 BCE the death of Xerxes (14/V/21) as there were
actually two eclipses in that year. However, the astronomical description of these two
eclipses does not match that indicated on the tablet (BM 32234) because the 1st eclipse was
105 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/5MCLEmap/-0499--0400/LE-0474-06-26T.gif
106 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/5MCLEmap/-0499--0400/LE-0464-06-06P.gif

107 M.W. STOLPER - The Evidence of Cuneiform Texts for the date of Xerxes' Death

in: The Journal of Hellenic Studies vol CVIII (1988) pp. 196-198.
total and the 2nd eclipse was partial. A comparison of all the data from the tablet with that
of astronomy gives the following results (local time in Babylon; LT = UT +2:58):
Year Date of eclipse according Type of mag. according agreement
to the tablet eclipse to the tablet
475 BCE 26 June [14 III] Total 1.80 total OK
20 December 14 VIII Partial 0.60 0.25 (1/4) OK
465 BCE 5 June [14 III] Partial 0.94 total NO
29 November 14 VIII Total 1.46 0.25 (1/4) NO
First eclipse start end mag. sunrise sunset
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
26 June 475 BCE 4:05 5:02 6:42 7:39 1.82 5:02 19:06
5 June 465 BCE 21:51 0:55 0.94 5:00 18:59
Second eclipse start end mag. sunrise sunset
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
20 December 475 BCE 20:24 23:20 0.61 7:02 17:00
29 November 465 BCE 14:25 15:31 17:05 18:11 1.46 6:47 16:55
Partial eclipse eclipse not observed at Babylon total eclipse

According to 475 BCE gap 465 BCE gap

First eclipse tablet BM 32234 26 June 5 June
1 onset [-] 13° before sunrise [-] 43° after sunset [-]
1st – 2nd onset [-] 14° [-] [-]
nd rd
2 – 3 onset [-] 25° [-] [-]
3rd – 4th onset 18° 14° 4° NO
st th
1 – 4 onset 40° 54° 14° 46° 6°
Second eclipse 20 December 29 November
1st onset 13° after sunset 51° after sunset 38° 38° before sunset NO
- 17° NO
- 24° ## NO
- 17° NO
1st – 2nd onset [8°] 44° 36° 57° 49°

According to astronomy, only the beginning of the first eclipse (26 June 475 BCE)
could be observed, in addition, the weather was rainy ("The garment of the sky was there").
Observations were therefore difficult, thus the two durations of eclipse, 40° and [8°], were
due to a guess. In 30% of cases (on average), the Babylonians completed their observations
with values calculated108 according to some theories poorly understood109. Despite some
difficulties of observation the results obtained by the ancient Babylonian astronomers for
the two lunar eclipses of 475 BCE are remarkably good (there are 5 major disagreements in
465 BCE). A second way of checking the data in the astronomical tablet is the wording: In
the area of the 4 rear stars of Sagittarius it [the moon] was eclipsed [1st eclipse].
The observations were performed in Babylon whose latitude is 32°33' (or 32.55°)
North and its longitude is 44°26' (or 44.43°) East110. With astronomy software it is possible
to see the sky at any one point and a given time111 (in 475 BCE Universal Time: -474-06-26
0:00; Azimuth: 230°; Field of view: 45°; in 465 BCE Universal Time: -464-06-06 0:00).

108 P.J. HUBER, S. DE MEIS – Babylonian Eclipse Observations from 750 BC to 1 BC

Milano 2004 Ed. Mimesis p. 7.

109 N.M. SWERDLOW - The Babylonian Theory of the Planets

1998 New Jersey Ed. Princeton University Press pp. 44,45.

110 http://www.astro.com/cgi/aq.cgi?lang=e
111 http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Yourhorizon

One can see that in 475 BCE the moon was 20° behind Sagittarius (above left) and in
465 BCE it was inside (above right). According to the astronomical tablet the first lunar
eclipse [total] was: in the area of the 4 rear stars of Sagittarius [in 475 BCE]. Consequently,
according to astronomy, Xerxes died (14/V/21) on Wednesday 23 August 475 BCE (see
Dating the reigns of Xerxes and Artaxerxes).
Contrary to what history books pretend astronomical dating is neither complex nor
controversial. In fact, controversies about the dating almost always come from a
misunderstanding of historical data. For example, the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE
is also dated in 586 BCE by a few scholars (or even in 607 BCE by some). What does
astronomy actually say?
According to the biblical text of Jeremiah: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all
his army against Jerusalem. They camped against it and built a siege wall all around it. And the city was
under siege until the 11th year of King Zedekiah (...) In the 5th month, on the 10th day of the month, that is,
in the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the chief of the guard, who
was an attendant of the king of Babylon, came into Jerusalem. He burned down the house of Jehovah, the
king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; he also burned down every large house. And the walls
surrounding Jerusalem were pulled down by the entire Chaldean army that was with the chief of the guard
(Jeremiah 52:4-14). Thus the destruction of Jerusalem is dated either 10/V/11 of Zedekiah
or 10/V/19 of Nebuchadnezzar II and 9/V (9 Ab) in the Mishna (Taanit 4:7-8).
The reign of Nebuchadnezzar is extremely easy to fix by astronomy because it has
many synchronisms with Assyrian and Egyptian chronologies, which are themselves
anchored to astronomical dates. In addition, Nebuchadnezzar's reign is very well-known
(day by day)112 and numerous astronomical events are described in the astronomical tablet
VAT 4956 dated in his 37th and 38th year. For example, the first 19 years of the reign of
Nebuchadnezzar II (605-586) are as follows113:

J. FINEGAN - Handbook of Biblical Chronology


Massachusetts 1999 Ed. Hendrickson Publishers pp. 27-28.

year cycle April January
1 604 11 29 29 30 29 30 30 - 29 30 30 30 29 29 -
2 603 12U 30 29 29 29 30 30 30 29 30 30 29 30 29 -
3 602 13 30 29 29 30 29 30 - 30 29 30 29 30 30 -
4 601 14 29 30 29 29 30 29 - 30 30 29 30 29 30 -
5 600 15U 29 30 29 30 29 30 28 30 30 30 29 29 30 -
6 599 16 30 30 29 30 30 29 - 30 29 29 30 29 30 -
7 598 17U 29 30 29 30 30 30 29 30 29 29 30 29 29 -
8 597 18 30 29 30 30 30 30 - 29 29 30 29 30 29 -
9 596 19U 29 30 29 30 30 30 30 29 29 30 29 30 29 -
10 595 1 29 30 29 30 30 29 - 30 30 29 30 29 30 -
11 594 2A 29 29 30 29 30 30 - 29 30 29 30 30 29 30
12 593 3 29 29 30 29 30 29 - 30 29 30 30 30 29 -
13 592 4 30 29 30 29 29 30 - 29 29 30 30 30 29 -
14 591 5A 30 30 29 30 29 29 - 30 29 29 30 30 29 30
15 590 6 30 29 30 29 30 29 - 30 29 30 29 29 30 -
16 589 7 30 29 30 29 30 30 - 29 30 29 30 29 29 -
17 588 8A 30 29 30 29 30 30 - 30 29 30 29 30 29 29
18 587 9 30 29 30 29 30 30 - 30 29 30 29 30 29 -
19 586 10 29 30 29 29 30 30 - 30 30 29 30 29 30 -

This cycle of 19 years was based on observation and not on calculations114 (the
computed data in diaries appear roughly in 350 BCE)115 . It was not a theoretical cycle like
the cycle of Meton but a coincidence which came from the following equivalences:
19 solar years = 6539.6 days (= 365.24219 x 365)
19 lunar years + 7 intercalary months = 6539.6 days (= [19 x 12+7] x 29.530288).
The presence of four months Elul2 (VI2) in the period 603-596, instead of only one,
proves that the Babylonian system of intercalary months was empirical. These months (VI2)
were mainly used to calibrate the 1st Tishri (VII) just after the autumn equinox. Historians
of Babylonian astronomy have in recent decades come to the conclusion that the cycle was
known to the Babylonians by about 500 BCE, but it must be admitted, however, that there
are still problems with the list of intercalary months during the latter years of the
Achaemenid empire. For instance, in the 16th year of Darius II (408/407), three sources
suggest an intercalary Ulul2 but one an intercalary Adar2 (XII2); in the 16th year of
Artaxerxes II, two sources suggest an intercalary Ulul2 but one an intercalary Adar2; and
two sources (including a contemporary astronomical Diary) suggest an intercalary Adar2 in
the 20th year of Artaxerxes II (385/384) whereas two other sources (including the Saros
canon) attribute the intercalary month to his 21st year116. A table of intercalary months gives
the impression that the 19 years cycle was standardized from 500 or 483 BCE, depending
on the way to group periods117, with some exceptions. However, Parker and Dubberstein
assumed118, because of these anomalies, the Babylonian calendar had really been
standardized as from 367 BCE instead of 500 BCE. During the period from 600 BCE to
530 BCE, spring equinox = 27 March and autumn equinox = 29 September119 . The 1st
114 J.M. STEELE – Calendars and Years. Astronomy and Time in the Ancient Near East

Oxford 2007 Ed. Oxbow Books pp. 120-123.

115 F. ROCHBERG-HALTON – Between Observation and Theory in Babylonian Astronomical Texts

in: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 50:2 (1991) pp. 107-120.

116 C. WALKER - Achaemenid Chronology and the Babylonian Sources

in: Mesopotamia and Iran in the Persian Period Ed. British Museum Press (1997) pp. 23-24.
117 J.P. BRITTON – Treatments of Annual Phenomena in Cuneiform Sources

in: Under One Sky (Münster 2002) Ed. Ugarit-Verlag pp. 25-35.
118 R.A. PARKER, W.H. DUBBERSTEIN - Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C.-A.D. 75

Rhode Island 1956 Ed. Brown University Press pp. 1-6.

119 http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/temps/saisons.php
Nisan corresponds to the 1st lunar crescent (that is New moon day + 1) after the spring
equinox. For example in 580 BCE (= -579) new moon day = 4 April120. In 580 BCE (year
25): 1st Nisan = 5 April and 1st Adar = 24 February. The intercalary month (Adar2) is
missing because 1st Nisan of year 26 is on 25 March, which is before the spring equinox.
The intercalary month was added the following year (year 26). If the intercalary month is
missing, 1st Nisan is before 27 March**, not after. In 588 BCE: 1st Nisan = 3 April.
Calculation of 1st Nisan from the years 17 to 40 of Nebuchadnezzar II's reign (the Metonic
cycle is the theoretical cycle):
year intercalary month 1st Nisan Metonic cycle 1st Nisan
BCE (from tablets) (from astronomy) (from theory) (from astronomy)
588 17 Adar2 3 April 3A 3 April
587 18 - 22 April 4 22 April
586 19 - 12 April 5 12 April
585 20 - 31 March 6A 31 March
584 21 Elul2 21 March 7 19 April
583 22 - 9 April 8A 9 April
582 23 Adar2 29 March 9 29 March
581 24 - 15 April 10 15 April
580 25 - 5 April 11A 5 April
579 26 Adar2 25 March 12 23 April
578 27 - 13 April 13 13 April
577 28 Adar2 2 April 14A 2 April
576 29 - 21 April 15 21 April
575 30 - 10 April 16 10 April
574 31 Elul2 30 March 17U 30 March
573 32 - 17 April 18 17 April
572 33 Adar2 6 April 19A 6 April
571 34 - 25 April 1 25 April
570 35 - 14 April 2 14 April
569 36 Adar2 3 April 3A 3 April
568 37 - 22 April 4 22 April
567 38 - 12 April 5 12 April
566 39 [Adar2] 1st April 6A 1st April
565 40 - 19 April 7 19 April

The previous table shows two important points: the duration of the lunar months
and lunar years depended solely on observation and data from astronomical tablets exactly
matches the current astronomical calculations. For example, the series of months for the
year 1 of Nebuchadnezzar II (604 BCE) was: 29-29-30-29-30-30-29-30-30-30-29-29. It is
obvious that the complete series of around 500 lunar months during Nebuchadnezzar's
reign belongs only to the period 604-562 BCE, not 20 years earlier 624-582 BCE. One can
see that the year 37 began on 22 April (1st Nisan) in 568 BCE and on 3 April in 588 BCE.
The astronomical tablet VAT 4956 is very well known121. It is an astronomical diary
that records 13 lunar observations, and 15 planetary observations which details the position
of the moon and the planets in regard to certain stars and constellations122, indicating the
days and the months throughout the year 37 of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II until the
beginning of his year 38. Text of the 17 first lines of the tablet (important data in bold type):
120 http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html

121 http://www.lavia.org/english/archivo/VAT4956en.htm

122 A.J. SACHS, H. HUNGER - Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia vol. I

Wien 1988 Ed. Akademie der Wissenschaften (n° -567).

1- Year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Month I (the 1st of which was identical with) the 30th (of
the preceding month), the moon became visible behind the Bull of Heaven; [sunset to moonset:] .... [...]
2- Saturn was in front of the Swallow. The 2nd, in the morning, a rainbow stretched in the west. Night of
the 3rd, the moon was 2 cubits in front of [...]
3- it rained? Night of the 9th (error for 8th), beginning of the night, the moon stood 1 cubit in front of β
Virginis. The 9th, the sun in the west [was surrounded] by a halo [... The 11th]
4- or 12th, Jupiter's acronychal rising. On the 14th, one god was seen with the other; sunrise to moonset: 4°.
The 15th, overcast. The 16th, Venus [...]
5- The 20th, in the morning, the sun was surrounded by a halo. Around noon, ... rain PISAN. A rainbow
stretched in the east. [...]
6- From the 8th of month XII2 to the 28th, the river level rose 3 cubits and 8 fingers, b cubits [were missing]
to the high flood [...]
7- were killed on order of the king. That month, a fox entered the city. Coughing and a little risitu-disease [.]
8- Month II (the 1st of which was identical with) the 30th (of the preceding month), the moon became
visible while the sun stood there, 4 cubits below β Geminorum; it was thick; there was earth shine [...]
9- Saturn was in front of the Swallow; Mercury, which had set, was not visible. Night of the 1st, gusty storm
from east and south. The 1st, all day [...]
10- stood [... in front] of Venus to the west. The 2nd, the north wind blew. The 3rd, Mars entered Praesepe.
The 5th, it went out of it. The 10th, Mercury [rose] in the west behind the [Little Twins ...]
11- The 15th, ZI IR. The 18th, Venus was balanced 1 cubit 4 fingers below α Leonis. The 26th, (moonrise to
sunrise) 23°; I did not observe the moon. The 27th, 20+x [...]
12- Month III (the 1st of which was identical with) the 30th (of the preceding month), the moon became
visible behind Cancer; it was thick; sunset to moonset: 20°; the north wind blew. At that time, Mars and
Mercury were 4 cubits in front of α [Leonis ...]
13- Mercury passed below Mars to the East? ; Jupiter was above α Scorpii; Venus was in the west opposite ϑ
Leonis [...]
14- 1? cubit. Night of the 5th, beginning of the night, the moon passed towards the east 1 cubit
<above/below> the bright star of the end of the Lion's foot. Night of the 6th, beginning of the night, [..]
15- it was low. Night of the 8th, first part of the night, the moon stood 2½ cubits below β Librae. Night of
the 9th, first part of the night, the moon [stood] 1 cubit in front of [...]
16- passed towards the east. The 9th, solstice. Night of the 10th, first part of the night, the moon was
balanced 3½ cubits above α Scorpii. The 12th, Mars was b cubits above [α Leonis ...]
17- [...] The 15th, one god was seen with the other; sunrise to moonset: 7°30'. A lunar eclipse which was
omitted [...]
18- [... the moon was be]low the bright star at the end of the [Lion's] foot [...]
Several astronomical phenomena (highlighted in blue) are easy to date:
Ø Line 1: the 1st lunar crescent after the spring equinox (27 March)123 is on 22 April in 568
BCE (-567) or 3 April in 588 BCE (-587*).
Ø Line 4: the Jupiter's acronychal rising dated 12/I/37 on the tablet occurred on 3 May in
568 BCE and 18 December in 588 BCE124.
Ø Line 16: the summer solstice dated 9/III/37 occurred on 29 June125 in 568 or in 588
BCE (the summer solstice occurs on a fixed date in the year).
Ø Line 17: the lunar eclipse dated 9/III/37 occurred on 15 June126 in 568 BCE.
According to the tablet VAT 4956 According to astronomy in:
Date astronomical event -567* (568 BCE) -587* (588 BCE)
1/I/37 (1st lunar crescent) 22 April 22 April 3 April 3 April
12/I/37 Jupiter's acronychal rising 3 May 3 May OK 14 April 18 December ##
1/III/37 (1st lunar crescent) 20 June 20 June 1 June 1 June
9/III/37 Solstice 28 June 29 June OK 9 June 29 June ##
15/III/37 Lunar eclipse 4 July 4 July OK 15 June - ##
123 http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/temps/saisons.php
124 http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Yourhorizon
125 http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/temps/saisons.php
126 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEcat5/LE-0599--0500.html
Two astronomical dated events occurred only in 568 BCE: summer solstice and
Jupiter's acronychal rising. The acronychal rising is the last day of the year when the star or
the planet (after a period when it was visible at night) rises in the evening after sunset and
the Sun is already far enough below the eastern horizon (-6°) to make it visible in the
evening twilight. In 568 BCE127: Universal Time: -567-05-03 16:00 then 16:05 (LT = UT +
2:58); Azimuth: 110°; Field of view: 60° (Jupiter is at the bottom 3° above the horizon):

It is noteworthy that the text of 2Kings 18:9 in which the fall of Samaria began in the
4 year of King Hezekiah, that is, the 7th year of Hosea when Shalmaneser V the king of

Assyria came against Samaria and began to lay siege to it, which lasted 3 years. According to
a Babylonian chronicle the fall of Samaria began on the 5th and last year of Shalmaneser V
and was terminated 3 years later on the 2nd year of Sargon II (Annals of Sargon). Scientific
chronology, which is based on absolute dates128 (highlighted in blue), confirms the Bible.
745 1 Tiglath-pileser III 6 Nabû-nâsir 13 Jotham 13 Pekah 37
744 2 7 14 14 1 Osorkon IV
743 3 8 15 15 2 (= So)
742 4 9 16 16 3
741 5 10 1 Ahaz 17 17 4 2Ki 16:1
740 6 11 2 18 18 5
739 7 12 3 19 19 6 2Ki 16:5,6
738 8 13 [4] 20 20 Hosea 7 2Ki 15:27-30
737 2 1 [5] [1] 8
736 9 2 6 [2] 9
735 10 3 7 [3] 10
734 11 4 Nabû-nâdîn-zêri 8 [4] 11 2Ki 16:7-9
733 12 1 9 [5] 12
732 13 2 Nabû-mukîn-zêri 10 [6] 13
731 14 1 (lunar eclipse 9 April) 11 [7] 14

In 588 BCE: Universal Time: -587-12-18 15:25 then 15:30; Azimuth 60°.

There were 4 dated lunar eclipses during this period: one on year 1 of Nabû-mukîn-zêri (9 April 731 BCE), one on year 1 of

Merodachbaladan II (19 March 721 BCE) and two on his year 2 (8 March; 1st September 720 BCE).
730 15 2 12 [8] 15
729 16 3 Pulu 13 [9] 16 2Ki 17:1
728 17 1 14 1 17
727 18 2 Ulûlaiu 15 2 18
726 1 Shalmaneser V 1 (Shalmaneser V) 16 Ezechias 3 19 2Ki 18:1
725 2 2 1 4 20
724 3 3 2 5 21
723 4 4 3# 6 22 #(alliance) 2Ki 17:2-5
722 5 Sargon II 5 Merodachbaladan II 4 7 23 2Ki 18:9
721 1 1 (lunar eclipse 19 March) 5 8 24
720 2 Fall of Samaria 2 (8 March; 1st September) 6 9 25 2Ki 18:10
719 3 3 7 26
718 4 4 8 27
717 5 5 9 28
716 6 6 10 29
715 7 #(alliance) 7 11 30 #(alliance)
714 8 -[1]/Sennacherib 8 12 31
713 9 -[2] 9 13 32
712 10-[3] Fall of Ashdod 10 (failed alliance) 14 33 Is 36:1; 39:1
711 11-[4] 11 15
710 12- 12 16
709 13- 1 Sargon II 17

The only problem to solve is why the destruction of Jerusalem in Jeremiah's text is
dated on 10/V/11 of Zedekiah (587 BCE) and on 10/V/19 of Nebuchadnezzar (586 BCE).
This discrepancy of one year is not an error, but reflects a change which took place at the
Battle of Harran (609 BCE), a historical event well documented and dated in four different
chronologies. Just before this battle, Josiah in his 31st year of reign was killed in Megiddo by
Necho II (2Ki 23:29). According to Flavius Josephus this pharaoh had come to assist the
Assyrian king against Babylonians and allied Media (Antiquities of the Jews X:74).
Herodotus reports this event (History II:159) and a Babylonian chronicle (BM 21901)
teaches us that this event took place in the 17th year of Nabopolassar in the month of
Dumuzi (July), and that the Assyrian king Assur-uballit II was defeated in the 3rd year of his
reign. Chronology from the Battle of Harran to 400 BCE:
611 Nabopolassar 15 Josias 29 53 Psammetichus I
610 16 30 54
609 3 Battle of Harran 17 [0] Jehoiakim 31 0 1 Necho II 2K 22:1;23:36
608 18 [1] 1 1 2
607 19 [2] 2 2 3
606 20 [3] 3 3 4
605 Nebuchadnezzar 21 1 4 4 5 Battle of Karchemish Jr 25:1;46:2
604 12 5 5 6
603 23 6 6 7
602 34 7 7 8
601 45 8 8 0 9 vassal of Nebuchadnezzar 2K 24:1
600 56 9 9 1 10
599 67 10 10 2 11
598 BM 21946 78 Zedekiah 11 11 3 12 Exile of Jehoiakin Jr 52:28
597 89 1 12 1 13 2Ch 36:9-10 2K 24:12
596 9 10 2 13 2 14
595 10 11 3 14 3 15
594 11 12 4 15 4 16
593 12 13 5 16 5 1 Psammetichus II
592 13 14 6 17 6 2
591 14 15 7 18 7 3
590 15 16 8 19 8 4
589 16 17 Jr 52:4 9 20 9 5 Siege of Jerusalem Ezk 24:1
588 Jubilee violated 17 18 50 10 21 10 6:1 Apries Jr 32:1
587 18 19 1 Temple destroyed 11 22 11 2 Exile of the people Jr 52:1,12,29
586 Ezk 26:1-12 19 20 2 1 23 12 3 1st year of exile Ezk 33:21
585 20 21 3 Dn 2:1 2 24 13 4
584 21 22 4 3 25 14 5
583 Dn 4:29 22 23 5 4 26 15 6 Last exile Jr 52:30
582 23 24 6 5 27 16 7
581 24 25 7 6 28 17 8
580 25 26 8 7 29 18 9
579 26 27 9 8 30 19 10
578 27 28 10 9 31 20 11
577 (7 years of madness) 28 29 11 10 32 21 12
576 29 12 11 33 22 13
575 30 13 12 34 23 14
574 (Tyre, siege of 13 years) 31 14 13 35 24 15
573 Against Apion 1:156 32 15 14 36 25 16 Ezk 40:1
572 33 16 15 37 26 17
571 34 17 16 38 27 18 Ezk 29:12-20
570 35 18 17 39 28 19
569 36 19 18 40 29 1 20 Amasis
568 VT 4956 (eclipse) 37 20 19 41 30 2 21 Jr 43:10,13
567 (Egypt attacked) 38 21 20 42 31 3 22 Death of Apries
566 39 22 21 43 32 4 1 Egypt desolated 40 years Jr 44:30
565 40 23 22 44 33 52
564 41 24 23 45 34 63
563 42 25 24 46 35 74
562 Amel Marduk 43 26 25 47 36 85
561 1 27 26 48 37 9 6 Jehoiachin liberated Jr 52:31
560 Neriglissar 2 28 27 49 10 7
559 (Cyrus II Persian king) 1 29 28 50 11 8
558 2 30 29 51 12 9
557 3 31 30 52 13 10
556 Labashi-Marduk 4 32 31 53 14 11
555 Nabonidus 1 33 32 54 15 12
554 2 34 33 55 16 13
553 Belshazzar 3 0 35 34 56 17 14
552 4 1 36 35 57 18 15 Dn 7:1
551 5 2 37 36 58 19 16
550 Harpagus Median king 6 3 38 37 59 20 17 Dn 8:1,20-21
549 vassal of Cyrus II 7 4 39 38 60 21 18
548 8 5 40 39 61 22 19
547 9 6 41 40 62 23 20
546 10 7 42 41 63 24 21
545 11 8 43 42 64 25 22
544 12 9 44 43 65 26 23
543 13 10 45 44 66 27 24
542 14 11 46 45 67 28 25
541 15 12 47 46 68 29 26
540 16 13 48 47 69 30 27
539 Fall of Babylon 17 14 Cyrus II 48 70 31 28 Jr 25:11-12
538 Freedom year 1 1 50 49 32 29 Is 43:1,3; 45:1
537 2 50 33 30
536 3 51 34 31 Dn 10:1
535 4 52 35 32
534 5 53 36 33
533 6 54 37 34
532 7 55 38 35
531 8 56 39 36
530 90 Cambyses II 57 40 37
529 1 58 41 38
528 2 59 42 39
527 3 60 43 40 Ezk 29:12-16
526 4 61 1 44 Psammetichus III
525 5 62 2 Fall of Egypt
524 6 63
523 Lunar eclipse 16 July 7 64 BM 33066
522 08 Darius I 65
521 1 66
520 2 67
519 3 68
518 4 69 50 End of Temple's desolation Zc 7:1-5
517 5 70 1 New jubilee cycle Dn 9:2
516 6 2
515 7 3
514 8 4
513 9 5
512 10 6
511 11 7
510 12 8
509 13 9
508 14 10
507 15 11
506 16 12
505 17 13
504 18 14
503 19 15
502 Lunar eclipse 19 Nov. 20 16 Almagest IV:9
501 21 17
500 22 18
499 23 19
498 24 20
497 25 21
496 26 0 Xerxes I 22
495 27 1 23
494 28 2 24
493 29 3 25 Vashti repudiated Est 1:3
492 30 4 26
491 Lunar eclipse 25 Apr. 31 5 27 Almagest IV:1
490 32 6 28
489 33 7 29 Wedding of Xerxes Est 2:16-17
488 34 8 30
487 35 9 31
486 36 10 32
485 Babylonian revolt 11 33 Ezr 4:6
484 Est 2:21-3:7 12 34 Est 3:7-10
483 13 35
482 14 36
481 15 37
480 16 38
479 17 39
478 18 40
477 19 41
476 20 42
475 Lunar eclipse 26 Jun. 0 21 Artaxerxes I 43 BM 32234
474 Lunar eclipse 20 Dec. 1 44
473 2 45
472 3 46
471 4 47
470 5 48
469 6 49
468 7 50 1st jubilee celebrated Ezr 7:1-8,24
467 8 1
466 6 2
465 10 3
464 11 4
463 12 5
462 13 6
461 14 7
460 15 8
459 16 9
458 17 10
457 18 11
456 19 12
455 20 13 1 Beginning of 483 years Dn 9:24-27
454 21 14 2 (483 = 69x7) Ne 2:1-9
453 22 15 3
452 23 16 4
451 24 17 5
450 25 18 6
449 26 19 7
448 27 20 8
447 28 21 9
446 29 22 10
445 30 23 11
444 31 24 12
443 32 25 13 Inspection of Nehemiah Ne 5:14
442 33 26 14
441 34 27 15
440 35 28 16
439 36 29 17
438 37 20 18
437 38 31 19
436 39 32 20
435 40 33 21
434 41 0 Darius B 34 22
433 42 1 35 23
432 [] 2 36 24
431 [] 3 37 25
430 [] 4 38 26
429 [] 5 39 27
428 [] 6 40 28
427 [] 7 41 29
426 [] 8 42 30
425 50 0 Xerxes II 43 31
424 0 51 Darius II 44 32
423 1 45 33
422 2 46 34
421 3 47 35
420 4 48 36
419 5 49 37
418 6 50 38
417 7 1 39
416 8 2 40
415 9 3 41
414 10 4 42
413 11 5 43
412 12 6 44
411 13 7 45
410 14 8 46
409 15 9 47
408 16 10 48
407 17 11 49 (49 = 7x7) (Dn 9:25)
406 18 12 50 Jerusalem city achieved Ne 12:22-43
405 19 0 Artaxerxes II 13 51 (inauguration)
404 1 14 52
403 2 15 53

The Battle of Harran was a turning point in history because it marked the definitive
end of the Assyrian Empire and the beginning of the 70-year domination of the Babylonian
empire: these nations [including Tyre and Judea] will have to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years. But
when 70 years have been fulfilled, I will call to account the king of Babylon and that nation for their error,
declares Jehovah, and I will make the land of the Chaldeans a desolate wasteland [on October 539 BCE]
for all time (Jr 25:11-12). Nebuchadnezzar's reign is counted in two ways by Jeremiah
however far from being a mistake this reckoning proves to be an amazing chronological
accuracy. Indeed, the first 8 years of Babylonian domination (609-601) were through the
pharaoh Necho, furthermore, Egyptians counted their years of reign from year 1, without
accession (year 0) as Babylonians were doing, and the following years from 1st Thoth
instead of 1st Nisan for Babylonians. Thus the 1st year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign was
reckoned in 605 BCE because Joiaqim was under Babylonian rulership through Necho (Jr
25:1; 46:2). This chronological reckoning is it correct?
Given that the 1st year of Necho's reign began in 609 BCE it had to start after 1st
Thoth but as there is no year 55 of Psammetichus I (which would have had to start also on
1st Thoth), Necho began to reign just after 1st Thoth, 23 January in 609 BCE129.
Mesopotamian chronicles130 describe the events from day to day, such as the Battle of
Harran which involved several great kings simultaneously but without naming them (as for
example Necho, king of Egypt, and Cyaxares, king of the Medes), except Aššur-uballit II,
king of Assyria. According to Mesopotamian chronicles the Babylonians and the Medes put
theirs armies together and marched to Harran against Aššur-uballit in the 16th year of
Nabopolassar, month Arahsamna [November 610 BCE], but an army of Egypt came to
help him. In the month Addaru [March 609 BCE] Nebuchadnezzar, the crown prince (co-
regent), left his troops and their camp, and went home with his father. The 17th year in the
month Du'uzu [July 609 BCE] Aššur-uballit with a large army from Egypt crossed the river
Euphrates and marched against Harran to conquer it but until the month Ululu [September
609 BCE] they did battle against the city but achieved nothing. Four years later, the 20th
year, the army of Egypt marched against the Babylonian king who went home in the month
Šabatu [February 605 BCE]. In the 21st year Nabopolassar stayed in his own land [April 605
BCE], Nebuchadnezzar mustered the Babylonian army and marched to Karchemiš and
completely defeated the Egyptian army and conquered the whole area of Hamath but on 8
Abu [14 August 605 BCE] Nabopolassar died and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon on
1st Ululu [5 September 605 BCE].
The Babylonian chronicle gives a detailed account but omits one key element: why
did Necho who came to help the Assyrian army not intervene in the Battle of Harran?
According to Berossus a Babylonian writer, a priest of Bel Marduk and astronomer, in his
History of Babylonia (c. 280 BCE), Necho was appointed satrap of Palestine and Phoenicia,
presumably for his renunciation to support the Assyrian king at the Battle of Harran (which
began July 609 BCE), but was then dismissed for having rebelled (February 605 BCE)
against Nebuchadnezzar (Against Apion I:134-137). This turnaround explains why Necho's
intervention in Syria was a victory according to Herodotus (The Histories II:159) and also
why he was able to depose Jehoahaz (September 609 BCE) who he replaced by Jehoiakim,
actually a vassal of Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki 24:1). Consequently the destruction of Jerusalem
in Jeremiah's text is dated on 10/V/19 of Nebuchadnezzar II (Jr 52:12), instead of the usual
10/V/18 (Jr 52:29), because the Babylonian reign began under Egyptian administration.
Concerning the day of the destruction of Jerusalem 10/V it is also dated 7/V (2Ki 25:8) and
9/V (9 Ab) in the Talmud (Taanit 28b; Mishna Taanit 4:6-8).
The Talmud also reports that the fire began at night just after the conclusion of the
Sabbath thus at sunset of the 9th day of the month of Ab the Babylonians set fire to the
Temple (Taanit 29a). In other words, that year the day of the 9th of Ab itself took place on a
Sunday. As the 1st Nisan is the 1st lunar crescent (= new moon +1)131 after spring equinox132
it is possible to find the exact day of the week133 which matches to 9 Ab:
Year Spring equinox 1 Nisan 1 Iyyar 1 Siwan 1 Tammuz 1 Ab 9 Ab
587 BCE 27 March 22 April 21 May 20 June 19 July 18 August 27 August Sunday
70 CE 22 March 31 March 30 April 29 May 27 June 27 July 4 August Saturday

Chronological indications of the Talmud are excellent; the temple of Jerusalem was
burned by Titus in 70 CE by a remarkable coincidence the same day of the year by
Nebuchadnezzar in 587 (Jewish War VI:250-253). The chronological reconstruction of the
destruction of the first temple is as follows: Nebuzaradan the chief of the body-guard came
to Jerusalem and began to burn the houses of the city on 7 Ab (Friday 25 August), then he
had evacuated the city on the Sabbath dated on 8 Ab (Saturday 26 August), afterwards on 9
Ab he set fire to the Temple around sunset (c. 18:00-6:00 Sunday 27 August 587 BCE) and
prevented the Jews from extinguishing it during the night, which was the beginning of 10
Ab (Monday 28 August). In 70 CE the temple burned until Sunday 5 August.
The oldest lunar eclipse in astronomical tablets (BM 32238) is after sunrise in Year 1
of king [Nabu]-Mukin-zeri in the first month of the year (9 April 731 BCE). Before that
131 http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html

132 http://www.imcce.fr/fr/grandpublic/temps/saisons.php
133 http://www.nr.com/julian.html
date, lunar eclipses are described in a more summary way which allows an absolute dating
only if the study period is less than 10 years because lunar phenomena are cyclical and may
recur (+/1 day) after the 11th year (1 year = 12 months + [1 intercalary month]):
Ø 11 solar years = 11 x 365.24519 = 4017.7 days
Ø 11 lunar years = (11x12 + 4) x 29.530588 = 4016.2 days
The dating of events over a period which the uncertainty is greater than 10 years
requires the use of astronomical phenomena whose cycle is greater than 10 years such as
solar eclipses or heliacal risings of Sirius (or Venus). Sirius and Venus were observed both
by Babylonians and Egyptians because they are the brightest stars of the sky.
For example, Assyrian chronology may be rebuilt over the period 911-609 BCE
thanks to eponyms134. The list of Assyrian eponyms is anchored on the solar eclipse which
occurred on Simanu in the eponymy of Bur-Sagale (15 June 763 BCE)135. The Assyrian
period 911-648 is dated owing to its canonical eponyms136 and the period 648-609 by a
prosopography of its eponyms137. A few eponyms are non canonical because they died
during the year of their eponymy and there are also some gaps of 1 year between eponym
dates and regnal years in tablet with double dates because the first Assyrian regnal year
(accession) was reckoned in either system: year 0 (Babylonian) or year 1 (Assyrian). Thus, as
there are exactly 154 canonical eponyms between Gargamisaiu and Bur-Sagale, which is
dated 763 BCE, that involves dating the one of Gargamisaiu in 609 BCE (= 763 – 154).

134 http://www.livius.org/li-ln/limmu/limmu_1b.html
135 http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEatlas/SEatlas-1/SEatlas-0779.GIF
136 S. PARPOLA – Assyrian Chronology 681-648 BC.

in: Letters from Assyrian Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal Part II Eisenbrauns, 2007) pp. 381-430.
137 S. PARPOLA – The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire

Helsinki 1998 University of Helsinki pp. XVIII-XX.

Year Spring equinox 1 Nisan 29 Nisan 1 Iyyar 30 Iyyar 1 Siwan 29 Siwan 1 Tammuz
763 BCE 29 March 20 March 17 April 18 April 17 May 18 May 15 June 16 June
As solar eclipses occur during new moons (highlighted in black) for reasons of
geometry (the sun, moon and earth must be perfectly aligned) the date [29] Siwan is
excellent, however it can be noted that the 1st of Nisan is dated a little while (9 days) before
the spring equinox. Anyway the only solar eclipse over Assyria during the period 800-750
BCE was the total eclipse dated 15 June 763 BCE (-762). Other solar eclipses have been
suggested but it is noteworthy that the partial solar eclipses dated 4 June 800 BCE and 24
June 791 BCE were not able to be viewed over Assyria.
The Mesopotamian chronology of the period 1133-609 is reconstructed using the
number of Assyrian eponyms (1 a year) and the length of Babylonian reigns (#) combined
with the set of synchronisms among Assyrian and Babylonian kings in Annals:
Aššur-rêš-iši I 18 1133-1115 Ninurta-nâdin-šumi 6 1133-1127 Eli (Philistines) 40 1162-1122
Tiglath-pileser I 39 1115 - Nebuchadnezzar I 22 1127-1105 Samson 20 1122-1102
Enlil-nâdin-apli 4 1105-1101 Sons of Samuel 5 1102-1097
-1076 Marduk-nâdin-ahhê 18 1101-1083 Saul 40 1097 -
Ašared-apil-Ekur 2 1076-1074 Marduk-šapik-zêri 13 1083-1070 -1057
Aššur-bêl-kala 18 1074-1056 Adad-apla-iddina 22 1070-1048 David 40 1057 -
Erîba-Adad II 2 1056-1054 Marduk-ahhê-erîba 1 1048-1047
Šamšî-Adad IV 4 1054-1050 Marduk-zêr-[…] 12 1047-1035
Aššurnaṣirpal I 19 1050-1031 Nabû-šum-libur 8 1035-1027 -1017
Shalmaneser II 12 1031-1019 Simbar-šipak 18 1027-1009 Solomon 40 1017 -
Aššur-nêrârî IV 6 1019-1013 Ea-mukîn-zêri 1 1009-1008
Aššur-rabi II 41 1013 - Kaššu-nâdin-ahi 2 1008-1006
Eulmaš-šakin-šumi 17 1006 -989
Ninurta-kudurri-uṣur I 3 989-986