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dvunkannon



Posts: 1377
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 25 2010,13:16   

Quote (Kattarina98 @ Aug. 25 2010,11:50)
Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 24 2010,15:37)
Bottom line - Jews have had a consistent understanding of the age of the earth since the beginning of rabbinic Judaism (at least). I'm not a student of historical Christian eschatology, but I've never heard of the idea that Christian authors have continually redefined what 6000 years means so that their own times were always just shy of 6000.

You have a point, I should have given more information. So here goes:

325 Council of Nicea: Eusebius of Caesarea presented his chronology which was based on Flavius Josephus, Julius Africanus (a Christian, born ca. 160) and the Septuagint. In 395, St. Jerome translated Eusebius's book and the Bible into Latin, and thus determined the style for official chronology for the next 1,400 years.
The first part of the Septuagint, the Pentateuch, contains the genealogy of the Hebrew tribes, starting from Adam and Eve.
 
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For Eusebius and all future chronologists, these explicit life spans were always the starting point.

While Josephus Flavius in his Antiquities had used only the Bible, Julius Africanus had used the Bible, comparing it to Greek, Egyptian, and Persian sources.
 
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Julius's first task was to determine how much time had elapsed from the birth of Adam, which was five days after the beginning of Creation, to the Deluge, or Noah's Flood. Using the ages of the descendants of Adam detailed in the aSeptuagint, Julius determined that the rains started 2,261 years after Creation. He believed that the Flood lasted twelve months, thus the year 2262 marks the beginning of the post-Flood period.
The next chapter in the Chronologia covers the period from when Noah first stepped off the ark to when the great father of the Jews, Abrahem, entered the Promised Land. Julius calculated that this period lasted another 1,015 years. So Abraham crossed the Euphrates River into Canaan in the year 3277. By Julius's reckoning, Abraham represented the twentieth generation after Adam. ...
From Exodus on, Julius's chore became more difficult because the Book of Moses, which had paid such close attention to the ages of the Hebrew forefathers, comes to an end. Not to be deterred, Julius calculated that 585 years separated the Ten Commandments and the dedication of the great Jewish temple in Jerusalem, built by King Solomon, bringing the chronology up to the year 429. ... Finally, the birth of Jesus Christ took place in the 5,500th year after Creation.
Julius brought his Chronologia up to A.D. 221, the year he completed his book ... stating that Jesus Christ was born five and one-half millennia after the beginning of time. This was significant, because Julius was not simply writing a world history with a focus on dates. In fact, his real purpose was to give context to biblical prophesy. He was most concerned with predicting the second coming of Christ, the thousand-year reign described in the Book of Revelation, ...

And this is the important bit:
 
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Julius predicted that the present world would continue until the year A.D. 500 - 6,000 years after Creation. ... All future chronologists would calculate the earth's age to be 6,000 years at the time of the Second Coming. ... James Usher would date the beginning of the world at 4004 B.C.; this gave him nearly 350 years until the end of the sixth millennium.

In the next paragraphs Repcheck describes the Talmud, much like you did.
Then he talks about the obvious problem arising with the Second Coming never taking place when predicted:
 
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Julius's and Eusebius's careful works would be the benchmarks for alll future chronologists; ... But, their successors would continually push back the end of the 6,000 years, as each threshold for the Second Coming neared. St. Jerome, Eusebius's translator, was the first to practice this form of recalculation; he placed the birth of Christ at 5,2000 years since Creation, putting off the end of the sixth millennium until A.D. 800. This kind of fudging was easily done because there was enough uncertainty in the original figures to allow for reinterpretation. The remaining chronologists were consistent in putting off the end of the sixth millennium until a couple of hundred years after their own deaths.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire many new chronologies cropped up.
Repcheck mentions the most important authors: Isidor of Sevilla, Bede the Venerable, Joachim of Fiore, Otto of Freising, Martin Luther.
 
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... he made a significant adjustment for the end of the sixth millennium ... this giving his Protestant followers nearly 500 years to prepare for the return of Christ.

More chronologists: James Ussher, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton.

I hope I have quoted and interpreted Repcheck faithfully.

Thanks, Kattarina.

I looked into Repcheck's book via Amazon, and I have to say I am not impressed. His description of the creation of the Septuagint is sheer fantasy at times.

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When Ptolemy II came to power, a standard version of the Hebrew Bible did not exist, the Holy Scriptures varied from tribe to tribe and were largely based on oral tradition.


What varied was the choice of books, not the content of each book (except for those books composed very recently - after the Babylonian Exile). The content of the Torah, the first five books, was very well established.

There were no more 'tribes' of Jews by this period. All Jews were (are) either from Judah or Levi (the priests and Levites). As a class with ritual and teaching roles, the priests and Levites lived completely intermingled with the other Jews.

A very large oral tradition did exist - the case law of the Jewish legal system for the most part. That is quite separate from the texts under discussion which were translated.

Repcheck correctly states that the Pentateuch covers from Creation to the death of Moses, though he wrongly calls it the Book (singular) of Moses. But later he says the Book of Moses ends with the Exodus, skipping three and a half books (and 70 odd years), and says this is a problem for Julius Africanus. Whatever Africanus' problems were (being off in his chronology by over thousand years by the birth of Abraham - and that was supposed to be the easy part!), Repcheck has his own problems understanding the Bible.

Similarly, he writes,
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Just as Hebrew prophesy had its greatest flowering during the decades the Jews were enslaved by the Babylonians, the centuries after the fall of Rome represented another great flowering.


Umm, no. Repcheck conflates prophecy and eschatology. In the Jewish tradition, prophecy ends with destruction of the First Temple, and there is a very clear distinction between the kinds of texts produced before and after this event (especially if the second half of Isaiah is re-attributed to a later writer). What did 'flourish' was the Daniel and several books left out of the canon such as Enoch and Jubilees that had eschatological sections.

Repcheck's thesis in this section is easy for a secular reader to buy into, but his breezy retelling and attribution of motive are to my mind untrustworthy based on what I know about some of the material.

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Iím referring to evolution, not changes in allele frequencies. - Cornelius Hunter
Iím not an evolutionist, Iím a change in allele frequentist! - Nakashima

  
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