Mathematical Accuracy of JosephusDespite the esteem in which we hold ourselves today, and the disdain for the carelessness and ignorance of the past, the fact is that Josephus has passed on to us a far superior chronological knowledge of the History of Ancient Israel than has previously been appreciated; a knowledge that in our brilliance, we have up until now not noticed.
The first task undertaken in this article is to provide internet excerpts that will provide for students, some background information on Josephus. The next step will be to discuss the math and science (not the archaeology) behind the King's Calendar reconstruction of Josephus' historical chronologies.
The King's Calendar computerized mathematical reconstruction of the Chronological History of the Divided Kingdom of Ancient Israel operates on the basis of Linear / lineal Causality, which, put simply, is that one cause has one effect. Change the cause, and the effect changes. The King's Calendar gives a set value to the word YEAR in the Bible. Commencing the calendar on a certain date, every calculation is directly related to the calculation before it.
Linear: of, relating to, resembling, or having a graph that is a line and especially a straight line : characterized by an emphasis on line : having or being a response or output that is directly proportional to the input : relating to, or based or depending on sequential development. (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/linear)
Archaeologists and historians arbitrarily alter data to suit their pet theories. This the kingscalendar cannot do. The King's Calendar reconstruction of Israelite chronological history applies a scientific methodology to a mathematical construct to determine the results, and then compares the findings with current historical perspectives, to determine the accuracy of the Mathematical predictions. The Science of the theory can easily be verified or falsified by any person who takes the time to test it.
When it comes to Josephus however, the matter is complicated by his carelessness.
"All of Josephus' four extant works are important sources for Jewish history and tradition. The first to be composed was The Jewish War—an account of the war of the Jews against the Romans. Josephus himself tells us that he wrote two versions of this. The first one was in his own vernacular, i.e. Aramaic, and composed for 'the up-country barbarians', i.e. the Aramaic-speaking Jews of the Parthian kingdom, especially those of Babylon. This edition is lost. The extant Greek version is an adaptation by Josephus himself of the Aramaic work. It was published about A.D. 78, when Josephus was about 40 years old. The next work to be published was The Jewish Antiquities, about sixteen years later (A.D. 94 or so). It appears that soon before the publication of The Antiquities Justus of Tiberias had published his history of the Jewish War, with serious accusation of misconduct during the war in Galilee directed against Josephus. It is possible that Josephus' third and autobiographical work, the Life, was published at the same time as the Antiquities and as a reply to Justus. Some scholars, however, maintain that the Life was published about A.D. 96, and may have appeared together with a second edition of the Antiquities that appeared between A.D. 93/94 and 100. Josephus' final extant work to be published was Against Apion, or to give its original title, On the Antiquity of the Jews.
Jewish historian, born A.D. 37, at Jerusalem; died about 101. He belonged to a distinguished priestly family, whose paternal ancestors he himself traces back five generations; his mother's family claimed descent from the Machabeans. He received a good education, and association with distinguished scholars developed his intellectual gifts, more especially his memory and power of judgment. He also made himself fully acquainted with and tried the leading politico-religious Jewish parties of his age -- the Essenes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.
Cornfeld.G. (1982) Josephus: The Jewish War. Zondervan Publishing House Michigan.
'Despite all discrepancies, ambiguities, contradictions and plain mistakes, the fact remains that Josephus was a highly reliable witness, not only with respect to events in Palestine and Jerusalem of his own time, but also, though to a somewhat lesser extent, with regard to earlier times, for which he depended on available traditional sources. In sum, despite ambiguities and exaggerations, his is the most comprehensive surviving account in existence...'
In this section, I will merely demonstrate by use of some simple examples, the errors that Josephus makes, which leads some to consider that his chronological data is completely untrustworthy.
Note: Chapter 20 of the King's Calendar is devoted to providing examples of Josephus' chronological references, and to their deconstruction and reconstruction. Additionally, there are a number of articles on the King's Calendar Website devoted to providing information from that Chapter.
In Antiquities Book 1, Josephus provides details of the ages of the Pre-Noahic Patriarchs. Whereas he provides a total of 873 years (although he does not include Nahor), the Bible records a total of 292 years. When you compare the figures, it seems that he has simply added 100 years to each Patriarch's life. One can only wonder why.
2. King Solomon's Reign
In Antiquities of the Jews - Book 8:7:8 - Josephus records the length of Solomon's reign as 80 years. One again wonders why.
3. Time Frame from King Cyrus to Judas Maccabeus
It sometimes seems that Josephus was extremely careless with the data provided him.
In Antiquities of the Jews - Book Eleven : He assigns 253 years From the First year of Cyrus to the Death of Alexander the Great.
One would assume that the parameters are 539 BCE when Cyrus took control of Babylon, and c. 323 BCE when Alexander the Great Died. But if you count back 253 years from 323 BCE you arrive at 576 BCE. This appears to be an error. However when you use the artificial construct to count out the 253 years, you arrive at 556 BCE, an acceptable figure for Cyrus the Great, but not in reference to the Fall of Babylon.
In Antiquities of the Jews - Book Twelve - Josephus records 170 years between Death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE) and the Death of Judas Maccabeus (c.161 BCE.) The true time frame is only 162 Solar years (175 Artificial Years). His chronological reference is wrong.
However: If we add the 253 years of the first reference to the 170 years of the second, the total is 423 years. So From Cyrus to Judas Maccabeus, 423 years transpire, but 423 years backdated from 161 BCE is 584 BCE. This is completely wrong.
If on the other hand we trace it back in Artificial years, we would arrive at 550 BCE, which is the most acceptable date for the commencement of King Cyrus' reign over the Medes. As such, these two references when combined, exactly fit the stated parameters. (You can check this using Appendix 12 Chart in Chapter Precis).
Whilst some carelessness is evident in Josephus' chronologies, of two things we might be sure. Firstly, that he did use reliable material, and secondly that that chronological material was in artificial years.
Additionally, in respect to Cyrus the Great, we note an extremely important event, namely; The conversion of True Solar History into the artificial construct for the reign of a non-Jewish king.
4.Judas Maccabeus to Antigonus.
In Antiquities of the Jews - Book Thirteen - Josephus states that 82 years transpire between the Death of Judas Maccabeus (c.161 BCE) and the Death of Queen Alexandra (c.67 BCE). Given that 94 years transpire, Josephus has underquoted by Twelve Years.
In Antiquities of the Jews - Book Fourteen however, Josephus quotes 32 years transpiring from the Death of Queen Alexandra (c.67 BCE) to the Death of Antigonus (c.37 BCE), and so over quotes by Two years.
Between the extreme parameters; Death of Judas Maccabeus (161 BCE) and Death of Antigonus (37 BCE); 124 years transpire, but Josephus only provides 114 years, and therefore under quotes by 10 years.
If we isolate that 10 years and apply it to the reference to Queen Alexandra, (who reigned 10 years), one can easily summize that whereas Josephus quotes 82 years transpiring between the Death of Judas Maccabeus (c.161 BCE) and the Death of Queen Alexandra (c.67 BCE), the figure he used was meant to relate to the commencement of her reign. We assume here that the other 2 underquoted years which are counteracted in the second reference, was but a careless mathematical error. Apparently while stipulating that his figures included Queen Alexandra's reign, they in fact did not.
There are of course other examples wherein Josephus' data is correct in normal Solar years, and others that are correct in artificial years.
The point to be made here is simply that Josephus used both Solar and Artificial chronological references; was careless; and apparently did not understand the material from which he was working. That there are errors in Josephus is uncontested. That his chronological data is really wrong, is very much contested by the King's Calendar.
The King's Calendar Position is that Josephus was in the same position as modern day historians; he simply did not understand the material with which he was supplied. This is demonstrated quite clearly in one of his self contradictions.
In Jewish War Book One, Chapter III Josephus records that from Cyrus to Aristobulus (104-103 BCE), 471 years elapse. Later however, in Antiquities 13:11:1, he amended this figure to 481 years.
There are several things to note about this amendment.
1. If we backdate 471 years from the reign of Aristobolus, we arrive at 575 BCE, which is supposed to related to the time of Cyrus the Great. Clearly this is wrong.
2. If we backdate 481 years from the reign of Aristobolus, we arrive at 585 BCE, which is also wrong in relation to Cyrus.
3. Since Josephus has provided incorrect chronology and text, his credibility falls to zero.
Being made of more superior 'stuff', and living in an 'enlightened' era, modern day historians feel justified in writing off Josephus as at best amateurish, and at worst incompetent. One of the most fundamental claims of the King's Calendar however, is that it is the modern day academic who is the amateur. With all the modern technological tools at their disposal, there can be only two reasons why no one has yet figured out Biblical and Non Canonical chronology.
1. Anti-Bilical Bias
2. Arrogance which arises from the belief that we know more than the ancients.
Let me show you HOW Josephus erred.
The Parameters of Josephus' References.
Jewish War Book One, Chapter III Josephus records that
471 years elapse from
Cyrus to Aristobulus 104-103 BCE.
In artificial years, this figure is absolutely correct.
You can check this for yourself in Column 'F' in Appendix 12
The reference extends from 538 BCE as year 1, to and including 104 BCE as year 471.
Josephus did nothing wrong in quoting this reference. However, he obviously did not understand that the data was recorded in artificial years. At some other time, and possibly without realising that he was providing a duplicate reference, or having forgotten to change the other reference, he did his own calculation.
In Antiquities 13:11:1 Josephus recorded that
481 years elapsed
Between Cyrus and Aristobolus.
The 481 solar years actually extend from 585 BCE as Year 1, to 105 BC as year 481.
Josephus calculated the intervening years between the Babylonian captivity in 586 BCE and 104 BCE when Aristobolus commenced to reign.
In his carelessness, Josephus provided the correct number of solar years to transpire between two events, but quoted the wrong events.
Whilst the King's Calendar recognises Josephus' carelessness, it also demonstrates that he had no awareness of the artificial nature of the chronological data that was supplied to him by the Essenes (or others).
No matter how you look at it, the figures that Josephus provided are in fact correct, and with that said, I wish to introduce to you briefly, another reference that many have thought to be incorrect.
Antiquities. Book 10:8:5 : The burning of the temple
In Antiquities Book 10:8:5 Josephus states that from the Departure from Egypt to the Fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE., 1062.5 years elapse. Everyone has assumed that this is an erroneous reference to the Mosaic Exodus. If you add 1062.5 years to 586 BCE you arrive at 1648 BCE. As such it is erroneous.
However, within the King's Calendar artificial construct, the date arrived at is 1554 BCE [ Column 'F' - Line 1048 - Appendix 12 ]. This date is right smack in the middle of a variety of dates suggested by historians for the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt.
Line 1048, which is 1554 BCE, is only 1048 years of the 1062.5 that Josephus quotes.
Beyond 1554 BCE, there extend another 13 artificial years.
This is because during the synchronous period of the Divided Kingdom,
13.5 of all the years quoted in Scripture, overlap.
(Uzziah, 12 years; Ahaz / Hezekiah, 1 year; 3 months each for Jehoiachin & Jehoahaz).
Of the 1062.5 years quoted by Josephus,
13.5 years disappear in the overlapping synchronisms.
Despite the esteem in which we hold ourselves today, and the disdain for the carelessness and ignorance of the past, the fact is that Josephus has passed on to us a far superior chronological knowledge of the History of Ancient Israel than has previously been appreciated; a knowledge that in our brilliance, we have up until now not noticed.
Based on the writings of Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah and Canonical material, we can establish that
Levi (Joseph's Brother) died 3 years before the expulsion of the Hyksos.
Moses was born 33 artificial years or 31 Solar years after the Hyksos expulsion.
1449 BCE 1st year of Exodus [Moses 81st year]
1412 BCE 1st year in Canaan
Because the King's Calendar is a Mathematical construct and not Academic Guesswork, it's projections are either correct or incorrect. Since almost all of it's projections approximately match what historians tell us, it has proven itself a reliable tool.
Because it stands to reason that the chronological material Josephus used was also in the artificial form, it was logical to apply the mathematical construct to his work. When results were not satisfactory, it became necessary to assume that his errors result from either or both carelessness and mixing solar year calculations with artificial year records.
The Math and Science of the King's Calendar has been able to deconstruct Josephus' chronological material, and by demonstrating how the errors occur, can reconstruct the originally intended references.
I hope that this article has been of assistance.
Reference Material to Research Josephus
Cornfeld.G. (1982) Josephus: The Jewish War. Zondervan Publishing House Michigan.
Whiston. W. (1993) The Works of Josephus. Hendrickson Publishers. Massachusetts. USA
Copyright 2013 is held by the nominated authors on this article page.
The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.
Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
R.P. BenDedek also writes social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both at KingsCalendar, and as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News in Maine USA.
He has been a conversational English Teacher in China since 2003 and is currently (2013) teaching in SuZhou City Jiangsu Province in China.
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix Five to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
General formula for Biblical Data conversion:
The formula for constructing the artificial calendar was:
'X' times 364 equals 'Y' days'Y' days divided by 336 equals 'Z' artificial years.Values are:'X' = any given number of 'real/solar' years364 = perceived days in the sectarian calendar'Y' = number of days calculated336 = number of days in an artificial year'Z' = artificial years = 1.083'X' and represents the original number of the converted years plus 8%.To reverse the process by hand:'Z' years times 336 equals 'Y' divided by 364 equals the Number of 'X' years converted.
To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5:Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE:
The Principle of Linear Causality
The King's Calendar is a very simple approach to Biblical Chronology. It substitutes a value of 336 days for every year listed in Scripture. As far as the Divided Kingdom is concerned, when you use this 336 day year value, the synchronisms actually work. To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5: Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE
Because it is a mathematical system, the King's Calendar must abide by certain mathematical rules, the most important of which, is that if you change any date for any day, month, or year every other day, month, or year is effected and must also change. It's like a 'domino effect'. Chronological references cannot be 'forced' to fit, and nor can they simply be ignored or 'compressed' as is the usual case with historians and archaeologists.
If any King's Calendar chronological determination disagrees with anything in the history books, it must argue the case as to why the history books are wrong, or why the evidence for an assertion is untrustworthy. If the King's Calendar successfully defends its' position, then the history books cannot be treated as definitive, and if the King's Calendar is 'proven' wrong, then every other chronological reference it provides is also wrong.
Because of this, the King's Calendar Chronological Reconstruction of Israel's history is unique, in that its' methodology can be scientifically (mathematically) tested and demonstrated to be either true or false. Its' chronological predictions are able to be 'proved' or 'disproved'.