Western Chronology: Still Crazy After All These Years? 

Western Chronology: Still Crazy After All These Years?

It turns out it's possible--and stress, only possible--that the "official" dating of events from the Middle Ages and antiquity may be out by 500 to 1000 years.

We owe the Julian/Gregorian, or "Western" calendar, based on solar years made up of solar days, to Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII. Every other culture and people has always used lunar calendars, which nonsensically try to match up lunar months with solar days and years. Our information about "when" things happened, from the centuries before the solar calendar became fully accepted, generally derives from one individual, "the French philologist Joseph Scaliger, later a professor at the University of Leiden in Holland, who founded the science of historical chronology."

"He analyzed about 50 calendars, none of which are in use any more," Daicu explains. While some eminent scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton and Johannas Kepler disagreed with some of his datings, Scalinger's chronology underlies the work of historians to this day.

How then, can we arrive at accurate chronology? "One way of doing it is to use radio carbon dating (of documents), to use scientific dating in a scientific way: take many measurements, do statistical analysis and draw the right conclusions," he says.

He is exasperated by the tendency he has noted of archaeologists and historians to use carbon dating only to support conventional chronology. "Historians discard measurements they don't like," he says. "I've talked to many historians and most trust the existing chronology. If you change the chronology, a complete new interpretation of documents is implied."

It is possible, for example, that Julius Caesar lived roughly 1000 years ago, rather than 2000. This might help explain the appearance that it took 1000 years for Christianity to reach the point of schism between East and West, and another 500 for the Protestant Reformation. It may be that things happened much faster, or that there was constant (even more than church histories suggest) struggle and ferment about both doctrine and organization.

This caught my eye because I recently picked up a "Creation" magazine in our public library--that is, a magazine devoted to defending the beginning of Genesis as literally true, and debunking evolution. (I really don't think this should be in a public library). There was an article about the Egyptian pharoahs which said the "official" chronology of Egypt doesn't match the Bible. However, there is some evidence that pharoahs might have overlapped in time, instead of there being only one at a time. (I forget whether the suggestion was that they ruled over different regions, or what). If a new chronology is devised, with overlapping pharoahs, there is a fit with the Bible. The archeologist who was featured specifically criticized the use of carbon dating only to confirm a chronology that is supposedly arrived at by other, reliable methods.

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