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The death of Herod 4BC, 1BC or 1AD?

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  • The death of Herod 4BC, 1BC or 1AD?

    Originally posted by Faber View Post
    The high priest Matthias ben Theophilus, had a seminal discharge in his sleep, a wet dream during the night immediately before the day of Yom Kippur, which made him ceremonially unclean and thus unable to perform his duties as high priest during the next day. For this reason Herod had him replaced with a relative, Joseph ben Ellemus, on a temporary basis. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:165-7; Whiston xvii.6.4))

    Although the high priest is permitted to perform any priestly function, the only function which he, and he alone, is required to perform is sacrificing on Yom Kippur and entering the Holy of Holies.

    It was also about that time that Herod had Rabbi Matthias ben Margalothus put to death by burning. On the night of the execution of Matthias ben Margalothus there was a lunar eclipse. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 17 (Niese 17:165-7; Whiston xvii.6.4))

    But which one? It had to take place at least a few months before Passover, April 11, 4 BC. There was a lunar eclipse on the night of March 13, only 29 days earlier, but too little time for the events which took place between the eclipse and the Passover of 4 BC.

    Josephus refers to that day as ďthat day when the fast was to be celebratedĒ. This could only refer to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The last Yom Kippur prior to the Passover of 4 BC was on September 13, 5 BC. There was a total lunar eclipse two days later, on the night of September 15-16. Totality lasted 99 minutes, beginning around midnight, while the moon was nearly directly overhead.

    Herod's death would have to have occurred after September 15, 5 BC but at least a few months before Passover, April 11, 4 BC.

    According to a Greek inscription found near Neapolis in Galatia, Augustus required all of its citizens to sign a loyalty oath on March 8 of his twelfth consulship, which was 5 BC. (Allen Chester Johnson, Paul Robinson Coleman-Norton and Frank Card Bourne. Ancient Roman Statutes, A Translation With Introduction, Commentary, Glossary and Index. (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press; 1961. Reprinted Clark, New Jersey: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.; 2003) 127.) If that was about the same time as the census in Judea, that would put the birth of Jesus in 5 BC.

    Jesus would have been nearly 32 years old or older by Passover, AD 28.
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]27025[/ATTACH]
    Note: 1 BC is considered Year 0000 by calculation. 5 BC is Year -0004.
    Originally posted by Just Passing Through View Post
    Josephus says that shortly before he got sick, Herod replaced Matthias with Joazar as high priest because of Matthiasí role in an insurrection.
    Then he adds an aside to say that there had been another time when he had replaced Matthias temporarily, and he tells that story. But then he gets back to the present story of Matthiasí permanent replacement and says there was a lunar eclipse that night, the night he was replaced for good, not the night before Joseph ben Ellemus was a one day high priest.
    Your version would require that ben Ellemus was high priest one day, and Matthias was priest again the next day, and Matthias was then replaced permanently the day after that, and the eclipse occurred that same day.

    The twelfth consulship of Augustus began in 5 BC and extends to 2 BC. However, the book you refer to specifically dates the Gangra oath of loyalty to the third year of the consulship, 3 BC, which could make it the same registration that I mentioned, in preparation for his big celebration.
    The death of Heard is an important question regarding the date of the birth of Christ.
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

  • #2
    Originally posted by 37818 View Post
    The death of Heard is an important question regarding the date of the birth of Christ.
    I "Heard" that!
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since youíve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?Ē

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, it is important in establishing the date. And Iíll admit from the start that, while the later dates look very attractive to me in making the whole chronology work out, I am not at all convinced that such is the case. Itís just an interesting possibility, so donít be surprised if my arguments are less than solid or I change my mind halfway through the discussion.
      But I suppose I should make the argument, but I donít have time to look up the details today.
      You can google most of the arguments pro and con, but a few of the key points in my mind:
      1. The lack of any known census or registration in 5 or 6 BC.
      2. The difficulty in squeezing the known final events of Herodís life into the month between the 4 BC lunar eclipse and the Passover.
      3. The fact that Archelaus seemed to be in a great hurry to make the journey to Rome and be confirmed right after Herodís death and funeral, to avoid having the other aspirants to the throne get there first and lay their claims, so waiting from a Fall death until after the Spring Passover to make the trip seems less than ideal (winter weather on the seas might be a factor, but I donít know that he would have had to wait as long as the Passover).
      4. One of his successors, Philip, minted a coin in 1AD that said Year 5, I believe. But would he have waited four years to start minting coins? Coins were propaganda, and the tetrarchs all wanted to quickly establish their positions, both from Romeís perspective and in the eyes of the people. Herod himself had tried the trick of backdating his coins when he minted coins that said Year 3 in 38BC, while he was still trying to take the throne away from his predecessor. The people werenít buying it then, so Herod never dated another coin. But Herod was hated enough that perhaps it was welcome for the next guy. Herod killed 2 princes who were possibly viewed as the last Hasmoneans, some say in 7BC, but maybe that was in 4 BC. The Jews had been hoping that one of them would be the next king, so perhaps Philip thought it better to present himself as the Hasmoneanís successor than Herodís successor. Or maybe he received some minor office that year which he used as an excuse to describe himself as a co-ruler (even if Herod wouldnít have seen it that way). And once one of Herodís successors claimed his reign began in 4 BC, the others followed suit, rather than allowing one to claim seniority that he might later use as an excuse to take over the whole kingdom of Herod.
      5. Later, Josephus may have assumed Herod died in 4 BC because he knew how long his successors claimed for their own reigns. I wonder if he had some official document that said that Herod had reigned 37 years that he had trouble reconciling. He did the math and concluded that Herod reigned 37 years from 40 BC (when Herod first got permission from Rome to take the throne if he could) to 4 BC, though it really was intended to have been calculated from 37 BC (when he actually gained the throne) to 1 BC. So Josephus makes the odd statement that Herod reigned 37 years, or maybe 34 years (from 37 to 4, the way he thought it really should have been counted).
      6. The early church fathers, when they made any reference to the year of Jesusí birth, seemed to point to a 2-3 BC date (I donít have the time to look up the quotes, but I think thatís what Iíve read).

      A lot of maybeís and assumptions, but to me it at least seems plausible, and could resolve some problems with earlier dates. But I won't mind at all if you say the reasoning is weak. I'd agree. But it's worth considering.

      Comment


      • #4
        Some comments:

        Originally posted by Just Passing Through View Post
        1. The lack of any known census or registration in 5 or 6 BC.
        There is the census I had mentioned earlier in the form of a loyalty oath to the Roman gods, as had been discovered in Neapolis. But Josephus confirms that this loyalty oath reached Judea, forcing six thousand pharisees to be punished by Herod with a fine, which was afterwards paid by the wife of Pheroras, Herod's younger brother:

        There was a group of Jews priding itself on its adherence to ancestral custom and claiming to observe the laws of which the Deity approves, and by these men, called Pharisees, the women (of the court) were ruled. These men were able to help the king greatly because of their foresight, and yet they were obviously intent on combating and injuring him. At least when the whole Jewish people affirmed by an oath that it would be loyal to Caesar and to the kingís government, these men, over six thousand in number, refused to take the oath, and when the king punished them with a fine, Pherorasí wife paid the fine for them.
        (Josephus. Antiquities, (Niese 17:41-42; Whiston xvii.2.4); Ralph Marcus, Ph.D., trans., Josephus, with an English Translation In Nine Volumes, Vol. VIII, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963, 1969) 391, 393)

        Originally posted by Just Passing Through View Post
        2. The difficulty in squeezing the known final events of Herodís life into the month between the 4 BC lunar eclipse and the Passover.
        I agree. Those who argue for the 1 BC death of Herod the Great correctly argue that the span of twenty nine days from the eclipse on March 13, 4 BC to Passover on April 11, 4 BC is too short a time for the events listed in the second chronology above. How many days after the execution of Matthias ben Margalothus did Herod wait before taking a trip to the hot baths at Callilrrhoe? How many days did he stay there before returning to Jericho? Then he sent messages throughout Judea and Galilee summoning the local leaders to Jerusalem to be held captive, then it would take several days for the most distant in Galilee to arrive. And how long after that did he try to kill himself? Then five days later he finally died. Then It would take several days for Archelaus to send messages to all the leaders around the Roman Empire, inviting them to the funeral. It would take several days for the dignitaries and armies to arrive. Then there were seven days of mourning, and twenty five days for the funeral procession from Jericho where Herod died, to reach Herodium, where Herod was buried (traveling barefoot one mile per day for twenty five miles).

        Originally posted by Just Passing Through View Post
        4. One of his successors, Philip, minted a coin in 1AD that said Year 5, I believe.
        Not familiar with this, but the BC/AD calendar didn't exist until Pope John I asked Dionysius Exiguus to produce a 95-year calendar with the dates of Easter. Dionysius didn't want to refer to the commonly used Anno Diocletiani because Diocletian was an evil persecutor. So Anno Diocletiani 240 became Anno Domini 524. But it's my understanding that coins minted by Philip also had the face of the current Roman Emperor, and were dated according to the year of that emperor's reign.

        Originally posted by Just Passing Through View Post
        6. The early church fathers, when they made any reference to the year of Jesusí birth, seemed to point to a 2-3 BC date (I donít have the time to look up the quotes, but I think thatís what Iíve read).
        Tertullian sets the birth of Jesus in the 28th year of Octavian after Cleopatraís death, and on the 41st year of Octavian coming into power, obviously starting from the year Octavian was granted authority over the armies, and later elected consul. Tertullian is in agreement with Irenaeus in holding the birth of Jesus in 3 BC. Hippolytus (Eis Ton Daniel, 4.23.3) dates the birth of Jesus on December 25, 2 BC or 3 BC. 3 BC would be a week short of a full 42 years since Octavian was elected consul. That would agree with Irenaeus and Tertullian. Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, Book 1, Chapter 21) sets the birth of Jesus at 194 years, 1 month, 13 days before the death of Commodus, which puts it on November 18, 3 BC. Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, i.5.2) also placed it in the 42nd year of Augustus and the 28th year after the subjugation of Egypt, or 2 BC.
        Last edited by Faber; 03-21-2018, 03:09 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          I "Heard" that!
          The android spell check changed Herod to Heard. I didn't catch it.
          . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

          . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

          Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 37818 View Post
            The android spell check changed Herod to Heard. I didn't catch it.
            So you admit that robots control you!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by 37818 View Post
              The android spell check changed Herod to Heard. I didn't catch it.
              Siri does a lot worse.
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since youíve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?Ē

              Comment


              • #8
                You may have missed my comment that the book you cite for the Neapolis oath dates the oath that is quoted in the book to 3 BC, the third year of Augustusí twelfth consulate. But I see that that was specifically for another oath, at Gangra, and it merely mentions the Neapolis oath in passing.
                https://books.google.com/books?id=zB...20oath&f=false
                Do you have another source to date the Neapolis oath to the first year? I would assume it would have been the same year.

                As for the coin, I falsely thought I remembered that it was dated both Year 5 according to Philipís reign and dated on the reverse according to Augustusí reign, which would have nailed down the date. I see that it is dated only once, year 5, and assumed to be 1AD.
                Hereís a source that lists all the relevant coins: http://www.academia.edu/4000855/_We_...pas_and_Philip.

                Archelausí coins are all undated.
                Antipasí coins start with year 4 (and are thus generally dated to 1BC/1AD)
                Philipís coins start with year 5.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Just Passing Through View Post
                  As for the coin, I falsely thought I remembered that it was dated both Year 5 according to Philipís reign and dated on the reverse according to Augustusí reign, which would have nailed down the date. I see that it is dated only once, year 5, and assumed to be 1AD.
                  Yeah, I totally misunderstood you on that. I thought you were saying that the coin was dated 5 AD.

                  Comment

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