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Guide to Biblical Chronology
This Guide to Biblical Chronology aims to explain why different chronological proposals exist for the reigns of kings of Israel and Judah and how the conflicting chronological data preserved in the Books of Kings have come into being.
The first step is to reconstruct older chronological data so that synchronisms are in harmony with each other. Only then can the chronological data be related to extrabiblical documents; such a comparison reveals a good degree of correspondence. This means that the chronological records of the kings of Judah and Israel during the period between 930 and 586 BCE must have based on reliable annalistic records from royal archives.
After the destruction of Samaria, synchronic chronological presentations of the history of Judah and Israel were composed and the Deuteronomistic editors used them. They drew their own conclusions from the source material and created a chronology of their own, which sometimes led to the contradictions we can detect in the present form of the Hebrew Bible.
Another important result is that the 480-year period mentioned in 1 Kings 6 and the 300-year period in Judges 11 are also based on the pre-Deuteronomistic chronological tradition even though they are not based on archival material and are therefore unreliable figures.
The Guide to Biblical Chronology also deals with postbiblical Jewish chronology, showing that there were in existence two different and competing chronological systems. One was based on Daniel 9.24-27 and followed by Josephus, and the other was first advanced by Demetrius the Chronographer in the late third century BCE and was then followed in the Damascus Document from Qumran and in Second Baruch.
Antti Laato is Professor of Old Testament Exegesis and Judaism at Åbo Akademi University, Finland.
|Publication September 2015|
Why This Book?
The Methodological Procedure
The Content of This Book
Chronology for the Kings of Israel and Judah
Begrich’s and Jepsen’s Chronology
Hayes’s and Hooker’s Chronology
Four Preliminary Questions
The New Year
Accession-Year or Non-Accession-Year System
Co-regency as an Explanation Model
Text-Critical Considerations Combined with Other Speculations
2. THE CHRONOLOGICAL DATA OF THE ISRAELITE AND JUDEAN KINGS
Synchronisms and Royal Archives
The Biblical Synchronisms of the Israelite and Judean Kings
The Challenge of Extra-Biblical Documents to the Biblical
3. RELIABILITY OF THE SYNCHRONIC TRADITION OF THE ISRAELITE AND JUDEAN KINGS
Do We Have a Reliable Tradition for the Biblical Chronology on the
Reigns of Kings?
The Case of Uzziah 1 = Jeroboam II
The Case of Omri’s Dynasty
The Case of Pekah
4. THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE LAST JUDEAN KINGS
The Evidence of the Babylonian Chronicle
The Double Dating in Ezekiel 1.1-3 and the Last Kings of Judah
5. THE ABSOLUTE BIBLICAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE BOOKS OF KINGS
Constructed Chronology and its Historical Relevance
The Invasion of Shishak
The Battle of Qarqar
The Tribute of Jehu
The Tribute of Jehoash
The Possible Tribute of Azariah/Uzziah
The Tribute of Menahem
The Contact of Ahaz to Tiglat-Pileser III
The Dethronement of Pekah and the Accession of Hosea
The Destruction of Samaria
The Invasion of Sennacherib
The Forced Labor Tribute of Manasseh to Esarhaddon
The Death of Josiah
The Battle of Carchemish
The First Conquest of Jerusalem
The Destruction of Jerusalem
Conclusions: Literacy in Israel
Seals in Archaeological Excavations
Early Literary Texts
6. THE POSTBIBLICAL CHRONOLOGY AND THE SEVENTY YEAR-WEEKS IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL
Inaccurate Chronology in the Second Temple Period
The Chronology of Josephus
The Chronology of Demetrius
The Chronology in the Damascus Document
The Chronology in Second Baruch
The Outcome of the Chronological System in Daniel 9.24-27
7. THE DEUTERONOMISTIC CHRONOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK FOR EARLY ISRAEL
8. THE PRIESTLY CHRONOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK FROM
ANNO MUNDI TO THE PATRIARCHS
The slim volume is a competent introduction to the thorny field of biblical chronology and a welcome addition to the collection of basic tools for the student of Hebrew Scriptures. The introduction reviews previous chronologies from Albright (1945) to Galil (1996). Contradictions within the biblical data found creative responses within this scholarly tradition, some of which might look a bit too creative from the present point of view. The introduction concludes with the presentation of four problem areas that require decisions before a biblical chronology can be compiled: the date of the New Year in Israel and Judah; the question of the accession year; the question of co-regencies (never mentioned in the Bible with the exception of David and Solomon [1 Kgs 1:1–2:10] and Uzziah and Jotham [2 Kgs 15:5] but frequently assumed in previous chronologies); and the textual evidence, especially discrepancies between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. Ernst Axel Knauf, Review of Biblical Literature.