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I am interested to see if it's possible to obtain an approximate date of when Jerusalem was destroyed (secular sources say 587 BCE using cuneiform tablets, astronomy, etc.) with only the Bible and its internal dating (e.g. number of years of Kingly rulerships, when prophecies were given, age of people, etc.) I put the following chart together but still can't find a solution.

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My thought was Daniel (who was a "youth" during the 3rd year of King Jehoiakim) and only lived after the return of exile could have been used, but we have no information about his age other than what I mentioned. I also thought Jehoiachin + Ezekiel could have provided some clues, but seems nothing to tie the loop.

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  • Link.
    – Lucian
    May 28 '21 at 8:08
  • @Lucian- All you've done by pointing this 'New Contributor' to your 'Link' is to confuse the heck out of him. So many misconceptions. 'NC' will no doubt, by now, have checked out my A, and another, to his associated Q. of yesterday and I suggest he takes more heed of those, not to mention the A. below. May 30 '21 at 19:39
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The short answer is no, because all Biblical dates that we can convert to modern calendars come via either astronomical observations that we can back-calculate OR by conversion to the *Julian calendar.

Two examples:

  1. We have Babylonian astronomical observations paired with Babylonian calendar dates. The laws of motion allow us to calculate exactly how long ago a particular astronomical phenomenon occurred, thereby tying a Bablyonian date to a date on a modern calendar. This is how we know when Nebuchadnezzar's reign began and when a number of events during his reign occurred.

  2. We have Roman officials whose terms of office were known, such as the proconsul Gallio before whom Paul appeared while in Corinth. We know when Gallio was in office (+/- about a year), in terms of the regnal years of Emperor Claudius, and we know on the Julian calendar when Claudius was in office. From which we can calculate the timing of many events in Paul's ministry.

Perhaps what you're looking for, though, is whether the fall of Jerusalem can be dated by something other than Babylonian dates. Possibly...but in ancient chronology the more certain dates are used to ascertain the less-certain dates, so we would get a less accurate approximation by trying to date the fall of Jerusalem by back calculating from something later, like known events from the Persian Empire.

But even then, we'd still have to tie the Biblical chronology back somewhere to an external record of an astronomical event, or the Julian calendar. The Bible doesn't provide direct links to the Gregorian calendar, we always use an intermediary to do that (whether it's the Babylonians or the Persians or the Greeks etc, there's no getting around that).

Even if we developed a thoroughly internally consistent Biblical calendar using only Biblical texts, and could thereby determine how many years apart two Biblical events were, without astronomy or secular history we couldn't figure out how many years there are between those events and today.


*We could also mention the Greek Olympiad dates or the chronology from Josephus, but these are known by conversion through the Julian calendar as well.

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    Thanks for the helpful explanation (will mark this as an answer). I was considering clues along the lines of someone's age mentioned before the temple was destroyed and again after the exiles returned. The closest I found was that Daniel was a "youth" during the first siege and then he "prospered" after the exile returned which puts some bounds on how many years could have gone by.
    – Julian
    May 29 '21 at 18:38
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    Good answer, upvoted + 1. I think it's possible to get closer than one would think to a more definitive A. however, which I gave to @Julian yesterday, in his associated Q. May 30 '21 at 19:48

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