How long did Jesus’ mission last? Mark versus John

It is usually argued that the synoptic version of Jesus’ mission lasted less than a year while John’s gospel depicts a mission that lasted more than two years, crossing over three different Passovers. This is not technically true. The so-called short mission thesis is based on the lack of specific time markers in Mark, Matthew and Luke. Now, the absence of time markers may accurately reflect a short mission but its also possible that Mark may have removed time markers and Matthew and Luke simply accepted mark’s chronological arrangement. It’s also possible that John may have inserted time markers where none may have existed. Let me give an example of how this problem could have arisen.

Manetho’s Chronology and the Septuagint Version of Genesis 5

Genesis 5 presents a chronological record of Patriarchal births and deaths from Adam to Noah’s Flood. The chronology is presented in such a way that if you had a starting date for Adam, you could set a date for each of the births and deaths. Genesis 11 continues the chronology from the end of the Flood to the birth of Abraham. (For a detailed study of Genesis 5 and 11 see my “Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-Lists.”

The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew text. The almost universally accepted consensus is that the work was begun in the Egyptian city of Alexandria during the reign of the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy II (283–246 B.C.E.) and was completed sometime in the second century B.C.E. Alexandria was a major center of intellectual activity. The Septuagint was the bible used by the authors of the Gospels.

While the Septuagint is based on some versions of the Hebrew books of the bible (there was no single official canonical version of any of the books of the bible at that time), there are many differences between it and the standard Masoretic text used by Jews and modern scholars. One significant difference is in the chronological record of Genesis 5.

On the Name Palestine

The name Palestine is in the news a lot lately and it has different historical and political associations for different people. Strange conclusions are often drawn from the term. With that in mind, I thought some basic historical information about the origins of the name Palestine might be worth reading.

In or about the year 132, the Jewish people launched their third revolt against persecution and abuse by the Roman colonizers of Judea. (The first revolt was in the year 60, leading to the destruction of the Temple; the second occurred in the year 110, mostly in the diaspora.) The emperor at the time was the Jew-hating Hadrian. The leader of the revolt was Simon Bar Kochba. His name translates as “Simon, son of the star” and, pursuant to Numbers 24:117,  has messianic implications. “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near— a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Tradition holds that the name was bestowed on Simon by the great Hebrew sage Rabbi Akiba.

I’m presenting a paper at the 7th Birmingham Egyptology Annual Symposium on May 21st, 2021 and you can virtually attend

I’ll be presenting my paper Towards a Theory of Egypt’s God-King Chronology on May 21st at 9 A.M. EST (2 P.M UK time.). The conference is being presented by the 7th Birmingham Egyptology Annual Symposium in conjunction with the Egypt Exploration Society. It is a virtual conference over Zoom and attendance is free. You can use this link to register and get details.

I have placed my abstract below along with a copy of the program schedule. The schedule lists event times in UK and Egypt.

After I present this paper, I plan to get back to more active blogging. I have had a busy month or so.

ABSTRACT OF MY PRESENTATION

Ancient Egypt’s only known multi-dynasty chronologies, the Turin Canon of Kings (c. 12th century B.C.E.) and Manetho’s Aegyptiaca (c. 3rd century B.C.E.), indicate that the First Dynasty was preceded by a long list of god-kings with assigned lengths of reign. Unfortunately, the Turin Canon papyrus is very badly damaged in this section and many of the god names and much of the associated chronology are either damaged or missing. As to Manetho’s history, his original text is lost and what we know about this time frame was preserved in wildly inconsistent versions preserved by several Christian scribes several centuries later who took great liberties with Manetho’s chronology and who explained why they made many changes to what Manetho wrote. 

This paper introduces the theory that behind these two chronological texts stands a systematic unfolding of the Theban Creation theology with lengths of reign based on solar, lunar and stellar cycles,  and that this data can be recovered by tracing error patterns in the Manetho sources. As an introduction to the thesis, this paper will focus on the Manetho texts and (1) outline several arithmetic errors made by the scribes who passed on the manuscripts, (2) demonstrate several interpretive errors by the redactors that led to erroneous data being used in the various Manetho sources, and (3) offer one major new insight as to what the redactors misunderstood, which, when placed in context, will provide the key to unlocking the chronological and sequential arrays and explain the various inconsistencies in the Manetho sources. 

CONFERENCE PROGRAM

7th Annual Birmingham Egyptology Symposium Schedule
‘Biography in Ancient Egypt’

10:15– 10:30 (UK)                 Welcome

11:15 – 11.30 (Egypt)

10:30– 11:00 (UK)                 Keynote Talk

11:30– 12:00 (Egypt)            Dr Leire Olabarria, University of Birmingham

 Session One

11:00 – 11:30 (UK)                Small Image, Big Picture. Theoretical Approaches to Scenes of Daily Life

12:00 -12:30 (Egypt)            Genevieve Holt (Macquarie University, Sydney)

11:30 – 12:00 (UK)                The Chronicle of Prince Osorkon (B): some illuminations on the

12:30 – 13:00 (Egypt)           professional career system

Karim Mohsen El Ridy (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and Cairo University)

12:00 – 12:30 (UK)                Deciphering Ptolemy I: a study of archaeological evidence to establish

13:00 – 13:30 (Egypt)           his provenance and later role as Pharaoh                     
Ana Rumi (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

12:30 – 13:30 (UK)                Lunch break

13:30 – 14:30 (Egypt)

 Session Two:

13:30 – 14:00 (UK)                Investigating the language of Amarna Period                                    

14:30 – 15:00 (Egypt)          Sherouk Shehada (Helwan University)

14:00 – 14:30 (UK)                Towards a Theory of Egypt’s God-Kings

15:00 – 15:30 (Egypt)           Gary Greenberg (Independent Researcher)

14:30 – 15:00 (UK)                Break

15.30 – 16.00 (Egypt)

 Session Three

15:00 – 15:30 (UK)                Expressions of Female Agency & Morality in ancient Egyptian               

16:00 – 16:30 (Egypt)           Biographical Texts
Mariam Ayad (The American University in Cairo)

15:30 – 16:00 (UK)                Biography of Representations of Ancient Egyptian Culture in Video Game

16:30 – 17:00 (Egypt)           Matthew Stapleton (University of Central Florida)

16:00 – 16:30 (UK)                Biography of Ancient Egyptian Bead nets 

17:00 – 17.30 (Egypt)           Debora Spizzichino (Independent Researcher)                                               

Towards a Theory of Egypt’s God-Kings Chronology

I will be presenting a paper at the Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt (the major North American Egyptological scholars organization) during the week of April 22nd, 2021. The schedule isn’t formalized yet. The title is Towards a Theory of Egypt’s God-Kings Chronology, which is based on my research for the second volume of Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-Lists. The paper will only be dealing with portions of the Egyptian side of the data. Below is a copy of the Abstract. For information about the conference, go here. After the conference, I’ll post a link to the paper.

Ancient Egypt’s only known multi-dynasty chronologies, the Turin Canon of Kings (c. 12th century B.C.E.) and Manetho’s Aegyptiaca (c. 3rd century B.C.E.), indicate that the First Dynasty was preceded by a long list of god-kings with assigned lengths of reign. Unfortunately, the Turin Canon papyrus is very badly damaged in this section and many of the god names and much of the associated chronology are either damaged or missing. As to Manetho’s history, his original text is lost and what we know about this time frame was preserved in wildly inconsistent versions preserved by several Christian scribes several centuries later who took great liberties with Manetho’s chronology and who explained why they made many changes to what Manetho wrote.

This paper introduces the theory that behind these two chronological texts stands a systematic unfolding of the Theban Creation theology with lengths of reign based on solar, lunar and stellar cycles,  and that this data can be recovered by tracing error patterns in the Manetho sources. As an introduction to the thesis, this paper will focus on the Manetho texts and (1) outline several arithmetic errors made by the scribes who passed on the manuscripts, (2) demonstrate several interpretive errors by the redactors that led to erroneous data being used in the various Manetho sources, and (3) offer one major new insight as to what the redactors misunderstood, which, when placed in context, will provide the key to unlocking the chronological and sequential arrays and explain the various inconsistencies in the Manetho sources.

The Judicial System of Palestine [under the British Mandate c. 1938]

My father, Emanuel Greenberg, a seventh generation native born Israeli, was born in Jerusalem while it was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. He grew up in the United States but on his thirteenth birthday he spent a year back at his birth place. He studied law at NYU and after getting the basic law school LLB degree (which degree has been mostly replaced nowadays by the JD degree, Juris Doctor,) he continued in the post-graduate doctoral program in law and also received an LLD degree. It was his intent at the time to go back to Jerusalem and practice law there but when he married my mother, the plan changed.

After he passed away several years ago, I rooted about his effects and found an essay he wrote on the Palestine judicial system under the British Mandate. It appears to be a preliminary draft prepared for submission while in law school. While not directly biblical in content, it does fit into the historical portion of this site’s tile. I thought its discussion of how the British government managed to handle conflicting legal problems among Jews, Arabs, Brits and foreigners was quite interesting and I thought it might be something visitors to this site might also find of value. So I scanned it and am posting it here for those who would like to read it. The original title was Judicial System of Palestine, and I added “under the British Mandate c. 1938” for context, which would have been obvious at the time.

Why you should subscribe to Bible, Myth, and History

On this site, my goal is to publish serious biblical scholarship within the mainstream framework but which offers a different perspective on what the evidence shows. I also write articles for publication, present papers at conferences, and, most importantly to me, I write books. This means that I don’t have time to publish articles in clockwork fashion, like one article a day or every week. There will often be unintended delays of weeks before a new post is published. So, if you would like to stay current with my work without constantly checking to see if I have posted something new, you can subscribe to the site and receive an email when something is posted, along with information on the post. I use a standard plug-in to manage the subscriptions and as far as I know, the only person who can use the names on the list is me. And anything I have to say to you will be posted here. So, you shouldn’t receive any notifications other than those for new posts. In order to subscribe just look for the subscription box and enter your email. It will appear in different places depending on the viewing device you use.

John 11:45-54: The Key to John’s Chronological and Narrative Structure

That John’s chronology and narrative structure differs from that in the synoptic gospels is well-recognized by New Testament scholars but not satisfactorily explained. A few years ago, I presented a paper at the annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society of Biblical Literature offering a new theory for why John’s gospel is so different from the others. I have now placed a copy of the paper on this site, accessible from either the Abstracts or Writings pages. You can read it from this link.

The topic is far more complex than could be fully presented in a brief time slot and when I finish the current book I am working on, the second volume of Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-Lists, my next book will fully examine the issues raised in this paper. There is also a more expansive discussion of these issues in my The Case for a Proto-Gospel.

The Internal Chronology of Noah’s Flood, Part 3: The J Source Chronology

For Part 1: An Overview, Click here.

For Part 2: The P Source Chronology, Click here.

Let’s now look at the J source chronology. As with the P source analysis, I will list only the verses relevant to the J chronology. Again, I will omit the two verses that Friedman assigns to P and take them up in the discussion of harmonization. Numbers in parentheses are the Genesis verse numbers.

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