When Was Samaria Captured? The Need for Precision In Biblical Chronologies -- By: Rodger C. Young
JETS 47:4 (December 2004) p. 577
When Was Samaria Captured?
The Need for Precision In Biblical Chronologies
[Rodger Young resides at 1115 Basswood Lane, St. Louis, MO 63132.]
1 Factors That Produce Wrong Chronologies
The major factors that continue to produce confusion in the field of OT chronology are (1) the scholar imposes his schemes and presuppositions on the information available from the Scripture texts rather than first determining the methods used by the authors of Scripture and then accommodating his ideas to the methods of those authors; (2) even when the methods of Scripture are determined, the scholar fails to consider all the possibilities inherent in the scriptural texts; and (3) the scholar’s methodology lacks precision and accuracy in the expression of dates and in the calculations based on those dates.
The first factor results in the largest amount of confusion, because the chronologies produced are generally very free in discarding the scriptural data that does not agree with the theories of the investigator, and those theories and their resultant chronologies are only acceptable to the narrow group that shares the same presuppositions about which data should be rejected.
For the second factor, the scholar may have determined the methods of the scriptural author and then adapted his presuppositions to those methods, but he still can overlook possibilities that are in keeping with his approach simply because he did not think of them. This was discussed in my two previous articles.1 In those articles, examples were given of the consequences when a combination of factors was overlooked, and it was demonstrated that these overlooked possibilities can resolve problems that the original author could not adequately explain. The best-known example of this is Edwin Thiele’s failure to consider a coregency between Ahaz and Hezekiah,2 even though Thiele argued for a coregency to solve problems with other reign lengths—this will be discussed further below. Another example was the failure of most scholars to explore non-accession reckoning for the reign of Zedekiah, which is the main reason that many chronologies place the capture
JETS 47:4 (December 2004) p. 578
of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar one year too late.3 Unlike the first factor, this kind of oversight may not be due to any willful desire to advance a theory at the expense of the data, but because chronologists have not had the proper methodology which allows them to state all their presuppositions and then to lay out all the possibilities that...
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