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09 June 2011

Dating History

Next week we start our formal study of history. We'll spend a week talking about the roles of archaeology, scripture, and revelation in knowing what happened in the past, then we'll start with Creation the following week. I'm very excited, except for one thing: the dates in ancient history give me a headache. I'll be starting with Creation, placing Adam & Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden at 4000BC, but from there things get very tricky. The Bible Dictionary's "Chronology" entry says this:

Bible chronology deals with fixing the exact dates of the various events recorded. For the earliest parts of the O.T. history we rely entirely on the scripture itself; but the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint or Greek translation, and the Samaritan Pentateuch do not agree together, so that many dates cannot be fixes with certainty. From the time of David onwards we get much assistance from secular history, e.g., inscriptions on monuments and other state records. Much work has still to be done in this direction. The dates found at the top of many printed English Bibles are due to Archbishop Ussher. Some of them have been shown to be incorrect...

Saul's reign is listed at 1095BC, with David's reign beginning around 1055. There's a whole lot of time between 4000BC and 1095. And I need to come to peace with some kind of dating system so as to not confuse my munchkin with the nuances of dating. Ugh. The Story of the World,starting in chapter 2, has dates that at least fit into the 4000BC - present timeframe. We may just go with those dates, and fit the Biblical history in the best we can; I'm no kind of expert and for a lot of the things we study in history I'll be learning right along with Monkey.  I already have a Book of Centuries that I made several years ago. Now I'm printing out this one for him to use. I love a lot of things a BoC does. Keeps things in order, brings perspective to time, helps to see what different areas of the world were doing, and helps me remember and relate stuff I've already studied to new topics of study. But a BoC does require dates. And right this minute that's sort of stressful.

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