Correspondence: Bible Chronology
February 6, 2007
Dear Dr. Aardsma,
We met when you were at ICR and I was a graduate student.
I visited your site today to try and find recent articles on the latest estimates for the date of Creation and the Flood. Can you tell me (or recommend an article) which would explain the differences for these dates for Ussher's chronology, the current Jewish calendar, the chronology generally accepted by Bible scholars, and your own assessment (which I assume is the one on the home page, available for download.)
Do you still hold that a millennium has been lost before 1000 BC? If so, is that included in your timeline? (It appears to me that it is.)
In His Service,
I am afraid I am too busy with other responsibilities to do all that you have asked. But I do not wish to hold you up in your search for information. So let me respond briefly to what I can answer quickly.
Yes, I still hold that a millennium has been lost from traditional Bible chronology. I spent a very great deal of time researching this after leaving ICR a dozen years ago. The result of my intensive investigation was that I ceased to regard the missing millennium hypothesis as tentative. As I see it, the evidence in support of the missing millennium is conclusive at this stage.
Yes, the time chart shown on the home page of www.biblicalchronologist.org includes the missing 1000 years, pushing all dates from Creation through to the Conquest back 1000 years earlier than traditional Biblical chronology calculates. The home page chart is "Aardsma's chronology of the Bible", as placing the mouse pointer over it should show.
There is much variation within limited bounds between Bible chronologies calculated by different scholars through the years. This is because the Bible gives no dates, it gives only lengths of years between successive events. One must work back in time using extra-biblical data to link the modern calendar to Bible chronology to get absolute calendar dates. Then one must add up the numbers found in various places in the Bible to derive a complete Bible chronology back to Creation. Bible interpretation issues arise along the way, accounting for some of the differences calculated by different scholars. Variations found in the Bible numbers themselves in different Old Testament manuscripts account for more of the differences. The result is that no two scholars ever get exactly the same Bible dates. But then, they do not get wildly different dates either. Dates of Creation, for example, generally are found to diverge on the order of 1000 years or less. Stated scientifically, one finds a roughly 10% variation in calculated dates of Creation calculated by different chronologists since the time of Christ---not bad really.
Hope this helps. A more thorough discussion with illustrative dates can be found in The Biblical Chronologist, Volume 6, Number 2, available through the BC web site store (http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/products/archives/vol6.php). Also of help in the current context is "The Age of the Earth Doctrine in the Early Church", BC vol 1, no 2 (http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/products/archives/vol1.php).