The Bible dates itself

by Arthur Earle

reviewed by A.F.Whillock

It is not possible to work through the dates and ages 0f Biblical characters to deduce a satisfactory chronology either of Jewish history or its correlation with parallel civilisations. Not for the want of trying, since no book has been more thoroughly and critically studied. but always with the mis-apprehension that counting by tens has been the only method for all time.

Mr. Earle, in a book bursting with facts and ideas, has neatly resolved the discrepancies by discovering that, up to the reign of Ahaz in -741 (Gregorian), the Jews counted in sevens (1) their number of perfection. Thus, he claims, and the arithmetic is indisputable, errors that have been attributed to carelessness by the old chroniclers are due to the way in which they have been misinterpreted. A simple example is that Jacob told Pharoah he was an hundred and thirty years old when his movements and activities could not extend over more than seventy: now seventy is written as "130" in base seven. Again, Moses was an hundred and twenty years old"... "his eye was not dim nor were his natural forces abated". This is credible if the 'hundred and twenty' is "120" base seven or 63 in base ten. Clearly, assumptions that groups of sevens were tens by uncritical decimalists has stretched Hebrew records to cause internal and external contradictions.

The period from the Sojourn in Egypt to the Exodus is much debated (not to mention Magnus Magnusson's doubts about the whole episode). Using the Masoretic text for dating, a close examination of all possibilities starts the Sojourn at the death 0f Abraham in -1424, which gives Genesis 15, v13-16 historical significance. The promotion of Joseph in -1325 was also the start of the reign 0f Akenaton, who undertook lavish building projects. He survived the turmoil of those days under the protection of his master Potiphar/Potipherah who usurped the throne as Horemhab after the tragic dissolution of the house of Amenhotep.

With this dating as anchor point, and converting the septenary dates of the Patriarchal era to denary, the birth of Shem, father of all the S(h)emites, is put at -1785 Gregorian which is 1044 years back from the end of base seven counting in -741. Converted to base seven its value is 3021, which is also the date of Ahaz in the Hebrew calendar from their estimation of the time of creation. In a septenary scale, forgotten by its originators and overlooked by their redactors, the start of the Hebrew calendar must be at the time of the Flood and with the birth of Shem. The word "shem" has a connotation "zero" as well as "name" and "Noah" means "rest", i.e.. a halt to the previous series of impossible longevities - Methuselah and all that. Nothing can be determined about this period, which probably refers to tribal ages and not to those of individuals.

This logical discovery could be dismissed as a coincidence, but Mr. Earle goes on to re-work the details of the chronologies of the Kings of Israel and Judah. A satisfactory correlation between the two converts a plausible theory into a certainty, unless there is a form of Arithmetic in which two plus two does not equal four.

(1) their chronology was counted in sevens

"The Bible Dates Itself" was printed privately in America; the author's address was given as 45 Tulip Circle, Southampton, Pa, 18966 USA.)