Dating Herod

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at
Mon Feb 19 13:04:01 EST 2001

Jack Finegan follows  W. E. Filmer and Ernest L. Martin in maintaining a date of 1 BC for the death of Herod. Their argument is that Josephus' eclipse might have been the one on 9/10 Jan 1 BC preceding the passover on April 8 of that year. Josephus also states that Herod's reign began in a Sabbatical year on Day of Atonement, or, Oct 25, 36 BC so his 34 regnal Jewish years plus 1 ascension year would have his end in 2/1 BC. Also, better manuscripts of Josephus' Antiquities 18.106 have Herod's son Phillip dying in the 22nd year of Tiberias (AD 35/36) instead of the 20th year of the poorer manuscripts of previous researchers. If Phillip can be counted on to have reigned for 37 years then we have also a date of 1 BC for Herod's death. So if Jesus' birth was 2 years or less before that, then we have a date of 3/2 BC for Jesus. This date is supported by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Africanus, Hippolytus of Rome, Hippolytus of Thebes, Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Cassiodorus Senator, and Orosius.

After reading David Rohl's book I began to take an interest in chronological matters, being convinced that things are not as set in stone as many would like to believe. I would say that Herod's death illustrates this point as well.


Given that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great, who died in 4 BCE, you should see that to call it BC and AD would be inaccurate. We should move the system back at least four years for it to be accurate. That is an impossibility, given the user base of the current system. What do you have against using CE and BCE? They neither contain the inaccuracy of BC/AD, nor
are they inappropriate for believers of other religions.


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