[b-hebrew] Dates of Ezra and Nehemiah

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sun Sep 17 21:58:10 EDT 2006

As I recall, the whole basis of discrediting Rashi, and the counting 
of events from the year of creation, is that first Temple was 
destroyed - according to secular sources - in 586 BC, while Seder 
Olam, and Rashi, says it was 422 BC (as computed from the time of 
creation of the world) - and my question, is - what are the sources 
for saying that it was 586 BC??  Who had better records than 


On 9/17/06, Shoshanna Walker wrote, quoting me:

> > Belief in prophecy is not a condition for reconstructing history, 
>much less so
> > when the text involved (Daniel) is a complex prophecy that is not 
>clear on what
> > it refers to.

> It is very clear when you agree that Chazal made it their business to
> know our history and record it in writing.

It is not a matter of agreement.  I offered evidence, that R' Yose's dating
scheme for the Persian period was erroneous.  In fact, I think most
Orthodox Jews (I don't know about Haredi Jewry), would accept that R'
Yose may have been in error.  Similarly, most would accept that the
traditional interpretation of Daniel which is based / related to R' Yose's
dating scheme may be similarly wrong.  In any case, even though I
offered evidence his dating scheme was erroneous based on documents
that were written (not simply copied or passed down orally) during the
times "events really happened", you have not countered this evidence.
You don't have to, but it makes no sense to then criticize me a week
afterwards for not "agreeing" that HZ"L made it their business to know
our history.

The very fact that you claim to need HZ"L to interpret the text means that the
text itself is not straightforward and simple, but complex.  The HZ"L 
may be one way to interpret the text, and may even offer several competing
ways to interpret the text, as is Christian tradition, and as is reviewing the
text itself to see what it means based on the merits of the text
itself.  In fact,
I view the exact dating independently of the events so that I do not 
believe that the exact dating of the years corresponds to actual events.  They
may or they may not, and this itself has to be judged, in my opinion, on the
merits of the text itself.

Yitzhak Sapir
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