Rethinking Ancient Near East Chronology


Book Details

Author  Dan Bruce
Publisher  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date   July 19, 2014
ISBN  1500269204
Pages  118

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Disclaimer: Even though the Bible is used as a source text for data, this book is a discussion of ANE chronology, not a theological or religious presentation, nor are the chronological arguments set forth for rethinking ancient ANE chronology faith-based. Parts of this book have been previously set forth in Synchronized Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms by the same author.

This book presents chronological speculations that require temporarily setting aside established assumptions about the history of the ancient Near East so as to consider an alternative historical timeline that claims to reflect a better interpretation of the available historical data. Without intent to call anyone’s scholarship into question, this book is nevertheless intended to raise reasonable doubt about the validity of ancient Near East chronology, and thus its history, as currently understood. It does so by calling attention to the Assyrian timeline and the fact that it has inconsistencies that result from not taking into account relevant chronological details preserved in the Bible. This book asserts that, by not including the biblical data, the traditional Assyrian chronology is incorrect and features an incomplete timeline that has led to misunderstanding of the ANE region’s history prior to the year 745 BCE.

The methodology used in this book to make the case for rethinking ANE chronology hearkens back to a premise popular in ages past, namely, that the Bible is a trustworthy source of chronological and historical data, a source text that can be used with confidence by chronologists and historians to calibrate an accurate timeline for the ancient Near East kingdoms of Israel, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Levant. That latter idea will no doubt be viewed with skepticism, especially by those who have placed their faith in the absolute reliability of the Assyrian Eponym List and Chronicles as providing the only true base timeline for aligning all chronologies for the ancient kingdoms that once dominated the region. However, the current Assyrian-based ANE timeline being used throughout academia exhibits contradictions prior to 745 BCE that have yet to be satisfactorily explained. Finding a basis for constructing a new chronology that allows all timelines to harmonize is a goal that scholars everywhere should be able to support. As a first step in that process, this book’s New Hebrew Kings Chronology has been harmonized with the independently assembled timeline for ancient Egypt. That both the Hebrew and Egyptian timelines align with one another, while the Assyrian timeline exhibits disharmony when compared to them, suggests that it is the Assyrian chronology in need of revision. By identifying places where adjustments to the Assyrian timeline can produce the desired harmony, this book calls for revising ancient Near East chronology.

Author's Comment: "Most people, even famous pastors, rabbis, and other Christian and Jewish leaders, are not aware that the chronology featured in their study Bible and favorite Bible commentary is not based on the Bible, but instead on secular Assyrian chronology as developed from archeological finds made in the 1800s. Over the years, to achieve harmony with that secular Assyrian timeline, Bible scholars have compressed the biblical timeline to fit into Assyrian history, and to do so they have had to say that the biblical text contains errors. Even the best of the modern Bible expositors have accepted a chronology that supports the view of a Bible that is flawed, at least chronologically. That's why I feel this book is important. It shows that the error is not with the Bible but instead with the secular Assyrian chronology, and then it shows how the biblical chronology can be used to re-align the Assyrian timeline before 745 BCE in order to better understand ancient Near East history."

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