I don't wish to belabor this, but I do want to ensure I've 'turned over every rock' to discover any error in my own research. So, 3 follow up questions, please?I need to emphasize that I think scriptural data takes priority. That doesn't mean that other data is useless, it is just that I think scripture gives chronological data far more emphatically that some realise. So I strongly think that Daniel's prophecy refers to the time of Jesus. I also strongly think that the post Persian period is discussed biblically and has a clear scriptural resolution. I also think it is likely that God intends the Old Testament to give a chronology from Creation to Christ. That means that I have less time for chronologies that require Persian histories to give us the period between the Babylon captivity and Artaxerxes. Now that you know my biases...
1) On what basis do you think Ptolemy is wrong? And even so, the neo-babylonian regnal dates are established by modern archeologists/ chronographers independently of Ptolemy's King list which to my knowledge has neither been shown wrong (beyond a few hours in his star catalog) nor is it relied upon after 700BC as mesopotamian cuneiforms provide direct chronologies.I am somewhat ignorant concerning Babylonian and Assyrian data. I am aware that it exists, but have not read a lot of it. However I do know a little (not a lot) about eclipses. I am also aware that previous revisionist material exists and I do not think it is beyond ancient (or modern) historians to fabricate data to encourage acceptance of their ideas.
Ptolemy was an astronomer. Although he may have access to data we no longer have, he also predicted astronomical events; he was certainly able to add data to his histories. I am not suggesting he did, just that it was possible with the understanding of astronomy of that time (as I understand the situation).
The problem with synchronising eclipses is that the archaeologists and historians already had a timeframe with which they were working with. So when eclipse data predicted on modern computers is matched with ancient data, they look to match eclipses that seem to appear at the same time. If there is an eclipse in Babylon at a time of about 700 BC, they are going to ignore eclipses that are several years prior or later. In fact they may ignore very close eclipses if they are reasonably sure of their dates by other means.
Now due to variation in the earth's rotation speed and some minor changes with the moon, there is a range of areas and times where eclipses occur. This is understood. When dealing with ancient times they calculate the error based on the difference between the calculated and written data. This is fine, but if you then use the data to say one date has preference over another (when there is a dispute) you are now arguing circularly. Standard date is X. Error in eclipse data is said to be x based on predicted versus observed (assuming X is true). New date is Y. This doesn't fit because the error is x. But if Y is assumed, then the error is y (based on predicted versus Y), and under that assumption then X may (or may not) be excluded. I am not saying that X is unacceptable, rather that so much is built on it that advocates of X exclude Y on several lines of evidence that seem to be independent on X but are actually dependent on it.
In terms of direct chronologies, the Assyrians have year lists. That is reasonable, but when were they written compared to the event? The fact that the Hebrew history gives the negative and the positive versus other histories that are adjusted to show the victor in a good light means that the Hebrew should be given a more credence. And I give it even more because it is scripture. When Thiele adjusts Hebrew data to fit Assyrian (removes about 50 years of Hebrew kingship) I don't buy it. I would adjust the Assyrian first. For the 2 reasons above and a third; a complex chronology within a history with multiple comparison points (Hebrew version) is intrinsically stronger than a list. That is also why I don't give much to Manetho's king list (that and he wrote centuries after the events).
2) If you date Cyrus decree to 3477 A.M. doesn't that equal 283 BC to which when 483 years is added => 200 AD which obviously can't be right for the fulfillment of Daniel's 69 weeks? Or is this an erroneous artifact of what you termed the "standard Hebrew dating"? Do you dispute the calendar conversion website I linked? Is there some other Hebrew dating you use?No, because I don't use the standard Hebrew calendar. Modern Israel has AM dating based on calculations by Yossi ben Halafta. He dates from the creation of Adam. I don't agree with his interpretation of biblical data, so our AM dates don't match up. You can't compare the AM dates I give with the AM dates that is seen in Jewish newspapers. There will be a conversion factor. There is not likely a problem with the conversion on the website you mention, it is just they are using the standard Hebrew dating which I personally thinks needs tweaking to be more accurate.
I think Ussher's dating is more accurate than the modern Jewish one, though obviously prefer mine over Ussher's—they differ less though.
3) are you relying on the Sedar Olam for any of your chronology, and if so might you share a link or cite please to whatever you feel is the most credible source for Sedar Olam chronologies?I am not relying on the Sedar Olam, my chronology is completely derived from scriptural references. What is interesting with the Sedar Olam is it gives the Persian empire a duration of about 80 years compared to the usual 200. And the Hebrew calendar you mention differs in the dating of the destruction of the first temple compared with the Gregorian/ Julian because of this period.
An aside, the number of Persian kings before the Greeks as given by Daniel does not square with profane chronology.
I'm not arguing so much as wanting to understand the basis for any alternative view, again just to ensure I understand and fully vet my own research.Agreed. I think there is a lot out there, but there is much more in scripture than many realise. I think it worth the effort to read a lot of scripturally based chronological research. I recommend reading all of James Jordan's material. I disagree with him at times, but it is still essential reading. He is a preterist, so that will colour his views on eschatology but it has little impact on Old Testament chronology. Ernest Martin's book The Star of Bethlehem is about dating Christ's birth in the Julian/ Gregorian calendar. You can view the flash demonstration of the astronomical events before deciding to read the book. One needs an anchor from scriptural chronology to the current dating system. I think Martin provides the best evidence for the time of Christ's birth and the best anchor point (along with the date of his crucifixion) to Anno Domini.