For about 100 years there has been a consensus among scholars that Herod the Great reigned from 37 to 4 BCE . However, there have been several challenges to this consensus over the past four decades, the most notable being the objection raised by W.E. Filmer. This paper argues that Herod most likely reigned from late 39 BCE to early 1 BCE , and that this reconstruction of his reign can account for all of the surviving historical references to the events of Herod’s reign more logically than the current consensus can. Moreover, the reconstruction of Herod’s reign proposed in this paper accounts for all of the datable evidence relating to Herod’s reign, whereas the current consensus is unable to explain some of the evidence that it dismisses as ancient errors or that it simply ignores.He addresses the evidence for the current consensus and why this fails due to several other chronological considerations. He claims that Josephus erred with his Olympiad dates for the beginning of Herod's kingship. He shows that one must assume some chronological errors in Josephus because of internal inconsistencies; and, in assuming the 2 Olympiad dates are incorrect by one year, several other problems are resolved.
This is the summary table of Herod's life according to Steinmann's reconstruction.
|Late 39 BC||Herod appointed king by the Romans|
|Tishri 38 BC||Beginning of Herod’s first regnal year|
|10 Tishri 36 BC||Herod conquers Jerusalem|
|December 36 BC or March 35 BC||Antigonus executed|
|Tishri 35 BC||Beginning of Herod’s first regnal year in Jerusalem|
|20 BC||Herod begins work on the temple in Jerusalem|
|Late 19 or early 20 BC||Work on Temple building completed|
|12 BC||Work on Temple precincts completed|
|11 or 10 BC||Work on Caesarea Sebaste completed|
|4 BC||Murder of Herod’s brother Pheroras;|
|Antipater deposed as Herod’s heir;|
|Archelaus named Herod’s heir|
|2 BC||Jesus born|
|First quarter of 1 BC||Antipater executed; Herod dies|