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[XTalk] Re: Rising After 3 Days

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  • Bernard Muller
    Robert Kaster wrote: Bernhard, actually you are right, you did miss something, namely, the last half of the quotation. Sorry for the confusion, I was
    Message 1 of 22 , Jul 1, 1999
      Robert Kaster wrote:
      >
      > Bernhard,
      > actually you are right, you did miss something, namely, the last half of the
      > quotation. Sorry for the confusion, I was rushing off to work, and thought
      > that I had typed in the important part. Here it is:
      > "Tacitus elsewhere speaks of Piso's reign as lasting four days (Hist. i. 19
      > and 48). According to our reckoning, it lasted five clear days, but there
      > were only four unbroken days of sovereignty."

      Tacitus chose to take in account only the full days of sovereignty and
      not to include the partial two days. Accepted.
      One point can be made: if "Mark" would have followed the same notion as
      Tacitus did, then he would have talked about one day of death or 'after
      one day' (the whole Sabbath day, the only complete day of Jesus' death).
      Another point can also be entertained: if "five days" is more accurate
      than "four days" to describe the duration of Piso's "reign", then "Mark"
      would have written about 'two days' to adequatly reflect the 39 hours,
      wouldn't he?

      >
      > A second example:
      > Cicero says that Aemilius Paulus, the conqueror of Macedonia, lost two sons
      > within 7 days.
      > Livy says the younger died 5 days before the triumph was celebrated, and the
      > elder 3 days after.
      > Livy says that the triumph was on the 14th.
      > If the younger died on the 10th,

      Five days before the 14th would be the 9th, not the 10th.

      > and the elder on the 16th,

      Three days after the 14th would be the 17th, not the 16th.


      > then you have 7
      > days according to Cicero, and Livy's figures are also understandable > within
      > this system.
      > I don't have either of these books to check the exact reading, but > Cicero is
      > ad Fam. iv. 6. 1 and Livy is xlv. 40.

      I do not see how the two accounts can be harmonized and it appears to me
      that one of the two made an error about the timing. However, in the case
      of GMark, the **same** author is equating "after three days" with 39
      hours.

      > There are a few other examples dealing with years, but would require too
      > much typing. I think that if you take the quotes from Tacitus as textually
      > correct, then either Tacitus made a mistake, or he felt justified in using
      > either counting system.
      >
      > For Livy, I think that we would say today that the younger died 4 days
      > before, and the older 2 days after.

      Not necessarily so. Keeping 5 days and reducing the 3 days to only 2,
      would be enough to have the deaths occuring 'within seven days" as a
      duration of 168 hours.


      It seems that Livy felt a bit more
      > freedom with his math, than we do today. Maybe it has something to do with
      > using Roman numerals instead of Arabic?

      Maybe, but I am not convinced about this "ancient" math, from what you
      have presented. I think the Romans, as excellent administrators, were
      less ambivalent about keeping record of durations (in days or years)
      than you suggest. Of course, that would not prevent them to make
      occasional errors in their writing.

      Bernard
      http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/

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    • Robert Kaster
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      Message 2 of 22 , Jul 3, 1999
        >>Tacitus chose to take in account only the full days of sovereignty and not
        to include the partial two days. >>Accepted.

        >>One point can be made: if "Mark" would have followed the same notion as
        Tacitus did, then he would have
        >>talked about one day of death or 'after one day' (the whole Sabbath day,
        the only complete day of Jesus'
        >>death). Another point can also be entertained: if "five days" is more
        accurate than "four days" to describe the
        >>duration of Piso's "reign", then "Mark" would have written about 'two
        days' to adequatly reflect the 39 hours,
        >>wouldn't he?

        My point here would be that Tacitus used both "six days" as well as "four
        days" to refer to the same time period. Granted, in one instance, he is
        quoting someone who may be trying to stretch the time as much as possible,
        but Tacitus made no derogatory comment concerning his accuracy. If this was
        common, or at least accepted at that time, then Mark could be justified in
        referring to 39 hours as three days. Even if he did stretch the number to
        its maximum allowable limit, and did this with a deliberate intention to
        "prove" a theological point, he does not seem to have crossed the line from
        "history" into "myth". At least not the line that existed when Tacitus
        wrote.

        >>Five days before the 14th would be the 9th, not the 10th.
        >>Three days after the 14th would be the 17th, not the 16th.>




        Five days, counting that any portion of a day, gets credited as a day: 14,
        13, 12, 11, 10. Likewise with the three days after, would require counting
        any portion of a day as a whole day: 14, 15, 16. Cicero could have been
        trying to emphasize the shortness of the time - only seven days. Livy
        provided more a bit more detail.

        >>Maybe, but I am not convinced about this "ancient" math, from what you
        have presented. I think the Romans,
        >>as excellent administrators, were less ambivalent about keeping record of
        durations (in days or years) than
        >>you suggest. Of course, that would not prevent them to make occasional
        errors in their writing.
        >>Bernard

        I agree that these two examples do not prove that the Romans were afflicted
        by what a modern historian could generously classify as ambiguous dating. I
        am not in a position to make an authoritative pronouncement on this topic,
        but I think that they do indicate that it is possible that they ( first
        century Romans) did not consider using the ambiguity associated with
        counting portions of days to a certain advantage to be disingenuous. I
        think that "good history records" and "good administration records" were
        probably subjected to different standards at that time. The article I
        quoted before also mentions Tacitus' biography of Agricola. One must read
        all the way to the conclusion before there is any mention made of any dates.
        The author of the article attributes this to fine literary custom (first
        century standards). In the conclusion, only the birth and death dates are
        specified. A modern would consider this to be horrible history, especially
        if one were trying to write a paper on this man.

        To prove that this practice was common would require more than just two
        examples, but I think that they are sufficient to indicate that it is
        possible.
        Thanks for your comments,
        Bob Kaster


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