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[XTalk] Re: Rising After 3 Days

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  • Robert Kaster
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    Message 1 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

      >>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.

      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
      Thanks for your comments,
      Bob Kaster

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