Scientific Date for Destruction of Herod's Temple in AD70
- Josephus, a secular Jewish historian, witnessed the temple's destruction and observed the temple's burning occurred on the 10th day of the 5th Jewish month.
Josephus also noted that Babylon had burned Solomon's temple on the same date in prior history. Josephus wrote:
"Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house; but, as for that house, God had for certain long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous [Av], upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon."(1)
Scientific Dating Josephus' Words
In the reference above, Josephus reveals that the Romans set fire to the temple on the 10th day of the 5th Jewish month. We must convert Josephus' Hebrew calendar date, which is based on the moon, to the Julian calendar date. This process will use the astronomical position of the moon in the year A.D. 70 to discover that the Julian calendar date of August 5 equates to the Hebrew calendar date of the 10th day of the 5th Jewish month (Av 10). I will use charts to simplify this process and to illustrate how Josephus' Hebrew calendar date converts to the Julian calendar date.
The first day of any Hebrew month begins with a new moon. Since Josephus reveals the temple burned on the 10th day of the month, we know ten days had passed since the new moon. Since the 5th Hebrew month, Av, contains 30 days, 20 days remained from the date of the temple's destruction to the end of the month as shown in the following chart.
We visually understand by the chart above that the temple burned 20 days before the next new moon.
The sixth Jewish month, called Elul, contains 29 days. Let's add the 20 days left in the 5th Jewish month, Av, to the 29 days in the 6th Jewish month, Elul. This totals 49 days as shown in the following chart:
The chart above illustrates how 49 days are counted in this manner.
Finally, the Jewish New Year occurs on the 1st day of the 7th Hebrew month, called Tishri. We add one day to the 49 days illustrated above to equal 50 total days. This means that the Romans set fire to the temple 50 days before the new moon in September, AD 70. (The Jewish month Tishri normally began in either September or early October). Following is a chart showing how the temple's burning occurred 50 days before the September new moon.
The chart above illustrates how 50 days are counted in this manner, showing that the Romans burned the temple 50 days before the new moon in September, AD 70. We simply find the time of the new moon on an astronomical chart and subtract 50 days.
However, Josephus gives us a second detail that reveals the temple's burning probably occurred on a Sunday. Josephus writes about the activities of the Jewish people the day before the temple burned.
"On this day the Jews were so weary, and under such consternation, that they refrained from any attacks."(2)
- Josephus implies that the day before the temple burned was a Sabbath or Saturday. This means the Romans set fire to Herod's temple on a Sunday.
The 50 day counting and Sunday burning allow us to pinpoint the day on which the temple burned. When we count back 50 days from the new moon in September, AD 70, we must come to a Sunday.
Astronomical charts show that a new moon occurred on Sunday, September 23, AD 70, at 5:21 a.m.(3) Ideal times for the first day of the lunar month could have been as early as Saturday, September 22 to as late as Wednesday, September 26. However, when we count back 50 days to a Sunday, there is only one answer. The Jewish New Year occurred on Monday, September 24. Fifty days before September 24 brings us to Sunday, August 5, AD 70, as follows:
Astronomy and the secular writings of Josephus enable us to pinpoint the day Rome set fire to Herod's temple. Astronomy has a natural relationship to Daniel's "time-oriented" prophecy.
Scriptural References about Jerusalem's Destruction in A.D. 70:
- Daniel 9:26 "the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary[the temple]"
Luke 21:20-24 "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. . . . and they[the Jewish people] will fall by the edge of the sword and will be led captive into all the nations."
Secular Witness to the Temple's Destruction:
- Josephus wrote in detail about the date of the temple's burning.
What do YOU think ?
Submit Your Comments For Posting Here
Comment Box Disabled For Security
Date: 26 Apr 2007
You missed the mark by one day.
If you want to know why, please contact me.
Juarez R. Oliveira
Date: 07 May 2009
No month always has 29 days if it is based on observance of the new moon
crescent. Once the Jews were driven out of Jerusalem and could not observe
the new moon in Jerusalem they set up days in a month conventions which do
not always follow real new moon observances. My software shows Ab 10, 70 AD
beginning the evening of Sunday August 5th (Julian). This means at mid-night
it changed to Monday August 6th and thus the day light portion of Ab 10 was
Monday August 6, 70 AD. Also the month Ab had 29 days based on the new moon
observance as calculated by the software. The lack of work the day before
the temple was burnt was because they were tired Not because it was a
Dr Pete Moore
Date: 08 Dec 2009
so what is the meaning of 587 BCE? As to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Date: 09 Jan 2010
The Jewish new year did not start in Tishri at this point in history. The
Rabbis have scammed us.