Against Barnes’s placement of Josephus’s eclipse in 5 BC, Martin has raised three objections, all depending on subtle conjectural distortion of the account we find in Josephus—distortion similar to what Johnson also found in Martin’s picture of events when we set the eclipse in 4 BC.
saatestato gamocdebi - Dating events from the birth of christ
Notice that these twin totals, 34/37 years, strongly bolster the dates for Herod's accession.
The numbers 34 and 37 differ by three, as do the two Roman consular dates. Filmer and his followers argue that placement of Herod's death in 1 BC allows us to accept the ancient tradition that Jesus was born in 3 or 2 BC.
Therefore, the consular dates and the twin totals are mutually corroborating. The four earliest Christian writers who report the date of Jesus' birth are Irenaeus (late second century), Clement of Alexandria (about AD 200), Tertullian (early third century), and Africanus (early third century) (23).
Agreement would almost certainly fail if any one of the four time markers was erroneous when Josephus set it down, or if any was corrupted in later manuscripts. Africanus specifies the date in terms that can be understood as 3/2 BC (24).
The matter is exceedingly complex, but capable of a convincing solution if we weigh all the evidence carefully, without prejudice.
Then 5 BC emerges as by far the most credible date of Jesus' birth.At one point in his narrative, Josephus states that he is taking information from Nicolaus, Herod’s official "historiographer" (16).Nicolaus was a courtly sycophant who painted the king as heroic.Yet to keep Herod’s death no later than 4 BC, we need not squeeze Josephus's narrative into a narrow time frame.Timothy Barnes suggested that the lunar eclipse intended by Josephus is not the partial eclipse on 13 March 4 BC but the spectacular total eclipse on 15 September 5 BC (11).Three time markers in Josephus stand out as most specific and credible. One reason these two time markers may be viewed as trustworthy is that the most likely source of precise Roman dates for events connected with Herod's reign, about a century before Josephus's time, would be a source close to Herod himself; that is, an official source.