The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 November 2005

Gonna party like it's 1709

Which, according to Dr Hans-Ulrich Niemitz, is next year.

The Phantom Time Hypothesis [link requires Adobe Reader] by Dr Niemitz and various associates asserts that 297 nonexistent years have been inserted into the calendar, all during the early Middle Ages, where documentation is always sparse and often forged, and where there are many unexplained gaps in the historical record.

What gaps, you ask?

[A] gap in the history of building in Constantinople (558 AD 908 AD); a gap in the doctrine of faith, especially the gap in the evolution of theory and meaning of purgatory (600 AD until ca. 1100); a 300-year-long reluctant introduction of farming techniques (three-acre-system, horse with cummet) and of war techniques (stirrup); a gap in the mosaic art (565 AD 1018 AD).

And there are other clues as well:

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII started the so-called "Gregorian calendar", which is basically a corrected version of the old Julian calendar of Julius Caesar. The Julian calendar, after being used for a long time, no longer corresponded with the astronomical situation. The difference, according to calculations by Pope Gregory, amounted to 10 days. Now please calculate: how many Julian years does it take to produce an error of 10 days? The answer is 1257 years.

Count back 1257 years from 1582, and Caesar apparently promulgated his calendar in 325, a neat trick for someone who died in 44 BC. If the years were correct, the calendar should have been off 13 days by 1582, not ten.

I'm not sure what to make of this. It seems at least reasonably possible that we might have lost an accurate count over the years, though I think more likely it's a year or two here and there, rather than a sudden jump of two or three centuries. And it's generally believed that "1 AD" is off a couple of ticks; the sixth-century calculations by Dionysius Exiguus set the birth of Jesus Christ one to four years after the death of Herod the Great, which conflicts with chapter 2 of Matthew's Gospel, in which Herod plays a pivotal role. (The usual date given for Herod's death is 4 BC.)

I'm waiting to see if anyone does a detailed comparison to the Hebrew calendar. (The Muslim calendar, presumably by coincidence, seems to kick in during the period in question.)

Alan Bellows has a good, if skeptical, piece on this at Damn Interesting, which I caught by way of serotoninrain.

Posted at 10:25 AM to Almost Yogurt

Well, I'm getting into Middle Age myself, so maybe I'd better start drinking heavily, to make sure I lose some of those years and help bring things back into balance...

Posted by: McGehee at 1:35 PM on 12 November 2005

Thanks for the link!

You are indeed correct about the conflict over Herod. Of course, there was more than one. Nonetheless, that peculiarity in the Gospels has given plenty of scholars more than a spot of trouble.

And you make an interesting observation about the Muslim calendar. I hadn't thought of that and I don't recall it being mentioned in the piece by Bellows. A scoop for Dustbury!

I'm inclined to agree that we may have missed a year or two along the line.

Hmmm... maybe we could all add a year or two to our lives. If the article is correct than we've got lots to choose from.


Posted by: Jim at 2:31 PM on 12 November 2005

So does this mean that I can advertise that table I bought a few years back as a 17th century original?

Posted by: Punctilious at 5:55 PM on 12 November 2005

The Jewish calendar is lunar, but since each year is 365 1/4 days long, every once in a while they bung in an extra month, so that harvest festivals do not take place in the middle of winter, etc. I believe the Muslim calendar is also lunar, but doesn not account for the discrepancy; therefore Ramadan, for instance, keeps coming up at different times of the year. I could be wrong about this, but I don't know or care very much about the finer points of the Religion of Peace.

Posted by: miriam at 1:54 AM on 13 November 2005

Most interesting...but not terribly useful. My kind of stuff!

They should have had bloggers back then 'cause we are never silent and would have blabbed away during those suspected missing years and left a record.

I suspect that future historians will find a missing 8 year period at the beginning of the 21st century, a period when nothing happened that we don't want to forget.

Posted by: Winston at 8:33 AM on 13 November 2005

The Muslim calendar isn't as "fixed" as the others; a month (or a holiday) begins when the crescent moon is literally sighted, which, given the rotation of the earth and various other factors, tends to vary rather a lot. From

Ramadan: The Astronomical New Moon is on Monday October 3, 2005 at 10:28 Universal Time. Looking at the visibilty curve one can understand that the moon is in the Southern Hemisphere. The moon is about 15 hours old and being too low on the horizon for North America will set in 14 min. after sunset on west coast. It cannot be seen in North America nor anywhere East of USA October 3. On October 4, it will be visible in most of the world except most of Asia and Europe, where it will be 24 to 31 hours old and less than 2 degrees above the horizon, still not visible. In Europe and most of Asia, it cannot be seen until October 5, when it will be 48 to 55 hours old. Accordingly, the first day of Ramadan will be on Wednesday, October 5, 2005 for North America and most of the world, except most of Asia and Europe, Insha-Allah.

I imagine this makes keeping one's Day Planner updated rather tricky at times.

Back on the Gregorian scale, and just incidentally, Easter (except among the Orthodox churches) will be celebrated on 2 April 2124.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:41 AM on 13 November 2005

No, Winston -- that's the end of the 20th century. ;-p

Posted by: McGehee at 9:47 AM on 13 November 2005