Dating annals

04 May

A wisp of pubic hair here, a butt shot there, arch that back, thrust those hips. Could you guess that, despite her name, director Sam Taylor-Johnson is a woman?

Yes, if only for the most telling and perhaps wisest omission.

Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

Gordon Stein denied the authenticity of this passage, arguing: (1) there is no corroborating evidence that Nero persecuted the Christians; (2) there was not a multitude of Christians in Rome at that date; (3) 'Christian' was not a common term in the first century; (4) Nero was indifferent to various religions in his city; (5) Nero did not start the fire in Rome; (6) Tacitus does not use the name Jesus; (7) Tacitus assumes his readers know Pontius Pilate; (8) the passage is present word-for-word in the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus. At best, (1), (2), and (5) only cast doubt on the reliability of the passage; these are not good reasons for rejecting the authenticity of the passage. Contrary to what Stein claims, (6) and (7) suggest that Pontius Pilate might have been relatively unknown. The fact that a later author expanded the passage in no way makes it probable that the original passage was interpolated.

Even James Ussher (1581-1656), the famous and respected Archbishop of Ireland in the seventeenth century, is today greatly ridiculed for declaring that the world was created in 4004 BC.

However, this date was widely accepted until people began to believe in ideas such as billions of years of Earth history.

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