Talk:Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses

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Thomas Daniels as a source[edit]

The section "Armageddon Immediately Before Us" 1925-1966" includes among its sources cited a lengthy paper at the Catholic forum website by Thomas Daniels; "Historical Idealism and Jehovah's Witnesses: A Critical Analysis of How They Present Their History". Anyone know who this person is and whether he is a reliable source? LTSally (talk) 12:12, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

More to add[edit]

Eschatology in theology is not only what is expected to take place in the last days, but the general conclusion of the world till the final judgement. So, eschatology includes the millenium.--Vassilis78 (talk) 07:55, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

This article needs an overhaul[edit]

This article goes on and on about supposed changes to our eschatology, but never talks about the Millenium, Paradise, etc. Who else thinks it needs an overhaul? StayAwakeStandFirmGrowMighty (talk) 06:52, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Please remember to add your comments to the bottom of the page, not the top. I agree that the History section is too long compared with the overall length of the article and since eschatology deals with ultimate destiny and the theology of death and beyond, there is certainly scope to expand on that. I'm intrigued, though, by your reference to "supposed" changes to the Watch Tower eschatology. Are you doubting that those doctrinal changes took place? LTSally (talk) 07:57, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
By all means, please feel free to add information about any relevant topics not yet covered. This and other JW articles would benefit from more regular editors. If you believe the article contains "supposed" changes in doctrine which in fact did not happen, please discuss.(By the way, new topics go at the bottom of Talk pages.)--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:27, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
I think some of the changes might be off, I would have to look into it more. Many are true, though. I will improve as I can find the time. How does one go about shortening the article? I mean, it's all sourced and everything, but is way too detailed. I agree it can be discussed somewhat, but should be no longer than an expanded 'current beliefs' section. StayAwakeStandFirmGrowMighty (talk) 02:53, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I would need to consider the article more closely again to comment on specifics. But in general the article seems fairly well sourced. If there is a lot of well sourced detail in a Wikipedia article, it is sometimes appropriate to split an article into two or more separate articles. However, given the content of this particular article, I'm not sure that would be suitable. Insofar as being 'no longer than an expanded 'current beliefs', the development of JW eschatology is very important to this article, so I'm not sure the article should lose the history element - and definitely not unless the information is moved to a separate article rather than simply removed.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:44, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Neutrality[edit]

I added the neutrality tag to this article because I noticed several statements sourced by Crisis of Conscience and other books by ex-member Raymond Franz. He is not a reliable source, at least not in the way he is being used here, as his books deal entirely with attacks on the religion. Source these statements with official Watchtower information or historical records or remove them. --Iron Chef (talk) 19:18, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Out of 183 citations currently in the article, there are four statements that cite Franz as its source. On that basis you have tagged the entire article as breaching Wikipedia's NPOV rules, which is ludicrous. By far the greatest source of material for this article is official Watch Tower publications, That, in turn, resulted in a tag being placed on the article in 2008 asking for more sources other than WTS publications, which are classified as a primary source, ie, one connected with the subject of the article. Your comment that Franz's books "deal entirely with attacks on the religion" is not true and indicates you have not read either book. Franz is acceptable on Wikipedia as a reliable source. I will remove the tag. BlackCab (talk) 03:42, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I have readded as the NPOV is indeed needed. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 05:39, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Would you care to discuss your reaaons for this, or will this prompt another burst of obscenities from you? BlackCab (talk) 05:43, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Fuck no I have no problems discussing it. Unfortunately Ray Franz being used as a primary source is basically making this a WP:COATRACK issue. It's easoer to leave a tag that denotes you disagree with the nuetraility and so do others here. Pretty simple really. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 05:46, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

What is being disputed? The statements about Franz have already been reworded to make it clear they are Franz's claims. If there is nothing else being disputed, the tags should be removed.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:20, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Ok if what you say is true then this sentence which is sourced to Franz is attributed as his viewpoint. Read this and tell me it says anything about Franz
What is your point? A particular point being supported by something Franz wrote doesn't automatically make that point false. Are you contesting any particular point on its own merits, or do you just not like anything Franz writes on 'principle'?--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:10, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

"The religion's doctrines surrounding 1914 are the legacy of a series of emphatic claims regarding the years 1799, 1874, 1878, 1914, 1918 and 1925 made by Watch Tower Society founder Charles Taze Russell and the organization's publications between 1879 and 1924. Claims by the religion about the significance of those years, including the presence of Jesus Christ, the beginning of the "last days", the destruction of worldly governments and the earthly resurrection of Jewish patriarchs, were successively abandoned as the years passed without the fulfilment of those expectations."

This is source number four, I don't see where this is being denoted that it is from Franz in the article.. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 14:56, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

The statement is drawn from Franz's discussion around page 184 of their successive abandonment of the dates they identified as being part of God's apocalyptic calendar and their eventual arrival at 1914 as the pivotal date. You ask "Read this and tell me it says anything about Franz". The article isn't supposed to tell you anything about Franz. It uses the information he supplies to explain more about the subject of the article. That information is therefore a secondary source, from which Wikipedia draws most of its information. BlackCab (talk) 21:38, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
A secondary source which is unreliable and biased. It'd be like adding a line in the Meat article about the health benefits of eating beef, sourced by the CEO of Tyson. --Iron Chef (talk) 00:21, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
You seem to be shifting position. First you want the statement to say something about Franz, then you decide that presumably on the basis of who he was (a defector from and later critic of the religion), his statement is unreliable. So back to basics. His book is used as a source for the following statement about the signifiance of the years 1799, 1874, 1878, 1914, 1918 and 1925: Claims by the religion about the significance of those years, including the presence of Jesus Christ, the beginning of the "last days", the destruction of worldly governments and the earthly resurrection of Jewish patriarchs, were successively abandoned as the years passed without the fulfilment of those expectations. Are arguing that the Watch Tower Society claims about the significance of those years were not abandoned? Does the society still hold the same views about the significance of those years? Were their expecatations fulfilled? If it helps, I can list some of the claims in the society's publications about those years. The other possibility is that you object to the use of Franz for any statement about the religion and its eschatology, however mundane. BlackCab (talk) 02:11, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't recall wanting to the article to mention Franz. I don't care if it does or doesn't. I wanted information removed if a more reliable source couldn't be found. Please remember to read all of the arguments presented and remember who said what before replying, thanks. --Iron Chef (talk) 03:10, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, my mistake. But back to my questions. So you're not contesting the information that's sourced to Franz, you just want someone else to be saying it. Correct? BlackCab (talk) 03:28, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Iron Chef, if you aren't contesting any actual point, but just don't like that the source is Franz, you're just making an ad hominem attack. Are you actually contesting article content?--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:24, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Citing Franz isn't a issue as we should be nuetral however when citing him or others of his viewpoint we should make sure that it is noted that this is a opinion of a critic. I highly doubt Franz would have anything good or unbiased about the organization. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 04:26, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm trying to find out whether this is the issue for Iron Chef. There is no need to identify a mundane, matter-of-fact statement as coming from a critic. Your doubts about Franz's comments being good or unbiased are an unhelpful generalisation. Franz's books made many neutral and good statements about the organization and individuals as well. BlackCab (talk) 04:32, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Not so much, I'm not completely discounting as I learned several things from his descriptions on how the faith is maintained. I just think that even what some consider mundane or normal should have that disclaimer. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 04:39, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I am just trying to approach this article from a neutral point of view. I don't have any knowledge as to whether those particular statements are true or not. What I do know is that those statements seem to indicate that the followers faith was based on events that didn't happen, thus proving them "wrong" or making them change the dates. I also know that Franz is a critic of the organization. From my point of view, it's a little sketchy. I'd just feel better if there was some secondary source to this.
I'm not taking any kind of biased position here, I'd say the same thing about any article. I understand my viewpoint might be based on inaccuracies - but per my current understanding it doesn't seem reliable... whether the statements are true or not. Hope this clears things up --Iron Chef (talk) 02:12, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
You started this discussion by saying "Source these statements with official Watchtower information or historical records or remove them." In an article about Watch Tower doctrines, Watch Tower literature would be a primary source, which should be used for only limited purposes. Now you are asking for secondary sources. Franz is a secondary source and, given his detailed examination of WT predictions in his book, an excellent one. However I can add further sources to support his claim that the world didn't end in 1914, or that biblical figures weren't resurrected in 1925, or that religions weren't destroyed in 1918, all of which WTS literature predicted. They too, will be secondary. None will be from WTS publications. BlackCab (talk) 02:43, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Jesus. You are thick. I'm asking for historical record that these claims were made. That's it. The End. Happily bloody ever after. --Iron Chef (talk) 03:45, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
EDIT: Also - it seems like you're a big fan of Raymond Franz or something. Why are you being so sensitive about this? I'm not saying anything about the quality of his books or even if he's right about his claims - all that I'm saying is there should be more sources to confirm what he wrote. I could care less if he's right or wrong - I'm just out for accuracy.

When I said that particular information should be from WT sources - I meant historical ones. You know, the ones where the claims would actually be made? Newspapers, extensive documented research, transcripts, historical WT publications are one thing... a bit of info from one author - a critic of the organization - is another. Whether or not he would intentionally mislead, or unknowingly give false information is moot. But if we're going to keep certain statements - they better be backed the fock up. --Iron Chef (talk) 03:52, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Cut your insults. If you bother to read the article, you'll find it is crammed with references from Watch Tower publications where the original claims were made. Now that we've finally worked out what information you claim was lacking and ascertained that's it all there, are you happy to remove the neutral tag from the article? BlackCab (talk) 04:04, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Iron Chef, can you be specific about what information in the article you are talking about with regard to requiring historical references? There are original WT refs for those claims within the main article body, for which the statement in the lead is a summary.
By the way, the correct expression is "I couldn't care less," meaning 'I already care the minimum possible amount'. Though a common error, "I could care less," is illogical, and suggests caring about something more than one actually wants to.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:26, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Hey Iron Chef I'd watch it, Just a word to the wise the person you are talking to is a tad overly sensitive. I got blocked for using the word fuck and incompetant. People here need band aids for those kind of boo-boos. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 19:13, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

'Hell In A Bucket', you were blocked for your breach of policy, and it wasn't the 'overly sensitive' editor who blocked you. Irrespective of BlackCab's conduct, you should not be encouraging another editor to 'assume bad faith'.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:47, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not encouraging him to assume bad faith, I'm encouraging him to realize the reality that some people are overly sensitive and he can learn from my experiences. Did I say Black Cab blocked me nooooo I didn't.... Hell In A Bucket (talk) 14:14, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd like to also point out that I never once said that my behavior was spotless. I didn't even post a unblock request so saying that I am somehow blaming Blackcab for me being blocked is ludicrous. I did say that a issue was raised and never addressed through means of misdirection but this was eventually answered by BlackCab himself. I'd really like people to stop putting things in my mouth though. Hell In A Bucket (talk) 18:22, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Well... taking a look at his profile it's clear this is a personal subject to him. I think he's taking it personal that I'm denouncing the credibility of Franz. But i'm not saying he is or isn't right - all I'm saying is this: he fails being a reliable source, and if there are historical references within the main article body - then his source isn't necessary as a lead in. Use the ones that are in the main article body. --Iron Chef (talk) 20:45, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
EDIT:
Here's an example of how it should look - using the historical sources within the article body.

The religion's doctrines surrounding 1914 are the legacy of a series of emphatic claims regarding the years 1799[1], 1874[2], 1878[3], 1914[4], 1918[5] and 1925[6] made by Watch Tower Society founder Charles Taze Russell and the organization's publications between 1879 and 1924. Claims by the religion about the significance of those years, including the presence of Jesus Christ, the beginning of the "last days", the destruction of worldly governments and the earthly resurrection of Jewish patriarchs, were successively abandoned as the years passed without the fulfilment of those expectations.[7] --Iron Chef (talk) 20:54, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Individual refs supplied in lead as requested.--Jeffro77 (talk) 15:48, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Are there still issues over the neutrality of this article? If not, I'll remove that tag. Ditto the complaint about "factual accuracy". BlackCab (talk) 20:17, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Remove the tag. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.3.227.42 (talk) 01:18, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Destruction of Christendom[edit]

The sentence "He expected the war in Europe to be the beginning of Armageddon and the destruction of the "nominal Church" to take place in April 1918" was changed to read: "He interpreted the war in Europe to be the beginning of Armageddon which would play out in three phases of war[105] and the destruction of Christendom as represented in the European monarchies ruling by Divine Right to take place in 1918.[106]."

I've read the September 1916 WT and see reference to "the great collapse of spiritual Babylon" (or nominal church), but I see no reference to those churches being represented in the European monarchies ruling by the divine right of kings. I've tagged it as WP:OR because there seems to be nothing in that cited source that supports that interpretation. I have also added a statement from a 1911 WT in which Russell wrote that October 1914 would witness the "full end" of Babylon, or nominal Christianity, "utterly destroyed as a system". I don't think there's too much ambiguity there over his expectation. BlackCab (talk) 05:54, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps others think it unimportant, but I think it is very important to note the differences between Russell's "emphatic views" and those of Rutherford or the JWs today. CTR's "emphatic views" were positive statements of his belief, not orders or doctrines expected to be accepted. But the latter two have been dogmatic in line with their mandatory belief that salvation comes through them alone. To tie the two together so firmly, without any qualifier, is to mislead the reader as it strongly implies that from Russell's day to ours everything associated with the WTS has been dogmatic doctrine which all must accept without question.
Bible Students generally understand his argument on pg 264 of the Sept 15, 1916 WT to be a suggestion that 1918 would witness the end of the Divine Right of Kings, also known as Christendom, i.e. "Christ's Kingdom", the church-state systems of Europe ruling under Divine Right. Some highlights from the article:
"The Jewish system was a church-state affair, paralleled here by the great church-state systems of Europe, whose destruction began in 1914 ... The winds of strife, winds of war, are let loose with great damage to the whole world, weakening the kingdoms of Europe in respect to their best blood and their financial strength ... Then will come other troubles. Revolutions will threaten; the governments will associate themselves still more firmly with the nominal church systems, both seeking protection and strength. Next we may expect the great collapse of Spiritual Babylon leading on to the great revolution-earthquake of Revelation ... This in turn, will lead on, according to our understanding of the Bible, to the terrible anarchy, in which all present institutions will succumb before the fire of human passion, prejudice, etc. "
He in that article was drawing a distinction between (1) The end of the Gentile Times, (2) The collapse of European church-state, and (3) The destruction of "Spiritual Babylon", i.e. organized religion. This isn't original research, it is stated plainly in the article. He further suggests that the collapse of the Christian church-state might occur by the year 1918 C.E., which in fact it did, but to go deeper into that would be original research.
His view that Armageddon would play out in three phases of global conflict comes from his interpretation of I Kings 19 of the (1) wind, (2) earthquake, (3) fire. In various references he stated that he believed the "wind" was WW1 accompanied by the end of the church-state systems of Europe, that following it would be the "earthquake" or global social revolutions accompanied by demands for rights both real and imagined, and the "fire" to be the final phase of global anarchy accompanied by financial collapse and the end of organized religion (Spiritual Babylon). One pointed reference for this would be the Feb 1, 1915 WT, pg 46:
"The wind rending the mountains represents the present war. The great earthquake symbolically represent social revolution, the likes of which was never before in the world ... The third demonstration was a great fire which consumed everything before it. This represents wide-spread anarchy which will prevail in the world." Pastorrussell (talk) 19:59, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Claiming that other Watch Tower statements are "dogmatic" but that Russell was merely giving "positive statements of his belief" seems unbalanced. Generally, assertions of something as "indisputable" and "unqualifiedly correct" do not simply suggest a "belief"; there is little reason in using such expressions at all, unless it is with the expectation that the doctrines will be accepted. Retroactively claiming that Russell's doctrines in particular were simply 'suggestions' is therefore unnecessary.
As to the specific query about 'divine right'... the article quoted above indicates that Europe has kingdoms and that there was a church-state relationship, but it doesn't indicate whether any presumed 'divine right of kings' was directly relevant. Did it appear anywhere in Russell's writings? What 'Bible Students generally understand' would seem to be original research unless there is a specific source to back it up.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:54, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Wow. I'm speechless. Pastorrussell (talk) 17:11, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
The word "emphatic" refers to the statements made by both Russell and Rutherford about the specific years named (1799, 1874 etc). It has nothing to do with orders to be accepted. Russell used such phrases as "indisputable" and "God's date, not ours" to emphasise the reliability of his chronology. They were not tentative views, they were emphatic. And your response has justified my reservations about reference to the divine right of kings. It's simply not in the article cited. Unless you have an alternative wording that avoids OR or synthesis, it should be returned to the earlier statement. BlackCab (talk) 19:59, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
What is your understanding of the term "divine right", and to what does it refer? I'm surprised that I have to defend Russell's own pointed statements. No interpretation is required, therefore no original research. In fact, I would argue that to say he isn't is original research because it requires what one of my colleagues like to call "analytical deduction." Pastorrussell (talk) 00:01, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
PastorRussell, your incredulity is not particularly helpful. Do you not believe that a JW would object to their publications being called "dogmatic" and that they too would simply say their publications provide their "positive statements of belief"?? Do you have a source for the statement about "divine right of kings"?--Jeffro77 (talk) 22:23, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
To imply that my statements or conclusions are unbalanced was out of line. What's more, the church-state systems of Europe were ruling by divine right. They are the same thing using different words. But I'm not going to pursue this. Pastorrussell (talk) 23:21, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps my earlier statement was not as clear as I thought. I am saying that to place Russell, Rutherford, and the modern WTS on the same footing without any qualification is misleading. Of course Russell's views were emphatic. But what does that imply? If someone disagreed with Russell it was of no consequence. If someone disagreed with Rutherford he was of the devil. If someone disagrees with the modern WTS they are exhibiting a lack of faith in God's organization and may experience shunning or censure. There are plenty of references in the JW, JFR and CTR articles demonstrating the differences in attitude and practice. Therefore to use a blanket statement that all were emphatic is misleading without without some kind of qualifier. Pastorrussell (talk) 00:11, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
You're not quite getting my point. The article's second paragraph reads: "The religion's doctrines surrounding 1914 are the legacy of a series of emphatic claims regarding the years 1799, 1874, 1878, 1914, 1918 and 1925 made by Watch Tower Society founder Charles Taze Russell and the organization's publications between 1879 and 1924." The article is about the eschatology of the JWs, not their treatment of dissenters. It draws on sources that show that both Russell and Rutherford were quite emphatic and dogmatic about the "facts" of the significance of 1914, 1799, 1879 etc. BlackCab (talk) 01:14, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I do understand your point. But perhaps mine isn't clear. What I'm suggesting is that the two are unable to be separated and therefore some kind of qualification needs to be given. Pastorrussell (talk) 08:04, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
There's nothing to separate. The sentence in question makes no comment about how the different parties responded if their "emphatic" announcements were not accepted. There is no reason to provide some kind of 'qualifier' about how Russell in particular might (allegedly) be perceived as being more accepting/kind/better than Rutherford or other WT presidents if his emphatic teachings not accepted. Each made claims about 1914 that eventually led to the current JW eschatological beliefs, and that is all.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:20, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
My point isn't about Russell being "kinder/better" than Rutherford. To put a blanket statement that equally applies to all is simply not accurate. I'm surprised I have to defend that because you both should know the history at least as well as I do. Sure, emphasis is emphasis - in most cases. But in this context (come on, we're talking about the WTS folks!) an emphatic statement from Russell is not the same as an emphatic statement by Rutherford. An emphatic statement by Rutherford is not the same as an emphatic statement by the modern WTS. All three had different meanings, intentions and goals when making those emphatic statements. But because you both disagree then there's obviously nothing I can do about it because you do not consider my reasoning to be valid, or possibly even mentally unbalanced. So, there's no point in continuing this debate. You'll do what you feel is proper and I'll quietly bristle at historical inaccuracy. Pastorrussell (talk) 18:15, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
If adding references about Russell's position on his chronological views is not relevant, then neither is the following sentence:
In 1922 its principal journal, Watch Tower (now The Watchtower) described its chronology as "no stronger than its weakest link", but also claimed the chronological relationships to be "of divine origin and divinely corroborated...in a class by itself, absolutely and unqualifiedly correct"[10] and "indisputable facts";[4] repudiation of Russell and his work was called "equivalent to a repudiation of the Lord"
It is absolutely wrong, misleading, historically inaccurate, and deceptive to make such a strong statement as above without further explanation. If not even the one sentence I placed is considered valid then there should not be any statement that Russell's views were a "repudiation of the Lord." This problem is exactly what I'm trying to remedy here. Pastorrussell (talk) 23:35, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
The statement is an accurate description of the emphasis placed on what was seen as the absolute reliability of Watch Tower statements. There could hardly be more emphatic wording than that quoted in that paragraph. It is clearly the opinion of a Watch Tower writer (probably Rutherford) in 1922. Given that wording at that date, it is immaterial what approach Russell took towards the reliability of his doctrine years earlier while still alive. The point is that Russell had emphasised he was correct, and his successors escalated their rhetoric to leave followers in no doubt that their 1914 doctrine was 100 per cent correct.
You seem so fixated on protecting Russell's image you are missing the point of that paragraph, which is: (a) The authors of the doctrine insisted it was correct without qualification and that to deny the teaching was a denial of God because the teaching actually came from God, yet (b) within a few decades so much of that central teaching was set aside as an error. (Oops, sorry about that, we're only human!) Inserting Russell's views about dissent simply do not fit in that paragraph. BlackCab (talk) 00:47, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
PastorRussell, the sentence in question only addresses the fact that emphatic claims were made. It says nothing at all about the sources' dispositions, motives, or anything else that might need 'defending'. More broadly, in regard to wanting to 'defend' the historical record of Russell or the Bible Students—especially where not supported by mainstream sources—it would seem appropriate for you to read WP:RGW.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:54, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

I am sorry that my words are so muddled that my point cannot be understood. I am not trying to protect Russell's image. This has absolutely nothing to do with protecting Russell any more than it would have to do with defending (or defaming for that matter) Rutherford or the WTS. It has to do with accuracy and balance. It is not true that this sentence "only addresses the fact that emphatic claims were made." That is not what it says. It makes the additional claim that if they were rejected it was the same as rejecting God. If that sentence is to remain then there must be some additional statement that Russell himself never claimed this. Please understand that if the situation were the reverse - if the the leading paragraph only stated Russell never claimed his views were the word of the Lord - I would just as strongly endorse adding the statement that the WTS after his death did claim this, for the sake of balance and accuracy. If I have to say this twenty times then I will - it is not accurate to leave that statement as is. Either remove the claim that rejection of his words was rejection of God which leaves it only to indicate his statements were emphatic, or add a brief explanation that he did not claim this for himself otherwise it is giving a false impression. That false impression could easily be removed by doing one of the two things mentioned: Remove the WTS's claim of his views, or add a statement that he did not believe this of himself. This is verifiable, and is referenced in some of the books appearing in this article as well as the CTR, JFR, and WTS articles. It is not an obscure, unverifiable opinion. Pastorrussell (talk) 19:31, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

The sentence lists three statements made in 1922 in support of what was viewed as the absolute reliability of the bible chronology beliefs taught at that time by the WTS. One of those was a warning that repudiating Russell's "works" (principally his teachings on bible chronology) was tantamount to repudiating the Lord. The threat to any god-fearing person at that time is quite clear. This Wikipedia article makes no claim that Russell held that view, and nor does it need to state whether he did or not. The inclusion of the statement is an important example of the pressure the WTS publications at that time (1922) placed on readers to accept without demur its teaching ... which of course was later dismissed as erroneous.
PastorRussell, you seem to be reading that paragraph but hearing different words. Let me put it another way. The statement about Russell is not an enecyclopedic claim about Russell. It is an encyclopedic claim about what the Watch Tower Society said in 1922 about Russell. The sentence in this Wikipedia article is therefore accurate and pertinent. BlackCab (talk) 22:09, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Reading that entire paragraph, from top to bottom, that final sentence does not stand by itself. It is the concluding statement of an argument that begins with the first sentence. If, then, the issue is about the WTS's dogmatic position on their chronology then Russell's name should not be mentioned at the end of the first sentence. ("made by Watch Tower Society founder Charles Taze Russell and the organization's publications between 1879 and 1924"). The emphasis should throughout the paragraph remain upon the WTS alone, not jumping back and forth. The paragraph makes no distinction between the views of Russell and the WTS therefore the concluding sentence is being equally applied to both. The use of a random quote from 1922 does not change that unless something is added to it to indicate that by 1922 the views had changed. You cannot leave a statement like that (the concluding sentence) by itself when there are numerous reference which reject such a claim. That's undue emphasis. Pastorrussell (talk) 17:34, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
I have reworded it slightly, removing a semicolon that may have contributed to an impression that the claim about repudiation was not among the 1922 WT claims. What remains is this: WTS publications made dogmatic, emphatic claims about the reliability of its chronological system, insisting it was true, then later retracted many parts of it. The 1914 date, albeit with its altered significance, is a survivor of those doctrinal shifts. BlackCab (talk) 23:03, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Looks good to me. It's balanced, and well presented, and it only took a few changes to do it .... and five days of debate on the Talk page :o). I have made one change relating to the statement that the dates were "abandoned as the years passed without the fulfillment of those expectations". That's only partly true. Some of the dates, particularly the early ones, were abandoned due to reinterpretation of the chronology and reinterpretation of prophecy, not the expectations connected to them. The date for the time of the end was moved from 1799 to 1914, the parousia from 1874 to 1914, and the "first resurrection" from 1878 to 1918. The date for the destruction of Babylon in 1918 and the resurrection of the Jewish prophets in 1925 was abandoned due to unfulfilled expectations. Pastorrussell (talk) 06:08, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
I have reworded this again. You wrote "Claims about the significance of those years, primarily those predicting the complete destruction of worldly governments and the earthly resurrection of Jewish patriarchs were abandoned ...", but the dates 1799, 1874 and 1878 had little to do with those events; each, however was tied by some thread to 1914. I have reinstated reference to "the presence of Jesus Christ, the beginning of the last days", but removed the words as the years passed without the fulfillment of those expectations because (a) clearly 1799 was already in the past past and (b) it was impossible to verify whether expectations for invisible events had been fulfilled or not. The sentence now notes only that those dates were dropped from the WTS chronological system without detailing the reasons, some of which are quite obvious. BlackCab (talk) 10:44, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. The reason I reworded it was because the beginning of the "last days" and the presence of Christ are interpretations which themselves were never abandoned by the WTS, but some of the claims connected to them were. What's more, to say that these things did not occur or were not fulfilled is to question their interpretation which wouldn't be appropriate for an encyclopedic entry. What clearly did not occur, and what is appropriate to mention, is that the full destruction of all earthly kingdoms and the resurrection of the Jewish prophets (and/or dates connected to them) were revised or abandoned. Pastorrussell (talk) 21:12, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

POV issues[edit]

Is this article biased, and is Raymond Franz an acceptable source? StandFirm (talk) 05:22, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

This article has some major POV issues. Below are some examples:
1. WP:DUE says, emphasis added: "An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject. For example, discussion of isolated events, criticisms, or news reports about a subject may be verifiable and neutral, but still be disproportionate to their overall significance to the article topic. This is a concern especially in relation to recent events that may be in the news. Note that undue weight can be given in several ways, including, but not limited to, depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence of placement, and juxtaposition of statements." This article's history section certainly falls under that. Unfortunately, I am certain that attempts to shrink it will be met up with claims of covering up and rejected because, well, 'it is verifiable and that's good enough!'
2. The article asserts that "Claims about the significance of those years, including the presence of Jesus Christ, the beginning of the "last days", the destruction of worldly governments and the earthly resurrection of Jewish patriarchs, were successively abandoned." The statement's source is Raymond Franz, who is not a neutral source. This is akin to thinking a Tea Partier would have neutral information about Obama.
3. "Despite its earlier description as being "beyond question", the "generation of 1914" teaching was discarded in 1995...." The first part of the sentence attempts to cast the Witnesses in a negative light. It is unencyclopedic and unnecessary.
4. The subsections of 'History' are also quite obvious in attempts to cast the Witnesses in a negative light. Each one has some name intended to draw attention to past mistakes. Further, these divisions are arbitrary and inaccurate.
5. The article is saturated by words like "claim" and "asserted" - please see WP:CLAIM: "To write that someone claimed or asserted something can call their statement's credibility into question, by emphasizing any potential contradiction or implying a disregard for evidence."
This is just a sample that took me a few minutes to find. This should suffice to show that the article does not meet WP:NPOV. StandFirm (talk) 00:29, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
1. Today's eschatology has evolved over the course of more than a century. It underwent significant change, and I venture to suggest it is fascinating and instructive to chart its development. The article itself is not overly long, and it is therefore unnecessary to split off the historical development.
2. I'm sure a source other than Franz can readily be located for what is a plain fact. But I'm not sure if there's actually a need for it. Are you suggesting the statement is inaccurate? If so, how?
3. It is relevant to the article that a religion whose central doctrines are about the imminence of God's kingdom and destruction of most living humans has previously asserted its dates and doctrines were "beyond question", yet later decided they were wrong. Nothing about the statement is "unencyclopedic" and I'm baffled at why you think a statement of historical fact could be described that way.
4. The subheadings simply chart significant milestones along the timeline of development. I don't see how they can be described as negative.
5. There is probably an excess of "claims". For the sake of variety, some of them could be replaced with "teaches". The word "assert" appears only twice, and both times in relation to the 607 doctrine. That doctrine is certainly an assertion (contended by almost all historians). BlackCab (talk) 04:40, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
1. I agree it has a place but it is too large in comparison with the rest of the article. Further focusing on mistakes made by the article's subject promotes a negative POV of the subject. Do you disagree and if so, why?
2. It's not a "plain fact" unless it can be proved by reliable sources. Raymond Franz's book is also a self-published source: "Anyone can...pay to have a book published, then claim to be an expert in a certain field." He is not neutral either. If you cannot find a reliable source the statement must go, and others like it.
3. How is it relevant besides to cast the religion in a negative light?
4. As I said, focusing on mistakes made by the article's subject promotes a negative POV of the subject. Further, the divisions are arbitrary. Dividing JW history in this way fails WP:OR.
5. I'll go about this when I get the chance.
So how do you suggest going about removing the bias and shrinking the article? StandFirm (talk) 05:01, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't see any bias. I see no compelling reason to shrink the article. It provides comprehensive, well-researched coverage of the religion's eschatological doctrines and their historical development. Sometimes some facts are just uncomfortable for some people, and I suspect you just don't like seeing in print an unvarnished report on the past conduct of your religion.
Is Franz a self-published source? I'm not sure, but even if he paid Commentary Press to publish his books, they have undisputedly achieved notability (and acceptability as a verifiable, reliable source) through their citation by probably dozens of authors whose scholarly works were published by commercial publishers. Franz was also an expert in his field, having written about the activities and history of a religion whose governing body he was once a part of. He provided unparallel insights from the pinnacle of a secretive religion. That fact would also cement his acceptability as an encyclopedic source. Aside from tll that, it is nonsensical to suggest a source be removed simply because he was critical of the religion; many of his statements are factual, uncontroversial and indisputable. BlackCab (talk) 05:17, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I could make the same claims of bias about you too. Your userpage makes clear you hold a very negative view of Jehovah's Witnesses. This may very well impact your view of the article. StandFirm (talk) 05:32, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I certainly hold a very negative view about the religion. But I also care that everything I edit here is fair, balanced and accurate. My dislike of the religion no more disqualifies me from editing this article than it does you because you are a member of it.
Incidentally, I have just examined every statement in the article (and there are only a few of them) sourced to Franz. With the exception of the Sputnik claim (which has itself been repeated by several other authors) there is nothing in his statements that could possibly be claimed as anti-JW bias. They are all mundane, verifiable facts. Other JW editors have expressed a similar kneejerk reaction to seeing him as a source for historical or factual statements simply because he is viewed by the organisation as the devil incarnate, and I suspect you may be the same. BlackCab (talk) 05:55, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
StandFirm-JW, do you contend that JW's did not abandon the earlier Bible Student/JW teachings about the significance of the previous doctrines as indicated in the article, as referenced in your 2nd point??--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:16, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I have not examined them all. Some are true, some may be distortions. See my earlier points.
BlackCab, you cannot use a biased source for a neutral statement of fact. Go through WP:RSVETTING to see how much Ray Franz fails being unbiased. StandFirm (talk) 13:30, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The article doesn't seem biased to me; Raymond Franz is a very small part of its sourcing, and therefore acceptable as an alternate viewpoint. An "apostate", I think, often offers greater insight into a religion than a "true believer".--Miniapolis (talk) 14:54, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Comment: I haven't read the entire section, but I think the focus is wrong. For example, the introduction to the Eschatology section has 3 sentences:
From the earliest writings of Charles Taze Russell, Watch Tower Society eschatology has undergone changes, mostly surrounding the dates 1874, 1914, 1918, and 1925. Although publications assured readers the interpretations were based on scripture and were therefore reliable, they have also renounced any claim to infallibility with regard to their interpretations. Watch Tower publications have at times admitted that their interpretations have been wrong.
The paragraph is presumably supposed to introduce Witness Eschatology, but all that I got from it is that the Eschatology has changed over time and that the Watch Tower has retracted some claims. All three sentences deal with the changes in eschatology, but they never explain what eschatology is in the first place. I'd say that this obsessive focus on "changes" is a sign that the neutrality is off. A better introductory paragraph would have two sentences giving an overview of what the eschatology is, and then a single sentence saying that it has changed over time. The problem is not that the information is false, it's just that the focus is wrong.
To answer the original question, yes it appears to me that that there is some bias, at least in the paragraph I mentioned, and I don't know about Franz, but the fact that he's an ex-JW and he's self-published makes me worry about his reliability. It's too bad there's not a Very Short Introductions book on Jehovah's Witnesses. Those are usually pretty good for determining how much emphasis should be given to various topics.. -- Adjwilley (talk) 17:14, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Adjwilley, presumably you are discussing the 'History section, not the Eschatology section. I take your point about the emphasis on error there. I've deleted the second and third sentences and rewritten the first. In regard to Franz, there is nothing sourced to him that cannot be sourced to others, because those facts are beyond contention and widely acknowledged. The widespread use of Franz as a source by other authors can certainly be used to argue for the acceptance of his works here generally; in any case the central issue is whether anyone has concerns over the accuracy of the statements sourced to him. So far no one has challenged those facts. BlackCab (talk) 19:40, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
@BlackCab, Yes, that's correct. My mistake. "History of eschatology" is what I should have said. The new paragraph is much better, in my opinion. I don't know a lot about Jehovah's Witness literature, but my thought is that you could use neutral sources to determine what is WP:DUE emphasis for each topic. "Positive" and "Negative" sources can then be used to support the statements, but this way at least the balance will be right. -- Adjwilley (talk) 19:59, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Miniapolis: Both an apostate and a true believer are biased. Since Wikipedia is to make neutral statements, statements from either source (like the Watchtower Society or Raymond Franz) must be prefaced with something like 'so-and-so said'.
Adjwilley: I agree with what you say, especially "I'd say that this obsessive focus on "changes" is a sign that the neutrality is off....The problem is not that the information is false, it's just that the focus is wrong." But how would one go about making the history section shorter? I am not opposed to mentioning things like 1975 in an encyclopedic and neutral way with statements from both sides, but how does one go about shrinking this? I am certain attempts to remove anything sourced will be opposed.
Further comments from other editors are also welcome. StandFirm (talk) 22:19, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

The Raymond Franz issue here seems to be a non-issue in my opinion. There is only one (as far as I saw with a quick look) paragraph that uses him SOLELY as the source (the paragraph concerning the GB's talk about moving the date from 1914 to 1957). The other instances in which he is used as a source are merely as corroborating sources, not as the sole authority, and as a member of the GB of JW's he certainly is in a position to corroborate the information. As for the one paragraph, it clearly says "claimed", and I believe is appropriate for the article. The only thing that I might do to that paragraph is find another source if possible to either corroborate (wow, using that word a lot) Franz's contention, or a source disputing it. Vyselink (talk) 00:07, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Other sources refer to the Sputnik issue in tracing the history of the religion, but all in fact quote Franz. Since Governing Body meetings are held in secret, and no other member of the GB has ever written, or been interviewed about, its internal processes, it's unlikely there will be any external corroboration for Franz's version. The WTS, though has never contradicted it and no author or news outlet has ever raised any issues of credibility about Franz in general to cast doubt on his version.
StandFirm continues to push for cutting the history section, but gives no reason for this. The article presents no issues in regard to its length. The treatment is pretty comprehensive, which is what an online encyclopedia can afford to be, and there seems to be no good reason for deleting sections of the history. Perhaps it would be helpful if he identified parts of the history he'd like to see erased. BlackCab (talk) 04:17, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
The Franz reference I was referring to seems to have been changed to a reference to a different publication. diff I am not necessarily opposed to keeping the Sputnik reference but I don't see how it actually adds anything to the history of the article other than what supposedly 'might have been'.
My main concern is this. WP:DUE says, emphasis added: "An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject. For example, discussion of isolated events, criticisms, or news reports about a subject may be verifiable and neutral, but still be disproportionate to their overall significance to the article topic. This is a concern especially in relation to recent events that may be in the news. Note that undue weight can be given in several ways, including, but not limited to, depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence of placement, and juxtaposition of statements." Excessive focus on mistakes made by the article's subject promotes a negative POV of the subject. Adjwilley agreed by saying "obsessive focus on "changes" is a sign that the neutrality is off." Do you disagree and if so, why?
Finally, if you are still opposed to any shrinking of the section (what material specifically I have not thought about yet), what are your thoughts on also including what the organization says about 1914, 1925, 1975, etc.? Example: "Jehovah's Witnesses maintain that no definite statements were made about 1975... [cite Proclaimers book]." StandFirm (talk) 05:13, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
If some statements deserve a WT rebuttal, then by all means add them. That would provide additional balance. I think you are also seeing negativity where there is none. You refer to "excessive focus on mistakes", but ignore the fact that the imminent establishment of the kingdom has always been the core teaching of the religion. The article necessarily charts their developing views as the years passed by without the events they expected. There is no way to discuss what they came to believe without mentioning the beliefs they were forced to adjust or abandon. The article contains detail because the history is extensive.
As for the Sputnik incident, it would be negligent to omit it. Other authors have noted it. The WTS has clearly grappled over the years with the "generation" teaching and its link with 1914, and the proposal by three GB members to move the start of the "generaton" to 1957 is certainly notable. BlackCab (talk) 05:29, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
  • RfC Comment: Is the article biased? Maybe - producing independent sources to substantiate the claims of bias would be very useful. If Franz an acceptable source? I would have to say yes, he is acceptable. He may not be the best possible source, and he also might be rather biased, but those are separate matters. Also, as stated above, he is certainly capable of speaking from extensive personal knowledge. So far as I have seen to date, Penton's Apocalypse Delayed is still counted as the single best academic source yet written on the subject. I would assume if he makes some degree of mention of it in that book, or in one of his other well-regarded works, that would be sufficient to substantiate the claim, at least as a claim. Yes, I agree that "claim" and other words are used a great deal in the article, but, under the circumstances, I don't see how they can necessarily be avoided until and unless there are independent reliable sources which both the JWs and outsiders agree upon, and, honestly, I have no particular reason to think that is likely to happen anytime soon. Unfortunately. So, although I think most of us aren't real happy with it, we are rather obliged to go with the information we've got, written by biased sources or not, if they are referred to in either highly regarded academic works and/or generally neutral encyclopedic or overview articles. John Carter (talk) 22:53, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Subject span[edit]

It strikes me that while a debate is taking place over so-called bias in relating "mistakes" throughout the WTS history, the article actually fails miserably in explaining what the real "end times" doctrines of the Witnesses really are. I've had very little input into the content so far, just tinkering around the edges, but it really needs a bit of effort put into summarizing the full range of doctrines expounded in WTS publications dealing with what they really think will happen from here on. The history section has been written by people with an interest in that aspect; if that section outweighs the current beliefs, it's only because no one has really bothered to elaborate on the full range of WTS doctrines for the end of the world. Where's the UN? Where's the king of the north? Where's the generation? The sheep and the goats? The persecution? The preaching before the end? Standfirm, here's your chance to lay out what your religion's doctrines really are. Go for it and you'll overcome any perceived imbalance in article content yourself. BlackCab (talk) 10:30, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

I'll be reading over the WP:MOS and may create a draft version on my userpage from which I can use parts to the main article.
I am also thinking about a change in how the history information is presented. Rather than listing each change in the order it occurred, what about listing them by subject? Instead of 'changes between year and year' we would have 'beginning of the Gentile Times', 'beginning of last days', and even 'time of Armageddon'.
Finally, I propose that since there are few sources that are neutral, non-neutral sources must be prefaced with something like, 'Jehovah's Witnesses say' or 'Raymond Franz said'. StandFirm (talk) 23:20, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
For such an extensive reworking of the History section, I agree it would be good for you to build it up on a subpage within your user space. At some point you may then invite outside comment on the alternative form. BlackCab (talk) 23:49, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Looking at this again, I think your idea for the history is a good one, grouping each area of eschatalogical doctrine together and charting the developments in each. The existing material could then be separated as an article on "Development of Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses" to show it in its chronological form. It's going to be a big task, though, so good luck with the new structure. One valuable refernce work would be Robert Crompton's book, Counting the Days to Armageddon, [1], a very carefully researched and respectful work I drew on for Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine#Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine. He obviously uses WTS material as his primary source, but is particularly valuable because now becomes a secondary source, which Wikipedia favours. BlackCab (talk) 01:25, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
There would be too much overlap with Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine to warrant a separate article for the development of JW eschatology.--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:54, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Jeffro that we do not need a separate history article for the eschatology since we already have the article on Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine which as is goes over much of the same things. As it is I see two options for the History section (apart from the separate issue of the need of expansion in the Current beliefs section):
1. Keep the disproportinately lengthy History section in the eschatology article and organize it by topic.
2. Make the History section a brief summary and move a listed-by-topic history over to the existing Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine. This article could then have a section for "Eschatology". Under this option, though, the rest of that article would also have to be organized by topic. I think this is better in the long run but it does take more work.
I personally am leaning towards 2 because the end result is a consistent treatment across the JW articles and takes care of the redundancies - i.e. where do you go to find info on doctrine changes, currently there are at least two different places.
I don't think this need be overly difficult, as the statements and refs already exist in both articles. We would just need to copy-paste them into a different order and add some basic explanation e.g. 'in 19XX The Watchtower stated....'.
I would take care of the issue of adding the JW reasoning where necessary to keep a balanced POV.
I propose making two userspace articles (and maybe two more as Talk pages) that would start off as copies of these two articles which could then have one section the old way which would be progressively copy and pasted and edited into the new way by various editors. Once finished the old way would be taken out and the new way would be copied into the actual Wikipedia article.
Thoughts? StandFirm (talk) 02:07, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Jeffro, I'm not so sure: the treatment of CTR's pyramid theories and expectations for 1925 and 1975, for example, go into far greater detail than can be contained in Development of Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine. I wouldn't want to see that detail disappear.
StandFirm, the Development of JW doctrine article is too long to add further detail. It has been designed as a chronological list and should stay that way. The first of your two options is the better one. BlackCab (talk) 02:21, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
But isn't it redundant to have two separate articles discussing the history and development of doctrine? StandFirm (talk) 02:47, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Not at all. Clearly their doctrine on end times is significant. But much of their overall doctrine has nothing to do with eschatology: blood, tobacco, Christmas, birthdays, the requirement for preaching, identification of "superior authorities", etc etc. The chronological development of end times beliefs already exists as dot-points in the Development of Doctrine article; that would be expanded in the Development of Eschatology spinout article. BlackCab (talk) 02:55, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
We don't need a 'development of eschatology' article and a 'development of everything else' article. Furthermore shouldn't treatment (as in chronological vs. by subject) be consistent? StandFirm (talk) 03:02, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
For the answer to that question, see WP:PAPER. If there is information to produce, we can present it. I have already explained that there would be sufficient differentiation betweeen the two articles. If you want to start on a subject-by-subject article on the history section of eschatology, do so. What happens to the other articles is irrelevant. BlackCab (talk) 03:12, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
I am not suggesting that detail about the pyramid theories (etc) disappear. Nor am I suggesting they go in the existing development article. I am suggesting that they be here. Given the presence of this article and the other timeline article, another article for the development of JW eschatology would seem to be giving undue weight to what is, after all, the views of a minor religion. I therefore think it may be better to re-work this article by topic, which would incorporate each element's history. I do not agree that both articles should be by topic; it is much more suitable that the other article remain in a timeline format.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:23, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Alright, consensus so far seems to mean including it in this article only and organizing by topic. Any thoughts on making one userspace articles (and maybe one more as a Talk page) that would start off as copies of these two articles which could then have one section the old way which would be progressively copy and pasted and edited into the new way by various editors. Once finished the old way would be taken out and the new way would be copied into the actual Wikipedia article. StandFirm (talk) 03:32, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There's a higher priority than rewriting the history section, however. As I said at the outset, an article purporting to explain the eschatology of the religion actually does a very poor job at doing so. That inadequacy should be dealt with first. BlackCab (talk) 03:36, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

If the article is re-drafted as suggested by StandFirm-JW, there should indeed be a priority to include information that is currently missing. (Indeed, JW editors have complained in the past that JW-related articles don't contain more elements of JW belief; this however needs to be balanced with due weight to a minor religion.) If he wishes to create such an article as a subpage, he can do so whether this article is improved or not. (However, such a subpage could not exist indefinitely per WP:SUBPAGE#Disallowed uses.) It would also be preferable if there were more secondary sources for this article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:13, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
I'll get to all that soon after reading some of the WP:MOS. Other editors are welcome to contribute to either effort on behalf of this article. Jeffro noted that "elements of JW belief...needs to be balanced with due weight to a minor religion"; I agree and emphasize that past elements of JW belief as well as what ex-members say also needs to be balanced with due weight, which would logically be smaller than the weight given to JW belief itself. StandFirm (talk) 04:33, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Here is the draft page (I didn't know it could be done right here): Talk:Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses/Draft. StandFirm (talk) 04:35, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
The due weight consideration dictates the amount of detail devoted to an aspect within an article. As long as they contain notable, verifiable informtion, there is nothing to limit the depth or number of articles on a subject, regardless of how obscure or relatively minor it is. For a minor religion, the JWs are already the specific subject of a big number of articles, so another one or two certainly won't be an issue. BlackCab (talk) 04:37, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
BlackCab said: "For a minor religion, the JWs are already the specific subject of a big number of articles, so another one or two certainly won't be an issue." I would argue the opposite - that is precisely why we shouldn't have any more. Plus we do not need any potential present or future POV forks.
If I have made any mistakes in making the subpage please let me know so I don't do it again. Also any discussion can take place right here.
Unless anyone objects, I am ready to take down the RfC also. StandFirm (talk) 04:46, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
There has been no progress in almost a month on the draft article reshaping the article. Has Standfirm lost interest? BlackCab (talk) 11:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
This can be discussed at Wikipedia:Miscellany_for_deletion/Talk:Eschatology_of_Jehovah's_Witnesses/Draft. If User:StandFirm-JW wishes to continue with the draft, he's welcome to do so.--Jeffro77 (talk) 11:34, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Fall of Jerusalem[edit]

user:Jeffro77 have reverted some of my edits and makes the sentence contradictory and unclear regarding the JWs interpretations. Some of the important things

  • Jehovah's Witness have no problem with 538 BC as a date for the decree ending Jewish exile. Therefore there is no need for a 'however' in that sentence. But they believe that 537 BC is the date in which the true worship was restored in Jerusalem after the Jews came back to Jerusalem (it is logical to assume to be taken a period of time for most of the Jews to return) finishing their exile. The referenced article states

When were the Jews released? The decree ending their exile was issued in “the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia.” (See the box “A Pivotal Date in History.”) Thus, by the fall of 537 B.C.E., the Jews had returned to Jerusalem to restore true worship.—Ezra 1:1-5; 2:1; 3:1-5.-Watchtower Oct 1,2011 p.27

  • Historical records do not say that all the Jews living in Babylon returned back to Jerusalem in 538 BC. But history confirms that the decree for liberation was made in 538 BC.

The exile formally ended in 538 bc, when the Persian conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus the Great, gave the Jews permission to return to Palestine. Historians agree that several deportations took place (each the result of uprisings in Palestine), that not all Jews were forced to leave their homeland, that returning Jews left Babylonia at various times, and that some Jews chose to remain in Babylonia—thus constituting the first of numerous Jewish communities living permanently in the Diaspora.-Encyclopedia Brittanica

  • JWs do not claim in the referenced article that all the historical dates are inaccurate. They claim that 587 BC is contradictory to many evidence. But they call 539 BC as a "pivotal date in the history" (see footnote of part 1 article) and hence reliable.--Fazilfazil (talk) 18:58, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't object to rewording the connective however. But it is dishonest to suggest that secular sources speak of a formal release as something separate to the actual release. JWs officially believe the 70 years was a period of Jewish exile, not of unrestored worship; it is therefore unnecessary to add a statement about 'restoring "true worship"'. (Jeremiah chapter 25 actually says the 70 years were a period during which all the surrounding nations would serve Babylon [verses 8-11] and that Babylon's king was judged after the "seventy years have been fulfilled" [verse 12, which is quietly ignored by the cited JW articles].)
It is indeed true that many Jews stayed in Babylon, which is not particularly relevant to their being allowed to leave. The JW claim that the decree was made at the end of Cyrus' first year is entirely speculative, and not consistent with the usual practice of such decrees being issued at the beginning of the first regnal year. Not only is it speculative that the Jews therefore returned in the fall of 537, but this also contradicts Ezra, Josephus, and modern historians, which concur that the Jews returned home in Cyrus' first regnal year. Specifically, Cyrus' first year ran from April 538 to April 537; Ezra 3:8 indicates that the temple work began in Cyrus' second year (May 537 BC), confirmed by Josephus (Against Apion, Book I), which places the return of the Jews in October of 538 BC, not 537 BC.
You've stated above that "JWs do not claim in the referenced article that all the historical dates are inaccurate. They claim that 587 BC is contradictory to many evidence." That is the problem. They don't say all historical sources are wrong, they say that only the sources that contradict their beliefs 'must' be wrong.
The JW belief about 537 must therefore be very clearly indicated as only their belief rather than historical fact.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:58, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
There is also no need to make a statement 'more definite' by adding "as well established".--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:59, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm tired of editing. The statements say about what JWs claim. It is not necessary to introduce other view points in the same sentence that states the witnesses' claim. I have made some changes considering these things.--Fazilfazil (talk) 05:20, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
The sources used to justify 539 BC is not similar(in terms of consistency and accuracy) to those for disregarding 587 BC. It calls 539 BC as a "pivotal date" claiming that all the historical records and cuneiform tablets give no contradictions regarding that year. However regarding 587 BC even secular sources are not claiming it as highly accurate and the WT article gives six differant significant inconsistancy in the historical records. The article is well referenced with over 30 references. --Fazilfazil (talk) 05:31, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. There are fewer sources establishing 539 (though it is not contested) than there are for confirming 587. The fact that JWs call 539 (and not 587) a 'pivotal date' has no real bearing on other sources. In fact, if you search on Google for just the phrase "pivotal date", you get articles about JWs' views on chronology.
Though not all Jews returned in 538 (in fact many didn't return at all), secular sources place the return referenced in Ezra chapter 3 in 538, not 537 (as is explicitly stated in the second cited source in the article and confirmed by a comparison of Ezra 3:1, 8 and Josephus). It is therefore dishonest to try to skew the secular reckoning by saying that only the release was in that year.--Jeffro77 (talk) 11:06, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
The decree was made in the first year of King Cyrus' conquer of Babylon according to Bible (538). But JWs view that the Jews came back to Jerusalem by fall of 537 BC and restored the worship. So as I understood from your points that secular source disregard Biblical history, and assumes that the majority of Jews returned (reached) to Jerusalem by 538 BC(so decree was made before 538 BC?). That makes sense. But I would like to see the secular source that say this--Fazilfazil (talk) 14:15, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Your suggestion that the decree would otherwise need to have been made prior to 538 is simply wrong. The decree was made at Cyrus' accession at the beginning of the year (Nisan, mid March) of 538. The Jews were "in their cities" in the seventh month (Tishri, about October) of 538 (Ezra 3:1), allowing 6 months for the journey (Ezra chapter 7 confirms the journey could be done in 4 months). Work started on the temple in the second month (May) of Cyrus' second year, 537 (Ezra 3:8, Josephus' Against Apion [below] and other sources). The Bible is compatible with the return in 538, not 537. The Bible makes no suggestion at all that the Jews returned to Jerusalem in Cyrus' second year. Since Josephus and the Bible indicate that work on the temple began in May of Cyrus second year, the Jews could not have arrived in their cities another 5 months after that.--Jeffro77 (talk) 15:03, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
* Against Apion Book I, chapter 21 (Josephus): These accounts agree with the true histories in our books; for in them it is written that Nebuchadnezzar, in the eighteenth year of his reign, laid our temple desolate, and so it lay in that state of obscurity for fifty years; but that in the second year of the reign of Cyrus its foundations were laid, and it was finished again in the second year of Darius.
* Insight on the Scriptures, volume 1, p. 568: Babylonian custom would place Cyrus’ first regnal year as running from Nisan of 538 to Nisan of 537 B.C.E.--Jeffro77 (talk) 15:10, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I spend some time researching why 537 BC was chosen. I have added what I found in sources to the article--Fazilfazil (talk) 02:54, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
I have reverted the change for now, because it is partly redundant and partly misleading. The fact that the decree was issued in Cyrus' first regnal year is not contested; however, the Watch Tower Society's contention that the decree was issued at the end of that year and that the Jews first returned the following year is speculative, and is not endorsed by secular sources. None of the cited secular sources suggest that the Jews first returned in 537 rather than 538.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:33, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Okay so we have common grounds on the year of decree (first regnal year) ie. March/April 538 BC to March/April 537 BC. Now let me make it clear rather than going in circles. Your claim is that secular sources say the decree was made in early 537 538 BC ( between march/april 538 BC to august 538 BC). But WT says it happened between approximately September 538 BC to March/April 537 BC. Provide me some clear secular evidence/source that say it happened between March/April 538 BC and September 538 BC and with what basis they say this.(or speculation?). However WT's view have some secular support taking the climate (September through December is cold weather in Palestine/Jerusalem) and situations.
*Werner Keller in his book The Bible As History, p. 352:"In any case it was a risky business to leave this wealthy country of Babylon, where they had established themselves and where most of them had grown up, and to set out on the difficult road back to the ruins of a ravaged land. Despite this, in the spring of 537 B.C., after long preparations a lengthy caravan set out on the trail toward the old homeland. . . . Almost 800 miles have to be covered between Babylon and distant Jerusalem, with the clouds of dust churned up by the caravan as a faithful companion throughout the whole journey."
Evidently this four/six month Journey might have ended by June 537 BC and they have gathered together at an altar to Jehovah ending the desolation of 70 years by September 537 BC.(Ezra 3:1) In any case this reasoning should be mentioned before stating any criticism on it. --Fazilfazil (talk) 18:04, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Alternatively as per your logic if they were released at the starting of first year in 538 BC march/April (with the lack of any evidence), it is very unlikely for 50,000 men (excluding children and women) to travel 800 miles by walking all of a sudden without any preparation(hardly a month) to settle in a desolated country by September of the same year. A quick Google search indicates 537 BC is also supported by many non-JW bible scholars--Fazilfazil (talk) 20:39, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
From these it seem there is no certainty on date regarding the gathering of Jews described in Ezra 3:1, though it is likely on 537 BC per above source/evidence. I have made changes accordingly--Fazilfazil (talk) 02:13, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
The first regnal year of Cyrus was never contested.
No, I most certainly do not claim that "secular sources say the decree was made in early 537 BC" (and I'm not sure why I have to repeat myself yet again). The decree was made at the beginning of Cyrus' first regnal year, that is March/April 538 BC. Josephus (already quoted above) explicitly states (and Britannica agrees) the Jews started work on the temple in Cyrus' second year (Ezra 3:8 provides the month as May) and Ezra explicitly states that the Jews were in their cities the year before the temple foundations were laid (Ezra 3:1 gives the month as October). Cyrus' second year was April 537 to April 536. His first year was April 538 to April 537. The Jews were in their cities in the seventh month of Cyrus' first regnal year - that is October 538; the decree could not be issued any later than several months before their arrival in Jerusalem, and is entirely consistent with the common practice of decrees being made during accession to the throne. Based on the explicit statements of Josephus, it is arithmetically impossible for the decree to have been issued in late 538 or early 537, because the Jews were by then already in their cities. The Watch Tower Society's assertion that the decree "may have" been issued late in Cyrus' first year is entirely speculative.
The Jews travelled between April 538 and October 538 (allowing over 6 months; Ezra chapter 7 says the journey could be done in 4 months). This is the same duration and season (but different year) suggested by the Watch Tower Society, so your claims about 'traveling in cold weather' and the length of the journey are irrelevant red herrings.
Keller, who also makes claims in the same book about the 'shroud of Turin', is not a secular source. I have seen no secular source that endorses 537 for the return.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:50, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
certainly we two are learning by doing research since we started this discussion. I will be back later I figure out something--Fazilfazil (talk) 14:29, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Meanwhile I found numerous sources stating the date of foundation on second temple to be 536/535 which is in consistent with WT. But I could'nt find sources stating the the same with 537 May--Fazilfazil (talk) 14:42, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Also your claim that Ezra 3: 8 is stating about the second regnal year is simply wrong. The text clearly states "In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem" - NIV --Fazilfazil (talk) 15:31, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm glad you're learning. I was already aware of the points raised.
You haven't provided any sources in support of the temple construction in 536. However, because JWs got much of their numerology from earlier Adventists (back to the Millerites), it is unsurprising that other such sources would agree with their claim about 536.
Simple comparison with Josephus' description of the same event confirms the year. The Jews' "arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem" was in October of Cyrus' first year (538 BC), and the second year after their arrival was Cyrus' second year, 537 BC (Josephus: "in the second year of the reign of Cyrus its foundations were laid"). Also, there is no "after" in the original text.[2]--Jeffro77 (talk) 23:58, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
A very quick Google Books search shows there are many sources that indicate commencement of temple reconstruction in 537, so it is not clear why you say you couldn't find any.[3]--Jeffro77 (talk) 00:14, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Josephus' comment on foundations laid by second year of Cyrus is totally in opposition with most of the sources I've seen. I hope you are aware that Against Apion was written to the Greeks after Antiquities of the Jews to defend it. Perhaps he was aware of secular chronology leaving only fifty years for the desolation, and was pandering to both biblical and secular chronology. Further Rolf Furili's Persian Chronology and the Length of the Babylonian Exile of the Jews page 71 describes reliability issues; some paper manuscripts of Josephus give a different number than 50 years in Against Apion I, 21 §154. Also this only appearance of 50 years and the same sentence contradicts not only the Bible but also his own writings as 70 years (about five times in his other book). So in this context the year for laying foundation cannot correlate to this discussion. If that point was really debatable the recent watchtower would have made at-least a statement about it. So lets focus on 537 BC being the arrival of Jews at Jerusalem. It is generally agreed among Bible scholars that the event described in Ezra 3:1 (alter worship) was happened on fall of 537 BC. I have found many sources, some of them I have pasted below. --Fazilfazil (talk) 05:25, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Rolf Furuli—a JW—is hardly an impartial source, and has been described as, "an amateur who wants to rewrite scholarship" (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 28:5 [2004], p. 42-43). Both volumes of his apologia concerning the 607 dogma have been thoroughly debunked. Josephus also makes reference to a period of 182.5 years from the end of the 10-tribe kingdom to Cyrus' first year, which is entirely incompatible with the JW chronology, but entirely compatible with both secular history and the Bible.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:45, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Running through sources I apparently saw your blog here, it is obvious that unless a dual Jeffro77 exist, you have a inherent opposition to witnesses doctrine and finding loop holes. so your claims doesn't surprise me. --Fazilfazil (talk) 05:58, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I have researched the matter in some depth, and I have a rational objection to the 607 doctrine. However, my analysis of the issue is exposition, not opposition. "It is not religious persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a certain religion as being false, thus allowing persons to see the difference between false religion and true religion." (The Watchtower, 15 November 1963) As for other JW doctrines, I do not consider them to be any more or less rational than the beliefs of any other religion.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:09, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It is clear from the sources that their no certainty among the month they returned to Jerusalem, but all sources do not contradict with the WT view that they returned starting end of 538 BC/early 537 BC. However the main event that the society uses in support of October 537 BC, the event at Ezra 3:8 Ezra 3:1 is justified explicitly by at-least five different sources. Given these factors in to consideration I removed the sentence stating "Secular sources place the return in 538 BC" for now, which is clearly not a Universal truth. --Fazilfazil (talk) 12:51, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

You seem to misunderstand the difference between 'secular sources' and 'non-JW sources'. Not all non-JW sources are 'secular sources'. You haven't provided 'secular sources' that indicate 537, you have provided other religious sources. I have provided a variety of secular and religious sources that indicate 538. You've previously objected to the concept of the Jews travelling in the cold months (which was raised as a red herring because they travelled between April and October), but here you suggest that they may have "returned starting end of 538 BC/early 537 BC".--Jeffro77 (talk) 13:01, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
You also claimed in your edit that "most biblical scholars" support 537, which is not correct.--Jeffro77 (talk) 13:09, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Clearly some of the sources I provided falls in the category you mentioned. The difference in 537 and 538 is just because of the conversion in Babylonian year (538 BC March/April to 537 BC March/April). So called secular sources nowhere clearly explain the justification for they being returned by 538 BC September, nor it says it happened in September 538 BC just five months after the release--Fazilfazil (talk) 13:12, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I have reworded the article to simply state that other sources give both views. Your conclusion about how you imagine hypothetical sources arrive at September 538 BC is incorrect, as is your presumption that the four month journey could not be completed in "just five months" (though they had about 7 months), but both of those points are now redundant.--Jeffro77 (talk) 13:20, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I have added additional references explicitly from encyclopedias--Fazilfazil (talk) 13:43, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I will check your edits later, I have to leave--Fazilfazil (talk) 13:50, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

sources supporting 537 BC[edit]

  • Nelson’s Old Testament survey: Discovering essence, Background & Meaning about Every Old Testament book (864 pages) 2003 Charles Dyer (chapter-> Haggai, subheading-> Background)
On October 12, 539 BC the city of Babylon fell to the forces of Medo-Persia, rules by King Cyrus. In 538 BC Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Jews to return from Babylon to Jerusalem and to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:2-4; 6:3-5). Approximately fifty thousand Jews under the leadership of Zerubbabel, grandson of King Jehoiachin (1 Chron. 3:17-19), made the long trek back to Jerusalem from Babylon. It would have taken several months to make preparations for the journey and several months to travel from Babylon to Jerusalem with the elderly and the young. The next time reference is in Ezra 3:1, where Ezra recorded that “when the seventh month came” the Israelites who had already arrived in Jerusalem and settled in their towns (see 2:68-70) came to Jerusalem to build the altar and celebrate the feast of Tabernacles. This could not have been the seventh month in 538 B.C because that would not leave enough time for the Israelites to hear the command, make preparations to return, make the journey, and settle in their homes. Most likely, the people gathered in Jerusalem to begin rebuilding in the seventh month of 537 BC. That month began on September 6, 537 B.C. They had completed the altar by the beginning of the Feast of tabernacles, which began on September 20, 537 BC (3:3-4). Work on the temple proper started “in the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem" (3:8). That month began on April 29, 536 BC and was the same month Solomon had began ……
  • Werner Keller in his book The Bible As History, p. 352:
"In any case it was a risky business to leave this wealthy country of Babylon, where they had established themselves and where most of them had grown up, and to set out on the difficult road back to the ruins of a ravaged land. Despite this, in the spring of 537 B.C., after long preparations a lengthy caravan set out on the trail toward the old homeland. . . . Almost 800 miles have to be covered between Babylon and distant Jerusalem, with the clouds of dust churned up by the caravan as a faithful companion throughout the whole journey."
  • Esther: Historical & Chronological Comments (VI) - Biblical Chronology Vol. 8, No. 8 August, 1996 Copyright © James B. Jordan
539 bc - 2nd Quarter: Nabonidus, king of Babylon, 17B
539 BC - 4th Quarter: Nabonidus 17J. Immediately Nabonidus flees, Belshazzar proclaims himself co-regent. The city falls. Cyrus/Darius receives the kingdom. Daniel is most favored candidate for governor. Events of Daniel 6. "Accession year" of Cyrus (Darius the Mede), age 62, begins.
538 bc - 2nd Quarter: Cyrus 1P (Persian). Cambyses becomes co-regent with Cyrus of Babylon.
538 BC - 4th Quarter: Cyrus 1J. At the beginning of the quarter, Daniel’s calculations lead him to the prayer of Daniel 9. At end of quarter, Cambyses is removed as "king of Babylon," and Gabriel strengthens Cyrus (Dan. 11:1). This is the beginning of the 70 weeks of years, and thus also of the 7 weeks of years. Jubilee Year.
537 bc - 1st Quarter: Cyrus, having removed Cambyses, who opposed the Jews, decrees that the Jews are to rebuild the Temple.
537 BC - 2nd Quarter: Jews, including Mordecai and Nehemiah, travel to Palestine.
537 BC - 3rd Quarter: Jews settle in. It is likely that Mordecai adopted Esther at this time.
537 BC - 4th Quarter: Cyrus 2J. Feast of Tabernacles celebrated (Ezra 3:1), but foundations of Temple not yet laid. This begins the "second year of their coming to Jerusalem," Ezra 3:8.
536 bc- 2nd Quarter: Work begun on Temple in the second month, Ezra 3:8.
536 BC - 4th Quarter: Cyrus 3J. Opposition to rebuilding project arises, Ezra 4:1-3.
  • Ezra and Nehemiah by J. Carl Laney page 123. Appendix- Historical survey of Restoration period
538 BC – The decree of Cyrus permitting the return to Jerusalem to rebuilt the temple was issued sometime during the year.
537 BC –Approximately 40000 Jews return to Jerusalem under the leadership of Sheshbazzar and Zerubabel
537 BC Tishri (Oct-Dec) – The altar was rebuilt in Jerusalem. Sacrifices were offered and the feast of Tabernacles was celebrated.
  • Judea from Cyrus to Titus, 537 BC – 70 AD by Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer (1899) page.21-22- legacy reprint 2007
But we know that in this year 538 BC he issued a decree…..however half a century anterior to the return of the repatriated exiles by imperial permission in 537 BC
  • Daniel: Understanding the Dreams and Vision - Page 262 by R. Fortsch, Erica Dissler - 2006 - 406 pages
537 BC- In the first year of Cyrus, a decree is issued to fulfill the prophecy in Jeremiah 25:1-2 to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem.
  • Your Study of the Old Testament Made Easier: Part 3 - Selections ... - Page 154 by J. Ridges - 2009
Cyrus conquered Babylon about 538 BC, who had conquered Jerusalem about fifty years earlier in 588 BC . In 537 BC, Cyrus issued a decree to let the Jews return home to Palestine to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. See 538 BC . on the .
  • Daniel: The Triumph of God's Kingdom: Volume 27 - Page 176 by Stortz, R. Kent Hughes - 2004
Daniel calls this the third year of Cyrus. Since that monarch began to rule in Persia in 559 BC, this could not ... in the first year of his reign, but the people did not leave for Jerusalem until the second year of his reign (537 BC).
  • Zechariah - Page 14 by Carl Laney - 1984
Cyrus went on to defeat Croesus, king of Lydia, and captured his capital at Sardis in 546 BC In 539 BC Cyrus captured ... In 537 BC the first group of Jews returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah
  • The Complete Book of When and Where - Page 47 by Michael Rusten, Sharon O. Rusten - 2005
537 BC $ SHESHBAZZAR LEADS THE RETURN FROM BABYLON Soon after he had conquered the Babylonian kingdom, Cyrus the Great (r. 559-530 BC) proclaimed that the Jewish people could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
  • The Annals of the World - Page 117 by James Ussher - 2007
537 BC Cyrus, King of Persia made the famouse edict of his “Into my hands the heavens and…[release]
  • Apologetics Study Bible for Students - Page 468 by Sean McDowell
'537 BC– An edict by Cyrus, King of Persia allowing the exiled Jews to return…
  • The Prophetic Harmony of the Lamp of God - Page 19 by Gerbasi - 2006
It was issued by King Cyrus in the autumn of 537 BC, within a few months following his ascension to the throne..
  • What the Bible Is All About Visual Edition - Page 104 by Henrietta C. Mears, Billy Graham - 2007
In 537 BC the first Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylon
  • Prime elements of ordinary matter, dark matter & dark energy: ... - Page 6 by Vladimir B. Ginzburg, Tatyana V. Ginzburg - 2007
In 537 BC Cyrus allowed them to return back to their homeland. Along with all their belongings, t
  • The Mirage of Peace: Understanding the Never-Ending Conflict in ... - Page 127 by David Aikman - 2009
Indeed, after his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, Cyrus enters Jewish history as the Persian ruler who in 537 BC permitted theJews to return to Jerusalem from the exile in Babylo..
  • The International standard Bible encyclopedia: Volume 1 - Page 2825 by James Orr
..a company or guild of the Jewish exiles who returned with Zerubbabel from Babylonia to Jerusalem in 537 BC, pursuant to the decree of Cyrus;
  • History of the people of Israel: from the earliest times to the ... - Page 150 by Heinrich Cornill –
and growing empire of Cyrus. ... Family by the strongest ties of gratitude, and upon the fidelity of which they could absolutely rely. In the spring of 537 B. C, ..the exiles set out..
  • The New Unger's Bible Dictionary by Merrill F. Unger, Roland Kenneth Harrison, R. K. Harrison
The Babylonian captivity was brought to a close by the decree (Ezra 1:2) of Cyrus, 537 BC and the return of a portion of the nation
  • Dictionary of the Bible: Biographical, Geographical, Historical, ... - Page 247 by Charles Randall Barnes
The exiles who returned under the protection of Cyrus (537 B. C), having begun their political and religious life at Jerusalem
  • Return of the Medes: An Analysis of Iranian History by Hamma F. Mirwaisi - 2010
Which contains Cyrus' proclamation to the Babylonians when he became Emperor of the Median Empire in 537 BC, after the death..
  • The Chronological Study Bible by Thomas Nelson -2008
When Cyrus died in 530 BC, he was succeeded by his son Cambyses (530–522 BC).There are some indications that ... The first group was led in 538 or 537 BC by one Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:8–11),--Fazilfazil (talk) 05:25, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
You're just cherry picking. As I already stated, various religious sources claim that the return was in 537, and JW sources share a common origin with that tradition. I could just as easily provide a very long list of source that indicate 538 as the correct year, and I've already provided a Google Books link for same. Notably, the claim by Nelson that, "This could not have been the seventh month in 538 B.C because that would not leave enough time for the Israelites to hear the command, make preparations to return, make the journey, and settle in their homes" is simply wrong, because the journey could be done in 4 months, and they had more than 6.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:45, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Funny to hear that its cherry picking, they are not my thoughts but are of historians. Instead of making an self assumption as if you lived there, provide any sources that oppose the above reasoning. A travel in four months does not automatically guarantee that 50000 people would start moving to Jerusalem within a month after the decree. Even if you have any sources contradicting this Wikipedia policies does not allow not include this opinions.--Fazilfazil (talk) 05:58, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Sigh. See below...--Jeffro77 (talk) 06:38, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I also notice that, without exception, the sources you've provided all use BC, and none use BCE. Though not entirely conclusive, the use of that suffix suggests that you've opted for sources with a Christian bias that defer to a 'traditional' view of the return from exile. On the other hand, I've provided a variety sources, including Christian, Jewish and secular sources, that support 538 BCE.--Jeffro77 (talk) 06:52, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Sigh..You just forgot that Secular sources depend on the Bibles date described in Ezra 1:1, which is just a whole Babylonian year. Also your sources does not say anything about the event described in Ezra 3:8. Ezra 3:1. Your claim on "christian bias" is not supported by a secular source. Also see my comment below--Fazilfazil (talk) 12:26, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I didn't 'forget' anything. This part of the Bible is entirely consistent with secular history. The most plain reading of Ezra 1:1 ("in the first year of Cyrus"), 3:1 ("the seventh month") and 3:8 ("in the second year of their coming ... in the second month") are consistent with a decree in early 538 (March/April) and return (October) in 538 followed by temple foundations built in (May) 537, and this is supported by many sources. My indication that a subset of Christian groups hold to a traditional view about 537 is supported by the sources provided below from other Christian sources as well as Jewish and secular sources that support 538. It is quite a novel interpretation to state when the sources say the "return" was in 538 that they 'really' meant "decree".
The fact of the matter is that I've provided secular (and other) sources that indicate the "return" in 538, and you have provided a subset of Christian sources that suggest 537. Therefore, the article is currently correct in stating that "secular sources" assign the return to 538 BCE.--Jeffro77 (talk) 12:50, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
You clearly ignored my comments. I think its time for an independent comment--Fazilfazil (talk) 13:04, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I didn't ignore your comments. I just don't consider them to be correct. I have no objection to independent comments.--Jeffro77 (talk) 13:11, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
  • The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge: ...: Volume 1 - Page 217 by Macauley Jackson - 1908
Ezra i: Cyrus in the first year of his reign (537 BC) allows the exiles to return, and restores to them the vessels of the Temple.
  • The Wycliffe Bible encyclopedia: Volume 1 by F. Pfeiffer, Howard Frederic Vos, John Rea - 1975 - 1851 pages
Hence, it can be concluded that Cyrus' decree was issued in 537 BC
  • Academic American encyclopedia: Volume 10; Volume 10 Grolier Incorporated, Grolier Incorporated - 1994
In 586 bc, the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and exiled the Jews to Babylonia. Fifty years later (537 bc), Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylonia and permitted the Jews to return
  • New international encyclopedia: Volume 12 - Page 682
The Chaldcean and Persian Periods (586- 332 BC ) . — The fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple, the overthrow of ... In 537 he is said to have given permission to the Jews to return to Palestine
  • Encyclopedia of World Religion Johannes P. Schadé - 2006 - 960 pages
... be celebrated on a Sunday or on the actual day of the Jewish lunar month (114th of Nisan), when the Resurrection took place. ... 1247 of whom returned from exile with priest Jeshua in 537 BC (Ezra 2:1-2;
  • The American desk encyclopedia - Page 796 by Steve Luck - 1998
It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in 587 BC. A second temple was completed in 515 BC by the Jewish exiles who had returned from Babylon in 537 BC.
  • Collier's encyclopedia: with bibliography and index: Volume 13 by William Darrach Halsey, Emanuel Friedman - 1984
Many works, mentioned by title in the Old Testament, have been lost, and others, known as Apocrapha, never formed part of the Hebrew Bible. Mishnah. The return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile (537 bc)..
  • The Encyclopedia Americana: a library of universal knowledge: Volume 13 - Page 615
and joined the first band of exiles who, on the issue of the decree of Cyrus (536 BC) returned to their own land. ... in the first year after his conquest of Babylonia, 537, issued a decree permitting the return of the Jews
  • The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Volume 1 by Geoffrey W. Bromiley - 1980
One of the twenty-two priestly leaders who returned to Palestine from the Babylonian Exile with Zerubbabel in 537 bc
  • Encyclopedia international: Volume 1; Volume 1 1969
JESHUA, Jewish high priest who accompanied Zenib- babel and returning exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem in 537 BC
  • Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia: Index and Ready Reference by Harry Judge - 1993 - 272 pages
The kingdom ofJudah fell to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 bc. The Jews returned from their Exile in 537 bc, and the land t
  • The Encyclopedia of the Bible by P. A. Marijnen, P. A. Marijnen - 1965
He and Zerubbabel led the returning exiles in 537 BC and J…
  • The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 2: Revised ...: Volume 2 by Merrill C. Tenney - 2010 - 912 pages
Ezra 3:10 says that the foundation was laid in 536 BC by ZERUBBABEL and JESHUA. The work was hindered and lapsed ... Some suppose that only a small number returned in 537, a
  • Catholic Encyclopedia - Persian suzerainty (538-333 B.C.)
Without delay, too, they set up a new altar, and had it ready to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in 537 B.C. Henceforth, the ri
  • 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica - Babylonian Captivity
After the overthrow of Babylonia by the Persians, Cyrus gave the Jews permission to return to their native land (537 B.C.), and more then--Fazilfazil (talk) 13:42, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Now you're just wasting your time. I could go and get a bunch more sources showing 538 (it was only boredom that made me stop at 20), but there is no point. The Bible, and a good many sources, support 538. The article now states that both dates are given in other sources. Not all of your extra sources are secular ones, and some, such as the 1911 edition of Britannica, are outdated by newer versions that indicate 538. Some of the sources support neither 538 nor 537: The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge and Academic American encyclopedia give the wrong first year for Cyrus, and The Encyclopedia Americana places the decree in 536. Several of the sources further indicate that 607 has no support.--Jeffro77 (talk) 14:02, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Sources supporting 538 BC[edit]

  • Fire Bible-NIV-Student - Page 580, Donald Stamps, Carey Huffman, J. Wesley Adams – 2009: “In stage one (538 BC), 50000 exiles returned, led by Zerubbabel and Jeshua (cf. Ezra 2).”
  • Fire Bible Student Edition: New International Version - Page 580, Hendrickson Publishers, Carey Huffman – 2010: “Note that the first group of Jewish exiles in 538 BC returned to Jerusalem”
  • Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible - Page 449, 2000: “According to Ezra, the exiled Jews returned to Judah and Jerusalem en masse in response to a decree by Cyrus king of Persia (538; 1:1-4).”
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia: Volume 8, Charles George Herbermann, Edward Aloysius Pace, Condé Bénoist Pallen – 1913: “I. HISTORY OF THE JEWS. — This history may be divided into various periods in accordance with the leading phases which may be distinguished in the existence of the Jewish race since the Return in 538 bc
  • A History of the Christian Tradition: - Page 22, Thomas C. McGonigle, Thomas D. McGonigle, James F. Quigley – 1988: “The Return from Exile In 538 BCE a new political power, Persia, ...”
  • The Controversial Sholem Asch - Page 269, Ben Siegel – 1976: “Apocalyptic tendencies that led to both Jewish and Christian Messianic movements were apparent as early as Ezekiel, but they did not "flower" until after the Jewish return (538 BC) from Babylon. “
  • Kings of the Jews: the origins of the Jewish nation - Page 152, Norman Gelb - 2010 - 246 pages : “RETURN TO ZION Like their return from Egypt almost eight centuries earlier, the return of the Jews from Babylonia was in waves, beginning in 538 BCE.”
  • Jews and Christians: Graeco-Roman views - Page 3, Molly Whittaker – 1984: “When the Persians took Babylon, some of the exiles were permitted to return (c. 538), although many remained...”
  • The amazing adventures of the Jewish people - Page 37, Max I. Dimont – 1984: “The first Zionade, launched in 538 BCE, had a distinguished leadership — two princes of the house of David, ...”
  • The Creative Era Between the Testaments, Carl Gordon Howie, Carl Gordon Howie – 1965: “Under provisions of the royal decree, Sheshbazzar, who was appointed governor of the Jerusalem area, and his company of fellow Jews left Babylon for Jerusalem during the reign of Cyrus. The immediate purpose of their return in 538 BC ...”
  • Fantastic Victory: Israel's Rendezvous With Destiny - Page 129, W. Cleon Skousen – 2011: “One year later, in 538 BC, Cyrus authorized 50000 Jews to return to the ruins of their beloved Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding it. These 50000 “Zionists” required four months to reach their destination and were led by a man who ...”
  • The Last Tango in Baghdad - Page 1, Albert Khabbaza MD, Albert Khabbaza, M.d. – 2010: “The Jews were dispersed mostly to Persia and Babylonia. The opportunity to return arrived in 538 BCE when Cyrus of Persia issued the famous decree permitting the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple.”
  • The Age of the Maccabees, Annesley William Streane – 1898: “BEFORE entering on our main subject, it is desirable that we should take a brief retrospective glance over that part of the earlier history which lies between the return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon (538 BC)...”
  • Holman Concise Bible Dictionary - Page 210, Holman Bible Editorial Staff – 2011: “Jehoiachin's grandson, Zerubbabel, led the first exiles back from Babylon in 538 BC (Ezra 2:2; Hag. 1:1).”
  • The Jewish People: A Pictorial History, Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Israel Program for Scientific Translations – 1973: “Permission was given to the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. The first return in 538 bce involved 42.360 free men and 7337 slaves; the territory assigned to them was small..”
  • Merriam-Webster's collegiate encyclopedia - Page 857, Merriam-Webster, Inc – 2000: “Cyrus the Great allowed them to return in 538 BC, and the Temple of Jerusalem was rebuilt.”
  • The myth of the Jewish race - Page 97, Raphael Patai, Jennifer Patai – 1989: “We can gain a very rough idea of the extent of Jewish-Babylonian intermarriage in the half-century that elapsed between their arrival as exiles in Babylon and their first return to the land of Judah (538 BC)...”
  • A Guide Through the Old Testament - Page 16, Celia Brewer Marshall, Celia B. Sinclair – 1989: “Jews return to Judea from the Exile beginning in 538
  • Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian conceptions - Page 89, James M. Scott – 1997, “including the return in the year 538 under the leadership of Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1 ).”
  • A Concise History of the Jewish People - Page 11, Naomi E. Pasachoff, Robert J. Littman – 2005: “the return to Israel under the Persians in 538 BCE

This is not an exhaustive list.--Jeffro77 (talk) 06:38, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

None of the sources say explicitly that the release was made in early 538 BC. The word return/release are used with almost the same meaning in source. Because the only historical evidence for the date of Jewish release is the Bible, and the Bible does not say which month the decree was made, but it says the decree was made in the first reganal year of Cyrus. We know the first reganal year of Cyrus is March/April 538 BC to March/April 538 BC. The above sources does not contradict with the JWs view that the decree likely was made in end of 538 BC or early 537 BC. In fact your and my source together supports the JWs view on the decree month. But our main issue is the date described in Ezra 3:8Ezra 3:1, which four of my sources explicitly supports. Wikipedia do not allow synthesis. You cannot say that event in Ezra 3:8 Ezra 3:1 happened in 538 BC, even if you assume decree/return was made in early 538 BC. --Fazilfazil (talk) 12:21, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
You're welcome to your opinion, but it is not consistent with the facts. Return in 538 does not mean the same thing as decree in 538, and doesn't remotely allow for a decree in early 537. The decree was obviously several months before the return, and many sources indicate that the return was in 538. Those sources that suggest a return in 537 (i.e. the ones you've provided) are a subset of Christian sources, based on tradition. However, other Christian sources, as well as Jewish sources and secular sources explicitly state that the return (not just the decree) happened in 538. Ezra 3:8 indicates the second month of the second year, which is Iyyar (May) of 537 for construction of the temple foundations; 'your' sources are not supported by the facts, and there is nothing in Ezra 3:8 that would support some time during Cyrus' third regnal year.--Jeffro77 (talk) 12:33, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
You too welcome for your personal observation. Provide source that say explicitly that the event in Ezra 3:8 Ezra 3:1 support 538 BC October first--Fazilfazil (talk) 13:05, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I've already provided many sources that indicate 538 BCE. The month they arrived, Tishri (October) is explicitly stated in Ezra 3:8 and is not contested.--Jeffro77 (talk) 13:07, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Fazilfazil, stop trying to raise an irrelevant strawman about 'September 538'. No claim has been made about September 538.--Jeffro77 (talk) 12:40, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

"Overlapping generations" anchor[edit]

I added {{anchor|Overlapping generations}} around the 2010 part to provide a target for the disambiguation hatnote at the top of Overlapping generations. Jeffro77 (talk · contribs) reverted on grounds that Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. To what target should this disambiguation hatnote refer instead to specifically distinguish the 1976 interpretation from the 2010 interpretation? --Damian Yerrick (talk | stalk) 16:04, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

You added the hatnote based on your own opinion that "I expect The Watchtower to expand on this 2010 "overlapping generation" teaching over the next few years. Then a new section heading will be needed. But for now, add only an invisible anchor."[4] There isn't any verifiable indication that there is any requirement for the hatnote based on the speculative rationale you provided. Can you provide some indication of why such a hatnote would be necessary anywhere? That is, has notability of this change in doctrine been raised in any reliable third-party source?--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:28, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing?[edit]

Jeffro, do you dispute that you don't have any objective source that which cannot even be corroborated anywhere on Wikipedia with a verifiable source? Every statement where that is mentioned on Wikipedia has either no source or a faulty source. Lighthead þ 03:19, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

You've got to be kidding. The date for the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (29 July 587 BCE) is one of the best attested dates in ancient history. Have you ever been to the British Museum? I have. 587BCE is given as the correct year on multiple artifacts, along with other relative events attesting to the Neo-Babylonian period in general. The date is so broadly accepted that it may as well be considered general knowledge. See also [5] for just one example where 587 is plainly stated.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:49, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
If you're contesting some other thing, you will have to be more specific.--Jeffro77 (talk) 05:55, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
How were they able to find the date 587 BCE? Did they carbon date it? Lighthead þ 00:55, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
The date can be determined from the many thousands of extant records from the period. I will not go in to more detail here because it is out of scope, and you won't accept facts that disagree with your religious beliefs anyway.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:15, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
A date based on other records can be wrong (just because it's 99.999999% likely doesn't necessarily make it 100% true). I'm not saying that the records are wrong, necessarily. But anyway, I'll just concede this argument to your favor. And to be honest, I'm probably not the right person to debate this with you. This wikiproject is not my general forté. I have no archaeological background whatsoever. I'm not gonna lie. My question is, why don't you include a scientific source after that statement? Why do you have a source from a group that is so obviously opposed to Jehovah's Witnesses? It's not a neutral source. Lighthead þ 05:28, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
The specific criticism of the twenty year difference in a section about controversy is indeed sourced to a critic. However, that fact places no doubt on the factuality of the well established date of the actual destruction of Jerusalem.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:10, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Cool. :) Lighthead þ 05:25, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

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