[Avodah] Persian history

Kenneth Miller kennethgmiller at juno.com
Tue Feb 19 05:11:15 PST 2013

Prof. Levine wrote:
> See Rav Shimon Schwab's article Comparative Jewish Chronology ...

and R"n Lisa Liel responded:
> But please note that when he saw that people were taking his
> thought experiment as an actual statement of what happened, he
> retracted it entirely.  Posting this essay without including
> the retraction is a misrepresentation of Rav Schwab's views,
> and is, in my opinion, in poor taste.

I do not understand what RLL is referring to. From what I read there, Rav Schwab did not make any "actual statement of what happened", so I cannot imagine what he might have retracted. All he did was to present two different chronologies, and explain why it was so difficult to reconcile them.

Please note his closing words, on the last two pages:

"It is because of all these gnawing doubts that I have decided to put a big question mark after the words "Jewish Chronology." Let somebody with greater knowledge come and pick up the threads where I left off. Our traditional, universally accepted Jewish way of counting the years L'brias Haolam is sacred territory which only fools do not fear to tread upon.

"This may be a disappointment to some, but on the other hand I muster the courage to belong to those who rather wish to be honest to themselves than to be "right." I would rather leave a good question open than risk giving a wrong answer. And I follow the teachings of Rav Shimon (Pesachim 52b) who said, 'Just as I was awarded for the research, so shall I be awarded for the retraction.'

"The historic material which I have assembled may still be somehow useful, even for those who will doubt whether there can ever be a Jewish chronology which would satisfy the nonbeliever in the wisdom of our Sages. So I fall back into the ranks of all Shlomei Emunei Yisrael. And to me 'L'brias Haolam' means what it meant to our fathers. It is as simple as that. And while we may keep on searching for the answers, we pray that Hashem may enlighten our eyes."

Akiva Miller
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