Short Persian Empire – Archaeological Evidence From Peter James’ Book “Centuries of Darkness”

I have shown in this series of articles that there are several pieces of evidence that the Persian Empire did not last the 200 years proposed by historians but only 21 years as described in the Old Testament. This is an idea I presented in detail in my book, The Fourth Day: Why the Bible is Historically Accurate. My article, “Old Testament History Revised-Jeremiah’s Eclipse” provides astronomical evidence from the Bible for this idea and my article, “Old Testament History Revised-The 390 Days of Ezekiel” provides evidence from a famous prophecy from the biblical book of Ezekiel for this idea. This article provides archaeological support for a “short” Persian Empire based on information described in Peter James’ book, Centuries of Darkness.

Archaeological Findings of the Babylonian and Persian Empires

Recall that earlier in this book I proposed that the Babylonian Empire’s reign over Judah occurred about 180 years later than the Conventional Biblical Chronology dating. The Conventional Biblical Chronology dates the Babylonian captivity of Judah as 585 B.C. while the Fourth Day Biblical Chronology places it in 401 B.C. If the Fourth Day Chronology is accurate shouldn’t it be reflected in the archaeology? What about Judah’s migration from Persia in accordance of the edict by Cyrus II to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem? According to the Conventional Biblical Chronology this would have occurred in 539 B.C. however the Fourth Day Biblical Chronology dates this event in 350 B.C. Let’s allow Peter James’ book settle the matter. According to the Biblical record during the reign of King Cyrus the Persian it was a very active time in Israel. Those that acquired wealth in the Babylonian and Persian reigns of Babylon returned home. The land was resettled, the Temple rebuilt and walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. Despite all this activity Peter James records that there were few findings for the 539-332 BC timeframe in the region. (Centuries of Darkness, page 170)

If the Fourth Day Biblical Chronology is the correct model this lack of archaeological findings is easily explained. Persia was only present from 352 B.C. to 331 B.C. so there should only be about either 21 years of artifacts present. If you believe the Conventional Chronology there would have been 207 years (539-332 B.C.) to indicate the presence of the Persians. The Persians were just not there for much of the period in question. Peter James states that information is lacking on many levels. A Persian strata is difficult to see and few architectural remains are present. Those strata that are present are of the timeframe after 450 BC (there is almost no evidence of finds prior to this period). According to Peter James other archaeologists have lamented the fact that to be such a relative recent timeframe in history there is surprisingly few finds for this period. (page 170, Centuries of Darkness). All these observations just enforce the observation that the Persian Empire was a short-lived event in the history of Judah. Peter James doesn’t have much better news about the Jewish Exile to Babylon. James paints a bleak picture for archaeological findings in the timeframe 587-539 BC that serial ghorbaghe represents the Babylonian Conquest. More than one hundred years of Biblical history is barely evident in archaeological evidence. Peter James poses the question: does the time period from 587-450 BC in Palestine represent some kind of dark period in Israelite and Babylonian history? (Centuries of Darkness, pages 170-171). Indeed not. Since, according to Fourth Day Biblical Chronology, the Babylonians and the Persians did not show up in the lives of Judah until after 450 B.C. there is certainly no reason to believe in a ‘Dark Age’ in Palestine. The evidence speaks for itself, the Babylonians and the Persians were just not there from 587 B.C. to 450 B.C. They were not there because the Persian Empire only lasted twenty one years, not the more than 200 years that the conventional chronology model claims.

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