Update: This version contains a complete list of Roman consuls for every year from the traditional founding of Rome through the end of the consul system, thus providing a metric time scale for the entire period.
Earlier: Several of the source documents refer to Middle Eastern, Chinese, Japanese and Korean rulers by different names. These names have been standardized to their complete forms. Reign eras for China and Japan have been added. All synonyms in the database differing by fewer than six characters have been synchronized. The seeming discrepancy between the duration of Mesopotamian and Biblical events has been traced to consecutive treatment of Sumerian king lists, which may have been partly concurrent.
Compares historical events to each other, showing limits on times of occurrence, with proofs.
A totally transparent analysis of the relationship between events, with a provably self-consistent database.
Given this database, generates all possible conclusions and the proofs of their early and late time limits.
Note that these conclusions are derived independently of any theories they may resemble or contradict.
Given a database of time intervals between events, the program generates all possible proofs of the maximum and minimum intervals between every possible pairing of events in the database, along with the reasons that justify each step in each proof and the reference supporting each reason.
Every event in the database is compared with all others in generating those proofs. All relations and intervals given in the database are used in those comparisons. Therefore the entire database is provably self consistent. So, a single system of interpretation is proved to exist that includes all statements in the database and all conclusions derived from that database.
Every conclusion (theorem) derived from the database is provably valid, therefore all conclusions are proved true if the relational statements in the database are true. If one disagrees with a conclusion, one must also identify which statement or statements in the database are incorrect in order to justify that claim.
It was never my purpose to prove any particular conclusion. Rather, my intent was to derive all possible conclusions and their proofs from the available data and present the results in a transparent, verifiable form.
If one can find contradictions in a document, then either the document itself contains errors or one's interpretation of that document is at least partly incorrect. Failure to find such errors in the course of a thorough analysis is evidence toward that document's being also correct as well as self-consistent although correctness has not thus been proved. The larger the document and the more comprehensive the analysis, the stronger the evidence for correctness as there are more ways among more statements that errors could be exposed, also, that there is less leeway in interpretation of each item in the passage without a collision occurring among the statements resulting from these interpretations. It is conceivable that a sufficiently large document would place such tight constraints on interpretation consistent with the document's total context that most qualitative changes to meaning possible within relatively simple statements would be too coarse to remain within those constraints. Therefore greater complexity in a document, rather than lend itself to an increased multiplicity of interpretations, would actually limit in total context the number and range of interpretations possible.
It is true that such analysis cannot be truly exhaustive as there is no way to prove that all aspects of analysis have been undertaken. However, a given type of investigation may be completed if the method is algorithmic, that is, completely defined and finite for a finite database. For example, all persons mentioned in a document may be exhaustively listed.
What is total context?
What is total context? While 2 Timothy 3:16 states, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," it is hard to see how, for example, Exodus 6:21, "And the sons of Izhar: Korah and Nepheg and Zichri." has any substantial meaning by itself to the modern reader. It is only as we begin to compare this verse with others throughout the Bible that a pattern emerges, so that not only these names become associated with real people and their deeds in historical and familial context, we come to see the wisdom of the working of God as He judges Korah for his rebellion and yet establishes his descendants in a primary role in the temple worship throughout the generations that follow.
The Bible, then, can only be understood in its entirety. One must realize that since the one God inspired all Scripture throughout time, no matter how many human authors were involved in the writing, every passage must agree in meaning with every other passage throughout the entire Bible. So must every verse, phrase and word in its own historical, cultural and grammatical context.
In fact, if our interpretation of a particular passage appears to disagree with another, then we can be certain that our interpretation is faulty, that is, incomplete, inconsistent or incorrect. Incompleteness implies a paradox or seeming contradiction that resolves when enough data is added to the system. Incorrectness means that a statement or implication of a statement is false to fact and, in order to validate such a claim, demonstrably so. Inconsistency as applied to comparison with the absolutes of Scripture generally also means incorrect but, more immediately, implies that a set of statements which contains no direct, apparent contradictions to either Scripture or known facts will nevertheless, if their implications are expanded to their logical maxima, eventually begin to contradict themselves as well as known truth.
At this point, it would appear that we have not covered our defenses adequately, for many feel that the Bible itself contains errors. However, we can apply the requirements of the previous paragraph to answer these claims. If the Scriptures do indeed contain errors, then there will be statements in the Bible that contradict known facts or that directly or indirectly contradict each other. If, on the other hand, a total contextual analysis fails to reveal any internal inconsistencies, then any seeming contradiction with known facts must be seriously re-examined as to whether the contradictions are real or the "facts" are actually correct.
At the same time, examination of any seeming inconsistencies and paradoxes may serve to modify our interpretation(s) so that these "problems" disappear. Rather than actively seek to find errors in Scripture, look for a consistent interpretation that can be applied throughout all Scripture. It is both possible and proper to simultaneously ask, "If there are no actual internal contradictions in the total context, what then should be the correct interpretation?" and to state, "If I allow my faith to be challenged by exposing it to this minute scrutiny, then, if I fail to find any demonstrable errors, Scripture is vindicated and my faith is strengthened as is my witness."
TIMELINE seeks to do exactly this. As the interpretations obtainable from each verse are coded into computer-readable form, each piece of data is compared with each other piece. If a paradox is discovered in the total context, its point of origin in the database is isolated and the interpretation re-examined. To date about five thousand six hundred Scripture references have been encoded and about twenty-five hundred data points have been derived from these references and compared. (Notice that, in order to compare data, many references have to refer to the same data. That is why the references outnumber the data points.) All explicit time intervals found in the Bible have been included. More than two hundred million comparisons have been performed within Scripture references and with related world events. Every paradox encountered so far has been resolved. The proof of the conclusions of every comparison has been documented and is available for examination. If all proofs were printed, they would make a stack of letter-format paper about 3.5 kilometers thick.