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Reconstructing Metonic 19-year Lunar Cycles

(on the basis of NASA's Six Millennium Catalog of Phases of the Moon)

Jan Zuidhoek • Boek • paperback

  • Samenvatting
    This book explains, by following the mainstream of the history of the computus paschalis, i.e. the science developed from the beginning of the third century on behalf of the determination of the date of Paschal Sunday, which rised around AD 250 in Alexandria (Egypt), how of old the date of Easter depends on the phases of the moon, and provides, on the basis of NASA’s Six Millennium Catalog of Phases of the Moon, the reconstruction of both the strongly different lost Metonic 19-year lunar cycles which must have been constructed before the first council of Nicaea (AD 325), turning point in the history of Christianity.
    The author of this book was born in 1938, studied mathematics, physics, and astronomy at the university of Utrecht from 1960 to 1969, and was a teacher of mathematics from 1970 to 2001 at the Gymnasium Celeanum in Zwolle. After having steeped himself in the fields of history of mathematics, history of early Christianity, and chronology, he became fascinated by the computus. In 2009 he succeeded in determining the initial year (AD 271) of De ratione paschali, i.e. the medieval Latin text containing the Paschal tract of the famous third century Alexandrian computist Anatolius, founder of the modern way of determining the date of Easter. This was done by reconstructing, on the basis of the Six Millennium Catalog, the proto-Alexandrian 19-year lunar cycle defined to be the Metonic 19-year lunar cycle Anatolius must have used to construct his legendary 19-year Paschal cycle. The presentations the author gave at the conferences on the science of computus at the university of Galway in 2010 and 2018 resulted in an article entitled “The initial year of De ratione paschali and the relevance of its paschal dates” (in 2017) and the present study (in 2019), respectively.
  • Productinformatie
    Binding : Paperback
    Distributievorm : Boek (print, druk)
    Formaat : 170mm x 240mm
    Aantal pagina's : 120
    Uitgeverij : JZ
    ISBN : 9789090324678
    Datum publicatie : 10-2019
  • Inhoudsopgave
    Introduction
    Two ante-Nicene Metonic 19 year lunar cycles
    (1) Anatolius’ 19-year lunar cycle
    Reconstructing Anatolius’ 19-year lunar cycle
    (1’) The proto-Alexandrian 19-year lunar cycle
    Searching for Anatolius’ 19-year lunar cycle
    Dates for the spring equinox
    (2) The archetypal Alexandrian 19-year lunar cycle
    Reconstructing the archetypal 19-year lunar cycle
    Three post-Nicene Metonic 19-year lunar cycles
    (3) The Festal Index 19-year lunar cycle
    (4) Theophilus’ 19-year lunar cycle
    (5) The classical Alexandrian 19-year lunar cycle
    The ante-Nicene Alexandrian 2-day gap
    More evidence
    Summary
    Epilogue
    Bibliography
    Index
    Appendix I (Dionysius Exiguus’ Paschal table)
    Appendix II (Beda Venerabilis’ Easter table)
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Summary
It is the development of the Alexandrian Metonic 19-year lunar cycle that formed the mainstream of the history of the computus paschalis which had risen in third century Alexandria (Egypt) and would in the year 1582 flow into the modern method which since then is used in order to determine the Gregorian calendar date of Easter Sunday. Between the active construction of the first version of the Metonic 19-year lunar cycle by the Alexandrian computist Anatolius, somewhere between AD 250 and 270, and the replacement of the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar (in the year 1582) it happened only one time, namely somewhere between AD 300 and 324, in any case still before the first council of Nicaea, that a radically new Alexandrian version of this lunar cycle was actively constructed. After having reconstructed (on the basis of NASA’s Six Millennium Catalog) both these ante-Nicene versions of the Metonic 19-year lunar cycle, we establish that:
1) the first of them (referred to as ‘Anatolius’ 19-year lunar cycle’) is nothing but the lost proto-Alexandrian 19-year lunar cycle (reconstructed iu 2009);
2) the second (referred to as ‘the archetypal Alexandrian 19 year lunar cycle’) is nothing but the lost ante-Nicene archetype from which after AD 325 one after another each of the three well known post-Nicene Alexandrian Metonic 19 year lunar cycles was obtained simply by moving only 1 of the 19 different dates of its immediate predecessor one day forward or back (see Table 8);
3) the cause of the 2-day gap between them (referred to as ‘the ante-Nicene Alexandrian 2-day gap’) must be sought in the transition from the more Jewish Christian world of the third century to the more Gentile Christian world of the fourth, as a result of which Alexandrian computists began to use the Egyptian lunar calendar more familiar to them instead of the Alexandrian version of the Jewish lunar calendar;
4) both Anatolius’ 19-year lunar cycle and the sequence of dates of Paschal Sunday generated by it have a de facto lower limit 23 March;
5) the archetypal Alexandrian 19-year lunar cycle has a de facto lower limit 21 March but the sequence of dates of Paschal Sunday generated by it has a de facto lower limit 22 March (the same applies to the well-known three post-Nicene Alexandrian Metonic 19-year lunar cycles).
We conclude that Anatolius may be considered to be the founder of the efficient Metonic 19-year lunar cycle method of determining the Julian calendar date of Paschal Sunday from which thirteen centuries later the Italian astronomer Luigi Lilio and subsequently the German mathematician Christoph Clavius would develop a modern, astronomically more correct, system for determining the Gregorian calendar date of Easter.
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