Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Monday, June 17, 2013

The year day principle reexamined

In 2006 I put up a blog article on the year day principle. I linked to an article published on the Adventist Today website. I was recently contacted by the writer of that article as he has a revision of the article entitled The Year-day Principle Reexamined by Eduard C. Hanganu B.A., M.A. Linguistics Lecturer in English UE
I updated my blog article links and the author wanted me to help him publicize his revised article. That article is about 93 pages with the references so I could not publish it here but I uploaded the file to my website and you can download the PDF file and read it.

So you get a flavor of the article here is the conclusion section.
VIII. Conclusion

We have shown in this paper that the YDP is not a consistent, reliable and scientific method of prophetic interpretation, but a theological assumption without a biblical foundation that has been designed in order to authenticate an unbiblical interpretation of the apocalyptic prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. This conclusion is based on the empirical evidence submitted in the paper. This evidence is summarized below:

Failed, Unscientific Definition

The historicist definition of the YDP is not a descriptive linguistic rule but a prescriptive theological invention with multiple, dissimilar labels and vague application parameters. The data sample is drawn from non-apocalyptic biblical texts, but the definition limits and restricts the YDP application to apocalyptic prophecies which is illogical, unempirical and unscientific because a generalization or rule cannot be drawn outside the reference pool. Certain definition formulations contain ambiguous and discordant application parameters that reveal the weakness of the principle.

Fabricated Defense Evidence

The SDA historicist support and defense for the YDP is based on the concurrence of the terms day and year” in certain biblical texts. The SDA theologians interpret this rhetorical concurrence as a day-year relationship” claimed to be the precursor of a year-day principle,” rule, or equation, in willful ignorance of the empirical evidence that this day-year tandem concurrence is due to Hebrew idiomatic language and poetical parallelism that cannot be generalized into principles or rules.

Selective Application of the Principle

The YDP is applied in a selective, inconsistent and unscientific manner to the Bible as a whole and also to the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. Some SDA interpreters have restricted the YDP application to apocalyptic prophecies, some have included historical narratives and poetic passages in the application pool, some have extended the application to classical prophecies, and some have declared that the YDP should be applied to certain time prophecies. These vague and inconsistent YDP application parameters confuse the readers and reduce their confidence in the YDP as a reliable method of prophetic interpretation.

Bizarre, Absurd Text Interpretations

Because of the illogical, inconsistent, and confusing YDP definition parameters, the principles application to the Bible texts has generated a wide assortment of results. Some results have been strange, some bizarre, and some altogether absurd. The more the SDA historicist exegetes follow the YDP definition, the worse the results of the principles application to biblical texts become. The SDA historicist applications of the YDP and the dogmas that have resulted from these peculiar applications have become notorious in numerous theological circles and have discredited the SDA historicist theologians.
The Year-Day Principle Reexamined 77

YDP is Not a Linguistic Rule

When we compare the phonetic, morphological, syntactic, and discourse rules or maxims that occur in the English language with the claimed year-day pattern that is assumed to occur in the Bible, we notice that the YDP does not function in the same manner as the above rules. In fact, there is no universal year-day linguistic pattern in the Bible that could be generalized as a year-day rule or law because as a whole the year-day tandem concurrences are rare in the biblical text. As shown in the discussion on the YDP application in Daniel and Revelation (section V in the paper), the rate is less than 30% for each book, which indicates that the statistical average is too low for a generalization. This means that the year-day concurrence pattern is random and could not be formulated into a rule or law. The logical conclusion, based on established linguistic evidence, is that there is no linguistic support for a year-day rule or principle in the Bible.

The Unavoidable Conclusion

The ample empirical data submitted in this paper has provided the evidence for the unavoidable conclusion that the YDP as an SDA historicist hermeneutical method of prophetic interpretation is not a divine rule, biblical principle, or scientific method of prophetic interpretation, but a theological assumption that is not grounded in the Bible and cannot be defended with the Bible. The SDA theologians have no legitimate support for the YDP. All the claimed evidence proposed in support and defense of the principle is unbiblical, unempirical, and unscientific, and therefore untenable. The actual support for the YDP appears to derive from misread and misinterpreted biblical texts. The principle is illogical, unsound, and unreliable, and must be discarded as a hermeneutical method of prophetic interpretation.

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