2008 years from what? Most people still know (I hope) what event initiates our calendar. Few people know why. That’s because we have, long ago, stopped paying attention to history.
One of the reasons that it’s so hard to read and understand ancient history books is that they lack a unified chronology. Herodotus, Plutarch, etc., never say ‘this happened in the year X’. Instead they give you a lot of ‘in the tenth year of the reign of emperor such and such’, ‘or in the year of the 50th Olympiad’ etc. Modern readers scratch their heads and ask, ‘Why?’
They should be asking, ‘Why not?’ We’re so used to the idea of a collective, universal and non-resetting dating system that we take it for granted. The citizens of the rest of history would be as confused by us as we are by them. What, after all, is the point of knowing the timing of the events of other civilizations in relation to our own? Who cares? We’re human, and they barely are. We have gods who we love and they have gods who we hate. We have nothing to learn from them. They are a threat to us and our society. The only dates in their history that we care about are the dates of the wars they have had with us, and we already know those dates. They are either dates of our glory, in the battles we’ve won, or dates of their shame and treachery, depicting the battles they stole from us. There is, ancient man would say, no such thing as history. Everywhere there is chaos, except where our emperor/king/sheikh/chief/president-for-life reigns, and when he dies, the clock must be re-set. The King is dead, we shout, long live the king, and the calendar goes back to year one of the new reign.
When he came home, he took up residence in a town known for its mix of races and languages. He worked with Latin speaking foreman, Greek speaking architects and learned the Hebrew of his fathers from rabbis. At home he spoke the Aramaic that his ancestors had picked up after their forced march into Babylon.
Later he became a teacher. He taught Torah to a Samaritan woman, breaking religious, ethnic, and gender barriers at the same time. He reasoned with rabbis, debated priests, instructed Roman centurions. When he died, he died with a sign above his head in three languages:
It’s abbreviated as INRI.
Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.