[b-hebrew] Aviv and Exodus 9:31
jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Fri Jan 15 09:09:54 EST 2010
thanks for that Yigal. It gave me a lot of food for thought. Do you (or
anyone else) know what the evidence is for the meaning of 'aviv'?
Also with regarding to tracing the history of the astrological and
agricultural factors I would make the following observation. The documents
of the law and the prophets seem to present a more agriculturally based
people. It is the history of the Babylonians that presents some kind of
dedication to astronomy. My gut feeling at this point is that there may be
some truth to the theory of the Hebrews using these agricultural signs to
declare the start of the year. Astrological observations, like the spring
equinox are probably more the result of Babylonian or later Roman
Also, does anyone else find it suspicious that Babylonian month names
completely supplanted Hebrew ones? Apart from Aviv is there actually any
evidence of their ever being original Hebrew month names? The account of
Noah seems to use numerical references to months rather than names of
months. Could it be that the Hebrews did not actually have names for months?
Just numerical references?
2010/1/15 Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
> Dear James,
> The "original" meaning of the word "Aviv" seems to be "ripened", perhaps
> referring to the hollowness of the stalks. From this, "Aviv" came to mean
> the designation of the beginning of spring - the time of the barley
> In the Bible, it does note seem that "aviv" was actually the proper name of
> the month, but simply a designation - "the month of the barley harvest". It
> was the rabbis who first understood "Aviv" as being the actual "biblical"
> name of the month which they called Nisan (taken, like all of the "Hebrew"
> month-names, from the Babylonians). And the use of "Aviv" as referring to
> the spring "season" (as in the name of my fourth child, who was actually
> born in Adar) is, as far as I know, modern.
> After the Passover was set, the Torah commands that it be celebrated in
> month of aviv" - as I wrote, probably not referring to the name of the
> but rather to its agricultural status. The fact is, that we have absolutely
> no information about how and if this was observed in the biblical period.
> The rabbis of the Talmud (for example Bab. Tal. Sanhedrin 10-12) described
> two conditions for adding an extra intercalary month of Adar (the month
> before Nisan/Aviv). The first is if without such a month Passover would
> before the vernal equinox (March 21), which is the beginning of the spring
> according to the Roman solar calendar (and ours as well). The second is
> agricultural: if the lambs born the previous year were not yet ready for
> sacrifice, if the barley was not ripe enough for the firstfruits ceremony,
> or if the roads to Jerusalem were not yet dry enough for the pilgrims to
> come for the Passover, an extra month would be declared. The rabbis seem to
> assume that this was also the practice in the First and Second Temples, but
> that's very hard to prove historically.
> Yigal Levin
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of James Christian
> Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2010 6:05 PM
> To: b-hebrew
> Subject: [b-hebrew] Aviv and Exodus 9:31
> Hi all,
> some time last year (about the time of Passover) I was interested in
> researching how the Hebrews went about deciding the start of the year each
> year. Obviously, this was a crucial task to determining the date of the
> festival of Passover. In the course of my research I remember reading an
> unsubstantiated claim that before the implementation of the various
> mathematical systems of the Hebrew calendar the ancient Hebrews quite
> looked each year for when the Barley was ripe. If it was not yet ripe then
> they added another month to the year. If it was ripe it was declared that
> the month of Aviv had started (at the new moon, of course). I remember
> finding this proposition interesting and a good agriculturally based claim
> but noted that the claim was not referenced in any way. Just today while
> reading through Exodus I noticed verse 31 of chapter 9.
> Any thoughts?
> James Christian
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
More information about the b-hebrew