[b-hebrew] Thera quote

Michael Banyai Banyai at t-online.de
Wed Aug 25 13:47:00 EDT 2004

Dear Peter Kirk and Marianne,

I agree with you all about what is the current opinion concerning the hebrew calendar. However is the early hebrew calendar totaly different from all assumptions made till now. I´ll try to keep my observations short:

1. the early calendar was perfectly similar to the one described by Marianne for the Egyptians (besides a lunar calendar) that is, a mery-go-round calendar of exactly 365-days, and an astronomically fixed observational calendar (the Sothis-calendar by the Egyptians). In fact it was the Egyptian calendar itself, the curent month of the Egyptian calendar at the time of the Exodus becoming number one of the new hebrew calendar. On the reason that by chance it was the the month as Sothis had just its heliacal rising and not to the least it was aproximatively identical with the babylonian month Ab - probably the namesake of hebrew Abib (month ab-bi in Ur tablets like UET 3 722, month ab-bi-in in Mari).

2. For the first assumption it is easy to point to the fact, that most historical mentions of hebrew religious feasts don´t pertain to the 1-st and the 7-th month as required. They fall in different months because the numbered calendar went round the calendar year while the "called" calendar was seasonaly stable. The double nature of the hebrew feasts too (practically identical feasts in the 1-st and the 7-th month) are due to this mery-go-round effect, brining apart feasts which have been once identical at the day of their introduction.

3. Several arguments may be brought for a date of the beginning of the religious year in June-July instead of March-April. 

The phaenomen of the coturnism (poisonous effect of eating migratory quails) is typical with the autumn trail of the quails mid-august.

The observation of Haley´s comet at its perihel during the night in the year 66 AD (as mentioned by Josephus) a phaenomen occuring that year on the 26th of June coincided according to Josephus with the ceremony of the opening of the Temple-Door (8 Abib).

This ceremony happened according to Rabi Aha (in the name of Samuel, the son of Rabi Isaac) regularly on the 8-th Abib at the summer solstice, 24-th of June. The same fixation on the summer solstice and desinterest for the summer equinox display Arculf (XIII, cf. Tobler, Itinera et Descriptionis Terrae Sanctae Lingua Latina Saec. IV-XI Exarata, 156 f.) and Beda Venerabilis (III Tobler, op. cit.., 219). They write about a stone column in the center of the Church of the Holly Sepulchre, so situated that at noon on the day of the summer solstice it casts no shadow whatsoever. The observance of the summer solstice was apparently most important for the old Hebrew solar calendar.

This complicated calendar system linked with the observation of summer solstice on the 8-th of Abib at the opening of the Temple-doors, was periodicaly out of use. Thus for example for 40 years before the destruction of the Temple (an exception was made 66 AD) as the temple doors have been closed by Rabi Jochanan ben Zakai for all this long period. On this reason did Josephus have no experience with the complete hebrew calendar (partialy out of use during his lifetime). He simply speaks vaguely of the existence of 2 hebrew calendars.

Not to forget that Ipuwer speaking of religious ceremonies similar to those connected to the Exodus recalls a heliacal rise of Sothis (I mean the egyptian New Year) in the context.

Best regards,

Bányai Michael

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