[b-hebrew] Josiah's book of the Law

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Aug 4 14:28:19 EDT 2005

Peter Kirk wrote:
> My interest in this is related to the festival at Ugarit. I understand
> that according to recent work e.g. by de Jong and van Soldt the month
> Xiyaru at Ugarit was not the second month, which had only been assumed
> from the parallel with the Babylonian calendar, but was probably some
> time between January and March. I think this was calculated by observing
> how many months it fell after the new wine festival, which must be in
> late summer or autumn. Well, that would fit with the evidence that the
> festival was celebrated at different times in different places.
> But, I wonder, do you or Cohen have any evidence other than the
> Babylonian parallel for when Xiyaru was at Ugarit?

I have made a mess of things.  I personally believe that the Israelite calendar
and perhaps the Ugaritic calendar began in the fall.  Cohen is of the opinion 
that everyone began the calendar in the spring so he writes "the civil calendar 
[in Ugarit] quite likely began in the spring as elsewhere."  He notes through
J.C. de Moor that since in the Ba'al cycle, king Krt had to bake bread in the
fifth and sixth month for the campaign against Udm, and so the campaign
likely started in the seventh month, and a week after the campaign he 
encounters firewood gatherers, which is an autumnal activity, that places
month #7 in the fall and month #1 in the spring.  However, the cultic
calendar according to both de Moor and Cohen began in the fall.  So 
in Cohen's numbering, the 2nd month is in the spring.  He specifically notes
"The month xyr occurs during the harvest period."  and footnotes J.P.L
Olivier, "Notes on the Ugaritic Month Names," Journal of NW Semitic
Languages 2 (1972), p. 52.  It appears then my comparison to the 2nd
month in Noah is misplaced.  If the Israelites did have a holiday in the 2nd
spring month, that would coincide with what is described in the Bible
as "second Pessah."  Pessah occurs in mid-month of the first spring 
month, while the 15th of the third spring month might also have been
a holiday [this is the date given in the book of Jubilees for Shavuoth].  In
a lunar society, it is possible that every full moon was a special holiday of 
some sort, of varying importance.  In any case, I shouldn't have confused
Cohen's stance.  Looking at his argument now for the numbering, it sounds 
somewhat logical, although it does seem longwinded.

Yitzhak Sapir

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