[b-hebrew] nevi

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Sat Aug 20 16:17:18 EDT 2005

Hi Yitzhak,

that the isrealite society depended heavily on astronomical observations in order to measure their 
times and seasons is undeniable. But why insist that this meant their society was superstitious 
and believed in astrology? Are the two concepts so inseperable?

That the isrealites were disobedient is also undeniable. That they took on practices from the nations 
yet still undeniable and so consequently it is reasonable to assume that a number of isrealites practiced
astrology. But does this mean that this was an acceptable practice? Hardly!

Now the idea that Abraham was somewhat of an astronomer is likely as Yah invites him to count the stars 
if he were able. Living in tents in a land devoid of modernday streetlamps would have offered Abraham 
plentiful occasions to observe many beautiful starlit nights especially when nature called in the middle 
of the night. And understanding the stars may also have offered him benefits in offering a means to 
understand which month he was in and therefore better understand how his great herds and following could 
live of the land. Did the patriarch Abraham believe in astrology? Debatable, being such a close friend 
of Yah you'd think Yah would have had plenty of opportunities to put him straight on these issues.

Did navi) originally mean astronomer? Well now that's worth discussing and I would be interested in 
hearing what the testimonies from the cognate languages are of the root nb) if anyone knows. 

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org on behalf of Yitzhak Sapir
Sent: Sat 8/20/2005 8:36 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] nevi
On 8/19/05, Ben Crick wrote:
> [quoting me]
> > ...  At the time, astrology was inseparable from astronomy,
> > and calendar computations depended on astronomical sightings.  Are
> > you sure that Isaiah 8:19 includes astrology?  This would really make
> > no sense if Isaiah is an astrologer, as Isaiah 38:8 might suggest (but
> > not necessarily although I think it definitely raises the issue).
> > Perhaps only certain forms of occultism were not allowed.
>  Astrology in the occult sense would imply casting horoscopes or going into
>  trances, which was presumably the stock-in-trade of the 'oBoWT and the
>  YiDD:`oNiYM with their familiar spirits. Micah 3:11 talks of professional
>  soothsayers who divine for reward, root QSM. This would include practices
>  such as hepatoscopy, mentioned in Ezekiel 21:21. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 gives
>  a list of the abominations of the nations.

I would prefer not to make any assumptions or identify an )ob or yd(ny with 
each other or with astrology lacking any evidence for such.  Why would you 
assume that astrology implies going into a trance? Or that an )ob or yd(ny 
implies casting horoscopes or going into trances? And even if we suppose 
that both of them go into trances, why do you presume that this means both 
are not allowed?  Perhaps even if an ")ob" does enter a trance, it is not the 
trance itself that is not proper but the performance of it in an ")ob" way.  
Perhaps an ")ob trance" is the wrong way to inquire of God, and astrology 
is a proper way?  In any case, none of the above that you quoted suggests
that astrologers would go into trances, or that an )ob or yd(ny or any other
listed "abomination" relates to astrology.  

I don't believe in astrology but it is my impression that at the time,
for a lunisolar calendar as most likely existed in Israelite and
Judaean society,
astrology was indispensible.  For example, astronomical observations were 
used to compute which month should be made a leap month, the leap month 
carrying with it astrological omens as well.  

Yitzhak Sapir
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