[b-hebrew] Yigal: Daniel

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Sep 5 15:18:29 EDT 2006

Have you ever read the bok of Jubilees, or even an introduction to it? It is 
basically a midrash agadah on the time from creation to the Exodus. It does 
not attempt to bring events down to the author's own time (which is sometime 
during the Second Temple period), and as such does not supply a "calendar" 
which can be continued into the future. It was also probably unknown to the 
authors of Seder Olam, and as such had no influence on our present system of 

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 6:13 PM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Yigal: Daniel

>I was doing some snooping on line, and saw that this counting of the
> years since creation, was calculated much earlier than the Middle
> Ages, as it is from the Book of Jubilees.
> Shoshanna
> Dear Harold,
> The so-called "Jewish" counting of the years since creation was calculated
> by a group of rabbis sometime during the early Middle Ages, and is 
> recorded
> in "Seder Olam Rabba". As I'm sure you know, such a count is not 
> referenced
> either in the Bible or in post-biblical literature, including the Talmud.
> Jews were perfectly content to use whatever "civil" year-count was used by
> the country they were living in: during the Israelite monarchy it was the
> reigning king. The two notable exceptions are 1 Kings 6:4, in which the
> building of the Temple is dated to the Exodus, and several places in
> Jeremiah, Daniel etc., in which years of the Exile are counted. My guess 
> was
> that as long as the "civil" calendar had no religious significance, it did
> not bother the Jews, but after Christians started counting "years of our
> lord" (Anno Dominii) and Muslims by the Hegira, Jews felt that they needed
> their own "absolute" calendar, which would be MORE absolute than the
> gentiles', and so they "back-calculated" when creation was supposed to 
> have
> occurred. As long as they were using biblical material as a source they 
> were
> okay, but as soon as they got to the early Second Temple period they lost
> count - there were just too many kings, who were not recorded in Jewish
> sources. For example, Cambyses, son of Cyrus the Great. Also, they were 
> not
> aware that there had been 3 kings named Darius and 3 named Artaxerxes. And
> so the whole Persian Period was "condensed" into just one generation,
> instead of over 200 years.
> So there is no way that the dates Shoshanna has been citing can match up
> with the dates in any history book that you are ever going to read.
> Yigal Levin

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