[b-hebrew] Assumptions about ANE ages that just don't work.

Yaakov Stein yaakov_s at rad.com
Sun Oct 21 01:25:25 EDT 2007


James,  
> Abram's father dies at the age of 205. That's three times greater than
> modern life expectancy. It is therefore safe to assume that Te'rah
aged
> three times slower than modern humans. And so if a modern human would
be in
> his prime until 30 Terah would have been in his prime until he was
about 90.

Is a factor of three needed, or is a factor of two enough ?

Terah could dies at the old age of 205/2 = 102,
and Abraham at 75/2 = 35 took off from Haran.

The reason I mention that 2 is enough,
is that I believe that in this part of Genesis
the counting is by seasons, rather than years.

In Israel there are two seasons, namely the wet season and the dry
season.
They both commence with a "new year" celebration,
the Tishri new year and the Nissan one.

One can speculate that there was an early period when each season was
counted,
and only later, with more sophisticated astronomical knowledge,
did the transition to our years occur.

At an even earlier period, time was counted by months, 
which would explain Methuselah's 969 / 12 = 80 ! 

If you think about it, the idea of a year being the time it takes
for the sun to revolve around the earth (or the other way around for the
ancients)
is a rather sophisticated one. The first thing a group of shepherds
would notice
would be the month (the menstrual cycle, the moon coming up over the
same hill).
Later, when agriculture becomes important, the season is more critical.
Finally, with more culture and time on their hands to develop an
astronomy,
the idea of a full year (the setting sun returning to the same place
with respect
to the stars) becomes obvious.

Yaakov (J) Stein



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