[b-hebrew] Gezer Calendar and 6-Month "Year"

Tory Thorpe torythrp at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 23 13:04:34 EDT 2007


There is still a debate about where exactly to begin the first months  
of the Gezer Calendar (GC), i.e. the "two months of ingathering (yrhw  
'sp)," relative to the seasonal year in Israel, either late summer or  
early fall. For late summer ( = Aug./Sep.), see C Körting, Der Schall  
Des Schofar (Berlin, 1999), p. 69. For the fall ( = Sep./Oct.), see  
among others A. Lemaire, “Zāmīr dans la tablette de Gézer et le  
Cantique des Cantiques,” VT 25 (1975), pp. 15-26. There is also no  
certainty that the biblical first month of the year, i.e. hodesh ha- 
abib, should begin in the spring ( =  Mar./Apr.) and not late winter  
( = Feb./Mar.). But as to your theory, the GC is a schematic calendar  
of 12 months (might be solar) and there is no mention of a New Year  
celebration. The line in the GC where you see "feasting," which is  
Albright's old reading of line 5, should be rendered "month of  
harvesting and measuring" (cf. Renz, Die althebräischen Inschriften,  
30-37; and Talmon, JAOS 83 [1963], p. 183, and note 48). M. Cohen's  
book uses the older/outdated translation of the GC proposed by Albright.


On Oct 23, 2007, at 11:42 AM, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

> 1.  Yaakov (J) Stein  wrote:  "It is interesting that in the Gezer
> inscription there are two months with an extra W at the end of the  
> word month -  the
> first and sixth.
> Could this extra W mean 'start of new  year'?"
> When I look at the Gezer Calendar, however,  I see four periods,  
> not two
> periods, having a W at the end.  The first three periods, each of  
> which  is
> considered a two-month period, all have a W.  Then the 7th period,  
> which is
> considered the other two-month period, also has a W.  The other  
> four periods do not
> have a W  and are considered to each be a single  month.
> 2.  Note that the Gezer Calendar starts the year in the fall.  By  
> contrast,
> the four seasons enumerated  in the Dead Sea Scrolls start the year  
> in the
> spring.  In Canaan, a year starts either in the  fall (Gezer  
> Calendar), or in the
> spring (Qumran calendar), or both:  the Hebrew/Jewish calendar,  
> where the
> first day of the New Year is in the fall, but the first month of  
> the New Year is
> in the spring.  All of this is  redolent of a 6-month "year"  
> concept in
> ancient Canaan.
> 3.  Note also that the only mention of feasting in the Gezer  
> Calendar is in
> late spring.  Is that a celebration  of a New Year in the spring?   
> Certainly
> the beginning of the year in the fall in the Gezer Calendar  would  
> have meant a
> New Year celebration in the fall.  So the Gezer Calendar seems  
> consistent
> with the possibility of there possibly having been a New Year  
> festival in
> ancient Canaan about every 6 months or so, which is a 6-month  
> "year"  concept.
> Jim  Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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