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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Oct 23 15:10:46 EDT 2007

You wrote:  "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 M. Cohen's book uses the  older/outdated translation 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." 
This is a very important point to me, but  I'm afraid I'm not quite following 
your analysis.  I believe everyone agrees that the word  "harvest" is there.  
The question is  what the other word may mean:  (i)  "feasting" or 
"festival", or (ii) "termination", or (iii) "measuring".  Albright says "feasting".  
Philologos in Forward.com on August 20,  2004 says "(wheat) harvest and 
festival".  A 1909 proposal (discussed by S. Talmon) had suggested "two  measure".   
S. Talmon's footnote 48 seems equivocal to  me.  S. Talmon's footnote 48  
includes the following key statement: 
"The word [wkl] can be derived either from  klh 'to terminate, to end,' or 
from kwl 'two  measure'." 
If it means "to terminate, to end", that  would be consistent with the ending 
of one 6-month year, with the start of a new  6-month year to be celebrated 
at that time.  Thus in a calendar context, "to  terminate, to end" could be 
associated with a "feasting" or "festival",  celebrating the beginning of a new 
New Year (be it a 6-month "year" or a  12-month year). 
But if the word means "two measure", then  I'm afraid I do not follow the 
analysis  here. 
Why wouldn't a harvest season naturally be  associated both with (i) a 
termination or end, and (ii) the time to celebrate  the beginning of a New Year with 
feasting and a New Year festival?  That all seems logical to  me. 
To the extent Talmon says "to terminate, to  end", that's great from my point 
of view.  Are you sure that scholars today are siding with "two measure" as 
the  proper meaning?  That is a 1909  suggestion. 1909 is awfully old, much 
older even than Albright.  I am reluctant to go with a 1909  proposal that does 
not seem to make much sense, instead of the various post-1909  proposals I have 
seen, which suggest either "termination" or "festival", either  of which 
would be great readings from my point of  view. 
Thank you so very much for cluing me in to  this issue.  Is there anything 
more  out there on this particular topic? 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois

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