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

Tory Thorpe torythrp at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 23 18:08:11 EDT 2007


It does not appear that you understood what was said. Where are you  
getting "TWO measure" from? It does not matter when the Gezer  
Calendar starts. It does not matter when the Qumran community started  
their 364-day solar calendar. It does not matter when the Torah  
starts its calendar. All of these calendars measure "years" in 12  
month increments, not 6. In any 12-month calendar a New Year that  
begins in the fall will not end until the next fall, and a New Year  
that begins in spring will not end until the next spring. The Jewish  
calendar has several New Year dates. None of these "years" are  
shorter than 12 months. If you want to consider the 9th month in the  
Gezer Calendar the start of a New Year that "year" does not end until  
month 8 twelve months later. There is no evidence within GC that it's  
"year" is 6-months.

Tory Thorpe

On Oct 23, 2007, at 5:26 PM, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

> Tory:
> Thank you for that important  clarification.
> 1.  You wrote:  "Even if we were  to take /kl/ in line 5 in the  
> sense of "to
> complete,"
> as Lemaire does  by assuming a base /klh/…."
> That reading is even better for my point of  view than Albright's  
> reading of
> "feasting".  Both readings fit my theory perfectly  that one 6- 
> month "year"
> would end at the beginning of May, as the first 6-month  "year" was  
> "complete".
> That would  be the occasion for "feasting" in honor of the new New  
> Year,
> which begins in  early May and ends in September or so.
> So "complete" or "to terminate" or "to end"  or "feasting" or  
> "festival" are
> all wonderful translations for  me.
> It's the 1909 translation of "two measure"  that causes me some  
> concern.
> 2.  You continued:  "…you still  would have no
> support for a 6-month year in the 10th century  BCE."
> We've got the Gezer Calendar starting the  New Year in the fall.   
> We have the
>  Qumran Calendar, that S. Talmon views as relating truly ancient  
> knowledge,
> starting the New Year in the spring.  And we have the Hebrew  
> calendar, which
> though heavily influenced later by  the Babylonians regarding the  
> names of the
> months and some other issues,  nevertheless has some truly ancient  
> roots in
> Canaan.  The Hebrew calendar starts the New Year  in the fall, with  
> the first
> day of the New Year, and 6 months later the Hebrew  calendar starts  
> the New Year
> in the spring, with the first month of the New  Year.
> All of that is redolent of a 6-month "year"  concept in my book.   
> The New
> Year  starts in the spring, and/or in the fall, in  Canaan.
> 3.  You wrote:  "Albright may  have
> rejected a 1909 proposal from Ronzevalle, but new data coming  to
> light since Albright's time suggests Ronzevalle was right all  along
> and line 5 should be read /kl/ from a base /kyl/ ("measuring"),  a
> reduction of the diphthong /ay/ to /e/ (see Gibson, Textbook  of
> Syrian Semitic Inscriptions I [Oxford, 1973], p. 2). The "month  of
> harvest and measuring" (yrh qsr  wkl)…."
> If the 1909 translation is correct, then a  lot would depend on how  
> one
> interprets "two measure" or "harvest and  measuring".  Is the word  
> "measuring"
> there referring solely to counting how much barley and wheat had  
> been  harvested?
> Or does "measure" have a calendar meaning  there, meaning that the  
> "measure"
> of one 6-month "year" has now been taken and  completed, and it's  
> time to
> begin "measuring" another 6-month "year"?
> What would 'two measure' mean?  Would it mean that the first 6- 
> month  "year"
> has now been measured, and now it's time to start measuring a  
> second  6-month
> "year" in this 12-month period:  a "two measure"?  Or is "two   
> measure"
> limited to having a specific agricultural meaning of some  sort?
> 4.  You continued:  "…or  Albright's "harvest and
> feasting" (he restored a gimmel to /wgl/ and  rejected kaph /wkl/), is
> the 9th month enumerated in the  GC."
> Of course, a translation of "harvest and  feasting" would be great  
> for my
> theory of the 6-month "year".  One New Year starts in the fall, at  
> the  beginning
> of the Gezer Calendar, and another New Year starts in the late  
> spring,  at
> the time of "harvest and feasting", with "feasting" meaning a New  
> Year  festival
> and each such "year"/New Year being a 6-month  "year".
> 5.  You wrote:  "Regardless of  the precise season
> month 9 corresponds to in Israel the GC is a  calendar which measures
> time using more than 6 months. For your theory  you need to bring
> forward evidence of a calendar with 6 and only 6  months in it. That
> just can't be done with the  GC."
> But that is not my theory of the case at  all.  The calendars of  
> ancient Ur
> had 12 different month names.  But  they celebrated a multi-day New  
> Year/Akitu
> festival every 6 months.  That's a 6-month "year"  concept.
> The Gezer Calendar probably is describing  the agricultural activities
> throughout the course of the year.  I agree with S. Talmon's  
> suggestion that  the
> Gezer Calendar probably does not list any formal names of any  
> months.  Rather,
> the Gezer Calendar chronicles 8  agricultural seasons.
> Nobody would have a calendar of six 30-day  months, and then start  
> another
> year with six more months having the very same  names.  That would  
> make no sense
> at  all, since the winter is very different from the summer in  
> Canaan.  So
> the names of the winter months will  not be the same as the names  
> of the summer
> months.  But the question is whether the winter  months are in one  
> 6-month
> "year", and the summer months are in a different  6-month "year".
> I do not see the number of the names of  months as being a key  
> factor at all,
> one way or the  other.
> No, what counts is whether a New Year is  celebrated both in the  
> fall and in
> the spring.  From the Gezer Calendar a New Year must  have been  
> celebrated in
> the fall, because the Gezer Calendar starts in the  fall.  The  
> question then
> becomes  whether there was a "festival" or a "feasting" or a  
> "termination" or
> an "end" or  "to be complete" that occurred in early May.  If so,  
> that sure
> sounds like a 6-month  "year" concept to me.  But if what  happened  
> in May was a
> 'two measure", per that old 1909 translation, then it  would all  
> depend on
> what "two measure" means.  If "two measure" means to take the   
> measure of two
> 6-month "years", the one that is ending and the one that is just   
> beginning, that
> of course would be great.  The only bad translation I can see for  
> my view is
> if "two measure" has  some very specific agricultural meaning, such as
> measuring both barley and  wheat, or measuring barley or wheat in  
> accordance with two
> different measures,  etc.  Otherwise, all the other  translations I  
> have seen
> fit my view nicely.
> 6.  You cannot realize how greatly I appreciate the fact that you  
> have raised
>  these issues concerning the Gezer Calendar.  All such issues are very
> important in  trying to decide if the author of the Patriarchal  
> narratives could
> possibly have  had a 6-month "year" concept in mind in setting  
> forth all the ages
> of everyone  in the text.  If so, then every such  age makes  
> perfect sense,
> as is, with not a single age being  miraculous.
> 7.  I myself see nothing in the Patriarchal narratives as being   
> nonsensical.
>  In particular, no age  of any person in the text is nonsensically  
> too old to
> be believed.
> Moreover, many people knew the "secret" of  how the ages of people  
> were being
> expressed in the Patriarchal narratives, in  ancient times and  
> through the
> Middle Ages.  It is only modern analysts who have lost the  
> knowledge of how each
>  person's age is set forth in the Patriarchal  narratives.
> The Gezer Calendar is one good clue to help  us on our way to  
> understanding
> the ages of all persons in the Patriarchal  narratives.
> Thanks so much for raising these issues  concerning the Gezer  
> Calendar.  I
> myself have found the Talmon article to be particularly helpful in
> understanding  the Gezer Calendar.
> Jim  Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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