[b-hebrew] Gezer Calendar and a 6-Month "Year"
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Oct 23 22:25:48 EDT 2007
1. You wrote: “Where are you getting "TWO measure" from?”
Well. of course I am getting that from footnote 48 you cited in the S.
Talmon article that you cited. Where else would I get such an unusual 1909
1. You wrote: “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.”
How can you say such things? The question is whether the author of the
Patriarchal narratives could have envisioned a 6-month “year”. The key to that
would be whether he was familiar with a New Year festival in the fall and
another New Year festival 6 months later, in the spring. If so, then it would
be a short step from there to imagine a true 6-month “year”. It is thus very
relevant that (i) the Gezer Calendar certainly has a New Year event in the
fall, and may have a New Year festival in the spring as well, (ii) the Qumran
calendar has a New Year event in the spring, and (iii) the Hebrew calendar has
a New Year event in both the fall and the spring. That is all very
relevant. Given those ancient calendars, it would be easy for the author of the
Patriarchal narratives to envision a true 6-month “year” calendar, even if none
of these historical calendars actually increased the year number every 6
1. You wrote: “All of these calendars measure "years" in 12
month increments, not 6.”
That is not actually true. The Gezer Calendar has 8 named periods, not 12
or 6. The Qumran calendar has only 4 named periods, not 12 or 6. Neither
calendar has 12 named months.
I fear you are placing far too much emphasis on the 12 Babylonian month
names that the Hebrews adopted after the Babylonian Captivity. Certainly you
would agree that the Hebrews had calendars before the Babylonian Captivity. It
is the pre-exilic calendars that are relevant to the Patriarchal narratives.
The Babylonian month names are irrelevant for our purposes here.
1. You wrote: “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.”
Yes, and it’s equally true that in any 6-month “year” calendar, the New
Year that begins in the fall ends in spring, and the New Year that begins in the
spring ends in the fall.
In order to imagine a 6-month “year” calendar and use it for setting forth
people’s ages in the Patriarchal narratives, what is needed is some
familiarity with the idea of a New Year festival being held in either the fall or the
spring, and hence possibly in both the fall and the spring.
1. You wrote: “The Jewish
calendar has several New Year dates. None of these "years" are
shorter than 12 months.”
The Hebrew calendar has a New Year event in the fall, and a New Year event
in the spring (the first month of the New Year). Isn’t that a 6-month “year”
concept? I realize that the year number is only increased every 12 months,
and that there are 12 or 13 names for different months. But there’s still a
type of 6-month “year” concept embodied in any calendar that, like the
Hebrew calendar, has the first day of the New Year in fall, and the first month of
the New Year in the spring.
1. You wrote: “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.”
We are certain that a New Year starts in the fall in the Gezer Calendar,
because that is when that calendar starts. The question is whether there was
another New Year festival in the spring. Did a 6-month “year” came to an “end”
or “termination” or was “complete” in the spring, so that another 6-month
“year” started in the spring? If so, then that second new year would have
ended in the fall.
1. Why are you so resistant to the thought of a 6-month “year” concept
in ancient Canaan? Why not have each of the two harvest seasons be the
start of a New Year? It makes sense to me, since the fall harvest and the
spring harvest were of equal importance. Look at when the important Jewish
holidays fall. About half are in the spring, and about half are in the fall.
Those are the two critical time periods in Canaan. Why not start a New Year in
each such time period?
The issue is whether the author of the Patriarchal narratives could fairly
easily have conceptualized a true 6-month “year” calendar, which he would use
in setting forth the stated ages of all people in his composition. It is
not necessary to show that there actually was such a calendar in secular
history. The question, rather, is whether there is a 6-month “year” concept in
ancient Canaan, on which the author could have drawn to come up with the idea
of a true 6-month “year”.
The answer is that it would have been relatively easy for the author of the
Patriarchal narratives to imagine a true 6-month “year” in Canaan, given (i)
the historical calendars we have from ancient Canaan, and (ii) the inherent
6-month nature of Canaan, which features a critically important annual
harvest season every 6 months. On that basis, we see that no ages in the
Patriarchal narratives are miraculously old. Rather, all ages are set forth in terms
of a 6-month “year”.
The author of the Patriarchal narratives was easily brilliant enough to come
up with the concept of a true 6-month “year”, and to use that concept to
set forth the stated ages of all persons in his composition.
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