[b-hebrew] Gezer Calendar and 6-Month "Year"
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Oct 24 11:13:07 EDT 2007
You wrote: "Regarding the many recent postings about the Gezer calendar, I
it's worth pointing out that the traditional translation is, at best,
speculative. In my opinion, it is largely unfounded, and even the
designation "calendar" should be considered tentative. Just by way of
example, the translation distributed at Tel Gezer assumes that the
various VAVs (frequently assumed to be otherwise unattested dual
markers) are not suffixes at all but rather prefix VAVs meaning 'and'."
If we go with your view of the VAVs, but still regard the Gezer Calendar as
being some type of a calendar, we then have an interesting result. The Gezer
Calendar could as such be seen as chronicling, in order, 8 months of
specific agricultural activities that occur throughout a 12-month period in ancient
Canaan. 4 months of agricultural inactivity during this 12-month period
have, not so surprisingly, been left out.
The month of "feasting" or "termination" is the 5th named month. If the VAV
is not indicating 2 months (in each of 3 preceding periods), then there is
no necessity for that month of "feasting" or "termination" to be the 9th
month. It could just as easily be the 7th month, which would be ideal for my
concept of a 6-month "year". One month of inactivity in the winter has been
left undescribed. 3 months of agricultural inactivity in the long hot summer
have also been left undescribed. 8 monthly periods are chronicled, in order,
over a 12-month period, with 4 months of inactivity not being described.
That would fit my view of the case perfectly. In fact, it's better than the
traditional view, which seems to awkwardly place a "feasting" or
"termination" in the 9th month, which does not make much sense.
If the Gezer Calendar is a calendar, then it starts a New Year in the fall,
since the first activity described is a fall activity. The "feasting" or
"termination" at the time of harvesting barley and wheat could signal another New
Year in the spring, and this could fall in the 7th month of the 12-month
period. As such, there would be a New Year festival in the 1st month (because
that is when the calendar begins), and a New Year festival in the 7th month
(indicated by "feasting" or "termination"), so that there would be a New Year,
and a New Year festival, every 6 months, just as was certainly the case in
ancient Ur. Though not a true 6-month "year" for all purposes (since people's
ages were probably not increased by one every 6 months), this type of
calendar is nevertheless redolent of a 6-month "year" concept, in my view. Such a
6-month "year" concept makes perfect sense based on the agricultural practices
of ancient Canaan, which featured two annual harvests, of equal importance,
spaced about 6 months apart, in the fall and in the spring.
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