[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. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois

************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list