[b-hebrew] 6-Month "Year"

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Sun Oct 28 22:19:30 EDT 2007

Let me address each of your points, but in a different  order than in your 
    1.  You wrote:  “Are you willing to admit that  you might be mistaken?

Yes.  I come here to learn,  like everyone else.  I have learned  many things 
in the short time I have been following the b-Hebrew  list. 
    1.  You wrote:   “Also, are you willing to admit that your view is 
marginal or 'out on  a
limb'?  I don't mean  'impossible' when I say that;   just that it is a
novel view which does not find a majority  consensus.”
George, I will go farther than that.  There is not a single mainstream  
academic out there, to the best of my knowledge, who has made any effort  
whatsoever to try to make sense out of the ages and periods of years set forth  in the 
Patriarchal narratives.  All  of them say the ages and periods of years make 
no sense.  They’re wrong.  It’s important for you to know, George,  that 
academic scholars are not proposing a coherent theory of the ages of the  
Patriarchs that could be contrasted with my all-encompassing theory.  Rather, all the 
academics that I have  read simply insist, point blank, that the ages of the 
Patriarchs do not make  sense, and that a coherent internal timeline of the 
Patriarchal narratives is  impossible. 
So your reference to “a majority consensus” understates the point.  All the 
academics say that the ages of  the Patriarchs make no sense, and that a 
coherent internal timeline of the  Patriarchal narratives is impossible.  They’re 
completely wrong, in my considered opinion, in all regards, but  they do have 
unanimity on their side. 
    1.  You wrote:   “I don't find my explanations of *na`ar* and the phrase 
'two years  of
days' problematic whatsoever. The so-called 'problems' you  identify
are not problems at all in my book. Joseph being called *na`ar*  is
indicative of his inferior status within the Egyptian  court.”
(a)   Why would  Pharaoh’s honest official use the demeaning expression “boy”
 to describe a  middle-aged Hebrew, who was age 28 regular years when he was 
the official’s  jailkeeper, and who is age 30 regular years now?  That honest 
official is recommending that  Joseph be called in to interpret Pharaoh’s 
great dream.  Is that the time to be insulting Joseph  by calling a middle-aged 
Hebrew a “boy”/"na’ar”? 
(b)   The  narrator calls Ishmael a “boy” when, by your count, Ishmael is 
about age 16  regular years when he is exiled.  The narrator calls Joseph a “boy”
 when, by your count, Joseph is age 17  regular years.  The narrator calls  
Isaac a “boy” when, by your count, Isaac is about age 37 regular years or  
thereabouts in the binding incident.  That makes no sense.  In my  opinion, you 
and the academics have all the ages all wrong.  Ishmael is age 9½ regular 
years.  Joseph is age 8½ regular years.  Isaac is a naïve age 15 regular  years.  
Each is called a “na’ar” by  the narrator, because each is indeed a mere boy. 
4.  You wrote:  “Jacob's 'month of days' is an unusually  long period to stay 
as a guest in
someone's house when usually it was just  overnight or at maximum three days 
that one stayed as a guest (cf. Jdg 19). That  Jacob stayed for a month makes 
us ask, 'Why is he staying so long?'” 
That’s not true.  Jacob’s  parents have told Jacob to go out to Harran and 
marry a daughter of his mother  Rebekah’s brother Laban.  Genesis  28: 2  No 
one is surprised that  Jacob is staying that long. 
    1.  You wrote:   “The answer, as you've picked up on, is that he was 
'ogling' Rachel.  This gives rise to the device later in the narrative where Jacob 
can put up  with inordinately long periods of time in order to get Rachel (14 
years all up  + 1
That is not true.  Jacob only  waits 7 regular years plus one week to marry 
Rachel.  Jacob had to commit to working an  additional 7 years  for Laban in  
order to get Laban to agree to let Jacob marry both of Laban’s daughters.  But 
all that trickery only delays  Jacob’s marriage to Rachel by one week. 
    1.  You wrote:   “[N]othing you've offered so far convinces me of the 
need to  eat
some now.”
How can you be comfortable with Abraham not bothering to find a wife for  his 
sole heir Isaac until Isaac is age 40 regular years?  Why does Esau wait 
until age 40 regular  years to marry?  Why does Jacob wait  until Jacob is in his 
70s in regular years to marry?  How could Sarah  be attractive to Pharaoh at 
age 65 regular years?  How can Sarah bear Isaac at age 90  regular years?  Why 
does exiled  Ishmael live to age 137 regular years? 
If those ages are taken as being regular 12-month years, as today’s  scholars 
see it, then the Patriarchal narratives do not seem realistic.  How can you 
be comfortable with such  absurd ages, when there’s nothing else absurd about 
that fine text  whatsoever? 
On my theory of the case, 100% of the ages in the Patriarchal narratives  
make perfect sense, in the secular historical context.  Whereas absent my theory, 
each character  is usually twice as old as he or she should be.  Doesn’t that 
seem suspicious?  And with every character being twice as  old as he or she 
should be, there also is no coherent internal timeline of the  Patriarchal 
narratives whatsoever.  Yet on my view, the entire internal timeline of the 
Patriarchal  narratives makes perfect sense, without a single error. 
I cannot believe you are truly comfortable with grown men (in the ancient  
world) over age 15 repeatedly being called “na’ar”/boy in the text of the  
Patriarchal narratives.  That’s got  to make you nervous that maybe their stated 
ages are in fact being set forth in  the text in terms of 6-month “years”, 
which is my novel theory of the  case. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois

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

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list