[b-hebrew] 6-Month "Year"

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sun Oct 28 23:32:38 EDT 2007


Shoshanna,

While I think that Jim's theory does not work, he does NOT claim that the 
Torah is "lying". All he is sayng is that the word "shanah" in the Torah 
might refer, in some cases, to a six-month period, just like the word "yom" 
can refer to either a 24-hour period or to just the daylight hours. In his 
view, this makes it easier to understand the Torah literally. You might not 
agree (I don't), but the first paragraph of your post below, stating your 
BELIEF in Chazal, is really a non-starter.

The second paragraph, about the two "new years", is of course perfectly 
correct and has been stated several times.

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 5:20 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] 6-Month "Year"


> Jim, I know you were not talking to me, but:
>
> I don't know about the Academics, but:
>
> We who have Chazal to teach us Torah from an unbroken line from Adam,
> all do understand that the ages and periods of years make complete
> sense, down to the exact details, WITH 12 month years, because the
> Torah tells us that a month was a month as today, and a year was a
> year as today, and it gives the chronology and ages of various people
> in great detail, and we actually BELIEVE the Torah, and since the
> Torah says that a year was 12 months, there is no possibility that it
> is lying.  And since the lifespans of humans were different than
> ours, we do not have to measure their life events according to our
> lives today.
>
> As for the "two" new years, Nissan is the "beginning" for us because
> it is when we were liberated from Egypt, but it just so happened that
> it was on the first day of the seventh month after we were liberated,
> Tishrei, Rosh Hashana, many years before, that the world was created.
> There is no contradiction, and nothing that says that a year was 6
> months long.
>
> Shoshanna
>
>
>
>    1.  You wrote:   'ÄúAlso, 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.'Äù
> 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'Äôre wrong.  It'Äôs 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 'Äúa majority consensus'Äù 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'Äôre
> completely wrong, in my considered opinion, in all regards, but  they do 
> have
> unanimity on their side.
>    1.  You wrote:   'ÄúI 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.'Äù
> (a)   Why would  Pharaoh'Äôs honest official use the demeaning
> expression 'Äúboy'Äù
> to describe a  middle-aged Hebrew, who was age 28 regular years when he 
> was
> the official'Äôs  jailkeeper, and who is age 30 regular years now?  That 
> honest
> official is recommending that  Joseph be called in to interpret 
> Pharaoh'Äôs
> great dream.  Is that the time to be insulting Joseph  by calling a 
> middle-aged
> Hebrew a 'Äúboy'Äù/"na'Äôar'Äù?
> (b)   The  narrator calls Ishmael a 'Äúboy'Äù when, by your count, Ishmael 
> is
> about age 16  regular years when he is exiled.  The narrator calls
> Joseph a 'Äúboy'Äù
> when, by your count, Joseph is age 17  regular years.  The narrator calls
> Isaac a 'Äúboy'Äù 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 9¬? regular
> years.  Joseph is age 8¬? regular years.  Isaac is a na^Øve age 15
> regular  years.
> Each is called a 'Äúna'Äôar'Äù by  the narrator, because each is
> indeed a mere boy.
> 4.  You wrote:  'ÄúJacob'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?''Äù
> That'Äôs not true.  Jacob'Äôs  parents have told Jacob to go out to Harran 
> and
> marry a daughter of his mother  Rebekah'Äôs brother Laban.  Genesis  28: 2 
> No
> one is surprised that  Jacob is staying that long.
>    1.  You wrote:   'ÄúThe 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
> month).'Äù
> 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'Äôs
> daughters.  But
> all that trickery only delays  Jacob'Äôs marriage to Rachel by one week.
>    1.  You wrote:   'Äú[N]othing you've offered so far convinces me of the
> need to  eat
> some now.'Äù
> 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'Äôs 
> scholars
> see it, then the Patriarchal narratives do not seem realistic.  How can 
> you
> be comfortable with such  absurd ages, when there'Äôs 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'Äôt 
> 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 'Äúna'Äôar'Äù/boy in the
> text of the
> Patriarchal narratives.  That'Äôs got  to make you nervous that maybe
> their stated
> ages are in fact being set forth in  the text in terms of 6-month 
> 'Äúyears'Äù,
> which is my novel theory of the  case.
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
>
>
>
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