[b-hebrew] 6-Month "Year" and Jubilee
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Oct 29 09:09:43 EDT 2007
1. You wrote: "I take it from your response that you are not willing to
admit that your theory is outside the mainstream. If you are, you have an odd
way of stating it. The way I read your response, you are claiming to be the
mainstream and everyone else is outside of it. Of course you think your view
is correct - every person thinks that of themselves. But this is actually
not what I was asking you. I was asking you whether you admit your view is not
mainstream (whether you perceive the mainstream to be correct or not). It
was question of self-awareness, not evaluation."
I readily admit that my views of the Patriarchs' ages are well outside of
the secular academic mainstream. Unlike the secular academics, I view the
Patriarchs' ages as making complete sense, in the secular historical context, and
I see the Patriarchal narratives as having a completely coherent internal
timeline. Those views of mine clearly place me way outside the mainstream.
Having said that, do you notice that my views are always closely based on
what the text of the Patriarchal narratives actually says? Have you noticed
that, by contrast, your views seem to be impervious to what the text actually
says? You start by trying to explain the peculiar phrase "a month of days"
by arguing that Jacob subjectively felt that his first month at Laban's place
was taking a very long time. When I point out that the text says exactly the
opposite of that, you then switch gears and say that people were surprised
that Jacob was staying so long at Laban's place. When I point out that the
text says exactly the opposite of that as well, you then state that Jacob had to
wait 14 years and one month to marry Rachel. When I point out that the text
says nothing of the sort, and that Jacob married Rachel 7 years and one week
after becoming engaged to her, you do not directly respond, except to say
that "nothing in your answer makes me 'nervous' or 'uncomfortable'."
What the Hebrew text of the Patriarchal narratives actually says is of
critical importance, in my view. Unless we take the text seriously, we will not
understand the timing issues involved in this wondrous text.
2. You wrote: "You have not, in my estimation, inspired a Copernican
revolution in the way we view the ages of the Patriarchs. Sorry, but that's my
evaluation. And since it doesn't seem likely that we'll find any resolution or
come to any agreement, I'll leave it at that. I'll give you the last word,
but I don't see any gain for either of us in continuing this particular
debate. So, I'll only respond again if you manage to pull off that Copernican
revolution with your next post."
Let me then try a different way to try to get you interested in taking
timing issues in the Patriarchal narratives seriously.
If one asks a secular academic why the timing of the celebration in Judaism
of a Jubilee is every 50 years, I believe that the two-fold answer you would
receive is as follows:
(i) 7 x 7 = 49
(ii) Leviticus 25: 8-10 tells us that 7 x 7 = 49
Is that a convincing explanation to you? Does that explain the timing
issue of why Judaism celebrates a Jubilee every 50 years?
Let's first look at what Leviticus 25: 8-10 actually says:
"You shall count off seven weeks of years – seven times seven years – so
that the period of seven weeks of years gives you a total of forty-nine years.
Then you shall…hallow the fiftieth year." Leviticus 25: 8-10
Reading the above text of Leviticus closely, we see that it is very clear
that the Jubilee is to be celebrated by the Hebrews every 50 years, with the
50th year being "hallow" or holy. Leviticus does not state that the reason for
picking the number 50 is because 50 celebrates the universally auspicious
number 7. All the Gentiles in the ancient world, even more than the Hebrews,
revered the number 7, and knew that seven 7s was 49. But the Gentiles,
unlike the Hebrews, had no reason to pay any particular attention to the seemingly
innocuous number 50. 7 x 7 is 49, not 50, so why did the Hebrews uniquely
decide to celebrate a great Jubilee every 50 years, instead of every 49 years?
On my 6-month "year" theory of the Patriarchal narratives, the answer is
obvious. The Covenant is fulfilled, with Isaac's birth, when Abraham is age 50
regular years. Abraham is stated to be age 100 "years" (Genesis 21: 5), but
those "years" in the text are 6-month "years", so Abraham in fact is age 50
regular years at Isaac's birth.
The Hebrews at the time of the composition of Leviticus knew Abraham's
actual age at Isaac's birth, which was when the Covenant was fulfilled. They knew
the "secret" of understanding the Patriarchs' actual ages. That's why, in
my opinion, they picked the number 50 as the time when a Jubilee would be
celebrated. The timing of the celebration of the Jubilee commemorates Isaac's
birth to Abraham when Abraham was age 50 regular years.
All mankind loves the number 100, because we have 10 fingers, and 10 x 10 =
100. And all mankind loves the number 7 as well, because the naked eye can
see 7 heavenly bodies whose movements are different than the stars: sun,
moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. A fairly simple play on the
number 7 is 7 x 7 = 49.
But only Judaism reveres the number 50, because Abraham was age 50 regular
years when the Covenant was fulfilled with Isaac's birth.
The Hebrews knew the "secret" of the Patriarchs' actual ages, based on a
6-month "year" concept. So did the early Christians. So did Mohammed. So did
the medieval Christian clerics who put chapter and verse numbers into the
Bible. In my "non-mainstream" view, it is only modern thinkers who are
clueless about the actual ages of the Patriarchs.
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