[b-hebrew] Genesis 41: 1: "Two Years of Days"

Joel C. Salomon joelcsalomon at gmail.com
Thu Jul 16 12:04:18 EDT 2009


JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:
> But for our purposes here, the most important aspect of the Jewish calendar 
> is that it has the first day of the New Year in the fall, but the first month 
> of the New Year in the spring.  The year number is increased only at the 
> fall New Year.

According to the Talmud, at least, that’s not completely accurate.
Reigns of kings, for instance, have their New Year at the beginning of
Nissan.  (Cf. how all thoroughbreds share a birthday.)

> The Hebrew names of months that you mention are not very helpful, because 
> they are so very late, dating to the Ezra era.

There /are/ earlier month names listed:  Ziv (= Iyar), Ethanim (=
Tishrei), and Bul (= Cheshvan).  These seem to be Canaanite or Phonecian
(cf. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar#Months>).  (I am
personally not convinced that Aviv was the name of the first month (=
Nissan); “chodesh ha-aviv” can be read as “the month spring starts”.)

BTW: do any clues exist about the other months’ names?

> The best evidence that the early Hebrews had originally thought of their 
> own ages in terms of 6-month “years” is the manner in which the received 
> Hebrew text of the Patriarchal narratives sets forth ages, beginning at Genesis 
> 11: 26, as we have been discussing on this thread.

Interesting theory.  Is there any indication that other scholars have
put this theory forth before you?

—Joel Salomon

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