[b-hebrew] , cultic calendar, shanah

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Tue Jul 23 07:58:10 EDT 2013

Chris Watts:
You wrote:  “There aretwo new years so to speak separated by 6 months, but this in no way ever didimply that the jewish year was six months long. Never.”
Logically, then, a Hebrew’s age might be counted in any oneof the following three ways:
1.  How many times thefirst day of a civil New Year had been observed.
2.  How many times thefirst day of a religious New Year had been observed.
3.  How many times thefirst day of each New Year [both civil and religious New Years] had beenobserved.
When Abraham is said to live to age 175 shanah, thenrealistically, the method of counting that Hebrew’s age must be #3.  Abraham had witnessed the first day of 175New Years:  88 civil New Years and 87religious New Years.  Abraham thus livesto stated age 175 shanah, meaning that Abraham is portrayed as having lived tothe realistic age of 87½ years in 12-month years.  
Yes, the civil year is 12 months, and the religious year is12 months.  But a Hebrew’s age could beexpressed in terms of how many total New Years had passed, counting the firstday of both civil New Years and religious New Years.  For the lifespans set forth in the Patriarchalnarratives, the only realistic result is if each person’s stated age is setforth in terms of how many total New Years [the first day of both civil NewYears and religious New Years] had been observed.  Every 12 months features the first day of twosuch New Years:  a civil New Year and a religiousNew Year.
The archaic meaning of “shanah” was “the head of the year”or “the turn of the year” or “the equinox year”:  that is, a 6-month period.  The early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narrativeswas well aware of, and used appropriately, both the archaic and the non-archaicmeaning of the word “shanah”.  All person’sages in the Patriarchal narratives are set forth in terms of 6-month periods,per the archaic meaning of shanah.  Forexample, Ishmael is not portrayed as living a miraculously long life, dying atage 137 years in 12-month years.  What wouldbe the point of that?  No, Ishmael issaid at Genesis 25: 17 to live 137 shanah, meaning that during Ishmael’s life,the first day of 137 total New Years, both religious New Years and civil NewYears, had been observed.  Thus Ishmaellived to age 68½ years in 12-month years, which is a realistic lifespan.

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