[b-hebrew] , cultic calendar, shanah

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jul 23 10:39:46 EDT 2013


 
Prof. Yigal Levin: 
You wrote:  “In summary, there is NO evidence that  anyone ever counted 
each half year as a "shanah". The ONLY reason to think so is  if one insists on 
both taking the rather long lives of various biblical figures  literally, 
and not believing that if God decided to grant someone a very long  life he 
would do so.  And then what  do you do with Adam's 930 years? Assume that he 
counted each month as a year,  and so lived 77.5 years?” 
1.  Adam is not in the Patriarchal  narratives.  Adam is presented in  the 
Bible as being a pre-historical figure.  The question at hand, though, is 
whether  shanah has the archaic meaning of a 6-month period when setting forth 
stated  ages of people in the Patriarchal narratives. 
2.  You criticize the approach of “taking  the rather long lives of various 
biblical figures literally, and not believing  that if God decided to grant 
someone a very long life he would do so”.  Abraham’s father Terah, who is 
said to  live to age 205 shanah at Genesis 11: 32, could not live to age 205 
years in  12-month years, absent a miracle.  Why would YHWH grant Terah a 
miraculously long life?  Ishmael, who is said to live to age 137  shanah at 
Genesis 25: 17, could not live to age 137 years in 12-month years,  absent a 
miracle.  Why would YHWH  grant Ishmael a miraculously long life?  But if 
shanah in the Patriarchal narratives means a 6-month period in  setting forth 
people’s stated ages, then Terah lives to the age of 102½ years  [where such 
long life is needed so that Terah can be portrayed as dying 17½  years 
after Isaac’s birth, with Abraham then dying at stated age 17½ tenfold  shanah], 
and Ishmael lives to age 68½ years.   
3.  Your conventional approach also does not  make sense regarding “boys”
/nar.  Several years after Ishmael is stated to be age 13 shanah at Genesis 
17:  25, which you take to be age 13 years in 12-month years, Ishmael is 
repeatedly  stated to be a “boy”/nar at Genesis 21: 14-21, Hagar is portrayed 
as carrying  him into the wilderness [Genesis 21: 14], and at Genesis 21: 17 
Ishmael is said  to cry in the wilderness.  None of  that makes sense for a 
male in the ancient world who was several years past age  13 in 12-month 
years.  But it makes  perfect sense if Ishmael was un-doubled age 6½ years when 
he was circumcised,  and Ishmael is a boy age 9½ years when he is exiled by 
his father Abraham. 
4.   A-l-l  ages in the Patriarchal narratives make  perfect sense on all 
levels if shanah has the archaic meaning of a 6-month  period in setting 
forth stated ages of persons.  By sharp contrast, if shanah in the  Patriarchal 
narratives always means a 12-month year, then virtually no stated  ages make 
sense:  Ishmael is too old  at approximately age 16 years in 12-month years 
to be a boy/nar who is carried  into the wilderness by his mother Hagar, 
and Terah could not possibly live to  age 205 years in 12-month years. 
If the  o-n-l-y  miraculous age in the Patriarchal  narratives were Sarah 
giving birth to Isaac at stated age 90 shanah, then  perhaps one might accept 
your suggestion of “believing that if God decided to  grant someone a very 
long life he would do so”.  But in fact,  e-v-e-r-y  stated age in the 
Patriarchal narratives  is way too old to be believable, if shanah has the 
non-archaic meaning of a  12-month year in all instances.  Contra your assertion 
that “there is NO evidence that anyone ever counted  each half year as a ‘
shanah’", the evidence is right there in the last 40  chapters of Genesis.  
Beginning with  Abraham’s father Terah,  e-v-e-r-y  stated age of a  person in 
the Patriarchal narratives makes perfect sense, on all levels, if and  only 
if shanah is given the archaic meaning of referencing a 6-month period in  
that particular context. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois
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