[b-hebrew] , cultic calendar, shanah

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jul 23 12:50:59 EDT 2013

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III: 
You wrote:  “Now, just because our more modern ideas or theories or 
experience does  not match that to what is found in the Tanakh does not mean that 
what was said  is wrong, incorrect, falsehood, etc. The ancients were there, 
we were not.  UNLESS there is something in the TEXT that states otherwise. 
Just because  the Hebrew grammar and syntax may allow for a possibility does 
not mean that it  was probable. There are degrees of certainty: Not 
possible, not probable,  possible, probable, certain. Your theories over the past 
several years lie in  the area of ‘Not possible and Not possible’.” 
It is “not possible” that Abraham’s father Terah lived to  age 205 years 
in 12-month years.  But what the TEXT says is that Terah lived to age 205 
shanah.  The archaic meaning of shanah was a  6-month period.  What the text is 
 actually saying, then, is that Terah lived to age 102½ years in 12-month  
years.  That is “possible” [though  it begins to strain the outer limits of 
how old a person could live to in the  ancient world].   
The reason  w-h-y  Terah is portrayed as  living such a long life of 102½ 
years is to enable Terah to be portrayed as  dying 17½ years after Isaac’s 
birth, with Abraham then dying at age 17½ tenfold  shanah, and the Patriarchal 
Age ending with Joseph’s death 17½ tenfold years  after Abraham’s birth.  
All of the ages in the text are reasonable ages, once one  realizes that 
shanah is being given its archaic meaning of a 6-month  period.  And all of 
the numbers also  make symbolic sense as well. 
I honestly don’t know why you characterize my views as  being “Not possible
” based on the TEXT.  In fact, I see every stated age as being possible in 
the text, based on  shanah having its archaic meaning of a 6-month period in 
setting forth people’s  ages in the Patriarchal narratives.  I am in fact 
the one who is asserting that every stated age in the TEXT  is in fact “
possible” and indeed realistic, with no need to rely on miracles as  to any age, 
much less as to  a-l-l  ages in the  Patriarchal narratives.  I am sure  you 
are well aware that one of the attacks on the historicity of the 
Patriarchal  narratives by university scholars is that the Patriarchs’ lifespans are  
allegedly way too long to be believable: 
"[P]rodigious  life spans [are] attributed to the Patriarchs.”  John J. 
Collins, "Introduction to  the Hebrew Bible" (2004), at p. 84.  
My theory of the case, which sees shanah as having its  archaic meaning of 
a 6-month period in setting forth stated ages of people in  the Patriarchal 
narratives, totally destroys that scholarly argument against the  
Patriarchal narratives.  Although I  can readily understand people being reluctant to 
accept my new, controversial  ideas, I honestly don’t understand why so many 
people react so terribly  adversely to my ideas.  I’m the one  who is 
defending the believability and historicity of the Patriarchal  narratives, by 
showing that Terah is not portrayed as living to age 205 years in  12-month 
years, and that Ishmael is not a boy who is carried by his mother Hagar  into 
exile at approximately age 16 years in 12-month years.  I have shown that if 
shanah in those  cases has the archaic meaning of denoting a 6-month 
period, then Terah lives to  age 102½ years, and Ishmael is a boy/nar age 9½ years 
when he is exiled.   
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois
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