The Jewish History of the "Jewish Calendar"
Some non-Jewish Sabbath-keeping organizations base their schedule of annual Holy Day observance partially upon the current Jewish calendar. While they maintain that the Jews have faithfully preserved their calendar as part of the lively oracles given to Moses, they also disagree with parts of it. The result is that half of the time, they are observing different days than the Jews.
In attempting to justify their decisions to use (modified forms of) the Jewish calendar, some organizations refer to the "oracles" of the Jews, as mentioned by Paul in Rom. 3:2. We examined the "oracles" in a separate article and found that scripture defines these "oracles" so that we do not need to speculate on their contents (See: "What are the Oracles?"). The "oracles of life" were the writings, or books, of Moses, to which the ban of "not adding to, nor diminishing from" applied (Acts 5:37-38; Deu. 4:2, 12:32).
Some consider the oral Jewish traditions to be as authoritative as scripture. Christ condemned those traditions as being in opposition to God's laws (Mat. 15:1-9, Mk. 7:1-13). After Christ's death and resurrection, Paul and the apostles followed Christ's example in condemning Jewish traditions (Col. 2:8; 2 Ths. 2:15, 3:6; 1 Pet. 1:18; Gal. 1:14; Phil. 3:5,8).
Most "calendar" articles which attempt to justify the use of the Jewish calendar, make references to scholarly works, but only to those which are alleged to support the opinions of the authors. A full examination of those referenced sources, along with other available Jewish historical sources, reveals that the history of the "Jewish" calendar (more properly called 'the calendar of Hillel II, with 1,000 years of modifications') is no vague mystery as some have implied, but a history of names, dates and places, all preserved for our information by the Jewish people themselves.
Just one example of a source not referenced, but available at some public libraries, is the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings. The information quoted below is from Volume III, pp. 117-124, article: "Calendar (Jewish)". We have many other sources which confirm the statements below, but due to the length of these excerpts, we shall present the others separately. Explanations and paraphrased statements are shown in brackets [. . .] for brevity's sake. We encourage everyone to read the entire article.
We have summarized the information quoted below, in our numbered paragraphs preceding or following each quotation.
1. Babylonian influence was accepted by the Jews, for example the names of the months. This indicates the true origin of the elements of a calculated calendar was not Jewish.
"The exile in Babylon had considerable effect upon the calendar used by the Jews, as upon so many other features of their religious life. It was during the Exile that they [obtained the names of the months]".
[Whether the month names were Babylonian or not may seem like a trivial matter. The significance is that the Jewish histories are very up front about the development of their calendar. Their basis for using it is solely "tradition". It does not matter to them that its earliest form cannot be documented before the 8th cent. AD. It does not matter to them that only one rabbi, who lived in the 11th cent. AD, attributes its earliest use to a nasi of the 4th cent. AD. It does not matter to them, that it was developed by Jewish astronomers in Babylon and was never a part of Mosaic law, nor even Talmudic tradition and is not sacred in any way.]
"But the older practice of distinguishing the months by numbers must have remained in force alongside of the new nomenclature,"...(hence, Est.3:7) "or simply "in the first month" (Est.3:12)".
"The name of the 13th, or intercalary, month is first met with in the Mishna (Megilla, I. 4; Nedarim, viii. 5), occurring there as ('second Adar'). In the Mishna, too, the number of days in a lunar year is fixed at 354, and in a solar year at 364 (cf. esp. Tosefta Nazir, I. 3, ed. Zuckermandel, Pasewalk, 1880, p. 284, l. 5); but this would, of course, apply only to common years."
[Intercalation, which is the acknowledging of a cumulative difference between the lunar and solar cycles, was performed when the method of feast day proclamation was strictly observation and before calculations were used. Intercalation is not the same as "postponements" which are a basic element in the Jewish calculated calendar.]
[Note: The Mishna (and the Gemara) are the oral traditions of the Jews, known in its written form as the Talmud. Originally God prohibited adding anything to his word, the law (Deu. 4:2, 12:32), a principle repeated in Rev. 22:18. Apparently sometime after Ezra, the scribes began to make secret "cheat sheets" in order to keep up with all the previous scribal interpretations, decisions and opinions on the law. By the 2nd cent. AD, attempts were made to begin to codify all this previously illegal, now accepted, material. The process of organizing all this material was not completed until about 500 AD.]
2. The 19-year time cycle, a key element of the current Jewish calendar, was not in use from 585 BC to the close of the Talmudic period (c. 500 AD), a period of over 1,000 years. This cycle, known as the Metonic cycle, named after it's Greek discoverer, is absolutely necessary for the construction of any sort of usable lunar-solar calendar. The current Jewish calendar is a lunar-solar calendar.
(See also No.12 below, regarding the acceptance and first use of the Metonic cycle.)
"The Assuan Papyri yield ample proof of the fact that at the time after the Exile (c.585-356 BC) no such fixed cycle" [an intercalary cycle of 19 years] "was in use among the Jews, and this would appear to be true also of the Talmudic period."(which closed about 500 AD).
"Explicit mention of the nineteen-year cycle is first made in post-Talmudic writings (see below). Footnote: "In reference to the calendar of the Assuan Papyri, see Schurer and Ginzel in Th Lxxxii. (1907), nos. 1 and 3; Butesman, REJ liii. (1907) 194; Bornstein, The Chronological Data of the Assuan Papyri [in Heb.], Warsaw, 1909; and Westberg, Die bibl. Chronologis nach Flavius Josephus, Leipzig, 1910, p. 103 ff."
3.a. The current Jewish calendar adds a 13th month in specific years during a 19-year cycle. The addition of a 13th month, called intercalation , is necessary in the Jewish calculations, to keep the festivals in season (Passover in spring, Tabernacles in fall), otherwise they would cycle throughout the year. The Jewish Talmud shows that no such cycle of intercalation was in use between 100 AD and 150 AD.
"It is related in the Talmud (Sanhedrin, 12a) that Akiba (first half of 2nd cent. A.D.) reckoned three successive years as intercalary--a fact which proves the non-existence of any intercalary cycle at that time. The same thing took place among the Karaites, who relinquished the method of computing the calendar for that of observing the moon (see below), as is attested by Levi b. Yefeth (beginning of 11th cent.; cited in Pinsker, Likkute Kadmoniot, Vienna, 1860, ii, 90)."
3.b. [In other words their previous observances had drifted two months out of season and they had to add three months to re-align it with their current agricultural season. Otherwise, with three consecutive intercalations, (3 x 13 lunar months) they would have been observing Passover in June/July.]
4. Jewish records show that, at the close of the time of the Second Temple, (about 70 AD) the Holy Days were based on observation, not on a calculated calendar. It was not known in advance which months would have 29 or 30 days. The addition of a 13th month was done only to adjust the Holy Days to the condition of the crops (ref. "green ears"), not by the position of the sun. Fixed lengths of months and the position of the sun are both necessary elements of the current Jewish calendar.
The knowledge of and reference to a calculated calendar was a gradual process, during which observation of the moon still determined the Holy Days.
"Records dating from the closing years of the Second Temple" (near 70 A.D.) "inform us that the time of new-moon was fixed on the evidence of observers who declared that they had [seen] the crescent in the sky. This would imply that no one knew beforehand whether the month was to have 29 days (hence called 'defective,'...) or 30 days ('full,'...; cf. Bornstein, op.cit. 26ff.). The regulation of the month was probably at first in the hands of the priests, and was afterwards committed to the Sanhedrin. Similarly, a leap-year was decided upon only when required, the main factor in the question being the state of the young crops, as it was desired that the Passover should coincide with the earring of the corn; the intercalary month was therefore always an Adar. It was not till a later day that the position of the sun was also taken into account (...,tequfa; cf. Tosefta Sanh. ii. 7)."
"In course of time less and less attention was paid to the evidence of observers, and various devices of computation were increasingly resorted to, though the Patriarch and his council still continued to fix the time of new moon in the traditional way." [i.e., by observation].
5.a. Most Jewish writings allege that the tradition of observing two consecutive days as Feast Days originated because of outside interference. Explanations, such as the one below, all describe harassment which occurred after the time of Ezra. However, scripture shows that two days were observed, for the first day of the month, in the time of David (1 Sam. 20:5, 24-27). Two days were observed because it was not known until the first crescent was observed whether the previous month had 29 or 30 days. This shows that a calculated calendar, based on months with fixed lengths, was not in use either in David's time or anytime prior to the close of the Talmud (ca. 500 AD).
"At first the beginning of the month was announced to the various communities by fire-signals, but, as the Samaritans and Boethusaeans would sometimes deceive the watchers by false signs, the tidings were afterwards conveyed by special messengers (Rosh Hashshana, ii. 2). As the messengers, however could not always reach the communities outside Palestine in time to announce whether new moon would fall on the 30th or the 31st of the old, these outlying groups of Jews kept on the safe side by observing their festivals both on the day appointed by the Scriptures and on the following day, the latter thereby acquiring the name...('Second feast-day of the Diaspora'). The Day of Atonement, however, was celebrated on the 10th of Tishri only, and thus formed an exception to the rule ... "
5.b. We note that their dedication to observing the correct day, did not extend to fasting on two consecutive days, so Atonement was only observed on one day. Besides, their dedication to not violating the "preparation day" rituals of pre-Atonement, would make it impossible to observe two consecutive Atonements.
6.a. From 200 AD to 500 AD, we see an increase in references to calculations and regulations for the calendar. One of the best known was Samuel, a Jewish astronomer working in Babylon (c.200-250 AD). He tried to systematize the calendar but failed. He was the first Jew to maintain that the year consists of 365 1/4 days, a figure vital to constructing a usably accurate, continuous calendar. He was unaware of other vital principles, which were later adopted gradually but applied inconsistently. This inconsistency in application would result in variations of dates.
Not until about 350 AD, do we see the position of the sun being emphasized as the determinant for the intercalary month. This is where we see the beginnings of the current lunar-solar Jewish calendar.
"In the period of the Amoraim, of whom some were resident in Palestine, and others in Babylonia (3rd-5th cent. BC), we hear with increasing frequency of calculations and regulations for the calendar. One of the most eminent workers in this field was Samuel, 'the astronomer' (first half of the 3rd cent.), who taught in Babylonia, and who, it appears, sought to systematize the calendar, but was unable to carry out his design (Schwarz, op. cit. p. 32, n.1). He is said to have drawn up a calendar available for 60 years (Hullin, 965a), and was the first of his nation to maintain that the year consists of 365 1/4 days ('Erubin, 56a), though he was still unaware of other essential principles of the calendar (Rosh Hashshana, 20b). One by one, however, these principles were adopted, though the general practice remained somewhat capricious in its adhesion thereto (see e.g., Zuckermann, op. cit. 46). One of the Palestinian Amoraim, Simon by name (c. 300 A.D.), speaks of 'calculators of the calendar' (...Jerus. Sukka, iv. l, fol. 54b, l. 17; cf. Zuckermann, p. 61); while another, Huna b. Abin (middle of 4th cent.), enjoined that, in deciding upon an intercalary month, regard should be had exclusively to the position of the sun (tequfa; Rosh Hashshana, 21a), etc."
6.b. [Note: "Amoraim", The scholars (Rabbis) who participated in the Talmud are referred to as "Amora'im" [singular: "Amora"], from an Aramaic word that originally designated the official in the academy whose job it was to recite the scholars' teachings before the public. These "teachings" were the oral traditions regarding the written law of God. They were oral because of the command in Deu. 4:2 and 12:32, but the Jews later wrote them down (Talmud) anyway. Christ condemned them in Mat. 15:1-9, 16:6-12, 23:1-39]
7. The use of a calculated calendar, independently of eyewitnesses, was simply the result of politics and the oppression of Rome.
In the 4th century AD, because of Roman interference, the 13th month was inserted after Ab (the 5th month), instead of after Adar (12th month), as it is now done. This means that, during this time, the spring and fall feasts were seven months apart, and that either the spring holy days were observed one month too early or that the fall holy days were observed one month too late, as God commanded the holy days to be kept in the "first month" and in the "seventh month", or six months apart.
The Jews originated a two-day feast of their own, called Purim ( Esther 9:25-28). It is always observed on the 14th-15th of Adar (the 12th month) and according to their own rules, must never fall on a Saturday or a Monday, because that would cause Atonement (in the 7th month) to fall on a Friday or a Sunday. To prevent this means rescheduling Tishri 1 (Trumpets). Therefore the Holy Days given by God, could be postponed for the convenience of scheduling Purim, a feast day instituted by the Jews, themselves.
No wonder that Christ said to the Jews, "you make the word (laws) of God of no effect through your own tradition, which you have delivered: and many such like things do you.", and "Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.". Also, "in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mk. 7:7, 8, 13).
"Political occurrences and the constantly increasing despotism of Rome simply forced the Jews to devise a means of determining the times of new moons and feasts independently of eye-witnesses. It is even recorded that during the campaign of Gallus (from A.D. 351 onwards), who dealt very harshly with the communities in Palestine, an intercalary month was inserted after Ab instead of Adar (Sanhedrin, 12a; cf. Graetz, Gesch. d. Jeden, 1868-78, iv. note 31). It is also stated by Jose, an Amora who lived about this time, that the Feast of Purim (celebrated on 14th Adar) must never fall upon a Sabbath or a Monday, as in that case the Day of Atonement would fall upon a Friday or a Sunday--a contingency which on many grounds was forbidden (Jerus. Megila, I. 2, fol. 70b, l. 23). By that time, therefore, the sequence of months from Adar to Tishri must have been precisely laid down. Jose is also reported to have sent a fixed order of festivals to the communities of the Diaspora (Jerus. 'Erubin, iii. end fol. 24c). These various items, however, form but the rudiments of a continuous calendar."
8. Based solely upon a "tradition" attributed to Hai Gaon in 1038 AD, the earliest continuous calendar dates from 359 AD. The only self-proclaimed "witness" to this is a Jew who lived 700 years after the fact. There is no second witness to Hai Gaon's claim (although for what its worth, Nachmanides in the 13th cent. is said to have agreed with his opinion). The supposed calendar of 359 AD is never mentioned in the Talmud which received it's final revisions and editing about 500 AD. There is nothing in the Talmud about the length of months or about a 19-year time cycle.
Isaac Israeli (c. 1310) and other writers attribute the fixing of the calendar as late as 500 AD. (Source: "Calendar, History of:", The Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 500, Funk and Wagnalls, 1903.) This is because there is no mention of it in the Talmud and the Talmud closed about 500 AD. This does not preclude the calendar's having an even later date of origin.
From post-Talmudic writings, we have dates for Holy Days in the years 506 AD and 776 AD, which do not correspond to calculations using the current Jewish calendar.
Jewish writings prove that the continuous calendar originated sometime after 500 AD, and more likely after 776 AD, in Babylon. The Jews accept its absence from the Talmud as additional proof that it did not exist before then.
"Such a continuous calendar, according to a tradition that goes back to Hai Gaon (1038), was constructed by the Patriarch Hillel II, in A.D. 359 (or, according to another version, 500, though by this time the day of Patriarchs was past). But the tradition, which stands quite alone, is confronted with grave objections. Of these the following two are of special weight: (1) The supposed calendar is never referred to in the Talmud, which received its final redaction at the end of the 5th cent. A.D. Nothing whatever is said there about the length of the month or the nineteen-year cycle, or anything else of the kind. (2) It is psychologically improbable that the Patriarch would of his own initiative divest himself of his highest privilege, and likewise of his most powerful means of influence amongst the Jewish communities both in Palestine and beyond it. Moreover, from the early post-Talmudic age we have dates which cannot be reconciled with the regular calendar in use to-day."
Footnote: "One such date is the year 506, and another the year 776; cf. Bornstein, ... (Warsaw, 1904), p.18."
"In point of fact, everything goes to indicate that the calendar, like all other productions of the kind, passed through a developing series of forms, and that it assumed its final shape in the schools of the official representatives of Judaism (called Geonim) in Babylonia."
Footnote: "Conclusive proof of the view that the continuous calendar had its origin in Babylonia during the post-Talmudic period is furnished at the earliest by the proceedings of Ben Meir (see below, the inferences therefrom having been drawn by the present writer ( JQR x. 152 ff.), and then elaborated by Bornstein in the treatise just cited."
9. By the 7th and 8th centuries AD, we see almost all the elements of the modern calendar , but not all. The one treatise which discusses these elements contains so many contradictions that we must assume various interpolations . In other words, there was still disagreement over how the calculations were applied.
"To the period of the Geonim, say the 7th and 8th cents., likewise belong two tractates relevant to the subject. One of these is entitled Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, and contains almost all the elements of the modern calendar (chaps. 6-8), but it shows so many instances of self-contradiction that we must assume the presence of various interpolations (cf. also Zunz, Gottesdienstliche Vortrage, 1892, p. 287 ff.). The other, Baraitha de Samuel (ed. princeps, Salonica, 1861), is wholly engaged with astronomy, and yields a single date, 776 (beginning of chap. v.; cf. below, and JE ii. 520), but says nothing at all about regulations for the calendar."
10.a. Also by the 7th and 8th centuries, we see Judaism split into factions, many of which rejected the calculated calendar as repugnant to scripture and reinstated lunar observation .
One of the Geonim, Saadya b. Joseph al-Fayyumi (892-942), responded by proposing that the calculated calendar was of immemorial antiquity, and that months and festivals had always been determined by calculation. He further proposed that observation was introduced in the 4th century, only for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of the calculations with the result being a perfect match. The Karaites used the Talmud to disprove this absurd theory, with the reluctant agreement of most of the Rabbinic authorities of the time. The "reluctance" was due to having to agree with an opposing sect of Judaism. If this theory sounds familiar, it was quoted in a 1996 church of God (UCG, AIA) article, although credit was not given to al-Fayyumi for the theory and it was quoted as a statement of fact not as a discredited theory.
[Note: Re: "Geonim", The Geonic period extends from about 690 C.E. until the 11th century. The first Geonim or "geniuses" were the heads of the Babylonian academies in which the Mishna was studied and the Gemara written. Most of the Geonim lived in Babylon, Egypt and N.Africa. They wrote responsa as well as brief commentaries on the Talmud. The Mishna and Gemara comprise the Talmud, the body of Jewish oral traditions. "Responsa" simply means "answers to questions".]
"In the 7th and 8th cents., again, Judaism in the East was disturbed by the rise of various sects, many of which refused to recognize the existing calendar. One of its outstanding assailants was Anan b. David, the founder of Karaism (2nd half of 8th cent.), who abandoned the method of computation, as being repugnant to Scripture, and reinstated that of lunar observation (see art. Karaism)."
[Note: At one time, Karaism claimed 40% of all Jews as followers.]
"Against all these . . . a stand was made by the Gaon Saadya b. Joseph al-Fayyumi (892-942). In order to safeguard the existing system of calendar, he broached the remarkable theory that it was of immemorial antiquity, and that months and festivals had always been determined by calculation. He maintained that observation of the moon was introduced only in the time of Antigonus of Socho (3rd cent. BC), as heretics had arisen who questioned the accuracy of the calculations, and that this step was taken simply to show that calculation and observation were in perfect accord (see REJ xliv. 176). It was an easy matter for the Karaites to quash this theory by means of data from the Talmud (cf. Poznanski, JQR x. 271; also The Karaite Literary Opponents of Saadiah Gaon, London, 1908, Passim), and the majority of Rabbinical authorities had likewise to admit that Saadya's contentions were absurd."
10.b. Note: The quotation above refers to those opposing the calculated calendar as sects , which has a negative connotation. Who is a sect is a matter of perspective. The pagan Romans considered the Jews to be a sect. The Jews considered followers of Christ as a sect . The Catholics considered Protestants as sects . The mainstream Protestant religions consider Sabbath-keepers as sects . The formerly Sabbath-keeping, now Sunday-keeping WCG considers its Sabbath-keeping offshoots as sects . Name calling and labeling do not determine possession of truth.
11.a. The last great controversy dates from 921 AD, showing that the current calendar was still not universally accepted by Jews at that time. The details of this controversy also reveal that the current Jewish calendar is based on reckoning using the meridian of Babylonia, not Jerusalem. This also proves that the current calendar originated in Babylon during the time of the Gaons (c. 7th and 11th centuries AD). Note that the current Jewish calendar is calculated by determining the Molad of Tishri, the first month of the year according to Jews in Babylon, even though in Palestine the first month was Nisan (also called Abib).
"The last great controversy regarding the validity of the now universally [sic] recognized calendar broke out in 921 [AD]. In that year , Ben Meir, a character otherwise unknown, made his appearance in Palestine, claiming to be a descendant of the Patriarchs. He sought to restore the prerogative of the Holy Land in the fixing of new moons and festivals, the means to be employed, however, being no longer observation but calculation. He proceeded to modify one of the most important regulations of the calendar." (A rule regarding postponing Tishri by one or two days if the conjunction occurs after noon on a particular day. His variation was that postponing took place only if the conjunction occurred 642 parts [an hour having 1080 parts] after noon.)
"The Jewish exilarch " (ruler in Babylon) "of the day invoked the aid of the young but erudite Saadya al-Fayyumi, who disputed the position of the innovator with complete success."
"The definite interval selected by Ben Meir, viz. 642 parts of an hour, is, no doubt, traceable to the fact that, while the Jewish calendar was based upon the meridian of Babylonia, Ben Meir and his predecessors reckoned from that of Palestine. Now, in Palestine the year began with Nisan; in Babylonia, with Tishri. But the particular new moon of Nisan which formed the starting-point of the Palestinian reckoning" (for years 921-923) "fell on a Wednesday at nine hours of the day and 642 parts of an hour. When this number was transferred to Babylonia the fractional part was dropped, and hence the variation introduced by Ben Meir."
Footnote: "The first to call attention to this matter was Bornstein in the monograph already cited." "Cf. also Joffe in the Heb. Encye. Osar Israel, s.v. 'Ben Meir' (iii., New York, 1909, p.100 ff.).
"In any case, the controversy shows that the Jewish calendar had its origin in Babylonia during the period of the Gaons; and this conclusion is abundantly confirmed by other facts, which will be further discussed below in the systematic part."
11.b. Note: The use of the local Babylonian meridian does not necessarily mean the calendar is based on local time. The calculations are based on the "mean" conjunction of the earth, moon and sun which occurs at 12:00 noon. All astronomical calculations were based on days beginning and ending at noon, from the 3rd cent. AD until 1925. At noon in Jerusalem, sunset (the beginning of God's day) is 90 degrees east of Jerusalem. Also, calculations are based not on the latitude of Jerusalem or Babylon, but on the equator. Therefore the Jewish calendar is based on 0 degrees latitude (the equator) and 125.14 E (35.14 + 90.0) longitude which is a point in the Molucca Sea of Indonesia between the Philippines and Australia.
12. Eventually most Jews accepted the calculated calendar of Babylon, but one group which held out and still exists today, are the Karaites. They still use observation, but will resort to calculations if, and only if, observation is impossible due to weather. However, they have never accepted the postponements . The 19-year cycle was not used by them until the 14th cent. and even then only for some regions.
"The sole adherents of the" (method of lunar observation) "were the Karaites, who had reverted in all respects to the ancient practice of determining the time of new moon by observation, and intercalating a thirteenth month when required by the state of the crops, i.e. the ripening ears." [Note: God had identified the "first month" as "green ears" or "Abib" (Ex. 12:2, 13:4, 23:15, 34:18, Deu. 16:1).]
"Only if the atmospherical conditions rendered observation impossible was it allowable to resort to approximative calculation (Heb....cf. Bornstein, Chronological Data, p. 38). Not till the 14th cent. did they accept the nineteen-year cycle, and even then only for regions far away from Palestine, such as Byzantium, the Crimea, Poland, etc. In Egypt, for instance, as late as the 17th cent., we still find the practice of intercalation a supplementary month as necessity required (cf. Gurland, Ginze Israel, Lyck, 1865, I. 5)."
"Among the Karaites of the present day," (the difference in the dating of the festivals may vary from that of the Rabbanites by) "one or even two days. Nor do the modern Karaites recognize the so-called dehiyoth, 'displacements'..." (the postponements).
13. The Jewish calendar uses calculations based on a mean sunset of 6 p.m., not the actual sunset (Gen. 15:16). It pre-schedules specific months as full with 30 days, or defective with 29 days, regardless of the appearance of the moon or the actual times of astronomical conjunction. This is solely for the convenience of their calculations. While God instructed that the first month would be the one (Ex. 12:1-20) in which Passover fell (later called by the Babylonian name Nisan, or Abib) the Jewish calculated calendar is based on Tishri being the first month . They then count backwards to determine Nisan 1, and then count forward from that, to schedule the Holy Days.
2. Systems and principles.
"As in all calendars of this type, the day commences with sunset, but the calendar day is reckoned from 6 p.m., and comprises 24 successive hours."
"In the calendar now in use the months Nisan, Sivan, Ab, Tishri, and Shebat are always full," (30 days) "while Iyyar, Tammuz, Elul, Tebeth, and Adar are always defective." (29 days). "Marcheshvan and Kislev may be both full or both defective; or, again, Marcheshvan may be full and Kislev defective."
Footnote: "We cannot well say why these two months in particular should vary in this way. It may have seemed desirable, however, to regulate exactly the months from Nisan to Tishri inclusive, so that the dates of the festivals might be easily ascertained; the irregularities could then be confined to the two months which follow immediately after Tishri."
"In order to ascertain the exact time at which a year begins, it is necessary first of all to fix the conjunction which ushers in its first month, Tishri. This again involves the selection of a definite point from which the reckoning shall proceed. Now, as the world, according to a Talmudic tradition (Rosh Hashshana, 11a), was created in the month of Nisan, and as the recognized era is reckoned from that event, an attempt was made to calculate the date of the conjunction which began the first Nisan of history, the result thus arrived at being 4 d. 9 h. 642 p., i.e. Wednesday, 3 h. 35' 40" after midnight."
[Note: The Jews have at times, used five different dates for the date of creation. The one in use now is in error, according to the latest archeological evidence, by 200 years.]
14. a. In other words, to make the calendar calculations required a benchmark. So they "attempted" to calculate the date of the conjunction of the moon for the first month at the creation of the world. This "calculated" date then serves as the "official", fixed benchmark for calculations to schedule the Holy Days. The first attempted setting of the benchmark was accomplished no earlier than sometime between the 3rd cent. BC and the 4th cent. AD or at least 3,700 years after the fact. This becomes significant when we see the rate of error in the calculations used. Some of these were corrected later by adjustments, but not all. No explanation is given for adjustments for the long day of Joshua (Josh. 10:12-14) nor for the time involved in Hezekiah's sign from God (2 K. 20:8-11).
14.b. Notice that the calculations are based on Tishri 1, the first month of Babylon, not Nisan 1.
[Note: Archaeology has shown their latest calculated date of creation to be in error by about 200 years.]
"The conjunction fixing the first Tishri could then be determined in two ways. One was to calculate half a year backwards from Nisan, giving the result 2 d. 5 h. 204 p. ...; such was the practice in Palestine, and the formula thus found is that in general use."
"The other method was to calculate the date of the conjunction beginning the following Tishri, with the result 6 d. 14 h. --the formula used in the Babylonian schools (Bornstein, Mahloket, p. 112). The imaginary conjunction is called 'the molad of nothing' (molad tohu)."
15.a. The calculations are based on the "mean" conjunction of the sun and moon, not the actual conjunction which occurs at noon. The point on the earth where it occurs, varies every month. As we saw above the calculations are based on 12:00 noon at the meridian of Babylon, not Jerusalem. Keep in mind that the astronomical conjunction does not occur over Babylon or Jerusalem every month nor does it necessarily ever occur over Jerusalem.
"In order to fix the beginning of the year, i.e. the 1st of Tishri, the date of its conjunction must be calculated. But four possible cases may thus occur, the New Year being delayed by one or even two days. These four contingent delays (dehiyoth) are as follows:
1. The New Year cannot begin on a Sunday, or a Wednesday, or a Friday . . . . The last two days were excluded because otherwise the Day of Atonement (the 10th of Tishri) would fall on a Friday or a Sunday. As early as the Talmudic period, [2nd-5th Cent. AD] however the Day of Atonement, for various ceremonial reasons, was not observed on the day immediately before or after the Sabbath (Rosh Hashshana, 20a). The Sunday, again, was excluded because otherwise the so-called Palm-day (Hoshana Rabba, the 22nd of Tishri) would also fall upon a Sunday--a concurrence likewise prohibited on ritual grounds (Sukka, 43b). In such contingencies, therefore, the New Year is transferred to the following day."
Footnote: "The reasons for which the variation was made were thus of a ritual character in every case, as Geiger (Jud. Ztschr. vi. 141 ff.) has rightly recognized."
15.b. As one Jewish scholar has pointed out, these prohibited schedulings are not found in the oldest part of the Talmud but in the latter part showing that these rules came into being sometime after the 2nd cent. AD.
Notice that this is not a prohibition against all back-to-back Sabbaths. The Jews frequently observe two consecutive days as Sabbaths or feast days, (e.g., six of the seven annual feasts of Lev.).
It appears that the reason that this prohibition was added by the Jews was due to the increasing emphasis on pre-Sabbath ritualistic preparations. The Friday rituals became so important to the Pharisees that, as one rabbi put it, violating the preparations was equivalent to violating the Sabbath itself.
Atonement is considered almost as holy as the weekly Sabbath, but not quite, since Atonement can be postponed to avoid violating the Friday rituals. The rituals for pre-Atonement are considered equally as important as the Friday preparations. As the rabbis put it, eating the meals on the day prior to Atonement was as important as the fasting on Atonement. But Atonement was less important than the Friday preparation day.
This hierarchy of the degree of holiness of various days is apparently based on the quantity and wording of scriptures pertaining to each day individually.
One church of God writer (Fahkoury) appealed to this Pharisaical thought in his article on the calendar, in which he used word studies to attempt to show that Holy Days are not "holy" in the same way the weekly Sabbath is, therefore (his conclusion was that) it is not critical as to which days are observed.
15.c. In other words, postponement rule Number One is for the purpose of preventing certain Holy Days from falling on certain days of the week. The basis for this rule was "ritual" or "ceremonial" meaning "Jewish tradition" rather than "legal", or from the law.
16. Postponement rule 2:
"2. Similarly, the New Year must begin a day later when the conjunction takes place after 12 o'clock noon, ... the reason being that the crescent of the new moon is not visible on that evening. ...the rule bearing upon it is already given in the Talmud (Rosh Hashshana. 20a). But if the following day be a Sunday, a Wednesday, or a Friday, the New Year is delayed by two days."
16.a. When they say that the moon is not visible , they are using a mean local sunset of 6 p.m. regardless of actual sunset which varies as much as three hours, even allowing for daylight savings time. From personal experience, we have observed the new crescent just after actual sunset, on the astronomical day of conjunction for Tishri 1. Astronomical charts from the U.S. Naval Observatory confirm that this is possible.
The ability to see it is primarily determined by the difference between your location and the point on earth above which the conjunction occurs in any particular month.
The discussion of whether the calendar is to be calculated from Jerusalem time will be addressed later.
Rule 1 is to not to prevent back-to-back Sabbaths as some have taught, but to prevent Trumpets from falling on Sunday, Atonement from falling on Friday or Sunday and to prevent the 8th day of Tabernacles (Palm Day, Tishri 22, (the "last great day" of the feast) from falling on a Sunday.
If any of these event occurs, it causes a feast day somewhere to fall on a Friday, or it causes the day prior to Atonement to fall on Sabbath. This was prohibited in the Talmud because of the "preparation day" rituals which were Jewish traditions. The purpose was not to prevent back-to-back feast days or Sabbaths, but to avoid breaking the "traditions" of Friday and pre-atonement rituals.
Rule 3 is to prevent the year from being too long. This is a problem only if you are attempting to create a continuous calendar.
Rule 4 is to prevent the year from being too short. The existence of rules 3 and 4 are made necessary by the nature of rules 1 and 2.
[Note: In John Kossey's college textbook, The Hebrew Calendar, A Mathematical Introduction, published by Ambassador College, Edited by Herman Hoeh, 1971,1974, pp. 6-7, 6-9, Rules 1 and 2 were reversed from the Jewish order.]
In spite of the complexity of the calculations, "It may be shown without difficulty that there can be only 14 types of yearly calendars, 7 for common years, and 7 for leap-years." The different types are called Qebi'oth.
"The term tequfa ('course of the sun') signifies the moment at which the sun arrives at the equinoctial or solstitial point, or, in other words, the mean beginning of one of the four seasons."
"The interval between two tequfoth was fixed in the 3rd cent. A.D. by the Amora Samuel..."
"But it was observed that this did not quite agree with the astronomical facts, and accordingly we find still another tequfa, named after Rabbi Adda,..."
[Note: Determination of the equinox is critical to keeping Passover "in season". In using the Jewish calculated calendar, an error of one minute can mean keeping all the feast days one month late.]
"The earliest known reference to the 'tequfa of R. Adda' under that designation is made by Isaac b. Baruch Albalia of Cordova (A.D. 1035-1094); cf. Abraham b. Hiya's Sefer ha-'Ibbur, iii. 4), but the period it indicates is already referred to by al-Biruni (Arab. text, p. 183 = Eng. tr. p. 163)." "[This tequfa]...agrees with a date (776) mentioned in the Baraitha of Samuel..." "Moreover, the intercalary system in common use among the Jews, of which we shall treat presently, could never have been framed except on the basis of R. Adda's--not Samuel's--tequfa. In all probability, therefore, its duration was calculated about the 8th cent. A.D., i.e. at the period in which the Jews in the East began to study astronomy, and became acquainted with the Almagest."
16.b. [Note: The Almagest was an astronomical and mathematical encyclopedia compiled about AD 140 by Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus of Alexandria). It served as the basic guide for Arab and European astronomers until about the beginning of the 17th century.]
Footnote: "It is here stated, at the beginning of Section V., that 'sun and moon and years of release and tequfoth were readjusted' ...This was the 17th of September, A.D. 776. The tequfa of Samuel, however, fell....on the 24th of Sept. 3 a.m."
Footnote: "The earliest known Jewish astronomer, Mashallah, lived in the reign of the Khalif al-Mansur (A.D. 754-775; cf. Steinschneider, Die arab. Literatur d. Juden, 1902, p.15). Here, therefore, we find a corroboration of our theory that the constant calendar of modern Judaism is of relatively late date. The calculation of conjunctions, for instance, cannot have been finally established even as late as A.D. 776, for, according to the Baraitha of Samuel, the conjunction of Tishri in that year took place as 4 d. 0 h. 363 p.; while, according to the modern reckoning, it did not occur till 4 d. 3 h. 363 p. This fact is of great importance in the history of the Jewish calendar (cf. Bornstein, loc. cit.)."
"The addition of an extra month periodically, to effect an adjustment between the lunar months of the calendar and the solar tequfa, "was done even before the establishment of a continuous calendar. It was regarded as a matter of special importance that the month of Nisan should not begin before its tequfa (beginning of spring), and a second Adar was intercalated as required; but at that time nothing was as yet known of a regular and periodic intercalation, recurring according to definite rules. Such an arrangement was in all probability first introduced along with the continuous calendar itself, when the Metonic cycle was adopted."
16.c. The "Metonic cycle" is said to have been adopted in 222-276 AD, but is not mentioned in the Talmud which comments on everything else prior to its close in 500 AD. The Jews used a Babylonian 8-year cycle prior to using the Metonic cycle.
Meton's cycle (Athens) 433 BC, contained an error which was improved upon by Callippus 370-300 BC, and later by Hipparchus, of Bithynia (now Turkey) 190-120 BC, who arrived at a length of the lunar month of 25.53058 days which is closer to today's figure. The cycle is still attributed to Meton. Dates for conjunctions used by the Jews show that the "Metonic" cycle was not in use prior to the 8th cent. AD.
"But while, according to the majority of scholars, the leap-years of both the Metonic and the Callippic system are the 2nd, 5th, 8th, 10th, 13th, 16th and 18th years of the cycle (cf. JQR x. 161), in the Jewish calendar they are the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th ..." "The most probable explanation of the Jewish order is that the position of the heavenly bodies at the time when the intercalary system was instituted did not require the supplementary month till the 3rd year of the cycle, then the 6th, 8th, etc.; and, as has been said, exact astronomical calculations show that this sequence is in harmony with the tequfa of R. Ada. We have also information to the effect that there were other intercalary systems in operation, viz. ...(2, 5, 7, 10, 13, 16, 18), (1, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17), and (3, 5, 8, 11, 14, 16, 19). But all these are in reality forms of the normal sequence, the variation depending simply on the particular year of the cycle with which the intercalation begins."
16.d. [Note: Re: Callipic Cycle, A lunar cycle noted by Callippus in 325 BC which included four 19-year Metonic cycles. The 940 months had 29 or 30 days each, for a total of 27,759 days.]
17. The significance here is that different calendars were in use, even among those using calculations. It is accepted that the Greek astronomer Meton (c. 440 BC), is credited with first identifying the 19-year cycle. The Jews used an 8-year Babylonian cycle prior to adapting the Greek Metonic cycle. The difference in order may be the result of the Jews attempting to make corrections from the errors in using the 8-year cycle while trying to harmonize the calendar with the agricultural seasons.
"The length of the year as fixed by the tequfa of Samuel (= the Julian year of 365 1/4) is not an exact measure of the 19-year cycle, as in that period it shows an aggregate excess of 1 h. 485 p. But even the tequfa of R. Adda, which was adapted to this cycle, does not fully agree with the facts,..." (The difference is) ..."in excess by 2 h. 5' 5 1/8". In 1000 years the cumulative error is 4.6 days, and in 2000 more than 9 days. But this discrepancy was simply left out of account."
18. This "discrepancy" is significant when one considers the following possibilities:
A. If the calculated calendar is younger, as all the historical records show, the error may be no more than 6 days.
B. If the calculated calendar originated at Mt. Sinai, as some want to imply, then the total error after nearly 3,500 years would be 16.1 days.
C. If the calendar predated Mt. Sinai, as some ministers claim, then we have no way of knowing how much the total error actually is. It would probably be 27.6 days.
That there is an error is known and acknowledged by Jewish scholars. Their position is that nothing can be done about this until a new Sanhedrin is convened in Jerusalem. They have been anticipating that for nearly fifty years now (since Israel's independence). One Jewish Encyclopedia states that they look forward to going back to the methods shown "in the Bible".
The main point is that the Jewish calculated schedule of Holy Days is incorrect and those credited with preserving it, acknowledge that fact.
The "remainder" of a common year is approximately 4 1/3 days, and that of a leap year is approximately 6 days. "But in the cycle of 19 years (12 common and 7 leap years) the conjunction of the molad of Tishri moves forward by 2 d. 16 h. 595 p. ... and in 13 such cycles" ... (and) ... "by ignoring the odd parts" ... (we have a) "cycle of 247 years, after which the qebi'oth of the years might recur. But they can never recur exactly, as it sometimes happens that even a single part (heleq) alters the qebia' ;..." "An exact repetition of qebi'oth would ensue, in fact only after 36,288 19-year time cycles, or 689,472 years--a period of no practical use. A perpetual Jewish calendar that would be serviceable in any real sense is thus out of the question."
"A partial approximation to such a calendar, however, is furnished by the so-called 'Table of the 61 beginnings'... which exhibits the qebi'oth of a complete 19-year cycle." (These are) "possible forms, which are duly calculated and set forth in tables (cf. e.g. Schwarz, p. 79)." [Emphasis ours.]
"..the change from the 8-year to the 19-year cycle, which is said to have taken place between A.D. 222 and 276, ..." (This is a reference to an 8-year cycle used for the calculations prior to the adoption of the 19-year time cycle. However the use of the 19-year cycle in intercalation was not accepted by some Jewish officials until the 14th Cent. AD, and then only in some areas. More details of the intercalary cycles are found in sources listed below.)
We do not need to guess at the origins of the "Jewish" calendar. That history has been documented by the Jewish people themselves.
The false claim that calculations "have always been used", was declared "absurd" by early Jewish authorities and scholars when it was first proposed by one of their own. The Jewish writers and scholars have documented the development of the calculations down to their present, yet still imperfect, form.
The Jewish leaders in Palestine were attempting to maintain their control over world Jewry while the Roman empire systematically reduced their authority and freedoms in reaction to civil strife. The announcing of the "new moon" was their last vestige of rulership and control. The Babylonian Jews had originated the calculation of a calendar for the Feast Days, and the astronomer Samuel (200-250 AD), sent a set of primitive calculations for a 60-year period to Palestine.
When the Roman rulers outlawed all Jewish proclamations of Holy Days, Hillel II (according to only one "witness" who lived 700 years after the fact) made the calculations public, as a perpetual, but temporary, calendar, until the Jerusalem Sanhedrin could be re-formed to again use observations and declare the "new moons" annually. By doing so, he prevented the academies in Babylon from assuming control of the calendar. This is ironic since the calculations originated in Babylon.
If some form of calendar was issued by Hillel II in 359 AD, Jewish history shows that it was not the one in use today. It underwent modifications until the 14th century (Note 12, above.) It still contains an error (of at least 6 days, perhaps more) which has accumulated to the point that the Jews, today, are concerned over the lateness of the feasts (e.g. 1997, 2000).
Some corporate ministers say that there is "no calendar" in the Bible, even though they acknowledge that "all the elements" are there. But the Jews, whom these same corporate ministers credit with preserving the "calendar", speak of returning to the methods "in the Bible". We wonder what the ministers will do when that occurs. Will they still maintain the "authority" of the Jews and conform to the new Sanhedrin, or will they suddenly reject the "authority" of the Jews in favor of a "church of God" tradition? Which "tradition" would take precedence in establishing a "sacred" calendar? (Note: The Jews never refer to their calendar as "sacred".)
These corporate ministers say that if the Jewish calendar is not the correct calendar, then they (the ministers) don't know what is. Yet the ministers do not observe the Jewish calendar according to Jewish practice. The schedule of Feast days, as published by the churches of God, varies from that of the Jews at least 50% of the time even in years without a 13th month intercalated.
All the Jewish sources say that the Feast days were originally determined by observation. The development of calculations created the situation of having more than one calendar or schedule of feast days. Even the corporate ministers acknowledge disputes over the calendar predating the time of Christ. Jewish records also show that more than one calendar was in use at the time of Christ. Even the Sadducees and Pharisees used different calendars prior to Pharisaism achieving total control over official Judaism. For instance they counted Pentecost (feast of weeks) differently and observed it on different days.
"Even more important than the minor calendrical differences between Sadducees and Pharisees was the cleavage between the Sadducees and Pharisees on the one hand, and those, on the other hand, who followed the 'sectarian' [Essene] calendar known from the book of Jubilees and now also from the Qumran literature. If Jesus and his disciples followed this 'sectarian' calendar, that might explain how they kept the Passover before his arrest, while the chief priests and their associates did not keep it until after his crucifixion (Jn. 18:28).
Bibliography. J.C. Dancy, Commentary on I Maccabees, 1954, pp. 48ff.; N. Geldenhuys, Commentary on Luke, 1950, pp. 649ff.; A. Jaubert, La Date de la Cene, 1957, and 'Jesus et le calendier de Qumran', NTS 7, 1960-1, pp. 1ff.; J. van Goudoever, Biblical Calendars, 1959; J. B. Segal, The Hebrew Passover from the Earliest Times to AD 70, 1963; J. Finegan, Handbook of Bible Chronology, 1963; E.J. Bickerman, Chronology of the Ancient World, 1968; E. J. Wiesenberg and others, 'Calendar' in EJ; W.M. O'Neil, Time and the Calendars, 1975. F.F.B."
This explanation of "different groups observing different calendar schedules" is a much more likely explanation of Christ's Passover with the disciples prior to the Passover of the Priests, than the convoluted and tortured reasoning of the arguments advanced by some groups over how Christ did or did not keep the Passover while being the Passover Lamb.
In the first century, Judah was ruled by puppet kings trying to please their Roman bosses, or by Roman procurators who ruled like monarchs. They all ruled as tyrants. The office of chief priest was for sale on an annual basis, thanks to Herod. One Jewess purchased it for her husband with a gallon and a half of gold coins . The priesthood belonged to the Sadducean party, the aristocratic elite. They were wealthy landowners who, at times, stole even from the (non-priestly) Levites. [God's instructions were that the Levites were to receive a tenth of all the agricultural products of the land, and be provided homes in which to live, all for their service in the temple. But they were not be landowners with rights of inheritance (compare Num. 18, esp. v. 24; Josh. 21; Deu. 10:8-9, Josh. 13:14, 33). That they became the wealthiest class in the nation indicates that they were perhaps more concerned with gaining profits than being prophets.]
The corruption of the priesthood was a factor in the development of the Pharisees as a powerful political party (sometime between 430--140 BC), the favorite of the general populace. They lost influence with the throne during Hyrcanus's reign, but from their return to power under Queen Alexandra (79 BC), they remained in control of the government until Pharisaism became synonymous with Judaism in the 4th century AD.
They were neither of King David's line nor of the Aaronic priesthood. Most of them weren't even Levites. They were lay-teachers from the middle class who came to power mainly through the weaknesses and lack of righteousness of the monarchy and the priesthood. While they couldn't occupy the throne or the office of priest, their influence over a majority of the population required that the king co-operate with them and caused the priests to fear opposing them.
This was partially due to synagogue-worship replacing worship in the Temple. While the priests were responsible for teaching the law, they neglected that duty. Thus, from the time of Judah's captivity until the period of the Maccabees, a new class arose. In Babylon, there was no Temple. Scribes became lay teachers. The first synagogue was built in Babylon. Upon returning to Jerusalem, the popularity of lay teachers increased as did the construction of synagogues. It is reported that there were nearly 400 to 500 synagogues in Jerusalem by 70 A.D. The lay teachers, now called Rab or Rabbi, took the role of teaching the law, usurping the role abandoned by the priesthood.
When Christ observed that the scribes and Pharisees "sit in Moses' seat" (Mat. 23:2), He was merely acknowledging that they exercised civil authority and religious influence even though they had no inherited right to claim either office.
From the time after Ezra/Nehemiah until the first century, a huge body of "oral" law, traditions, rituals, ceremonies, judgments and opinions had developed. One which affected the scheduling of feast days was that feast days could not be scheduled on Friday or on pre-atonement due to the "preparation day" rituals. This is reflected in the feasts observed by the Pharisees and Sadducees at that time, even though the calculated calendar was not yet available.
Some have used the modern Jewish calendar to calculate backwards in attempting to prove that the modern calendar was in use at the time of the Crucifixion. This is an interesting exercise considering that while the modifications improving the calendar were accomplished over a period of 1,000 years (1,300 in some areas) and can be generally dated, the variables in attempting to do calculations using a calendar which is retrogressing in accuracy, to some approximate form of inaccuracy, without any specific description for any specific year, would not be merely challenging, but downright impossible. We would have to also remember that more than one form of the calendar was in use at any one time. The attempts we have seen so far, assume that the current calendar will arrive at the same date as was determined using the comparatively underdeveloped calculations of that time. As we saw above, "Moreover, from the early post-Talmudic age we have dates which cannot be reconciled with the regular calendar in use to-day."
In other words, any attempt to use the modern Jewish calendar to "prove" that the crucifixion was on Wednesday in any particular year is an exercise in imagination. The modern calendar doesn't even correspond to documented dates of observance in the 8th cent. AD. And we know of additional changes to the calendar formulas after that time, all the way up until the 17th cent., depending upon the location.
Likewise, claiming that a Wednesday crucifixion in any particular year "proves" the use of any version of the Jewish calendar is also a "Christian" myth for the same reasons.
The inventors of the Jewish calendar also "worked backwards" by calculation to determine the date of creation, which was then determined to be the benchmark (actually five different benchmarks have been used) for all future calendar calculations. We are unaware of any element in the science of astronomy that validates circular reasoning. Yet some have attempted to prove the validity of the current Jewish calendar by using it to show that the crucifixion was on a Wednesday, and that the crucifixion being on a Wednesday proves the validity of the current Jewish calendar. The Jews, who are credited with faithfully preserving this calendar, are ignored by some writers and ministers when they explain that this calendar was not used until at least 328 years after the Crucifixion, and that it's present form was not finalized until another 1,000 to 1,300 years later, depending on the location.
There are even more variables, such as the occasion when three successive intercalary (leap) years were designated in order to get the holy days back "in season". It is very possible that other one-time "adjustments" were not documented. Such actions were taken at times, due to the inaccuracy of the local calendar "du jour".
God said that He never told us to seek Him, "in vain" (Isa. 45:19). Since He does not lie, the understanding of the schedule of the Holy Days is in the scriptures. Even the people who brought you the Jewish calculations, say it's there.
Some say they understand it. Others become angry and condemn those who profess understanding. If one does not understand a thing, does that prove it doesn't exist? Does understanding come to all, at once? Which two people on earth share identical understanding? Not even married couples agree totally on every detail of every doctrine.
Since understanding is a gift from the Father, through the Holy Spirit, is He limited in giving it? When He gives it, is there a minimum number of people who receive it? Scripture indicates otherwise.
We all share the frustration of limited understanding. May He increase understanding for all of us. [Please see additional articles following this one, regarding Jewish history and the calendar, as well as the schedule of Feast Days contained in the Scripture.]
* * *
Some of the following works also confirm the quoted material above as well as support the calendar articles following this one. Some of these helped us to understand the elements of lunar and solar cycles and the problems in attempting to construct a perpetual lunar/solar calendar. Others document the history of the Jewish people and the development of their calendar. We encourage everyone to read as many of them as possible. Understanding astronomy gives us a much greater appreciation of God's creation. Reading Jewish history reminds us that human nature has not changed and that humans will always tend to try to "fix" things themselves rather than rely on God.
Almanac of the Bible, Wigoder, Paul, Viviano, The Jerusalem Publishing House, Ltd., Jerusalem, Israel, 1991
Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vols. I, V, 1992, Ed. by Freedman
Anchor Bible Dictionary, 1982
New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vols. II, XI, 1967
The Jewish Encyclopedia, Funk and Wagnalls, 1903
Watchers Of The Sky, Wily Ley, 1966, Viking Press
Early Astronomy From Babylonia to Copernicus, Wm. O'Neil, 1986, Sydney Univ. Press
Man's View of the Universe, A Pictorial History, Gerald E. Tauber, Crown Pub. 1979
Celestial Delights, The Best Astronomical Events Through 2001, Reddy and Walz-Chojnacki, 1992
The Night Sky, Richard Grossingen, Sierra Club Books, 1981
The Universal Frame, Historical Essays in Astronomy, J. D. North, Hambledon Press, London, 1989
Frame of the Universe, A History of Physical Cosmology, Frank Durham, R.D. Purrington, Columbia University Press, 1983
The Heavens: Planets, Stars and Galaxies, Ed Kerrod, Phoenix Pub., 1984
Orbiting the Sun, Fred Whipple, Harvard Univ. Press, 1981
Many Moons, Diana Bructon, Prentice Hall Press, 1991
Early Man And The Cosmos, Evan Hadingham, 1984
Pathways to the Universe, Frances Graham-Smith and Bernard Lovell, 1988
Facts on File Dictionary of Astronomy, 3rd Ed, Edited by Illingworth, 1994
Clarke's Commentary, Vol. I, 1847
The First Stargazers, An Intro. to the Origins of Astronomy, James Cornell, Scribner's Sons, 1981
The Soul of the Night, An Astronomical Pilgrimage, Chet Raymo, Prentice Hall, 1985
Asimov on Astronomy, Bonanza Books, 1974
Experiments in Space Science, Peter Greenleaf, Arco Pub. 1981
Nightwatch, Terence Dickinson, Camden House, 1983
The Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem, Keter Pub. House Ltd. Jerusalem, Israel, 1971
A History of Judaism, Vol. I, Daniel Jeremy Silver, Basic Books, Inc. Pub. 1963
The Book of Calendars, Ed. by Frank Parise, Facts on File, Inc. 1982
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Ed. by James Hastings, Vol. III, Scribner's Sons, 1956
Sabbath, The Day of Delight, Abraham E. Millgram, Jewish Pub. Soc. of Amer., 1944
The Astronomers, Goldsmith, 1991
Cultic Calendars of the Near East, Cohen, 1993
Josephus, Complete Works, Trans. by Whiston, Kregel Pub. 1960
The Book of Jewish Knowledge, Ausebel, 1964
The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia, Ed. by Roth, 1966
Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Shalak, 1994
Zondervan NIV Bible Atlas, Carl G. Rasmussen 1989; Maps, Carta, Jerusalem, 1989
The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Vols 1- 3, Tyndale House Pub., Sydney and Auckland, 1980
A Social and Religious History of the Jews, Salo W. Baron, Vols. I, II, Columbia U. Press, 1952
The Jews: Their History, Culture and Religion, 4th Ed., Edit. by Louis Finkelstein, 1970,
( also 3rd Ed., original Ed., 1949)
History and Philosophy of The Jewish Religion, Friedlander, Pardes Pub., 1946
The Wall Chart of World History, Tien Wah Press, Singapore, 1995
The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century, ACS Pub., 1983
New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, 1967
"Calendar Background", Worldwide Church of God, 1981, 1989
Time and Its Measurement, Harrison J. Cowan, 1958
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Copyright M.H. and G.H. 1996. All rights reserved.