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Theory, Practice, And Polemic In Ancient Jewish Calendars

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Chapter Summary

At the heart of calendrical controversies is an astronomical discordance between the cycles of the sun and moon, which affects all systems of time-keeping, not just Jewish, but is particularly acute for the monotheistic creeds which understand a single deity to have set all of the celestial bodies in their courses and rhythms as an unalterable pattern to be mirrored by human society in its concordance to a similarly fixed and cyclic calendar of "appointed times". In the post-biblical, Second Temple period we find very different choices of calendrical priority between those who favor the moon and those who favor the sun. The Dead Sea Scrolls have added immensely to our knowledge of ancient Jewish calendars, and calendrical disputes, as over twenty texts, many of them fragmentary, containing calendrical information, have been identified among the scrolls.

Keywords: Dead Sea Scrolls; Jewish Calendars



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