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VII The Jewish Calendar Represented in the Zodiac Design

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Chapter Summary

The Jewish calendar is lunisolar, based on twelve lunar months of twenty-nine or thirty days each. Natural forces and the agricultural seasons determined the division of the year: Two seasons were observed in ancient Israel: summer and winter, which corresponded to the agricultural activities of ploughing and harvest. The Gezer Calendar is either an Israelite or Canaanite seven-line inscription in Paleo-Hebrew Script. The zodiac panel is designed as a square frame containing two concentric circles. The central circle is depicted with an image of the sun god riding his chariot drawn by four horses. The outer, larger circle is divided into twelve radial units, each containing one of the signs and bearing its Hebrew name. In the corners of the square frame, busts of the four seasons are portrayed symbolically. These are named in Hebrew, after the month with which the season begins.

Keywords:Gezer calendar; Jewish calendar; Paleo Hebrew; zodiac design

10.1163/9789004257726_009
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