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The Astronomy of the Qumran Fragments 4Q208 and 4Q209

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This article puts forth a mathematical and astronomical model that helps explain the structure of the Aramaic Astronomical Book (aab; 4Q208–211), in particular the sequences of fractions in 4Q208 and 4Q209. The article confirms and builds upon Drawnel’s reconstruction of this highly formulaic composition. The model proposed here demonstrates that the numerous fractions of the aab, although they seem bewildering and incomprehensible to many readers today, constitute genuine and authentic astronomical knowledge. While there are parallels between the aab and Mesopotamian astronomical texts, especially the Enūma Anu Enlil, they do not necessarily indicate that the author of the aab had direct or extensive access to centers of astronomical knowledge in Babylon.

Affiliations: 1: Florida State; 2: Florida State


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