Bible and calendars
Bible and calendars
PREFACE BIBLE AND CALENDAR
I. PRELIMINARY NOTIONS
1. METHODOLOGY BIBLE AND CALENDAR
2. A QUITE ANCIENT NEW CALENDAR
3. ABOUT CALENDARS
4. A LUSTRUM
5. SWIFT AS THE WIND
II. REDATING JESUS' DEATH
1. DID JESUS' CRUCIFIXION ACTUALLY HAPPEN ON APRIL, 7th, 30 ?
2. RECONSTRUCTING OLD LUNAR OBSERVATIONS
3. EASTER FELL ON A SATURDAY
4. NEW YEAR WAS A SATURDAY TOO
5. THE ONLY LUNAR EXPLANATION
6. THE LONG MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
7. A NEW READING OF DANIEL'S PROPHECY
8. "THEY HAD BEEN REBUILDING THE TEMPLE FOR 46 YEARS..."
9. THE ROMAN POINT OF VIEW
10. EXIT PILATE - ARMY MANOEUVRES IN THE EAST
11. PAUL'S TRAVELS
12. "AND JESUS HIMSELF BEGAN TO BE ABOUT 30 YEARS OF AGE"
13. CONCLUSION
III. THE SECOND TEMPLE CALENDAR
1. WHAT CALENDAR WAS IN USE AT THE TIME
2. ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF JUBILEE YEARS
3. RECONSTRUCTING THE ANTIQUE CALENDAR
4. THE CORRECT WAY TO USE FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS
5. THE CREATION OF THE WORLD ERA
IV. CONCLUSION
V. ANNEXE
FINAL REMARKS

I. PRELIMINARY NOTIONS



   

3. ABOUT CALENDARS




1) Human time has clearly been punctuated by the daily appearance of the sun, that of new moons and the shifting of the sun movement at the end of its journey. It has been so since the very beginning of times.

Drawing up a calendar is a formalization of this rythm.< br/>
Each person will do so according to its needs and its geographical environment and climate and its swiftness in observing the world and its level of arithmetical knowledge.

Any calendar is thus a typical element of culture.

The nomadic will use a lunar calendar and so will the sailor, who is reliant on the tides.

The sedentary peasant will use a lunisolar calendar.< br/>
The sedentary townsman will use a solar calendar.

Particular people, swift observers such as the Maya and the Gaelic, will set their calendar upon the return of eclipses.

2) In the Bible, we witness the sedentarization of nomadic people from the Middle East around the 1st millenium BC.

From now on, we shall focus on the lunisolar calendar which months corresponds to lunations.
Here are a few astronomical data that will give us a better understanding :

- an equinoctial year lasts 365,2422 days.
- an average lunation lasts 29,53059 days.
The calendar is consequently an arithmetical problem as well, since none of these data are a whole number !
We are looking for a period of time - or "cycle" - comprising a whole number of solar years and a whole number of lunations which themselves last a whole number of days, all of this with good enough precision and a total duration inferior to a lifetime.

There are two solutions to this problem and both of them have been discovered, and we have evidence of this in archeological documents.

The estimate is more or less rough according to the accuracy of astronomical observations. Thus we can successively find :
The "antique" cycle, comprising 30 years and 371 lunations, with an accuracy of 1 to 2 days.

The Metonic cycle, comprising 19 years and 235 lunations, with an accuracy of a few hours only.

3) Let us point out that 12 lunations are 354,367 days. So, to get nearer to the solar year which affects agricultural and pastoral activities, one "13 lunations year" needs to be inserted every 3 years. This year, called embolismic after a Greek word meaning "added" (in Hebrew it is called a "pregnant year"), is set in different places according to the cycles.

In the "antique" cycle, which holds 11 embolismic years, those are placed according to a 3 years / 2 years rhythm which gets repeated 6 times, the 12th year being a regular one.
Thus, in that cycle, one can see a period of 5 years or 62 lunations that corresponds to 5 solar years plus 5 days, the 6th period comprising but 61 lunations to balance the 30 added days. This period is called a "lustrum".

In the Metonic cycle, which holds 7 embolismic years, they are placed according to their order in the 19 years cycle and they correspond to these places in the Hebrew calendar :

3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 19th


4) There still remains to situate the added lunation of 30 days in each year.

In the "antique" cycle, it is situated in the middle of the Ve-Adar year after the 6th month - that is during the 3rd year of the 5 years period - and at the end of the Ve-Elul year after the 12th month of the 5th year, that is after 30 "regular" months. It has been discovered thanks to the bronze tablet of Coligny and to the Babylonian Chronology (Annexes, p 83-86).

In the Metonic cycle, used nowadays by Jewish people, it is placed in the middle of the year ; a 6th month bis (Veadar) of 29 days (+ 1 day in Adar) is inserted between the 6th and the 7th month.

The beginning of the year is situated around the autumn equinox.

The first month is called Tishri. The seventh, during which Pessah (the Jewisw Easter) takes place, is called Nisan.

Lastly, the new day begins 20 minutes after sunset, after the appearance of 2 or 3 stars that marks the beginning of the night and thus the changing of date (Nehemiah, 4, 15).

The seventh year is called sabbatical.

N.B. : The lunisolar calendar set upon the Metonic cycle is as precise as the Gregorian calendar on the long term, but it is quite complex concerning the calculations of the first day of the month. The "antique" calendar set upon a 30 years cycle slowly drifts away from the sun (1 month in 630 years) but it still holds pretty much of an asset : the simplicity of calculation of any date, which can be deduced from a 60 years recurrence law. As a sum up, let us state that :

- the "antique" cycle => 2 x 10 956 = 21 912 days
- the Julian year => 60 x 365,25 = 21 915 days
the day of the month diminishes by 3 after a 60 year duration.
- 21 912 / 7 = 3 130 weeks + 2/7
The weekday is increased by 2 after 2 cycles.


5) A bit of arithmetics

The "Antique" cycle

30 x 365,2422 = 10 957,266 days
371 x 29,53059 = 10 955,848 days
10 956 days => average year of 365,20 days
which is not as good as the Julian year of 365,25 jours.
62 x 29,53059 = 1 830,896 days
i.e. about 5 days more than in 5 Julian years - 1826,25 days.

The Metonic cycle

19 x 365,2422 = 6 939,602 days
235 x 29,53059 = 6 939,688 days
i.e. 2 hours of difference after 19 years.
there will be 2 cycles of 6 940 days followed by a 3rd cycle of 6 939 days
or : 1 cycle of 6 941 days followed by 2 cycles of 6 939 days
i.e. 20 819 days.


The Lunar calendar (Chart 3)
- The months lasting 29 or 30 days, a regular alternation does not lead to the average length of a lunation, i.e. 29,53 days. So there must be more months of 30 days than of 29 days.
- The 62 lunations of the "antique" cycle - 1 831 days - can be dispatched in 33 months of 30 days and 29 months of 29 days.
The first day of the month is empirically set by 3 periods of 15 months and 1 period of 17 months during which the 2 different types of lunations alternate (30 days - 29 days - 30 days...). The 31st and the 62nd lunations are intercalary ones of 30 days. So the years can last 354, 355 or 384 days.
- Hillel was extremely careful to be precise when observing the lunations, and to respect the biblical rules as well. This led him to propose a calendar based upon the Metonic cycle, which is more acute since it comprises 6 different durations of years : 353, 354, 355, 383, 384 or 385 days, combined to fulfill the day numbers of each cycle.

This system is very complex but it has been in use to this very day.
It is the official calendar of the State of IsraŰl.

8 Cf : - The Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh Hashanna Treatise.
- Ma´monid, VIIIth Treatise, chapter 2, paragraph 9.
To contact Mr LOUBRIAT click here