Many Christians base their reckoning of the Holy Days on the Calculated Rabbinical Calendar (often called the "Hebrew" or "Jewish" calendar), with sometimes some minor exceptions. These exceptions generally include the reckoning of the Passover, which many Christians keep one day prior to the Calculated Rabbinical Calendar's (CRC) reckoning, and Pentecost, which is counted in quite a few different ways.
Now, this year (2001) for Pentecost, the CRC slated it to occur from sunset of May 28 through sunset of May 29th. This date was arrived at because it is 50 days from Nisan the 16th (as calculated by said calendar's "molad" ). This reckoning of the CRC for Pentecost is based on the Pharisaical reckoning.
In the book of Leviticus, chapter 23, we are shown that we are to count from "the morrow after the Sabbath" during the Feast of Unleavens. The controversy regarding the determination method for this festival hinges on this phrase. The debate is actually an ancient one. The Sadducees and Boethusians believed the Sabbath mentioned in Leviticus 23 in the phrase mi-macharat ha-shabbat ("on the morrow of the Sabbath") is the very Sabbath of creation--the 7th day of the week. The Pharisees, on the other hand, proposed that this Hebrew phrase was reference to the first and second days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They considered the "Sabbath" spoken of in Lev 23:11 to be that of the first day of the Feast of Unleavens (the 15th of Nisan), and not the weekly seventh day Sabbath---hence, the "morrow after" this would be Nisan 16, wherein they would always begin their count. We'll examine the Hebrew Scripture momentarily to prove which day, the Sabbath or the first day of the Feast of Unleavens, it is indeed speaking of.
Now, under the CRC, this 50 day count from Nisan 16 will always end at Sivan 6--but this was not the case in the Pharisees' day.
The Calendar in the First Century C.E.
Months in Jesus' and the Pharisees' day were reckoned from new crescent to new crescent. The sighting of a sliver of the moon began each month (being its first day), and each month would end one day prior to the sighting of the next crescent (the next month thus beginning with the new sighted crescent). These true lunar cycles (crescent to crescent) are not set uniformly in an alternating pattern of 29 and 30 days as in the theoretical months of the Calculated Rabbinical Calendar. It is possible to have anywhere from 2-5 thirty day months in succession (though 5 is fairly rare). Likewise, there may be 2, and rarely 3, twenty-nine day months in succession. Thus, the Pharisaical count for Pentecost from the 16th day of the aviv would end either Sivan 5, 6, or 7. The Pharisees still had to actually COUNT in those days because the lengths of the months were not set in a permanant manner as in the modern CRC. They left the folly of a fixed date (Sivan 6), wherein one can just ignore God's command to count, to a later generation of "rabbis." Observance of true lunar cycles, being used to mark the months from the beginning of the moon's creation, continued to be used by people of Israel, including the Pharisees and their successors (the "rabbis")--even past the Talmudic period. In the CRC however, the first month of the year (Nisan) is always 30 days; the second month (iyar) is always 29; etc.,
But alas, neither the ancient, nor the modern (i.e., CRC) Pharisaical Pentecost reckonings are Scripturally correct, for they both use the wrong starting point and generally end the count on a day that is not the "morrow after the Sabbath," which Scripture requires.
The Morrow After the Sabbath
"And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD." (Leviticus 23:15,16)
Now, those who hold to a Nisan 16th date for beginning the count, whether they reckon by actual new moons or the CRC, teach that the word translated "Sabbath" in verse 16 (shabbath--Strong's #7676) should actually be translated as "week." Such a translation is necessary for this type of Pentecost reckoning due to the fact that Sivan 6 does not always occur on the day after a weekly Sabbath (nor do Sivan 5 or 7, for that matter) as required by Leviticus 23:16. But, if shabbath should be translated "week" in verse 16, it should likewise be so translated in verse 15 regarding which day to begin the count. Such a systematic theology though damages their doctrine for it does away with Nisan 16 as a starting point (since with such a translation, the count does not need to begin on a day after a Sabbath either).
But, is it even true that shabbath should be translated as "week"?
7676 Shabbath "intermission, i.e., (spec.) the Sabbath." (Strong's Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary of the Old Testament)
The fact is, shabbath is never rendered "week" in Scripture, nor is it ever used to refer to the first day of the Feast of Unleavens as those who hold to a Nisan 16 Elevation Sheaf Day propose.
Now, some may ask, isn't Pentecost also called the "Feast of Weeks" though?
"Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. And thou shalt keep the Feast of Weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee." (Deuteronomy 16:9,10)
Yes, Pentecost is the Feast of Weeks, however, the word translated "weeks" in the Scripture above (as well as Exodus 34:22; Numbers 28:26; and II Chronicles 8:13) is NOT shabbath, but rather it is shabuah:
7620 Shabuah "lit. sevened, i.e., a week." (Strong's Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary of the Old Testament)
Shavuah is the Hebrew word that means "week." If God intended for Pentecost to be reckoned without regard to the weekly Sabbaths, He would have inspired Moses to use this word, instead of Shabbath, in Leviticus 23:15,16.
For those who contend with the Strong's lexicon definitions given above:
Search the Holy Scripture to find wherein "Shabbath" is used in reference to a week and not the weekly Sabbath itself.
Search the Holy Scripture to find where the first day of the Feast of Unleavens is ever referred to as the "Shabbath" [Leviticus 23:15 & 16 both use the definitive article (i.e., "the"--as opposed to "a") in reference to Shabbath].
What is the only other reference to "shabbath" in Leviticus 23 prior to its use in verses 15 & 16? (the answer is found in verse 3). This contextual relation thus further shows what word ("the Sabbath" as opposed to "the week") and what day ("the Sabbath" as opposed to "the first day of the Feast of Unleavens") was meant by "shabbath" in verses 15 & 16.
The Scriptural Instructions Regarding the Timing of YHVH's Feasts
Let us overview the Scriptural commands regarding the appointed times of the Eternal for further proof as to which day begins and ends the count:
"These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S Passover." (Leviticus 23:4,5)
PASSOVER---14th day of 1st month
"And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread." (Leviticus 23:6)
FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD--begins 15th day of 1st month and continues 7 days
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it." (Leviticus 23:10,11)
ELEVATION SHEAF OFFERING DAY--observed the day after the Sabbath
"And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD .... And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (Leviticus 23:15,16,21)
FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS/PENTECOST--observed 50 days after Elevation Sheaf offering, on the day after the seventh Sabbath of the count
"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation." (Leviticus 23:24)
DAY OF SHOUTING (i.e. TRUMPETS)--1st day of 7th month
"Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a Day of Atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. ... It shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath." (Leviticus 23:27,32)
DAY OF ATONEMENT--10th day of 7th month
"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein." (Leviticus 23:34-36)
FEAST OF TABERNACLES--begins the 15th day of the 7th month and lasts 7 days; followed by an 8th day, which is THE LAST GREAT DAY
Now notice what these Scriptures did NOT say:
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the SIXTEENTH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH the priest shall wave it. And ye shall count unto you from the SIXTEENTH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven WEEKS shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh WEEK shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD, ON THE SIXTH DAY OF THE THIRD MONTH. (Leviticus 23:10,11,15,16--altered to emphasize a point)
Do you notice in the true Scriptural account that the Elevation Sheaf offering day and Pentecost are the only two appointed times that are not given a specific calendar date?
Why is that?
Could it be because they shift calendar dates year by year, yet they are always on the same day of the week (i.e. "the morrow after the Sabbath"--the first day of the week)?
Most assuredly, if God wanted the Elevation Sheaf observed on Nisan 16, and Pentecost on Sivan 6 (or Nisan 22 and Sivan 15, respectively, as some "Lunar Cycle Sabbath" calendar teachers proclaim ), every year, He would have plainly said so like He did for every other appointed time.
Scriptural Criteria for Determining Pentecost
The Holy Scriptures give us three main criteria for determining Pentecost:
1) The count is to begin on the "morrow after the Sabbath" (during the Feast of Unleavens), and end on a "morrow after the Sabbath."
2) The count is to contain seven Sabbaths---seven complete weeks (culminating on the day after the seventh Sabbath).
3) The count is to number 50 days.
All three of these criteria must be met in order for Pentecost to be correctly determined in line with the Scriptural commands. This can only be achieved if the count begins on the first day of the week (i.e., the morrow after the Sabbath) every year. When one begins the count on the first day of the week and counts 50 days, the 50th day will indeed be "the morrow after the Sabbath" (i.e., the first day of the week). This count will also be composed of seven weeks (Heb. shavuot), and thereby seven Sabbaths (Heb. Shabbath) since every shavua ends with a shabbath--thus fulfilling all Scriptural requirements.
These Scriptural commands for determining Pentecost are comparable also to the command for Sabbatical and Jubilee year reckoning:
"Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath [shabbath] of rest unto the land, a Sabbath [shabbath] for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard....And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths [shabbath] of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths [shabbath] of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the Jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a Jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A Jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed." (Leviticus 25:3,4,8-11)
|The 7th day of the count will be the Sabbath||
The 7th year of the count will be the Sabbath
|The 14th day of the count will be the Sabbath||The 14th year of the count will be the Sabbath|
|The 21st day of the count will be the Sabbath||The 21st year of the count will be the Sabbath|
|The 28th day of the count will be the Sabbath||The 28th year of the count will be the Sabbath|
|The 35th day of the count will be the Sabbath||The 35th year of the count will be the Sabbath|
|The 42nd day of the count will be the Sabbath||The 42nd year of the count will be theSabbath|
|The 49th day of the count will be the Sabbath||The 49th year of the count will be the Sabbath|
|The 50th day of the count will be the morrow after the seventh Sabbath, and hallowed itself||
The 50th year of the count will be the morrow after the seventh Sabbath, and hallowed itself
Who Controlled the Temple and Feast Day Determinations?
Some today propose that we should follow the Pharisaic method, irregardless of the strength of the Scriptural argument for the method observed by the Sadducees and Boethusians. It is suggested that the Pharisees were the ruling party of Judaism in the first century and therefore whenever Pentecost is mentioned in the New Testament, it is referring to the Pharisaic reckoning which begins the count of 50 days starting Nisan 16. The argument continues that, such being the case, Jesus and the Church must have all followed that method, and therefore, we all should follow it as well..
In truth however, during the 2nd Temple times, when Jesus walked the earth and the Church first flourished, the Sadducees controlled the Temple and the calendar reckoning. This fact is verified by ancient documentation of the Pharisees themselves! They testify that up until circa 70 AD, Pentecost was determined according to the Sadducean method.
In the Megillath Ta'anith, that is "Scroll of Fasting" (ca. 135 A.D.), it states that Nisan 8-22 are special commemorative days. What is the stated reason that these days were set apart?
"The explanation of this holiday according to the Scholiast (a Mishnaic commentator on the meaning of the days) is that it marked the triumph of the Pharisees over the Sadducees, in the famous controversy regarding the date of Pentecost." (Solomon Zeitlin, MEGILLAT TAANIT as a Source for Jewish Chronology and History in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. Philadelphia.1922)
According to Schwab (1897, reported in Burnaby, 1931, p. 263):
"[This 15 day period, according to the Scholiast,] recalls the ordinance of the Pharisees that the Feast of Weeks - Pentecost - should be celebrated on any day of the week, and not be restricted upon the first day of the week, 'the morrow of the Sabbath.' The importance of this victory gained by the Pharisees over their opponents consisted in the principle that tradition is superior to the actual words of Scripture. The direction on Lev. 23:16 is that the Feast should be on the fiftieth day counted from 'the morrow after the Sabbath' of the Passover. M. Schwab says 'It must be believed that for a certain time, under the Sadducees, the Feast of Pentecost had been celebrated in conformity with their teaching, that is to say on the morrow after the Sabbath.' The Commentator [in the "Scroll of Fasting"] says that when the Pharisees came into power they changed this day to the fiftieth counted from the second day of the Passover. In remembrance of their triumph they celebrated all fifteen days, from Nisan 8 to 22, during which the debates lasted. It is further stated by the Commentator that the discussion on the meaning of the Biblical expressions took place between R. Jochanan ben Zaccai, R. Eliezer, R. Ismail, and R. Juda [i.e., between 70 A.D. and 100 A.D.]." (Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby, Elements of the Jewish and Muhammadan Calendars, London: George Bell & Sons, 1931, quoting M. Moise Schwab, Megillath Ta'anith Actes du onzieme congres International des Orientalistes; 1897, Quatrieme Section. pp. 199-259.)
The Babylonian Talmud also comments on this historical record:
"...BECAUSE OF THE BOETHUSIANS WHO MAINTAINED THAT THE REAPING OF THE 'OMER WAS NOT TO TAKE PLACE AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE [FIRST DAY OF THE] FESTIVAL.
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: 'On the following days fasting, and on some of them also mourning, is forbidden: From the first until the eighth day of the month of Nisan, during which time the Daily Offering was established, mourning is forbidden; .... 'From the eighth of the same until the close of the Festival [of Passover], during which time the date for the Feast of Weeks was re-established, fasting is forbidden'. For the Boethusians held that the Feast of Weeks must always be on the day after the Sabbath. But R. Johanan b. Zakkai entered into discussion with them saying, 'Fools that you are! whence do you derive it?? Not one of them was able to answer him, save one old man who commenced to babble and said, 'Moses our teacher was a great lover of Israel, and knowing full well that the Feast of Weeks lasted only one day he therefore fixed it on the day after the Sabbath so that Israel might enjoy themselves for two successive days'. [R. Johanan b. Zakkai] then quoted to him the following verse, 'It is eleven days' journey from Horeb unto Kadesh-Barnea by the way of mount Seir. (Menachoth 65a, Soncino edition, Isidore Epstein, editor)
These Pharisaic sources all concede that the date for the Feast of Pentecost was changed from the position that was held by the Sadducean/Boethusian teachers. And, as Schwab noted, this change took place about the time of the destruction of the 2nd Temple. Simply put, while the 2nd Temple stood during the 1st Century CE, Pentecost was observed according to the teaching of the Sadducees. It was by this method that all gathered in one accord to celebrate the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost in Acts 2. It was the method by which Jesus Himself walked. Pentecost is always to be observed on the first day of the week!
Anchored in the Feast: "The Sabbath" or "the Morrow after" the Sabbath?
One more controversy in Pentecost reckoning arises in certain years however. In years where Passover occurs on the weekly Sabbath, and the Feast of Unleavens thus begins on the first day of the week, there is debate as to which "morrow after the Sabbath" should begin the count. This debate centers on what day is to be anchored in the Feast week: the Sabbath, or the "morrow after."
Since the Feast of Unleavens lasts seven days, there is only one weekly Sabbath and only one first day of the week that occur during it. Some feel it is the Sabbath that falls in the week of Unleavens that matters, and thus they would begin their count towards Pentecost, in such years that the Feast ends on the Sabbath, on a day outside of the Feast of Unleavens (i.e., the day after it ends). Others believe the Scriptural emphasis is not on the Sabbath itself, but rather on "the morrow after the Sabbath," and thus when the Feast of Unleavens begins on the first day of the week, the selfsame day (the 15th of the aviv) begins the count towards Pentecost.
Along with pointing out the Scriptural emphasis, the following Scripture is also brought forth for further proof that the "morrow" is indeed what matters:
"And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal; and they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the produce of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes and parched grain, in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow, after they had eaten of the produce of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year." (ASV, Joshua 5:10-12)
This section of Scripture is an important key in determining the truth of this debate. Note that Joshua recorded that the children of Israel ate of the produce of the land (including "parched grain") on "the morrow after the Passover." Compare this with the instructions they received regarding what they were to do when they entered the land of promise:
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, 'When ye are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before Jehovah, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it....And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor fresh ears, until this selfsame day, until ye have brought the oblation of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings'." (ASV, Leviticus 23:10,11,14)
|...ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor fresh ears, until
this selfsame day (Leviticus 23:14)
...they did eat of the produce..., unleavened cakes and parched grain, in the selfsame day (Joshua 5:11)
The command from the Eternal was that they could not eat of any grain of Canaan (bread, parched grains, or fresh grains) until the selfsame day they offered the "elevation sheaf." We see that the children of Israel did eat of the grain on the 15 of the aviv (i.e., the morrow after the Passover), and thus it can be determined that Passover in the year they entered the land occured on the weekly Sabbath and the Feast of Unleavens began on the first day of the week--on the self-same day the premier sheaf of the barley was elevated to the Eternal.
Some have argued that the account in Joshua 5 has no bearing on the matter of determining Elevation Sheaf Day due to the King James translation of the Hebrew word abuwr in verses 11 and 12 as "old corn." I find no evidence that the KJV translators were correct in this "translation." H.W.F. Gesenius defines abuwr as follows:
abuwr "corn, prop. produce, or offering of the land..." (Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, p.600, Strong's #5669)
If abuwr does mean "old grain," and more importantly, if the children of Israel were free to eat abuwr without regard to the offering of the firstfruits of barley (i.e., Elevation Sheaf), why then did they wait five days after entering the land before they ate of it (Joshua 4:19ff)? Do note that manna had been continually provided to assuage their hunger until this "morrow of the Passover" (Joshua 5:12). Why would God continue to send manna if He had just delivered into their hands a land full of grains they were free to eat upon their arrival? Scripture testifies of how discontent the Israelites were with manna (Numbers 11:5,6)---they wanted something else to eat. So again, why did they wait? Could it be that because God commanded that when they entered the land, they could not partake of bread, parched grain, nor fresh grain until the selfsame "morrow after the Sabbath" that they offered up the premier sheaf of barley (Leviticus 23:10-14)? Yes, indeed.
Thus, the testimony of Joshua's account provides the Scriptural precedent for how to determine Elevation Sheaf Day, and thereby Pentecost, in such years that the Passover occurs on the weekly Sabbath and the Feast of Unleavens begins on the first day of the week.
In summary, Elevation Sheaf Day always occurs on the first day of the week during the Feast of Unleavens, and Pentecost is 50 days thereafter--likewise, always on the first day of the week.
1. The CRC, contrary to what some may think, is not based on first visibilty of the moon after conjunction--it is based on the "molad." The Hebrew word means "birth," but the term in rabbinical calculated calendar usage refers to the average conjunction of the earth, moon, and sun (average length being 29.53059 days). Thus the molad does not consistently match any phase of the moon. The molad may occur on the actual astronomical new moon, but the two terms are not interchangable. The molad may also occur upon the first day of crescent visibility, or yet within a few days on either side of it (as evidenced in New Moon/molad comparison chart and Expected New Moons and Appointed Times for 2001 BACK
2. "But unless all indications are deceitful, they did not in the time of Jesus Christ possess as yet any fixed calendar, but on the basis of a purely empirical observation, on each occasion they began a new month with the appearing of the new moon..." (Emil Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, p.366)
Philo (ca. 20 B.C. to about 50 A.D.), a contemporary of Jesus and His disciples testified of the reckoning of the new moon in their day stating that it occurs "...after the conjunction...at this time there is nothing in the whole of heaven destitute of light...because at that period the more powerful and important body gives a portion of necessary assistance to the less important and weaker body; for, at the time of the new moon, the sun begins to illuminate the moon with a light which is visible to the outward senses, and then she displays her own beauty to the beholders." [Philo Judaeus, The Special Laws, II, XI. (41), XXVI. (140) & (141), as translated by C.D. Yonge in The Works of Philo: New Updated Edition, Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Hendickson Publishers, 1993, pp.572, 581]
"The beginning of the months were determined by direct observation of the new moon. Then those beginning of months (Rosh Hodesh) were sanctified and announced by the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, after witnesses testified that they had seen the new crescent and after their testimony had been thoroughly examined, confirmed by calculation and duly accepted." (Arthur Spier, The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, p.1, section: HISTORICAL REMARKS ON THE JEWISH CALENDAR) BACK
3. Since it is possible to have anywhere from two to five 30 day months in succession and two to three 29 day months in succession, we thus determine:
If the month of the aviv was 29 days and the month of the zif was 29 days, the Pharisaical reckoning for Pentecost would have been Sivan 7
If the month of the aviv was 30 days and the month of the zif was 29 days, the Pharisaical reckoning for Pentecost would have been Sivan 6
If the month of the aviv was 30 days and the month of the zif was 30 days, the Pharisaical reckoning for Pentecost would have been Sivan 5 BACK
4. "Records dating from the closing years of the Second Temple [which was destroyed in 70 A.D.] inform us that the time of new-moon was fixed on the evidence of observers who declared that they had descried [that is, "caught sight of"] 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')." [Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol.3, article, CALENDAR (Jewish), p.117]
"The supposed calendar is never referred to in the Talmud, which received its final redaction at the end of the fifth century. Nothing whatever is said there about the length of the month, or the nineteen-year cycle, or anything else of the kind." [Encylopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 1908, Vol.3, article: CALENDAR (Jewish), p.118]
"The plain fact is that, as seen by recent scholars, the system of the fixed calendar was not developed until fully three or four centuries after the close of the talmudic period, about A.D. 485 [i.e., ca. 9th century AD]. ... Nor can anything be found in the Talmud about the weighty calendaric matters as the regulated succession of full [i.e., 30 day] and defective [i.e., 29 day] months within the year, the four postponements of New Year's Day [Tishri 1], the 19-year cycle, or the number and succession of intercalated years in this or any cycle." (The Code of Maimonides, Book Three Treatise Eight SANCTIFICATION OF THE MOON, translated from the Hebrew by Solomon Ganz; Introduction by Julian Obermann, Astronomical Commentary by Otto Neugebauer, p xli-xliii) BACK
5. See our article Sabbath: Counted From the New Moon? BACK
Author Email: Brian Hoeck
©2001, 2005 Truth On The Web Ministries: All the articles originated by Kenneth Hoeck and/or Brian Hoeck may be freely distributed or mirrored as long as presented in their entirety (including this statement), attributed to Truth on The Web, and proper author credit given.
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