« FöregåendeFortsätt »
the month of the commencement of the flood, and the Rabbins disputed whether the reckoning should begin with the autumn or the spring. In recent times Rosenmüller (following Capellus), and with him Credner and Von Bohlen, decide in favour of the autumn, while Rosenmüller considers the change in the beginning of the year to be Mosaic. Credner thinks that the old arrangement was not abandoned until the time of Josiahl: and Von Bohlen, after a long refutation of Credner's argument, regards the fact of the change in the year's commencement taking place after the Babylonish exile as a proof of the very late formation of the Biblical legend of the deluge, which moreover betrays traces of its own [Chaldæan] origin in its acquaintance with the solar year. If we allow the validity of this proof, we must admit that the Babylonians began their year about the autumnal equinox, and that the Hebrews must have learnt this arrangement during the Exile, and have then imported it with them on their return to Palestine. But the beginning of the Babylonish year is quite unknown, and the arrangement of that year, which is otherwise analogous to the form of the Egyptian, renders such an admission not very probable. The second part of the supposition (referring to the arrangement of the year) is decidedly incorrect, and has lost its last ground of support, since the origin of the names of the months in Ezra, Nehemiah, Zachariah and Esther, which had been regarded as Chaldæan, was shown by Th. Benfey and M. A. Stern to be Persian?. But how are these appellations of the months employed ? Nisan (April) is in Esther (iii. 7) the first month; Sivan (viii. 9) the third; Kislev (Zech. vii. 1) the ninth, and again in 1 Macc. iv. 52; and even in 1 Macc. X. 21, the feast of the Tabernacles falls in the seventh month; which, without causing endless confusion, could only have been the case with a year beginning in spring
1 See Credner on Joel, pp. 207-220.
Ueber die Monatsnamen einiger alten Völker, ins besondere der Perser, Cappadocier, Juden und Syrer (On the names of the Months among some of the Ancients, especially the Persians, Cappadocians, Jews and Syrians): Berlin, 1836.
In the second book of Maccabees we find for the first time that the commencement of the year is reckoned from the autumn', and Josephus has evidently no further acquaintance with any change in the beginning of the year. But however the year may have been reckoned from the third to the latter part of the second century before Christ, it is certain that there is no evidence of an alteration in its commencement before the æra of the Seleucidæ (B.C. 312), which year according to the Macedonian custom began with the autumn; so that we have the choice of one of these alternatives, either that the history of the Flood did not originate until after B.c. 312, or that the period of its commencement is not to be placed in the autumn.
i Compare Ideler, Chronol. i. 533. [The opinion of Ideler on the autumnal commencement of the year in 2 Maccabees, appears to have been founded on the discrepancies between the two books of the Maccabees, which are most easily harmonized with each other by supposing the adoption in the second book of the autumnal commencement of the year. Thus in 1 Macc. vi. 16, it is said, that Antiochus (Epiphanes) died in the 149th year (after the æra of the Seleucidæ), or in B.c. 164-3: he was succeeded by his son Antiochus (Eupator) a boy of nine years of age, who was under the guardianship of Lysias. Subsequently, the war which had been previously raging, broke out again in consequence of the death of the elder Antiochus, and as this war terminated unsuccessfully for the Syrians, Lysias and the young monarch offered terms of peace in letters, dated 24 Dioscorus (an intercalary month, probably about March) and 15 Xanthicus (April), in the 148th year (of the æra of the Seleucidæ), 2 Macc. xi. 16, 21, 33. • Now," observes Ideler, “if this 148th year bears date as usual from Oct. B.c. 312, the date of those overtures for peace in 2 Macc. must lie in the spring of B.c. 164; at which time, according to 1 Macc., Antiochus was but just dead. But this difficulty is solved, without, as far as I can see, giving rise to another, by the assumption of a difference of epochs aniounting to a year and a half, viz. that the 1 Macc. dates its years from 1 Nisan (April) B.C. 312, (half a year earlier,) and that the 2 Macc. (which was written by a different author) computes from 1 Tisri (October) B.c. 311 (a year later than the true epoch). Amid the variety of æras, which were current in Syria, a discrepancy of this amount between writers perhaps considerably remote in place and time is not at all surprising, especially when it is considered that the years of the Seleucidæ in what is called the Chaldæan æra,' do in fact bear date from this same 1 Tisri (October) in B.c. 311.”—(Ideler i. 531534, quoted in the Appendix to the Rev. Henry Browne's Treatise on the Chronology of the Holy Scriptures, p. 490). Ideler also remarks, that the years in the books of Maccabees are counted from the æra of the Seleucidæ, under the name of the years of the sovereignty of the Greeks,' črn Tîs Baoileias ‘EXXýrwv, and that the Jews adopted this mode of computation under their
Let us now consider the solar year, which from its occurrence in the history of the Flood, is said to afford a certain proof of a very late composition of that narrative. The passages which refer to the duration of the deluge are found in Gen. chap. vii. 11, where the flood is described as beginning on the seventeenth day of the second month; it lasts (chap. viii. 3, 4) for 150 days, until the seventeenth day of the seventh month, thereby making its duration to be exactly five months of thirty days each; and according to the concluding date, chap. viii. 14, the flood is completely over on the twenty-seventh day of the second month in the following year.
This concluding date, says Von Bohlen, is of especial importance, “ for we see in it a fact which was advanced by Ephraem the Syrian, in his commentary on Genesis, and which was erroneously considered by Voss' to have been an interpolation, viz. that the whole narrative of
Syrian masters. Seleucus, at that period, gained the battle of Gaza, recovered possession of Babylon, and became master of Susiana and Media; this con-. stituted the æra of the Seleucidæ.-See Browne's Treatise of Scriptural Chronology, p. 487.]
| Mythol. Briefe (Mythological Letters), iii. 42.
the deluge was based on an acquaintance with a complete solar year of 365 days, or, in other words, with seven months of thirty days each, and five months of thirty-one days; whilst the Hebrews were only thoroughly acquainted with the lunar year of 355 days, and when the feasts were brought into confusion from their adoption of the lunar year they intercalated a whole month 1." But too much importance appears here to have been attached to the five months of thirty days [in chap. viii. 3, 4.], which, taken exactly, do not complete a year of 360 days, and still less do they contain any intimation whether months of thirtyone or of twenty-nine days are to be reckoned with months of thirty days, or whether precisely five days were intercalated. The division of the months in the old Jewish calendar, which is little known to us, was, according to all evidence, connected with the uncertain medium of the appearance of the moon's first phase in the twilight of the evening, in consequence of which the beginning of the month necessarily varied according to circumstances, from about two-thirds of a day (sixteen hours) to two days after the actual conjunction. A particular accuracy could not here have been intended, and it is most probable that our narrator mentions a round number of 150 days, instead of reckoning exactly 147 or 148 days. Besides, in the history of the flood, the calculation is always made according to the lunar year; for the concluding date is not on the seventeenth day, as Credner and others would correct it, but on the twenty-seventh; and an acquaintance with the solar year is only manifested in this text. In order to suppose such a knowledge to have existed among the Hebrews, an historical connection with Babylon is not necessary, where Nabonassar introduced the solar year subsequent to b.c. 747, and where the Hebrews, according to Von Bohlen, are said, during the Babylonish exile, to have first become acquainted with it, in its connection with the legend of the flood. The Egyptians knew the solar year at an early period', and arranged their division of time according to it; nor could it have remained unknown to the Hebrews, even if we reject the idea of all Egyptian influence?; for the determination of the Hebrew month of the ears of corn (Abib or Nisan, April) was connected with the Passover, both by the relations of climate and agriculture, which rendered it necessary to adjust the lunar year periodically with the solar years.]
2 Ideler, p. 491.
1 See supra, p. 157.
i Herod. ii. 4; Diod. Sic. i. 50.
2 [Von Bohlen has already informed us, p. 160 supra, that Egypt is under water in August, and that the Egyptians have no tradition of any deluge, so that the origin of the diluvial myth cannot be referred to Egypt. Sir Harry Nicolas states, that the Babylonian years commencing B.c. 747, were vague; and that they consisted of 365 days each, without intercalation.-Chronol. of History, in Lardner's Cycl. p. 15.]
3 Compare Ideler, Lehrb. der Chronol. (Compendium of Chronology),
[The Hebrew adjustment between their own lunar year and the solar year is thus described by Mr. Browne :-"All that was necessary was, towards the end of the twelfth month (i. e. in the early spring) to inspect the harvestfields in the warmer parts of the country, that it might be seen whether there was a sure prospect of sufficient ripe barley for an omer (or offering of first fruits) by the middle of the next month. If it appeared that this was the case, the ensuing month was kept as the first of the year (Abib or Nisan, April): if not, it was added to the current year as a thirteenth or intercalary month.”—The paschal lamb was to be killed on the fourteenth day of the first month of the year, and thus the period of the celebration of the passover depended on that of the commencement of the first month. At the Present day, barley is ripe in the warm plain of Jericho by the beginning of April. See Browne's Chronology of the Holy Scriptures, pp. 466, 467, and Levit. xxiii. 10, 14.]