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Re: Dating, Monastaries, and Qumran Calendar

Dear Pinhas,
I am familiar with the views of Talmon you cited in your article, having 
studied the scrolls with him a quarter of a century ago.  They don't seem 
to have changed much.  The problem of the 364 day calendar has always 
disturbed me and I waited anxiously for the publication of MMT with its 
calendrical section, hoping it would give an indication of the needed 
intercalation.  But there was none, so if there was a leap year in Qumran 
there seems to be no evidence for it.  Personally, i have always harbored 
a quite different idea.  In my opinion, the Covenanters, or however you 
want to call them, believed that if the calendar they advocated were 
observed, somehow nature would change and the year would be shortened by 
a day.  The 365 day year would then be some sort of punishment for people 
who mistakenly determined time by te moon rather than the sun (cf. 
Jubilees).  Although this idea also has no proof (maybe someone can find 
one!), it is no less likely than the intercalation theory, and given the 
Covenanters' heated disdain for tampering with the calendar, it is even 
more likely.  Quite obviously, the 364 day year is emminently more 
elegant, more perfect, and easier halakhically than the 365 1/4 day 
year, and the later is such a perversion that it could not possibly 
have been the original intent of the Creator. Since the cration must have 
been perfect, an abberation as gross as an extra day can only be a 

Victor Hurowitz
Dept. of Bible and ANE
Ben Gurion University
Beer Sheva, ISRAEL

On Wed, 15 May 1996, YRUSALEM wrote:

> First.
> On Sun, 12 May 1996 LECHEM777@delphi.com wrote:
>   <snip>
> > They do though reflect the ways of their times.      Certainly with the
> > mention of Alexander Jannaeus (d. 76 BC) in 4Q448, we are dealing with
> > "normative" beliefs of a much earlier period than 30-70 BC. Certainly
> > Christians and Rabbis would have been mentioned otherwise. And since
> > Jannaeus was mentioned and praised, he was not part of the R. Teacher/W.
> > Priest drama. He was later. <Snip>
> E Main on Monday at the Conference here in Jerusalem questions wheither 
> 4q448 does in fact praise Jannaeus. She argues that it is in praise of 
> God who will save us from "King" Jonathan.
> Second.
> I was sitting next to Magen Broshi today so I asked him about the earlier 
> question on my quoting his reasons, and conclusions as to why we are 
> dealing with a monastary at Qumran. He reaffirmed my notes as quoted 
> earlier. 52 burials dug up. 8 women only. These 8 were at the margins, 
> with bones heaped rather than laid supine, with iron nails nearby 
> indicating repackaging for reburial. He said a German physician examined 
> the pelvic bones to determine the sex. He said Pliny and Chrystisom said 
> it was a monastary. He was convinced. Over and out.
> Third.
> I never could follow the calendar arguement here on Iudaous. Talmon 
> raised it on Sunday. He explained to me afterwards that everybody knew 
> his position so he didn't bother to state it. I played dumb and said that 
> I never heard of him before so could he explain to me why he seemed to 
> think that the New Coventers at Qumran felt that they were not changing 
> the calendar.
>  He said that there were many indices that there were three posible 
> calendars in existance. Solar, lunar, and mixed. I pointed out to him 
> that any calendar that was only 364 days would process ie go forward in 
> the seasons. He said that he thought that they had to forms of leap year; 
> one which added a week every so often, and one which added two weeks. (I 
> forgot the number of years for this. But this would be needed to keep the 
> calendar so the year always starts on a Wednesday). I asked him why 
> Wednesday? He said that the Sun and moon are created on the fourth day. 
> OK but still wasn't that a change from the calendar in use. He seemed to 
> think that they, the New Coventers didn't seem to think so.
>  Yours Pinchas Richard Wimberly, Jerusalem