***From Alan Schuetz in Baton Rouge, LA: Why would one even explore the
364-day solar year outlined by the Qumran calendar when the primarily
lunar-based Masoretic calendar is observed by the modern Jewry? The answer
becomes quite obvious when we examine word etymologies (word origins).
In "The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible," Vol. 1 (A-C) [ISBN
0-310-33188-9] under the topic "calendar," heading "IV. Calendar Systems,"
subheading "Hebrew calendars and their derivatives," section "2. Orthodox
Jewish" on p. 690, the following is found:
"The Jews had a luni-solar calendar on the Babylonian model, intercalating a
second Adar and eventually standardizing seven intercalations in nineteen
years, though the Mishnaic rules leave the final decision in the hands of
the Sanhedrin. According to the tractate 'Rosh hashshanah,' great attention
was paid to the observation of the new moon; but it was laid down that there
could not be more than seven, nor fewer than five, thirty-day months in any
The interesting thing to note is that the Torah never includes *any* mention
of Rosh Hashanah!!! It contains the Feast of the Blowing (of Trumpets or
Shofar [Ram's Horns]). It is *not* the "head of the year", and there is no
mention of a civil versus religious calendar in the entirety of the Tanach.
God named His first month Abib and the other eleven were simply enumerated.
Likewise, He named Shabbat (Sabbath) and enumerated the other six days of
In the same article on calendars in Zondervan, we find the following
(compared for brevity):
Names of the Months:
Babylonian / Masoretic
Nisanu / Nisan
Aiaru / Iyyar
Simanu / Sivan
Duzu / Tammuz
Abu / Ab
Ululu / Elul
Tashritu / Tishri
Arahsamnu / Marhesvan
Kislimu / Kislev
Tebetu / Tebeth
Shabatu / Shebat
Addaru / Adar
The similarities are quite obvious. Regarding the Hebrew name Tammuz for
the forth month... the Babylonian name for this deity was Du'uzu according
to the etymology of the word "Tammuz" in "The American Heritage Dictionary
of the English Language," Third Edition. With this piece of information, we
can see how Duzu became Tammuz.
The following are the word etymologies (origins) of the Hebrew months
according to "... American Heritage ...":
1. Hebrew nsn, from Akkadian nissanu, the first month of the year, from
Sumerian nisag, first fruits.
2. None provided, but the similarity to Aiaru is obvious.
3. Hebrew swn, from Akkadian Simnu, the month Simanu.
4. Hebrew Tammz, from Babylonian Du'uzu, the name of a god.
5. Hebrew 'b, from Canaanite 'ab.
6. Hebrew 'Ell, from Akkadian ullu, ellu, the month Ululu
7. Hebrew tisr, from Akkadian tasrtu, the month Tashritu
8. Hebrew heswn, short for marheswn, October/November, from Akkadian
9. Hebrew kislw, from Akkadian kislimu, kisliwu.
10. Hebrew tbt, from Akkadian tebtu, the month Tebetu (December/January).
11. None provided, but the similarity to Shabatu is obvious.
12. Hebrew 'dr, from Akkadian adaru, a month of the Akkadian calendar
corresponding to parts of February and March.
According to "The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia," Third Edition, under the
"Akkadian (ekden), language belonging to the Semitic subfamily of the
Hamito-Semitic family of languages. Also called Assyro-Babylonian, Akkadian
was current in ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq) from about 3000 B.C. until the
time of Jesus."
>From "... Zondervan ..." Vol. 5 (Q-Z), under the topic "Tammuz" on p.595, we
find the following:
"In the Babylonian saga his death and visit to the underworld represents the
annual wilting of vegetation in the scorching heat of summer. His return to
earth, brought about by the descent of the mourning Ishtar into the nether
world, represents the renewal of nature. The annual mourning rites for
Tammuz took place on the second day of the fourth month (June/July), giving
rise in post-Biblical times to the Jewish practice of naming their fourth
month Tamuz. In Ezekiel's time, a variation of this rite of mourning fond
women weeping at the north gate of the Temple (Ezekiel 8:14)."
Let's examine that verse and the following for a moment:
Ezekiel 8:14 Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the LORD'S
house which [was] toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there
weeping for Tammuz.
15 He said to me, "Do you see [this], son of man? Yet you will see still
greater abominations than these." (NASB)
The Masoretic calendar cannot be of the God of Abraham and Moses; the naming
of the fourth month after Tammuz -- which is an abomination to our Lord --
violates the Law as it was given to Moshe (Moses). Therefore, one must look
elsewhere. The Qumran calendar is a better candidate because it does not
violate any Scripture.
Apparently, all the modern Biblical translators chose "new moon" over "new
month" because of Masoretic practices regarding the sighting of the crescent
following the "new moon" as the beginning of the month. This has absolutely
no Biblical basis. The Septuagint employs "neomenia"
(nu-omicron-upsilon-mu-eta-nu-iota-alpha), and sometimes "men" (mu-eta-nu)
according to "The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible," Vol. 4
(M-P) on p.417 under the topic "new moon." The Greek root word is "menas"
(mu-eta-nu-alpha-sigma) meaning "month."
Likewise, the Hebrew "chodesh" (heth-daleth-shin) simply means "new/renew"
in regard to a month. The Hebrew "yereach" (yod-resh-heth) literally means
"moon." Essentially, all the references to a "new moon" in the OT is
actually "new month" --"chadash chodesh" (heth-daleth-shin
heth-daleth-shin). "New moon" is a misnomer.
According to the Langenscheidt "Standard Greek Dictionary," the
words/phrases used for "new moon" are "nea selene" (nu-epsilon-alpha
sigma-epsilon-lambda-eta-nu-eta) and "chainourio pheggari"
phi-epsilon-gamma-gamma-alpha-rho-iota). The first usage is confirmed by
The Word of God does not specify a "new moon" to mark new months as the
Babylonians did (as well as countless other Oriental religions). The
Masoretic calendar is based on this same 19-year lunar cycle. The community
at Qumran -- referred to as Essenes by others (that is, they did not refer
to themselves as such) -- used a solar based calendar. It certainly was in
practice at the time of Christ. This community used a six-year cycle to
designate the priestly courses (see 1 Chronicles 24:7-19 for the 24
courses). The reason for this cycle is that this solar calendar consisted
of 52 weeks, and the lowest common multiple of 52 weeks evenly divisible by
24 weekly courses is 312 (52x6)...
Colossians 2:16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food
or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- (NASB)
The word translated as "new moon" in this passage is "neomenia," and it is
the only occurrence in the NT... This is an incorrect translation; it
should be "new month." However, we should take this Scripture to heart and
not judge anyone in regard to a festival or a new month or a Sabbath day...
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