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Hayom harat olam
Today the world is born

Jewish Anno Mundi

20115772September 28 (at sundown)
20125773September 16 (at sundown)
20135774September 04 (at sundown)
20145775September 24 (at sundown)
20155776September 13 (at sundown)
20165777October 2 (at sundown)
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According to Jewish tradition, the date Adam & Eve were created in the Garden of Eden was October 7, 3761 BC. The modern Jewish New Year is based on this date. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls on the Hebrew calendar dates of 1 and 2 Tishrei.

Rosh HaShanah in 2014 started on Thursday, the 25th of September and will continue for 2 days until Friday, the 26th of September. In the Jewish calander, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Jews celebrate Rosh HaShanah on the sunset of Wednesday, the 24th of September. In 2013, the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah was celebrated from sundown on 04 September to nightfall on 06 September. The Hebrew date for Rosh Hashanah is 1 Tishrei 5774.

The Jewish calendar date begins at sundown of the night beforehand. Holiday observances begin at sundown on the secular date, with the following day being the first full day of the holiday. Jews used the biblical genealogies (eg, Genesis 5 and 10) and added up the number of years between Adam, Noah, and Abraham to arrive at their creation dates. This modern Jewish chronology was originated by Rabbi Akiba in AD 130. The modern Jewish Chronology goes thus: From Adam to the flood 1656, to Abraham's birth 290, to the Exodus 505, to the temple 480th year, to its destruction 410, then the captivity 70, then 40 to the Seleucid era, then 311 to the Christian era = total 3761 BC.

Rosh Hashanah literally means "head of the year," but the holiday takes place on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. Josephus states exactly the reverse as the fact. Moses, he says (Antiqu. I., iii. 2), ordained that Nisan, the season of Israel's deliverance, should begin the year as to all religious solemnities, while he preserved the original order of the months in regard to mercantile and other ordinary affairs.

The very name of Rosh Hashanah or New Year offers a vexatious puzzle to the student, as it seemingly stands in direct contradiction with the Mosaic statute, which declares the month of Spring to be the first of the months {Exodus xii, 3). Indeed, the Mosaic Law speaks of it only as the first day of the seventh month, and proclaims it as the Day of Blowing of the Trumpet (Leviticus xxiii. 24, and Numbers xxix. 1), alluding nowhere to any other name or character of the festal day. Still more surprising is the fact that neither Philo of Alexandria nor Josephus shows acquaintance with the New Year's Day. Josephus (Antiquities III. x. 2,) simply speaks of it as the New Moon having additional sacrificial offerings for being the beginning of the seventh month, and Philo in his treatise on the Ten Festivals [II. 295 ed. Mangey] calls it Festival of the Sacred Moon.

The first day of the seventh month constituted the beginning of a new epoch in Israel's history, not only at the time of the restoration as mentioned, but also at the time of the building of the first temple. King Solomon dedicated his temple on the new-moon of the seventh month. It is evident, then, that the autumnal month, September, was regarded by the ancient Israelites as the beginning of the year, as was the case also with the Syrians, who actually gave the month the name of Tishri, which denotes 'Beginning.' The Mosaic legislator in introducing a new calendar for the people of Israel beginning the order of the months with Spring, the month of Redemption, had, therefore, to take account of the ancient agricultural practice of celebrating the autumnal new moon, and there a new idea, a new principle was suggested: the sacredness of the seventh month corresponding with the sacredness of the seventh day.

There were two texts at least of the Hebrew Scriptures, which were rivals in authority. The one is in the original tongue; but the other, the translation of the Septuagint, was made from manuscripts far older than any of those from which the Hebrew Bible is derived. The differences are sometimes irreconcilable. Where they differ in substance, the two cannot be supposed to be equally authentic, or there would be two channels of infallibility instead of one.

If the date of the creation of the world, or rather of man's appearance on the earth, could be certainly established, that would form the natural and most convenient point from which to commence the reckoning of time and to date the events of human history. It was, or it should have been, notorious that the Hebrew text, the Greek translation known as the Septuagint, and the Samaritan Pentateuch, supply three different chronologies for the years allowed from the Deluge to the Advent, or from the Creation to the Deluge. As between them, there are no materials for conclusive or authoritative decision. The uncertainty and controversy upon this subject have been principally occasioned by the disagreement in the ages assigned to the Patriarchs, and in other numbers, between the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and the texts of the Samaritan and Septuagint versions. As they differ so that their figures of time cannot all be reconciled, it is plain that no theory of infallibility, however aspiring, will protect them from legitimate criticism.

From the creation to the deluge the computation of the Hebrew text makes 1656 years to have elapsed; the Samaritan version only 1307; and the Septuagint (LXX) 2262. The Septuagint Greek (LXX) was translated from the Vorlage Text about 250 BC. The common opinion of modern theologians, and also of chronologers, has been that the Hebrew text is correct; and it is upon this assumption that Archbishop Usher, whose reckoning was most generally adopted, fixed the distance between the creation and the birth of Christ at 4004 years.

The Seder Olam, or the Succession of the World's History, is an ancient Jewish Chronicle which dates the Creation to BC 3751. It was written by Rabbi Jose b. Chalafta, of Sephoris, who flourished circa AD 100150. The Seder Olam has undoubtedly been more than once worked over by later hands. It briefly chronicles the events of the world from Adam to the war under Bar-Kochba, the false Messiah. It is also called Seder Olam Rabba, the Major Chronicle of the World, to distinguish it from a later Chronicle, entitled Seder Olam Sutta, the Minor Chronicle of the Wovld, which dates the Creation to BC 4359.

R. Jose ben Halafta (circa 130-160 AD), of Sepphoris was a workman, a tanner, and but little is known of his life. He was the only scholar of his generation who occupied himself with Jewish history, and wrote a brief chronicle, from the creation to the war of Bar Cocheba, under the title of Seder Olam (Order of the World). In his review of biblical history, R. Jose endeavored to fix the chronology of biblical events, to elucidate obscure passages, and to fill out the gaps by traditions; but from the period of Alexander the Great, his chronicle contains original and quite reliable reports, though they are stated all too briefly.

In discussing Biblical chronology, the author followed three principles: (1) to assume that the intention of the Biblical redactor was, wherever possible, to give exact dates; (2) to assign to each of a series of events the shortest possible duration of time, where necessary, in order to secure agreement with the Biblical text; and (3) to adopt the lesser of two possible numbers.

In 100 AD, the Council of Jamnia went through the Hebrew Scriptures and changed some of the material in Genesis 5 and 11. Instead of Adam being 230 when Seth was born, he was 130. The cipher for 100 was dropped a number of times regarding the age of a father at the birth of a son. The result is about a 2000 year difference between the date of creation before Akiba and after. In Genesis 5, the difference amounts to 600 years.

Genesis 5 " 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. 3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth: 4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: 5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. ... 21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. 25 And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech. 26 And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: 27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.... 28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: 29 And he called his name Noah ... " This would place the flood approximately 2256 years after Creation.

The confusion of languages is said to have taken place in the days of Peleg (Gen. x. 25). The author concludes that the first year of Peleg's life can not be meant, as at the time of the confusion Peleg had a younger brother, Joktan, and the latter had several children; nor could it have occurred during the middle years of his life, for Peleg lived 239 years, and the designation "middle years" is not an exact one (Gen. xi. 18-19); had the redactor intended to indicate only a general period, he would have used the phrase "in the days of Peleg and Joktan." The Bible must therefore mean that the confusion of languages took place in the last year of Peleg's life, and byr comparing the dates of the previous generations, the author concluded that it occurred 340 years after the Flood, or 1,996 years after the creation of the world.

The Jewish chronologers were hard set to make out detail. To account for the errors and the confusion in this chronology, it is sufficient to know its character. It is an artificial chronology, constructed by the later teachers for the apparent purpose of establishing a direct connexion between the true teachers of the Law, that is to say, the Pharisees, and the prophets, and thus to prove the authority of the Pharisaic teachers and the traditional character of their teachings. Such a direct connexion between the prophets and the Pharisaic teachers of the traditional law could be established only by utterly ignoring the time during which the priests were the sole religious teachers and leaders, and consequently contracting long stretches of time into short periods. Hence all the inaccuracies in this artificial and faulty chronology.

The erection of the powerful empire of Nimrod, only 132 years after the Deluge, is at variance with the course of nature in the population of the earth, by Noah's sons; when on account of the greater longevity of mankind, the interval of generations, or of the birth of the father before the birth of the son, was proportionably longer. But even at the shortest standard of generations, corresponding to the most reduced period of human life, the earth could not have been sufficiently peopled to account for the extensive conquests attributed to Nimrod or Ninus, by sacred and profane history: nor can it be supposed that Noah and his sons would have permitted such a daring rebellion against patriarchal government during their life-time. Besides, Nimrod himself could scarcely be born so early, if according to the common interpretation of Gen. x. 8, he was the third in descent from Noah, the grandson of Ham, and the youngest of the sons of Cash; and not at all, if he was, most probably, the fifth in descent, and the contemporary of Peleg, by the line of Shem, in whose days the division or colonization of the earth took place. Gen. x. 25.

By a glaring anachronism, Abraham, the tenth in descent from Shem, is supposed to be born 48 years before the confusion of tongues, and the time assigned for his birth, only 292 years after the Deluge, is utterly irreconcileable with the state of the world in his days, according to the concurrent testimony of sacred and profane history; for, as judiciously remarked by Sir Walter Raleigh [History, p. 228, 277] long since, "In this patriarch's time all the then parts of the world were peopled; all nations and countries had their kings: Egypt had many magnificent cities, and so had Palestine, and all the bordering countries; yea, all that part of the world besides, as far as India: and these, not built with sticks, but of hewn stone and ramparts; which magnificence needed a parent of more antiquity than those other men have supposed. ... If [then] we advisedly consider the state and countenance of the world, such as it was in Abraham's time, yea, before his birth, we shall find that it were very ill done, by following opinion without the guide of reason, to pare the times over deeply between the flood and Abraham: because in cutting them too near the quick, the reputation of the whole story might perchance bleed." An irrational chronology is indeed the parent of Scepticism and Infidelity.

The Scroll of the Hasmonaeans, which had the sanction of the then highest authorities, the schools of Shammai and Hillel, i.e., the whole orthodox party, was adopted as the only true one, not merely as far as the historical events contained therein are concerned, but also, what is more remarkable, the very peculiar chronology of the Scroll was accepted as true. This chronology is very difficult to reconcile with the real chronology, and yet the same is found in the oldest chronological attempt of Rabbi Jose b. Halafta (second century) and in the Talmud (Tractat Aboda Zara). Rabbi Jose says: "The Persian rule since the rebuilding of the Temple lasted 34 years, and that of the Greeks 180, that of the Hasmonaeans 103, and that of Herod 103." This is repeated in the Talmud in the same words. Needless to say that thirty-four years of Persian rule is unhistorical.

The 420 years of the Second Temple are divided into the following periods: the domination of the Persians, 34 years; of the Greeks, 180 years; of the Maccabees, 103 years; of the Herods, 103 years. It will be seen that the allowance, contrary to historical facts, of only thirty-four years for the Persian domination is necessary if agreement with the Biblical text is to be insisted upon; for it is stated (Dan. ix. 24) that the second exile was to take place after seventy Sabbaths of years ( 490 yrears). If from this number the seventy years of the first Captivity be deducted, and the beginning of Alexander's domination over Palestine be placed, in accordance with Talmudical evidence, at 386 years before the destruction of the Second Temple, there remain only thirty-four for the Persian rule. In the detail of the period from the foundation to the destruction of the temple, the Jewish Chronology has sunk or suppressed 14 years of the reign of Amaziah, two years of Jehosophat, and one year each of Jehoash and Amaziah, in all 19 years complete, or 20 years current. The last supposed period of 40 years, from the finishing of the second temple, in the sixth of Darius Hystaspes, BC 516, to the era of contracts, BC 312, was in reality an interval of no less than 204 years. The enormous defalcation of 164 years is passed over in total silence.

It is maintained by Father Pezron, in his work 'De l'Antiquita des Tems,' that the Hebrew text was designedly corrupted by the Jews in the first century, and the time that had elapsed from the creation made to appear shorter than it really was, in order to meet the argument derived from what is said to have been an old Jewish tradition, that the coming of the Messiah should take place when the world was six thousand years old [the world would last 6000 years, because the letter aleph, which stands for 1000, occurs six times in the first verse; because God was six days about the creation; and because with him 'a thousand years are but as one day]. Rabbi Akiba is supposed by Pezron to have been the author of the falsifications. Pezron makes the world to have been 5872 years old at the birth of Christ.

It appears that the Rabbis inferred the advent of the Messiah to be about the middle of the sixth millenary, or the 5500th year of the world; anil to find a pretence for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, it occurred to them to alter the generations of the patriarchs, by which the age of the world might be known, by subtracting a century from Adam's age until the birth of Seth, and adding the same to tho residue of liis life, and doing the same thing with respect to the generation of many others of Adam's descendants down to Abraham. By this device their compulation showed that Jesus Christ was manifested in the middle of the fifth, instead of the sixth, millenary of the world, which according to them was to last 7000 years.

The Rabbis assume that the Pharisaic teachers received the Law, as well as all their traditional teachings, directly from the prophets. In their chronology, therefore, the prophets are succeeded not by the priestly teachers, but by the the wise lay-teachers. This transmission of the Law by the prophets to the wise teachers, or the disappearance of the prophets and the rise of the Pharisaic teachers, took place according to the Rabbis, in the time of Alexander the Great, shortly after the overthrow of the Persian Empire (Seder Olam Rabba and Zutta). This rabbinic chronology finds no difficulty in extending the time of the last prophets to the end of the Persian period. For by some peculiar error, which we are unable to account for, the Rabbis reduced the entire period of the existence of the second Temple under Persian rule to thirty-four years. They assume that thirty-four years after the second Temple was built, the Persian rule in Judea ceased and the Greek rule began (Seder Olam Rabba). Accordingly, it was not found strange that Haggai, who urged the building of the Temple as well as the other prophets of his time, should have lived to the end of the Persian period and have handed over the Law and the traditions to their successors, the wise layteachers at that time.

How the Rabbis could identify those living in the second century BC, could be considered the direct recipients of the Law from the last prophets at the end of the fourth century BC, is not difficult to explain. The Rabbis had a tradition that the High Priest in the time of Alexander the Great was Simon the Just (I) (Yoma 69 a). They also had a reliable report of a high-priest Simon the Just (II) who lived either a little before or contemporary with Antigonos. These two Simons they confused with one another. They identified Simon the Just II, who lived about 200 B. C, with Simon the Just I, one of the last survivors of the Great Synagogue who lived at the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BC. In this manner they established a direct connexion between the prophets who were among the last members of the Great Synagogue and the Zuggot, the wise lay-teachers, who were the fathers of the Pharisaic party.

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Page last modified: 02-10-2016 17:15:06 ZULU