Gezer calendar

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Gezer calendar
Gezer calendar close up.jpg
The calendar in its current location
Material LImestone
Size 11.1 x 7.2 cm
Writing Phoenician
Created c. 925 BCE
Discovered 1908
Present location Istanbul Archaeology Museums
Identification 2089 T
Replica of the Gezer Calendar in Israel Museum, Israel.

The Gezer calendar is a small inscribed limestone tablet discovered in excavations of the ancient Canaanite city of Gezer, 20 miles west of Jerusalem, Israel, dated to the 10th-century BCE. Scholars are divided as to whether the script and language are Phoenician or paleo-Hebrew.[1][2][3][4][5]

It is currently held at the Istanbul Archaeology Museums.[6]

History[edit]

The calendar was discovered in 1908 by R.A.S. Macalister of the Palestine Exploration Fund while excavating the ancient Canaanite city of Gezer, 20 miles west of Jerusalem. The calendar inscribed on a limestone plaque describes monthly or bi-monthly periods and attributes to each a duty such as harvest, planting, or tending specific crops. It reads:

  • Two months gathering (September, October)
  • Two months planting (November, December)
  • Two months late sowing (January, February)
  • One month cutting flax (March)
  • One month reaping barley (April)
  • One month reaping and measuring grain (May)
  • Two months pruning (June, July)
  • One month summer fruit (August) [7]

Scholars have speculated that the calendar could be a schoolboy's memory exercise, the text of a popular folk song or a children's song. Another possibility is something designed for the collection of taxes from farmers.

"Abijah" is probably the name of the scribe. The name means "Yah (a shortened form of the Tetragrammaton) is my father". This name appears in the Bible for several individuals, including a king of Judah (1 Kings 14:31). The Gezer calendar was taken to Istanbul, where it is displayed at the Museum of the Ancient Orient, a Turkish archaeology museum,[8] along with the Siloam inscription and other archaeological artefacts unearthed before World War I.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The early history of God: Yahweh and the other deities in ancient Israel By Mark S. Smith, page 20
  2. ^ The Calendar Tablet from Gezer, Adam L Bean, Emmanual School of Religion
  3. ^ Is it “Tenable”?, Hershel Shanks, Biblical Archaeology Review
  4. ^ Spelling in the Hebrew Bible: Dahood memorial lecture, By Francis I. Andersen, A. Dean Forbes, p56
  5. ^ Pardee, Dennis (Forthcoming). "A Brief Case for the Language of the ‘Gezer Calendar’ as Phoenician". Linguistic Studies in Phoenician, ed. Robert D. Holmstedt and Aaron Schade (Winona Lake): 43.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Gezer calendar
  7. ^ Michael D. Coogan, "A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament" page 119, Oxford University Press, 2009
  8. ^ Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Artifacts

Further reading[edit]

  • Albright, W.F. "The Gezer Calendar" in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR). 1943. Volume 92:16–26. Original description of the find.
  • Sivan, Daniel "The Gezer calendar and Northwest Semitic linguistics", Israel Exploration Journal 48,1-2 (1998) 101–105. An up-to-date linguistic analysis of this text.
  • Dever, William G. “Gezer”. In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East vol. 2, Editor in Chief Eric M. Meyers, 396–400. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Pardee, Dennis. “Gezer Calendar”. In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East vol. 2, Editor in Chief Eric M. Meyers, 396–400. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

External links[edit]