The calendar in its current location
|Size||11.1 x 7.2 cm|
|Created||c. 925 BCE|
|Present location||Istanbul Archaeology Museums|
The Gezer calendar is a small inscribed limestone tablet discovered in the ancient Canaanite city of Gezer, 20 miles west of Jerusalem. It is commonly dated to the 10th-century BCE, although its identification during the excavations was not in a "secure archaeological context", presenting uncertainty around the dating.
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)
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, along with the Siloam inscription and other archaeological artefacts unearthed before World War I.
- List of artifacts significant to the Bible
- List of ancient Near Eastern scribes
- Archaeology of Israel
- Aaron Demsky (2007), Reading Northwest Semitic Inscriptions, Near Eastern Archaeology 70/2. Quote: "The first thing to consider when examining an ancient inscription is whether it was discovered in context or not. It is obvious that a document purchased on the antiquities market is suspect. If it was found in an archeological site, one should note whether it was found in its primary context, as with the inscription of King Achish from Ekron, or in secondary use, as with the Tel Dan inscription. Of course texts that were found in an archaeological site, but not in a secure archaeological context present certain problems of exact dating, as with the Gezer Calendar."
- The early history of God: Yahweh and the other deities in ancient Israel By Mark S. Smith, page 20
- The Calendar Tablet from Gezer, Adam L Bean, Emmanual School of Religion
- Is it “Tenable”?, Hershel Shanks, Biblical Archaeology Review
- Spelling in the Hebrew Bible: Dahood memorial lecture, By Francis I. Andersen, A. Dean Forbes, p56
- 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:
- Gezer calendar
- Michael D. Coogan, A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament page 119, Oxford University Press, 2009
- Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Artifacts
- 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.
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