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Shadow on the steps : time measurement in ancient Israel


Many historians and biblical scholars have attempted to make sense of the data found in the Hebrew Bible in order to reconstruct the time measuring systems that were in use in ancient Israel. Some have been more successful than others, but all who have tackled the problem have had difficulties in understanding the systems employed. The usual approach is to ignore the fact that the Bible is a collection of various writings from various times and places and to gather all of the chronological data from the entire collection and treat them homogeneously, hoping to find consistency among them. However, we can never comprehend the biblical data unless we treat each of the biblical sources as an independent unit. Once that is done, the picture becomes clearer. We find that the ancient Israelites had more than one calendar, more than one method of measuring intervals of time between events, and several different chronologies of its history

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