[1] Preface

Notice: Undefined variable: output in curlypage_help() (line 38 of /home/613commandments/public_html/sites/all/modules/curlypage/curlypage.module).

This is the second edition of this general treatise on the biblical calendar, and a third edition is anticipated. It is written for English speaking readers who have an interest in the biblical calendar, and it does not require a knowledge of any other language. It does not presuppose that the reader is already familiar with various aspects of the biblical calendar. It begins with the most basic matters and gradually fills in the details in an orderly fashion, never requiring the reader to know something that will be explained later except for some appendices. The main companion to this is a literal Bible
translation and a concordance with Strong’s numbers. This book is written for both Jews and non-Jews who have an interest in the biblical calendar.

Since reference works are primarily written for verse numbering as found in the KJV, the verse numbering used in this book follows that of the KJV rather than the alternate numbering found in Jewish translations. When I supply a literal translation that contains the Tetragrammaton (the sacred four-letter Hebrew name of the Almighty), I will use the four capital letters YHWH as a literal method to highlight this, and the reader will have the freedom to decide what to say if it is spoken.

The Hebrew Bible, with parts of Ezra and Daniel in Aramaic, is also called the Tanak. The name “Tanak”, with emphasis on the three consonants TNK, recognizes the division of this Bible into three distinct parts as preserved in Bibles printed by Jewish sources. The word “Tanak” will sometimes be used instead of the word “Scripture” or “Bible”.

Some readers will already have studied the calendar from a biblical
perspective and will want to know the conclusions immediately. They may turn to the chapter titled “Epilogue” near the end of this book. This epilogue is not intended to be self-explanatory as though it could stand on its own as a separate document. It assumes that the reader has already read this book and is a type of summary that emphasizes the biblical backbone for the conclusions.

The order of presenting the subject is critical to aide in logical reasoning and especially to avoid circular reasoning. I avoid writing anything that uses a result that is claimed to be proved later, because that approach can lead to circular reasoning. This principle is violated in regard to the topic of Rabbinc literature, which is a topic of considerable controversy among the April 3, 2009 6
branches of modern Judaism. Rabbinic literature does discuss the calendar, but this book puts primary emphasis on the literal meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures rather than on Rabbinic literature. Yet at some occasions Rabbinic literature is of interest, and thus it is sometimes discussed with regard to its views on the calendar; this is always documented. An appendix discusses Rabbinic literature, and this is mentioned at various places in the body of this book. An appendix that is focused on a single self-contained technical topic may be read at the time it is first mentioned in the body of the text without concern that it threatens circular reasoning. Thus a later appendix is not considered to violate the concept of proceeding in a logical order without resorting to conclusions based upon what is written later. Rabbinic literature is an exception because the appendix devoted to it draws upon certain material that is discussed in the body of this book. From the viewpoint of this book, Rabbinic literature is not the basis for understanding the biblical calendar.

When studying controversial aspects of history, one must first grasp proper methods of study. The most elementary and important matter in studying history is distinguishing between primary and secondary sources. A primary source is a record of the events that is dated close to the time of the events.

A secondary source is a rewriting of the available primary sources with personal reasoning, suppositions, interpretations, correlations, deletions, additions, modifications, conclusions, etc. A good secondary source will include documentation of the primary sources used so that the reader may go to those primary sources and check on the author's possible assumptions, additions, and biases. The primary sources must also be weighed for degrees of bias in them.

The meanings of certain Hebrew words in the Bible are especially
significant for an understanding of the biblical calendar. Archaeological discoveries concerning ancient Semitic languages were achieved in the 19th and 20th centuries, which are important toward recovering the meanings of certain Hebrew words. One chapter is devoted to this in order to explain the reason for the importance of ancient Semitic languages.

Acknowledgements:

During the years 1980 through 1982 my friend Rob Anderson caught the biblical calendar interest as well, and he volunteered to write a computer program that ran on a Hewlett-Packard HP-3000 minicomputer that would approximate the visibility of the new crescent based upon Karl Schoch’s curve. The software that he wrote was partly based upon the bibliographic reference Van Flandern and Pulkkinen. His many and varied computer studies were a significant help to understand how the astronomical circumstances for the calendar changed for the first month and the seventh month, the minimum and maximum time from the astronomical new moon to the sighting of the new crescent, the time from sunset to moonset on days that the new crescent would be seen, the date that the biblical festivals would fall based upon a calendar of simulated visibility, the relationship between the time of the new crescent and the full moon, etc. He and I discussed many
aspects of the calendar in those years, and also the astronomy of the moon.

Rob also made some visits to various libraries for specialized related
subjects. In September 1982, using some of the tabulated results of the studies that Rob Anderson produced with his creative software, the book titled The Calendar God Gave to Moses became a reality. Although I wrote nearly all the words and determined the arrangement of the chapters, all of the statistical data concerning the calendar came from Rob Anderson’s efforts; thus its authorship was listed as “Herb Solinsky and Rob Anderson”.

The present treatise will occasionally make reference to Rob Anderson, and though his work stopped in 1982, that effort still lives on in this treatise.

Initially 400 copies were dispersed, but over the years several times that number were sent out. Jack Hines from Colorado Springs, Colorado and John Trescott from Anadarko, Oklahoma also sent out significant numbers of that 84-page book from 1982 over the years. Rob Anderson’s use of the HP-3000 computer was no longer available, and astronomy software needed to be pursued.
This present book is not merely a revision of the 1982 study, but a giant leap forward, addressing certain areas whose surface was only scratched at that time.

In early 1995 I began to explore astronomy software for use with the personal computer. I want to thank John Mosley, the Program Supervisor at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. He was very kind and patient with me as he answered my questions over several telephone calls about various astronomy software packages. He had tested and reviewed many software packages for Sky and Telescope magazine. He advised me that LoadStar Professional was the most accurate software available for the moon with an IBM PC compatible computer, including ease of use. It does use the JPL (Jet
Propulsion Laboratory) results for accuracy in the distant past. This is DOS based rather than Windows based, and it has never been upgraded, so that its graphics is primitive compared to what is currently available. Nevertheless, its accuracy still serves my needs very adequately.

On May 4, 1995 I was very thankful that I was able to spend 30 minutes over the phone speaking with Professor Bradley E. Schaefer, who, in my opinion is the most knowledgeable person alive on technical matters relating to the visibility of the new crescent. I learned much from that phone call, and some of his publications that were helpful are listed in the bibliography. He
was the first one to alert me about the need to consider humidity as a significant factor for the ability to see the new crescent.
In mid-September 1982 I had a desire to speak with Professor Otto
Neugebauer about the history of the Jewish calendar from before the destruction of the Temple in 70. I telephoned the History of Mathematics department at Brown University, and he himself answered the phone!!! My desire was satisfied and I acknowledge his assistance and willingness to speak with me.

In the summer of 1992 I noticed that there was an agricultural experimental station that was labeled as an extension of Texas A & M University, located in Plano, Texas. After contacting this facility by telephone, I was transferred to Professor David Marshall, who is a grain geneticist, specializing in wheat and barley. He invited me to visit him at his office, and I happily accepted for the purpose of learning more about barley, including how and when it ripens. I was mentally sky high as he loaned me a tall pile of his personal books about barley and grains. He told me that I should look into the
genetics of barley because different varieties ripen at different times. I followed his advice, and two months later I spent nearly three days at the library of Texas A & M University in College Station. I am grateful to David Marshall.

In November 1997 I received a telephone call from Jack Hines explaining the need to make computer projections of the dates of the biblical festivals through the year 2010. At his suggestion he and I agreed to independently use different software to apply Karl Schoch’s curve and then compare dates and reconcile differences in order to reach agreement. We did this, but in the process of reconciling differences and discussing the options in the software
that he was using, I learned more about the meanings of certain astronomical coordinate systems. I thank Jack Hines for his useful suggestions, his participation, and his encouragement.
Useful discussions transpired with Wayne Atchison, Phil Frankford, Ralph Lyman, Steve Rathkopf, and Jim Sorenson.

Herb Solinsky (c) April 3, 2009