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[XTalk] John & Jubilee/Sabbatical Year

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  • Basil Lourie
    Dealing with the *rite* of Baptism, let us not forget that this is a liturgy. Moreover, it is an *annual* liturgy. Cf. esp. D. Vigne, _Le Christ au
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 1999
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      Dealing with the *rite* of Baptism, let us not forget that this is a
      liturgy. Moreover, it is an *annual* liturgy. Cf. esp. D. Vigne, _Le Christ
      au Jourdain..._ Paris 1992 where *Bethabara* (= "Place of crossing" -- the
      place where John was baptising people) is linked to the annual rite of
      "Crossing Jordan" as described in CD (cf. on this rite Brownlee's 1982
      paper; more precise and ample biblio. on request). [I have quite a few to
      add to these authors' considerations.] The rite has sense of the penitence
      and re-entering into the Covenant. This is not to say that Gospel events
      were not appointed to a specific year (I, for one, am sure that they were),
      but we have to take into account that they were incorporated in an, at
      least, two-dimensional reconing: that of years and that of weeks within the
      annual period.

      Liz Fried wrote:
      >The sabbatical year was being kept, and it appears the word aphesin is used
      for both the sabbatical and the jubilee. This suggests the concept for the
      jubilee may have become entwined with the sabbatical. <

      Indeed, some inconsistencies do occur even in HB (or, at least, in LXX which
      I recall better). Then, what is to say about much later periods? Moreover,
      both Jubilee and Sabbatical periods were included *within* the structure of
      every year when the year was divided into 7 pentecontad (49=7x7 days long)
      periods plus some extra-days. One of the most obvious and early examples is
      Temple Scroll (where the 49th Sabbath falls on Adar 14!).

      A Jubilee-shaped festival short before the New Year (connected, at least,
      historically, with the 49th Sabbath) is a constant feature of some early
      Christian calendars (preserved in a very good condition in the monastic
      rules of St. Pachomius, 4th c.). It can be traced as well in some Jewish
      (Sefardic) customs. [I have an article to appear discussing these data,
      which must appear soon but, alas, in Russian]. I believe, this practice is
      pre-Christian and therefore must be one of the formative principles of the
      calendar(s) of Gospels.

      Basil Lourie
      revue _Xristianskij Vostok_
      St. Petersburg, Russia

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