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[XTalk] Re: Re:Jubilee

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  • James R. Davila
    Jim West wrote: Commonality of practice in literary sources does not mean, necessarily, that the jubilee was actually practiced in fact. As a literary trope
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 1, 1999
      Jim West wrote:
      >Commonality of practice in literary sources does not mean, necessarily, that
      >the jubilee was actually practiced in fact. As a literary trope it sounds
      >wonderfully nice to say that so and so cancelled debt. But getting actual
      >creditors to agree, wholesale, to forgive every debt owed them would put
      >them out of business. It simply makes no practical sense. Do we have any
      >evidence, textual or otherwise, from a debtor saying his creditor forgave him?

      Jim,

      This point is always good to keep in mind, but there is lots of evidence
      that the Sabbatical year was kept by Jews from the Hellenistic period until
      at least the high middle ages. Besides Josephus and 1 Maccabees, there are
      Judean Desert legal texts which date themselves in the Sabbatical year,
      sometimes cross-dating with another system to give us an exact date. The
      prosbul was set up to mitigate the impact of this institution. And some of
      the Cairo Geniza Kettubot of the 9th and 10th centuries are dated in
      Sabbatical years. I don't know of any legal or economic texts which
      mention the Jubilee explicitly, but it would be odd to hold onto the
      Sabbatical year and try to get away with neglecting its culmination,
      wouldn't it? The following article discusses some (not all) of the
      evidence I mentioned above:

      Ben Zion Wacholder, "The Calendar of Sabbatical Cycles during the Second
      Temple and Early Rabbinic Period," HUCA 44 (1973) 153-96

      Jim Davila
      University of St. Andrews
      Scotland
      jrd4@...



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    • Liz Fried
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      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 1, 1999
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Jim West [mailto:jwest@...]

        > Commonality of practice in literary sources does not mean,
        > necessarily, that
        > the jubilee was actually practiced in fact. As a literary trope it sounds
        > wonderfully nice to say that so and so cancelled debt. But getting actual
        > creditors to agree, wholesale, to forgive every debt owed them would put
        > them out of business. It simply makes no practical sense. Do we have any
        > evidence, textual or otherwise, from a debtor saying his creditor
        > forgave him?
        We don't have these unfortunately because when the debt was forgiven the
        tablet was broken. We do have the royal edicts from Babylonia which remit
        debts, and which decree that property must be returned to the original
        owner.
        These usually occurred at the accession of a new king, but also at other
        times. In my opinion, they were decreed by the king to prevent the rise of
        a powerful landed aristrocracy which might compete with him for power.
        Although we don't have the tablets acknowledging a forgiveness of debts, we
        do have plenty of tablets which state that this sale will *not* revert back
        to the original owner in the event of an anduarum. It is these, not the
        decrees, which convince us that it was a real occurrence in Mesopotamia.

        Scholars believe it did not occur in Israel because according to Leviticus
        these were to occur regularly, every 50 years. Scholars argue that if you
        would not lend money, or sell property if the anduarum approached. I think
        actually that was a real problem, but they probably handled it the same way
        the Babylonians did, made the sale permanent regardless of the approaching
        time of the deror.

        The tenth year of Zedekiah can be dated to 588-587. During this year there
        was a general manumission of (Hebrew) slaves (albeit rescinded). During this
        year Jeremiah redeemed his cousin's land. Fifty years later, exactly,
        Isaiah announces the return of Jews to their homeland in language of the
        deror. 100 years prior to Zedekiah's tenth year, 688-687, would also have
        been a Jubilee year, and the year before that a sabbatical year. Those who
        suggest a second campaign of Sennacherib to Judah put it to 689-688, the
        sabbatical year preceding the Jubilee year. In Isaiah 37:30=2 Kings 19:29
        we read what Isaiah says to Hezekiah during a siege by Sennacherib: "This
        shall be for you the sign: Eat this year the saPiaH, and in the second year
        the saHis, in the third year plant and harvest." The word saPiaH is used
        only one other time in the HB, in Lev. 25:5. It is what springs up by itself
        from kernels accidently spilled during harvest the year before. The word
        saHis does not occur elsewhere, but its meaning is obvious. It seems Isaiah
        iis telling Hezekiah to keep two falow years in a row.
        It all may be simply coincidences, but it is suggestive, it seems to me. It
        also makes sense that a siege by Sennacherib and a siege by Nebuchadnezzar
        would both be during the time when there would be two fallow years in a row,
        a sabbatical followed by a jubilee. Indeed, the extreme vulnerability of
        the people during this time is one reason to forego the jubilee year.

        Liz
        Lisbeth S. Fried
        Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
        New York University
        51 Washington Sq. S.
        New York, NY 10012
        lqf9256@...
        lizfried@...


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      • Jim West
        At 09:49 AM 7/1/99 -0400, you wrote: we do have plenty of tablets which state that this sale will *not* revert back to the original owner in the event of an
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 1, 1999
          At 09:49 AM 7/1/99 -0400, you wrote:
          we
          >do have plenty of tablets which state that this sale will *not* revert back
          >to the original owner in the event of an anduarum.

          It is the little phrase "in the event of" which tells me that the event is
          not at all certain...

          My life insurance will not pay "in the event" that I take my own life.

          >It is these, not the
          >decrees, which convince us that it was a real occurrence in Mesopotamia.

          But the problem, as I see it, and I probably wont say any more about it, is
          that the event may never have arisen- making the whole concept mere paper
          legislation.

          >
          >The tenth year of Zedekiah can be dated to 588-587. During this year there
          >was a general manumission of (Hebrew) slaves (albeit rescinded).

          Indeed- and anything rescinded was, for all practical purposes, not done.

          >It all may be simply coincidences, but it is suggestive, it seems to me. It
          >also makes sense that a siege by Sennacherib and a siege by Nebuchadnezzar
          >would both be during the time when there would be two fallow years in a row,
          >a sabbatical followed by a jubilee. Indeed, the extreme vulnerability of
          >the people during this time is one reason to forego the jubilee year.

          hmmm..... now one must wonder if the writers havent calculated as cleverly
          as you have and made the chronology fit for another reason. Anyway- we are
          now pretty far afield from the historical Jesus... so I will desist. I look
          forward to seeing the whole of your excursus in the Leviticus volume.
          I hope you will convince me. I want to be convinced that the poor people
          would actually experience such kindness--- I just dont think they did, do,
          or ever will.


          Best,

          Jim

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Jim West, ThD
          email- jwest@...
          web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest


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        • Liz Fried
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          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 1, 1999
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: Jim West [mailto:jwest@...]

            >
            > At 09:49 AM 7/1/99 -0400, you wrote:
            > we
            > >do have plenty of tablets which state that this sale will *not*
            > revert back
            > >to the original owner in the event of an anduarum.
            >
            > It is the little phrase "in the event of" which tells me that the event is
            > not at all certain...
            The events were certain, but they were not predictable. They occurred, and
            had to be planned for. When was another story.

            > My life insurance will not pay "in the event" that I take my own life.
            Which proves that people do, occasionally, and umpredictably take their own
            lives.

            > >
            > >The tenth year of Zedekiah can be dated to 588-587. During this
            > year there
            > >was a general manumission of (Hebrew) slaves (albeit rescinded).
            >
            > Indeed- and anything rescinded was, for all practical purposes, not done.
            Yes, certainly, but it seems they thought they *ought* to do it, and in this
            particular year. That is the point.

            >
            > I want to be convinced that the poor people
            > would actually experience such kindness--- I just dont think they did, do,
            > or ever will.
            My point is that it is not a kindness to the poor and wasn't intended to be.
            It was a kindness to the king, imo, because he could use it to keep the
            aristocracy at bay. It was the slaves of the aristocracy he freed, and the
            land of those who added "house to house and field to field" he took. It was
            always to cement the power of the king.


            Best,
            Liz

            Lisbeth S. Fried
            Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
            New York University
            51 Washington Sq. S.
            New York, NY 10012
            lqf9256@...
            lizfried@...



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          • Bernard Muller
            Liz Fried wrote:If so, then 33-35 is a sabbatical-jubilee yearLiz, you must be talking about Jewish years from March to March. What would be the
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 2, 1999
              Liz Fried wrote:
              >

              > If so, then 33-35 is a sabbatical-jubilee year

              Liz, you must be talking about Jewish years from March to March. What
              would be the Sabbatical year, 33-34 or 34-35?

              What would be the preceding Sabbatical year and, let's say, the next
              three ones? What would be the next Jubilee year?

              >
              > We don't need to count Sabbatical years in Jesus' time from the jubilees of
              > the monarchal period. We have the sabbatical years of Maccabees. We need to
              > count from then.

              What are your references on sabbatical years in Maccabees? Do you have
              references in Maccabees of Jubilee years too? Where?

              Bernard
              http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/

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            • Liz Fried
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              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 2, 1999
                > From: Bernard Muller

                >
                > Liz Fried wrote:

                >
                > Liz, you must be talking about Jewish years from March to March.
                I'm talking about Jewish years, September to September.

                What
                > would be the Sabbatical year, 33-34 or 34-35?
                Assuming CE, the sabbatical year would be fall 33 to fall 34.



                >
                > What would be the preceding Sabbatical year and, let's say, the next
                > three ones? What would be the next Jubilee year?
                I remember writing these all down, year by year, and counting them out.
                I'll let someone else do it now.

                > >
                > > We don't need to count Sabbatical years in Jesus' time from the
                > jubilees of
                > > the monarchal period. We have the sabbatical years of
                > Maccabees. We need to
                > > count from then.
                >
                > What are your references on sabbatical years in Maccabees? Do you have
                > references in Maccabees of Jubilee years too? Where?
                This was worked out nicely by Lester Grabbe, in JBL about 5 years ago I
                think.
                If I have time I'll try to get out the article and see what his dates are.

                Best,

                Liz

                Lisbeth S. Fried
                Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
                New York University
                51 Washington Sq. S.
                New York, NY 10012
                lqf9256@...
                lizfried@...


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              • Basil Lourie
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                Message 7 of 11 , Jul 2, 1999
                  > I was under the impression that the Jubilee year is the 50th year
                  > (i.e., the
                  > year after the seventh sabbatical year), and hence occurs every
                  > 49 years.
                  I don't understand this statement. It is the 50th year. The counting begins
                  the year after the Jubilee year. That is year one. Seven periods of seven
                  make 49 years after the last Jubilee year. The next year is the 50th year
                  after the last Jubilee year. The 50th year is not counted in the cycle.
                  There are 49 years between every jubilee year.


                  The situation may be even worse: *both* countings are possible. I would like
                  to know more precisely about the source re: each kind of procedure. In the
                  Temple Scroll and some other sources (incl. Christian Ethiopic ones) there
                  is certainly a procedure of counting of "Jubilees" of Sabbaths where every
                  50th Sabbath is counted twice, that is, there is no Sabbath (week) which is
                  not counted in the cycle. This counting of weeks must be (I think, without
                  assurance) of the same mode as that of years in the respective communities.
                  Beckwith ("The Year of Messiah") is pressuposing 49-year Jubilees in the Bk
                  of Jubilees. Dealing with some early Christian calendars I found also 50-day
                  "Jubilee of weeks" sometimes likely. However, I have never seen a special
                  study on the different possibilities in counting of Jubilees.

                  Basil Lourie
                  revue _Xristianskij Vostok_
                  St. Petersburg, Russia


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                • dhindley@compuserve.com
                  Basil Lourie wrote:I was under the impression that the Jubilee year is the 50th year (i.e., the year after the seventh sabbatical year), and
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jul 2, 1999
                    Basil Lourie wrote:

                    > > I was under the impression that the Jubilee year is the 50th year
                    > > (i.e., the
                    > > year after the seventh sabbatical year), and hence occurs every
                    > > 49 years.
                    >
                    > I don't understand this statement. It is the 50th year. The counting begins
                    > the year after the Jubilee year. That is year one. Seven periods of seven
                    > make 49 years after the last Jubilee year. The next year is the 50th year
                    > after the last Jubilee year. The 50th year is not counted in the cycle.
                    > There are 49 years between every jubilee year.
                    >
                    >
                    > The situation may be even worse: *both* countings are possible. I would like
                    > to know more precisely about the source re: each kind of procedure. In the
                    > Temple Scroll and some other sources (incl. Christian Ethiopic ones) there
                    > is certainly a procedure of counting of "Jubilees" of Sabbaths where every
                    > 50th Sabbath is counted twice, that is, there is no Sabbath (week) which is
                    > not counted in the cycle. This counting of weeks must be (I think, without
                    > assurance) of the same mode as that of years in the respective communities.
                    > Beckwith ("The Year of Messiah") is pressuposing 49-year Jubilees in the Bk
                    > of Jubilees. Dealing with some early Christian calendars I found also 50-day
                    > "Jubilee of weeks" sometimes likely. However, I have never seen a special
                    > study on the different possibilities in counting of Jubilees.

                    Archbishop Ussher thought that they marked 50 year periods. The Book of Jubilees (at least in the Ethiopic rescension and probably in the DSS) thinks of them as 49 year periods, and has little to say about the 50th year.

                    The way I understand it is as follows:

                    01,02,03,...48,49,50
                    01,02,03,...48,49,50
                    01,02,03, etc.

                    This means each jubilee year is celebrated in the first year of the next jubilee.

                    RSV Leviticus 25:8 "And you shall count
                    seven weeks of years, seven times seven
                    years, so that the time of the seven
                    weeks of years shall be to you forty-nine
                    years. 9 Then you shall send abroad the
                    loud trumpet on the tenth day of the
                    seventh month; on the day of atonement
                    you shall send abroad the trumpet
                    throughout all your land. 10 And you shall
                    hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim
                    liberty throughout the land to all its
                    inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you,
                    when each of you shall return to his
                    property and each of you shall return to
                    his family. 11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth
                    year be to you; in it you shall neither
                    sow, nor reap what grows of itself, nor
                    gather the grapes from the undressed
                    vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be
                    holy to you; you shall eat what it yields
                    out of the field. 13 "In this year of jubilee
                    each of you shall return to his property.
                    14 And if you sell to your neighbor or buy
                    from your neighbor, you shall not wrong
                    one another. 15 According to the number
                    of years after the jubilee, you shall buy
                    from your neighbor, and according to the
                    number of years for crops he shall sell to
                    you. 16 If the years are many you shall
                    increase the price, and if the years are
                    few you shall diminish the price, for it is
                    the number of the crops that he is selling
                    to you. 17 You shall not wrong one
                    another, but you shall fear your God; for I
                    am the LORD your God.

                    RSV Leviticus 25:23 The land shall not be
                    sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for
                    you are strangers and sojourners with
                    me. 24 And in all the country you
                    possess, you shall grant a redemption of
                    the land. 25 "If your brother becomes
                    poor, and sells part of his property, then
                    his next of kin shall come and redeem
                    what his brother has sold. 26 If a man
                    has no one to redeem it, and then himself
                    becomes prosperous and finds sufficient
                    means to redeem it, 27 let him reckon
                    the years since he sold it and pay back
                    the overpayment to the man to whom he
                    sold it; and he shall return to his property.
                    28 But if he has not sufficient means to
                    get it back for himself, then what he sold
                    shall remain in the hand of him who
                    bought it until the year of jubilee; in the
                    jubilee it shall be released, and he shall
                    return to his property. 29 "If a man sells a
                    dwelling house in a walled city, he may
                    redeem it within a whole year after its
                    sale; for a full year he shall have the right
                    of redemption. 30 If it is not redeemed
                    within a full year, then the house that is in
                    the walled city shall be made sure in
                    perpetuity to him who bought it,
                    throughout his generations; it shall not be
                    released in the jubilee. 31 But the houses
                    of the villages which have no wall around
                    them shall be reckoned with the fields of
                    the country; they may be redeemed, and
                    they shall be released in the jubilee. 32
                    Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, the
                    houses in the cities of their possession,
                    the Levites may redeem at any time. 33
                    And if one of the Levites does not
                    exercise his right of redemption, then the
                    house that was sold in a city of their
                    possession shall be released in the
                    jubilee; for the houses in the cities of the
                    Levites are their possession among the
                    people of Israel. 34 But the fields of
                    common land belonging to their cities
                    may not be sold; for that is their perpetual
                    possession.

                    RSV Leviticus 25:40 he shall be with you
                    as a hired servant and as a sojourner. He
                    shall serve with you until the year of the
                    jubilee; 41 then he shall go out from you,
                    he and his children with him, and go back
                    to his own family, and return to the
                    possession of his fathers. 42 For they are
                    my servants, whom I brought forth out of
                    the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold
                    as slaves.

                    RSV Leviticus 25:47 "If a stranger or
                    sojourner with you becomes rich, and
                    your brother beside him becomes poor
                    and sells himself to the stranger or
                    sojourner with you, or to a member of the
                    stranger's family, 48 then after he is sold
                    he may be redeemed; one of his brothers
                    may redeem him, 49 or his uncle, or his
                    cousin may redeem him, or a near
                    kinsman belonging to his family may
                    redeem him; or if he grows rich he may
                    redeem himself. 50 He shall reckon with
                    him who bought him from the year when
                    he sold himself to him until the year of
                    jubilee, and the price of his release shall
                    be according to the number of years; the
                    time he was with his owner shall be rated
                    as the time of a hired servant. 51 If there
                    are still many years, according to them
                    he shall refund out of the price paid for
                    him the price for his redemption. 52 If
                    there remain but a few years until the
                    year of jubilee, he shall make a reckoning
                    with him; according to the years of
                    service due from him he shall refund the
                    money for his redemption. 53 As a
                    servant hired year by year shall he be
                    with him; he shall not rule with harshness
                    over him in your sight. 54 And if he is not
                    redeemed by these means, then he shall
                    be released in the year of jubilee, he and
                    his children with him. 55 For to me the
                    people of Israel are servants, they are my
                    servants whom I brought forth out of the
                    land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

                    Regards,

                    Dave Hindley
                    Cleveland, OH


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                  • Liz Fried
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                    Message 9 of 11 , Jul 3, 1999
                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: dhindley@...


                      > The way I understand it is as follows:
                      >
                      > 01,02,03,...48,49,50
                      > 01,02,03,...48,49,50
                      > 01,02,03, etc.
                      >
                      > This means each jubilee year is celebrated in the first year of
                      > the next jubilee.
                      At least the way it appears above, that's not the way you've drawn it.
                      I think that the book of Juiblees assumed a 49 year cycle. I think that
                      somewhere near the end of the Persian period the Jubilee was dropped as a
                      second fallow year. I think in Jubilees the seventh sabbatical year is the
                      Jubilee year. I figured out that the sabbatical years in Maccabees only
                      made sense if you assume the Jubilee year was dropped near the end of the
                      Persian period. If you assume that, then the sabbatical years in Maccabees
                      fit in with the sabbatical and juiblee years I had determined for the
                      Monarchic period.

                      >
                      > RSV Leviticus 25:8 "And you shall count
                      > seven weeks of years, seven times seven
                      > years, so that the time of the seven
                      > weeks of years shall be to you forty-nine
                      > years.
                      That is, forty-nine complete years.

                      9 Then
                      *after* the completion of the 49th year.

                      you shall send abroad the
                      > loud trumpet on the tenth day of the
                      > seventh month; on the day of atonement
                      > you shall send abroad the trumpet
                      > throughout all your land.
                      Although it says the seventh month to conform to
                      the Babylonian calendar,
                      the Jewish New Year was in the fall, the first day of the 7th
                      month was the first day of the year.
                      The 10th day of the seventh month signalled the
                      end of the New Year's festivities, and the beginning of the next year.


                      10 And you shall
                      > hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim
                      > liberty throughout the land to all its
                      > inhabitants;
                      This is proclaimed at the *beginning* of the 50th year.

                      it shall be a jubilee for you,
                      > when each of you shall return to his
                      > property and each of you shall return to
                      > his family.
                      Complete manumission of all the slaves,
                      no matter how long each has worked for you.

                      11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth
                      > year be to you; in it you shall neither
                      > sow, nor reap what grows of itself, nor
                      > gather the grapes from the undressed
                      > vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be
                      > holy to you; you shall eat what it yields
                      > out of the field. 13 "In this year of jubilee
                      > each of you shall return to his property.

                      Everyone returns to the status quo ante.
                      >
                      Liz
                      Lisbeth S. Fried
                      Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
                      New York University
                      51 Washington Sq. S.
                      New York, NY 10012
                      lqf9256@...
                      lizfried@...


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                    • Michael T. MacDonell
                      Dear All:Is there a searchable archive up and running? If so, does it include the old Crosstalk postings? If not, how can they be accessed.Sorry to be
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jul 4, 1999
                        Dear All:

                        Is there a searchable archive up and running? If so, does it include the
                        old Crosstalk postings? If not, how can they be accessed.

                        Sorry to be dense, this has probably been discussed already.

                        Best Regards,
                        Mike MacDonell
                        ____________________________


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