Apologies to group. I posted without doctoring the "subject heading". If
Jeffery is looking, go ahead and delete the post with the incorrect heading if
nobody has responded using it.
From: David C. Hindley <dhindley@...
Date: Monday, July 05, 1999 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: crosstalk2 digest
Liz Fried wrote in response to Dave Hindley:
> I don't understand this statement [that
> the Jubilee year is the 50th year (i.e.,
> the year after the seventh sabbatical year),
> and hence occurs every 49 years]. 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.
> I think that somewhere near
> the end of the Persian period the Jubilee was
> dropped as a second fallow 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 [the jubilee was celebrated
> as the second sabbatical year] then the
> sabbatical years in Maccabees
> fit in with the sabbatical and juiblee years I
> had determined for the Monarchic period.
So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that prior to the end of the
Persian period, the jubilee cycle was thus:
And then after the end of the Persian period the jubilee cycles were reckoned
b) 01,02,03...49,50=01,02,03...49,50=01,02,03...49,50 etc.,
> I think that the book of Juiblees assumed a
> 49 year cycle. [
] I think in Jubilees the
> seventh sabbatical year is the Jubilee year.
So, you think that among the Qumran sectarians, the system was:
c) 01,02,03...49=J,01,02,03...49=J,01,02,03...49=J, etc.
I was under the impression that scenario "b" was implied by the account of
Leviticus. In this I *thought* I was following the consensus view, at least in
non-Jewish circles, although I do not have any definitive references close at
As for the book of Jubilees, I know that it dates events by means of an era
based upon weeks of years (7 yrs) and jubilees of years (49 yrs). Despite the
use of jubilees (seven weeks of years = 49 years) as dating devices, Jubilees
50:1-5 is the only place that specifically mentions the Jubilee year:
Jub 50:1 And after this law I made known to thee the days of the Sabbaths in
the desert of Sin[ai], which 2 is between Elim and Sinai. And I told thee of
the Sabbaths of the land on Mount Sinai, and I told thee of the *jubilee
years* in the sabbaths of years: but the year there of have I not told thee
till ye 3 enter the land which ye are to possess. And the land also shall keep
its sabbaths while they dwell 4 upon it, and they shall know the jubilee year.
Wherefore I have ordained for thee the year-weeks and the years and the
jubilees: there are forty-nine jubilees from the days of Adam until this day,
[2410 A.M.] and one week and two years: and there are yet forty years to come
(lit. 'distant') for learning the [2450 A.M.] commandments of the Lord, until
they pass over into the land of Canaan, crossing the Jordan to the 5 west. And
the jubilees shall pass by, until Israel is cleansed from all guilt of
fornication, and uncleanness, and pollution, and sin, and error, and dwells
with confidence in all the land, and there shall be no more a Satan or any
evil one, and the land shall be clean from that time for evermore. (trans. R
HCharles, APOT v.2)
So really, it has very little to say about it.
As for scenario "a", Charles says (APOT, vol 2, pg 81n) that most Jewish
writers (up until his time) were assuming 50 year intervals as you appear to
do as well (at least through the late Persian period). I also understand that
the 50 year interval was assumed by Archbishop Ussher, but he's hardly an
authority anymore <grin>.
As for the Qumran literature, I leafed through _The Dead Sea Scrolls in
English_ (G Vermes, 4th ed, 1995), where I found 4Q180 (J M Allegro's "Ages of
Creation"), which J T Milik reportedly reconstructed to present "human history
as divided into seventy weeks of years (70 x 7 years), the first 10 of which
cover the period from Noah to Abraham." Unfortunately, this sentence does not
make any sense. Looking at G Martinez (_The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated_ 2nd
ed., 1996, pp 211-212), it looks like the reference was to 10 generations
(which coincidently equal 490 years, see below).
Patriarch - Date of birth of son (Anno Mundi)
That is, 10 generations = 490 years (70 x 7 wks)
Also, 4Q181 (pp 212-213) seems to date the descent of the angels led by Azazel
in the "seventieth week" (483-490 Anno Mundi), i.e., in "the days of Jared"
(who was born 460 AM per the Book of Jubilees).
Finally, 4Q390 (Pseudo-Moses) also appears to date events after the time of
Moses using weeks of years and jubilees of years, in a manner much like the
Book of Jubilees does, and I think the era is measured in the same 7 & 49
So it looks as though the Qumran literature was also using a 49 year jubilee
system, although nothing specific is said about how the jubilee year itself
was applied to the cycle (i.e., whether made a part of the last year of the
seventh seven year cycle, or celebrated on the first year of the next seven
Would you know what the rabbinic position was (is) in regards to jubilee
years? Specifically, I am curious to learn what sources (mishna, talmud,
midrash) these positions can be found in.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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