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  1. Seder Olam: The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology
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  5. Elijah in the Seder Olam Rabbah

Here Biblical chronology presents many difficulties, dates not being clearly given, and in many cases Seder Olam was used by later Biblical commentators as a basis of exegesis. It is known that from the entry of the Israelites into the Holy Land to the time of Jephthah a period of years elapsed. The work places two events in the Book of Judges whose date is unclear the making of the image for Micah [10] and Battle of Gibeah episode [11] in the time of Othniel.

I Kings states that Solomon began to build the Temple in Jerusalem in the fourth year of his reign, years after the Exodus , [12] that is, years after the Israelites entered the Holy Land. Thus years passed from the second year of Jephthah to the building of the Temple.

Seder Olam: The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology

Seder Olam concludes that the forty years during which the Israelites were harassed by the Philistines [13] did not begin after the death of Abdon , as it would seem, but after that of Jephthah , and terminated with the death of Samson. Consequently, there was a period of 83 years from the second year of Jephthah to the death of Eli , who ruled 40 years, [14] the last year of Samson being the first of Eli's judgeship. At that time the Tabernacle was removed from Shiloh , whither it had been transferred from Gilgal , where it had been for 14 years under Joshua ; consequently it remained at Shiloh for a period of years, standing all that time on a stone foundation.

It is also to be concluded that Samuel judged Israel for 11 years, which with the two years of Saul , [15] the 40 of David's reign, [16] and the four of Solomon's reign, make 57 years, during which the Tabernacle was first at Nob , then at Gibeon. The chronology of the Kings was more difficult, as there were differences to reconcile between the book of Kings and book of Chronicles. Here especially the author applied the principle of "fragments of years" "shanim mekutta'ot" , by which he regarded the remainder of the last year of any king's reign as identical with the first year of his successor's.

Beginning with Joshua , the author reviews the whole prophetic period which terminated with Haggai , Zechariah , and Malachi , elucidating as he proceeds many obscure points. Thus, the prophet mentioned in Judges was, according to Seder Olam, Phinehas , and the man of God that came to Eli [17] was Elkanah. According to Seder Olam , the prophecy of Obadiah occurred in the time of Amaziah [18] and those of Joel , Nahum , and Habakkuk in the reign of Manasseh.

After devoting the 21st chapter to the prophets that lived before the conquest of the land, to the seven prophetesses, and to the seven prophets of the Gentiles, Seder Olam resumes the chronology of the Kings. This continues until the end of chapter 27, where it is calculated that the destruction of the Temple occurred after it had existed years, or 3, years after the creation of the world. Then follow the 70 years of the Captivity and the years of the Second Temple , which was destroyed, as may be seen, in the year of the Creation. The years of the Second Temple are divided into the following periods: 34 years of Persian rule while the Temple stood; years of the Greeks ; years of the Maccabees ; years of the Herods.

If from this period of years the 70 years of the first Captivity is deducted, and the beginning of Alexander 's control of the Land of Israel is placed in accordance with Talmudic tradition at years before the destruction of the Second Temple, then there remain only 34 for the Persian rule. Alternatively, what seems to be a historical inaccuracy in Seder Olam has been explained in a different way. This timeframe, therefore, does not signify the end of the dynasties in Persia, but rather of their rule and hegemony over Israel before Alexander the Great rose to power.

Likewise, the period of Herodian rule over Israel, namely, years, refers merely to its hegemony over Israel while the Temple was still standing. From the destruction of the Second Temple, which according to Seder Olam occurred at the end of the last week of a Sabbatical year, to the suppression of the Bar Kochba revolt or the destruction of Bethar is given as a period of 52 years.

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But the text here is very confused and has given rise to various emendations and interpretations, as the historical date for the destruction of the Second Temple is 70 CE and that for the conclusion of the Bar Kochba revolt is CE. Assuming that this "Seder Olam" is the same as the "Seder Olam" mentioned in the Talmud , Jewish authorities generally ascribe its authorship to the well-known Talmudist Jose b.

Halafta , on the strength of R. Johanan 's statement, "The tanna of Seder Olam was R. Jose's quoted in the Talmud are paralleled in Seder Olam.

However, Ratner [21] objected that Seder Olam often conflicts with opinions of Jose's expressed in the Talmud, that Jose is referred to in it in the third person "R. Jose said" , and finally that mention is made in it of Talmudists that lived later than Jose. For these reasons, he concluded that Jose was not its author; he thinks that Jose was only the principal authority of Seder Olam, and that Johanan's statement, mentioned above, is similar to another statement made by him—"Any anonymous opinion in the Mishnah belongs to Rabbi Meir ", [22] although the redactor of the Mishnah was Judah I.

Ratner further supposes that R. Johanan himself compiled the work, following generally the opinion of R. He endeavors to prove this view by showing that many utterances of R. Johanan are taken from Seder Olam. Ratner's objections, however, are answered by other scholars, who think that in Seder Olam Jose preserved the generally accepted opinions, even when they were contrary to his own, as is clearly indicated in Niddah 46b.

Besides, this work, like all the works of the ancient Talmudists , underwent many alternations at the hands of the copyists. Very often, too, finding that the utterance of a later rabbi agreed with Seder Olam, the copyists inserted the name of that rabbi. Besides directly quoting Seder Olam, the Talmud often alludes to it. A passage in Seder Olam chapter 30 describing the years of four hegemonic powers Persian, Grecian, Hasmonean and Herodian appears almost verbatim in the Babylonian Talmud. In addition, many of its passages have been taken into the Mishnah without any allusion to their source.

Seder Olam is not mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud , although several passages in the latter are based on it. Finally, many of the sayings of Seder Olam have been taken into the Mekhilta , the Sifra , and the Sifre. The current Hebrew calendar year numbering system, which counts years from the creation , has been in use for more than years. The year numbers are based on the computations of dates and periods found in the Hebrew Bible. In Jewish tradition, "Year 1" is considered to have begun on the 25 of Elul , 6 days before the beginning of "Year 2" on the first of Tishrei , when Adam was created.

The new moon of its first month Tishrei is designated molad tohu meaning new moon of chaos or nothing. This results in a two-year discrepancy between the years given in Seder Olam Rabbah and the Jewish year used now. Despite the computations by Yose ben Halafta, confusion persisted for a long time as to how the calculations should be applied. However, Ratner [21] objected that Seder Olam often conflicts with opinions of Jose's expressed in the Talmud, that Jose is referred to in it in the third person "R.

Jose said" , and finally that mention is made in it of Talmudists that lived later than Jose. For these reasons, he concluded that Jose was not its author; he thinks that Jose was only the principal authority of Seder Olam, and that Johanan's statement, mentioned above, is similar to another statement made by him—"Any anonymous opinion in the Mishnah belongs to Rabbi Meir ", [22] although the redactor of the Mishnah was Judah I.

Ratner further supposes that R. Johanan himself compiled the work, following generally the opinion of R. He endeavors to prove this view by showing that many utterances of R. Johanan are taken from Seder Olam. Ratner's objections, however, are answered by other scholars, who think that in Seder Olam Jose preserved the generally accepted opinions, even when they were contrary to his own, as is clearly indicated in Niddah 46b.

Besides, this work, like all the works of the ancient Talmudists , underwent many alternations at the hands of the copyists. Very often, too, finding that the utterance of a later rabbi agreed with Seder Olam, the copyists inserted the name of that rabbi. Besides directly quoting Seder Olam, the Talmud often alludes to it.

A passage in Seder Olam chapter 30 describing the years of four hegemonic powers Persian, Grecian, Hasmonean and Herodian appears almost verbatim in the Babylonian Talmud. In addition, many of its passages have been taken into the Mishnah without any allusion to their source. Seder Olam is not mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud , although several passages in the latter are based on it. Finally, many of the sayings of Seder Olam have been taken into the Mekhilta , the Sifra , and the Sifre.

The current Hebrew calendar year numbering system, which counts years from the creation , has been in use for more than years. The year numbers are based on the computations of dates and periods found in the Hebrew Bible. In Jewish tradition, "Year 1" is considered to have begun on the 25 of Elul , 6 days before the beginning of "Year 2" on the first of Tishrei , when Adam was created. The new moon of its first month Tishrei is designated molad tohu meaning new moon of chaos or nothing. This results in a two-year discrepancy between the years given in Seder Olam Rabbah and the Jewish year used now.

Despite the computations by Yose ben Halafta, confusion persisted for a long time as to how the calculations should be applied. His work has been accepted by Jews as definitive, though it does not correspond to the scientific calculations. This differs from the modern scientific year, which is usually expressed using the Proleptic Julian calendar as BCE. The scientific date takes into account evidence from the ancient Babylonian calendar and its astronomical observations. In this and related cases, a difference between the traditional Jewish year and a scientific date in a Gregorian year or in a proleptic Julian calendar date results from a disagreement about when the event happened—and not simply a difference between the Jewish and Gregorian calendars See the "Missing Years" in the Jewish Calendar and below, Excursus: Jewish Chronology in the Scroll of Antiochus.

Seder Olam: The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology - PDF Free Download

In Jewish thought the counting is usually considered to be to the creation of the world, as has been emphasized in many ancient texts dealing with creation chronology that the six days of creation till man are literal days—including the days before the creation of the sun and earth. The modern epoch year is set at BCE, taking into account that there is no year zero in the Julian year count. Therefore, when calculating to the year of creation from Seder Olam, Taking into account the 1 year mentioned above; as well as the fact that there is no year "0", as the year before 1 CE is 1 BCE, not 0, we arrive at the number BCE as the Year 1 of the modern Hebrew calendar.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Rabbinic literature "Talmud Readers" by Adolf Behrman.

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See also: Missing years Jewish calendar. When Abraham went into Egypt Genesis he was probably between 80 to 90 years old. Thus, Seder Olam implies that in less than 40 years Egypt was formed with Pharaohs and officials.

Note that the book Seder Olam Rabbah has been continuously edited throughout the ages, and probably reached its current version around CE according to the historian Leopold Zunz. Maimonides Guide to the Perplexed chapt 25 : For two reasons, however, we have not done so, and have not accepted the Eternity of the Universe Ramban on Genesis , And there was light You should know that the "days" mentioned in the account of Creation, concerning the creating of heaven and earth, were real days, made up of hours and minutes, and there were six of them, like the [regular] six days of the work[week], in accordance with the simple understanding of the verse.

Translator's footnote: Although there was no sun or moon for the first three days, so "day" cycles as we know them today did not exist then, nevertheless the six days of creation were six periods of twenty-four hours each. The Torah: with Ramban's commentary translated, annotated, and elucidated.

Elijah in the Seder Olam Rabbah

Artscroll Mesorah Publications, Ltd. Kook Orot Hakodesh Book 2 Chapt : If these six days were simply six days, why then would they be called "The secrets of creation" and why would it be forbidden to learn them until correctly prepared The theory of evolution is increasingly conquering the world at this time, and, more so than all other philosophical theories, conforms to the kabbalistic secrets of the world. Evolution, which proceeds on a path of ascendancy, provides an optimistic foundation for the world. How is it possible to despair at a time when we see that everything evolves and ascends?

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