Calendar

Conference

Corrections The January 1997 Dallas Calendar Conference was attended by Herb Solinsky who, found several important mistakes in our article on the conference (Jan-Feb 1997 issue, beginning on page 3). We agree with all of the corrections listed here. Corrections use the following format:

Page #, Column #, Location in column

The corrected sentence occurs here indented with the incorrect words struck out and the correct words added with underlines. Words may be added in brackets [like this] to make the meaning clear without referring back to the original article.

Any additional comments are added in this type style.

Page 4, column 2, near top:

The present [Jewish] calendar rules require the start of the year to be adjusted ('postponed') so that certain holy days do not fall on preparation days or the Sabbath on a Sunday.

Page 4, column 2, middle:

He [Solinsky] believes new months should be started with the first observable crescent moon in Jerusalem, and that the year should begin with the first new moon after on or after the day of the spring equinox.

Also, based upon Gen 7:11, 24; 8:3-4; 1Sam 20, and knowing what modern astronomy reveals about the cycle of the moon, no month should have more than 30 days. Solinsky also believes that reliable witnesses for observing the new crescent should be accepted if they witnessed the crescent with the unaided eye from anywhere within the biblical boundaries of ancient Israel. In certain less common cases, other details may come into effect.

Page 4, column 2, below the middle:

In about 4 years out of 100 19, he [Solinsky] believes that the Hebrew Calendar will be off by a month one month too early in this century.

The next year of this kind will be 1999.

Page 4, column 3, near top:

He [Solinksy] had eclipse new crescent sighting records and other primary historical sources showing when the year began—using the same calendar that Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah were using.

Solinsky explained the historically verifiable relationship between Nisan 1 in the Babylonian calendar and the vernal equinox during the life of Ezra and Nehemiah when they used Babylonian month names in the context of Jerusalem in the Bible. He explained that translations of ancient cuneiform Babylonian inscriptions of new crescent sightings and eclipse records were corroborated (thus year-month-day dates were validated) by modern computer calculations.

After relating this historically verified information from 499 to 400 BCE, he speculated that since Daniel and his three friends were high in the Babylonian government under multiple rulers, his knowledge of the proper calendar eventually had effects upon the Babylonian calendar that led to the latter's stabilization during the fifth century when Ezra and Nehemiah lived. During Daniel's lifetime (unless he lived somewhat beyond the age of 100) the Babylonian calendar was not yet stabilized, i.e., it did not yet maintain a fixed relationship between Nisan 1 and the vernal equinox.

Page 4, column 3, near top:

From 499 to 400 BC, the beginning month of the year was the first new moon after the on or after the day of the vernal equinox.

Page 5, column 2, top:

If the Eternal really intended for us to start the month with a crescent moon, then Russell's system will always be keeping the 'wrong days' because the true conjunction is always at least one day before the start of a month as determined by the first visible crescent.

Under unusual circumstances it is possible that on the same sundown-to-sundown day on which the conjunction occurs, the new crescent will be visible just before that day expires. Here is what would have to happen: (1) the moon is near its closest possible distance to the earth (so that the moon travels near its fastest velocity); (2) the azimuth difference between the moon and sun at sunset is near zero degrees; and (3) the conjunction occurs within a few hours after sundown. Note the 15.53 hour record for the earliest documented new crescent naked-eye sighting mentioned above. Even when this happens, the conjunction calendar will begin its month a day earlier than the first visible crescent calendar.

Page 5, column 2, top:

He [Russell] linked crescent moons to paganism, but had little no historical evidence that ancient Israel or the New Testament church ever kept (or could possibly keep) the calendar as he keeps it today.

Page 5, column 3, bottom:

Due to the phenomenon known as the 'precession of the equinoxes', this method causes the calendar to become unsynchronized with the Earth's seasons a little more than one day fourteen days every thousand years.

A full cycle of precession of the equinoxes takes about 25,800 years.

365.25 days per year ´ 1000 years

¸ 25,800 years for a cycle

= 14.16 days off per thousand years.

This shifting of the first month forward with respect to the agricultural year appears to violate the agricultural implications of Leviticus 23:39; Deuteronomy 16:9-10.

Page 6, column 2, bottom:

"Nelms advocated using the last visible crescent for starting a month. It is seen just before sunset sunrise, rather than just before sunrise after sunset."

Nelms system started a month with the sundown following the morning during which there is a first time failure to see the old crescent. This is the method used to begin a month in the old festal Egyptian calendar (in contrast to the ancient Egyptian civil calendar). Objections to this include: (1) Gen 1:14 states "lights" rather than the absence of light. (2) The Hebrew word for "new moon" (chodesh) has the same letters (excluding vowel points) as the Hebrew adjective and verb for "new" (chadash), and biblical contexts containing the latter imply "something" rather than "nothing". (3) The use of Babylonian month names in Ezra and Nehemiah in the context of Jerusalem is significant, and the Babylonian calendar began each month with the first visible crescent in the western sky near sunset, but not allowing any month to have more than 30 days. (4) The Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria (lived about 17 BCE to 50 CE), who led a delegation to Rome in 38 CE which represented the Jewish people in Egypt, explicitly wrote that the Jewish people begin their months when the moon first becomes visible after the conjunction.

Page 7, column 1, near bottom:

Yet, we find millions of Jews spread around the world keeping an imperfect calendar, yet all and assembling together on the same days."

This statement fails to acknowledge that there are Jews today known as Karaites who celebrate the holy days based on a natural calendar rather than the current Jewish calendar. In recent decades their population has tripled due to mainstream Jews adopting Karaite principles. They primarily exist in Israel, Europe, and the United States. They have rejected the Talmud and are not doctrinally united. During World War II, Hitler was misled into thinking that they were not Jews, so he did not mistreat the Karaites as he did the other Jews. &


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