Friday, September 29, 2006

Holes in the symbolic universe

After my last post detailing the excuse given by a self-styled prophet for the absence of a predicted nuclear war, an interesting parallel springs to mind. It involves the obsessive-compulsive disorder of several second Temple Jews in relation to calendrical matters.

Some, like those producing part of 1 Enoch (‘The Book of the Heavenly Luminaries’) and the first few chapters of Jubilees, where sure God had told them that a year consisted of 364 days. However, a little observation tells us that a year is actually just over 365 days. More than a day longer than these fellows believed.

It appears that they were aware of the problems with their 364 day calendar, but instead of throwing their hands up and admitting:

‘Hey, Reuben, you remember that mother of an angel that turned up that time and told us a year is 364 days.’


‘Well, I mean, it just doesn’t fit reality. We were a day out!’

‘Oh bollocks, I suppose we’d better change our thinking then’

No no. Instead, something very Hawkinesque happened. They concluded that those who were smugly pointing out they had their calendar wrong were just plain, simple, straightforward ...


(Cf. 1 Enoch 82).

Not only that, and this was the real clever bit: their 364 day calendar wasn’t wrong. Nature was wrong, infected by sin.

(I seem to remember sometimes using similar reasoning when I was a Creationist; ‘the devil put the fossils there, guv’)

Apparently, this fascination with a 364 day year is a disorder still alive and well, not only in the foaming-mouthed quarters.

This author supplies a modern day justification:

‘It seems impossible that at one time that the Earth’s orbit around the Sun could have been a length of 364 Days, but when given some thought and when considering the marvellous peculiarity and wonderful uniqueness of the Earth, this impossible perception fades away’.

Fades away.


Besides, we are assured that ‘An Angel gave Enoch knowledge of the 364 Day Calendar Year in Ancient Times’, so that settles that.


At 9/29/2006 1:22 PM, Anonymous Richard said...


you really do have too much time on your hands don't you! Have you not got a thesis to write or something?

At 9/29/2006 11:33 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Oh, thesis, yes. Oops.

At 9/30/2006 3:16 PM, Anonymous byron smith said...

Where do you get this stuff?

At 10/01/2006 10:13 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Well, the info about the various second Temple calendar chumps, from Jim Davila in my undergrad degree in St Andrews!


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