ABSTRACT: The Calendar in the Flood Narrative

A. Sołtysiak (ed.), Time and Astronomy in Past Cultures, Proceedings of the conference held in Toruń, March 30 – April 1, 2005, Warszawa – Toruń, 2006, pp. 13-32  Meir Bar-Ilan


The aim of this study is to analyze the Flood Narrative (Gen. 6-8; hereafter: FN). from a fresh methodology: Numerology. According to this method, numbers are not only signs of quantity but have a meaning of quality as well. This method is a language non-conditional (or: sources-blind) and implying it to the FN strengthens some scholarly modern concepts while rejects others by taking a new look at an old problem.

From several dozens of FN in the whole world, the uniqueness of the Biblical FN lies in the numerous numbers embedded in the text. These numbers are divided into two groups: quantitative absolute numbers, such as 7, 40, or 150, and relative numbers, such as 17/2, 17/7, that is dates. The quantitative numbers in the FN (=J) join together to 361 days of a solar year, and this calendar, as well as the beauty of 360 is discussed.

The relative numbers are dates that are mentioned in the log-book made by Captain Noah in his Ark (=E, or: P). These dates do not reflect a series of coincidental dates but rather a coherent calendar. It is assumed that God spoke to Noah on 1/1/600 and after 7 + 40 days the flood began, on 17/2/600. Each of the “stations” in the FN is discussed, since each date is meaningful, while the final date is found as a whole lunar year with its 11 days of intercalation, that is 27/2/601, a calendar that is a lunar-solar calendar known today as the Jewish Calendar.

Masoretic text differs from the LXX and Qumran and all the varieties, together with the former discussion help to realize the redaction process that shaped the FN during the ages.