McCutcheonNY1905_new_year_revised_2015_8inIn a few days time the year 2014 will come to an end and the new number will be 2015. By the Jewish calendar, the year is already 5775.

The official practice of numbering the years in sequence started with the emperor Seleucus. He chose 311 B.C.E., the year he came to power, as the year One. The Seleucid system was adopted by the Jews of Babylon who referred to this newly accepted practice as the “era of dating legal documents”. About 700 years later the Jews of Babylonia recalculated the number for the Jewish calendar and that is the dating system used today. Today, the majority of the world uses the Egyptian solar calendar. The following clips discuss the development of this new way of marking time.

For untold millennia humans have measured time through close observation of the celestial bodies. Other calculations such as the number of hours of the day, are a human invention. The video segments below explore the sophistication of astronomy and math in the ancient world and the reconciliation of the solar and lunar calendar systems.

An audio version of this blog is available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/context/id941293995?mt=2

CONTEXT is a blog devoted to providing historical background to the situation in the Middle East. The history has been provided through video and audio recordings of my late father, Dr. David Neiman –an expert on the history of the ancient near east and the relationship between the Church and the Jews. He based his theses on historical records, linguistics and a deep understanding of the Bible and its origins. Dr. Neiman was a member of the theology department at Boston College and taught there for 25 years.