The Gates Cosmology of the Astronomical Book of Enoch

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Eshbal Ratzon Department of Religion, Princeton University

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This paper finds a parallel to the division of each Babylonian zodiacal sign into 30 degrees in the Enochic cosmology. In particular a new explanation of the rare Aramaic word חרתיה in 4Q209 (4Q209 7iii 1–2, 6) from the Aramaic Astronomical Book is offered as describing heavenly openings on the horizon for the daily rising and setting of the sun. These openings were smaller parts of each one of the twelve gates compared previously by scholars to the zodiacal signs. It seems plausible that the description of the daily openings appeared four times in the account of every year at the end of each season. The addition of these four days can be seen as part of the author’s polemic against the Mesopotamian 360-day year. An implication of the repetition of the sentence in 4Q209 8 3–4 is that this scroll was probably longer than previously assumed and included a triennial cycle synchronizing lunar and solar years.

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