Zodiac Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Their Reception

Ancient Astronomy and Astrology in Early Judaism


The ancient mathematical basis of the Aramaic calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls is analysed in this investigation. Helen R. Jacobus re-examines an Aramaic zodiac calendar with a thunder divination text (4Q318) and the calendar from the Aramaic Astronomical Book (4Q208 - 4Q209), all from Qumran. Jacobus demonstrates that 4Q318 is an ancestor of the Jewish calendar today and that it helps us to understand 4Q208 - 4Q209. She argues that these calendars were taught in antiquity as angelic knowledge described in 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. The study also encompasses Babylonian, Hellenistic, Byzantine astronomy and astrology, and classical and Jewish writings. Finally, a medieval Hebrew zodiac calendar related to 4Q318 with an astrological text is published here for the first time.

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Dr Helen R. Jacobus (Ph.D. University of Manchester, 2011) is an honorary research associate at University College London. In 2011 she was awarded the Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize by the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR).
List of Tables
List of Figures
Abbreviations and Notes
Chapter One: Towards a New Interpretation of 4QZodiac Calendar
Chapter Two: 4QBrontologion: Transmission, Origins and Significance
Chapter Three: The Aramaic Astronomical Book of Enoch Reconsidered in the Light of 4Q318
Chapter Four: The ‘Enoch Zodiac’ and Greco-Roman Zodiac Sundials
Chapter Five: Zodiac Calendars in Hellenistic Texts and Artefacts
Chapter Six: A Late Medieval Astrological Hebrew Text
Summary and Conclusion
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