Role of the Solar and Lunar Calendars in the Redaction of the Psalms

Author: Chyutin, Michael
Sectarianism in the Jewish religion increased during the Second Temple period. One of the prominent manifestations of their differences was the establishment of a different religious calendar for each sect, causing a ‘war of the calendars.’ The first part of this book provides a comprehensive survey of the various calendars found in the ancient world. The second part discusses the redaction of the Book of Psalms in this light. It argues that the redactional Book of Psalms is according to the lunar calendar, while that of the “Psalms Scroll” (11QPs) is according to the solar calendar as practiced at Qumran. Variations in the redaction of the Masoretic, the Septuagint and the other five identified Psalter Scrolls found in Qumran are interpreted as corresponding with the variations in the lunar and solar calendars.


“This is a well-written and engaging academic monograph. The author has done an excellent job explaining a difficult subject…. Chyutin’s study suggest that the early debates over the solar and lunar calendar were as instrumental in shaping early Judaism as religious disputes concerning purity…. Chyutin’s book is remarkable for its breadth of coverage and its original scholarly examination of ancient calendars. It is essential reading for anyone interested in calendars in antiquity, the development of ancient Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. This book should be in all research libraries.” – Dr. Kenneth Atkinson, University of Northern Iowa

“… an innovative, thought-provoking contribution to the issue of the annual calendars used in Israel during the biblical period, and particularly during the Second Temple period….Chyutin succeeds in demonstrating how the rationale of the lunar calendar underlies the editing of the collection in the Masoretic version of the Psalter, whereas the editing of the Qumranic version is influenced by the solar calendar. Chyutin’s original theory sheds new light on the Book of Psalms, and his discussion deepens generally the understanding of Jewish sectarianism throughout the generations.” – Prof Yairah amit, Tel Aviv University

“There can be no doubt that the publication of a revised and expanded English translation of Chyutin’s book… is bound to become a major factor of the discussion of the matter on hand.” – Prof. Shemeryahu Talmon, Hebrew University

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Foreword
Part 1: The War of the Calendars in the Second Temple Period
1. Sectarianism and the Calendar in the Temple Periods
2. The Archaic Calendar
3. The Egyptian Solar Calendar
4. The Mesopotamian and the Greek Lunar Calendars
5. Seasonal Calendars
6. A Canaanite Calendar – The Gezer Calendar
7. The Calendar of the Qumran Sect
8. Te Calendar of the Book of Jubilees
9. The Calendar in Enoch A
10. The Calendar in Enoch B
11. The Scriptural Solar Calendar in the First Temple Period
12. The Jewish Holy Days and the Solar Calendar
13. The Controversy of the Sectarian Solar Calendars
14. The Babylonian/Hebrew Lunar Calendar in the Second Temple Period
15. The Lunar Calendar in the Temples at Mount Gerizim and Elephantine
16. The Dual Calendar in the Scriptures
17. Historical Feasts and Fast Days in the Second Temple Period
18. The War of the Calendars and the Story of the Deluge
19. The War of the Calendars – Summary
Part 2: The Calendrical Redaction of the Book of Psalms
20. Variant Redactions of the Book of Psalms
21. The Redaction of the Traditional Book of Psalms
22. The Divine Names and the Redaction of the Book of Psalms
23. The Redaction of the Books of Psalms as a Solar Calendar
24. The Tradition of Calendrical Redaction of Songs
25. The Psalms Scroll from Qumran, 11Q5
26. The Apocryphal Psalms
27. The Redaction of the Daily Psalms According to the Solar Calendar
28. The Solar A Redaction of the Qumran Psalms Scroll (11Q5)
29. The Solar B Redaction of the Psalms
30. The Solar C and the Archaic Calendar Redactions of the Psalms
31. The Lunar Calendar and the Redaction of the Traditional Book of Psalms
32. The Daily psalms in the Traditional Lunar Redaction
33. The Sabbath Psalms in the Traditional Lunar Redaction
34. Psalms for the Months in the Traditional Lunar Redaction
35. Psalms for Assembly Days, Atonement Day, and an Intercalary Day
36. The Lunar Redaction of the Psalms in the Septuagint Translation
37. Numerical Groupings in the Variant Redactions
38. Stages in the Development of the Redaction of the Book of Psalms
Appendix A: The Feasts of Megillat Ta’anit
Appendix B: Number Mysticism and the Redaction of Books
Bibliography; Index