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January 14, 2014 12:00 pm

Ancient Calendar Offers Glimpse of Biblical Times

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The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. Photo: Wiki Commons.

JNS.org Ever wonder how the people in biblical times arranged their schedules? The answer may lie with a 4,000-year-old silt tablet recently discovered in the ruins of Larsa, an ancient Sumer city located in modern-day southern Iraq.

Larsa’s neighboring city was Ur Kasdim, mentioned in the book of Genesis as the birthplace of Abraham.

The cuneiform tablet, currently on display at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, lists a schedule for one of the temples in Larsa that corresponds with eight days in the Hebrew month of Shevat and includes a to-do list for a festival on the 8th day. The schedule is written in Akkadian.

“This silt tablet, which dates back to the time of biblical Abraham, is the only Mesopotamian text we know of to describe temple rituals stretching eight days. It also illustrates the similarities between our calendar and its Babylonian origins,” Bible Lands Museum Director Amanda Weiss said.

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