The Gezer Calendar


DESCRIPTION
Language: Hebrew
Medium: limestone
Size: 11.1 centimeters long
7.2 centimeters wide
Length: 7 lines of writing
+ margin signature
Genre: Student Exercise?
Approximate Date: 925 BCE
Place of Discovery: Tell el-Jazari
ancient Gezer
(30km NW of Jerusalem)
Date of Discovery: 1908
Current Location: Syria/Palestine Collection
Archaeological Museum
Istanbul, Turkey




TRANSLITERATION

(Adapted from Gibson 1973:2)
TRANSLATION
by K. C. Hanson
(Adapted from Albright 1969:320)
INTERPRETATION

YRHW 'SP YRHW Z
Rc YRHW LQŠ
YRHcSD PŠT
YRH QSR ŠcRM
YRH QSR WKL
YRHW ZMR
YRH QS

'BYH

Two months are harvest
Two months are planting
Two months are late (planting)
One month is hoeing flax
One month is barley-harvest
One month is harvest and feasting
Two months are (vine-)pruning
One month is summer fruit

Abijah

August–September
October–November
December–January
February
March
April
May–June
July

the scribe's name



DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What functions might this inscription have served?
2. What does this inscription tell us about the agricultural year in Palestine? See Borowski 1987, 1992; Talmon 1963.
3. What does this inscription tell us about peasant crops? What is the importance of crop diversity and crop rotation for peasant farming?
4. How did the major festivals of ancient Israel relate to this seasonal pattern? See Vanderkam 1992.
5. What is the average rainfall in Palestine? How does this relate to the crop cycle? See Frick 1990, 1992a, 1992b.





SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Albright, W. F. "The Gezer Calendar." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 82 (1943) 18-24.
Albright, W. F. "Palestinian Inscriptions." In Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Edited by J. B. Pritchard, 320-22. 3rd ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1969.
Borowski , Oded. "Agriculture." In Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman, 1.95-98. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Borowski, Oded. Agriculture in Iron Age Israel. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1987.
Cassuto, Umberto. "The Gezer Calendar and Its Historical-Religious Value." In idem, Biblical and Oriental Studies. Vol. 2: Bible and Ancient Oriental Texts, 211-28. Trans. I. Abrahams. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1975.
Frick, Frank S. "Ecology, Agriculture and Patterns of Settlement." In The World of Ancient Israel: Sociological, Anthropological and Political Perspectives. Edited by R. E. Clements, 67-93. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989.
Frick, Frank S. "Palestine, Climate of." In Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman, 5.119-26. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Frick, Frank S. "Rain." In Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman, 5.612. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
de Geus, C. H. J. "The Importance of Agricultural Terraces, with an excursus on the Hebrew word gbî." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 107 (1975) 65-74.
Gibson, John C. L. Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions, vol. 1. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1973.
Hopkins, David. "The Dynamics of Agriculture in Monarchical Israel." In SBL Seminar Papers, 1983, 177-202. Chico, Calif.: Scholars, 1983.
Hopkins, David C. The Highlands of Canaan: Agricultural Life in the Early Iron Age. Social World of Biblical Antiquity 3. Sheffield: Almond, 1985.
Hopkins, David. "Life on the Land: The Subsistence Struggles of Early Israel." Biblical Archaeologist 50 (1987) 178-91.
Rahtjen, B. D. "A Note Concerning the Form of the Gezer Tablet." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 93 (1961) 70-72.
Smelik, Klaas A. D. Writings From Ancient Israel: A Handbook of Historical and Religious Documents. Translated by G. I. Davies. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1991.
Stager, Lawrence E. "The First Fruits of Civilization." In Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages: Papers in Honour of Olga Tufnell. Edited by J. N. Tubb, 172-88. London: Institute of Archaeology, 1985.
Talmon, Shemaryahu. "The Gezer Calendar and the Seasonal Cycle of Ancient Canaan." Journal of the American Oriental Society 83 (1963) 177-87.
Tropper, J. "Nominativ Dual yarihau im Gezer-Kalender." Zeitschrift für Althebräistik 6 (1993) 228-31.
Turkowski, L. "Peasant Agriculture in the Judean Hills." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 101 (1969) 101-12.
Vanderkam, James C. "Calendars, Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish." In Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman, 1.814-20. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Young, I. "The Style of the Gezer Calendar and Some 'Archaic Biblical Hebrew' Passages." Vetus Testamentum 42 (1992) 362-75.




Return to Palestine in the Time of Jesus

Return to K. C. Hanson's Collection of West Semitic Documents

Return to K. C. Hanson's HomePage

kchanson@charter.net

Last Modified: 12 May 2002