Tracing the Origin of the Sabbatical Calendar in the Priestly Narrative (Genesis 1 to Joshua 5)

  • Philippe Guillaume


This comprehensive study of the chronology of the Priestly Document demonstrates that the Sabbatical calendar (364-day year) is not a Qumran invention but was devised at the beginning of the Persian period (ca. 520 bce). The Priestly Document (Genesis 1 to Joshua 5) is divided into 7 eras: creation, antediluvian, re-creation, exiles, Exodus, wandering, and rest in the Promised Land. The large amount of chronological data contained in the narrative describes each element of the Sabbatical calendar, the sacredness of which is later upheld by the apocryphal books of Jubilees and Enoch and in Qumran texts. In spite of subsequent additions of other calendars upon the original Priestly Document, its narrative remains coherent enough to reveal the use of intercalation.