16 May 2010


Scientists might explain that the ancient Hebrews did not have a cyclical seven-day week until after Exile in Mesopotamia where they were exposed to Mesopotamian stargazers who were observers of the seven traditional planets of the zodiac. (Egyptians had a 10-day week based on the solar cycle.) It was the Hellenic world, after Alexander's conquest of Mesopotamia, that developed the seven-day week, especially at Alexandria, in the second century BCE.

Scientists might say that the Sabbath cult within ancient Judaism, after the Exile, borrowed and developed their week as a cyclical time measure unrelated to any natural processes, especially the lunar cycle. This suited the Hebrew development of a god that was unrelated to any personification of any natural process, including natural cycles and came when the Hebrews were dropping their own worship of celestial bodies, particularly the moon.

Having both a cyclical week and god outside the natural world aid in developing a civilization that is removed from the natural world. Perhaps this is a partial explanation of why Christian-Judaic civilization is so dissociated from the natural world. Some even maintain that humans cannot in any significant way permanently harm the Earth. A dualistic worldview that removes a supreme being from the natural world and posits that the "home" of humanity is elsewhere off the Planet, easily denies anthropogenic global climate change.

In English, of course, the days of the week are named for the sun, moon, Mars (later the Nordic war god Tyr), Mercury (later Woden), Jupiter (later Thor), Venus (later Fria), and Saturn.

So, for the seven-day week, we must recognize the complexity (as always!) of human history and apportion credit to the Chaldeans, Hellenistic Greeks, and Hebrews. It is no more god-given than the vegisimal or the decimal systems of counting.

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