30 March 2008


For those who've wondered (as I have) why there is sometimes a large gap between the Christian celebration of Easter and the Jewish Passover, why there is sometimes no gap at all: here's an introduction to the Jewish calender.

In New Testament terms, one would expect the two feasts to coincide. After all, the Last Supper was clearly a seder.

The 'normal' year in a Jewish calender has 354 days, which means it gets out of synch with the solar rhythms rather quickly, and this is remedied by the creation of a "leap month" at regular intervals. In other words, the days of the month are regulated by the moon, while the number of months in the year is regulated by the sun. There's a long year, with the leap month, sometimes after two normal years, sometimes after three.

I speak as someone just stumbling his way through this material, and would be happy to receive correction.

At any rate, Passover 2007 (or in the Jewish year 5767) took place on April 2 in the civil calender. Everything was as it 'should be' for those of us who enjoy seeing the two feasts coincide -- because Easter in 2007 was the following Sunday, April 8.

Passover 2008/5768 has been deferred, in Gregorian-calender terms, by the insertion of that extra month. This year, Passover begins when the sun sets April 19.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.