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Why did the Hebrews not create their own calendar system instead of copying the pagan Babylonians'?

I find it interesting that they use a pagan calendar which often honours pagan gods. Why is this permitted?

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It would be helpful if you would add a source supporting your claim. –  yoel Sep 27 '11 at 15:34
While I'm sure this isn't your intent at all, this question seems abrupt and almost disrespectful. Some context explaining why you're asking might help. That aside, this is an interesting question, to be sure! –  neilfein Oct 6 '11 at 18:30
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3 Answers

the Hebrews do have their own calendar.you just haven't been taught it. It was given to Enoch before the flood and Moses after the flood. Book of Enoch ch 72 and book of jubilees ch 6:23-38. 364 day calendar.52 Sabbaths Perfectly 1st day of the new year starts on a sunday. last day of the year ends on a Sabbath.theres noway you can err in this calendar.just count 52 sabbaths

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So why did we begin to use these names? Why didn't we stick with the Biblical practice of referring to months by their number?

Nachmanides suggests that this is consistent with Jeremiah's prophecy: "Therefore, behold days are coming, says G‑d, and it shall no longer be said [by one who wishes to pronounce an oath], 'As G‑d lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' rather, 'As G‑d lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the northland [Babylon]...'"

The original system was to count months in numeric order starting from the first month. Thus, any time a person mentioned a month he was in effect recalling the Exodus from Egypt—for now we are in, say, the sixth month—six months since the month of the Exodus. Thus the numeric naming served as a constant reminder of our deliverance from Egypt.

After we were delivered from Babylonian captivity, however, we started using the names that we came used to using in Babylon. And now, these names served to remind us that G‑d has redeemed us from this second exile.

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Let's take a step back: the Hebrew calendar uses lunar months of either 29 or 30 days (for 354 days altogether). Now the Bible says that Passover should be in the spring, and if you keep having years of 354 days you'll keep sliding backwards until Passover won't be in the spring anymore, so every so often they'd add a leap month. Sure, other peoples may have had lunar calendars too, but nothing pagan or Babylonian per se here.

In the books of Moses, the months are simply called "first month", "second month", and so on. Passover is in the first month, Yom Kippur in the seventh. Nothing pagan or Babylonian here yet either.

Throughout the period of the Judges and First Temple (let's say very roughly from 3500 to 2500 years ago), we occasionally see the Bible use Hebrew names for some of the months (such as "Ziv"), instead of just the numbers.

The names that most of us are familiar with are, in fact, the Babylonian names. When the Jews were exiled to Babylon (roughly 2500 years ago) and came back (roughly 2400 years ago), the Jews chose to stick with Babylonian names for the months of the same calendar the Jews had been using for centuries.

So we didn't pick a Babylonian calendar; but we adopted Babylonian nicknames for the months.

The simplest explanation for that was to specifically commemorate the exodus from Babylon, to remind the people that we weren't always in Israel. Exile could happen, but so could redemption. (The book of Chronicles, for instance, ends on the high note of redemption from Babylon.)

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The question didn't mention the names of the months but the calendar itself. For instance, why did the Hebrew calendar borrow the 'leap-month' from the Babylonian one? See for instance the article "Intercalation and the Hebrew Calendar" at jstor.org/stable/1516201 Your suggestion that we "didn't pick up a Babylonian calendar" is so oversimplified as to be practically untrue. "We heavily borrowed an identical lunisolar calendar from the Babylonians" is somewhat closer to the truth. Indeed many scholars believe prior to exile the Hebrews had a purely solar calendar,but see the article –  Curiouser Sep 27 '11 at 15:24
@Curiouser the answer is actually quite accurate (other than that not all the names are Babylonian). Even before the exile the Hebrew calendar was lunisolar, all the talk wrt sanctifying the months etc is heavily tilted towards lunarity. –  AviD Sep 28 '11 at 11:03
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