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The Annual Sacred Feasts of the Sacrificial Calendar in the Book of Numbers. Num 28:16–30:1 in the Light of Related Biblical Texts and Some Ancient Sources of 200 BCE–100 CE

Mod.: Prof. R.D. Federico GIUNTOLI

This study takes into account the annual festival legislation contained in Num 28:16–30:1. A diachronic method is used in this study, and it consists of five chapters, each dealing with one annual feast: Passover/Unleavened Bread, Day of the First Fruits, Day of Shout, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. There are two parts to the survey of each feast: first, it is treated in the light of biblical calendars and other related texts; second, the analysis focuses on the history of interpretation. This latter part considers several pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and ancient Jewish writers, for they shed light on the biblical pericope in question.

The scribe responsible for the composition of Num 28:16–30:1 employed several previous calendrical and sacrificial points of data found in Exod 29:38–42, Leviticus 1–7, Lev 23:1–44, and Num 15:1–16, in addition to data from other calendars. The calendar in the Book of Numbers thus shows up as a synthetic document. It summarizes several previous traditions that dealt with the feasts, sacrifices, and calendar in order to compose the detailed list of the sacrifices for the appointed times.
This study brings up several points on the relationship between Lev 23:1–44 and Num 28:1–30:1. The latter is indeed later than an earlier version of Leviticus 23; yet the final form of Lev 23:1–44 is also a result of some later additions that took place after Num 28:1–30:1 had been composed. The two calendars are complementary and, therefore, do not replace one another.

The study of several ancient sources from 200 BCE to 100 CE proves how these texts responded to some questions that the biblical texts raised. Moreover, the later texts show how they go beyond the data found in the biblical texts, furnishing new interpretations and expanding them considerably. Finally, there was a continuous history of interpretation that in the third and second centuries BCE did not know any sharp distinction of the sort now made between canonical and non-canonical texts.