Hanukkah – The Feast of the Dedication?

HANUKKAH – THE FEAST OF THE DEDICATION?©

ARISTEO CANLAS FERNANDO
Peace Crusader and Echo

Hanukkah or Chanukah or the Festival of Light or the “Feast of Dedication” commemorates the Maccabean victories but focuses of the relighting of the Temple Eternal Light.  It is observed for eight days beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev.  Is Kislev a winter month?  Kislev is an autumn month together with Tishri and Heshvan, isn’t it?  Why is it celebrated on the 25th?  Is it because Kislev 25 occurs in about December?  To be celebrated like the Christians’ Christmas on December 25?  Was this a ploy of the Jews to minimize if not prevent conversion from Judaism to Christianity?  There were Jews who had converted and embraced Christianity.  So holding such celebration could be similar to the Christian’s appropriation of the Pagan’s festivity of Saturnalia during the winter solstice and renaming the festival as Christmas. 

What is emphasized on the celebration of Hanukkah?  Is the focus on the dedication of the Temple or the relighting of the Temple Eternal Light?  Could the Jews celebrate the “feast of the dedication” even though there is no more Temple to commemorate?  Wasn’t the Temple been destroyed and replaced by another on Mount  Moriah?

The Jewish feast of the dedication was first held when the temple that king Solomon built was dedicated.  It happened on the 15th day of the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.  1 Kings 8:2 states: “And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.”  2 Chronicle 5:3 reaffirms this, to wit: “Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.”  The rest of the chapter and chapters 6 and 7 were details of the event.

The autumn months are Tishri, Heshvan and Kislev.  The winter months are Tevet, Shevat, Adar and Adar Sheni.

The feast of the dedication used to be celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar.  During the time of Jesus, it occurred on:

Adar 15, 3757 = March 11, 4 BC
Adar 15, 3758 = March 1, 3 BC
Adar 15, 3759 = February 19, 2 BC
Shevat 15, 3760 = February 8, 1 BC

The Jewish months of Shevat and Adar are winter months, so is the Gregorian month of February.

John 10:22-23 state: “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”  So the feast occurred in winter.  Not on the seventh month of Tishri in the lunisolar calendar but in a winter month.  This must have occurred on February 8, 1 BC or Shevat  15, 3760, or February 19, 2 BC or Adar 15, 3759.  Aren’t these dates in winter?

As I have been asserting, the Jews were using two kinds of calendars during the time of Jesus: a lunisolar calendar for civil usage that starts in the month of Tishri and a purely lunar calendar for the Passover Festival (Pesach), the feast of the dedication, and New Moon Festival with twelve months only in a lunar year and numbered 1 to 12.  The first day of the lunar year in the religious calendar during those times occurred on:

Elul 1, 3756 = September 1, 5 BC
Elul 1, 3757 = August 21, 4 BC
Elul 1, 3758 = August 10, 3 BC
Av 1, 3759 = July 31, 2 BC
Av 1, 3760 = July 19, 1 BC

Hillel II a.k.a. Hillel ben Yehudah reformed the Hebrew calendar in 358/359 AD to its form today.  He incorporated those festivities in the lunar calendar into the lunisolar calendar.  The wandering Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were fixed on Nisan 14-21.  The Feast of the Dedication was changed to Hanukkah and celebrated on Kislev 25.  The New Moon Festival (Rosh Hodesh) held every month became a minor festival.  Why?  Because, the Jews, especially in the Diaspora, were mainly using the Julian solar calendar instead of the Hebrew lunar and lunisolar calendars.  Aren’t these logically correct?

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2010-08-05
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Copyright © Aristeo Canlas Fernando 2009. All rights reserved.
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