Moving Inland
Ba'al's Challenge
Obedience and Redemption
Resurrection Cycle: descent and ascent
Winners and Losers
     Birth of Christianity
Isolation and Invasion
Hellenistic influence
Two Testaments: two views

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  Patriarchal Monotheism


The seven-day work week - another legacy of the return from the Babylonian captivity.

The seven-day week originated in Babylonia, perhaps as long ago as the 15th Century BCE, where the number seven was considered unfavorable. There were all kinds of prohibitions around the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th days of the month. The Jews were the first people to organize their life fully on the weekly cycle. To them, the week was justified by Genesis: God had created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh.

During the Babylonian captivity, in the 6th century BCE, the Jews began strict observance of the Shabbat, or Sabbath. Unable to pray in the Temple during their exile, they created in time what they had lost in space, giving one day out of seven, Saturday, to Yahweh.(footnote number goes here) This observance is one of the Ten Commandments, written by the finger of Yahweh on stone tablets and given by Moses to the people of Israel when they were camped a Sinai, about fifty days after they (purportedly) came out of Egypt (Exodus 19:10-25), (Deuteronomy 5:4-21).

The use of the week spread thereafter throughout Greece and Alexandria to Rome. Following the Jewish model, the other monotheistic faiths also devoted one day of the week to their God: Sunday for Christians, Friday for Muslims. These groups also created a new binary rhythm, alternating regularly between rest and work, ordinary and extra-ordinary days. This rhythm proved most useful in organizing society. It is now observed all over the world.

This information taken from: The Calendar: History, Lore, and Legend. by Jacqueline de Bourgoing. Galimard 2000, English translation Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 2001.