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WRITTEN IN THE STARS

The celestial Host, the Calendar, and Jewish Art 
Ariel Cohen


WRITTEN IN THE STARS The night skies have always entranced human beings, challenging the intellect and inspiring their creativity. It was universally believed that the mysteries of creation could be read in the heavens. However, the secrets of the universe began to be decoded only with the development of precise research tools, which made it possible to determine the cycle of stellar motion and the amount of time it takes for the planets to make an orbit. The scholars of Greece, led by Aristotle and Hipparchus, were already achieving quite creditable measurements in the third and second centuries BCE, and the picture of the world that they conceived held sway until the modern period. The discoveries of Copernicus, Keppler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton laid the foundation for the new science.
WRITTEN IN THE STARS The Hebrew calendar makes certain that the month of Nisan will fall no more than one lunar month from the appearance of Aries, in order to fulfill the biblical text: "Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Aviv [Spring]". In the second century BCE the picture of the universe formulated by the Greeks was entirely different; not only was the earth at the center, but there were nine closed circles resolving around the earth. Although this conception of the universe changed somewhat over the years, it endured into the fifteenth century. It is therefore no wonder that for thousands of years the stars were thought to accompany the earth, or that many people also believed in their power to influence the course of life on earth.



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