Thursday, July 13, 2006

Edgar Allan Poe on a 17th of Tammuz story in Talmud Yerushalmi

Dan of Seforim postsan interesting find: an 1850 Edgar Allan Poe story A Tale of Jerusalem which is based on a Yerushalmi in Massekhet Taanit (4.5) regarding the suspension of the qorban tammid on the 17th of Tammuz.

Very interesting. What I wonder about is less how Poe came across this story and more about the date he used in it. The story begins "in the year of the world three thousand nine hundred and forty-one," which corresponds to the year 181 CE if we assume 2006 CE to be 'the year of the world five thousand seven hundred and sixty-six." Whenever the incident occurred, it was before 70 CE.

Did Poe make a mistake in not using the Jewish calendar or was he using some other calculation of a biblical calendar since creation?

EDIT: Aha! The solution is here. Nachum points out that the standard Christian date for creation if 4004 BCE.

That puts the story in 63 BCE, which is when Rome annexed Judea. I'm not sure why Poe placed the story then, but at least this date has some basis, rather than 181 CE.

Also, Poe puts the story on the 10th of Tammuz. So what we have, in effect, is a makhloket Edgar Allan Poe and a Yerushalmi. Poe puts the incident on 10 Tammuz in 63 BCE and the Yerushalmi records it as happening on 17 Tammus around the time of the hurban bayit more than a 130 years later.


  1. That is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and sit up for in quest of extra of
    your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your website in my social
    Also visit my web blog learn writing fast

  2. Article writing is also a fun, if you be acquainted with after that you can write otherwise it is complex to write.
    Take a look at my homepage ... stopping acid reflux



Related Posts with Thumbnails