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The Jewish Calendar and Calendation According to al-Maqrīzī in al-Khiṭaṭ

Haggai Mazuz

Pages 77 - 96


Al-Maqrīzī devotes several chapters toward the end of his
al-Khiṭaṭ to Jewish history and religion, including one
concerning the Jewish calendar. In this chapter he provides a detailed
month-by-month overview of the Jewish year, specifying the length of each month,
the festivals that fall during it, the names of the festivals and the months,
and major practices and logic of the observances, Rabbinic adjustments of the
positioning of several festivals during the week, various lunisolar
reconciliations, and so on. His descriptions are instructive of his
knowledge—accurate or otherwise—of Rabbanite and Karaite teachings and of his
compilation technique. They also shed light on the traditions of the Jews in
Egypt in the Mamluk period (1250–1517 ce). In the discussion that follows, I
investigate his account of the Jewish calendar, determine whether it corresponds
to the Rabbinic or the Karaite approach and to what extent, and suggest sources
of information that may underlie it.


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