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The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week
"Days, months, and years were given to us by nature, but we invented the week for ourselves. There is nothing inevitable about a seven-day cycle, or about any other kind of week; it represents an arbitrary rhythm imposed on our activities, unrelated to anything in the natural order. But where the week exists—and there have been many cultures where it doesn't—it is so deepl ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published March 15th 1989 by University Of Chicago Press
(first published March 15th 1985)
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Fascinating exposition of a topic which is so ubiquitous as to be invisible to most of us: namely, the days of the week. The author points out that our cycle of seven days is so familiar that it takes on the air of inevitability, of a natural phenomenon. And yet it's not. The week is a human invention. Indeed, the author makes a powerful case that it is one of our most important innovations. He calls it "one of the most significant breakthroughs in human beings' attempts to break away from being ...more
The week is a unit of time not connected with natural cycles of sun, moon, etc., and so varies widely from culture to culture. The current seven-day week associated with the seven planets of the ancients arose from a melding of Hebrew, Egyptian, and Babylonian elements. Particularly interesting are accounts of non-sevenday weeks, modern and traditional.