Nancy Sherer reviews...

The Seven Day Circle
Eviatar Zerubavel

I am often asked where I find arcane facts that I use in my articles about ancient religions. ‘Seven Day Circle’ is the type of book that I use. This scholarly examination of why the Western civilization operates on a seven day ‘beat’ has information that has been researched and analyzed. I only need to glean from the conclusions. Like many of the books I recommend, ‘Seven Day Circle’ provides explanations and proofs that are as exhausting as they are exhaustive. Also, like other books I recommend, you will come away with a new perspective and knowledge. I did not buy this book, unlike most books I recommend. It is probably available at your local library.

The seven day week is a completely artificial measure of time. Different numbers of days have worked just as efficiently in measuring out a time period longer than a day, yet shorter than a month. The Chinese five day week is more logical, for instance. Eight days worked fine for hundreds of years in Rome. Seven is not tied numerically to either the lunar or solar cycle, yet our culture treats seven days as inevitable number for a week.

Zerubavel’s research explores misconceptions about the seven day cycles. It provides information about the weekly connection to market days in different cultures. It shows how and why personal perceptions beat out logic in arranging this week, last week and next week. Students of sociology, psychology, and just plain human nature will profit from reading this book.

I will give you a gift from this book that I found interesting. Adding the numerical values of a standard deck of playing cards yields 364 plus a joker for the extra day or two in the solar year. [4(1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13) plus the joker.]

Buy it Now
Eviatar Zerubavel
The Free Press, a division of Macmillan Inc.

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Nancy Sherer