Sumerian Time-Keeping

Cyrus Gordon’s The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations is true gem and great example of interdisciplinary study.  He examines parallel after parallel between Indo-European culture and Semitic culture.  One very interesting section deals with the Sumerians and time-keeping.  Gordon writes:

The greatness of Sumer can be measured in other spheres, too.  Its sexagesimal system has reached us via the exact sciences.  Our astronomers still divide the circle into 360 degrees with each degree divisible into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds.  The division of the hour into 60 minutes of 60 seconds each is also a legacy of Sumer.  Whenever we look at a clock, we are reminded of our debt to Sumer.

p 49

This entry was posted in Ancient World Culture by Steven Wedgeworth. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s