THE FORMATION OF THE MODERN WEEK
 

I was reading an article recently about how the modern week came into being, and how its structure has evolved over the aeons. Apparently, when the earth first formed, there were two clusters of three days each which existed independently of each other, with Wednesday in the middle, remaining aloof from both these clusters. As the planet cooled, the early-week cluster and late-week cluster actually drifted farther away from Wednesday, until they almost touched the end of the previous week and beginning of the subsequent week, respectively. Wednesday at this time floated in a very large bath of interdiurnal “ocean.” Over the several million years that followed, turbulent temporal currents buffeted the days around in various directions, but with a general trend of drifting toward the center that ultimately resulted in the week we know. (At one point along the way the seven days were lined up almost as they are today, but with Tuesday and Monday reversed in a temporary [3 million year] displacement thought to be caused by unusually high gravitational pulls from the asteroid belt! And a little later on [15 million years], the day that would become our modern Thursday was temporarily grafted onto a second Thursday from a different week, which had been carried westward by warm currents!)

Some scholars (note that I didn’t say “some reliable scholars” or “some scholars who have based their opinions on sound evidence”) believe that around the time of the dinosaurs (3:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. Central Time), the weekdays were shuffled one last time in a kind of temporal “square dance,” with Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday bowing and dos-y-doing around each other while Friday fiddled and called the signals. (Saturday and Sunday were sleeping in, on account of having been out partying the aeon before.)


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Copyright © Jonathan Caws-Elwitt. This page revised February 11, 2009.