This Q is a follow-up to one I recently asked in Hermeneutics – link - https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/80776/does-the-hebrew-of-deuteronomy-312-indicate-that-moses-date-of-death-was-exact/80821#80821

It appears from one answer given there that there is an interesting development of this idea, based on dates of death and birth of significant characters in the Hebrew scriptures, but as Hermeneutics is not for topics, but for examination of biblical texts, my Q there was confined to the text of Deuteronomy 31:2.

"And [Moses] said to them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day..." (A.

Now, having obtained the answer to that (“No, the Hebrew of that text does not indicate that Moses’ date of death was exactly the same as his date of birth, 120 years later”), I wish to explore the topic of how the view regarding "the integral age of the righteous" developed.

  • A few citations from people that espouse this view would make the question even better. Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 16:38
  • @Ray Butterworth The view is quite complicated, which is why I have not started to make citations about it. But I know that those who espouse it can do a good job of explaining its development. This is one of those questions that only those who are familiar with this view could answer, and their answers would not be short, as shown in one answer to my earlier Q in the Hermeneutics site!
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


“The integral age” view seems to be linked to Seder Olam – the Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology re Moses; also to Rosh HaShanna – from the Gemara re the patriarchs; to Sefaria.org on Rosh HaShana and Kiddushin.

A Catholic article [extracts below] simply challenges the Rabbinic view and the Babylonian Talmud quotes regarding (specifically) the date of Moses’ birth and death being on the same day. Clearly, the origin of “the integral age” pre-dates the Catholic church by at least 2,000 years

From the National Catholic Register Update: The origin of “integral age” - Jon Sorensen noted that the phrase “integral age” may have been coined by William J. Tighe in this article. Tighe writes:

This belief seems to have been widespread in Judaism at the time of Christ, but which, as it is nowhere taught in the Bible, has completely fallen from the awareness of Christians. The idea is that of the “integral age” of the great Jewish prophets: the idea that the prophets of Israel died on the same dates as their birth or conception.

Several statements in the Babylonian Talmud have been used to suggest that Moses died on his birthday. This appears to be stated in at least three places (b. Rosh Hashanah 1 [1:1, VIII.3.X], b. Sotah 12b [1:8, III.38.Q], b. Kiddushin 39a [1:9, II:9:B])

Rosh Hashanah may apply this reasoning to Abraham, however this is unclear. In more recent times, it has been applied to David and perhaps other figures. However, the only person that the Talmud clearly applies this reasoning to is Moses.

Further, while the Talmud dates the claim that Moses was born and died on the seventh of Adar to the period between A.D. 10 and 220 (b. Kiddushin 1:9, II.9.A-B), the argument involving those who obey God living in whole year units may date to a few centuries later.

It can safely be claimed that some Jewish sages from approximately this period in history had the idea that some holy men (at least Moses) lived in whole year units and this may or may not have played a role in the thinking of early Christians in fixing certain feast days. https://www.ncregister.com/blog/integral-age-update#:~:text=The%20idea%20is%20that%20of,as%20their%20birth%20or%20conception.

(Author Jimmy Akin is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on “Catholic Answers Live.”)

That's as much as I've been able to find out myself, but (ideally) those who hold to this view could give a much better answer, and I will leave this open in the hope that such an answer will eventually be posted.

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