[b-hebrew] Ayin and Ghayin
yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Sep 24 21:14:12 EDT 2005
On 9/23/05, Karl Randolph <kwrandolph at email.com> wrote:
> This is the last time I plan to respond to this thread.
This is just as well, because in two days I have to be away
for two weeks anyhow. But anytime you raise your theory
again I'll be there to remind you and everyone else that you
have refused to look at evidence.
> Unless you can come up with new data that backs up your
> theory, you have nothing but theory. I asked for Aramaic
> documents from about 1800 BC,
That's because you assume Aramaic existed at that date.
As it happens the earliest mention of Arameans occurs in
connection with the Ahlamu in connection with Tiglath
Pileser I's (1114-1075) campaign. There he refers to his
pursuits of the Ahlamu Arameans. The Ahlamu appear
in various mentions from the 14th century onwards, but
now apparently also in an Old Babylonian letter in regards
to events in Suhum, between Mari and Babylon where
some Suteans (I think they are related to the Sutu later
found in context with locations in Israel but am unsure yet)
are based. Sutean is mentioned among a list of languages in
a text "Sag B" dated to the Middle Babylonian period (16th
century to 11th century), that also includes Akkadian,
Amorite, Subarean, Elamite, and Gutean. Sumerian is not
included, probably because it was a dead language by this
time. Subarean probably corresponds to our Hurrian. Amorite
probably corresponds to the Amorites (and my understanding is
that it is to be connected with later Canaanite and Ugaritic.)
Sutean could very well be related to Aramaic, based on such
words as "Bar-Halanum" and "Madinatum." (It might also be
Arabic, based on a name "Almutu"). Now, where in this list is
Aramaic? Where is Hebrew? Rather, the list seems to
correspond to the reconstruction that Phoenician, Ugaritic,
and Canaanite all evolved from earlier "Canaanite-Amorite."
Perhaps Ugaritic was not even a different language but just a
dialect of the Canaanite-Amorite language. Similarly, Sutean
would correspond well to Aramaic. And we do have some
attested connection between the group names in the form
of Sutean - Ahlamu - Arameans. You have stated earlier,
"Take just the example of Latin, a language for
which we have historical records: its spelling became
frozen so that even when pronunciation changes occurred
they did not show up in the written record until later, and
then as new spellings in Spanish, French, Italian and
other Romance languages." Well, what is your proof that
Ugaritic was not just an early form of Hebrew/Canaanite? It is
like saying "I don't think that Spanish, French, Italian, and Latin
are related languages and evolved from one another, nor that
phonemes from earlier Latin merged in later dialects. No, I
don't think that learning Latin, French, or Italian will help me
and I'm a happy camper knowing just Spanish and thinking
my ideas." When I wrote:
> > I want to be sure you won't suggest that a text I bring up is not
> > Hebrew. So to make sure you don't, I want you to define what you
> > mean by Hebrew. How do you know that the entire Torah and Bible
> > is not written in a dialect of Aramaic? How do you know that two
> > texts are written in Aramaic and not in two different Aramaic-like
> > dialects, but different languages. For example, Daniel's Aramaic
> > sections and Ezra's. How do you know that two separate texts
> > are written in Hebrew and not closely related but different
> > Hebrew dialects. For example, Samuel and Leviticus?
> How do you know that Shakespeare and my computer
> manuel were not written in two closely related, cognate
> languages? Or that the KJV was composed in a closely
> related dialect of Shakespearean? C'mon! Don't be
Well, now is the point. How do you know that Ugaritic does not
correspond to Shakespearean English or Old English whereas
Hebrew corresponds to a later English? How do you know? What
methods would you use to set them apart?
Ah, well, you date the Bible by the Torah which you date to the
15th/14th centuries based on external considerations. Well, good for
you! But all you have going for that is your interpretation of tradition.
The Talmud already notes that the Torah was given in one alphabet
while it was written by the Massoretes in another. And many
consider the Zohar and Onkelos to have been given to Moses as
well. In fact, how do you know Onkelos wasn't given to Moses?
Where does the Onkelos say that it wasn't? So if you go by
tradition for dating the Torah, you should go by tradition for the
Zohar and Onkelos too, and date them accordingly, and then
you have it -- complete and extensive religious texts from the time
of Moses in Aramaic.
But so long as you don't give me more methodological methods
for telling apart Aramaic from Hebrew and Ugaritic from Hebrew,
or Ugaritic from an earlier than Biblical stage of Hebrew, it would
be like claiming that a dialect of Latin is not related to Spanish
because it is a totally different language. In order to support your
claim, yes, you do have to learn Spanish, and Latin and probably
French and Italian as well. And in order to support your claim
regarding Hebrew, you have to learn Ugaritic, and Phoenician.
And learning Arabic and Aramaic wouldn't hurt either. Any of
these languages will help you a lot and give you a lot in your
study. Learning Aramaic itself will be useful since parts of the
Bible are written in Aramaic!
> a statue from a thousand years later, and even that one I
> see as providing more support to how I think the Hebrew
> language developed than your theory.
I don't get it. The statue's inscription clearly identifies the
letter Samekh as corresponding to two different Assyrian
phonemes, t and s. How does that support your theory?
> You have à priori ruled out the Hebrew data as being valid,
I haven't. I relate to the Hebrew data the same way as
the statue -- the time it is dated. The Massoretic data is
dated according to the date of the manuscript whether it
is the Leningrad Codex, or the Aleppo Codex. The DSS
the same. The statue the same. All data on the same
grounds. Like I said, by your method of dating, you'd need
to consider Onkelos and the Zohar as originating in the
time of Moses.
> It doesn't matter if I study Ugaritic, Aramaic and Arabic
> until I'm blue in the face, if I think your reliance on cognate
> languages is wrong, no amount of cognate language data is
> going to convince me.
Unless "I think your reliance on cognate languages is wrong"
proves to be wrong. If it proves to be wrong, you will be
convinced. We can debate all you want the philosophical
grounds for learning cognate languages. Or you can just
learn them and see for yourself.
> Evidence from the history of European languages where
> we have documented records, does not support your
We also have documented records from Semitic languages.
You just refuse to look at the records.
> What I need from you, knowing full well that
> you cannot provide it, is a series of documents written in
> Aramaic and Hebrew, dating from 2,000 BC or older to
> about 800 BC, showing how the languages developed
> and how the phonemes merged over that period of time.
First tell me how to tell apart languages. Tell me why I
should classify Aramaic as a cognate rather than an early
form of the same language as Hebrew. Or why I should
classify Ugaritic as such.
> Without in language data to back up your theory, your
> theory is no more than speculation.
I have data. You just "think" my data is irrelevant, but
refuse to look at it nonetheless.
> > Daniel is not evidence as you require various assumptions in
> > order to date it that early.
> And you require various competing assumptions to date it
No, for this issue here, because of differences of opinion on Daniel,
I just don't rely on it. The same with the Torah, Onkelos, and the
> In the absence of historical data, what do you have
> besides your assumptions? And seeing as your
> assumptions are ideologically biased (no less biased
> than mine), why should I accept your assumptions?
They are not ideologically biased. Whereever there are
ideological differences of opinion I try to base myself on
externally datable materials and ancient records only. Your
perception that I refuse to accept your ideological bias
appears to you that I am ideologically biased. But it isn't so.
I just refuse to accept data that is controversial as far as its
date. You wish to use ideological bias, but you apply it
selectively (ie, only to consonantal text and not to
Massoretic vocalization, despite the tradition which relates
both to Moses).
> Again I appeal back to available time. I have already
> spent too much on this exchange which has led nowhere,
> If I had all the time in the world, I would gladly study both
> languages, but seeing as I have only limited time, and
> furthermore I expect only very limited benefit for the
> understanding of Biblical Hebrew from such a study, at
> this point in my life I cannot spare the time to do a proper
> study of that material. (I did read five chapters in Exodus
> before making breakfast for my sons this morning, which
> I consider time well spent in the study of Hebrew.)
Maybe your expectation is wrong. Would it hurt you so much
instead of one year reading the Bible in Hebrew, to read the
Torah in Aramaic and to read some texts in Ugaritic? Many
many people have found them useful and enlightening for Bible
study. You probably would as well. But you just don't "expect"
it even though many others before you tried and came back
again. Perhaps you are just afraid of putting your expectations
to the test.
> There were many alphabets used by many languages,
> including Ugaritic, but what I demand to see is examples
> of alphabetic use in Aramaic and Hebrew from 2,000 BC
> to about 800 BC, and that in extensive documents, not
> just graffiti. Well?
Is Ugaritic Hebrew or not? (Why, or why not?)
> > I consider also divergences. The evidence shows that phonemes
> > merged.
> > Since this discussion is centering on evidence, I'll concentrate
> > on these issues.
> OK, where's the valid evidence. Cognate languages don't
Why not? You yourself used cognate languages to show a shift
from "c" to "s". (Even though I noted the shift was different in
that it did not create a new phoneme).
> > Why not? You are consistently ignoring the specific examples
> > I put forward. Tell Fekherye, $kl/&kl, Execration Texts. Not to
> > mention the whole corpus of Ugaritic and Onkelos.
Incidentally, I meant $kr/&kr, but $kl/&kl are also good.
> You need to prove your model, before your "evidence" counts.
No, my evidence counts whether you like it or not. You feel a
desparate need to show you shouldn't look at evidence after I
placed it all before you and that is ridiculous. If you really wouldn't
change your mind by looking at the evidence, you'd simply look
at it, and not change your mind!
[In regards to my showing that Beth Shemesh, Ashteroth,
Jerusalem, and Ashqelon were written according to the
accepted reconstruction of $/th in Egyptian Execration
> Modern languages usually mangle foreign words and place
> names to make them fit within their phonetic structure,
> there is no reason that Biblical Hebrew did not do the
> same. Sometimes exposure to foreign phonemes leads to
> new phonemes in a language, usually not.
You're still saying that the Torah (and Joshua) is using an
inadequate alphabet for some of the words. Your earlier
statement was "Therefore, unless you can prove that the
early Hebrews were using an ill fitting alphabet when
Moses wrote Torah in the 15th century BC, you cannot
rule out the historically attested to pattern from other
languages indicating that the 22 graphemes represented
the 22 consonantal lexemes recognized by the ancient
Hebrews." Essentially, you are now saying that the
Hebrews were using an ill fitting alphabet when (according
to you) Moses wrote the Torah!
> > What history is being ignored. Arabic does not become "North
> > Semitic" just because it is spoken by "North Semitic" people.
> > And don't trust the Wikipedia on that, anyway.
> I just had to pull your chain, for linking to an article
> that you now diss.
I accept what I accept of what it says because I know it is true from
more reputable sources. If you want, I can cite them, but you
apparently won't go look them up anyway. That's why I gave you
the Wikipedia to begin with.
> > According to your own definition above, a lexeme is at least
> > a "word." What three words or phrases (lexemes) do the three
> > graphemes of "too" represent, and why does the presence of
> > three graphemes indicate at least three words or phrases?
> What are you talking about?
Ah, now I see. Your definition of grapheme is different than mine.
> > > There is no vocalization evidence from native speakers in
> > > the Masoretic text.
> > There is no consonantal evidence from native speakers in the MT,
> > either.
> Agreed, just phonemic indicators traditionally classified as
Depeneds what you mean by "phonemic indicators" but probably not
even that. There is no native speaker document that allows us to
connect the text of the Massoretes to phonetics or vocalization.
> > Because you're doubting and negating the assumptions of those
> > who have gone before you. You can't rely on conclusions that
> > are based on premises you don't accept. If you want to rely on
> > the conclusions and deny the premises, you must reconstruct
> > the conclusions from your own premises. You must reinvent the
> > wheel, if you are persistent in reinventing it for your basic
> > premises.
> This is nonsense. Just because I disagree with your
> strange theory does not mean that I disagree with textual
> criticism of Biblical texts using the DSS Bible copies.
> Those are two completely different fields.
All those linguists and critical scholars on whom you rely, had as a
premise my "strange" theory.
> > The DSS contain the earliest extant Biblical manuscripts. How
> > could that be irrelevant for the study of Biblical Hebrew?
> Who said DSS Biblical texts were irrelevant? Not I.
You said "much of the DSS." But did you study the interrelationships
between DSS non-Biblical texts and DSS Biblical texts? What about
DSS texts that are in some bibles but not in others?
> > How do you know Ugaritic was not Hebrew? Are you
> > defining Hebrew to be a language that does not contain
> > extra phonemes, by assumption alone?
Interesting you did not respond here.
> > > Finally, I am not "stuck with the Massoretic Text, for all that
> > > it contains.", for I am not constrained to accepting the
> > > Masoretic points. I can ignore them as new invention.
> > How do you know they weren't copied down from earlier and
> > the evidence simply didn't survive? You believe in Mosaic
> > authorship of the Torah, after all.
> You assume they did change. All I ask for is
How is that related to what I said? We are talking about
Massoretic vocalization here.
> None of the DSS had the points, there isn't even a place
> to put the points in pre-Exilic Hebrew writing, ergo the
> documentation for pre-existing points does not exist.
But you don't use DSS manuscripts in your study. The DSS
did have extensive vocalization, including in Biblical texts.
> Do you not rule out that Moses in the 15th century BC
> wrote Torah in basically the consonantal text form we
> have today apart from relatively few copiest errors? If
> so, you selectively rule out evidence I think is important.
Well, the Talmud says that we don't know which words
were plene and which not, because changes in this regard
were so extensive, and that Moses received a different
alphabet for writing the Torah. I have no copy of the Torah
from the 15th century. So I can only accept as evidence
the copies of the Torah from the DSS, the earliest such
copies. Again, do you rule out that Moses received the
Onkelos and Zohar in largely the same form as we have
them today? If so, why?
> > You don't have contradictory evidence. You can't. You
> > don't know Ugaritic, Aramaic, Arabic, or Akkadian, the
> > major known Semitic languages besides Hebrew.
> This is where I disagree with your model.
You can learn them and see if you're right or not.
> This is funny. First you don't provide the documentary
> evidence I demand, but now you demand documentary
> evidence no one has. For example, all the histories I read
> concerning Ugaritic, assuming Kitchen's dates, say that it
> appeared suddenly without historical antecedent about
> 1400 BC with most documents postulated to come from
> about 1200 BC after which it ceased to be written, and
> now you want me to give you a documented history of
> how the language developed before and afterwards?
See in this regard the following:
Again, how do you know that Ugaritic isn't an earlier form or dialect
of a language that later evolved to Hebrew?
> In closing, the only evidence concerning the structure and
> vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew that we have is the text
> itself. From the DSS and prior documents, the evidence is
> that the original text did not include the Masoretic points. It
> includes only 22 recognized phonemes which have been
> connected to 22 consonants.
No, no. It includes only 22 graphemes. They have been
connected to 22 consonants by no one, not even tradition,
except by your assumption. Everyone else connects them
to at least 23 phonemes/consonants.
> Now you are trying to tell
> me, based on some theory with no documented evidence
> to back it up from within Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew includes Massoretic points. The Massoretic
points show that $ and & were different phonemes represented
by the same grapheme. Whether you like it or not, the fact is
that Massoretic pointing is evidence. Also, note Ken Penner's
message cited earlier in this context of consonant shifts noted
within the DSS and Samaritan manuscripts.
> Intellectual rigorousness compels me, at the very least, to
> question your theory.
Intellectual rigorourness should compel you to first examine the
evidence and major current treatments of the issue before you
question the issue. But at least examine the evidence that you
only have to click and download.
> This discussion is going nowhere, and should stop.
You should look at the evidence instead of quibbling about
not looking at the evidence. Then you could relate to it and
the discussion would move somewhere.
More information about the b-hebrew