[b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?
uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 19 10:32:34 EST 2007
Yigal wrote, inter alia:
..."3. There is no evidence of "Hebrews" in Late Bronze Age Canaan.
It has been shown that the so-called "Habiru" or "Apiru" of the
Amarna texts are NOT "Hebrews" in the biblical sense of an ethnicity.
Some scholars even deny an etymological connection between the
terms, although that is still debated. "
Scholares such as Rainey deny such a connection, but Th. Meek
considers them identical. And I found the latter's arguments in
Hebrew Origins more convincing.
As for the Habiru (to use the Jerusalem spelling from the EA tablets), yes,
Greenberg and others have demonstrated that this term occurs throughout
the ANE in the second millenum and is is not an ethnicon, referring rather
to landless elements.
Now it is intresting that Ivrim, (Ibrim, in the HB is a term used often by
others, Philistines, Pharaoh's daughter etc to describe the Hebrews.
Further interesting is thre fact that only about four generations separate
the Amarna period from the Mrerenphah Stella time. And the time limits
of the Amarna period are arbitrarily limited by the parts of the archive which
were unearthed. The Habiru activity described in them could well
have started earlier and lasted a few generations longer, and then one
has a temporal connection between some of them and Israel.
The above is speculation, but it is not so far fetched if one takes into
consideration the following: no existing self description of Habiru is available;
they must have acted in groups in some cases and such had soical
organization and a name of their own. As menioned, some of them may well
have been early Israelites.
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