Jerusalem, definitions

George Athas gathas at mail.usyd.edu.au
Wed Sep 8 20:09:19 EDT 1999


Numberup at worldnet.att.net wrote:

> It appears that the reasoning is in this way:  Yerushalayim is a dual form of
> Yerushalem, a compound form possibly meaning "foundation of peace," i.e., yeru +
> shalem.  "-shalayim," then, would be the dual form of shalem.  What is the problem
> with this scenario?

The problem is that the dual of "-shalem" would be "-shalmayim". Unless "Yerushalayim" is
an odd internal re-inflection of original "Yerushalem", it cannot be the dual of
"Yerushalem". The dual of "Yerushalem" would be "Yerushalmayim". As it stands, the
singular of "Yerushalayim" would be "Yerushal". However, theKetiv of YRWŠLM in the
biblical text suggests that it was originally pronounced "Yerushalem". Assyrian
transliteration also suggests this. Somehow, the vowels at the end were reinflected to
read "Yerushalayim". Did this shift perhaps start in the late 8th century BCE when the
growing settlement on Western (Zion) Hill of Jerusalem was enclosed by a wall with this
new district known as the "Second Quarter" (ha-mishneh)? Or was it done in Hellenistic
times when Jerusalem once more reached this extenet?

Best regards!
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GEORGE ATHAS
 Dept of Semitic Studies,
 University of Sydney
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Tel Dan Inscription Website is at
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