[b-hebrew] Potiphar's title

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Jul 10 22:12:20 EDT 2003

On Thursday 10 July 2003 17:38, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 10/07/2003 15:54, Dave Washburn wrote:
> > ... So my
> >
> >question is, "how was such a consensus (assuming it really is such)
> > arrived at?"  Until I know that, I have no way to determine whether
> > someone's "research" is accurately based, built on speculation, or
> > circular reasoning (e.g. Akkadian is "early" and Genesis is "late"
> > therefore such and such a word in Genesis MUST be a loanword from
> > Akkadian, which proves that Genesis is "late").  ...
> There must be more to it than this, Dave. 

That's what I hope to determine.

See the scholars cited by K-B
> in my response to Stephen. Also, if as you suggested this word is part
> of the common Semitic stock, instead of being Akkadian ša rēši “the one
> at the head” > Hebrew saris, it would be Hebrew še rō'š, or 'ašer rō'š
> “the one at the head”. 

Perhaps, but not necessarily.  Hebrew also has words such as reshit and rishon 
with similar meanings.

I'm not sure why Akkadian š becomes Hebrew s when
> borrowed, but you can hardly argue that Hebrew š (shin) becomes Hebrew s
> (samek).

Of course not.  I'm not talking about Hebrew shin, but a term from the 
(admittedly hypothetical) Proto-Semitic word stock.  So the question is not, 
"doea Akkadian shin become Hebrew samek" but "might a Proto-Semitic word with 
(say) a sin be rendered with a 's' sound in Hebrew but a 'sh' sound in 
Akkadian?"  Based on the chart I'm looking at in C. H. Gordon, _Ugaritic 
Textbook_ p.30, the answer is "very likely."  The 7th column of the chart 
shows a Proto-Semitic s' (an 's' with an acute accent on it) rendering as 's' 
in Hebrew but 'sh' in Akkadian.  So if there is any validity to the pattern 
he sets forth, the question of SRYS still seems to be an open one.

I say all this while bearing in mind that I'm a grammarian, not a 
lexicographer, which means I'm painfully aware of my limitations in this 

Dave Washburn
"God does a lot of things in the Psalms
that He can't get away with in systematic theology."

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list