[b-hebrew] connections b/w semitic and indo-european languages

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Aug 18 16:31:39 EDT 2004

Hi Jason,

Liz and others have already mentioned Persian, Hittite and so on. Your
question also mentions "the language of the Philistines". In fact we know
next to nothing about their language. Since the Philistines, like the other
"Sea Peoples" (a name made up by modern scholars!) are presumed to be of
Aegean origin, it is assumed that their language is related to archaic
Greek, but we have no proven Philistine texts from before the 9-8 centuries,
by which time they had assimiliated and lost much of their unique culture.
The famous 7th century Ekron dedication inscription, found in the 1990's, is
the longest "Philistine" inscription, mentions the King Padi known from
Sennacherib, as well as his son, whose name, Achish, is the same name as the
Philistine king of Gath who hired the outlaw David in the book of Samuel.
The language of the inscription is totally Hebrew/Canaanite, except the name
of the godess to whom the inscription is dedicated. Both Naveh and Demsky
have proposed that is is the name of an Aegean godess. However, all of the
Philistine gods mentioned in the Bible (Dagon, Baal-zebub), seem to have
Semitic names.

There are several words, that appear in the Bible in conection with the
Philistines, which seem not to be Hebrew, and different scholars have
suggested that they are of "Philistine" origin. One is Seren, the title of
the Philistine rulers (usually translated "captain"), perhaps related to the
Greek "Tyranos" (Tyrant). And Koba( , used for Goliath's headgear, is
spelled Qoba( by Isaiah. This would show that the word is not Hebrew - might
it be related to the Hindu-European "Cap" (head)? Also the Argaz (box) on
which the Philistines loaded the ark as they sent it back to the Israelites.
And perhaps the Napah (district?) of Dor - known to have been settled by the
Sherdenu, another of the "Sea Peoples"?

That's about all we know of Philistine language.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jason Hare" <jason at jhronline.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 3:57 PM
Subject: [b-hebrew] connections b/w semitic and indo-european languages

> Does anyone know of any possible connections early on
> between the Indo-European languages and the Semitic
> family? When did they break off of the language tree
> respectively - or did they share roots? I am asking
> because I got the following message from a participant
> on my message board:
> <<Hello. I am from p207.ezboard.com/b***************,
> and I am wondering about any connection between
> Indo-European and Hebrew. Now, I know that there are
> the adopted Latin/Greek words like technology etc...,
> but I'm more curious about words that survive from
> biblical days. Since, the Philistines and Hittites
> were IndoEuropean peoples, one can easily assume that
> the language must have had an impact, being neighbors.
> Do you have any idea (hint: Etruscan is closest to the
> language of the Philistines.)
> Thanks for the time and consideration. Shalom. >>
> I already told him that I would post his question here
> and find out if anyone had any ideas. I am sorta cut
> off from sources at the moment.
> Thanks in advance,
> Jason Hare
> Student of Spanish and Philosophy
> Missouri Southern State University - Joplin
> jason at jhronline.com http://www.jhronline.com
> hare-j-814 at mssu.edu
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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