[b-hebrew] Ark of the Covenant

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Fri Aug 20 16:12:13 EDT 2004

In a message dated 8/20/2004 10:40:25 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
peterkirk at qaya.org writes:

> > ...
> >
> >
> >That the BOG was written a thousand years before the Septuagint is a huge 
> >assumption--based on what? ...
> >
> That is the hypothesis which you tried to deny. Harold and I are trying 
> to show that your falisification is invalid, so we have to work with the 
> hypothesis. That there is other evidence in favour of the hypothesis is 
> just at the moment irrelevant.

Here, wait!  You talk as though I were the only person ever to have claimed a 
late authorship for the Torah.  But you should know that I am not.  And there 
is evidence for that, too, or scholars would never have suggested it.  Leave 
Harold out of it--and speak for yourself.  Where is your evidence that my 
"falsification is invalid"?  Actually, the idea that the Torah was written a 
thousand years before the Ptolemaic era finds little support among most Bible 
scholars these days.  Except those who happen to be fundamentalists.  

> >... To recap--I said earlier that I found it strange that 
> >the name of the pharaoh Joseph served was forgotten--but that the names of 
> a 
> >captain of his guard and the priest of On (Heliopolis) were not. ...
> >
> Except that as argued below these may not actually be names but titles. 
> The king of Egypt is called "Pharaoh" as if this were a name. It is of 
> course a title, not a name. The words PR(H, PW+YPR and PW+Y PR( [+ = 
> TET, note how similar they are] may actually all be titles which are 
> used in Genesis as if they are names.

Here we go again.  I have some more bad news.  The king of Egypt was not 
referred to as "pr a3" at all until quite late in Egyptian history.  Not until the 
18th Dynasty and then but rarely.  It only became a common name for the king 
in the 19th and 20th Dynasties--and following that.  "pr a3" actually means 
"Great House".  The rationale is that the king was the "Great House" from which 
came all benefices.  It is rather like saying "The White House issued a 
statement today"--when it really comes from the president, himself.  So to write 
"pharaoh" in Genesis is but another anachronism.

> >...  But the reason for the scholars of the Septuagint assuming 
> >"Petepres" is that this was a name still current and had been for the last 
> couple 
> >of hundred years.  But not before that.  
> >  
> >
> So we are agreed here.
> >
> >...  But, 
> >okay, I can suggest something.  Just in case the names of the two men *are* 
> >different, the first can be accounted for.  Because it is written 
> "Potiphar, an 
> >officer of Pharaoh", perhaps it means exactly that--in Egyptian.  "an 
> officer of 
> >Pharaoh" can possibly be "P3-wdw-pr-a3" (the officer of pharaoh) and could 
> >very well have been vocalized "Potiphar".  But nothing like that can 
> account for 
> >the name of the priest of On. ...
> >
> Hold on, and look at the Hebrew forms I gave above. Pharaoh is spelled 
> PR(H, with ayin [and a final silent he], and this presumably corresponds 
> to Egyptian pr-a3, even if your 3 is nominally alef rather than ayin.

The /a/ is the ayin--and /3/ is an alef only in syllabic orthography, group 
writing.  In the New Kingdom group writing it was used to write Semitic 
alef--by a kind of default--because by then it had become a "mater lectionis" and 
could stand for just about any vowel sound.  However, even then, /3/ was given 
its older value at times, which was the agent that formed the syllables "ar, al, 
and an" and varying intonations thereof.  This depended on the word, name or 
toponym involved.  To fully explain /3/ would take a very long post.  It is a 
very complex thing, indeed.  Believe me, it is no accident that the word for 
pharaoh survives as "faraon" in Egypt today.  However, if other peoples did not 
hear the weak or nasal "n" sound, that would be understandable, too--the 
Greeks never wrote it, either.  Let us say I am speaking French and give you a 
quick "bonjour".  You would know there is an n there because you know how 
"bonjour" is spelled.  But, if you didn't, do you really think you would catch the 
"n" in "bonjour" just by how it is pronounced?  There were no dictionaries in 
antiquity.  Mostly, various peoples had to write each others languages as they 
heard them--unless they were well-schooled in another language.  And they had 
to use whatever graphic system was available to them--which often did not even 
contain sounds present in the other languages they sought to reproduce in 

 So > one might expect P3-wdw-pr-a3 to appear in Hebrew as something ending 
> in 
> PR(H or PR(. And that is exactly what we have for the priest of On. So 
> why don't you allow P3-wdw-pr-a3 to be that priest's name (as well as 
> Joseph's master's name), or title misunderstood as a name? Is the 
> problem that a priest of On would not have been an officer of Pharaoh, 
> or what?

No priest was ever referred to as "an officer of pharaoh"--and not in the 
Bible, either.  An officer is an officer--even in ancient Egyptian.  Priests had 
titles, too, but these were different.

> By the way, I have seen it suggested that Potiphar and Potiphera are not 
> just the same name but the same person: Joseph's former master, having 
> perhaps been appointed priest of On while Joseph was in prison, gave his 
> daughter in marriage to Joseph when the latter became important, hoping 
> to win back the favour of the one he had wronged and now had to submit 
> to. The problem with that is that the text of Genesis seems to present 
> them as different people.

Does this come from some midrash--or what?  Just someone's imagination?

> >...  So we are stuck with that one, I'm afraid.  As 
> >for the "records of the Hyksos"--no name there, had there been such a 
> record, 
> >would have begun with the masculine article "p3", which is the beginning of 
> >all those names like "Petepres" (as rendered in Greek).  The reason is this 
> >article was never used at this time in writing.  The article was "pn", 
> then.  Few 
> >texts survive from the Hyksos time but there is one very interesting one 
> >called the Papyrus Rhind.  It is a document from the Delta and actually 
> tells of 
> >the onslaught of the Egyptians on the Hyksos strongholds.  In it, a certain 
> >Theban prince, probably Ahmose, is called "pn rsy" or "the one of the 
> south".  
> >See?  Now the article "p3" is derived from this "pn" and reflects how it 
> came to 
> >be pronounced at some point (because Egyptian /n/ was always a weak 
> phoneme). ...
> >  
> >
> The weak phoneme may always have been written as n in *Egyptian*, but it 
> is probable that those writing the names in *Hebrew* would have written 
> what they heard rather than trying to represent every written 
> hieroglyph. So, if the /n/ was silent, in Moses' or Joseph's day, it 
> would not have been written in the Hebrew text.

True--but see again what I said about the timeframe of the designation "pr 
a3".  It certainly wasn't in use during the Hyksos period--or before.  I don't 
want to be rude, but I am getting a little ticked off.  Some people here are 
just plain refusing to accept anything I say and are forming various 
rebuttles--without really knowing their "Egyptian stuff".  Am I a "heretic" just because 
I have certain information that "rains on the parade"?  On tradition?  For me, 
it doesn't matter when the Torah was written.
Or how many anachronisms it may contain.  It is still a wonderful thing and 
contains plenty of truth.  Enough for me, that is.

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