[b-hebrew] Ark of the Covenant

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Aug 20 17:33:35 EDT 2004


On 20/08/2004 21:12, MarianneLuban at aol.com wrote:

>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"? ...
>

The particular issue in question is the name Potiphar/Potiphera. You 
argued that this name proves that Genesis is late. I have tried to 
demonstrate that this particular proof is invalid. There are of course 
other arguments in both directions, but let's take them one at a time.

> ...
>
>>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.
>
>  
>
OK. Well, I accept that there are anachronisms in Genesis. I have never 
argued that the text as we have it is exactly as written by Moses; in 
fact few people have. The obvious answer to this objection is that the 
original author used another title for this Pharaoh, or his name, and a 
later redactor (or Moses himself for those who hold to a 19th dynasty 
Exodus) substituted the then current title.

>  
>
>> ...
>>
>>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. ...
>

Thanks for this explanation (snipped). So, it seems you agree that 
Hebrew PR(H is a reasonable representation of pr-a3, as presumably the 
Hebrews did not hear or write down the final N.


>...  Believe me, it is no accident that the word for 
>pharaoh survives as "faraon" in Egypt today. ...
>

I wonder how and when the final n got into Arabic, not just in Egypt? 
Many Arabic biblical etc names are derived from Greek. Also into English 
"Pharaonic"? LXX has FARAW without N, indeclinable. Vulgate has Pharao, 
genitive Pharaonis following a regular Latin conjugation. I wonder if 
the N perhaps got back to Egypt from Greek or Latin via Arabic.

>...
>
>  
>
>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.
>
>  
>
But could not the same person be a priest and an officer?

>  
>
>>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?
>
>  
>
Maybe. But your imagination sometimes seems just as fertile as this one.

>>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. ...
>

What are you saying? pr a3 wasn't used during the Hyksos period as far 
as we know, but what does that tell us about pn, which, as far as I can 
tell from what you say, was pronounced as p followed by a nasalised 
vowel. Egyptians wrote it as pn, but that doesn't mean that Hebrews did 
- just as, to use your earlier example, the French write "bonjour" but 
someone who knew no written French would probably transcribe it without 
the n. Well, maybe Moses could read hieroglyphic Egyptian, but that 
doesn't mean that he felt compelled to write in Hebrew every letter 
which is represented in the Egyptian text. He would have written down 
Egyptian names as he heard them, not according to the Egyptian spelling 
- just as centuries later Greeks and others did.


-- 
Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
http://www.qaya.org/





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