[b-hebrew] logograms--an ode to Hebrew

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Dec 23 10:00:06 EST 2004


Karl,

Nowhere in Genesis (or anywhere else in the Torah) is there reference to
pre-existing written sources, such as there are in Kings or Chronicles. The
only way Moses could have authored Genesis is if God had revealed it to him.
If one wishes to believe that, I have no problem with it, but you must
accept that that is outside the realm of scientific argumentation.

In any case, the Bible does not actually claim that Adam and Eve spoke
Hebrew. Abraham is known as Ha(ibri, presumably because he was descended
from Eber (though this reason is never actually stated). If God had revealed
the content of Genesis to Moses, it would have been in Hebrew, but that's no
proof that the antediluvians spoke Hebrew.

Rabbinic tradition, of course, does indeed claim that Hebrew was the
original language - and that the Aleph-Bet and the Torah both existed before
creation. In fact, there's a nice midrash about why the world was created
with a Bet (Bereshit) rather than an Aleph. As compensation, Aleph got to be
the first letter of the Decalogue.

Yigal


----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
To: "Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2004 7:47 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] logograms--an ode to Hebrew


> George:
>
> What I pointed out is that Jack's assertion that Akkadian is the
> oldest written language cannot be proven, as other languages, even
> very early on, indicated that their prefered writing materials were
> perishable, while that of Akkad were preserved. The accident of
> preservation does not equal earliest authorship.
>
> I have heard twice, in lectures, not written, that Genesis
> preserves indications that it is a collection of older writings,
> including sources that were ante-diluvian. Assuming that this
> assertion is correct (even if just to play the devil's advocate),
> the question is, did Moses translate these documents into the
> Hebrew of his time, or did he merely collect and edit the documents
> to make Genesis? If the latter, then Genesis indicates that Hebrew
> is the oldest language on earth. If the former, then we can't tell
> which was the original language. (A third option, one which is
> unhistorical and equally philosophical, says that Genesis was
> written far later than its claimed authorship.)
>
> Go back to my posting, reposted below for easier access. Did I
> claim that Hebrew as the oldest language had clear historical
> proof? Did I not admit that my views, from an academic standpoint,
> were speculative? Yet, the very fact that my questions can be
> raised without being disproven, does that not show that Jack's
> assertions are not as solid as he claims? In short, is there not a
> lack of evidence for any claim as to which is the oldest written
> language?
>
> Karl W. Randolph.
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "George F Somsel" <gfsomsel at juno.com>
>
> >
> > On Wed, 22 Dec 2004 20:44:43 -0500 "Karl Randolph"
<kwrandolph at email.com>
> > writes:
> > > Jack:
> > >
> > > You are confusing oldest surviving with earliest written.
> > >
> > > While it is true that the earliest specific mention of writing
> > in > Hebrew is that of writing long books to be carried by
> > nomads, it > does not mention which writing materials used,
> > though presumably > ink on parchment.  Here's the speculation
> > part, if Moses in the > mid second millennium BC was using ink on
> > parchment, what was to > prevent his having older texts, also ink
> > on parchment, possibly > already copies of copies, that recorded
> > all the way back to Adam? > If this speculation is true, that
> > would make parts of Genesis > older than the oldest surviving
> > Akkadian writing. It is only that > ink on parchment did not
> > survive, while fired clay bricks did, > that leaves us with
> > Akkadian writing surviving while possible > Hebrew writing did
> > not.
> > >
> > > There is no evidence that this speculation is either correct or
> > > wrong. However, there are clues in Genesis that Moses used
> > older > manuscripts to make his Urgeschichte, original history,
> > and that > those manuscripts may have had their authors going
> > back to Adam. > If true, that means your whole development scheme
> > below is wrong. > But clues do not equal evidence.
> > >
> > > As for "Proto-Hebrew", I'm not Mr. Smith, but I think he means
> > > the oldest Hebrew.
> > >
> > > Karl W. Randolph.
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon at historian.net>
> > >
> > > > > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Darrell Smith" > >
> > <Darrell.H.Smith at sceptreofjudah.org>
> > > > >
> > > > >  Nevertheless, all Semitic languages are > > direct >
> > descendants of Proto-Hebrew!
> > > > > This just is not true.  Akkadian was the earliest recorded
> > > Semitic > language. Protosemitic divided into geographic >
> > divisions and > Northwest Semitic consisted of Aramaic, Canaanite
> > > and Ugaritic. > Ugaritic is important in the development of >
> > proto-Sinaitic and > Canaanite and the evolution of these >
> > languages produced Phoenician, > Hebrew and Moabite.  You need to
> > > explain to me what "proto-Hebrew" > is.
> > > > > Jack
> > > -- ___________________________________________________________
> >
> > Karl,
> >
> > This is not an acceptable academic procedure.  You apparently admit that
> > Hebrew is not the oldest Semitic language for which we have written
> > evidence, but you then procede to maintain that it is nevertheless the
> > oldest Semitic language.  On what basis?  It is this unsupported
> > NEVERTHELESS that is unacceptable.
> >
> > george
> > gfsomsel
> > ___________
>
> --
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