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

Heard, Christopher Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Thu Dec 23 21:10:28 EST 2004

On 12/23/04 5:06 PM, "Revdpickrel at wmconnect.com" <Revdpickrel at wmconnect.com>
> Jim, I didn't say Adam wrote Genesis, you're reading into it.  What I said
> is, it must have been Adam before he name them.  Who else was around before
> the 
> two great lights were names.  Oh!, Maybe Eve (<:~ or did she come after their
> naming.  Maybe the notion came from process of elimination.  This is going to
> be like "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"  Now, Jim, don't you think
> Moses knew the names of the sun and the moon, so why did he write "the two
> great lights"?

Umm, Doug, Jim didn't say that you said Adam wrote Genesis. He just said you
said Adam wrote _something_. Which you did at least seem to say.

But in any event, what makes you think Adam named the lights? It does, in
fact, stand to reason that he would have called them something, but strictly
speaking, Genesis 2:19-20 only says that Adam named the terrestrial _living_
creatures and the birds, not the lights in the sky or anything else,
including the trees or even the fish.

For what it's worth, one explanation that is often given for the use of the
term "great lights" in Genesis 1--rather than "sun" and "moon"--is that its
author (whoever that might be) wanted to "demote" the sun ($M$) and moon
(YRX) in the minds of the readers (whoever they might be) from the status of
(potential) deities to the status of mere timekeepers. According the KB
lexicon, $M$ is attested as the name of a sun-god in Akkadian, Phoenician,
Punic, and Old South Arabic (in the latter, KB says that $M$ appears as a
theophoric element in personal names). As for YRX, KB says that YRH (the H
there should have a rocker underneath, the letter is three wedges in a
vertical line, corresponding to Arabic kha') is attested in Ugaritic texts
as a divine name. I haven't the resources ready to hand to track down
references and look at the primary sources with my own eyes just now.


R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Armstrong Fellow in Religion
Pepperdine University

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