[b-hebrew] Amalek

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Mon Jul 5 23:08:42 EDT 2004

Dear Michael,

You have written a fascinating paper. Has it (or part of it) ever appeared
in print? Parts of it are well-known, for instance that not all biblical and
ANE references to Cush mean Ethiopia (actually, today's Sudan). To this I
would add, that Classical sources were also familiar with the "Hindu-Cush"
in what is today Afghanistan and Pakistan. Also, that many of the people
called "Cushites" in the Bible may very well be Sinai/Negev/Arabian nomads
of one sort or another, including Midian (about whom we also have no
independent evidence). "Cushite" in Hebrew, besides referring to a person
from the land of Cush, also refers to a dark-skinned person. Anyone familiar
with the southern Bedouin today know how many such people live among them -
products of millennia of cross-migration with east Africa.
As far as Nimrod's "father" Cush being the Babylonian city of Kish, please
see my "Nimrod the Mighty, King of Kish, King of Sumer and Akkad", Vetus
Testementum 52 (2002), 350-366.

You get to the Amalekites at the end of your article. You correctly state
that there is no reference to them outside the Bible, and then cite Arabic
sources. However, you do not explain when these sources were written. If I'm
not mistaken, they are Medieval, Islamic writers. Even if they claim to be
writing about "before Mohammad's time", they cannot be used as independent
sources for the ANE - Muslim and even pre-Muslim traditions were heavily
influenced by Jewish and Christian traditions, which are in turn based on
the Bible. Amalek is also mentioned quite a lot in Jewish sources of the
1st-6th centuries C.E. - the Talmud and its related literature. Jewish
tradition, for example, identifies Haman "the Agagite" of Esther as a
descendant of Agag king of Amalek from 1 Sam. 15. But these traditions are
all based on, or expansions of, the biblical tradition, and thus cannot be
accepted as "independent evidence". The same for the Arabic sources that you

So I stand by my previous post: we have NO knowledge of Amalek outside the

Yigal Levin

btw, you might also want to see my "'From Goshen to Gibeon'(Josh. 10:41):
The Southern Frontier of the Early Monarchy", Maarav 10 (2003), 195-220 for
some of the geographical aspects of "Amalek".

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Banyai" <Banyai at t-online.de>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, July 05, 2004 11:29 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Amalek

> You might try to read in my online-paper "The Arab Fringe" found under:
> http://www.abara2.de/chronologie/fringe.php
> Best regards,
> Bányai Michael
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew

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