[b-hebrew] Akhenaten and the Hebrew Religion

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Jul 22 19:01:09 EDT 2004

On Thursday 22 July 2004 15:20, MarianneLuban at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 7/22/2004 11:30:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> formoria at carolina.rr.com writes:
> > Marianne, let me put a question to you: how do we know that biblical
> > Zoan is Tanis/San el-Hagar? Apart from the assumption that the
> > references must be to the capital of Ramesside Egypt, I mean?
> It is assumed mainly on philological grounds.  In hieroglyphs, Zoan is
> spelled "Dan.t".  As James Hoch ably demonstrates in his work "Semitic
> Words In Egyptian Texts", Egyptian /D/ corresponds with Semitic "z".  As
> you probably know, the Egyptians wrote only with consonants, /a/ being one
> of them.  Mostly, it has been assumed this was vocalized like Semitic
> "ayin"--but this has been questioned by some philologists with good reason.
>  There are many indications that /a/ was pronounced  something like "o"
> and, if not, some foreigners tended to hear an "o" there. The true "a" in
> Zoan was likely the unwritten vowel and, of course, final /t/ is silent--as
> it usually is in Egyptian.  In the Coptic Bible(Coptic being the ultimate
> stage of the Egyptian language) Zoan is written "djane" (due to the fact
> that the final silent /t/ always demands a preceding vowel sound) and the
> Arabs call Tanis "San el Hagar" or "San of the Stone". "Tanis" is the Greek
> version only.  The fact remains is that certain sounds can only be
> approximated with foreign graphic systems.  If Zoan is not Tanis--then one
> scarcely knows what other place it can have been.

I see massive speculation here, as well as questionable phonology.  As for the 
last sentence, who says it has to be a place that is already known?  I'm all 
too familiar with the tendency to try and associate the unknown with 
something known, but it's a tendency that often needs to be resisted if we 
are to make true progress.  "I don't know where it was" really is a 
legitimate answer in this type of context, and the fact is that we don't know 
where this Zoan was.

Dave Washburn
Insert clever epigram here...or not

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