[b-hebrew] Akhenaten and the Hebrew Religion

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Thu Jul 22 22:46:12 EDT 2004

In a message dated 7/22/2004 4:01:42 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
dwashbur at nyx.net writes:

> > 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. What, in 
> your opinion, is the "questionable phonology"?  I would be happy to discuss 
> that with you, as Egyptian phonology is a favorite area of study with me.
> As for the "massive speculation", that is not mine.  Zoan has been accepted 
> as Tanis for a very long time.  This place occupied a strategic position on 
> the east side of the Tanitic branch of the Nile and therefore was important to 
> peoples to the east when it came to dealings with Egypt.  It was the refuge 
> of Hadad the Edomite.
> The fact that pharaoh lived there is indicated in Isaiah 19:11.  "The 
> princes of Zoan are utter fools; the wisest counsellors of Pharaoh are a senseless 
> council."  Isaiah 30:2 says "They walk to go down to Egypt...to take refuge 
> in the stronghold of Pharaoh and to take shelter in the shadow of Egypt...for 
> his princes are at Zoan..."
> At this time, the Tanite Dynasty was still strong.  One of their number, 
> Sheshonq I, had conquered Judah and looted the temple.  For that the wrath of 
> the prophets was directed at Zoan.  I prefer to shave my legs with Occam's 
> Razor.  The simplest explanation.  However, if you have another site in Egypt 
> that you think is a better candidate for Zoan, I would be interested in hearing 
> about that.

 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.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list