[b-hebrew] Akhenaten and the Hebrew Religion

George F. Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Fri Jul 23 00:02:29 EDT 2004


On Thu, 22 Jul 2004 21:25:13 -0600 Dave Washburn <dwashbur at nyx.net>
writes:
> On Thursday 22 July 2004 20:46, MarianneLuban at aol.com wrote:
> > 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..."
> 
> Isaiah is considerably later, of course, and so shouldn't enter into 
> the 
> discussion if we're talking centuries before his time.
> 
> > _______________________________________________

Are we really?  It would seem more likely that we are dealing with the
precise period in which the traditions regarding the putative Exodus
events were being formulated into the various traditions.  Of course, if
you simply accept the traditional presentation as being historical and
reflective of the time of its codification, that might be true, but that
would seem to involve one in all sorts of difficulties.

george
gfsomsel



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