[b-hebrew] Re: Genesis 1:6-7, 8:1, Waters Above and Below

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Jun 15 05:36:44 EDT 2004

On 14/06/2004 17:49, Noam Eitan wrote:

> ...
>BTW - how about the etymology of shamayim: sham-mayim (water-there) - does
>it have any validity, or is it a zwei Groschen etymology?
>Noam Eitan, Brooklyn, NY
I think this is worth zwei Groschen but possibly more than two of the 
smallest units of exchange used in ancient Sumer. Both mayim and 
shamayim are derived from common Semitic roots found in almost every 
Semitic language. In most of these languages the word for "sky" is the 
similar to the word for "water" plus a prefixed s- or sh-. (The only 
complete exception is Modern Mandaic erqiha "sky", obviously linked to 
raqia`.) So it is possible that "sky" goes back to something like "there 
water", but if so the naming must go back at least to proto-Semitic 
times - perhaps even to Adam in the garden!

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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