[b-hebrew] Karnaim

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Nov 12 11:17:11 EST 2004

On 12/11/2004 15:53, Karl Randolph wrote:

>I'm inclined to agree with you.
>Horns come out from an animal in the same manner as rays from a light source, and though in Tanakh the "horn" use is more common, the "ray" use is closer to the root meaning. At least that's my 2¢ on the matter.
Karl, you may be right that the original meaning is "ray" rather than 
"horn". But it does look to me as if the data from other languages 
suggests the meaning "horn". Cognates are found in Akkadian, Arabic, 
Ethiopic, Phoenician and Aramaic, and loan word forms in Latin ("cornu") 
and even in English ("horn"), all with the meaning "horn" but as far as 
I know nowhere else "ray". This implies that any semantic shift from 
"ray" to "horn" must have happened very early in the history of Semitic 
languages. Also horns were a very obvious physical part of Semitic 
pastoralist culture, whereas the concept of an individual ray is rather 
an advanced one. So my money, if only 2p, would be on an original sense 

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

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list