[b-hebrew] Re: Eden's Four Rivers (article)

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri May 13 02:18:51 EDT 2005

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> On 12/05/2005 04:39, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> >
> >
> >> On 11/05/2005 23:41, Karl Randolph wrote:

> >>> Would you have been happier had I written, “The only text that 
> >>> mentions Abraham rules out that he was from Sumer”?
> >>>
> >> No, I wouldn't, because nothing rules out Abraham being from 
> >> Sumer. What text are you talking about, anyway? There are many 
> >> texts mentioning Abraham. If you are talking about Genesis 
> >> 11:31, this rules out nothing. After all, Haran was only a short 
> >> distance off the only practical route from the southern Ur to 
> >> Canaan, assuming that Terah and his family, and perhaps their 
> >> sheep, didn't want to die of thirst in the desert on the way. If 
> >> I meet someone in Seattle who says they come from Moscow, I 
> >> might well assume that they are from Moscow in Russia, not 
> >> Moscow, Idaho, even though the latter is much nearer.
> >>
> > Oh? Which texts besides the Bible mention Abraham? ...
> >
> Well, if you count the Bible, including the New Testament, as just 
> one text, I will have to point you to numerous Qumran and later 
> Jewish documents and to a whole host of Christian, Islamic etc 
> writings. So you cannot speak without qualification of "The only 
> text that mentions Abraham". If what you mean is "The Bible rules 
> out Abraham being from Sumer", at least that is clear, but is 
> clearly untrue.
You just listed series of derivitive texts. I should have been clearer, which original texts besides the Bible mention Abraham?

> > ... Are there some from Sumer? Akkad? Any other cities? Unless 
> > you can come up with records of Abraham in Sumer, you can’t place 
> > him there. There is no evidence.
> Precisely. There is no evidence for you to rule out him being from 
> Sumer, and no evidence for others to rule out him being from 
> Edessa/Urfa. There is insufficient evidence either way.
The strongest evidence is the name of the place listed as Abraham’s birth place. That it is connected with a Semitic people argues against it being Sumer. Even a Sumer with a Semitic underclass.

> > ... So he turned to one Chinese looking kid and asked where he 
> > was born, whereupon the student answered “Canton”. The teacher 
> > used this example to extend his tirade, thinking the student was 
> > from Canton, China, until the student completed his statement 
> > with, “I was born in Canton, Ohio.” The whole class laughed.)
> >
> > The Bible mentions only Ur of the Chaldeas. Seeing as this is a 
> > place connected to the Chaldeas, a Semitic speaking people, that 
> > rules out Ur of the Sumerians, whose language was unrelated to 
> > Chaldean. ...
> >
> Just as your student being from Canton, Ohio rules out him being 
> ethnic Chinese, I suppose? I think the whole class will laugh at 
> your logic here just as they laughed at your teacher.
Don’t be ridiculous! The reason the teacher picked on him was because he was ethnic Chinese. That he was born in Canton, Ohio rules out that he was immigrant Chinese, opposite of what the teacher expected.

The connection here to Abraham is that he was ethnic Semite. Walter Mattfeld just argued that history places many ethnic Semites living in Ur of the Sumerians, so the ethnicity argument is weakened. But from the article you linked http://fontes.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/Ur.htm apparently there were several places with a name that would be written as Aleph Waw Resh in Hebrew, the locations of which today are unknown or can only be guessed at, so the question becomes which place was Abraham from? That it was a place connected with a Semitic people is a pretty strong argument against Ur of the Sumerians. By naming several places as having the same name, the article explains why the place wasn’t just called “Ur” rather “Ur of the Chaldeas”. Further, looking at the Hebrew pronunciation of Chaldean, K#DYM, it sounds like it indicates a people who in Abraham’s time probably lived north of Babylon, while Sumer was to the south.

> > ... Or the ancient pronunciation could have been Ora, very 
> > similar to a town far from Ur of the Sumerians. Whether you agree 
> > with the Bible or not, the text as it presently stands indicates 
> > that Abraham did not come from Ur of the Sumerians, but from a 
> > locale connected with Semitic language speaking Chaldeans. 
> > Therefore, the only text mentioning Abraham as it stands rules 
> > out Ur of the Sumerians.
> >
> >
> >
> I might accept "indicates that Abraham did not come from Ur of the 
> Sumerians", but "indicates X" does not imply "rules out not X", 
> only "makes not X less probable".
> -- Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/

What you or anyone who argues that Abraham was from Sumer needs to do is to find an original reference (in other words, ancient from about the time of Abraham, not modern after archeology uncovered Ur or the Sumerians) that refers to Ur of the Sumerians as )WR K#DYM or the equivelant. Right now, the name of the locale pretty much rules out Ur of the Sumerians.

Karl W. Randolph.

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