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

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri May 13 08:34:56 EDT 2005

On 13/05/2005 07:18, Karl Randolph wrote:

> ...
>>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.
You misunderstand the situation. The Semites in the southern Ur were not 
an underclass. If, as many do, we date Abraham to the Ur III period of 
revival following the period of domination by the Gutians, this was in 
fact a period of revival of Sumerian culture, but only after a period in 
which Ur and all of southern Mesopotamia had been dominated by the 
Semites of Akkad/Agade. Perhaps Terah and Abraham, as Semites, felt 
unwelcome in an Ur where Sumerians had regained dominance, and so moved 
to more clearly Semitic lands to the north west.

As for the connection with a Semitic people, who were the Kasdim? Unless 
this is an anachronistic reference to the neo-Babylonians of 
Nebuchadnezzar's time, we have no reason to suppose that they were 
Semites rather than Sumerians.

>> ...
>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. ...

Yes, he was an ethnic Semite, but that doesn't prove that he was born in 
a Semitic city rather than as an immigrant in a largely Sumerian city. A 
precise parallel to your ethnic Chinese.

>... 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. ...

Where does this "Ur of the Sumerians" come from? Of course the fact that 
your student was ethnic Chinese is a pretty strong argument against him 
coming from Canton, Ohio (presumably there are many more ethnic Chinese 
born in Canton, China), but the argument happened to be wrong. A better 
parallel might be whether an ethnic Hispanic was from Los Angeles, 
California, or a small town called Los Angeles in Mexico. At first sight 
a Mexican Los Angeles sounds more likely, but there are actually more 
Hispanics born in Los Angeles, California, than in any small town 
anywhere in the world. The southern Ur was one of big cities of the 
ancient world, and had a large, perhaps even majority population of 
Semites. So there is no way that it is improbable that any one wandering 
Semite originally came from there. The possible northern Urs were 
probably much smaller places.

>... 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.

What evidence do you have for who the K#DYM were in Abraham's time? That 
is a serious question, I would be interested in any evidence for this 
people in this period.

> ...
>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 ...

Correction, not Ur of the Sumerians, possibly Ur in Sumeria but Ur of 
the Semites as well as the Sumerians.

>... as )WR K#DYM or the equivelant. ...

No, because I suspect that this name is an anachronism, and because if 
it is not no one knows who the K#DYM were.

>... Right now, the name of the locale pretty much rules out Ur of the Sumerians.

But it does not rule out Ur of the Semites as well as the Sumerians, 
which is a better description of the southern city.

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

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