[b-hebrew] A linguistic chain?

Brian Roberts formoria at carolina.rr.com
Sat Jan 7 12:59:49 EST 2006


On Saturday, January 7, 2006, at 12:43  PM, Karl Randolph wrote:

> Brian:
>
> There was a NOVA program on TV that asked concerning the Lemda
> tribe in South Africa, and traced them back to a migration caused by
> the collapse of an irrigation dam in Yemen about 1000 AD, if my
> memory serves me correctly. As such, it was interesting, but well
> post Biblical times.
>
> Karl W. Randolph.

Well, as a dilettante, I am not in a position to make linguistic 
pronouncements regarding this or any other issue. Yet, it strikes me as 
very interesting that the Lemba call themselves Ba Senna (roughly 
"children of Senna" I believe?), and we have the name "Abysinnia" 
alternatively used for Ethiopia which is of uncertain origins. 
Conti-Rossini identified an Arabian tribe called "Habashat" in the 
inscriptions as the culture which immigrated to Ethiopia, bringing this 
name "Habashat" with them. As I understand what I've read, the earliest 
occurrence of the name "Habashat" in Ethiopia occurs in the 3rd century 
CE.

So, rather than beat the dead horse that has become identifying the 
"Habashat", we can take a look at this situation. We have Semitic 
Africans in Ethiopia (the Qemant) who say their traditional home is 
Sennar (a city not reflected in any known Ethiopian city). We also have 
Semitic Africans in South Africa and Zimbabwe (the Lemba) who claim 
genesis in an ancient Senna in SW Arabia. My question is can this be an 
accident? Or is this anomaly best explained as these tribal groups 
having a common root? What does the linguistics have to say about it?

Best Salaams,

R. Brian Roberts
Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology
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