[b-hebrew] definate article on proper place name

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sat Jan 14 16:57:39 EST 2006


Dear Steve,

The general rule is that proper names don't nead the article. However, 
proper names that are understood as descriptive may receive the article, 
since it's the article that makes them into proper names in the first place. 
For example, "Mizpeh" means "lookout". For a "lookout" to be a proper name, 
in would have to be "The Lookout". This might eventually develop into just 
"Lookout", if the place became so well-known that everyone would know which 
lookout was meant. Of course, one problem that we have is that we don't 
always know what the authors assumed that their readers would know.

S. Noah Lee wrote an article on "The Use of the Definite Article in the 
Developement of some Biblical Toponyms" in Vetus Testamentum 53 (2002), 
334-349. I happen to have a photocopy. If you wish, contact me off-list and 
I'll email you a copy.

Yigal

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Miller" <smille10 at sbcglobal.net>
To: "B-Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2006 6:30 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] definate article on proper place name


> What is the significance of the definite article on a proper place name?
> Most proper place names do not ever occur with a definite article. The
> following are the only place names I found that were preceded by the
> definite article:
>
>
>
> 1) "Havilah" is used 3 times as a place name in the Bible: Gen 2:11, where
> it has the definite article, and Gen 25:18 & 1 Sam 15:7 where it does not.
> Does this mean that that "the Havilah" in Gen 2:11 is different than 
> Havilah
> in the other two references?
>
>
>
> 2) Moriah - only 2 usages (Gen. 22:2 & 2 Chron 3:1), both with the 
> definite
> article.
>
>
>
> 3) Gilead - Used about 100 times as a place name. The place name almost
> always has the definite article, but a few do not. Some of the ones that
> don't have the def. article refer to a city called Gilead (Hos 6:8) or to
> the inhabitants of Gilead (Jud. 11:8). Here are the refs that do not use 
> the
> def. article and don't seem to refer to the inhabitants or to the city: 
> Gen
> 37:25; Num 32:1, 39; 1 Sam 13:7. 1 Kings 4:19; 1 Chron 5:9; 27:21; SS 4:1;
> Jer. 8:22 (by vowels); 46:11; Zech. 10:10.
>
>
>
> 4) Mizpeh - Always with def. article except when referring to Mizpeh of
> Gilead (Jud. 11:29) or to the people of Mizpeh (Hos 5:1).
>
>
>
> 5) Goshen - never with def. article when referring to Goshen in Egypt. 
> Josh
> 10:41 & 11:16 refer to a land of Goshen in Israel. 11:16 has the def.
> article, but 10:41 does not. 10:41 probably refers to the inhabitants. 
> Josh
> 15:51 refers to a city of Goshen and does not have the article.
>
>
>
> 6) Bashan - Similar to Gilead. Almost always with definite article.
>
>
>
> 7) Galilee - 5 out of 6 uses have def. article. Only Isa. 9:1 "Galilee of
> hagoim" does not have the def. article on Galilee, but does on goyim..
>
>
>
> 8) Uz - Jer 25:20 has def article. Job 1:1 and Lam. 4:21 have no article.
>
>
>
> 9) Magog - def. article in Ezek 38:2. None in 39:6.
>
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> -Steve Miller
>
> Detroit
>
>
>
>
>
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> 




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