[b-hebrew] The Biblical politics of masculine and feminine

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Sun Nov 19 11:07:11 EST 2006

On 18/11/2006 23:21, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> ...
>> By the way, the guy's name was Sirach or Ben Sirach, so why do people
>> drop the final "ch"?
> According to Moses Zevi Segal's The Complete Book of Ben Sira (1958), p. 1-3,
> Rabbi Saadia Gaon calls him "$m(wn bn y$w( bn )l(zr bn syr)".  The Genizah
> fragment T-S 16.315 containing Ben Sira 50:39 also contains this spelling.
> The Syriac spells the name ")syr)".  The Greek chi is said by Segal to vocalize
> the vowel letter Alef at the end of the name and provides as equivalent the
> names 'IWSHX in Luke 3:26 ("ywsy") and 'AKELDAMAX in Acts 1:19 ("xql dm)").
> The word "syr" means "thorn" and the surname "the thorn" is found as a
> Priestly surname in the Bible (Ezra 2:61, Nehemiah 3:4, 3:21, 1
> Chronicles 24:10)
> and as a name of a person in the tribe of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:8).
Thank you, Yitzhak. I hadn't read this when I replied to Uri. While this 
is hardly an explanation of the chi, it shows that it is not 
unprecedented. Perhaps in certain dialects a word final aleph was 
pronounced a bit like a chi, perhaps because the alef sound was being 
lost and to maintain a distinction from a simple -a ending.

I wonder if the Syriac 'SYR' here might be more original than the Hebrew 
SYR'. 'ASYR of course means "captive" and might imply that the author's 
grandfather had been a captive in Babylon. The link with "thorn" is 
interesting, but the priestly surname you mention is not SYR but QWC, so 
why the change?

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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