[b-hebrew] Historical Abraham Britannica DVD
Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz
macnietspingal at airmail.net
Tue Oct 31 07:43:50 EST 2006
I'm amazed by this. I simply didn't know this is current scholarship.
Certainly makes a difference in trusting the Hebrew words and how we each
interpret them, or rather which Ph.D. thesis we endorse. For me gives me
more power to believe in my own experiences in translating these words.
That is if I pretend I live in Iraq/Iran/Israel over 2500 years ago. Think
about shelter/food/clothing/education. The "what if" scenario. I read the
bible to find out all about ME/MYSELF/I as a female human being raised by a
single female parent. So how everyone interprets every word is very
revealing to me, especially if I have some idea of their own background:)
The complete bible: TaNaKh, Apocrypha, New Testament, Koran in that
chronological order, for the same geographical area. Four languages,
Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, in chronological order:)
The saga of Abraham unfolds between two landmarks, the exodus from “Ur of
the Chaldeans” (Ur Kasdim) of the family, or clan, of Terah and “the
purchase of” (or “the burials in”) the cave of Machpelah. Tradition seems
particularly firm on this point. The Hebrew text, in fact, locates the
departure specifically at Ur Kasdim, the Kasdim being none other than the
Kaldu of the cuneiform texts at Mari. It is manifestly a migration of which
one tribe is the centre. The leader of the movement is designated by name:
Terah, who “takes them out” from Ur, Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran,
another son of Terah, and their wives, the best known being Sarai, the wife
of Abram. The existence of another son of Terah, Nahor, who appears later,
Most scholars agree that Ur Kasdim was the Sumerian city of Ur, today Tall
al-Muqayyar (or Mughair), about 200 miles (300 km) southeast of Baghdad in
lower Mesopotamia, which was excavated from 1922 to 1934. It is certain that
the cradle of the ancestors was the seat of a vigorous polytheism whose
memory had not been lost and whose uncontested master in Ur was Nanna (or
Sin), the Sumero-Akkadian moon god. “They served other gods,” Joshua, Moses'
successor, recalled, speaking to their descendants at Shechem.
After the migration from Ur (c. 2000 BC), the reasons for which are unknown,
the first important stopping place was Harran, where the caravan remained
for some time. The city has been definitely located in upper Mesopotamia,
between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, in the Balikh valley and can be
found on the site of the modern Harran in Turkey. It has been shown that
Harran was a pilgrimage city, for it was a centre of the Sin cult and
consequently closely related to the moon-god cult of Ur. The Mari tablets
have shed new light on the patriarchal period, specifically in terms of the
city of Harran.
There have been many surprising items in the thousands of tablets found in
the palace at Mari. Not only are the Ḫapiru (“Hebrews”) mentioned but so
also remarkably are the Banu Yamina (“Benjaminites”). It is not that the
latter are identical with the family of Benjamin, a son of Jacob, but rather
that a name with such a biblical ring appears in these extrabiblical sources
in the 18th century BC. What seems beyond doubt is that these Benjaminites
(or Yaminites, meaning “Sons of the Right,” or “Sons of the South,”
according to their habits of orientation) are always indicated as being
north of Mari and in Harran, in the Temple of Sin.
etc. etc. etc.
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