[b-hebrew] "Dan" in Ezekiel 27: 19

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Dec 28 10:45:31 EST 2007

Isaac Fried:
If I am understanding your post, you are seeing all of the following as being 
1.  “The name DAN”
2.  “ADON, ‘lord, master’”
3.  “DIN, ‘law, justice’”
4.  “)ATON, ‘Equus asinus’,”, meaning a she-ass
5.  And “as a personal name it may be the name of an 
 ancient deity, corresponding to ADONAY of the Hebrews.”
As you probably know, university scholars in the West do no permit the name 
of Akhenaten’s sun-god deity, Aton or Aten, to be compared with one of the 
names of the Hebrew deity, Adon or Adonay.  Meanwhile, non-scholarly books 
routinely assert that the names of those two different deities are essentially 
identical, and are derived from each other.  
The sounds D and T in Egyptian (and other languages) are somewhat similar, 
though by no means identical.  It seems likely to me that a foreigner, whether a 
very early Hebrew or a pre-Hebrew Canaanite, might not clearly distinguish D 
from T in an Egyptian deity’s name.  (Likewise, although the Hurrians 
themselves almost certainly distinguished D from T, it is almost impossible for us 
today to make such a distinction in Hurrian.)  When one compares “Aton” to “Adon”
, the difference in sound seems pretty slight, considering that a foreigner 
would be unlikely to be able to distinguish consistently between an Egyptian T 
and an Egyptian D.  “Duat” in Egyptian is alternatively transliterated into 
English as “Tuat”, for example.  When “Aton” came to mean an Egyptian deity 
in the 15th century BCE, and no longer simply meant the sun as before, a 
meaning of “lord, master”, which you give above for Hebrew Adon, would seem to be a 
natural fit for the new conception of Aton in Egypt.
I am basically repeating here the well-known non-scholarly arguments.  I 
honestly do not know how strong or weak such non-scholarly arguments are.  In my 
opinion, it is unfortunate that university scholars do not seem willing to 
discuss this controversial issue on the merits, but rather unanimously insist, 
without discussion, that there is no relationship whatsoever, in any way, shape 
or form, between “Adon” in Hebrew and “Aton” in Egypt.  Oddly enough, 
atheistic scholars seem to be more insistent on that than anyone else.  (To me, the 
scholarly position would be much more convincing if (i) 10% of scholars had a 
contrary view, and (ii) there was a vibrant discussion/argument among 
university scholars on this issue, out in the open.  I myself do not know of a single 
mainstream university scholar in the West who sees any relationship at all 
between “Aton” and “Adon”, or who is even willing to discuss that issue.)
Since you are someone who possibly has a foot in both camps, being well aware 
of scholarly works but willing to think outside of the box, could you dare to 
comment as to whether, in your opinion, there might be any linguistic 
connection between the word “Aton” in Egypt and the word “Adon” in Hebrew?  I 
myself am not asserting, much less insisting, that there is any relationship 
between those two words (and I am well aware of the critical fact that the two 
deities in question are very different deities, with very different 
characteristics, so that the deities themselves certainly do no seem to be derived from each 
other).  I am just asking for your honest opinion on the linguistic side of 
this controversial, prominent issue.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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