[b-hebrew] Wellhausen vs. "Pharaoh" and "Pithom"

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Mon Dec 31 21:18:31 EST 2007


On Dec 31, 2007 10:41 PM, Yigal Levin wrote:
> Jim, I'll give you another example of the same kind of phenomenon: The name
> "Ashur" (Assyria) was borrowed into Hebrew fairly early, at a time when the
> Assyrians and others were still pronouncing the "sh" sound. By the late Iron
> Age, the Assyrians themselves had begun pronouncing the same sign as "s".
> Thus, by the time of King Essarhadon (682-669 BCE), whose name was spelled
> "Ashur-ahhe-iddina", what the Hebrews actually heard was "Assur-ahhe-iddin",
> which was rendered "Assarhedon", spelled with a Samekh. His kingdom,
> however, was still spelled Ashur, with a Shin.

Actually, this is an example of Hebrew development.  The original
consonant was [s]
in Semitic.  In Hebrew, it apparently first developed to an [$] sound
when adjacent to
high vowels.  Later, it developed in Hebrew to [$] when adjacent to
other vowels too.
In Babylonian, this [s] > [$] change also took place, but in Assyrian
it did not.  So,
Ashur was borrowed earlier, perhaps when Hebrew [s] had not yet
developed to a [$],
but possibly even when [s] and [$] could not be differentiated in
Hebrew near high
vowels ([i] and [u]).  Later, when [s] had completely developed to a
[$], and perhaps
also after [ts] (samekh) had deaffricated to become an [s] (probably
after the [s] > [$]
development), the Assyrian "Assur-ahhe-iddina" was rendered with a
samekh.  This is
similar to the name Jerusalem, where the original initial yodh
developed to a j in
English.

Yitzhak Sapir



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