[b-hebrew] Was Abraham Born in Mesopotamia?
uzisilber at gmail.com
Mon Nov 5 13:46:13 EST 2007
controversial view indeed. there are many 'ifs' in there.
another interesting point concerning this six month calendar:
Jews have two major new years as well
the first month -- chodesh rishon - in the jewish (babylonian) lunar
calendar is nissan -- the month of passover.
but rosh hashana (head of the year) is held on Tishrey - chodesh shvi'i -
or the seventh month.
what is the prevailing opinion of modern secular scholarship regarding the
identification of kasdim with kassites?
On 11/5/07, JimStinehart at aol.com <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:
> You wrote: "Did anyone raise the issue that Ur Kasdim didnt exist during
> time Avram was supposed to have lived? and that since Ur was a major
> sophisticated city during Babylonian exile it is plausible that the
> editors of the
> tanakh in the 6 century BCE inserted an Ur background to abraham to lend
> air of sophistication to Avraham and his
> No one here has raised those issues. In my controversial view, those
> are without merit.
> 1. In my controversial view of the case, the secular historical time
> period of the Patriarchal Age is the mid-14th century BCE. Everything
> in the Patriarchal narratives fits that narrow, specific, peculiar time
> period (except a tiny handful of phrases that were inserted later by an
> 1. Ur was a major Babylonian provincial city in the mid-14th century
> BCE. It was still wealthy, though it no longer wielded any
> political power.
> Because the Babylonians always made a point of bragging that Babylonia
> included Ur (the pre-Babylonian capital of Mesopotamia), ancient Ur's
> glories remained fairly well known throughout the 2nd millennium BCE.
> 1. As to "Kasdim", consider who the rulers of Babylonia were in the
> mid-14th century BCE: the "Kassites", the KS people. And as to the
> ruler of Babylonia in the mid-14th century BCE, we know from the Amarna
> Letters that the first four consonants of his name were KDSM. If one
> inverts the order of the two middle consonants we get KSDM, or
> "Kasdim". Thus
> in my controversial view, "Kasdim" in the Patriarchal narratives is a
> on "Kassites" and "KDSM". The fact that two consonants are inverted as
> the individual ruler's name does not reflect a "mistake", in my judgment,
> but rather reflects the negative attitude of Egypt toward Babylonia in
> the time
> period of the Amarna Letters, which the Hebrew author of the Patriarchal
> narratives, who lived during this same time period in my controversial
> view, is
> picking up on.
> 1. During the Babylonian exile, Ur became permanently extinct. Ur
> been nothing but a virtual ghost town since about the 10th century BCE.
> People still remembered Ur, though, and experts argue whether a few
> buildings still remained in place in the 1st millennium BCE. But for the
> part, Ur virtually did not exist in the 1st millennium BCE, except as a
> nearly abandoned relic.
> 1. Nothing good about Ur is stated in the Patriarchal narratives.
> Abraham's brother Haran is stated to die there, and YHWH reminds Abraham
> YHWH had done a good thing in not letting Abraham suffer his brother's
> unfortunate fate of dying in far-off Ur. Thus I see no attempt
> whatsoever "to lend
> an air of sophistication to Avraham and his descendents" by mentioning
> For example, Abraham and YHWH are portrayed as speaking Hebrew, not as
> 1. The most unusual aspect of ancient Ur had been its peculiar
> 6-month "
> year" concept. In 5,000 years of human history, the only place that
> celebrated a multi-day New Year/Akitu festival both in the spring, and 6
> later in the fall, was ancient Ur. Thus by making Ur the very first
> geographical reference in the Patriarchal narratives (which begin at
> Genesis 11: 26,
> with Ur being mentioned at Genesis 11: 28), the author alerts us that the
> of the people in his story may be set forth in terms of 6-month "years".
> Thus Terakh was not 70 years in 12-month years when he sired Abraham. No
> Terakh was age 70 "years", in terms of 6-month "years", when he sired
> Abraham, which is age 35 regular years. Likewise, Terakh cannot die at
> age 205
> regular years. Those two facts stated in chapter 11 of Genesis clue us
> in to
> the fact that all ages of all characters are set forth in the text in
> terms of
> 6-month "years". Terakh died at age 205 "years" in terms of 6-month
> ", meaning that Terakh died at age 102½ regular years.
> 1. Every single story, without exception, in the Patriarchal
> relates to the particular secular historical time period of the mid-14th
> century BCE, in my controversial view of the case. That was virtually
> the only
> time in history when a pre-Hebrew family could have a semi-realistic
> of making a one-time caravan expedition to Mesopotamia, and selling the
> goods obtained there to Egypt for a huge price. That is exactly what is
> portrayed in the opening chapters of the Patriarchal narratives, in my
> Such a caravan trip would be a fantasy in most any other secular
> time period, but it was realistic in the time period of the beginning of
> mid-14th century BCE.
> The reason why Abraham's "am"/people/ancestors are never stated to be in
> Mesopotamia in the text is because Abraham's ancestors had lived in
> Canaan, not
> in Mesopotamia. The text always refers to "mowledet"/MWLDT as to
> in Mesopotamia: descendants of Abraham's father, who were in Mesopotamia
> a one-time basis only, for one caravan expedition. Abraham's father
> and Abraham's brother Nahor, get stuck in Harran when they cannot make it
> back to Canaan due to Terakh's infirmity.
> Abraham was not a native Akkadian speaker from Ur, or a native Hurrian
> speaker from Harran, who came to Canaan for the first time as an old man
> and spoke
> broken Hebrew. No way. Rather, Abraham spoke perfect Hebrew from day
> having learned pre-Hebrew on his mother's lap -- in Canaan.
> The one thing odd about the caravan expedition is that Abraham does
> not sell
> the luxury goods from Mesopotamia to Lebanese middlemen for a moderate
> price. Instead, pursuant to divine advice, Abraham goes straight to
> Egypt and
> sells the luxury goods for a sky-high price in Egypt. Though that was
> something of a long shot in the mid-14th century BCE, it was nevertheless
> for a monotheistic tent-dweller. That was the only time in the
> long history
> of ancient Egypt when Egypt was moving in the direction
> of monotheism. Also,
> the pharaoh's heir was having a terrible time trying to sire a son by his
> main wife #1. So Pharaoh could have been sympathetic to Abraham, both
> both were semi-monotheistic, and because both were experiencing a
> problem regarding siring a son. The one and only time period in
> which this
> story is realistic is the mid-14th century BCE.
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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