[b-hebrew] Language, migration and Jewish identity

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Nov 9 10:02:06 EST 2007


On 11/9/07, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Nov 9, 2007 12:39 AM, K Randolph wrote:
> > Here let's not get our panties tied in a bunch—all I mentioned is that
> > different people understand "scholar" and "scholarly community"
> > differently. You can't take for granted that everyone uses those terms
> > the same way as you do.
> Some terms must have meanings that are recognized by all.  Otherwise,
> we would be speaking to each other in different languages, literally! ,,,
Sometimes it seems as if we are speaking different languages. This
happens most often when a term is used one way in a specialized group,
another way among the general public. "Scholar" is one such term: in
academia it has a different meaning than among other groups. But this
is English, not Hebrew, and as English is not your native tongue (if I
remember correctly), that misunderstanding is understandable. Further,
we should not continue bickering about this term.

> > > > > .... the great majority of scholars understand the
> > > > > evidence to suggest that the Exodus or Patriarchal narratives do not represent
> > > > > anything more than possible and if so, garbled, historical memories.
> > > >
> > > > First of all, this is not a linguistic determination.
> > >
> > > This list is not just linguistics.  It is also literature.
> > It's neither linguistics nor ancient literature. In so far as it deals
> > with ancient literature, the "scholarly" position which is predominant
> > in modern universities eisegetes its own ideology (religious belief)
> > into the text. After studying it, it is that eisegesis that is one of
> > the fatal flaws that make me reject it.
> That just means you reject it and disagree with it.  Not that it is
> not literature.
In that it is not ancient literature, it is irrelevant to the question
(not Jason's question, rather the veracity of the ancient records).
The conclusion is still not based on linguistic or literary
considerations. Any other basis is off limits for this group.

> > The problem we are dealing with here is that much of the terminology
> > we deal with has different definitions depending on who we deal with,
> > and sometimes when we deal with the same individuals. The scientist
> > working in the lab may work with "science" defined according to modern
> > science, while the philosopher of science defines "science" according
> > to a post-modern definition; what makes it worse is that sometimes
> > those two people are the same individual, once in the lab, the second
> > time dealing with the public. Confused? You have a right to be,
> > because many people are.
> Again, this is according to your definitions of science and evidence and
> post-modern, etc.  The scientist you describe, that same individual,
> has different definitions than yours and surprisingly, he's not confused in
> the end of the day.
How many times do I have to repeat that the definitions for science
and evidence are not my definitions, rather taken directly from the
unanimous definition of science given in every science textbook that
included a definition for science written by scientists that I read
when I was in college? That the definition is no longer unanimous, is
that not evidence that the definition is changing under the influence
of post-modernism? Further, that a scientist can hold to contradictory
positions, is that a sign that he is not confused, or that he has
never thought through to the logical conclusions of what he is saying
and doing?

> > > > Secondly, if we take the records as written, most of the communication
> > > > between "Egyptians" and Hebrews would have taken place between a new
> > > > set of "Egyptians", namely the Hyksos, and the Hebrews. Seeing as the
> > > > Hyksos spoke a Semitic language, would that have left any noticeable
> > > > traces in the Hebrew language?
> > >
> > > I don't know what the Hyksos spoke.  My guess is they spoke Egyptian.
> >
> > Every article I have read says that the Hyksos most likely were
> > Semites from Canaan. If so, they would most likely have spoken a
> > language very similar to Hebrew. The reason we can't be 100% sure is
> > because the records of the Hyksos were deliberately destroyed by the
> > Egyptians. However, some of the surviving names were definitely
> > Semitic.
> I don't know what you read.  A lot online about the Hyksos seems to
> derive from old scholarship and unwarranted analysis.  Here is an article
> that in the main seems ok (but this is not a complete endorsement):
> https://eidr.wvu.edu/files/5044/The%20Hyksos.pdf
> There are several points here:
> 1) The Hyksos worshipped Baal and identified him with Seth
> 2) The Hyksos names were not "definitely Semitic."  One name --
> Mer-woser-ra Jacob-her -- appears to contain "Jacob" as part of the
> name.  What else is Semitic about this name?  I don't know to
> what degree the names can be said to be "definitely Semitic."
> They are definitely not just Semitic, but also contain Egyptian
> elements.
> 3) The Asiatics adopted Egyptian writing, they adopted religion.
> They seem to have tried to assimilate.  What did they speak?
> I don't know!  I don't see here any evidence that shows that they
> spoke Semitic, and there is definite evidence that they could
> understand Egyptian writing and language.
As for the origins of the Hyksos, let's quote the article you
reference above: "Scholars do know that these people where [sic] of
Asiatic origin, probably coming out of the area the Egyptians referred
to as Retjenu or lower Syria and Palestine." (page 1) What have I
claimed that is different than this?

A more modern example would be the Franks: their official documents
were in Latin, their dealings with the locals were in French, but for
a longer time than the Hyksos ruled in Egypt, they spoke German among
themselves. This has direct parallels with the Hyksos as an Asiatic
people speaking a Semitic language. As Egyptian was the high class
language (as Latin was for medieval Europe), they would have used it
for recording their official documents, but that does not say what
language they used when speaking among themselves.

> > That will explain,
> > among many other things, why Moses was given a Semitic name by a
> > princess going down to bathe by the river, which is something an
> > Egyptian princess would not have done. But because of the paucity of
> > evidence, we cannot be 100% sure. And I will not argue the case.
> Actually, the best bet for Moses' name is that his name is Egyptian (ms'(w)
> = child).  Various Egyptian names contain this element -- Harama$$i
> = Horus is born, for example, from the Amarna archive.  The Hebrew
> etymology appears to be a folk etymology attached to an Egyptian name.
> Other priestly names that appear to be Egyptian include Aaron and
> Pinehas.
Yes, I have heard that argument many times. But it contradicts the
written record. If Moses himself wrote the written record as the
documents claim, then he was either recording a fraud to try to show
why he should be considered a Hebrew, or he told his true history. But
if the story was recorded centuries later, then all sorts of legend
and myth could have accrued to the story.

> Yitzhak Sapir

You are quibbling about details, and what is worse, some of those
details are in dispute. If you continue in the same vein, I will not
respond again. As far as I am concerned, this thread is closed.

Karl W. Randolph.

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