[b-hebrew] The Name "Joseph"

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jan 1 15:33:50 EST 2008

Isaac  Fried: 
You  wrote:  “You may be deluding  yourself in thinking that the name Joseph 
is a 
grammatically structured  Hebrew word.  It may well be that the initial YO in 
this name is the YA  in his father’s name and the YI in his grandfather’s 
name, being all holly  names.  The fact that the  bible in Genesis 30:23-24 
gives two accounts or 
justifications for the name  is reason enough for caution.” 
    1.  Why  didn’t you reference the name “Judah”?
    1.  The  approach that most people who participate on these threads about 
the explicit  puns on the names of Jacob’s sons is quite  revealing.
(a)    There  seems to be little interest in analyzing the significance of 
the puns that the  text explicitly states.  Yet that is  of course exactly what 
I am doing. 
(b)    Rather,  people keep trying to say that those explicit puns are not 
the real story.  Some people claim that the names of  Jacob’s sons are not 
reported accurately in the text.  Others claim that the explicit puns that  are set 
forth in the text are not what is important in analyzing the  names. 
    1.  Are  you assuming that the Patriarchal narratives were composed, 
and/or heavily  edited, in the mid-1st millennium BCE?  Do you have any linguistic 
support for  such view?  That is not my view of  the case.
    1.  Even  if the explicit puns on the name “Joseph” that are set forth 
in the text are  “wrong” (not my view), doesn’t it make sense for us to 
analyze those “wrong”  puns?  Don’t such puns likely tell  us a lot about either 
the author of the Patriarchal narratives (my view), or  possibly about the 
editor who put in those “wrong” puns (not my  view)?
As  we will see, if we take the two explicit puns on the name “Joseph” in 
the text  seriously, we will be able to figure out how all three Patriarchal 
successions  worked.  So there is a big benefit  to working our way through the 
explicit puns that are explicitly set forth in  the text.  And this huge payoff 
 suggests that these puns are not “wrong”, but rather were planned from the  
get-go by the author of the Patriarchal narratives. 
    1.  I  myself see a single author of the Patriarchal narratives, who 
lived in the  mid-14th century BCE, with there having been almost no editing of  
the substantive context of the storyline.  Consequently, I take the puns on the 
 names of Jacob’s sons much more seriously than most academic scholars do.  I 
myself think that these particular  names were chosen precisely in order to 
make these profound puns.  I do not see the puns in the text as  being the 
product of a later editor who is trying to pull a fast one on  us.
And  even if you disagree with that, wouldn’t you nevertheless agree that it 
makes  sense for us to take a serious look at the explicit puns that are set 
forth in  the text?  We’re likely to learn  quite a lot from those explicit 
puns, it seems to me. 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois

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