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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Jan 2 10:38:28 EST 2008

Yigal Levin and Yitzhak Sapir:
1.  (a)  Yigal Levin wrote:  “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.”
(b)  Yitzhak Sapir seemed to largely agree that “Ashur” came into Biblical 
Hebrew early, as he wrote:  “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]).”
2.  “Ashur” is present in the Patriarchal narratives, at Genesis 25: 18.  
And we have two Amarna Letters written from Ashur-Uballit of Assyria.  So on my 
view that the Patriarchal narratives were composed in the mid-14th century 
BCE, at the time of the Amarna Letters, of course “Ashur” is very old, and is in 
the old form of the 2nd millennium BCE.
3.  Yet on the 100-year-old Wellhausen view, which posits that the entire 
Bible was composed “late” (that is, at various times in the mid-1st millennium 
BCE), why would “Ashur” be in the Bible in old 2nd millennium BCE form, 
instead of in the late, 1st millennium BCE form “Assur”?
4.  Let me now be brave and ask you two experts a dangerous question.  Are 
there words in the Patriarchal narratives that are “late”?  We have seen that “
Pharaoh” and “Ashur” are old, being in 2nd millennium BCE form, not in 1st 
millennium BCE form.  But are there counter-examples in the Patriarchal 
narratives, that would support the Wellhausen view?
5.  As I see it, “Pharaoh” and “Ashur” in the Patriarchal narratives are 
hard to explain on the Wellhausen view, while being self-explanatory on my view 
that the Patriarchal narratives are much older than the rest of the Bible.
I honestly do not see what objective facts that either of you two are relying 
on in insisting that the Patriarchal narratives, like the rest of the Bible, 
were composed “late”.  True, neither of you has taken a step yet toward my 
position that the Patriarchal narratives are truly ancient.  But why oh why can’
t you point to some objective evidence that the Patriarchal narratives are “
I will readily grant you that the Book of Exodus is “late”.  But in my 
controversial view, the Patriarchal narratives, by sharp contrast, are very “old”, 
and are not “late”.  What objective evidence do either of you have to the 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois     

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