[b-hebrew] "Sary" vs. "sary"

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Fri Mar 21 10:16:53 EDT 2008


Jim,

I want to repeat what I have already said before about some aspects  
of your analysis of the patriarchal narrative.
1. It could be a grave mistake to consider a, context-less, Hebrew  
name as a grammatically structured Hebrew word. In a Hebrew word the  
opening and closing letters YTN may be radical or they may be  
personal pronouns. Thinking of SARAH as being 'a princess' may be no  
more than an appealing homiletic interpretation of a dear name.
2. I suspect that (all?) names in the patriarchal narrative are names  
of foreign gods bestowed upon children by their fathers, mothers or  
nurses, steeped in idol worship, starting with the first patriarch AB- 
RAM [compare Arabic RAM-ADAN]. The name SaRay may well be but a  
variant of the names a$eR, a$eRah [See 2 Kings 21:7], a$toReth [see  
Judges 10:6], and eSteR, the queen.  I would go even farther in  
saying that the S in all these names stands for )I$ or )E$, 'fire',  
and R for )OR 'light'. It is possible that the $ of KMO$, the god of  
Moab [see 1 Kings 11:17] is this same )I$ or )E$.
The addition of H to the names of both the first patriarch and first  
matriarch was intended, methinks, to give them a YHWH-ic component.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Mar 21, 2008, at 9:56 AM, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

>
> Pere Porta:
>
> You make many good points.  Yet almost all of what you say seems to  
> me to be
> based on the medieval pointing that was done to the text in the  
> Middle Ages,
> as opposed to the Hebrew letters that were in the Bible in ancient  
> times.
>
> 1.  You make the fascinating point that “princes” at Isaiah 10: 8  
> is pointed
> the same as Sarah’s birth name.
>
> You then state:  “So, from a strict literal viewpoint "Saray" or  
> "Sarai"
> means "my princes" (and not "my princess") -- a single letter s  
> versus a double
> ss. It is just
>  the fourth word in Is 10:8.”
>
> If Isaiah 10: 8 is referring to divine figures, or is speaking
> metaphorically, as appears to be the case, then I could accept  
> there the translation “prince”
>  in the singular, which is “princes” in the plural at Isaiah 10:  
> 8.  Perhaps
> you agree with me that there is no “princess” here at all.
>
> But at Genesis 12: 15 and 47: 6, I do not like a translation of  
> “prince” or “
> princes”, because there the references are to high officials (top  
> men under
> Pharaoh), not to a king or to sons of a king.
>
> 2.  You wrote:  “The "sary" of Pharaoh are not "sary" but "sarEy".   
> Why do
> you take no account of the vowels?”
>
> I believe that there you are referencing the medieval pointing.   
> The word “
> sary” at Genesis 12: 15 was pointed differently in medieval times  
> than the name “
> Sary” at Genesis 12: 11.  Yet in the original text, which had no  
> pointing,
> these two words are identical, as far as I can see.  Both words are
> sin-resh-yod, nothing else.
>
> 3.  You wrote:  “"sary" (as you spell it) is a plural construct...  
> "sary" is
> not essentially different from "sarim".”
>
> That may well be.  Yet what one sees at Genesis 12: 15 in unpointed  
> text is
> sin-resh-yod, and those sin-resh-yod are dealing with sin-resh- 
> yod.  That is to
> say, Pharaoh’s top officials, sin-resh-yod, are recommending to  
> Pharaoh that
> sin-resh-yod, being the birth name of Abraham’s wife, be taken into  
> Pharaoh’s
> household.
>
> The Hebrew letters in the original text are identical.  That’s my  
> point.
>
> 4.  You wrote:  “Now, the name of Abraham's wife is "Saray" or  
> "Sarai" and
> not “Sary.”
>
> I believe that, once again, you are basing that statement on the  
> medieval
> pointing.  Many scholars have stated that the medieval pointing is  
> often
> unreliable.
>
> If you ignore the medieval pointing, what would lead you to say  
> that “the
> name of Abraham's wife is "Saray" or "Sarai" and not “Sary”?  All I  
> see in
> unpointed text is sin-resh-yod, nothing else.
>
> 5.  You wrote:  “Sincerely, I think you are not on the good path at  
> making
> this kind of
>  wordplays...”
>
> Perhaps the fact that these two very different words have identical  
> spellings
> is a mere coincidence here.  But you must remember that there is  
> more clever
> Hebrew wordplay in the Patriarchal narratives than in virtually any  
> other
> Hebrew composition ever done.
>
> Sary are dealing with Sary at Genesis 12: 15.  Perhaps that’s a mere
> coincidence.  But perhaps not.
>
> Perhaps the author of the Patriarchal narratives is deliberately  
> trying to
> emphasize there that Abraham’s wife is as strong-willed and  
> determined as are a
> king’s top officials.  Sary is as strong-willed and determined as  
> sary.  Sary
> acts like sary.
>
> To me it makes sense.  But I’m here to learn, like everyone else.
>
> 6.  I myself do not see the names “Sary” and “Sarah” as having an  
> identical
> meaning, with the only difference being that “Sary” has an archaic  
> feminine
> ending, whereas “Sarah” has a regular feminine ending.  I believe  
> that is the
> way scholars explain these two names.  Scholars also often claim,  
> in my view
> completely erroneously, that both of those names mean “princess”.   
> Sarah was
> never a princess.  That would not be a fitting name for Sarah, who  
> was not the
> daughter of a king or anything like that.  I myself do not see  
> either “Sary”
> or “Sarah” as meaning “princess”.
>
> I view Genesis 12: 15 as being one key clue as to what Sarah’s  
> birth name
> means.  Sary deal with Sary at Genesis 12: 15.  To me, that is  
> intended to make
> us realize that Abraham’s wife Sary will act in as strong-willed  
> and determined
> manner as do sary:  top officials of a king.  This is a positive  
> and fitting
> name for an assertive, righteous woman like Abraham’s wife, who is  
> one of the
> most appealing women in all of mankind’s accounts of women.  I do  
> not think
> that Sarah’s birth name has anything at all to do with the concept  
> of being a “
> princess”.  Rather, I see Genesis 12: 15 as deliberately being a  
> key clue to
> what Sarah’s birth name means.
>
> Sary deal with Sary at Genesis 12: 15.  Sary is as assertive as  
> sary.  That’s
> the clever, meaningful Hebrew wordplay I am seeing here.
>
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
>
>
>
>
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