[b-hebrew] $ADAI

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Mar 27 10:27:52 EDT 2008

Yitzhak Sapir:
On this $ADAI thread, you wrote:  
“On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 9:24 AM, Isaac Fried wrote:
 > It is conceivable that the ending -AI as in XALON-AI, 'windows', of
 >  Jeremiah 22:14 is indeed a remnant of a pluralization method by a
 So far so good.  For more information read and follow up the pdf here:
(http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2007-November/034593.html) ”
On another thread, Pere Porta and I have been discussing (1) the word 
shin-dalet-yod (which, if the Masoretic pointing added in the Middle Ages were 
accepted, would I guess come out as $ADAI), and (2) the word sin-resh-yod (Sarah’s 
birth name, which pursuant to the Masoretic pointing is transliterated into 
English as “Sarai”), and (3) the word sin-resh-yod (Pharaoh’s top officials at 
Genesis 12: 15).
Pere Porta and I would greatly appreciate it if you would analyze the yod 
ending of those three words.  
Unlike Pere Porta, I myself see little reason to give any credence to the 
Masoretic pointing of words that appear in the Patriarchal narratives.  Both Pere 
Porta and I are somewhat suspicious of the claim that “an archaic feminine 
suffix” is involved here.
For the convenient reference of people who have not been following the other 
thread, here briefly are two relevant arguments that have been published on 
these issues:
1.  “[T]he only difference between Sarai and Sarah is that the former 
reflects an archaic feminine suffix, the latter, the normative feminine suffix:  both 
versions of the name mean ‘princess’.”  Professor Robert Alter of Berkeley, “
Genesis:  Translation and Commentary” (1996), at p. 73.
Please note the reference here to an alleged “archaic feminine suffix” in 
Sarah’s birth name.
2.  “The original name Sarai bears the archaic feminine suffix ai, as in 
shaddai, the name of God related to the word ‘breast’.  [19] This suffix is found 
in early West Semitic, usually in the names of deities or mythical beings, 
and appears in Ugaritic in the names of a series of nature goddesses. [20] 
Significantly, Sarai is the only feminine biblical name with this suffix.
…(19.) David Biale, "The God with Breasts: El Shaddai in the Bible," History 
of Religions 2l.3 (1982): 240-256. W. F. Albright, "The Names Shaddai and 
Abram," Journal of Biblical Literature 54.3 (1935): 173-204.
(20.) Harriet Lutzky, "Shadday as a Goddess Epithet," Vetus Testamentum 48,1 
(1998): 15-36.”
“The Engendered Shema: Sarah-Echoes in the Name of Israel”, in “_Judaism_ 
(http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0411) ”, _Summer, 2000_ 
(http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0411/is_3_49) , by _Elizabeth Wyner Mark_ 
Note here the claim that both Sarah’s birth name, and the name of God 
traditionally transliterated as “shaddai”, bear “the archaic suffix ai”.
 Yitzhak Sapir, do you see “an archaic feminine suffix” in any of these 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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