[b-hebrew] $ADAI

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Mar 27 12:41:43 EDT 2008


Yitzhak Sapir:
 
Thank you for the references to Rebecca Hasselbach’s scholarly article 
concerning the “-ay” ending in Hebrew.
 
But why would Rebecca Hasselback, or anyone else, think that the Masoretes, 
in the Middle Ages, would know how to recognize and point an “-ay” ending?  In 
your own words, “it was a very ancient development”, by which I presume you 
mean that it happened long prior to the mid-1st millennium BCE for certain, 
and likely prior to 1200 BCE.  How would the Masoretes, in the Middle Ages, be 
picking up on this truly ancient phenomenon?
 
When I look at sin-resh-yod in unpointed text, I see no “-ay” ending there 
at all.  How did the Masoretes in the Middle Ages know that there was an “-ay” 
ending there?
 
I note that you yourself properly refer to a “-y” ending, when you say that “
It is therefore reasonable that –y is indeed an archaic feminine suffix….”
 
But I myself see sin-resh-yod in unpointed text at Genesis 12: 15, referring 
to Pharaoh’s male top officers in the plural, which is not an abstract noun, 
and which does not have an archaic feminine suffix.  Why would the Masoretes, 
in the Middle Ages, know that sin-resh-yod as Sarah’s birth name was 
fundamentally different?
 
Looking on the bright side of things, if we take your argument seriously, 
would that imply that the Patriarchal narratives are much older than the rest of 
the Bible?  After all, if Sarah’s birth name is “Sarai” (on the theory that 
the Masoretes in the Middle Ages by some miracle got this ancient feminine 
suffix just right), and if no other woman’s name in the entire Bible has this 
archaic feminine suffix ending, then wouldn’t that strongly imply that the 
Patriarchal narratives are much, much older than the rest of the Bible?
 
Despite the fact that such a consequence would greatly help my overall view 
of the Patriarchal narratives, I myself simply cannot get over the hump of 
trying to convince myself that the Masoretes in the Middle Ages somehow knew how 
to recognize a truly ancient archaic feminine suffix.
 
Is it your considered opinion that Sarah’s birth name is truly ancient, long 
pre-dating the mid-1st millennium for sure, and likely pre-dating 1200 BCE?  
Does that then knock out JEPD as the original authors of the Patriarchal 
narratives?  Does this put historical linguists at loggerheads with all the 
non-linguist scholars who insist, on a seemingly semi-unanimous basis, that the 
Patriarchal narratives are just one of many parts of the Bible composed by JEPD in 
the mid-1st millennium BCE?  
 
What’s a pre-1200 BCE archaic feminine suffix doing in a mid-1st millennium 
BCE composition by JEPD?
 
Yitzhak Sapir, you’ve got our heads spinning here.  Are you claiming that 
Sarah’s birth name is truly ancient, embodying an archaic feminine suffix not 
seen in any other woman’s name in the entire Bible?  How could JEPD come up with 
such an ancient name, from many centuries before their time?  Were JEPD really 
that crafty?  And how did those Masoretes in the Middle Ages recognize this 
truly ancient feminine suffix?
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois




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