[b-hebrew] Hebron, mountains, and flocks

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Oct 8 18:13:35 EDT 2008

Dave Washburn wrote:  “[quoting me] ‘ 93% of the first Hebrew villages are 
located north of Jerusalem.’  Jim, What's your source for this figure?  Thanks!”
The map at p. 116 of Israel Finkelstein’s “The Bible Unearthed”.  I just 
counted the few dots south of Jerusalem and compared then to the number 250, 
which is the approximate number of total early Hebrew villages (the huge number of 
dots shown north of Jerusalem).
I myself consider that map to be extremely important.  Since 93% of the first 
Hebrew villages were located north of Jerusalem, it does not make sense to 
limit our search for attestations of the names of places where the Patriarchs 
are portrayed as sojourning to locales south of Jerusalem.  It’s fine to look 
south of Jerusalem, but scholars have found no attested names in any ancient 
time period there, with the possible exception of “Hebron”.  As we are 
discussing on this thread, it seems unlikely that the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” is the 8th 
century BCE city of Hebron 20 miles south of Jerusalem.  If so, then scholars 
have not matched a single inscription from ancient times to any place where 
the Patriarchs sojourn south of Shechem!  Something is askew here.  Certainly 
the  l-o-c-a-l  geography of the Patriarchal narratives would not be completely 
What I want to focus on is the linguistic question of whether or not the 
names “Hebron” and “Arbe”, etc. in the text do or do not match the Late Bronze 
Age inscriptions I have been researching.  The “problem” is that it is hard to 
get people to look north of Jerusalem for names of places where the 
Patriarchs sojourn, without first engaging in a discussion of what the text says or 
does not say as to where the Patriarchs sojourn.  I know that the b-hebrew list 
does not want to get bogged down in historical arguments, but I must present 
some historical and textual background in order to get people to consider my 
inscriptional arguments.
For example, it is critically important to my line of argumentation whether 
or not the author of the Patriarchal narratives, in using names like “Hamor” 
and “Hebron” which start with a heth/X, intentionally wanted his audience to 
see that, as a pun, the heth/X could be read as representing a he-aleph/H).  
That is, in large part, a linguistic argument, although a close reading of the 
text is also needed in order to appreciate the force of the argument.  That’s 
the type of Hebrew language question I want to be raising on the b-hebrew list, 
rather than talking about my overall theory of the Patriarchal narratives. 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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