[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
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.
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