[b-hebrew] Seir and El Paran

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Tue Dec 14 14:09:24 EST 2010

From: JimStinehart at aol.com

Dr. Fournet:

A.  You wrote:  “1. Serri or Sarri is not a Hurrian word but a Semitic 
In all cases, the root is S_r, there is no (.
2. “(God Is) King” cannot be a possible Hurrian name.
In addition Hurrians were not monotheistic.”

Here is the standard translation of Mitanni Letter IV: 115-118:

“As by $eri [$e-e-ir-ri], and your [Egyptian] god our life and our fate are 
determined, may the gods guide both of us together, Te$up and Amanu, our 
lords [ip-ri-iw-we-$u-u$], our fathers.”

1.  Your translation of $e-e-ir-ri as “king” is inadequate, as it is clear 
from the context that a divine meaning is intended here.  That’s why I said 
the implication was “(God Is) King” as the name of a city.  As you well 
know, the most common second element of a Hurrian name is -iya, being a 
generalized theophoric reference.
That part of the letter, especially IV: 114-115 is damaged.
It's not even clear that Serri is a member of the next sentence.

In addition, king or lord is always written Sar-ri with two signs, so it's 
quite obvious that there is a problem in interpreting Se-e-ir-ri as the same 

For your information Sarru is a word that has a lateral fricative in 
Proto-Semitic (Cf. sin in HEbrew).
There's a tendency in Hurrian to write that kind of borrowings with lateral 
fricatives with a particular set of signs (sa, si11, su).
There's no doubt that the translation of Se-e-ir-ri as "lord" or "king" is 


2.  The Hurrians certainly weren’t monotheistic, as here they reference both 
Te$up and Amen.
Amanu is clearly the gods of the Egyptians in the letter.

3.  Your transliteration “$erri” is inadequate, and hides the comparison to 
the Biblical spelling.  The word is $e-e-ir-ri in the Mitanni Letter (per 
the original German transliteration), and $e-e-ri in Amarna Letter EA 288: 
26 (per Anson Rainey).  Those middle vowels are represented by ayin in 
Hebrew.  Indeed, the later Hebrew spelling, $(-YR, is fairly close to 
$e-e-ir, while not being as close to your truncated $erri.
I don't know if you are pulling my legs, but all that is nonsense, right?

4.  Since Phoenician and Punic authors used ayin to represent an interior 
vowel in a name, the early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives could 
use the same technique in recording Hurrian names.  $R was not an option 
here, because he had to show that this was a multiple-syllable Hurrian name. 
$(-R works very nicely.

B.  In the context of a sentence (Genesis 14: 6) that is expressly telling 
us where XR-Y live:

(a)  $(-YR = $e-e-ir-ri = $e-e-ri

(b)  )L P-)R-N = eli pu-ur-ni
This is nonsense.

Arnaud Fournet

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