[b-hebrew] Jerusalem

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Jul 8 04:03:44 EDT 2010

George, you make some interesting points, especially the Greek evidence that the shift from "Yerushalem" to "Yerushalayim" seems to have occurred during the late 2nd century BCE. 

However, I have some comments on your explanations for the shift.

1. In general, the ending "-ayim" for place-names has nothing to do with the dual. Adoraim does not have two "adora"s, Shaaraim does NOT have two gates (despite the recent erroneous identification of Khirbet Qeiyafa with a town by this name). This was dealt with by A. Demsky, "Hebrew Names in the Dual Form and the Toponym Yerushalayim", In Demsky, A. ed. These Are the Names: Studies in Jewish Onomastics, vol. 3. Ramat Gan: 2002, 11-20; Y. Elitzur, Ancient Place Names in the Holy Land: Preservation and History, Jerusalem and Winona Lake, 2004, 282–290; N. Na'aman, Shaaraim – The Gateway to the Kingdom of Judah. Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 8: Article 24.

2. The "Mishneh" ("secondary") quarter of Jerusalem, whatever part of the city it refers to, is mentioned only in late pre-exilic contexts in 2 Kings 22:14 and its parallel in 2 Chr. 34:22, as the dwelling-place of Huldah the prophetess, and perhaps poetically in Zeph. 1:10. In is not mentioned (AFAIK) in post-exilic contexts. Since, as we know from archaeology, the "newer" part of pre-exilic Jerusalem, the western hill that was first settled in the 8th century, was totally destroyed in 586, and NOT included in early Second Temple Jerusalem, which, until the mid 2nd century BCE, included only the eastern ridge. When the western hill was included in the city again, 450 years after it had been abandoned, it was called "The Upper City".

3. My guess is that the shift is an Aramaism, similar to Shomron - Shamrayin, Ophrah - Ephrayim (the place-name, not the tribe).

4. The fact that the MT, in a vast majority of cases, retains the consonantal text without the second Yod would seem to indicate that the tradition of reading "Yerishalem" was known and considered legitimate late enough, so that the Masoretes, who wanted to read "Yerushalayim", felt that they did not have the authority to add the Yod, so they made do with the vowel-points. 

4. It is totally possible, that once the pronunciation "Yerushalayim" became widespread, people began interpreting it as a dual and coming up with all types of "midrashic" explanations, such as those that you suggest.

Yigal Levin

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of George Athas
Sent: Thursday, July 08, 2010 9:31 AM
To: B-Hebrew
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Jerusalem

Yitzhak, I agree with you from a linguistic perspective that the dual form would be problematic considering that mem is part of the underlying root. However, did the Masoretes, or even Second temple Jews, know this? Were they familiar with the deity Shalim and his cult? I doubt it. So I think I differ from you on an historical basis here.

When you look at Greek transcriptions of the name ‘Jerusalem’ here’s what we find. The LXX (I’m including the whole Tanakh in this) transliterates the name as Ἰερουσαλήμ, a singular form. The LXX translations date to 3rd–2nd centuries BC. So, at that time, the city name was still a singular form. However, in apocryphal books and in the New Testament, the name gets transliterated as Ἱεροσόλυμα. Two things are notable here. Firstly, it’s now a plural form, perhaps reflecting an understanding of a Semitic dual. Secondly, the rough breathing at the beginning and the shift from ου to simple ο suggests that the name was being treated as a play on the word ἱερόν (temple). So, from the late 2nd century BC onwards, there is a significant shift in the way the name Jerusalem is seen. It is treated as a plural and as incorporating something about the temple.

Here are some suggestions to account for this shift.

 1.  As the temple complex became fortified in the Hasmonean Era, and then refurbished in the Herodian Era, the city of Jerusalem came to be seen as a dual entity: residential Jerusalem and temple Jerusalem. The temple area effectively became an acropolis—a citadel—which was treated differently from the rest of the city. (As a modern parallel, one might consider modern-day Rome and the Vatican.)
 2.  The משׁנה (‘second’ quarter) was deemed as a second city within an expanding Jerusalem, such that Jerusalem was viewed as a double-city.
 3.  Jerusalem within the walls was paired with the immediately surrounding area outside the walls, producing a dual entity. Someone more versed in Jewish halakhah might be able to tell us what Rabbinic Judaism viewed as constituting ‘Jerusalem’ or a Sabbath day’s walk (if that is relevant to the definition of the city).

Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)

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