[b-hebrew] Asher again

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Jul 13 23:49:49 EDT 2010


On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 4:35 PM, s.a.breyer <s.a.breyer at gmail.com> wrote:

> Karl:
>        You may be amused by this, and should take it into consideration
> in advancing Leah as an authority:
> There are well over 50 times that )$R is used as a verb, noun or adjective
with the meaning of having a joyful contentment. Leah’s usage is only one of
those, and within the pattern of all the rest.

> >> Just as comparative linguistics can be led astray by words in
> different languages having the same or similar form but vastly different
> meanings, so historical linguistics, unless grounded in recovered or
> saved examples, is even more speculative. Human history can take
> unexpected turns that no model can account for.
>         Historical linguistics is not nearly so speculative as you
> always try to make out, though it may appear so if you take your
> knowledge of it from sensationalist feuilletons or the strawmen of
> sophists. Only comparative/historical linguistics can tell us whether
> the derivation of Asher from at_irat is plausible; you can't just
> handwave it.

This is ridiculous! So according to you, $KX means “to find” because that’s
what it meant in Biblical Aramaic. )DWN in Hebrew means “then” because it is
very similar to )DYN in Aramaic. )DR in Hebrew means “threshing floor”
because that’s what it meant in Biblical Aramaic. I can go on, but do I need
to? I am putting words in your mouth which you did not say as a
demonstration of why I do not find your answer convincing.

Eons ago when I actively studied Germanic languages, I had to watch out for
words that looked the same, but have different meanings. For example, “gate”
in English refers to a type of door, but many places in
England retain street names from the Vikings where “gate” means “street”. Or
how about “boot” in German and English? The German “Stiefel” sounds closer
to “steeple”.

My distrust of comparative linguistics and especially of “historical”
linguistics where there are no surviving language records to verify the
theories has nothing to do with “sensationalist feuilletons or the strawmen
of sophists” and everything to do with personal experience.

> > The evidence from Genesis is that this account was written down by
> contemporaries of Leah (divine inspiration not necessary), therefore
> could recount what she told them.
>         I recall no such evidence, but I'm happy to be instructed. In
> what respect is it evidence I should take any more seriously than
> Parson Weems' ascription of the cherry-tree fable?

Who was Parson Weems and what cherry-tree fable?

As for other evidence, I have already covered it and see no reason to repeat
myself yet once again.

> >> * the date at which the account was composed, whether in Moses' time
> >> or Ezra's or Judas the Hammer's
> > What? I expressly referenced this question-
>        Yes, I know you did, and my point is that this in particular is
> irrelevant, reflexively intruded into the argument because your
> particular hobbyhorse is that anyone who disagrees with you about
> practically anything is a radical minimalist who espouses Hasmonean
> authorship.

Who said anything about Hasmonean authorship? I deliberately chose words
that would fit even late pre-Babylonian Exile authorship.

> > do you accept the text as written (or more accurately, assume that the
> copyist errors are minimal) or do you preach the modern mythology of
> late authorship?
>         How late is late?

See above. And my understanding of “late” covers your beliefs as you write

> . . . But what *I* accept is, likewise,
> irrelevant. Since you ask, I believe (for reasons which I will not
> impose on the List because I prefer to keep my own uninformed crankiness
> to myself) the core of Genesis to have been written at the same time
> (and very likely by the same author) as the Court History. But it has no
> bearing on the question: there is no textual obstacle to deriving the
> name Asher from Asherah, or both from a common source, in either an
> infallible scribal descent or a late invention. ...

Well, there is no argument. I merely mentioned that the text gives one
story, and there is a popular modern myth that gives another, and how one
reads the text will be influenced by which view the reader à priori holds
when reading the text. Whether or not a male form of Asherah existed is
unknown, speculation, as it is never found in the Hebrew text. The story of
why Leah named her son Asher had nothing to do with that
speculative connection.

> Stoney Breyer
> Writer/TWC

By the way, I am using the term “myth” in the same way as in
http://www.wikinfo.org/index.php/Myth as a story that shapes one’s view of
the universe.

Karl W. Randolph.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list