[b-hebrew] Asher again

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Wed Jul 14 14:16:24 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: JimStinehart at aol.com
To: fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr ; uzisilber at gmail.com
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 6:48 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Asher again

Jim wrote
I had written to Uzi:  “[J]ust look at all the vintage Hurrian names in the 
Patriarchal narratives:  $N(R, )RYWK, BR(, BR%(, $M)BR, $N)B, XCCN TMR, 
(PRWN, )YLWN, and B)RY.  Those are vintage Late Bronze Age Hurrian names 
that would have been incomprehensible to all later Biblical authors.”

To that you responded:  “I cannot see what makes these names vintage 
What are the vowels exactly in those names?”

Jim wrote
You are of course right to focus on the difficult issue of how Hurrian 
vowels would be represented (to the extent they are represented at all) in 
old Biblical Hebrew.  Consider the following initial thoughts.  Ayin/( is 
used to represent Hurrian i;  aleph/) is used to represent Hurrian e or a; 
yod/Y is only used as a second vowel indicator in a Hurrian word where it 
follows an earlier aleph, in which case the yod can represent any Hurrian 
vowel, including i;  vav/W and he/H are not used as vowel indicators in 
representing Hurrian words;  the vast majority of Hurrian vowels are not 
represented at all in the defective spelling of old Biblical Hebrew, but 
rather the foregoing vowel indicators are used (sparingly) only as needed to 
indicate the syllable division of these Hurrian words.  Using that fairly 
simple scenario, all of the above Biblical names make perfect sense as 
Hurrian words (though in a majority of cases not being attested Hurrian 
names, but rather being Hurrian common words, which are used in the 
Patriarchal narratives as names for Hurrian persons).  $N(R is 
$eni-ra, )RYWK is Arawa-ka, BR( is [after implying an initial (prosthetic) 
aleph, which concept also applies to the next two words as well, with all 
three words appearing in a single verse, Genesis 14: 2, and referring to 
closely related people] eb-ri, BR%( is eb-ri-ssi, $M)BR is $umi-ebri, $N)B 
is $ena-b [where the usual i ending changes in Hurrian to a here, in the 
meaning “your brother”], XCC-N TMR is xaTSiTSi-na TM-R [meaning “the wisdom, 
nine”, which is super-exciting, because Hurrian XCC is a rare word with an 
Akkadian cognate, X%%, so that XCC-N TMR could be the long form of the 
Hurrian name “Wisdom”, XCC, whose Akkadian equivalent would be X%%, whose 
short form version in turn could well be Ha-si (with a heth) at Amarna 
Letter EA 175, so that Biblical XCC-N TMR is Hasi in the Beqa Valley], (PRWN 
is i-pi-ri-wa-n [meaning “the (Hurrian) lord of mine”, where I now see the 
vav/W as being a consonant and meaning “my” or “of mine”, rather than being 
a vowel indicator], )YLWN is i-i-al-la-a-wu-ne, and B)RY is e-bi-er-i.


In my opinion, if $N(R contain a Ayin, then it cannot be Hurrian. In 
addition if you read Nuzi Person Names, you'll see that Seni "brother" is 
about never the first morpheme of a Hurrian name.
)RYWK = Arawa-ka is also extremely strange.
BR = ebri is also strange. One would expect YBR. BR% is also fairly 
desperate as a Hurrian word. A voiced initial is normally impossible in 
$M)BR = $umi-ebri sounds also nearly impossible.
$N)B = $ena-b: this does not seem possible. This is not a Person name.
Hurrian wisdom is an akkadian loanword: Hasisi and the consonants in that 
loanword are voiced in Hurrian as shown by Ugaritic H_z_z. IN HZZ god of 
wisdom (an akkadianism with Hurrian phonetics).
PRWN = i-pi-ri-wa-n cannot be "lord of mine". Lord is spellt with -b- or 
sometimes -w-. In my opinion this word is a loanword of Akkadian abaru 
"strong" with a number of Hurrianized vowels hence ebri.


Please note that the vast majority of those Biblical names are not attested 
Hurrian names.


Yes, this is indeed a very troublesome feature !

Rather, they are simple Hurrian common words which the early Hebrew author 
of the Patriarchal narratives is using as Hurrian names [for Hurrian 
individuals, who are confusingly referred to in the Biblical text as “sons 
of the Hittites” or as just “Hittite”, meaning the historical Hurrians]. 
Many of those Biblical names [like BR(] are super-simple Hurrian common 
words, being simpler than actual attested Hurrian names [such as )RYWK, 
which is complex in being the east Hurrian/Nuzi version of ebri which 
reverses the two consonants, and uses W for B, to which is added a 
diminutive ending;  but if Richard Hess’s analysis is right as to the name 
of the Hurrian princeling who ran Egypt’s garrison at Kumidu in the Beqa 
Valley, with such name arguably being Arawa-na at Amarna Letter EA 198: 4, 
then that is where the early Hebrew author would have picked up this slight 
variant of a complex Nuzi name].  We must remember that the early Hebrew 
author of the Patriarchal narratives only knew a few Hurrian words, mainly 
ebri/“lord” and $eni/“brother” [though he was quite confident in doing many 
manipulations of these two basic Hurrian words].  Most of the above Biblical 
names are simple plays on those two Hurrian common words, being about the 
only two Hurrian words that a contemporary Hebrew audience in the mid-14th 
century BCE might be expected to know.

What should we expect only these two words?

The presence of that plethora of Hurrian names/words in the Patriarchal 
narratives is one key indication that the Patriarchal narratives were 
composed in the mid-14th century BCE, with the 14th century BCE being the 
only time in history when Hurrian princelings were widespread throughout 
Canaan.  Although Hurrian personal names continue to be present in northern 
Mesopotamia after 1100 BCE, as you properly point out, the language of 
Hurrian, and the Hurrian people as a distinct people, were basically extinct 
long before that.  Most of the above Biblical names are based on the Hurrian 
common words ebri or $eni, whose meanings would have been unknown to the 
Hebrews soon after the end of the 14th century BCE.

I cannot see what substantiates this claim? "soon after the end of the 14th 
century" ? Why?



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