[b-hebrew] Asher again
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Jul 15 09:55:12 EDT 2010
I must confess that I am surprised by several of your assertions.
1. Richard Hess is the #1 scholar in the world for analyzing names in the
Amarna Letters. Many of those names are Hurrian names. I cannot lightly
dismiss a published analysis by Richard Hess of the Hurrian name Pi-ri-iz-zi
attested in Amarna Letters EA 27: 89, 93 and EA 28: 12. As I noted in my
prior post, Pi-ri-iz-zi is a messenger of Hurrian King Tushratta of
Mitanni/Naharim, so we would expect Pi-ri-iz-zi to be a Hurrian name. Richard Hess
explicitly states at p. 125 of “Amarna Personal Names”: “The language
represented by this PN is Hurrian. Pi-ri-iz-zi is a hypocoristic name, composed of
ewri ‘lord’ and zzi, a (hypocoristic?) suffix.”
Yet you dismiss that entire scholarly analysis with a wave of the hand,
“In all cases, Pirizzi and ebri/ewri cannot have any relationship.”
2. On a related issue, I was shocked to hear you say this:
“The idea that p and b could be interchangeable is completely inacceptable.”
Unless I am taking that statement of yours out of context, I do not see how
your statement could possibly be true. Here is part of what the
Fournet/Bomhard website says about this matter:
(a) At p. 84: (i) “Letter/Phoneme *b. The phoneme */b/ is extremely
elusive word-initially. The alternations in Hurrian between <b>, <w> and <p>
make it possible to reconstruct *b (probably at the Proto-Hurrian stage). In
the historically attested “dialects” of Hurrian, it seems that #b- fused
with either *w or *p, in coherence with the general absence of voiced initials
That’s B being interchangeable with P.
(ii) And here are the first three entries under B at p. 84, with P being
interchangeable in all three cases!
“*[baban] ‘mountain’. EL pabani <pa-ab-ni, wa-wa-n> UG [p b n].
*[babanγi] ‘mountainous’. EL paban¯i <pa-ba-an-¯i> UG [p b n x].
*[baγ-] ‘to destroy’. CA <pa/wa-a¯->.”
(iii) P. 85 is more of the same:
“*[buru] ‘strong’. CA <pu/wu-ú-ru>
*[burni] ‘house, temple’. EL pur(u)li, purni <pu-ur-ni, wu-ur-ni>.
*[buruγli-] ‘east or south’ (?). EL wuru¯li <wu/bu-ru-u¯-li>
*[butki] ‘son’. EL putki <pu-ut-ki, wu-ú-ut-ki93>
Subarean <pi-it-qu> *[pitku ?]”
Based on the Fournet/Bomhard Hurrian language website, P and B and W seem
to be interchangeable on a fairly routine basis.
(b) At p. 97: “Letter/Phoneme *p. It can be noted that initial #p- is
rather rare and #pu- attested in only one word, which Neu (1988) writes with a
That’s P being interchangeable with B.
(c) At p. 43: “…šän-a-b ‘your brother’…” There we see a final B. But
“your brother” is attested in the Mitanni Letter [Amarna Letter EA 24] at
line I 89 as $e-e-na-a-ap-pe. Note the double P. [Also note that the final
i in the root word $ani or $eni changes to a with this suffix, which is why
we have $N-)-B at Genesis 14: 2.]
E.A. Speiser in his 1941 classic “Introduction to Hurrian” states at p. 63
regarding this general phenomenon: “Now –b/w is a spirant…. The
combination of two spirants (evidently voiced) yields the written form –pp-, a
doubled sound (evidently voiceless stop).”
So once again, we see B being interchangeable with P.
* * *
Given the above, I don’t see how you can make the following flat statement:
“The idea that p and b could be interchangeable is completely inacceptable.
Au contraire, P and B being interchangeable in Hurrian is attested out the
(d) Finally, here is a Hurrian analysis (from a website that, most
unfortunately, is no longer operational):
“Ep-r'i-ba-ta. To explain the name Eprip-atal (or perhaps Ewrip-atal) is
not easy. The sound element atal, is common at Nuzi; the first element, eprip,
could be epri, Nuzian erwi, plus the suffix -p.”
So epri is viewed as being interchangeable with ewri or, reversing the
consonants as at Nuzi, erwi. That’s P being interchangeable with W. As shown
above, P and W and B are often interchangeable. To quote the F/B website one
last time, at p. 106: “Letter/Phoneme *w. Many words historically
attested with <#w-> can be traced back to *b.”
3. I myself see BR$( at Genesis 14: 2 as being the Hurrian common word
ebri-ssi. [We need to imply a Hurrian e at the beginning, by analogy to the
word $M)BR at Genesis 14: 2, where the aleph there is telling us that the B is
preceded by a Hurrian e, as the discrete Hurrian syllable 'eb'.]
BR$(/ebri-ssi means “your lord” in Hurrian, and as such implies “Hurrian princeling”
. The early Hebrew author is telling us, by use of this Hurrian common
word as an apt nickname, that this member of the five rebellious parties was a “
Hurrian princeling”. In fact, all four personal names of the defeated
league of five rebellious parties at Genesis 14: 2 effectively mean, in Hurrian:
“Hurrian princeling”. Historically, that matches the fact that in the
Great Syrian War in western Syria in the mid-14th century BCE, a coalition of
four attacking rulers of various ethnicities (including a mighty Hittite
king) destroyed a league of five Hurrian princelings in the Orontes River
Valley. The pinpoint historical accuracy of the “four kings against five” at
Genesis 14: 1-11 is stunning. But to see that, one must recognize that all
four personal names at Genesis 14: 2 are Hurrian common words.
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