[b-hebrew] Asher again

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Fri Jul 16 11:42:28 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: Friday, July 16, 2010 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Asher again

Dr. Fournet:

1.  You wrote:  “We do have Mitanni-Aryan names outside Mitanni during that 
period 1500-1200 when the Mitanni Kingdom existed.  The most parsimonious 
idea is to think that all Hurrians at that time were unified under the broad 
banner of Mitanni.  Now, we can also imagine that some Hurrians were out of 
the Mitanni "federation".”

When mighty Hittite King Suppiluliuma I charged into western Syria in the 
mid-14th century BCE, Mitanni was in no position to help its Hurrian 
‘brothers’ in the Orontes River Valley.  Akhenaten was AWOL, too, not 
surprisingly.  Left to their own devices, the league of five Hurrian 
princelings was mercilessly destroyed by the Hittites and three regional 
Hittite allies, which is the historical “four kings against five”.

2.  You wrote:  “In all cases, the most parsimonious and the expected 
hypothesis would be that Hurrian people should either have regular Hurrian 
names or Mitanni-Aryan names.”

No member of the league of five rebellious princelings had a Mitanni-Aryan 
name.  They all had Hurrian or Akkadian names.  They were all Hurrian 
princelings, and none was a king of Mitanni, or from Mitanni.  As Hurrian 
princelings, two of whom had Hurrian names, it makes sense for the early 
Hebrew author to decide to use Hurrian common words as their nicknames at 
Genesis 14: 2.
No It does not make sense.
These people had a name, what not just use the names these people had?

3.  You wrote:  “This cannot be a "vintage" Hurrian word.  This bound 
morpheme -zzi is completely un-heard-of.  Logically such a "name" should be 
segmented aki- # izzi and we should expect izzi to be a god: "Izzi brought 
him".  This does not exist. Among the hundreds of Hurrian names listed in 
Nuzi Person Names, none sounds like that.”

Nuzi is east Hurrian, on the eastern edge of the east Syrian great power 
state of Mitanni.  By contrast, the four kings against five took place in 
the Orontes River Valley in western Syria.  That’s west Hurrian.  Why wouldn’t 
Hurrian princelings in the heart of Hurrian country in the Orontes River 
Valley be expected to have Hurrian names?
Yes indeed I do expect them to bear Hurrian names and they happen not to.
That's the major reason I cannot buy the idea they are Hurrian in the first 

4.  You wrote:  “You stated it [-izzi] "was" Hurrian and I think I objected. 
I still object.  To be frank this formative does not exist in Hurrian but 
Nuzi Person Names lists it.  Judging from strange names like Umpizzi, i 
wonder if akizzi is not Kassite rather than Hurrian. The sequence -mp- is 
very much Kassite-looking and -zz- is much more frequent in Kassite than in 

There were no Kassites in the Orontes River Valley when western Syria was 
forcibly made part of the new Hittite Empire by Hittite King Suppililiuma in 
the mid-14th century BCE.  There are no Kassite names at Genesis 14: 2.  [If 
you want a Kassite name, however, there’s K$DYM at Genesis 11: 28, 31.  It’s 
a reference to Kassite Babylonia in the mid-14th century BCE.]
How do you know there are no Kassite names or person?

5.  You wrote:  “I'm sorry, but we are moving in circles here.  These names 
are *not* Hurrian.  The phonology is aberrant, this type is not attested and 
the items
themselves are not attested.  All this "vintage" Hurrian is thin air, to put 
it bluntly.”

The name Aki-Te$$up is a virgin pure Hurrian name.  The word $umi-ebri is a 
Hurrian common word, whose Hebrew rendering at Genesis 14: 2 is $M)BR.  The 
Orontes River Valley in western Syria was in the heart of Hurrian country in 
the mid-14th century BCE.  These are Hurrian princelings, several of whom 
had Hurrian names, and four of whom are given as nicknames Hurrian common 
words at Genesis 14: 2.
Agi-TeSSub is clearly a Hurrian name for sure.
and the other do not fit the pattern of this name, nor do they the phonology 
of Hurrian and the vocabulary of Hurrian.

6.  You wrote:  “"Far from Syria" ??  Hurrians were everywhere at that time. 
>From Egypt to Anatolia to Northern Iran.”

Mitanni didn’t help out when the Hurrian princelings in the Orontes River 
Valley were attacked by Suppiluliuma in the Great Syrian War.

7.  You wrote:  “No.  lord is ebri: skeleton ?_b_r ; scheme _e_0_i (or maybe 
_i_0_i if you think e is not a real phoneme).  In addition the first vowel 
of ebri was probably long, which is one more reason it should not fall: it 
was stressed there.”

I think we now agree that ebri means “lord” in Hurrian.
I never doubted it, did you doubt it?

Old Biblical Hebrew recorded very few vowels.  Even when writing down a 
Hurrian common word, very few vowels were written down.  In recording 
Hurrian words in old Biblical Hebrew, a vowel indicator was used only when 
needed to show the Hurrian syllable division of the word.  In $M)BR we have 
the Hurrian e expressly written down, by the Hebrew aleph.  In the two prior 
words, BR( and BR$(, we then need to imply that same Hurrian e, realizing 
that these three names are closely related on all scores, with all of them 
being based on ebri and meaning “Hurrian lord”.

8.  You wrote:  “What are the historical consequences if we consider these 
names to be Kassite instead of Hurrian?”

Then we can throw history out the window.  The Kassites were confined to 
southern Mesopotamia.  The league of five rebellious members consisted of 
Hurrian princelings in the Orontes River Valley in western Syria, where 
there were no Kassites.  That’s the case both in the Great Syrian War in 
western Syria historically, and at Genesis 14: 1-11.  Think Hurrian!  You 
can’t get any more Hurrian than Aki-Te$$up or $umi-ebri or $M)BR.  It’s all 
Hurrian, all the way, in every way.
This is your hypothesis which stands unproven and in fact which is very 
little probable.

As regards Kassite, this language seems much closer to Hurrian than may be 
generally considered.
For example "earth" is Hurrian eSe and Kassite is yaS, basically the same 
And Kassite God TiSpak is clearly the same word as Hurrian TeSSub: 
TeSS(u)b-ak > TiSpak; Got it?
Kassite and Hurrian are clearly closely related languages. You can't 
separate them too far apart. That's why I'm not especially reluctant to 
imagine Kassites in areas where Hurrians are.

Genesis 14: 1-11 literally reeks of the mid-14th century BCE and the Great 
Syrian War in the Orontes River Valley, a disastrous military conflict that 
marked the beginning of the end for the hapless Hurrians.  Of more direct 
relevance to the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism, the Great Syrian War 
briefly seemed to threaten the early Hebrews themselves in beloved Canaan 
south of Syria.

The pinpoint historical accuracy of Genesis 14: 1-11 in the context of the 
mid-14th century BCE is absolutely stunning.
I wish I could share your enthusiasm!


Arnaud Fournet

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