[b-hebrew] H-XT-Y at II Samuel 11: 3

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Thu Jul 29 14:32:04 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: JimStinehart at aol.com
To: fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr ; kwrandolph at gmail.com
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 7:28 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] H-XT-Y at II Samuel 11: 3

Dr. Arnaud Fournet:
You wrote:  “I'm also quite confused that you now seem to defend a truly 
identification of these "Hittites" when you previously referred to a 
suggestion they were not.”

This thread is not about my ideas.  Rather, this thread is limited to (i) 
examining the mainstream scholarly view of who the Biblical “Hittites” are, 
and (ii) finding out what people on the b-hebrew list, such as yourself and 
Karl (and anyone else who has an opinion on this matter), think as to who 
the Biblical “Hittites” are.
i must say i have no definite opinion.
It seems to me that Heth and Hiti cannot refer to the same thing in the 
first place.
One translation in French I saw prudently renders Heth as Héthien (not as 

So far, no one (especially me!) who has posted on this thread seems inclined 
to defend the semi-unanimous mainstream scholarly view that the Biblical 
Hittites are non-historical Canaanites in hill country south of the Jezreel 
Valley, who have west Semitic names.
I don't understand the word "non-historical Canaanite"?

Let me say that I agree completely with the following assertion by Karl: 
“One of the problems we have in reading the text is that we don’t have 
vowels written (those that we have are from a tradition far later, not 
original, and demonstrably sometimes wrong), thus the apparent Semitic 
sounding names may be mispronunciations of non-Semitic names.”
Vowels exist, even if they may be sometimes "wrong" (according to whatever 
criteria that remain to be understood).
This is not like reading Punic or Ugaritic.
You can't throw out through the window the informations you have on the 
Throwing out the vowels amounts to believe that the OT was originally 
composed in a Semitic "phonolect" that is in complete vocalic discontinuity 
with Masoretic Hebrew.
This PoV is untenable.

Something seems amiss here.  Karl is sounding so reasonable regarding this 
issue.  Yet let me re-quote what the #1 scholar in the world on this issue 
says:   “Apart from the expression ‘the land of the Hittites’, which 
sometimes denotes Syria, all other references to ‘Hittites’ in the OT are to 
a small group living in the hills during the era of the Patriarchs and 
descendants of that group.”  H.A. Hoffner, POTT, pp. 213-214

If I may be so bold, you seem blissfully unaware of the  h-u-g-e 
consequences that are riding on this issue.
Yes, that's possible.
For the time being my level of understanding is that there are two people 
erroneously and misleadingly confused under the label "Hittite": Heth and 
Hiti, sharing only one letter -H-. Bad match.

One reason why mainstream scholars give little credibility to the 
historicity of what purports in the Bible to be the early history of the 
Hebrews is because of this very issue.  The Hittites from eastern Anatolia 
were never in hill country in south-central Canaan, that’s for sure.  And 
nothing in history supports there ever having been a Canaanite tribe called 
the Hittites [H-XT-Y] either.  Does that make the Bible non-historical?  Or 
is the problem that modern scholars have not figured out what the Bible is 
The issue is somewhat a non-issue: there are three people: the real 
Hittites, the Heth and the Hiti.
And that's it. What's the need to make that issue more complex than that?

The names of these XT people in the Bible make no sense on a west Semitic 
basis.  So logically we on the b-hebrew list should do what not a single 
university scholar has ever done:  consider, first and foremost, which 
non-Semitic people are historically attested as constituting, albeit for a 
fairly brief length of time, much of the ruling class of cities throughout 
Canaan.  Yes, university scholars are well aware of this historical 
phenomenon, and do not deny it per se.  But they absolutely refuse to give 
any serious consideration to this well-documented historical phenomenon when 
considering the question of who the Biblical “Hittites” were.  How can it be 
right for university freshmen to be taught that this stuff is Biblical 
fiction, when university scholars are unwilling to consider the most likely 
historical candidate for being the Biblical “Hittites”?  Until and unless 
some mainstream university scholar is willing to address this issue head on, 
I myself give no credence to their constant written, published assurances 
that all this stuff is Biblical fiction.

What we need to do is to convince at least one mainstream university scholar 
to look at what actually happened in Late Bronze Age Canaan.  Then if such 
open-minded scholar would compare what actually happened in Late Bronze Age 
Canaan to what the Bible says about the Biblical “Hittites”, a refreshing 
new dialogue about the historicity of this part of the Bible might well 
ensue, to the benefit of one and all.
I don't perceive why the "historicity of this part of the Bible" is at 

But for now, the top scholars on earth as to the matter of the Biblical 
“Hittites” -- Trevor Bryce, Harry A. Hoffner, and Gordon Wenham, being the 
absolute top three guys in this field -- see the Biblical “Hittites” as 
being non-historical Canaanites with west Semitic names who are fictionally 
portrayed as living in hill country south of the Jezreel Valley.  If we don’t 
challenge that indefensible scholarly view of the Biblical “Hittites”, we’ll 
never recover the historicity of the Bible.  With Hebrew language issues 
being the main concern of the b-hebrew list, the logical focus in an 
examination of this scholarly view is the question of whether people on the 
b-hebrew list see the following as being west Semitic Hebrew names, as 
opposed to being non-Semitic names rendered in Biblical Hebrew:  ’WRY-H; 
‘PR-W-N;  CXR;  H-XT-Y.
Jim Stinehart
What is or would be the tentative Semitic explanation of  ‘PR-W-N and  CXR ?

Arnaud Fournet

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