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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Jul 29 13:28:16 EDT 2010

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.
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.
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.”
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.  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 saying?  
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.
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;  
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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