[b-hebrew] Initial Consonant Clusters in Biblical Hebrew

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Jun 11 10:26:16 EDT 2010

Yitzhak Sapir:
You wrote:  “However, I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Whenever we gave 
solid linguistic evidence that Jim Stinehart's theories were untenable, he 

ignored it.”
Au contraire, I am now trying to refine my views of the Patriarchal 
narratives to comply with, rather than ignore, linguistic theories that are backed 
with evidence from secular history.  In this connection, I would like to 
know if you agree with the following scholarly linguistic theory, which would 
tremendously help my case:
“The evidence comes primarily from an observation known as the CODA/ONSET 
ASYMMETRY.  In many languages, consonant clusters simplify by deleting the
first consonant, but never the second one (Wilson 2000, 2001, Steriade,
forthcoming): /patka/E[paka], not [pata].”  John J. McCarthy, “The Gradual 
Path to Cluster Simplification” (2008), linguist at University of 
Massachusetts, Amherst.  
That linguistic theory is extremely beneficial to my case.  The original 
Kassite pronunciation of the first two syllables of the Kassite name of 
Kassite Babylonia [of the Ka$-$u people] was likely Ka-$ra.  [Ka-$ra ius a 
variant, not surprisingly, of Ka$-$u, where –iyar or –ra is a Sanskrit comparative 
suffix, effectively meaning “better than the rest”, with such suffix 
having been added on to the Sanskrit/Kassite noun ku-$a/Ka$-$u, meaning “the 
fine, sharp qualities of a mountain”.  The Kassites had swept down from the 
towering Zagros Mountains in western Iran to conquer the rich, famous, low-lying 
plain of southern Mesopotamia, and their names of gods and kings often are 
based on Sanskrit words from India.  So mountain imagery and Sanskrit words 
are fully predictable for the Kassite name of Kassite Babylonia in the 
mysterious, agglutinative language of Kassite.]  It is likely that the Kassites, 
like the Hittites and English speakers, could easily pronounce this specific 
initial consonant cluster:  witness in English shrill, shrew, shrewd, 
shrimp, Shrek, shroud, etc.  But Akkadian speakers were like the Hebrews, and 
generally avoided initial consonant clusters, with this particular initial 
consonant cluster never being attested in the Hebrew Bible.  Based on the 
foregoing linguistic rule set forth by linguist John McCarthy, it is entirely 
predictable, obeying all the linguistic rules, that Ka-$ra in Kassite would come 
out as Ka-ra in the Akkadian cuneiform of the Amarna Letters (in letters 
from Kassite Babylonia).  Note that the first offending consonant, $, gets 
dropped, not the second offending consonant, R, pursuant to the foregoing 
linguistic rule.  Yet note also that Ka-ra in Akkadian cuneiform is fully 
consistent with the original two syllables of this Kassite name as having initially 
been Ka-$ra [ultimately going back to Sanskrit ku-$a, a word that 
emphasizes the many “sharp” qualities of a mountain].
In my opinion, that is the key to solving a millennia-old Biblical puzzle.  
Ka-ra in the Amarna Letters reflects, if a bit dimly, an original Ka-$ra.  
That makes perfect sense for the Ka$-$u people, where Ka-$ra has an obvious 
connection to Ka$-$u, whereas Ka-ra, at first glance, doesn’t look anything 
like Ka$-$u at all.  [I won’t go any farther than this, because I’m 
starting to get dangerously close to my prior thread that was closed.] 
What I’m saying is that I am trying to follow the linguistic rules here as 
to initial consonant clusters in various ancient languages, not ignore such 
rules.  These linguistic rules in fact greatly strengthen my theory that the 
Patriarchal narratives were composed in the Late Bronze Age, and undercut 
the non-linguistic scholarly view that the Patriarchal narratives are 1st 
millennium BCE fiction replete with glaring historical anachronisms.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list