[b-hebrew] Early and late biblical Hebrew

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Fri Nov 25 14:28:46 EST 2011

George Athas:

You wrote:  “Hurrian names are no more a determining factor of biblical texts than Hebrew, Aramaic, Akkadian, or Egyptian names. You've failed to see the point that Young was making and actually fall right into the fallacy he was outlining. You're swimming in circles in Hurrian-infested waters, Jim. Either quit the Hurrian obsession and stick to the issue of early and late biblical Hebrew, or else please desist from hijacking an otherwise valuable discussion.”

As to dating issues, scholars often point out that Hurrian names disappear in non-biblical sources by the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE:

“Hurrian peoples and names are found in the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 BC).  Their presence diminished in the following two centuries and disappeared altogether at the beginning of the first millennium BC.”  Richard S. Hess, “West Semitic Texts and the Book of Joshua”, Bulletin for Biblical Research 7 (1997), pp. 67-68.

So it is important that scholars also recognize that many of the names at Genesis 15: 19-21 appear to be Hurrian names, thereby representing 2nd millennium BCE people:

“Palestine also contained other elements, particularly Indo-Aryans and Hurrians….  No doubt many of the peoples whom the Bible lists as pre-Israelite inhabitants of the land (Hittites, Hivites, Horites, Jebusites, Girgashites, Perizzites, etc.), though most of them cannot be identified with certainty, represent non-Semitic elements in the population.  Hurrians (together with Indo-Aryan elements) were certainly present in Palestine, and they must have been fairly numerous, since the Egyptians in this period [the 13th century BCE] referred to Palestine as Xuru.”  John Bright, A History of Israel (2000), p. 116.

If Ian Young can focus attention on the allegedly “Persian words dat in Deuteronomy 33.2, raz (“secret”) in Isaiah 24.16, and peladot (“steel”) in Nahum 2.4”, then why can’t I counter with 6 Hurrian-based Patriarchal nicknames at Genesis 15: 19-21?  What you call my “Hurrian obsession” is what I would prefer to characterize as my obsession to show the true antiquity, and pinpoint historical accuracy as to the historical setting of, the Patriarchal narratives.

Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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