[b-hebrew] Early and late biblical Hebrew

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Nov 28 14:57:46 EST 2011

Rob Acosta, in response to my assertion that "If we don’t realize how 
thoroughly Canaan was dominated by Hurrian princelings in the mid-14th century 
BCE [per the Amarna Letters], we will not appreciate the enormity of the 
Hebrews managing to accomplish precisely what Genesis 15: 18-21 says", wrote:
“I see you continue to purport a completely false view of the chronology of 
the Amarna letters for the sole purpose if supporting your theories.  You 
should be honest with the readers and acknowledge upfront your views are your 
invention based on your own studies and that you ignored  the works of 
experts on the Amarna Letters such as EF Campbell , William Moran, and Donald 
Redford.   In all cases the chronologies put forth by these scholars and 
others  disagree with yours.”
On the contrary, there is overwhelming scholarly support for my stated view 
above that “Canaan was dominated by Hurrian princelings in the mid-14th 
century BCE [per the Amarna Letters]”:
“From the Amarna texts we can draw the conclusion that the Hurrian 
component of the population is to be recognized all over the country.  Many of the 
rulers of Canaan have non-Semitic names, mostly Hurrian….  These names may 
indicate that the Hurrians had become the upper classes of the urban societies 
in Palestine.”  Gosta Werner Ahlstrom, “The History of Ancient Palestine” 
(1993), pp. 249-250.
“The Bekaa and Jordan Valleys shared this influence with citizens and town 
leaders of many of the sites in this region bearing Hurrian or other 
northern names, as attested in the Amarna correspondence and other cuneiform 
evidence.  For example, note the following Hurrian or Indo-Aryan names in the 
region:  i-tag-ga14-ma of Kadesh;  ti4-wa-te at Lapana;  a-ra-wa-na at Kumidi;  
ma-ya-ar-za-ni at Xasi;  ya-mi-u-ta at Guddashuna;  a-ki-iz-zi at Qatna;  
a-ki-Te$$up at Tunib;  bir5-ya-wa-za at Damascus;  ar-ta-ma-an-ya at 
Ziri-Bashan;  bi-ri-da-a$-wa at Ashtaroth;  da-$a (as a shortened form of or an 
equivalent name for bi-ri-da-a$-wa?).  This influence extended westward through 
the Jezreel Valley where it reached Megiddo, Achshaph and Acco.  These sites 
are associated with the names, bi-ri-di-ya and in-tar-u-ta at Megiddo and A
chshaph, and the names sa-ta-at-na and su-ra-ta at Acco.”  Richard S. Hess, 
“‘Geshurite’ Onomastica of the Bronze and Iron Ages”, in Rami Arav and 
Richard A. Freund, editors,  “Bethsaida:  A City by the North Shore of the Sea 
of Galilee” (2004), p. 53.
Hurrian princeling rulers were so pervasive in Canaan in the 14th century 
BCE that Egyptians sometimes called the entire area “Hurri-land”.  (Brief 
comments in brackets are by me.)
“The king of Jerusalem during the Amarna Age was Abdu-Hepa [actually 
IR-Heba], whose name indicates his Hurrian ancestry (Hepa was a Hurrian goddess).  
…The Hurrian impact on Palestinian politics became so noticeable that the 
Egyptians sometimes referred to Palestine as ‘Hurri-land’ or ‘Hurru’.  The 
Bible refers to these people as ‘Horites’ [XRY, better transliterated as ‘
Hurrians’].”  George E. Mendenhall and Gary A. Herion, “Ancient Israel’s 
Faith and History” (2001), at p. 32.
 “Farther south -- in inland Syria and Palestine -- …in some Egyptian 
sources dating from the Eighteenth Dynasty this region is referred to as Khor 
(or Kharu [alternatively transliterated as ‘Hurri’]).  It has been pointed 
out by Gardiner that the name probably came to be applied as the result of 
contact by the conquering Egyptian armies with ‘no inconsiderable portion’ of 
the population who called themselves Hurri and that in time this term came 
to be applied to the inhabitants as a whole, irrespective of whether they 
were of Semitic or non-Semitic stock….”  Claire Epstein, “Palestinian Bichrome 
Ware” (1966), p. 153.
 “The social formation of Canaan, as suggested by the Amarna correspondence 
of the fourteenth century B.C.,…[as to] the name bearers who ruled…
throughout Canaan…[provides an] onomastic profile of the elite classes in Canaan in 
the fourteenth century B.C.  …In particular, the presence of northerners, 
with personal names containing Anatolian, Indo-Aryan and especially Hurrian 
elements was noted.  …There is no doubt that a northern [primarily Hurrian] 
cultural presence did exist in Late Bronze Age Palestine and in regions to 
the north and east.”  Richard S. Hess, “Hurrians and Other Inhabitants of 
Late Bronze Age Palestine”, Levant XXIX (1997), at pp. 153, 155.
“[B]y the time of the Amarna letters there can be no doubt that Hurrians 
had penetrated deeply and in considerable numbers into Palestine.  …[T]he 
Biblical Horites [XRY, using “X” or “x” here to represent an underdotted H, a 
type of heth] are identical with the Hurrians of the cuneiform and 
hieroglyphic inscriptions.    Xori [XRY]is identical with xurri (cf. Eg. xuru, Ug. 
xry and Acc. xurri), Palestine is known as xuru (xr) in Egyptian inscriptions….
”  Joseph Blenkinsopp, “Gibeon and Israel” (Cambridge at the University 
Press 1972), p. 15.
“Horites [XRY, at Genesis 14: 6].  …[T]he proper spelling and etymology is 
‘Hurrians’.  They had migrated to southern Canaan after 1500 B.C. in such 
large numbers that the Egyptians typically called the area ‘the land of the 
Hurru’ in the Late Bronze Age (as in the Merneptah Stele [from the late 13th 
century BCE]).  Many kings of the Canaanite city-states in the Amarna 
period have Hurrian names.”  William G. Dever, “Who Were the Early Israelites 
and Where Did They Come From?” (2006), p. 220. 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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