[b-hebrew] Yeru

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Sep 27 09:53:32 EDT 2012

Uri Hurwitz:
You wrote:  “As for the objection to the inclusion of the  minor deity 
Shalem from Ugarit in the city's name -  note the existence of dozens and dozens 
word-pairs in biblical Hebrew which are the exact equivalents  of such 
pairs in LB Ugaritic.  This is a case of  precise linguistic borrowing.”
By now you have doubtless noted George Athas’ clarification that he was not 
personally vouching for the accuracy of the theory that the name Jerusalem 
is supposedly based on the name of one minor twin deity at Ugarit:  “I just 
provided the 'usual' theory in answer to the original question.”
If you’re wondering why neither George Athas nor anyone else is citing 
inscriptions from Canaan showing that the minor Ugaritic deity Shalem was known 
in Canaan, it’s because there are no such inscriptions.  The divine name $LM 
is never attested in Canaan.  Period.
As to your own analysis of the matter, how would the alleged presence of “
dozens and dozens word-pairs in biblical Hebrew which are the exact 
equivalents of such pairs in LB Ugaritic” have anything to do with people in Canaan 
allegedly having heard of the Ugaritic minor deity Shalem?
We know for a fact that $LM as a common word is one of the oldest, and most 
frequently-attested, words in all the Semitic languages, and that such 
common word was suitable for use as a proper name.  Everyone in Canaan knew $LM 
as a common word.  Why then would you think that the name “Jerusalem” does 
not incorporate the common word $LM, and that Jerusalem is instead allegedly 
named after a minor deity from Ugarit whose name, $LM, is never attested a 
single time in Canaan, much less in Jerusalem?
As you may or may not know, scholars in the past have made gargantuan leaps 
of faith, with huge doses of creativity, in trying to find the god Shalem 
mentioned in the Amarna Letters (excluding the name “Jerusalem”).  I believe 
that all such efforts have now been thoroughly repudiated and rejected.  So 
as evidence that people in Canaan had ever heard of the Ugaritic minor 
deity $lm, or his twin deity, we now have:  nothing.
Shouldn’t that cast doubt on the assertion, so frequently bandied about in 
the scholarly literature, that Jerusalem is allegedly named in honor of the 
Ugaritic deity $lm?  Since scholars have no evidence whatsoever to support 
that strange assertion, why should we accept it?  The god Shalem was never 
known by anyone in Canaan, as far as we can tell from attested history.  No 
one who ever lived in Jerusalem had ever heard of the minor Ugaritic deity 
$lm, or his twin.  Jerusalem was not named after one twin of a pair of minor 
Ugaritic deities.  Not.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois
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