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