[b-hebrew] abrhm

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Tue Mar 12 22:24:08 EDT 2013

John Leake:
1.  Youwrote:  “What seems fairly sure to me(ignoring any theological point of view) about the redactor of Genesis is: (1)he regarded Abram as an Aramaean.”
That clearly is not true.  
(a)  In the 14thcentury BCE, an “Aramean” was any west Semitic-speaking person who lived ineastern Syria, with the term at that early date not yet connoting ethnicity,other than to deny that the person was Hurrian. In the Patriarchal narratives, Abraham is  n-e-v-e-r characterized as being an Aramaean. Rather, Bethuel and Laban are stated at Genesis 25: 20 to be “Arameans”,precisely to distinguish them from Abraham! Bethuel and Laban, unlike Abraham, live in eastern Syria.  Umpteen centuries later, the author ofDeuteronomy 26: 5 said that “My father was a wandering Aramean” [according tosome translations], but there’s nothing of that kind in the Patriarchalnarratives.
(b)  Rather than“the redactor of Genesis”, we should be speaking about “the early Hebrew authorof the Patriarchal narratives”.  Only asingle author could feature 7 out of 7 firstborn sons being portrayed asgetting the shaft and properly so:  (i)Haran, (ii) Lot, (iii) Ishmael, (iv) Esau, (v) Reuben, (vi) Er, (vii) Manasseh.  Only a single author would feature mostcouples in the Patriarchal narratives as consisting of a native westSemitic-speaking husband and a wife whose mother was an ethnic Hurrian:  Abraham and Sarah;  Isaac and Rebekah;  Laban and his wife;  Jacob and both Leah and Rachel.  [Note that Rebekah, Leah and Rachel are allborn in the heart of Hurrianland in eastern Syria, and that we’re not told thenames of their mothers.]  Only a singleauthor would feature each and every Patriarch having such a difficult timesiring a son by his favorite main wife.  Andonly a single author in the Amarna Age would base the entire internal timelineof the Patriarchal narratives on the length of Akhenaten’s reign:  more than ½-way through his Regnal Year 17,hence the number 17½:  Abraham dies atage 17½ tenfold shanah;  the Patriarchalnarratives end with Joseph’s death 17½ tenfold years after Abraham’sbirth;  with Mark Cohen, the leadingexpert on ancient calendars, stating that shanah to the early Hebrews meant the“turning of the year”, being a 6-month period, we see that Terah dies at age205 shanah, which is age 102½ years, having sired Abram at age 70 shanah, whichis age 35 years;  that means that Terahdies when Abraham is age 67½ years [102½ - 35 = 67½].  That in turn means that the time elapsedafter the initial fulfillment of the Covenant with Isaac’s birth when Abrahamwas age 100 shanah, being age 50 years, and Terah’s death when Abraham is age67½ years, is [67½ - 50]:  17½ years!  No “redactor of Genesis’ could possibly havesuch a monolithic viewpoint that never varies one iota throughout the entiretyof the Patriarchal narratives.  Rather,that’s the telltale sign of “a single early Hebrew author of the Patriarchalnarratives”.  
2.  Youwrote:  “he can't explain Abraham, hencethe problematic etymologizing of name.”
Au contraire, Genesis 17: 5 gives us the  e-x-a-c-t meaning of the name )B R HM, a name that is not attested outside of theBible in ancient times [though )B RM and variants thereon such as )B -Y- RM are, by sharpcontrast, frequently attested outside of the Bible in ancient times].  The one and only reason this name )B R HM hasbaffled scholars for over 3 millennia now is that no one is comfortablerecognizing R as a theophoric, since it’s ra, a divine name coming fromEgypt.  But that just shows that thePatriarchal narratives are really  o-l-d, because their composition predates the time when Egypt did anything wrong tothe Hebrews.  When Donald Redford floatsthe mainstream idea that the Patriarchal narratives were ginned up in 7thcentury BCE Jerusalem, he seems to overlook the cardinal fact that in the 7thcentury BCE, Egyptians under pharaoh Necho killed the Hebrews’ beloved KingJosiah.  You’ve got to go all the longway back to Year 14 of the Amarna Age to find a time when the Hebrews sincerelyhoped that Egypt might be on their side as the Hebrews hoped to avoid beingdriven out of their beloved homeland in south-central Canaan.  [No, pharaoh Akhenaten didn’t lift a fingerto help the Hebrews, but the early Hebrews sincerely hoped that Akhenaten wouldhelp them.]
3.  Youwrote:  “RHM. Given the rather pastoralcontext of the Arabic rhm - rihma….”
Please tell us when this word RHM is firstattested.  Such word did not exist whenthe Patriarchal narratives were composed, and set forth in writing usingAkkadian cuneiform to write Canaanite/pre-Hebrew words on clay tablets [per theAmarna Letters, but using west Semitic words, not Akkadian words], during theAmarna Age in the mid-14th century BCE.  [Those original cuneiform clay tablets,stored safely in the Temple, were transformed into alphabetical Hebrew in 7thcentury BCE Jerusalem, using the spelling and grammar for Hebrew common wordsthat was au courant in 7th century BCE Jerusalem.  That’s why the spelling and grammar of Hebrewcommon words in most of the Patriarchal narratives is virtuallyindistinguishable from the spelling and grammar of Hebrew common words in thesecond half of II Samuel.  But no updatesat all were made to the proper names in the Patriarchal narratives, which arestill today in the received text utterly redolent of Year 14 of the AmarnaAge.] 
The Patriarchal narratives are much older, and muchmore accurate historically [in a Years 12-14 context], than university scholarsrealize.  That’s why the Patriarchalnarratives are way friendlier toward Egypt than we ourselves are comfortablewith today.  The Patriarchal narrativesare really  o-l-d !
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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