[b-hebrew] P R (H/"Pharaoh"" Three Meanings

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Sat Mar 16 15:40:00 EDT 2013

On Sat, 16 Mar 2013 13:47:30 -0400 (EDT), jimstinehart at aol.com wrote:
> Will:

> Let me address your two points in reverse order.

> 1.  Youwrote: “This seems less reasonable if weconsider the Egyptian
> form of this name, 3ḫ-n-ỉtn (i.e., divided Akh-en-Aten,but note the
> different consonants).”

> 3ḫ = ax = Egyptian ayin – Egyptian heth = (X =Hebrew ayin – Hebrew
> heth.  Why are yousaying “different consonants”?  Those
> twoconsonants are identical.

First of all, "3" is not an Egyptian ayin.  It has often been
considered to be the Egyptian equivalent of Hebrew aleph, but as I
indicated in a previous response, I don't believe this was the case;
it was some sort of liquid sound that later dropped out completely or
became a [j] in later Egyptian and Coptic.

As for the "different consonants", this refers both to the fact that 3
is a different consonant to ỉ within the name itself (although both
represented in the conventional transcription by the vowel A), and
also to call attention to the fact that 3ḫ-n-ỉtn has little in common
with *p3-rʿ-ʿḥ.

> As to -n- in Egyptian, that’s a generic connector,which has no
> precise meaning, and which would not be expected in a Hebrewversion
> of this name.

It has a grammatical function similar to English "of".  If we
translate p3-rʿ-ʿḥ word-for-word into English, we get "The Re Palace".
This is a possible construction in English, parallel to "The George
Washington Monument".  In many languages it wouldn't be, however.  If
we do the same thing in Hebrew, we get something like הרע היכל (where
of course I mean רע to be the Hebrew form of the Egyptian god Re and
not the ordinary Hebrew adjective).  Is this good Hebrew?  I don't
think it is.  (All you Hebrew speakers out there can jump in and
correct me if I'm off base on this.)  And I maintain, it's not good
Egyptian either.

> itn is the name of the deity that Akhenaten favoredin his early and
> middle years, as his first four daughters have itn in theirnames.
> But his last two daughters’ nameshave Ra, not itn.  So an updated
> Biblicalversion of Akhe-n-Aten would substitute ra or pA ra for itn.
> pA ra ax works perfectly and, as I havepreviously shown, could well
> be one of the intended meanings of the Hebrew wordPR(H in the
> Patriarchal narratives.

> Wordorder was a bit funky in Egyptian.  Inthe cartouches, the deity
> name usually seems to come first, regardless of the
> Englishtransliterations of the names of the pharaohs. But instead of
> “word order”, you say “different consonants”, so I don’tfollow your
> drift.  As to word order using Egyptian hieroglyphs, let mecite this
> basic explanation:

> “Hieroglyphicscript conforms to certain artistic and linguistic
> standards and rules whichseem to have been established very early in
> Egyptian history. A hieroglyphicinscription is arranged either in
> columns or in horizontal lines. When thescript is arranged in a
> column, it is always read from the top down. However,if script is
> written horizontally, the signs can be written right to left, orleft
> to right. The key is to check which way the animals and/or Gods
> arefacing. If the figures face right, the script reads right to
> left. To furthercomplicate translation, no punctuation marks or
> spaces to indicate thedivisions between words, which are sometimes
> arranged unconventionally forartistic effect or to adapt to
> restricted space.”
> http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/hieroglyphs-word-order.html

> That’s what I mean when I say that in a pharaoh’sname, word order
> was “negotiable”; itcould be, and often was, manipulated for
> artistic effect, etc.  Per the above quotation, hieroglyphic
> words[such as in a pharaoh’s name in a cartouche] “are sometimes
> arranged unconventionally for artisticeffect or to adapt to
> restricted space.”  So I don’t think itmakes too much sense to
> purport to require “normal” word order here for a namereferencing a
> pharaoh, especially in such a name created by an early Hebrewauthor,
> who was not an Egyptian native speaker [but who did know a fair
> amountof Egyptian and was a true genius, especially with languages].

This is all about *writing*.  The fact that the hieroglyphic writing
system sometimes positioned glyphs in an order that doesn't correspond
to how the words were pronounced doesn't change the fact that the
spoken language still had to correspond to Egyptian grammatical rules,
which was not as free in this respect as English.

> Let me add that what distinguishes Akhenaten’s namefrom that of his
> first four daughters, and from all other Egyptian names withwhich I
> am familiar, is ax [A-khe].  Thelast two letters in PR(H can be
> interpreted as being ax or (X, since theAkkadian cuneiform letter
> from which he/H would derive is Akkadian cuneiformheth, which can
> also render Hebrew heth/X.

By your method of transcription, you're obscuring important
differences in the consonants.  (That's why I mentioned "different
consonants" previously.)  The first part of Akh-en-Aten's name is 3ḫ,
the last two of your assumed *p3-rʿ-ʿḥ are ʿḥ.  Different consonants.

> If all you’re saying is that the consonants in the deity’s names
> differ,that’s because they are two completely different deity names.
> itn was the old favored name, but by the timeof the Patriarchal Age,
> the new favored name was ra, or pA ra, just as we seeat the end of
> the name of Joseph’s first Egyptian master: P W+ -Y- P R.

> Since this is a big deal to me, I am disappointedthat I don’t seem
> to be getting the gist of your point here.

I hope I've clarified things a bit.

> 2.  Youwrote: “I don't see p3-rʿ-ʿḥ as beingpossible in Egyptian.
> If I were to try totranslate “Palace of The Ra” back into Egyptian,
> I'd probably come up withsomething like ʿḥ-n-rʿ or ʿḥ-n-p3-rʿ.  Nor
> does assuming that it was formed inHebrew seem to help.”

> Are you focusing on the -n- in Egyptian?  As noted above, that is a
> generic connectorshowing some ill-defined relationship between what
> goes before and what comesafter.  In fact, it’s something like ’n’in
> English, where in theory the meaning is “and”, but it’s actually
> just anall-purpose connector.

No, it's not "ill defined"; it has a clear grammatical purpose.

> We would notexpect to see that -n- in the Hebrew version of any of
> these Egyptian names.  Otherwise you may be pointing out
> thedifference in word order, but (i) word order was often negotiable
> in Egyptian,per the quotation above, and (ii) I believe that in the
> hieroglyphs incartouches, the deity name customarily is put first
> [or at least often that isthe case], even if the English
> transliteration of the pharaoh’s name puts thedeity name last.
> There is no problem with the consonants here, as aH in Egyptian,
> even if it isnot the same as (H in Hebrew [as you rightly pointed
> out in your prior post],nevertheless is an equally plausible
> rendering based on the original Akkadiancuneiform, where the last
> letter is Akkadian cuenform heth, which could renderheth or he or
> emphatic H.
Will Parsons
μη φαινεσθαι, αλλ' ειναι.

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