Revisiting Shinar

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Rich McQuillen
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Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:01 am

Revisiting Shinar

Postby Rich McQuillen » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:47 pm

I found an old post of Jim Stinehart's where he proposes a new location for Shinar. Instead of the traditional translation of Shinar as Sumer/Sumeria... he proposed Mt. Lebanon as the location.

In this theory, Shinar becomes Semyra in the Levant. (map - Gublu(Byblos) to Arados(Karne/Chalane)

Babylon becomes Bybos. Erech becomes Arqa. Chalanes, I think is Karne (modern Tartus). In this theory, Nimrod becomes a Phoenecian or Pre-Phoenecian.

As for the timeframe for Nimrod, I'll propose 1458-1435BC, around the time of Amenhotep 2 in Egypt. I think this would be Yaqaru in Ugarit. Sala in Israel (since Nimrod's daughter marries Eber).

Note: The OT places the tower of Babel in Chalanes/Calneh(Karne), instead of Babylon.

It's an intriguing idea to relocate Nimrod and the Tower of Babel to Byblos. And perhaps a fun discussion. :)

James Stinehart

Re: Revisiting Shinar

Postby James Stinehart » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:44 pm

“Shinar” = שנער = ŠNġR = רġשנ. “Shinar” is not a Semitic name. Accordingly, “Shinar” cannot be analyzed linguistically in terms of Hebrew, Ugaritic, Assyrian or Akkadian. “Shinar” also cannot be analyzed as a Greek mangling of a Semitic name. What’s more, the Septuagint rendering of “Shinar” shows that Greek-speaking Jews had no earthly idea what this mysterious name meant or what language it came from, or even that the third Hebrew letter is a ghayin, not an ayin. “Shinar” long pre-dates any Greek knowledge of Syria or Canaan.

“Shinar” / שנער / ŠNġR / רġשנ is a Hurrian name that ultra-literally means (in Hurrian) “[Hurrian] ‘brothers’ ”, where “brothers” means “fellow princelings”. (The Hebrew word for “brother” is likewise used in the identical sense as meaning “fellow princeling” at Genesis 14: 13.)

The implied, effective meaning of “Shinar”, both in the Patriarchal narratives (at Genesis 14: 1, 9) and originally in non-Biblical history, is: “Late Bronze Age central Syria prior to the Great Syrian War, when central Syria was dominated by small-time Hurrian princelings [‘brothers’]”. [In later centuries, after Hurrian princelings had been decimated by Hittites (Biblical “Tidal”) in the Great Syrian War, the name “Shinar” came to be used loosely and anachronistically (“incorrectly”) to refer to any area south of Anatolia.]

The third Hebrew letter in “Shinar” is an ayin, but it is intended to represent a ghayin. So, “Shinar” = שנער = ŠNġR = רġשנ.

All four implied vowels turn out to be A, resulting in Ša-an-ġa-ra.

It is easy to find this exact name -- “Shinar” / שנער / ŠNġR / רġשנ / Ša-an-ġa-ra -- in Hurrian dictionaries and lists of Hurrian personal names. (This name is not attested in non-Hurrian dictionaries or lists of non-Hurrian personal names.)

(a) At p. 297 of Nozadze’s Hurrian dictionary, we see Ša-an-ġa-ra as a Hurrian geographical place name.

(b) At p. 124 of Gelb and Purves, “Nuzi Personal Names”, the following Hurrian man’s name is attested at the Late Bronze Age province of Nuzi (which merely adds the standard Hurrian theophoric suffix -a-a at the end): Ša-an-ġa-ra -a-a.

True, no university Biblical scholar has ever looked for a Hurrian etymology of “Shinar” / שנער / ŠNġR / רġשנ / Ša-an-ġa-ra. Why? Because to look for a Hurrian etymology of a name in the Patriarchal narratives (such as the 25 Hurrian-type names of Esau’s Hurrian / ḫry in-laws at Genesis 36: 20-30) would imply that such scholar has some doubt as to whether the Patriarchal narratives are pure fiction dreamed up by Jewish authors in mid-1st millennium BCE Jerusalem, umpteen centuries after the Hurrians had gone extinct.

But facts are facts:

1. “Shinar” / שנער / ŠNġR / רġשנ / Ša-an-ġa-ra is a Hurrian name that references central Syria in the first half of the Late Bronze Age, when it was dominated by Hurrian princelings / “brothers” / še-en / ša-an.

2. There is nothing Jewish or Greek about the Patriarchal narratives. Rather, the Patriarchal narratives are H-e-b-r-e-w , all the way in every way.

3. The presence of dozens of Hurrian-based names in the Patriarchal narratives -- such as “Shinar” / שנער / ŠNġR / רġשנ / Ša-an-ġa-ra -- means that the last 40 chapters of Genesis are a Late Bronze Age composition that was recorded in cuneiform writing (by a scribe hired for the occasion by the tent-dwelling, illiterate Hebrews) in the mid-14th century BCE, which was the time of the last hurrah of the Hurrians.

Jim Stinehart

Rich McQuillen
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Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:01 am

Re: Revisiting Shinar

Postby Rich McQuillen » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:23 pm

Jim, It's a long time ago since I talked to you at HallOfMaat. I'm so happy to finally talk to you again. :)
Here is a nice article on this topic of Shinar, for those wishing to learn more. Although the author finds a new location for Shinar that differs from Jim and I, it is a thorough and well constructed article that lays out the biblical passages in question. Note: The article references Jim as well. ... -of-babel/

Some of the highlights include:
"Accad of Genesis 10 is also spelled Akkad(e) and Agade in the literature (Arnold 2004, p. 23); and Archad in the Brenton and NETS LXX. We will use the Akkad spelling in this paper, because it appears to be currently the commonest one."
"Isaiah 10:9: “Is not Calno as Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad? Is not Samaria as Damascus?”"
" Genesis 10:10 should read, “And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar.”
"It is this author’s suggestion that the Calneh of the Bible is Washshukanni (there are many spelling variations), capital of the powerful Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni (also called Hanigalbat), that rose to power some time around 1500 BC (Oates 1979, p. 207)"
As I've said.. I think Calneh is Karne, near Arados/Arpad (modern day Tartus). You can see it on the map near Hamath.

Archad instead of Akkad raises questions... Arqa was the Phoenecian Irqata. This Arqa kind of matches 2 names, Erech and Archad. Which to choose? It is located in this same block of cities, Zimyra, Karne, Byblos. If we identify Arqa as Archad, then what would Erech be?

Rich McQuillen
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:01 am

Re: Revisiting Shinar

Postby Rich McQuillen » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:49 pm

Hi Jim,
Off-topic: One of the topics I'm a little uncertain about is the term "Phoenician" vs Canaanite vs Hurrian vs Amorite at such an early date.

For instance, the hyksos are called Asiatics (Amu)(Is Amu Amorite?). But they apparently are also called Phoenicians. ... _stela.htm
"The barbarians are submissive, they are standing before the gate of his palace. Fear of him is in the people of Khenethennefer, his war cry is (heard) in the lands of the Phoenicians *. " -- The Ahmose Memorial
* Phoenicians: fnxw A Syrian people (Beinlich)

Granted, these Northern Phoenician cities seem to get conquered a few times and switch from Hurrian to Amorite, etc... It's still a little confusing to me. Do you have any thoughts?

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Revisiting Shinar

Postby Kirk Lowery » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:56 pm

Uh, gents, remember that B-Hebrew is about the Hebrew language, first and foremost. Discussions about the identity of geographical sites is more history/archaeology than translation, interpretation, grammar and hermeneutics.

Let's get back to the center of our charter.

Kirk E. Lowery, PhD
B-Hebrew Site Administrator & Moderator

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