Rashi on Hebron

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ducky
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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by ducky »

Hi David, and thanks.

I think I understood his words.
I understand that he wants to look only at Genesis (for that matter) and I even want to go with him.

So let's say I agree with what he's saying and that Hebron that we see in Genesis is really on another place.

Now I keep reading, and I see that Hebron is mention on other books as placed on a mountain.

So let's say that Hebron in Genesis is really not on a mountain.

My question is why, in other books, there is a place named Hebron, with same relation of Qiryat-Araba, and with the same relation to Hittites (חתי).

If Hebron of Genesis is on place X.
And Hebron in Joshua is on Place Y
Why and How did Y get the name of X with its (X) relations?

Was that unintentional, a mistake? How can it be? I need an explanation.
Didn't the Y have already a name of its own that people used?
How suddenly, Y, a name with its own name, got another name of another place + got its relations?

Was that intentional? What is the motive?
If we would see in Joshua or in other places, a note next to the name Hebron which mentions Abraham and the Fathers. then one would say, that the new place was called Hebron to make it more holy.
But...
1. Hebron is mentioned in Joshua before it was holy, and just a name of a place as the other place - with no importance to it.
2. there is no note like that next to Hebron. So what is the point or the motive to take the name Hebron and putting it on another place?

My comment (for now) doesn't come to argue with Jim, but the opposite. I want to accept his words, but just wonder how he explain the chnage.
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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by Jim Stinehart »

Jason:

First, congratulations on becoming a moderator of this fine list.


1. You wrote: “As far as I understand it, Jim wants us to reconsider the patriarchal narrative and reinterpret it without considering any other texts.”

That is more or less right, if by “any other texts” you mean “any other Biblical texts”. I of course rely heavily on non-Biblical texts in my historical analysis of the Patriarchal narratives.


2. You wrote: “The text cannot be allowed to have the apparent story that it presents to those who simply read it, but it must be dug into to discover where the stories were changed, adapted, and buried within the story to produce a different narrative than what was originally told, from whichever perspective.”

Well, it depends on what you mean by that. If by “the text”, you mean the entire Hebrew Bible, then what you say is basically right, as to my view.

But if by “the text”, you mean the text of the Patriarchal narratives in Genesis, then I am arguing exactly the opposite. In my opinion, excluding only the 1% of the received text that represents later-added “glosses”, all the rest (99%) of the received text of the Patriarchal narratives is n-o-t “changed, adapted, and buried within the story to produce a different narrative than what was originally told, from whichever perspective”.

* * *

Jason, I think I am agreeing with how you characterize my views. But I just want to make sure that everyone understands that I honor every word in the Patriarchal narratives (except “glosses”), which I view as being historical, whereas I more or less follow the views of today’s university scholars as to all the rest of the Hebrew Bible.


3. You wrote: “I'm not sure why we need to reunderstand everything, but that's what I get from his writing.”

What “we need to reunderstand” is not “everything”, but rather is limited to the Patriarchal narratives in Genesis.

The exciting news I am bringing to the list is that in my considered opinion, the Patriarchal narratives are not Jewish fiction from the Iron Age, as today’s university scholars would have it, but rather the Patriarchal narratives are coming to us straight from the Late Bronze Age, before Canaan was ever split between Israel and Judah. I see the Patriarchal narratives as being accurate historical commentary by a tent-dwelling early Hebrew on the events of his day, which he knew well. It is my opinion that we obtained the Patriarchal narratives in almost the same way as we obtained the Amarna Letters: illiterate, but highly-intelligent, individuals in the Amarna Age hired professional scribes to record in cuneiform writing their missives.


4. Jason, this thread has gotten a little off track (though in a very productive way). But what I am dying to know is your own view of the central proposition I am trying to make in this thread.


(a) Do you agree or disagree with my contention that the reference at Genesis 37: 14 to emeq / ‘MQ / עמק means that the Patriarchs’ Hebron, as opposed to King David’s Hebron, is located in the Shephelah?

(In my first post on this thread I noted that the Patriarchs’ Hebron, unlike King David’s Hebron, is never said to be “up” / ‘alah / ‘LH / עלה in southern “hill country” / har / HR / הר.)


(b) Do you agree or disagree with my contention that the three mysterious Hebrew letters in the Hebrew Masoretic Text at Genesis 13: 18 -- ’LN / אלן -- are defective or shortened spelling of “Ayalon”?

(My second post noted that neither Onkelos nor Jonathan agreed with the Septuagint and all modern translators that those three mysterious Hebrew letters are somehow referring to “trees”.)

I would love to learn your substantive views as to those above two key assertions of mine.

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Jason Hare
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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by Jason Hare »

Jim Stinehart wrote:Jason, I think I am agreeing with how you characterize my views.
There are only two things that I have trouble with, Jim.

1) You don't seem to really deal with Hebrew on its own terms. It seems that Hebrew just happens to be convenient to your theories. What that means is that you're building theories and then just inserting Hebrew where you find it supportive of your views. Given that this is a forum devoted to the study and furtherance of studies in the Hebrew language (and in source criticism or historical theory), your theories might hold water when debated among people who specialize in those fields... but, we confessedly do not have that expertise. We know Hebrew, and that's all we deal with as a community. Your theories just aren't relevant to this forum's goals, whether they are correct or not. Have you not considered taking them up with the relevant experts rather than with B-Hebrew?

2) If we were to address your propositions as tangentially related to the study of Hebrew—since they at the very least originate within the texts that touch upon the field of our quarry—David (ducky) has specifically asked for conciseness in your approach. No one wants to read a wall of text when they are asking a specific question. This doesn't mean that there is no place for full treatises on given topics. But, if someone asks you a question and specifically asks for conciseness in response to that given question, please be concise.

That said, how about we get to know you and what makes you tick. I know you've been posting on B-Hebrew for ages, but I've never really pieced together how you got to where you are in your theories and where you studied, etc. This your chance for verbosity. :) Can you tell me where you studied the biblical text and where you got your expertise? Or, is this an amateur (in the best sense of the word) area of interest to you? Have you studied Hebrew to any depth?

Notice that "amateur" isn't a bad thing. I'm an amateur instructor of Hebrew, not having received either a teaching certification or a degree in Hebrew. It doesn't mean that I don't know what I'm doing, but it means that I don't have any expertise in the field beyond experience.

Thanks for your attention - and for your congratulations on the new forum status. :)

Regards,
Jason
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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by Jason Hare »

Jim Stinehart wrote:(a) Do you agree or disagree with my contention that the reference at Genesis 37: 14 to emeq / ‘MQ / עמק means that the Patriarchs’ Hebron, as opposed to King David’s Hebron, is located in the Shephelah?
It seems that ducky has well shown that חֶבְרוֹן is multiply mentioned with both קִרְיַת אַרְבַּע and מַמְרֵא, as well as being associated with the people הַחִתִּי (the Hittite people). I don't think we're justified on the appearance of עֵ֫מֶק alone to reevaluate all of those collocations. I'm not averse to there being mistakes in the text, if that is the only explanation. I don't see how one word should cause us to rethink the entirety of the story. Perhaps it refers to a valley that was near Hebron. All indications are that Hebron is Hebron—and it's a city built on a hill.
Jim Stinehart wrote:(b) Do you agree or disagree with my contention that the three mysterious Hebrew letters in the Hebrew Masoretic Text at Genesis 13: 18 -- ’LN / אלן -- are defective or shortened spelling of “Ayalon”?
I cannot imagine the consonantal yod being defective. It is vocalic "matres lectionis" which drop arbitrarily, not consonantal weak letters.
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Jim Stinehart
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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by Jim Stinehart »

Jason:

1. You wrote: “You don't seem to really deal with Hebrew on its own terms. It seems that Hebrew just happens to be convenient to your theories. … We know Hebrew, and that's all we deal with as a community. Your theories just aren't relevant to this forum's goals, whether they are correct or not.”

Actually, as I noted in my last post, in this thread I am primarily asking this list for comments on my controversial view of one Hebrew common word and three Hebrew letters. What I am dying to know, Jason, is the view of you and others on this list as to these two Hebrew language issues:

(a) Am I right or wrong in viewing the reference at Genesis 37: 14 to emeq / ‘MQ / עמק as meaning that the Patriarchs’ Hebron, as opposed to King David’s Hebron, is located in the Shephelah?

(b) Am I right or wrong in seeing the three mysterious Hebrew letters in the Hebrew Masoretic Text at Genesis 13: 18 -- ’LN / אלן -- as being defective or shortened spelling of “Ayalon”?

To me, those are the types of Hebrew language questions that the b-Hebrew list is designed to address.


2. You wrote: “David (ducky) has specifically asked for conciseness in your approach. No one wants to read a wall of text when they are asking a specific question. This doesn't mean that there is no place for full treatises on given topics. But, if someone asks you a question and specifically asks for conciseness in response to that given question, please be concise.”

My apologies. I will try to do better in that regard in the future. But did you see all the many questions that David (ducky) asked me? And David is asking questions about Joshua, which is quite tangential to what I discussed in my first two posts on this thread. Those Joshua questions are fascinating and helpful and relevant historically, but to your point in #1 above, those Joshua questions in fact do not deal with the Hebrew language in particular.


3. You wrote: “That said, how about we get to know you and what makes you tick. I know you've been posting on B-Hebrew for ages, but I've never really pieced together how you got to where you are in your theories and where you studied, etc. This your chance for verbosity. Can you tell me where you studied the biblical text and where you got your expertise? Or, is this an amateur (in the best sense of the word) area of interest to you? Have you studied Hebrew to any depth?”

I have advanced degrees, including a Masters Degree in history from the University of Iowa. But I am self-taught in both Bible studies and Hebrew.

My passion for the better part of the last 30 years has been to understand the Patriarchal narratives in Genesis.

In a few cases -- such as emeq / ‘MQ / עמק at Genesis 37: 14, and the three mysterious Hebrew letters ’LN / אלן in the Hebrew Masoretic Text at Genesis 13: 18 -- my search for an historical understanding of the Patriarchal narratives in Genesis runs up against fine interpretations of Hebrew words, names or letters. It is that type of issue that I see as fitting for this fine list.

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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by Jim Stinehart »

Jason Hare:

To my question of whether the three mysterious Hebrew letters in the Hebrew Masoretic Text at Genesis 13: 18 -- ’LN / אלן -- may be defective or shortened spelling of “Ayalon”, you responded:

“I cannot imagine the consonantal yod being defective. It is vocalic "matres lectionis" which drop arbitrarily, not consonantal weak letters.”

The interior yod / Y / י near the beginning of the plene spelling of this name is in fact arguably (though admittedly not certainly) optional, as the name of a man from Ayalon is first spelled at Judges 12: 11 using the plene spelling of “Ayalon”, but then in the very next verse, at Judges 12: 12, that same man’s name is spelled without that interior yod / Y / י: ’LWN / אלון.

Consider now that in the Late Bronze Age, in four out of five non-Biblical attestations, “Ayalon” is a 3-syllable name: ia-lu-na. Yet every single time in the Hebrew Bible, “Ayalon” (with the possible exception of Genesis 13: 18) as a geographical place name per se (but perhaps not as a personal name, per Judges 12: 11-12 above) is set forth as a 4-syllable name: ’-Y-LW-N / אילון / a-ia-lu-na.

Since the Late Bronze Age non-Biblical attestations of this name favor a 3-syllable rendering, yet every single rendering of this name in the Hebrew Bible starts with aleph / ’ / א, and considering that at Judges 12: 12 it is possible to see the interior yod / Y / י as perhaps being optional, shouldn’t we at least ask whether a 3-syllable rendering of this name in Biblical Hebrew could be what we see at Genesis 13: 18? That would be: ’LN / אלן.

Jason, it’s been well over 2,000 years now, and no one -- not Onkelos, Jonathan, or any translator (from the Latin Vulgate through KJV and JPS to the most recent translations such as NRSV) -- has ever been able to come up with an adequate explanation of those three mysterious Hebrew letters ’LN / אלן in the Hebrew Masoretic Text. That to me suggests that instead of insisting on the “ideal” shortened spelling -- which, I agree, would be YLN / ילן, treating the yod / Y / י as consonantal -- perhaps we should instead widen the strike zone just a little bit and ask if ’LN / אלן at Genesis 13: 18 may be a shortened, non-ideal spelling of “Ayalon” as a 3-syllable Late Bronze Age name.

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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by Jason Hare »

Hi, Jim.
Jim Stinehart wrote:The interior yod / Y / י near the beginning of the plene spelling of this name is in fact arguably (though admittedly not certainly) optional, as the name of a man from Ayalon is first spelled at Judges 12: 11 using the plene spelling of “Ayalon”, but then in the very next verse, at Judges 12: 12, that same man’s name is spelled without that interior yod / Y / י: ’LWN / אלון.
Since in אֵילוֹן ʾÊlôn the yod is a mater lectionis (a vowel letter), even if it is representing a historic long vowel, so it is perfectly fine to find it spelled as אֵלוֹן ʾĒlôn in the following verse. This is not the same as dropping a consonant from a word. It's not an issue of plene vs. defective in such a case. It would be a revocalization of the name completely such that you would simply not read אַיָּלוֹן as ʾAyyālôn at all. In ʾAyyālôn, the yod is not only a consonant—but it is also doubled with dagesh. It wouldn't just drop out of the word.
Jim Stinehart wrote:Consider now that in the Late Bronze Age, in four out of five non-Biblical attestations, “Ayalon” is a 3-syllable name: ia-lu-na. Yet every single time in the Hebrew Bible, “Ayalon” (with the possible exception of Genesis 13: 18) as a geographical place name per se (but perhaps not as a personal name, per Judges 12: 11-12 above) is set forth as a 4-syllable name: ’-Y-LW-N / אילון / a-ia-lu-na.
I don't know what you're talking about as "set forth as a 4-syllable name," since ʾAyyālôn is three syllables: ʾAy|yā|lôn. Are you talking about some language other than Hebrew? By contrast, ʾÊ|lôn is a two-syllable name. If you're talking about some other language, you should be clear what you're talking about. As for Hebrew, you're misinformed.
Jim Stinehart wrote:Since the Late Bronze Age non-Biblical attestations of this name favor a 3-syllable rendering, yet every single rendering of this name in the Hebrew Bible starts with aleph / ’ / א, and considering that at Judges 12: 12 it is possible to see the interior yod / Y / י as perhaps being optional, shouldn’t we at least ask whether a 3-syllable rendering of this name in Biblical Hebrew could be what we see at Genesis 13: 18? That would be: ’LN / אלן.
I feel like I'm reading something from James Atwill or Robert Eisenman, like you're trying to reconstruct an entire historical narrative based on the associations of word roots and twists of pronunciations. I don't get the relevance of these theories, nor do I think you're treating the text correctly. (That said, there were times in my life when I was very interested in what both Atwill and Eisenman had to say on their specific areas of publication. Not anymore, but there was a time. I gave them a chance in my mind.)
Jim Stinehart wrote:Jason, it’s been well over 2,000 years now, and no one -- not Onkelos, Jonathan, or any translator (from the Latin Vulgate through KJV and JPS to the most recent translations such as NRSV) -- has ever been able to come up with an adequate explanation of those three mysterious Hebrew letters ’LN / אלן in the Hebrew Masoretic Text. That to me suggests that instead of insisting on the “ideal” shortened spelling -- which, I agree, would be YLN / ילן, treating the yod / Y / י as consonantal -- perhaps we should instead widen the strike zone just a little bit and ask if ’LN / אלן at Genesis 13: 18 may be a shortened, non-ideal spelling of “Ayalon” as a 3-syllable Late Bronze Age name.
You've really lost me as to why you think these words need identification to such a striking detail. I don't think that this is a very persuasive way to approach the text.

Best regars,
Jason
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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by Jason Hare »

Jim Stinehart wrote:As I see it, the one and only thing about Hebron that is historical in Joshua is, not surprisingly, found in Joshua’s famed city lists...
I don't see why you would think it important that the Patriarchal Narrative be perfect in every detail but that Joshua can be mistaken and imperfect. These minutiae that are occupying you in the texts of your focus might just as likely be mistaken as you consider the text of Joshua to be. If it comes down to a couple of words leading to a drastic rewrite of our entire understanding of the chapters, perhaps those words are just in error (not successfully transmitted). It seems to me that you're missing the forest for the trees.
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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by ducky »

Hi Jim,

You mentioned me in your comment to Jason, And I don't think you understood my question.
You look at it backward.

Think of me as I accept your words, and now we both agree that Hebron in Genesis is on a valley.

Now... I am not using Joshua as something to prove you wrong (since we "agree").
But look at me as an innocent man that sees Hebron in Joshua (and other books) and just ask a question.

Why in the other books, Hebron, which also relates to Qirayt-Araba and relates to the people חתי, such as in Genesis... Why it is said that it is placed on a hill.
There must be a reason for this switch, right?
All I want to know the explanation for this switch - because it is hard to understand it.

It is like...
There is a city in east Usa called New-York and it is called also "The Big Apple", and there is a man called Rudy Giuliani who was the mayor of this city.

Now suddenly, Someone says that there is another place that is called New-York.
(so up until now, I can say: "Okay, maybe").

But... it's not only that.
This other New-York is Also called "The Big Apple".
And there is also a Rudy Giuliani which was the mayor of this place.

Now it seems to me very strange.

This is what I see in your words.
You talk about Hebron in a valley, and you claim that all of the other Hebrons is in another place.
(and up until now, I can say: "Okay, Maybe").
But then, I see this other Hebron has the same relations that the first Hebron has.

So How can it be?
How did this switch happen?
Was that unintentional? How?
Was that intentional? Why?

If you want your claim to be serious, you don't only need to point at it, but you need to explain it, and remove all doubts that surround it.
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Re: Rashi on Hebron

Post by Jim Stinehart »

Jason Hare:

You wrote: “I don't know what you're talking about as ‘set forth as a 4-syllable name,’ since ʾAyyālôn is three syllables: ʾAy|yā|lôn. Are you talking about some language other than Hebrew? By contrast, ʾÊ|lôn is a two-syllable name. If you're talking about some other language, you should be clear what you're talking about. As for Hebrew, you're misinformed.”

When you say I am “misinformed” about “Hebrew”, you seem to be referring to Hebrew in the Middle Ages, since you are relying on pointing that was not done until the Middle Ages. The Hebrew Bible long pre-dates the Middle Ages.

Let’s instead start at the beginning. Amarna Letter EA 273: 20, from a female author in the mid-14th century BCE who seems to be intimately acquainted with what is going on in the Ayalon Valley in Year 13, writes the name “Ayalon” as follows (in cuneiform):

a-ia-lu-na

I submit that such formal, 4-syllable version of this name is exactly what we see in all later books of the Bible, every single time, as the spelling of “Ayalon” as a 4-syllable geographical place name (as opposed to the personal name at Judges 12: 12): ’-Y-LW-N / אילון / a-ia-lu-na.

* * *

But to get back to the main theme of this thread, given that four out of five non-Biblical Late Bronze Age spellings of the name “Ayalon” shortened it to a 3-syllable name (with the above-cited Amarna Letter being the only exception to that rule), w-h-y then is the name “Ayalon” as a geographical place name n-e-v-e-r shortened to a 3-syllable name in any later book of the Bible? Why?

The reason, I submit, is that the Judah-centric Jewish authors of later books of the Bible were horrified at the thought that people might otherwise interpret the three Hebrew letters ’LN / אלן at Genesis 13: 18 as being a shortened, non-ideal spelling of “Ayalon”. אילון / ’YLWN / ’[Y]L[W]N / ’LN / אלן, with the northern rural Ayalon Valley not being located in beloved Judah.

That fear was greatly heightened by the fact that at Genesis 37: 14, the Patriarchs’ Hebron is flat out said to be located in emeq / ‘MQ / עמק, being a Biblical Hebrew common word that, in the context of southern Canaan, always refers to the Shephelah in the Bible (which includes the Ayalon Valley).

What to do? How the heck could the Hebrew Patriarchs be taken out of Israel and, retroactively, be re-positioned in beloved Judah? Well, Joshua certainly gave it the old college try. Joshua tells us three times that Hebron was located in Judah, and on two of those occasions Joshua adds that Hebron was located in the hill country of Judah. But alas, Joshua was unwilling to mess up his cherished, invaluable, historical LBA city lists, so the Hebron at Joshua 15: 54, instead of being King David’s Hebron in southern hill country as in the rest of Joshua, seems to be the Patriarchs’ Hebron in the Ayalon Valley in the northernmost Shephelah. As I said in a post to David, Joshua 15: 48-51 lists 11 cities that are expressly stated at Joshua 15: 48 to be in southern “hill country” / har / HR / הר, including Debir (Joshua 15: 49), which is a well-known city located south of King David’s Hebron in southern hill country, but Hebron is not included in that list with Debir. The next set of cities, at Joshua 15: 52-54, includes Hebron, but does not mention “hill country” / har, and does not name a single city that is identifiable as being located close to King David’s Hebron. The first city that is included in the group of cities in Joshua’s city list that includes Hebron is Arba / ’RB / ארב [KJV: “Arab”], at Joshua 15: 52. That mysterious city-name looks suspiciously like the city-name ra-bu at Amarna Letter EA 281: 13 from Hurrian princeling Shuwardata (Biblical princeling Ephron), which is referencing Rubutu, just south of the Ayalon Valley. The obscure city-name Arba at Joshua features the same consonants, RB / רב, as Rubu -tu. If Arba is Rubutu, then presumably Kiriath Arbe at Joshua 15: 54 is “City of Rubutu”. (The only difference is the ayin at the end.) And then, accordingly, the Hebron that Joshua is accurately referencing historically at Joshua 15: 54 is, quite naturally, the Patriarchs’ Hebron, located in the northernmost Shephelah at the Ayalon Valley, immediately north of Rubutu / Kiriath Arbe. Partial confirmation of that analysis is the reference at Joshua 15: 53 (right before the reference in the next verse to Kiriath Arbe / Hebron) to “Aphekah”, which instead of being inexplicable, can now be seen to be historical “Aphek”, located northwest of the Ayalon Valley.

* * *

Jason, later books in the Bible were desperate to re-position the Hebrew Patriarchs, retroactively, as having sojourned primarily in beloved Judah, but the geographical descriptions in the sacred LBA text of Genesis could not be changed. What to do? A-l-w-a-y-s use the formal 5-letter, 4-syllable spelling of “Ayalon”, so that the mysterious three Hebrew letters ’LN / אלן at Genesis 13: 18 would not be viewed as being a shortened, non-ideal spelling of “Ayalon”.

Jim Stinehart
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