Bible, by Wikipedia

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:14 am

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[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

A small kneeling bronze statuette, likely Necho II, now residing in the Brooklyn Museum

Necho II (sometimes Nekau) was a king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (610 BCE - 595 BCE).



Necho II was the son of Psammetichus I by his Great Royal Wife Mehtenweskhet. His prenomen or royal name Wahemibre means "Carrying out the Wish of Re."[2]

Military campaign

Herodotus reports the campaign of the pharaoh in his Histories:

“Necos, then, stopped work on the canal and turned to war; some of his triremes were constructed by the northern sea, and some in the Arabian Gulf, by the coast of the Sea of Erythrias. The windlasses for beaching the ships can still be seen. He deployed these ships as needed, while he also engaged in a pitched battle at Magdolos with the Syrians, and conquered them; and after this he took Cadytis (Kadesh), which is a great city of Syria. He sent the clothes he had worn in these battles to Branchidae of Miletus and dedicated them to Apollo. ”

Ambitious projects

Necho II initiated but never completed the ambitious project of cutting a navigable canal from the Pelusiac branch of the Nile to the Red Sea, the earliest precursor of the Suez Canal.[3] It was in connection with this new activity that Necho founded the new entrepot city of Per-Temu Tjeku which translates as 'The House of Atum of Tjeku' at the site now known as Tell el-Maskhuta[4], about 15 km west of Ismailia. The waterway was intended to facilitate trade between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean; Necho also formed an Egyptian navy by recruiting displaced Ionian Greeks. This was an unprecedented act by the pharaoh since most Egyptians had traditionally harboured an inherent distaste for and fear of the sea.[5] The navy which Necho created served to operate along both the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts.[6]

Herodotus (4.42) also reports that Necho sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, who in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa back to the mouth of the Nile.[7] Some current historians tend to believe Herodotus' account, primarily because he stated with disbelief that the Phoenicians as they sailed on a westerly course round the southern end of Libya (Africa), they had the sun on their right -- to northward of them" (The Histories 4.42) -- in Herodotus' time it was not known that Africa extended south past the equator. However, Egyptologists also point out that it would have been extremely unusual for an Egyptian Pharaoh to carry out such an expedition.[8] Alan B. Lloyd doubts the event and attributes the development of the story by other events.[9]

Death and succession

Necho II died in 595 BC and was succeeded by his son, Psamtik II, as the next pharaoh of Egypt. Psamtik II, however, later removed Necho's name from almost all of his father's monuments for unknown reasons.

Further Reading

Peter Clayton (1994). Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson.
Nekau (II) Wehemibre.,
Christian Settipani (1991). Nos ancêtres de l'Antiquité. p. 153 and 161


General information

Budge, E. A. W. (1894). The mummy: Chapters on Egyptian funereal archaeology. Cambridge [England]: University Press. page 56+.
Budge, E. A. W. (1904). A history of Egypt from the end of the Neolithic period to the death of Cleopatra VII, B.C. 30. Books on Egypt and Chaldaea, v. 9-16. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Page218+.



2. Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson, 1994. p.195

3. Redmount, Carol A. "The Wadi Tumilat and the "Canal of the Pharaohs"" Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 54, No. 2 (Apr., 1995), pp. 127-135

4. Shaw & Nicholson, p.201

5. Clayton, p.196

6. Herodotus 2.158; Pliny N.H. 6.165ff; Diodorus Siculus 3.43

7. Note however that though the original documents state "Red Sea", many ancient manuscripts reference the "Mediterranean Sea" as the "Red Sea". See History of Suez Canal and painting by Wybylack for more detail.

8. For instance, the Egyptologist Alan Lloyd wrote "Given the context of Egyptian thought, economic life, and military interests, it is impossible for one to imagine what stimulus could have motivated Necho in such a scheme and if we cannot provide a reason which is sound within Egyptian terms of reference, then we have good reason to doubt the historicity of the entire episode." Alan B. Lloyd, "Necho and the Red Sea: Some Considerations", Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 63 (1977) p.149.

9. Lloyd points out that geographical knowledge at the time of Herodutus was such that Greeks would know that such a voyage would entail the sun being on their right but did not believe Africa could extend far enough for this to happen. He suggests that the Greeks at this time understood that anyone going south far enough and then turning west would have the sun on their right but found it unbelievable that Africa reached so far south. He suggests that "It is extremely unlikely that an Egyptian king would, or could, have acted as Necho is depicted as doing" and that the story might have been triggered by the failure of Sataspes attempt to circumnavigate Africa under Xerxes the Great. For more see: Lloyd, Alan B. "Necho and the Red Sea: Some Considerations Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 63, (1977), pp. 142-155
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:17 am

by Wikipedia



[All Bible "PROOF" edited out.]

An engraving inside an onyx-stone-eye in a Marduk statue that depicts Nebuchadnezzar II[1]

Nebuchadnezzar II (c 634 – 562 BC) was a ruler of Babylon in the Chaldean Dynasty, who reigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC.


The Akkadian name, Nabû-kudurri-uṣur, means "Oh god Nabu, preserve/defend my firstborn son". Nabu is the Babylonian deity of wisdom, and son of the god Marduk. In an inscription, Nebuchadnezzar styles himself as Nabu's “beloved” and “favourite”.[2][3]

The name is often mistakenly interpreted as "O Nabu, defend my kudurru",[4] in which sense a kudurru is an inscribed stone deed of property. However, when contained in a ruler's title, kudurru approximates to "firstborn son" or "oldest son".[5]

The Hebrew form is נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר (Nəḇūḵaḏneṣṣar or Nevuchadnetsar), but is also found as נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר and נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר (Nəḇuḵaḏreṣṣar). The Greek form was Ναβουχοδονόσωρ. He is also known as Bakhat Nasar, which means "winner of the fate", or literally, "fate winner".


Nebuchadnezzar II was the eldest son, and successor, of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. According to Berossus, some years before he became king of Babylon, he married Amytis of Media, the daughter or granddaughter of Cyaxares, king of the Medes, and thus the Median and Babylonian dynasties were united.

Nabopolassar was intent on annexing the western provinces of Syria from Necho II (who was still hoping to restore Assyrian power), and to this end dispatched his son westward with a powerful army. In the ensuing Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, the Egyptian army was defeated and driven back, and Syria and Phoenicia were brought under the control of Babylon. Nabopolassar died in August of that year, and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon to ascend to the throne.

After the defeat of the Cimmerians and Scythians, all of Nebuchadnezzar's expeditions were directed westwards, although the powerful Median empire lay to the north. Nebuchadnezzar's political marriage to Amytis of Media, the daughter of the Median king, had ensured peace between the two empires.

A clay tablet,[7] now in the British Museum, states: "In the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to make war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad." Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and a campaign against Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon, and constructed canals, aqueducts, temples and reservoirs.

According to Babylonian tradition, Nebuchadnezzar, towards the end of his life, prophesied the impending ruin of the Chaldean Empire (Berosus and Abydenus in Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, 9.41). Nebuchadnezzar died in Babylon between the second and sixth months of the forty-third year of his reign.

Construction activity

Building Inscription of King Nebuchadnezar II at the Ishtar Gate. An abridged excerpt says: "I (Nebuchadnezzar) laid the foundation of the gates down to the ground water level and had them built out of pure blue stone. Upon the walls in the inner room of the gate are bulls and dragons and thus I magnificently adorned them with luxurious splendour for all mankind to behold in awe."

During the last century of Nineveh's existence, Babylon had been greatly devastated, not only at the hands of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal, but also as a result of her ever renewed rebellions. Nebuchadnezzar, continuing his father's work of reconstruction, aimed at making his capital one of the world's wonders. Old temples were restored; new edifices of incredible magnificence were erected to the many gods of the Babylonian pantheon (Diodorus of Sicily, 2.95; Herodotus, 1.183). The bridge across the Euphrates is of particular interest, in that it was supported on asphalt covered brick piers that were streamlined to reduce the upstream resistance to flow, and the downstream turbulence that would otherwise undermine the foundations. Nebuchadnezzar's construction activity was not confined to the capital; he is credited with the restoration of the Lake of Sippar, the opening of a port on the Persian Gulf, and the building of the Mede wall between the Tigris and the Euphrates to protect the country against incursions from the north. These undertakings required a considerable number of laborers; an inscription at the great temple of Marduk suggests that the labouring force used for his public works was most likely made up of captives brought from various parts of western Asia.

Nebuchadnezzar is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens, for his sick wife Amyitis (or Amytis) to remind her of her homeland, Medis (Media) in Persia.[9] However, some scholars argue that they may have been constructed by a queen from the Assyrian city, Nineveh.[10]

Interpretations of Nebuchadnezzar's actions

Voltaire interprets the legacy of Nebuchadnezzar and his relationship with Amasis in a short story entitled The White Bull.



1. Anton Nyström, Allmän kulturhistoria eller det mänskliga lifvet i dess utveckling, bd 2 (1901)
2. Harper, R.F. quoted in Peet, Stephen Denison (editor). 1900. “Editorial Notes,” The American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal. New York: Doubleday, vol. XXII, May and June. p. 207.
3. Lamb, Harold. 1960. Cyrus the Great. New York: Doubleday, p. 104.
4. Schrader, Eberhard. 1888. The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament. London: Williams and Norgate, p. 48 (footnote).
5. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary sub Kudurru Ca5'
7. Elgood, Percival George. 1951. Later Dynasties of Egypt. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 106.
8. Smith, William and Fuller, J.M. 1893. A Dictionary of the Bible: Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History. London: John Murray, vol. I, p. 314.
9. Foster, Karen Polinger (1998). "Gardens of Eden: Flora and Fauna in the Ancient Near East". Transformations of Middle Eastern Natural Environments: Legacies and Lessons. New Haven: Yale University. pp. 320–329. ... foster.pdf. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
10. "How the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Work". Stuff You Missed in History Class. 8.04.08
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:27 am

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Ugarit (Ugaritic: [x] ugrt; Arabic: أوغاريت) (modern Ras Shamra رأس شمرة ("top/head/cape of the wild fennel" in Arabic), near Latakia, Syria) was an ancient cosmopolitan port city, sited on the Mediterranean coast. Ugarit sent tribute to Egypt and maintained trade and diplomatic connections with Cyprus (called Alashiya), documented in the archives recovered from the site and corroborated by Mycenaean and Cypriot pottery found there. The polity was at its height from ca. 1450 BC until 1200 BC.

Map of Syria in the second millennium B.C., showing the location of Ugarit.


Ras Shamra (“Fennel Head”) is a sixty-five foot mound located near Minet el-Beida (White Harbor) in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of the point of Cyprus. Ras Shamra, as it is known today, was identified as the ancient city of Ugarit.

Excavated ruins at Ras Shamra

The Site

Ugarit's location was forgotten until 1928 when a peasant accidentally opened an old tomb while plowing a field. The discovered area was the Necropolis of Ugarit located in the nearby seaport of Minet el-Beida. Excavations have since revealed an important city that takes its place alongside Ur and Eridu as a cradle of urban culture, with a prehistory reaching back to ca. 6000 BC, perhaps because it was both a port and at the entrance of the inland trade route to the Euphrates and Tigris lands.

Entrance to the royal palace.

Most excavations of Ugarit were undertaken by archaeologist Claude Schaeffer from the Prehistoric and Gallo-Roman Museum in Strasbourg.

The excavations uncovered a royal palace of 90 rooms laid out around eight enclosed courtyards, many ambitious private dwellings, including two private libraries (one belonging to a diplomat named Rapanu) that contained diplomatic, legal, economic, administrative, scholastic, literary and religious texts. Crowning the hill where the city was built were two main temples: one to Baal the "king", son of El, and one to Dagon, the chthonic god of fertility and wheat.

On excavation of the site, several deposits of cuneiform clay tablets were found, constituting a palace library, a temple library and—apparently unique in the world at the time—two private libraries; all dating from the last phase of Ugarit, around 1200 BC. The tablets found at this cosmopolitan center are written in four languages: Sumerian, Hurrian, Akkadian (the language of diplomacy at this time in the ancient Near East), and Ugaritic (of which nothing had been known before). No less than seven different scripts were in use at Ugarit: Egyptian and Luwian hieroglyphics, and Cypro-Minoan, Sumerian, Akkadian, Hurrian, and Ugaritic cuneiform.

During excavations in 1958, yet another library of tablets was uncovered. These were, however, sold on the black market and not immediately recovered. The "Claremont Ras Shamra Tablets" are now housed at the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California. They were edited by Loren R. Fisher in 1971. In 1973, an archive containing around 120 tablets was discovered during rescue excavations; in 1994 more than 300 further tablets were discovered on this site in a large ashlar building, covering the final years of the Bronze Age city's existence.

The most important piece of literature recovered from Ugarit is arguably the Baal cycle, describing the basis for the religion and cult of the Canaanite Baal.


A Baal statuette from Ugarit.

Though the site is thought to have been inhabited earlier, Neolithic Ugarit was already important enough to be fortified with a wall early on, perhaps by 6000 BC.

The first written evidence mentioning the city comes from the nearby city of Ebla, ca. 1800 BC. Ugarit passed into the sphere of influence of Egypt, which deeply influenced its art. The earliest Ugaritic contact with Egypt (and the first exact dating of Ugaritic civilization) comes from a carnelian bead identified with the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senusret I, 1971 BCE–1926 BC. A stela and a statuette from the Egyptian pharaohs Senusret III and Amenemhet III have also been found. However, it is unclear at what time these monuments got to Ugarit. Amarna letters from Ugarit ca. 1350 BC records one letter each from Ammittamru I, Niqmaddu II, and his queen.

Boar rhyton, Mycaenean ceramic imported to Ugarit, 14th-13th century BC (Louvre)

During its high culture, from the 16th to the 13th century BC, Ugarit remained in constant touch with Egypt and Cyprus (named Alashiya).


The last Bronze Age king of Ugarit, Ammurapi, was a contemporary of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma II. The exact dates of his reign are unknown. However, a letter by the king is preserved. Ammurapi stresses the seriousness of the crisis faced by many Near Eastern states from invasion by the advancing Sea Peoples when he wrote a dramatic response to a plea for assistance from the king of Alasiya. Ammurapi highlights the desperate situation Ugarit faced in letter RS 18.147:

My father, behold, the enemy's ships came (here); my cities(?) were burned, and they did evil things in my country. Does not my father know that all my troops and chariots(?) are in the Land of Hatti, and all my ships are in the Land of Lukka?...Thus, the country is abandoned to itself. May my father know it: the seven ships of the enemy that came here inflicted much damage upon us.[1]

Unfortunately for Ugarit, no help arrived and Ugarit was burned to the ground at the end of the Bronze Age. Its destruction levels contained Late Helladic IIIB ware, but no LH IIIC (see Mycenaean period). Therefore, the date of the destruction is important for the dating of the LH IIIC phase. Since an Egyptian sword bearing the name of pharaoh Merneptah was found in the destruction levels, 1190 BC was taken as the date for the beginning of the LH IIIC. A cuneiform tablet found in 1986 shows that Ugarit was destroyed after the death of Merneptah. It is generally agreed that Ugarit had already been destroyed by the 8th year of Ramesses III—i. e. 1178 BC.

Whether Ugarit was destroyed before or after Hattusa, the Hittite capital, is debated. The destruction is followed by a settlement hiatus. Many other Mediterranean cultures were deeply disordered just at the same time, apparently by invasions of the mysterious "Sea Peoples".


Scribes in Ugarit appear to have originated the Ugaritic alphabet around 1400 BC; 30 letters, corresponding to sounds, were adapted from cuneiform characters and inscribed on clay tablets. A debate exists as to whether the Phoenician or Ugaritic alphabet was first. While many of the letters show little or no formal similarity, the standard letter order (preserved in the latin alphabet as A, B, C, D, etc.) shows strong similarities between the two, suggesting that the Phoenician and Ugaritic systems were not wholly independent inventions. It was later the Phoenician alphabet that spread through the Aegean and on Phoenician trade routes throughout the Mediterranean. The Phoenician system became the basis for the first true alphabet, when it was adopted by Greek speakers who modified some of its signs to represent vowel sounds as well, and as such was in turn adopted and modified by populations in Italy (including ancestors of the Romans). Compared with the difficulty of writing Akkadian in cuneiform—such as the Amarna Letters from ca. 1350 BC— the flexibility of an alphabet opened a horizon of literacy to many more kinds of people. In contrast, the syllabary (called Linear B) used in Mycenaean Greek palace sites at about the same time was so cumbersome that literacy was limited largely to administrative specialists.

Ugaritic Language

The Ugaritic language is attested in texts from the 14th through the 12th century BC. Ugaritic is usually classified as a Northwest Semitic language and therefore related to Hebrew, Aramaic and Phoenician, among others. Its grammatical features are highly similar to those found in Classical Arabic and Akkadian. It possesses two genders (masculine and feminine), three cases for nouns and adjectives (nominative, accusative, and genitive); three numbers: (singular, dual, and plural); and verb aspects similar to those found in Western Semitic languages. The word order in Ugaritic is Verb Subject Object (VSO); possessed–possessor (NG) (first element dependent on the function and second always in genitive case); and noun–adjective (NA) (both in the same case (ie. congruent)).[2]

Ugaritic literature

Apart from royal correspondence to neighboring Bronze Age monarchs, Ugaritic literature from tablets found in the libraries include mythological texts written in a narrative poetry, letters, legal documents such as land transfers, a few international treaties, and a number of administrative lists. Fragments of several poetic works have been identified: the "Legend of Kirtu," the "Legend of Danel", the Ba'al tales that detail Baal-Hadad's conflicts with Yam and Mot, and other fragments.[3]

The discovery of the Ugaritic archives has been of great significance to biblical scholarship, as these archives for the first time provided a detailed description of Canaanite religious beliefs during the period directly preceding the Israelite settlement. These texts show significant parallels to Biblical Hebrew literature, particularly in the areas of divine imagery and poetic form. Ugaritic poetry has many elements later found in Hebrew poetry: parallelisms, meters, and rhythms. The discoveries at Ugarit have led to a new appraisal of the Old Testament as literature.

Ugaritic religion

Writing of 'religion' in the Ancient Near East is at best a dubious science. Academia prefers to speak of various 'cults' within the ancient context.[4] The important textual finds from the Ras Shamra (Ugarit) site shed a great deal of light upon the cultic life of the city and Canaanite culture. There is growing scholarly agreement that the material culture of Ugarit should be properly designated Canaanite High Culture.[5]

In the north-east quarter of the walled enclosure the remains of three significant buildings were unearthed; the temples of Baal and Dagon and the library (sometimes referred to as the high priest's house). Within these structures atop the acropolis numerous invaluable mythological texts were found. Since the 1930s these texts have opened up for us something of the Canaanite mythological world. The Baal cycle represents Baal's destruction of Yam (the chaos sea monster), demonstrating the relationship of Canaanite chaoskampf with those of Mesopotamia and the Aegean: warrior god rises up as the hero of the new pantheon to defeat chaos and bring order.

It is almost certain that the cult(s) of Baal in the Levant influenced later Israelite cult and mythology. Yahweh often takes on the chaoskampf role of Baal in his struggle with the chaotic sea. It would, however, be incorrect to use later redacted biblical texts to reconstruct Canaanite religion or cult. At the soonest we can date a people known as Israel in southern Canaan by the Merneptah Stele (c.a. 1200 BCE), and it would be some two hundred years more before this people have a monarchic state.

While we know El to be the chief of the Canaanite pantheon, very little attention is paid to him in the cultic/mythological texts. This is rather common of Middle to Late Bronze Age mythology; the high god is drawn into the background whilst new warrior deities move to centre stage. In Ugarit and much of the Levant this is Baal, to the Shasu / Shosu and the later Israelites this is Yahweh and his consort, and in Mesopotamia this is Marduk. These warrior-god mythologies show remarkable points of contact and are most likely reflections of the same arche-myth.

Kings of Ugarit

(short chronology)

Niqmaddu I
Yaqurum I
Ibiranu I
Ammittamru I ca. 1350 BC
Niqmaddu II ca. 1350 - 1315 BC Contemporary of Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites
Arhalba ca. 1315 - 1313 BC
Niqmepa ca. 1313 - 1260 BC Treaty with Mursili II of the Hittites, Son of Niqmadu II,
Ammittamru II ca. 1260-1235 BC Contemporary of Bentisina of Amurru, Son of Niqmepa
Ibiranu ca. 1235 - 1225/20 BC
Niqmaddu III ca. 1225/20 - 1215 BC
Ammurapi ca. 1200 BC Contemporary of Chancellor Bay of Egypt, Ugarit is destroyed



1. Jean Nougaryol et al. (1968) Ugaritica V: 87-90 no.24
2. Stanislav Segert, A basic Grammar of the Ugaritic Language: with selected texts and glossary (1984) 1997.
3. Nick Wyatt. Religious texts from Ugarit, (1998) rev. ed 2002.
4. Miller, J. Maxwell, and Hayes, John H., A History of Ancient Israel and Judah (London: SCM Press, 1986)pp. 121-147
5. Wyatt, Nicholas, Religious Texts from Ugarit: the words of Ilimiku and his colleagues (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998)p. 53f


Bourdreuil, P. 1991. "Une bibliothèque au sud de la ville : Les textes de la 34e campagne (1973)". in Ras Shamra-Ougarit, 7 (Paris).
Drews, Robert. 1995. The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 BC (Princeton University Press). ISBN 0-691-02591-6
Meletinskii, E. M., 2000 The Poetics of Myth
Smith, Mark S., 2001. Untold Stories ; The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century ISBN 1-56563-575-2 Chapter 1: "Beginnings: 1928–1945"
Ugarit Forschungen (Neukirchen-Vluyn). UF-11 (1979) honors Claude Schaeffer, with about 100 articles in 900 pages. pp 95, ff, "Comparative Graphemic Analysis of Old Babylonian and Western Akkadian", ( i.e. Ugarit and Amarna (letters), 3 others, Mari, OB,Royal, OB,non-Royal letters). See above, in text.
Virolleaud, Charles, 1929. "Les Inscriptions cunéiformes de Ras Shamra." in Syria 10, pp 304–310.
Yon, Marguerite, 2005. The City of Ugarit at Tell Ras Shamra ISBN 1-57506-029-9 (Translation of La cité d'Ugarit sur le Tell de Ras Shamra 1979)
Ed. K. L. Younger Jr. "Ugarit at Seventy-Five," Eisenbrauns, 2007.
William M. Schniedewind, Joel H. Hunt, 2007. A primer on Ugaritic: language, culture, and literature ISBN 0521879337 p. 14.
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:29 am

Baal Text
Theological Seminary
Kampen, The Netherlands



Ba'lu and His Antagonists: Some Remarks on CTA 6:V.1-6, by Meindert Dijkstra, Theological Seminary, Kampen, The Netherlands

Ba'lu and His Antagonists:
Some Remarks on CTA 6:V.1-6

The interpetation of CTA 6: V. 1-6, which relates a battle between Ba'lu and some antagonists, indicated vaguely as bn 'atrt, has led to divergent translations,1 though only a decisive solution of the enigmatic words dkym and shrmt (according to Ch. Virolleaud's copy) presents difficulties.

In this note some arguments will be advanced toward their interpretation, following a suggestion of J. C. de Moor with regard to the damaged group of consonants shrmt. 2 Consequently, some considerations are submitted on the connections of the passage with the whole Ba'lu-story, beginning with Ps. 93: 3-4, in spite of H. Donner's critical remarks made on the subject. 3

In the main the Ba'lu-story can be understood as the account of Ba'lu's struggle for his kingship and consequently the mythological motivation for the building of his sanctuary.4 The motif of this struggle is present at any moment. Note the fear expressed by the mother-goddess, 'Atiratu, in CTA 4:11.21-26:

['i]k (22) mgy. 'al'iyn [. b]'1 -- Why has Ba'lu the Almighty come,
(23)'ik . mgyt . b[t]lt (24) 'nt -- Why has the "Virgin" 'Anatu come?5
mhsy hm[. m]hs~ (25)bny -- To slay me or to slay my sons.
hm [. mkly.s]brt (26)'aryy6-- or to annihilate the group of my kin?

In fact Yammu 'Sea' and Motu 'Death' are the great antagonists in the mythological epic of Ba'lu, both known as son and beloved of 'Ilu, the father of the gods,7 and also sons of the qnyt 'ilm, the procreatress of the gods, 'Atiratu (CTA 4:1.23; III.26, 30, 35; IV-V.32).8 Thus, her words contain an insinuation of Ba'lu's intentions, if not a reference to the earlier (?) defeat of Yammu (CTA 2:IV).9

In CTA 6:V.1-6 there is talk of a new battle with some great sons of 'Atiratu in relation to Ba'lu's kingship; to think of Yammu and Motu seems to be a matter of course. Moreover, this connection between struggle and kingship again forces us to a comparison with biblical passages which connect the proclamation of Yahweh's eternal kingship with his superiority over chaotic powers, even where a trace of a primeval clash hardly remains, as in Ps. 93. In this note, I subscribe again to the view of those scholars who have associated Ps. 93: 3-4 with the passage under discussion, and I am of the opinion that the clear parallelism between the words qolam//dokyam and miqqolot mayim rabbim//misbere-yam10 can help us toward a further interpretation of CTA 6: V.1-6.

In accordance with the parallelism, the meaning of 'dok'i closely resembles that of misbere-yam. Fortunately, there is much more evidence of the latter expression than of the former. In Jonah 2:4b (similar to Ps. 42:8b) it is more or less synonymous with gallim 'the waves'. In Ps. 88:8 the expression is parallel to hamah 'wrath', although the connection with the depths and the netherworld is not absent (Ps. 88 :7). The association of misbere-yam with death is also supported by the remarkable variant misbere-mawet 'the waves of death' (NEB) in 2 Sam. 22:5.11 In these few texts sea and depths are closely related to death and the netherworld,12 a phenomenon tallying with ancient near eastern cosmology, which situates the netherworld below the earth either in or below the depths, seen as the waters of death.13

Without doubt the rare word *dok'i, usually derived from the root dakah,14 and the expression misbere-yam, of which the usual translation is 'the waves, the breakers of the sea', have an association with destruction. Where the Hebrew dakah (compare also the cognate roots daka/duk/dakak) occurs, it testifies to such an association in its diverse semantic contexts, namely the crushing of bones (Ps. 51: 10), though meant figuratively, and the monster Rahab (Ps. 89: 11 Qere). Note finally Ps. 44:20:

ki dikkitanu bimqom tannim
wattekas 'alenu be salmawet
Yet thou crushed us in the place of Tannin15
and covered us with the darkness of death.

The more or less synonymous use of the roots sabar and dakah (note especially Ps. 51: 19)16 enables us to take *dok'i as an abstract noun, semantically parallel to misbere-yam, of which the translation could be 'their pounding waves' (NEB) or the like.17 Additional evidence may be found in 1QS 3:4-9 where the choice of words seems to be influenced by Ps. 93; compare 1QS 3:8-9: ythr (9)bsrw lhzwt bmy ndh wlhtqds bmy dwky18 "His flesh shall be purified through sprinkling by water of purification and through hallowing by water of destruction." The translation 'water of destruction (scil. of guilt)' is not only supported by the negative sentences 1QS3:4-5: wlw' ytqds bymym (5)wnhrwt wlw' ythr bkwl my rhs "... nor be hallowed by oceans (5) and rivers, nor be purified by any cleansing water," but also by the literal meaning of my ndh (MT me niddah) 'water of excretion'.19

After these preliminary remarks we will turn to CTA 6:V.1-6:

1. y'ihd. b'l . bn. 'atrt
2. rbm. ymhs . bktp
3. dkym. ymhs . bsmd
4. shrmt (?) yms'i. l'ars
5. [ytb.] b[']1. lks'i. mlkh
6. l[nht] . lkht. drkth 20

Still Ba'lu seems to be confined to the netherworld. From CTA 6:1V we come to know how Sapsu, the sun-goddess, is sent to search for Ba'lu. The following episode in the myth is separated from the preceding events21 by an intermediate period of seven years, so CTA 6:V.1-6 may function as the closing lines of the preceding episode. In this following episode Motu reproaches Ba'lu with the fate he has suffered (compare CTA 6:11) and demands a substitute from him for his release;22 compare CTA 6:V.19-2l:

tn. 'ahd (20)b'ahk 'isp'a
wyth (21 ),ap . d'anst
Give one of your brothers, that I can eat,23
and the anger which I harbor will turn away.24

Unfortunately, the sequel to the story is not entirely clear. It seems that Motu is tricked by a gift of seven lads, who appear to be his own brothers. Consequently, he overtakes Ba'lu in his escape, so that the two antagonists are engaged in a final battle (CTA 6:VI.12-22). In the light of this termination of events, it might be assumed that in some way or other the passage CTA 6:V.1-6 anticipates, if not predicts it. 25

If so, we have a structure in the story which corresponds to that of CTA 2: IV, where Ba'lu's victory follows upon the sounding words of the technician-god Kotaru-waHasisu, predicting the immediate defeat of Yammu. Taken as a prediction, CTA 6:V.1-6 show the same structure as CTA 2:IV.8-10: (1) the prediction that Ba'lu will defeat his enemies, and (2) the promise of his enthronement and kingship. The tentative translation of the passage could be:

Ba'lu will seize the sons of 'Atiratu, 26
the great (gods) he will smite with the hatchet. 27
dkym he will smite with the "yoke,"28
shrmt(?) he will bring down to the earth.29
Ba'lu [will sit enthroned] on the chair of his kingship,
on [the seat] of the throne of his dominion.

For the interpretation of dkym many proposals have been made, but we confine ourselves to discuss a few which seem to be acceptable.

1. Starting from the likely plural interpretation of bn 'atrt//rbm, the translation of dkym with a plural noun, adjective or participle of the root dky 'to crush, pound', as a by-form of d(w)k/dk(k), such as 'Crushers, Oppressors', seems to be preferable.30 Less likely is the rendering of an adjective dky 'small, puny', which should be connected semantically to Ugar. dq 'small' (CTA 6:1.22),31 Heb. daq 'thin, fine (of dust, incense)',32 Akk. daqqu 'very small',33 all from the common Semitic root dqq 'to pulverize, pound'.34 It is hardly conceivable, however, that this passage is about small antagonists of Ba'lu unless the god 'Attaru could be so denoted. In spite of Driver's suggestion,35 there is little evidence that this ridiculed god comes into the picture in this part of the story.

Moreover, if the former derivation of the root dky should be preferred, an alternative interpretation of dkym as an abstract noun dky (*dukyu =Heb. doki) with enclitic m cannot be excluded. 36

2. That the word dkym could be a compound of a form belonging to the root d(w)k/dk(k) and the name of the sea-god, Yammu, has previously been suggested by J. Aistleitner.37 Unfortunately, his further interpretation of dk as a tempus afformativum disturbs the clear parallelism, making his solution unconvincing.38 Nevertheless, I think Aistleitner was on the right track. As a variation of dkym 'Crushers, Oppressors' derived from the root dky, one could consider d(w)k/dk(k), which is attested in CTA 161: 35 with a meaning 'to pulverize, pound' (compare also Num. 11 :8).39 Thus we interpret dkym as dk ym = dakiyamma 'the crushers or breakers of Yammu' and suggest a connection between this expression and the biblical misbere-yam. Compare for imagery Ps. 89:10; 65:8; Job 26:12.

sh(rt/mt): Any interpretation of these consonants must be conjectural. Only the first three signs are probable. Usually, shr is related to the root shr, which is sometimes found in a qtll-form.40 We may note two things concerning this root: (l) It functions in semantic contexts of meteorological phenomena (CTA 3:E.25-26 and parallels; CTA 4:VII.54-58 + CTA 8: 7-12 )41 but is also parallel to the root hr(r) 'to be hot, glow' in CTA 23:41, 44f., 47f.42 (2) Cognate verbs of the roots shr/shh/shy and their derivations show semantic ranges of 'to be white, clear, bright, yellowish-red, cloudless, thirsty, scorched, bare, desolation, desert'.43 With regard to the semantic contexts of the Ugaritic texts, a restriction to the connotations 'to become dust-colored, brownish'yellow'44 is not advisable. In general the roots shr/shh/shy seem to cover an idea which we can express by means of the compounds 'white-hot/red-hot'. Therefore a translation of CTA 3: E.25 nrt 'ilm sps shrrt "The light of the gods, Sapsu, burns"45 and of CTA 4:VII.56f. 'ibr mnt shrrm "The wings of the breeze(?) feel glowing"46 remains possible. Perhaps, taking the other contexts into consideration, a feminine adjective shrrt should be considered in CTA 6: V.4, which takes on the substantive meaning of 'the white (red) heat';47 If Virolleaud's reading is maintained, one might translate 'the heat of Motu, death, the murdering heat' or the like.48

Summarizing, we have two reasonable possibilities:

1. dky-m//shr(rt), which renders the translation:
Oppressors he will smite with the "yoke,"
The white heat he will bring down to the earth.

2. dk-ym//shr(-mt), which gives us:
The breakers of Sea he will smite with the "yoke,"
The heat of Death he will bring down to the earth.

For evidence of the latter, I submit the following considerations:

(1) The mention of Yammu, and especially of his destructive waves, would appear conceivable if the words ymhs bsmd were understood as a reference to Yammu's defeat, related in CTA 2:IV.11f., 18f., by the same magic smd-weapon.

(2) A renewed confrontation between Ba'lu and his old enemy in this part of the story tallies with ideas of the ancient near eastern cosmology as far as the netherworld is situated in the realm of the sea-god; moreover, in the Ugaritic mythology, a personified Naharu, very likely the same as Judge Naharu, dwells in the area of Motu as his cupbearer, 49 and Ba'lu is confined to the realm of Death at this point of the story.

(3) Some of the above mentioned biblical data connect the idea of descending to and arising from the dead with that of perishing into or escaping from the sea or the depths, understood as the waters of death (compare especially 2 Sam. 22: 5). For these biblical data the imagery of Isa. 26: 19-27:1 may also be clarifying, since in Israelite thought the resurrection of the dead is linked to a twofold act of Yahweh, namely the constraining of the netherworld 50 to uncover her slain and the slaying of the sea-monsters, Leviathan and Tannin.

(4) The closing lines of CTA 6:

50. bym. 'ars. wtnn -- In the sea are 'Arsu and Tunnanu.51
51. ktr. whss . yd -- May Kotaru-waHasisu drive away.
52. ytr. ktr. whss -- May Kotaru-waHasisu do it again(?).52

Why are the sea-monsters 'Arsu and Tunnanu mentioned here? Again, the course of events in the last column of CTA 6 is obscure because of the damaged lines VI.32-42. It appears that after the final battle with Motu, Ba'lu is permitted to leave the netherworld and to return to Mount Sapanu. 53 Witness to their encounter is the goddess Sapsu, probably during her nightly visit to the underworld.54 Now and then it is said that the lines after the gap in CTA 6: VI form part of a hymn to Sapsu,55 but in my opinion these lines, probably including the fragmentary 37-42,56 contain instructions to Sapsu from Ba'lu to lead the shades and ghosts to a banquet in Ba'lu's temple.57 The mention of 'Arsu and Tunnanu in the sea (compare also Isa. 27: 1) may denote the critical moment when Sapsu and her host leave the netherworld.

As a result of these observations, I now venture to say that the lines CTA 6:V.1-6 contain a summary of the whole Ba'lu-story, his struggle with both of his great antagonists Yammu and Motu on the way to his kingship. To this effect, CTA 6:V.3 also functions as a flashback to the story of CTA 2, underlining in advance the prediction of Ba'lu's victory over the summer-heat, that is, over the power of Death.



1 See e.g., C. H. Gordon, Ugaritic Literature (=UL) (Rome, 1949), 47; G. R. Driver, CML, 113; J. Aistleitner, Die Mythologischen und Kultischen Texte aus Ras Schamra (=MKT), Bibliotheca Orientalis Hungaria 8 (Budapest, 1959), 22; J. Gray, The Legacy of Canaan, 2nd ed., (=LC2), SVT 5 (Leiden, 1965), 72; H. L. Ginsberg, ANET3, 141a; J. C. de Moor, The Seasonal Pattern in the Ugaritic Myth of Ba'lu, According to the Version of Ilimilku (=SP), AOAT 16 (Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1971), 226; P. J. van Zijl, Baal: A Study of Texts in Connection with Baal in the Ugaritic Epics (=Baal), AOAT 10 (Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1972), 213-17.
2 See De Moor, SP, 227-28: "Because it is likely that shr mt balances bn 'atrt, rbm and dkym, I assume that shr is in the plural construct state." He argues that the shr mt 'the Dust colored of Motu' are a mythological description of the sirocco-winds with their whirling dust-veils, marking the period of Ba'lu's return from the netherworld.
3 See H. Donner, "Ugaritismen in der Psalmenforschung," ZAW 79 (1967), 346-50.
4 See H. Gese, Die Religionen Altsyriens, Altarabiens und der Mandaer (=RAAM), Die Religionen der Menschheit (Stuttgart, 1970), 10/2:78-80, especially 79.
5 Though the traditional translation "Virgin" is retained, we do not regard 'Anatu as a virgo intacta. The epithet refers to the perennial youth of the goddess and possibly the fact that she never brought forth offspring. Compare A. van Selms, Marriage and Family Life in Ugaritic Literature, Pretoria Oriental Series 1 (London, 1954), 69, 109: De Moor, SP, 97; "ba'al," TWAT 1, col. 714, accepted by Bergmann-Ringgren, "betulah," TWAT 1, col. 874.
6 The meaning hm 'behold!' has repeatedly been defended and accepted in the one glossary and disregarded in the other (compare Aistleicner, WUS3. no. 837 [with a question mark] and Driver, CML, 137. with Gordon. UT. §§ 12:3. 5; §19:773). while a number of instances of hm 'behold!' were recovered from the Old Testament: see J. H. Patton. Canaanite Parallels in the Book of Psalms (1944), 37: F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, "The Blessing of Moses." JBL 67 (1948) 195; T. F. McDaniel. "Philological Studies in Lamentations I," Biblica 49 (1968), 33f.; and the list of M. Dahood. Psalms III, Anchor Bible 17a (New York. 1970). 400. Because of the etymological relation between Ugar. hm (with a dialectal variant 'im, PRU 2, no. 20:8) and hn and Heb. 'im and hen/hinneh (see Baumgartner, HAL 58, 241f. and C. J. Labuschagne. "The Particles hen and hinneh," OTS 18 [1973]. 3. n. 4), a connotation hm, behold!' for current hm 'if, either ... or' cannot be precluded beforehand. It would parallel the rare conditional usage of Heb. hen/hinneh beside its normal usage as an interjection. Nevertheless, I agree with J. C. de Moor. "Ugaritic hm-Never 'Behold·... UF 1 (969). 201f. (+Nachtrag. 221. CTA 4:11.24-26!: see also "Ugaritic Lexicography." Estratto da Studies on Semitic Lexicography, Quaderni di Semitistica 2 (1973), 89) that the existence of Ugar, hm 'behold!' cannot be demonstrated sufficiently and might still be doubted, not to mention the examples wrested from the Old Testament. See also C. van Leeuwen, "Die Partikel 'im." OTS 18 (1973), 15.
7 Compare the expression 'ab bn 'il 'the father of the gods': CTA 32:25, 33 (with parallels): Gese, RAAM, 97.
8 Perhaps the epithet 'um 'ilm (PRU 2, no. 2:43) also refers to 'Atiratu; cf. Gese. RAAM, 150; de Moor, ''a'serah.'' TWAT 1. col. 474.
9 Though the arrangement of CTA 2 before CTA 3-6 is generally accepted, it is not without problems. De Moor, SP, 36-40, argues for a sequence CTA 3-1-2, following F. Ltokkegaard, "The House of Baal," Ac.Or. 22 (1959). 14-15. n. 8: A. van Selms. "Yammu's Deenthronement by Baal." UF 2 (1970), 251, suggests taking CTA 2 (UT 129, 137, 68) as a separate entity; see also the critical remarks of A. Caquot, "La divinite solaire ougaritique," Syria 36 (1959). 100; Gese, RAAM, 52,78-80; M. J. Mulder, "Hat man in Ugarit die Sonnewende begangen?" UF 4 (1972). 81 f.
10 It is attractive to correct MT 'addir mimmisbere-yam (see the apparatus in BHK3, BHS (11)) but not necessary: see C. Brockelmann, Hebraische Syntax (Neukirchen, 1956), 58: H. -J. Kraus, Psalmen 2, BKAT 15/2, 3rd ed. (Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1966), 646.
11 With regard to Ps. 18:5 heble-mawet, most scholars accept 2 Sam. 22:5 as the lectio arduor and consequently the correct reading, see BHS (11), apparatus.
12 Compare also Ps.18:17: 44:20: 69:2f.: 124:4: 144:7: Job 26:5f.; 38:16f: Ezek.26:19f.: 31:15: Amos 9:2: etc.
13 G. Fohrer, Geschichte der israelitischen Religion (Berlin, 1969), 176, 319 speaks of a common Semitic world-picture, best known from Babylonian-Akkadian sources: cf. B. Meissner, Babylonien und Assyrien (Heidelberg, 1925), 2:107f., fig. 27; D. Michel, "Weltbild," BHH 3, col. 2161f.: W. Brede Kristensen, Godsdiensten in de oude wereld, Aula 294 (Utrecht/Antwerp, 1966), 7-14. To be sure, the biblical conception of the world is much less elaborate: see H. W. Hertzberg, "Weltbild," RGG3 6, col. 1616: H. Schmid, "Totenreich," RGG3 6, col. 912; S. Schulz, "Unterwelt, Totenreieh," BHH 3, col. 2014f.: L. l. J. Stadelmann, The Hebrew Conception of the World, Analecta Biblica 39 (Rome, 1970).
14 See H. Bauer and P. Leander, Historische Grammatik der hebraischen Sprache (Hildesheim, 19652), §72h'.
15 See app. BHS (11).
16 Compare D-stem sabar in Ps. 34:21: Isa. 38:13: Lam. 3:4: Ps. 89:11 with Ps. 74:13 and dakka'// nisbar, in Ps. 34: 19.
17 See also M. Dahood, Psalms 11, Anchor Bible 17 (New York, 1968), 341, who sees an analogy between Ugar. hd//hdd and Heb. hedad 'noise, roar'; also dkym 'Pounder' as an epithet of Ba'lu beside Heb. dokyam.
8 The originally adopted reading dwkw (ed. Millar Burrows; cf. also P. Wernberg-Moller, "Waw and Yod in the Rule of the Community," RdQ 2 [1960], 231f., contra idem, The Manual of Discipline [Leiden, 1957], 40) may be dwky, as seems to be supported by 4Qsa; cf. J. T. Milik, RB 67 (960), 413. A majority of scholars connect dwky/w with a root dkh 'to be pure' referring to Aram. deku, (see e.g., Targum to Lev. 12:4f.) and Syr. dukaya (cf. Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus 1 :col. 895); cf. Wernberg-Moller, Manual, 25, 64, n. 27; J. Bowman, RdQ 1 (1958), 81; Wernberg-Moller, RdQ (1960), 231 f.; J. Maier, Die Texte vom Toten Meer (Basel, 1960), 1:25; 2: 17f.; J. Carmignac and P. Guilbert, Les Textes de Qumran I (Paris, 1961), 30; E. Lohse, Die Texte aus Qumran (Darmstadt. 1971), 11. In my opinion, however, this interpretation overlooks (1) the use of the current Hebrew zakah N-stem in the context (IQS 1:4) and (2) a possible influence of Ps. 93 on the choice of words. In favor of dwky from a root dkh (eventually d(w)k) 'to crush', see W. H. Brownlee, The Dead Sea Manual of Discipline, BASOR Supplementary Studies 10-12 (New Haven, 1951), 13. n. 17 with reference to Ps. 93:3; J. T. Milik, "Manuale Disciplinae (textus integri versio)," Verbum Domini 29 (1951), 131; H. Bardke, Die Handschriftfunde vom Toten Meer (Berlin, 19532); P. Boccacio and G. Berarde, srk hyhd Regula Unionis seu Manuale Disciplinae (Fano, 1953), s.l.; G. Molin, Die Sohne des Lichtes (Vienna/Munich, 1954). 21. As a possibility it is accepted by Baumgartner, HAL, 212b; S. H. Siedl, Qumran. Eine Monchgemeinde im Alten Bund, Studie uber Serek Ha-yahad (1963), 303f.
19 Probably derived from yadah/nadah 'to throw, to remove', cognate to Akk. nadu; Ethiop. wadaya and Ugar. ndy/ydy; cf. the construct state niddat dotah 'excretion of her menstruation- blood' in Lev. 12:2 and niddat tum'atah 'excretion of her impurity' in Lev. 18:19 with Akk. nid ru'ti 'Speichelfluss'; see AHw., 786b nidu(m) no. 3,706a nadu(m) III, no. 2a.
20 Cf. Herdner, CTA, 1:41. In CTA 6:VA we follow Virolleaud's yms'i after examination of the photograph and copy. The reading shrmt suggested by the copy is very uncertain now; see Herdner, CTA, 1:41, n. 8. especially concerning mt.
21 With regard to the much-discussed problems of this seven year period we subscribe to the short investigation of A. Kapelrud, "The Number Seven in Ugaritic Texts," VT 18 (1968), 494-99; see also Gese, RAAM, 78f.; De Moor, SP, 32f.
22 Cf. Edzard, Worterbuch der Mythologie, 62, 67, 88; De Moor, SP, 232; A. Draffkorn Kilmer, "How Was Queen Ereshkigal Tricked ... ?" UF 3 (1971), 302, pointing to the Sumerian and Akkadian story of, respectively, Inanna's and Ishtar's descent to the netherworld; cf. especially the word ipti/eru(m) 'ransom, substitute', according to the Assur-recension; cf. AHw., 385b; Borger, BAL 3:117.
23 Root sp'u 'to feed' and not 'to eat' (against Gordon, UT, § 19:1789; Aistleitner, WUS3, no. 1943, etc.) as is suggested by Heb. mispo' 'fodder'; M. Heb. sapah/'; J. Aram. sepa' 'to reach, to serve food'. The forms 'ispi' (CTA 5:1.5) and yspi' (CTA 22:B.I0) lead to the conclusion that 'isp'a is a cohortative and that the 'i of the other forms must be explained as a thematic vowel (against Gordon, UT, §9:9: Aistleitner, WUS3, no. 1943; idem, UGU, 58; E. Hammershaimb, Das Verbum im Dialekt von Ras Shamra [Copenhagen, 1941], 168; H. Donner, ZAW 79 [1967], 341, etc.). I subscribe to the view of De Moor, SP, 233 (with references) in assuming forms of an N-stem 'to feed oneself, to eat', though in this case, as in Hebrew (see Bauer-Leander, Historische Grammatik, § 44f.), the phonetic shift 'a >'i/e in the first syllable must be assumed.
24 Cf. De Moor, SP, 232f.; we take 'isp'a as an asyndetic relative sentence; cf. Gordon, UT,§13:67. Cf. also CTA 6:1.45f. tn (46) 'ahd. b. bnk (.) 'amlkn "Give one of your sons that I may make him king!"
25 Cf. De Moor, SP, 226.
26 bn 'atrt//rbm corresponding to standard bn 'atrt//'ilm makes a singular interpretation of rbm very doubtful; cf. also the expression 'ilm rbm in PRU 2, no. 90:1f.; Ugaritica V, ch. 3, no. 6:1f. Nevertheless, rbm may be a special hint to the really powerful antagonists Yammu and Motu; cf. e.g., mdd 'il ym//nbr 'jl rbm (CTA 3:D,35f.) "the beloved of 'Ilu, Yammu//the mighty rivers of 'Ilu"; note the OT notions mayim rabbim (Ps. 93:4) and me tehom rabbah//yam (Isa. 51 :10).
27 Cf. R. T. O'Callaghan, "The Word ktp in Ugaritic and Egypto-Canaanite Mythology," Orientalia 21 (1952), 27-46; Gray, LC2, 72; De Moor, SP, 135.
28 About the double aspect of the weapon, cf. Gray, LC2, 26, n. 6, 72; O. Kaiser, Die mythologische Bedeutung des Meeres in Agypten, Ugarit und Israel, BZAW 78, 2nd ed. (Berlin, 1962), 69, n. 278; De Moor, SP, 135. Kaiser and De Moor propose in CTA 2:IV.11, 19, a translation 'Doppeltaxt, doubleheaded axe', because of the dual form; however, the singular smd is also used (CTA 2 :IV.15, 23), being the same weapon, The dual ending can probably be explained as superfluous, added after a word with a dual aspect; cf. Heb. kepel beside kiplayim in Isa, 40:2. smd, which usually has the meaning 'yoke', in this context means a sort of mace or axe with a double-headed top or double axe-blade. There is some iconographical evidence for the double-headed axe from the Syrian area; cf. the "Dieu combattant," described by A. Parrot, "Acquisitions et Inedits du Musee de Louvre," Syria 29 (1951), 51-53; and Jupiter Dolichenus, Gressmann, AOB2, no. 356; E. Will, "Reliefs dolicheniens de Khaltan (Kurd Dagh) conserves au musee d'Alep," Les Annales archeologiques de Syrie 1 (1951), 135-37, fig. 2.
29 The reading ymsh in Herdner, CTA, 1:41, n. 9 and CTA 3:E.9 is attractive but conjectural. We take yms 'i as an imperfect of a causative stem; see Gray, LC2, 72, n, 11; though a G-stem cannot be excluded; see Deut. 19: 5. Compare perhaps Job 37:13 (with deletion of the second 'im) 'im lesebet XX [e'arso//'im-lehesed yams'ehu "Either as a rod XX on his earth, either as mercy he brings it down." To be sure, the claim that ymsi' is a causative is a very shaky position inasmuch as the existence of an aphel beside the current saphel (S-stem) is a widely debated subject. Nevertheless, the variant form ymza' (CTA 12:1.36f.), which suggests that the verb ms/z has a yiqtal imperfect as in Hebrew, makes the explanation of ymsi' very difficult unless an aphel-form is assumed. Though the evidence is scanty, it need not be denied at all (cf. the inverse case of the exceptional S-stem in Hebrew; L. Wachter, ZAW 83 11971), 380-89); and further on the aphel in Ugaritic see Hammershaimb, Verbum, 25f., especially 28; M. Dahood, "Some Aphel Causatives in Ugaritic," Biblica 38 (1957), 62-73; A. Jirku, "Eine 'Af'el-Form im Ugaritischen?" AfO 18 (1957), 129f.; S. Moscati (ed.), An Introduction to the Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages, 2nd ed., (Wiesbaden, 1969),§16: 13; De Moor, Ugaritic Lexicography, 96f.
30 E. Lipinski, La Royaute de Yahwe dans la poesie et le culte de l'ancien Israel (Brussels, 1965), 99; S. and S. Rin, Aliloth ha-elim (Jerusalem, 1968), 228; Dahood, Psalms II, 341; and Gray, LC2, 72, n. 9, all consider it an epithet of Ba'lu; Van Zijl, Baal, 217, as an epithet of Yammu.
31 De Moor, SP. 227, following a suggestion of H. Bauer, OLZ 37 (l934), 243.
32 Cf. Baumgartner, HAL, 220; Jean-Hoftijzer, DISO, 60.
33 Cf. AHw., 162f., citing from a synonym-list daq-qu = se-eh-ru.
34 Cf. Heb. daqaq 'to pound' (Baumgartner, HAL, 220b); Akk. daqaqu D 'to cut small, mince' AHw., 162b); Ethiop. daqaqa 'to pound' (E. Littmann and M. Hoffner, Worterbucb der Tigre- Sprache [1962], 525). A semantic parallel could also be Hebrew dak (root dakak) 'oppressed, small folk(?)'.
35 Cf. Driver, CML, 112.
36 So far a grain of truth exists in the connection of Ugar. dkym with Ps. 93:3 dokyam as suggested by U. Cassuto, Tarbiz. 13 (1941-42), 212; Ginsberg, ANET3, 141a; Kraus, Psalmen 2, 650; but a direct equation would require Ugar. dkyhm; cf. also the critical remarks of Lipinski, La Royaute de Yahwe, 98f.: H. Donner, ZAW 79 (1967), 350.
37 Cf. Aistleitner, WUS3, no, 739; idem, MKT, 22, followed by F. Lokkegaard, "A Plea for El, the Bull, and Other Ugaritic Miscellanies," Studia Orientalia Ioanni Pedersen Dedicata (Copenhagen, 1953), 223; F. F. Hvidberg, Weeping and Laughter in the Old Testament (Leiden/Copenhagen, 1962), 38.
38 Cf. H. Donner, ZAW 79 (1968), 347; Van Zijl, Baal, 214.
39 Cf. also Akk. daku 'to kill, slay, beat'; AHw., 152: CAD D, 35f.
40 See Gordon, UT, § 9:42; cf. verb and nominal qtll-forms in Hebrew and J. Aramaic; Bauer-Leander, Historische Grammatik, 483; Gesenius-Kautsch (Cowley), Hebrew Grammar, § §55d, 84 VII; G. Dalman, Grammatik des judische-Palastinischen Aramaisch (Darmstadt, 1960), 165, which like the Arabic 9th and 11th conjugations are used of permanent and changing conditions, e.g., colors; cf. Heb. 'amal 'to be/become withered', sa 'an 'to be at rest', ra'an 'to be/become green'.
41 Cf. De Moor, SP, 227.
42 To all appearances, the forms thrr//shrrt could be interpreted as, respectively, 3rd plural fem. passive imperfect L-stem (Gordon, UT, § 9: 37) and 3rd plural fem. qtll-stem with the bird as subject.
43 An anthology:
(1) root shr: Heb. sahor 'white-yellow-red' (the lexica differ on the precise color); sohar (*suhru) n. m., 'red-whiteness' (cf. M. Noth, Die israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der gemeinsemitischen Namengebung [Hildesheim, 1966], 225); sahar n. 1. Ezek. 27:18 'desert(?)' (cf. however W. Zimmerli, Ezechiel 2, BKAT 13/2 (Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1969), 655 = es-sahra, NW of Damascus); Arab. sahara (11th conjugation) 'to become yellowish, reddish-white'; 'asharu 'yellowish red'; sahra' 'desert'; Syr. sehar 'to become reddish'; Akk. seru(?) 'steppe, desert'.
(2) root shh: Heb. sahah 'to be white, clear' (Lam. 4:7//zakah 'to be pure'); sahiah 'naked, bare (of a rock)'; sebibab 'naked, scorched land, desert' (Ps. 68:7); sabsabot 'desert' (Usa. 58: 11) sab (a) 'white, clear'; (b) 'blazing, glowing (heat: Isa. 18:4; wind: Jer. 4:11)'; J. Aram. sebab 'to be bright, polished'; sabseba' 'clear'; ~sibsuba' 'gloss, shine'; Syr. sab; 'to glow'; sabiba' 'shining'; Arab. sabsabamun 'bare plain, desolation'.
(3) root shy: Heb. sibeb 'parched'; J. Aram. sebi 'to thirst' (cf. also Jean-Hoftijzer, DISO, 144); sabwana, sabya' 'bareness, drought'; sabyuta' 'thirst'; Arab. saba: Ethiop. sabawa 'to be clear, cloudless (of the sky)'; Syr. saba 'cloudless sky, heat'. As a semantic parallel we point to Heb. bamar 'to burn, to become red (through tears, Job 16:16)'; Arab. bamara 'to roast, to scorch' in the 9th and 11th conjugations 'to be red'.
On the relatedness of roots sharing two strong consonants, see Gesenius-Kautsch (Cowley), Hebrew Grammar, §§ 30h, 1; other examples qasas and qasar II 'to cut off, short, to shorten'; qazaz and qazar 'to cut'.
44 Cf. De Moor, SP, 114.
45 Cf. P. L. Watson, Mot, the God of Death at Ugarit and in the Old Testament (Yale University Diss. 1970; Ann Arbor, 1971), 40, 79, cited by M. J. Mulder, UF 4 (1972), 82.
46 Cf. Akk. manitu ' (leichter) Wind, Brise' (AHw., 603a), as suggested by De Moor, SP, 172. Cf. Jer. 4: 11: ruah sah sepayim//bammidbar derek bat-ammi "A scorching wind from the bare places, from the desert (is) on the way to my people."
47 Adjectival qtll-froms in Hebrew are sometimes substantivized; cf. Isa. 37:29; Job 30:12; Bauer-Leander, Historische Grammatik, 483.
48 On the superlative force of mt/mawet, cf. S. Rin, "The MWT of Grandeur," VT 9 (1959), 324f.; D. W. Thomas, "Some Further Remarks on Unusual Ways of Expressing the Superlative in Hebrew," VT 18 (1968), 120-24; P. A. H. de Boer, "YHWH as Epithet Expressing the Superlative," VT 24 (974), 233f.
49 Cf. the sentence hm ks ymsk nhr "If Naharu, mixes the cup" (CTA 5:L21f.: Ugaritica V, ch. 3, no.4A:9f.). Presumably, Naharu as judge (tpt nhr) and river of death is related to the god of death, Motu: cf. W. F. Albright, "Zabul Yam and Thapit Nahar in the Combat between Baal and the Sea," JPOS 16 (1936), 19f.: Driver, CML, 12, n. 7: J. C. de Moor, "Studies in the New Alphabetic Texts from Ras Shamra," UF 1 (1969), 187.
50 'eres 'netherworld'?: cf. M. Dahood, "Hebrew-Ugaritic Lexicography I," Biblica 44 (1963), 297: Gray, LC2, 264: N.J. Tromp, Primitive Conceptions of Death and Netherworld in the OT, Biblica et Orientalia 21 (Rome, 1969), 7, 23f: De Moor, SP, 184.
51 Vocalize tnn Tunnanu with Ugaritica V. ch. 1 no. 137: 1.8' tu-un-na-nu. Both monsters are also
mentioned in CTA 3:D. 34-48.
52 Cf. Akk. taru 'to do something again' (just like Heb. sub in combination with another verb); J. Aram. tur 'to spy, to look out carefully (?)'.
53 We suggest to complete CTA 6:VI.32-35 with CTA 16:VI.22-24:
y[ttb. I'dh.] (33)b'l -- Let them [enthrone] Ba'lu [on his dais],
yttbn[n. lks'i] (34) mlkh -- enthrone [him on the chair] of his kingship,
ln/ht. lkht (35)drkth] -- on the (seat of the throne of his dominion.]
54 Cf. A. Caquot, Syria 36 (1959), 93-95; Gray, LC2, 71; De Moor, SP, 243f.; Mulder, UF 4 (1972), 86.
55 Cf. T. H. Gaster, Thespis (New York, 1950), 31; Caquot, Syria 36 (1959), 97f.; Fohrer, Geschichte der israelitischen Religion, 47; De Moor, SP, 243; Mulder, UF 4 (1972), 86.
56 According to the copy, the traces of CTA 6:V1.37 ]'n. hn[ are presumably to be completed [wy]'n. hn[. . .] "and he (Ba'lu?) answered: Behold ... "
57 We suggest to complete CTA 6: VI.41f.: ltstql (42) [ib]try "Please, go quickly to my roomy house!" The verb used is mostly found following lhkl· (CTA 3: B.17f.; CTA 17:11.25; CTA 19: 170). Ugar. tr may be cognate to Syr. tara 'space (of time and distance)', Heb. tur 'enclosure (of pillars)' (e.g. 1 Kgs. 7:2f.) and tirah 'encampment'. I am of the opinion that the first person pronominal suffix refers to Ba'lu. It seems that the victory of Ba'lu will be celebrated with a communal meal of the quick and the dead; compare for imagery CTA 22:B.
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:37 am

By Dennis Pardee, Professor of Northwest Semitic Philology
The Oriental Institute, and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
The University of Chicago



(This article originally appeared in The Oriental Institute News and Notes, No. 172, Winter 2002.)


Excavations have been going on at the site of Ras Shamra on the Northwest Syrian coast more or less steadily since 1929 and inscriptions have been discovered during nearly every campaign from the first to the most recent, which took place during May/June 2000. Except for some deep stratigraphic soundings, virtually all digging has concentrated on the uppermost levels of the tell, which date to the Late Bronze Age, and approximately one sixth of the surface has been uncovered. The soundings have revealed the site was first inhabited in the eighth millennium BC, and the possibilities for further excavation extend thus into the indefinite future.

The excavation team is French, known as the Mission de Ras Shamra. In 2000, the project became officially a joint Syrian-French enterprise. There has been a great deal of continuity owing to this single archaeological presence, and to the orderly handing down of the direction from one scholar to another (Claude F.-A. Schaeffer, Henri de Contenson, Jean Margueron, Marguerite Yon, and now Yves Calvet [France] and Bassam Jamous [Syria]). The current plans call for going below the Late Bronze Age levels, but choosing an area has not been easy because the latest remains are so well preserved - in order to see what lies under the stone foundations of a house these must be destroyed or at least disturbed. Ras Shamra is an important stop on any cultural tour of Syria, and the authorities are anxious that its educational and touristic value not be reduced.

From the inscriptions it was learned very early on that the tell covered the ruins of ancient Ugarit, known from contemporary documents to be an important city in the Late Bronze Age. More recently discovered texts from Mari, on the middle Euphrates, show Ugarit already to have been famous in the mid-eighteenth century BC. The international language of that time was Akkadian, the principal language of Mesopotamia, and that usage remained constant to the end of the Bronze Age. Hence many of the inscriptions from Ras Shamra were in Akkadian, which was used primarily for international dealings, though a significant portion of the internal administrative records were also in that language.


Of greater interest for West Semitists was the discovery of a new script and language, named Ugaritic after the city, which belongs to the great family of languages of Syria, Palestine, and Arabia (Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Old South Arabian, and Phoenician). For the first time, scholars of these languages had not just a few scattered words datable to the second millennium BC, but texts in a language related to, but older than, the attested forms of any of these West Semitic languages. The script was immediately perceived as an oddity: it was cuneiform and inscribed on tablets, but it was unrelated to Mesopotamian cuneiform. Rapid decipherment showed that it represented an alphabetic system: the number of signs was only thirty, and the consonantal phonemes represented by these signs, only twenty-seven. An archaic phonetic system was revealed wherein still functioned several consonantal phonemes that have disappeared in Hebrew, Phoenician, and Aramaic Image >; only missing from a common reconstruction of early West Semitic were Image and Image .

The texts in Ugaritic cover a broad literary range: from myths to "laundry lists," from incantations to letters, from contracts to medical texts. On the negative side is the fact that most of the tablets are broken and the reconstruction of the culture, economy, and religion of the Ugaritians has for that reason been a long and painstaking one. Moreover, as G. R. Driver (among others!) used to say, dies diem docet, or in modern idiom "you learn something new every day." Hence the work of the pioneers has to be taken up again by following generations who have the benefit of hindsight.


This has been my primary role in the Mission de Ras Shamra. I first seriously practiced true epigraphy (the study of ancient "epigraphs," or inscriptions, with an emphasis on the decipherment and interpretation of these epigraphs) during the academic year 1980/81 thanks to a Fullbright Fellowship. My teaching duties were not heavy and I had a great deal of time to spend studying tablets in the museums of Damascus and Aleppo. I went to Syria naively expecting to find that my predecessors had read everything on all the tablets, but I soon discovered that there was much yet to be done. During that year, I collated some two hundred tablets, comparing the editions with the original and preparing my own (very primitive!) hand copies. I became a member of the Mission de Ras Shamra epigraphic team in the mid-1980s and have since devoted my efforts principally to republishing the Ugaritic texts according to literary genre. My first effort, full of mistakes in my turn, was a re-edition of the hippiatric texts, a genre of which the oldest versions are Ugaritic. These texts, only four in number, reflect empirical medicine practiced on horses, a practice and literary genre that continued until quite recently. The second project was a small group of texts, only nine in number, excavated in a single house in 1961 that showed a striking peculiarity: all contained mythological material but in forms that differed from the long mythological texts for which Ugarit is famous. The most striking is a brief story about the great god El becoming drunk at a feast and having to be carried home by his sons. This atypical myth is followed by a prose recipe for alcoholic collapse that features the first known connection between drunkenness and the "hair of the dog": "What is to be put on his forehead: hairs of a dog. And the head of the PQQ (a type of plant) and its shoot he is to drink mixed together with fresh olive oil." This group of texts I republished as Les textes para-mythologiques in 1985.

An intermediary project, a joint one with my French colleague Pierre Bordreuil, head of the epigraphic team for the Mission, was a catalogue of all inscribed objects from Ras Shamra (La trouvaille épigraphique de l'Ougarit, 1989). We actually touched and measured every inscribed object we could find (and a surprisingly small number were missing lo these many years and a World War later), which permitted us to provide in the catalogue the basic data regarding the physical properties of the item, the language/script, and the most basic publications. Because the publications of the various texts over the decades were widely scattered, an account of what text corresponded to what excavation number was necessary and has proved immensely useful for the members of the Mission - as well, we hope, as for our colleagues near and far who previously did not have these most basic data regarding the inscriptions at their fingertips.

The other two types of texts collated in 1980/81 were the letters and the ritual texts. Though the letters were my first interest and the project that I had in mind when the opportunity arose to work in Syria, for reasons associated with my teaching responsibilities in this university I settled on the ritual texts as my next publication project. There are over eighty texts that deal with the everyday cultic activities in the city of Ugarit. After the typical ups and downs associated with a thick manuscript, Les textes rituels appeared in February 2001 (though the imprint date is 2000), all 1,307 pages of it, including those bearing the hand copies and photographs.

Most of these texts are dry - and I mean dry - prescriptions of the sacrifices to be offered during a particular period of time, which may range from a single day or a part of a day to two months. For example, the beginning of RS 1.001, the very first text discovered at Ras Shamra reads: "A ewe as a Image -sacrifice; a dove, also as a Image-sacrifice; a ewe, also as Image -sacrifice; two kidneys and the liver (of?) a bull and a ram for El." It goes on like this for twenty-two lines.

It is clear that the Ugaritic cultic system was centered around bloody sacrifice (that is, the slaughter of animals in honor of a deity), that it went on continually but was particularly tied in with the phases of the moon (the festivals of the new moon and the full moon were the most important, but sacrificial activity also increased at the second and third quarters, i.e., at the beginning of the lunar "weeks"), and that a great number of deities figured in the Ugaritic pantheon (well over two hundred are known at present). From the mythological texts, we know that the Ugaritians had highly developed views of how the deities interrelated with each other and with humans. There is not, unfortunately, a clear overlap between the mythological texts and the ritual ones - other than in the fact that certain deities appear in both - that would allow us to see more clearly the ideology and theology behind the ritual acts so abundantly described. The basic sacrificial types appear to reflect a need to feed and to care for the divinities and to establish a form of communion with them. The Image sacrifice, for example, appears to reflect a cultic meal in which the offerer partook of the same meal as was offered to the divinity. This last term, cognate with Hebrew Image conventionally translated "peace offerings," opens a window on the interconnections between these West Semites of Northwest Syria and the better-known inhabitants of Canaan, the birthplace of the Jewish and Christian religions. Space does not permit a discussion here. Suffice it to say that there are long lists of both similarities and differences between Hebrew and Ugaritic religion and cult.


There are some texts included in this collection that go beyond the narrow bounds of the typical variety just cited. One, RS 1.002, the second tablet discovered at Ras Shamra in 1929, ventures into areas not even hinted at in the texts just described: mentioned there are such things as "sin," "anger," and "impatience." The burden of the rite, which has six sections divided into three for the men of Ugarit and three for the women, appears to be to foster national unity by erasing all sources of friction among the various elements of society. Specifically mentioned are the king and the queen, the men and the women who live within the walls of the city of Ugarit, and a whole series of other categories defined by ethnic, social, and geographical terms. At the end of each section, the sacrifice of a single animal is prescribed, the species being specific to the theme treated there. For example, the sacrifice of a donkey in each of the last two sections appears to underscore the theme of political rectitude announced in the first line of each of these sections.

One of the most interesting of the sacrificial texts is that of a funerary rite, probably for the next-to-the-last king of Ugarit, whose name was Niqmaddu, a name that reappears several times in this dynastic line. This king died some time during the last decade of the thirteenth century and, in the last lines of the text, blessings are called down on his successor, Ammurapi, and on the queen mother:

Well-being for Image , well-being for his house!
Well-being for Image , well-being for her house!
Well-being for Ugarit, well-being for her gates!

The particular interest of this text is that it goes far beyond the dryness of the standard sacrificial texts and the repetitiveness of RS 1.002 by its form of expression - it is in poetry rather than in prose - and by its subject matter - the shades of the dead king's ancestors are called up to participate in the ceremony and, once the ceremony is launched, the principal actor is the sun deity, who assumes the role of enabling the deceased king to join his ancestors. This is achieved by the sevenfold lowering of the king's body into the realm of the dead. I have hypothesized that this portion of the ceremony would have centered on a large pit that the archaeologists discovered situated between the two principal chambers of the royal tomb in the palace. Once this ceremonial lowering and raising, accompanied each time by a sacrifice, was completed, the mortal remains would have been laid to rest in one of the tombs.

Another type of inscription takes its interest from the object on which they are written: clay liver models representing the liver of an animal sacrificed in the rite known as hepatoscopy, observing the features of a liver as a means of divining the future. Each model reflects a specific case of consulting a divination priest and the purpose of the text was to express the question that was posed to the priest. The clearest of these reads: "(This liver model is) for when he was to procure the young man of the Alashian." Specialists in the markings on the model tell us that the result of this consultation was a "yes" answer, that is, that Image should proceed with his plan to acquire a new servant.

Alongside these texts that reflect the actual practice of divination are manuals or catalogues of previous results of previous divinatory consultations. One such tablet provides a long list of omens based on malformed animal fetuses, for example: "If it (the fetus of a sheep or goat) has no right ear, the enemy will devastate the land and will consume it." Another tablet lists omens associated with lunar phenomena, for example: "If the moon, when it rises, is red, there will be prosperity [during] that month."

The incantatory genre is very poorly attested at Ugarit. The first text was discovered at the neighboring site of Ras Ibn Hani in 1978, but its language was so difficult that its precise literary structure and character were not easy to determine. A more recent example, RS 92.2014, is clearly incantatory in nature. It reads:

(When) the unknown one calls you and begins foaming,
I, for my part, will call you.
I will shake bits of sacred wood,
So that the serpent not come up against you,
So that the scorpion not stand up under you.
The serpent will indeed not come up against you,
The scorpion will indeed not stand up under you!
In like manner, may the tormentors, the sorcerers not give ear to the word
of the evil man,
To the word of any man:
When it sounds forth in their mouth, on their lips,
May the sorcerers, the tormentors, then pour it to the earth.
For Urtenu, for his body, for his members.

The final ascription to a known personage, plausibly the last inhabitant of the house in which the tablet was found and a member of the queen's administration, permits the classification of the text as an incantation prepared by a "magician" to ward off Urtenu's enemies, both serpentine and human.

The work just described is a technical edition, with hand copies, photographs of tablets previously unpublished in photographic form, copious remarks both epigraphic and philological on each text, a structural analysis of each text, extensive indices laying out the data in these texts according to several categories (deity named, type of act, contents of offerings, time, and place), and an exhaustive concordance of all words attested. It is intended for scholars and students who know an ancient Semitic language well enough to work with the original Ugaritic.

In the next few months a very different book will appear, this time in English and intended for a much broader audience. It is published by the Society of Biblical Literature in the series Writings from the Ancient World, which is intended to gather together the most important collections of ancient Near Eastern texts. The format includes the text in the original language with accompanying translation into idiomatic English, some notes in lieu of commentary, and good indices. The inclusion of the original text makes these works of interest to students and scholars, while the English translation and notes open up their usefulness to anyone who reads English and is interested in the original texts upon which we base our views of the ancient world.

This version differs from the French edition in several respects. First, only relatively complete texts are included, those that permit a fairly continuous translation. Second, because of the nature of the French edition the texts were not arranged there by subject matter, but the insights gained in preparing that edition permitted such an arrangement in the English version. Third, the sacrificial texts are laid out according to the structure of the rite therein depicted, permitting the non-specialist to follow the progress of the liturgy more easily. Fourth, the commentary in the notes is much briefer and less technical; repetition is avoided by putting many explanations into a glossary. Fifth, this freeing up of space allowed for the inclusion of a broader range of texts, notably those of the "para-mythological" texts described above that have a reasonably clear link with ritual as practiced at Ugarit. This broader purview is reflected in the English title, Ritual and Cult at Ugarit.

Since earning his doctorate in this university in 1974, Dennis Pardee has been teaching the Northwest Semitic languages and literatures in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Oriental Institute. In addition to his work in Ugaritic, he has published books and articles on Biblical Hebrew poetry and on Hebrew inscriptions.
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:41 am

by Wikipedia



Mesha Stele in the Louvre Museum

The Mesha Stele (popularized in the 19th century as the "Moabite Stone") is a black basalt stone bearing an inscription by the 9th century BC ruler Mesha of Moab.

The inscription was set up about 840 BC as a memorial of Mesha's victories over "Omri king of Israel" and his son, who had been "oppressing" Moab. It bears the earliest known reference to the sacred Hebrew name of God - YHWH - and is also notable as the most extensive inscription ever recovered that refers to ancient Israel (the "House of Omri"). French scholar André Lemaire has reconstructed a portion of line 31 of the stele as "House of David".[1]

The stone is 124 cm high and 71 cm wide and deep, and rounded at the top. It was discovered at the site of ancient Dibon (now Dhiban, Jordan), in August 1868, by Rev. F. A. Klein, a German missionary. Local villagers smashed the stone during a dispute over its ownership, but a squeeze (a papier-mâché impression) had been obtained by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau, and most of the fragments were later recovered and pieced together by him.[2] The squeeze (which has never been published) and the reassembled stele (which has been published in many books and encyclopedias) are now in the Louvre Museum.


The stele measures 44"x27"[3]. Its 34 lines describe:

1. How Moab was oppressed by "Omri King of Israel"", as the result of the anger of the god Chemosh
2. Mesha's victories over Omri's son (not named) and the men of Gad at Ataroth, and at Nebo and Jehaz;
3. His building projects, restoring the fortifications of his strong places and building a palace and reservoirs for water; and
4. His wars against the Horonaim.


The inscription has strong consistency with the historical events recorded in the Bible. The events, names, and places mentioned in the Mesha Stele correspond to those mentioned in the Bible. For example, Mesha is recorded as the King of Moab in 2 Kings 3:4: “Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.”[4] Kemosh is mentioned in numerous places in the Bible as the national god of Moab (1 Kings 11:33, Numbers 21:29 etc...).[5] The reign of Omri, King of Israel, is chronicled in 1 Kings 16[6], and the inscription records many places and territories (Nebo, Gad, ect...) that also appear in the Bible.[7] Finally, 2 Kings 3 recounts a revolt by Mesha against Israel, to which Israel responded by allying with Judah and Edom to suppress the revolt:

“4Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. 5But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6So King Jehoram marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. 7And he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, "The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?" And he said, "I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses." 8Then he said, "By which way shall we march?" Jehoram answered, "By the way of the wilderness of Edom." 9So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom…26When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not. 27Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land.”[8]

Some scholars have argued that an inconsistency exists between the Mesha Stele and the Bible regarding the timing of the revolt.[9] The argument rests upon the assumption that the following section of the inscription necessarily refers to Omri’s son Ahab: “Omri was the king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab for many days, for Kemosh was angry with his land. And his son replaced him; and he said, "I will also oppress Moab"…And Omri took possession of the whole land of Madaba; and he lived there in his days and half the days of his son: forty years: And Kemosh restored it in my days”. In other words, these scholars argue that the inscription indicates that Mesha’s revolt occurred during the reign of Omri’s son Ahab. Since the Bible speaks of the revolt taking place during Jehoram’s reign (Omri’s grandson), these scholars have argued that these two accounts are inconsistent.

However, as other scholars have pointed out, the inscription need not necessarily refer to Omri’s son Ahab.[10] In modern English, the word “son” typically refers to a male child in relation to his parents. In the ancient Near East, however, the word was commonly used to mean male descendent.[11] Consequently, “son of Omri” was a common designation for any male descendent of Omri and would have been used to refer to Jehoram. Assuming that “son” means “descendent,” an interpretation consistent with the common use of language in the ancient Near East, the Mesha Stele and the Bible are consistent.

Reconstructions of [D]VDH at line 31 and line 12

In 1994, after examining both the Mesha Stele and the paper squeeze in the Louvre Museum, the French scholar André Lemaire reported that line 31 of the Mesha Stele bears the phrase "the house of David" (in Biblical Archaeology Review [May/June 1994], pp. 30-37). Lemaire had to supply one destroyed letter, the first "D" in [D]VDH, "of [D]avid," to decode the wording. The complete sentence in the latter part of line 31 would then read, "As for Horonen, there lived in it the house of [D]avid," וחורננ. ישב. בה. בת[ד]וד. (Square brackets [ ] enclose letters or words supplied where letters were destroyed or were on fragments that are still missing.) Most scholars find that no other letter supplied there yields a reading that makes sense. After one full year, only one scholar, Baruch Margalit, attempted to supply a different letter: "m," along with several other letters in places after that, giving the reading: "Now Horoneyn was occupied at the en[d] of [my pre]decessor['s reign] by [Edom]ites." (Baruch Margalit, "Studies in NWSemitic Inscriptions," Ugarit-Forschungen 26, p. 275). Margalit's reading has not attracted any significant support in scholarly publications by 2006, although in 2001 another French scholar, Pierre Bordreuil, reported (in an essay in French) that he and a few other scholars could not confirm Lemaire's reading.[12]

If Lemaire is right, there are now two early references to David's dynasty, one in the Mesha Stele (mid-9th century) and the other in the Tel Dan Stele (mid-9th to mid-8th century).[13].

In 1998, another scholar, Anson Rainey, translated a puzzling two-word phrase in line 12 of the Mesha Stele, אראל. דודה, as "its Davidic altar-hearth".[14]

The identification of David in the Mesha stele remains controversial. This controversy stems partly from the fragmentary state of line 31 and partly from a tendency since the 1990s, largely among European scholars, to question or dismiss the historical reliability of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). In Europe, P. R. Davies, Thomas L. Thompson, and Niels P. Lemche show a strong tendency to reject biblical historicity, while André Lemaire, K. A. Kitchen, Jens Bruun Kofoed, and other European scholars are exceptions. Many scholars lean in one direction or the other but actually occupy the middle ground. The "Arabian Judah" school of Old Testament historical interpretation (Kamal Salibi) regard the Mesha stele as evidence that Omri's Kingdom of Israel was in northern Hijaz controlling trade routes including the important terminus of Taima.[citation needed] In general, North American and Israeli scholars tend to be more willing to accept the identification of the biblical King David in the Mesha stele, especially because the phrase that is usually translated "house of David," is clearly legible in the Tel Dan stele (there this phrase in line 9 appears to parallel "king of Israel" in the preceding line). The controversy over whether ancient inscriptions confirm the existence of the Biblical King David usually focuses less on the Mesha stele and more on the Tel Dan stele.


The text in Moabite, transcribed into modern Hebrew letters:

1. אנכ. משע. בנ. כמש.. . מלכ. מאב. הד
2. יבני | אבי. מלכ. על. מאב. שלשנ. שת. ואנכ. מלכ
3. תי. אחר. אבי | ואעש. הבמת. זאת. לכמש. בקרחה | ב[נס. י]
4. שע. כי. השעני. מכל. המלכנ. וכי. הראני. בכל. שנאי | עמר
5. י. מלכ. ישראל. ויענו. את. מאב. ימנ. רבן. כי. יאנפ. כמש. באר
6. צה | ויחלפה. בנה. ויאמר. גמ. הא. אענו. את. מאב | בימי. אמר. כ[...]
7. וארא. בה. ובבתה | וישראל. אבד. אבד. עלמ. וירש. עמרי. את א[ר]
8. צ. מהדבא | וישב. בה. ימה. וחצי. ימי. בנה. ארבענ. שת. ויש
9. בה. כמש. בימי | ואבנ. את. בעלמענ. ואעש. בה. האשוח. ואבנ
10. את. קריתנ | ואש. גד. ישב. בארצ. עטרת. מעלמ. ויבנ. לה. מלכ. י
11. שראל. את. עטרת | ואלתחמ. בקר. ואחזה | ואהרג. את. כל. העמ. [מ]
12. הקר. רית. לכמש. ולמאב | ואשב. משמ. את. אראל. דודה. ואס
13. חבה. לפני. כמש. בקרית | ואשב. בה. את. אש. שרנ. ואת. אש
14. מחרת | ויאמר. לי. כמש. לכ. אחז. את. נבה. על. ישראל | וא
15. הלכ. הללה. ואלתחמ. בה. מבקע. השחרת. עד. הצהרמ | ואח
16. זה. ואהרג. כלה. שבעת. אלפנ. גברנ. ו[גר]נ | וגברת. וגר
17. ת. ורחמת | כי. לעשתר. כמש. החרמתה | ואקח. משמ. א[ת. כ]
18. לי. יהוה. ואסחב. המ. לפני. כמש | ומלכ. ישראל. בנה. את
19. יהצ. וישב. בה. בהלתחמה. בי | ויגרשה. כמש. מפני | ו
20. אקח. ממאב. מאתנ. אש. כל. רשה | ואשאה. ביהצ. ואחזה.
21. לספת. על. דיבנ | אנכ. בנתי. קרחה. חמת. היערנ. וחמת
22. העפל | ואנכ. בנתי. שעריה. ואנכ. בנתי. מגדלתה | וא
23. נכ. בנתי. בת. מלכ. ואנכ. עשתי. כלאי. האש[וח למי]נ. בקרב
24. הקר | ובר. אנ. בקרב. הקר. בקרחה. ואמר. לכל. העמ. עשו. ל
25. כמ. אש. בר. בביתה | ואנכ. כרתי. המכרתת. לקרחה. באסר
26. [י]. ישראל | אנכ. בנתי. ערער. ואנכ. עשתי. המסלת. בארננ.
27. אנכ. בנתי. בת. במת. כי. הרס. הא | אנכ. בנתי. בצר. כי. עינ
28. ----- ש. דיבנ. חמשנ. כי. כל. דיבנ. משמעת | ואנכ. מלכ
29. ת[י] ----- מאת. בקרנ. אשר. יספתי. על. הארצ | ואנכ. בנת
30. [י. את. מה]דבא. ובת. דבלתנ | ובת. בעלמענ. ואשא. שמ. את. [...]
31. --------- צאנ. הארצ | וחורננ. ישב. בה. ב
32. --------- אמר. לי. כמש. רד. הלתחמ. בחורננ | וארד
33. ---------[ויש]בה. כמש. בימי. ועל[...]. משמ. עש
34. -------------- שת. שדק | וא


In the original text some words run on from one line to the next. Where possible, this translation reflects this writing. Square brackets indicate reconstructed text, and dots represent missing and unreconstructed or disputed portions.

1. I am Mesha, son of KMSYT (Kemosh[-yat]), the king of Moab, the Di-
2. -bonite. My father was king of Moab thirty years, and I reign-
3. -ed after my father. And I built this high-place for Kemosh in QRH ("the citadel"), a high place of [sal-]
4. -vation because he saved me from all the kings (or "all the attackers"), and because let me be victorious over all my adversaries. Omr-
5. -i was king of Israel and he oppressed Moab for many days because Kemosh was angry with his
6. land. And his son replaced him; and he also said, "I will oppress Moab". In my days he spoke thus.
7. But I was victorious over him and his house. And Israel suffered everlasting destruction, And Omri had conquered the lan-
8. -d of Madaba, and he dwelt there during his reign and half the reign of his son, forty years. But Kemosh
9. returned it in my days. So I [re]built Baal Meon, and I the water reservoir in it. And I bu[ilt]
10. Qiryaten. The man of Gad had dwelt in Ataroth from of old; and the king of Israel
11. built Ataroth for him. But I fought against the city and took it. And I slew all the people [and]
12. the city became the property of Kemosh and Moab. And I carried from there the altar for its DVDH ("its Davidic altar"?) and I
13. dragged it before Kemosh in Qerioit, and I settled in it men of Sharon m[en]
14.of Maharit. And Kemosh said to me, "Go! Seize Nebo against Israel." so I
15. proceeded by night and fought with it from the crack of dawn to midday, and I to-
16. -ok it and I slew all of them: seven thousand men and boys, and women and gi-
17. and maidens because I had dedicated it to Ashtar Kemosh I took [the ves-]
18. -sels of YHWH, and I dragged them before Kemosh. And the king of Israel had built
19.Yahaz, and he dwelt in it while he was fighting with me, but Kemosh drove him out before me. so
20. I took from Moab two hundred men, all his captains. And I brought them to Yahaz, And I seized it order to add (it) to Dibon. I (myself) have built the 'citadel', 'the wall(s) of the forest' and the wall
22. of the 'acropolis'. And I built its gates; And I built its towers. And
23. I built a royal palace; and I made the ramparts for the reservo[ir for] water in the mid-
24. -st of the city. But there was no cistern in the midst of the city, in the 'citadel,' so I said to all the people, "Make [for]
25.yourselves each man a cistern in his house". And I hewed the shaft for the 'citadel' with prisoner-
26. -s of Israel. I built Aroer, and I made the highway in the Arnon.
27. I built Beth-Bamot, because it was in ruins. I built Bezer, because it was
28. a ruin [with] the armed men of Dibon because all of Dibon was under orders and I ru-
29. -led [ove]r [the] hundreds in the towns which I have annexed to the land. And I bui-
30. -lt Medeba and Beth-Diblaten and Beth-Baal-Meon, and I carried there [my herdsmen]
31. [to herd] the small cattle of the land, and Horonain, in it dwelt ...
32. [and] Kemosh [s]aid to me, "Go down, fight against Horonain". And I went down [and I fou-
33. -ght with the city and I took it and] Kemosh [re]turned it in my days. Then I went up from there te[n...]
34. [...a high] place of justice and I [...]



1. Biblical Archaeology Review [May/June 1994], pp. 30–37
2. [1]
3. 1920 World Book, Volume VI, page 3867
4. [2]
6. [4]
7. Driver, Samuel. (1890), Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel, [5]
8. [6]
9. Driver, Samuel. (1890), Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel, [7]
10. Davis, John. (1891), The Moabite Stone and the Hebrew Records; see also [8]
11. Ibid
12. Pierre Bordreuil, "A propos de l'inscription de Mesha': deux notes," in P. M. Michele Daviau, John W. Wevers and Michael Weigl [Eds.], The World of the Aramaeans III, pp. 158-167, especially pp. 162-163 [Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001]
13. Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, _Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E._, Academia Biblica series, no. 12 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004), pp. 265-277
14. (Anson F. Rainey, "Mesha and Syntax," in _The Land That I Will Show You_, edited by J. Andrew Dearman and M. Patrick Graham, Supplement Series, no. 343 [Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001], pp. 300-306).
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:44 am

by Wikipedia



The Tel Dan Stele

[Excessive references to Bible believers deleted]

The Tel Dan Stele is a black basalt stele discovered during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel. It was erected by an Aramaean king and contains an Aramaic inscription commemorating victories over local ancient peoples including "Israel" and the "House of David." Its author is unknown, but may be a king of Damascus, Hazael or one of his sons.

The inscription generated excitement among biblical scholars and biblical archaeologists because the letters 'ביתדוד' are identical to the Hebrew for "house of David." If these letters refer to the Davidic line then this is the first time the name "David" has been recognized at any archaeological site. The scholarly consensus among archaeologists and epigraphers is that the fragment is an authentic reference to the Biblical King David.[1]

Like the Mesha stele, the Tel Dan Stele seems typical of a memorial intended as a sort of military propaganda, which boasts of Hazael's or his son's victories. Some epigraphers think that the phrase "house of David" also appears in a partly broken line in the Mesha stele.


Although the name of the author of the stele does not seem to appear on the available fragments, it is most likely a king of neighboring Damascus. Language, time, and location make it plausible that the author was Hazael or his son, Bar Hadad II/III, who were kings of Damascus and enemies of the kingdom of Israel.


The stele was discovered at Tel Dan, previously named Tell el-Qadi, a mound where a city once stood at the northern tip of Israel.

Fragment A was discovered in 1993, and fragments B1 and B2, which fit together, were discovered in 1994. In the broken part of the stone below the smooth writing surface, there is a possible "internal" fit between fragment A and the assembled fragments B1/B2, but it is uncertain and disputed. If the fit is correct, then the pieces were originally side by side.


The inscription has been dated to the 9th or 8th centuries BCE. The 8th-century limit is determined by a destruction layer identified with a well-documented Assyrian conquest in 733/732 BCE. Because that destruction layer was above the layer in which the stele fragments were found, it is clear that it took place after the stele had been erected, then broken into pieces which were later used in a construction project at Tel Dan, presumably by Hebrew builders. It is difficult to discern how long before that Assyrian conquest these earlier events took place.

George Athas attempted to date the inscription to the 8th century, and credit it to Bar Hadad rather than his father Hazael.[2] However, the archaeological context does not support this conclusion.[3] The excavators dated the inscription to the mid-9th century, and the peak of Hazael’s conquests, but Suriano attributed the stele to a point late in Hazael’s career based on apologetic motifs that suggest the inscription was made at the time his son (Bar Hadad) was appointed heir and successor.[4]

Aramaic text

1. [ ]א]מר.ע[ ]וגזר ]

2. [ ]אבי.יסק[.עלוה.בה]תלחמה.בא--- ]

3. וישכב.אבי.יהך.אל[.אבהו]ה.ויעל.מלכי[ יש]

4.ראל.קדם.בארק.אבי[.ו]יהלך.הדד[.]א[יתי ]

5.אנה.ויהך.הדד.קדמי[.ו]אפק.מן.שבע[ת ---]

6. י.מלכי.ואקתל.מל[כן.שב]ען.אסרי.א[לפי.ר]

7. כב.ואלפי.פרש.[קתלת.אית.יהו]רם.בר[אחאב.]

8.מלך.ישראל.וקתל[ת.אית.אחז]יהו.בר[יהורם.מל ]

9. ך.ביתדוד.ואשם.[אית.קרית.הם.חרבת.ואהפך.א]

10. ית.ארק.הם.ל[ישמן ]

11.אחרן.ולה[... ויהוא.מ ]

12.לך.על.יש[ראל... ואשם .]

13. מצר.ע[ל. ]


Following is a line-by-line translation that follows the editio princeps (Biran and Naveh). Missing text or text that is too damaged by erosion is represented by "[.....]"):

1'. [.....................].......[...................................] and cut [.........................]
2'. [.........] my father went up [against him when] he fought at[....]
3'. And my father lay down, he went to his [fathers]. And the king of I[s-]
4'. rael entered previously in my father's land. [And] Hadad made me king.
5'. And Hadad went in front of me, [and] I departed from [the] seven[.....]
6'. of my kingdom, and I slew [seve]nty kin[gs], who harnessed thou[sands of cha-]
7'. riots and thousands of horsemen (or: horses). [I killed Jeho]ram son of [Ahab]
8'. king of Israel, and I killed [Ahaz]iahu son of [Jehoram kin]g
9'. of the House of David. [?] And I set [their towns into ruins and turned]
10'. their land into [desolation........................]
11'. other ...[......................................................................... and Jehu ru-]
12'. led over Is[rael......................................................................and I laid]
13'. siege upon [............................................................]

Dispute over the phrase "House of David"

Due to the mention of both "Israel" and the "House of David", the Tel Dan Stele is often quoted as supporting evidence for the Bible. However, critics have suggested other readings of ביתדוד, usually based on the fact that the written form "DWD" can be rendered both as David and as Dod (Hebrew for "beloved") or related forms.[citation needed] In ancient Hebrew a dot was sometimes used to divide separate words. For example, the phrase "House of David" could be written as בית•דוד. The Aramean writer of the Tel Dan Stele, who is writing to commemorate a victory over the Hebrews, did not employ the Hebrew word divider for ביתדוד.

Views of Biblical scholars

Anson Rainey, defending the reading "House of David" stated that "a word divider between two components in such a construction is often omitted, especially if the combination is a well-established proper name."[citation needed]

Gary Rendsburg supports Rainey's position and stated that the phrase Bit ("house of") + X ("founder") is the Aramaean, Assyrian, and Babylonian way of referring to an Aramaean state. Rendsburg also stated, "[o]ne might even venture that the Assyrian designation Bit-Humri "house of Omri" for the kingdom of Israel reached Assyrian scribes through Aramaean mediation."

Philip Davies writes:

But let’s leave this wishful thinking and return to the critical six letters, BYTDWD, to see what they really might mean. Admittedly there are two verbal elements here, of which the first is beth, house. But the probability is that the second element completes a place-name, such as Beth Lehem (House of Bread) correct translation or Bethlehem (one word), as it is commonly written in Latin letters. Also a substantial minority believes that the correct reading and translation are, Bet Lachmu, (House of the God Lachmu) recognising a popular (and verified)local god. It seems intrinsically more likely that a place-name composed with beth would be written as one word, rather than a phrase meaning “House of David,” referring to the dynasty of David. Such a place name could be Beth-dod (the w serving as rudimentary vowel, a so-called mater lectionis; the same last three letters are consistently used to spell the last syllable of the Philistine city of Ashdod) or Bethdaud (with a slightly different vowel pronunciation). All these place-names are quite reasonable suggestions...There are other possibilities...For example, in a contemporaneous inscription, the famous Mesha stele or Moabite stone, the phrase ’R’L DWDH (‏אראל דודה‎) appears. The second word remains somewhat of a puzzle. Some scholars, though a minority, translate it “David” and regard it as the name of the founder of the ruling dynasty of Judah...But the final heh makes this meaning unlikely. The noun dawidum is also found in a cuneiform text from Mari (18th century B.C.E.), offering another possible clue, though the meaning of this term remains unclear. In the Bible DWD can mean “beloved” or “uncle,” and in one place (1 Samuel 2:14), it means “kettle.” So a number of ways of understanding DWD present themselves, most of them more plausible than translating “David.” [5]

Thomas L. Thompson has argued that, even if it could be shown that the terms "of the house of David" and "of the house of Omri" were used to describe the kings of Judah and Israel at that time, we should not conclude that they saw David and Omri as recent ancestors who had founded dynasties in the modern sense, other interpretations of the term "house of" in this context are possible.

Configuration controversy

George Athas proposes that the three extant fragments of the inscription have been placed in a wrong configuration (for the popular configuration, see the figure above). He argues that Fragment A (the largest) should be placed well above Fragments B1 and B2 (which fit together). He also suggests that ביתדוד is actually a reference to Jerusalem, arguing that it is the Aramaic equivalent of "City of David". He also provides evidence for the authenticity of the fragments (called into question by some, such as Russell Gmirkin), and downdates the inscription, proposing that the author is not Hazael, as is popularly touted, but rather his son Bar Hadad.

Authenticity controversy

Athas also provided evidence for the authenticity of the fragments, which were called into question by some, including Russell Gmirkin.

Minority views

A minority view is that DWD is the Hebrew rendering of Thoth (pronounced, according to the Ancient Greeks, as Toot - as in Tutmose), thus the expression might refer to a temple of Thoth. The Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen points out that there is no known temple of Thoth in the area.

Others believe that ביתדוד refers to an unknown geographic location.



1. 'On the "positivist" side of the controversy, regarding the authenticity of the inscription, we now have published opinions by most of the world's leading epigraphers (none of whom is a "biblicist" in Thompson's sense): the inscription means exactly what it says.' William Dever, 2004, 'What Did The Biblical Authors Know, And When Did They Know It?', pages 128-129
2. Athas, G., The Tel Dan Inscription: A Reappaisal and a New Interpretation, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supp 360; CIS 12 (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2003).
3. See the reviews by William Schniedewind and Nadav Na’aman in ‘’Review of Biblical Literature’’[1]
4. Suriano, M., “The Apology of Hazael,” 163–176
5. Davies, P.R. 1994. “‘House of David’ Built on Sand: The Sins of the Biblical Maximizers.” Biblical Archaeology Review 20/4.
6. Kenneth Kitchen, 2003, 'On The Reliability Of The Old Testament', pages 452-453
7. William Dever, 2004, 'What Did The Biblical Authors Know, And When Did They Know It?', pages 128-129
[edit] Bibliography
Athas, George, The Tel Dan Inscription: A Reappaisal and a New Interpretation, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supp 360; CIS 12 (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2003). ISBN 0-567-04043-7.
Biran, Avraham and Joseph Naveh, "An Aramaic Stele Fragment from Tel Dan," Israel Exploration Journal 43 (1993): 81-98.
Biran, Avraham and Joseph Naveh, "The Tel Dan Inscription: A New Fragment," Israel Exploration Journal 45 (1995): 1-18.
Davies, Philip R., “‘House of David’ Built on Sand: The Sins of the Biblical Maximizers.” Biblical Archaeology Review 20/4 (1994).
Mykytiuk, Lawrence J., Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B.C.E., SBL Academia Biblica Series 12 (Atlanta, Ga.: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004): 110-132 and 277. ISBN 1-58983-062-8.
Rainey, Anson F., "The 'House of David' and the House of the Deconstructionists," Biblical Archaeological Review, 20/6 (1994): 47.
Rendsburg, Gary A., "On the Writing ביתדוד in the Aramaic Inscription from Tel Dan," Israel Exploration Journal 45 (1995): 22-25.
Schniedewind, William M. (with Bruce Zuckerman), "A Possible Reconstruction of the Name of Hazael's Father in the Tel Dan Inscription," Israel Exploration Journal 51 (2001): 88-91.
Schniedewind, William M., "Tel Dan Stela: New Light on Aramaic and Jehu's Revolt." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 302 (1996): 75-90.
Suriano, Matthew J., “The Apology of Hazael: A Literary and Historical Analysis of the Tel Dan Inscription,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 66/3 (2007): 163-76.
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:14 am

Letter of Aristeas

The so-called Letter of Aristeas or Letter to Philocrates is a Hellenistic work of the second century BCE, one of the Pseudepigrapha.[1] Josephus[2] who paraphrases about two-fifths of the letter, ascribes it to Aristeas and written to Philocrates, describing the Greek translation of the Hebrew Law by seventy-two interpreters sent into Egypt from Jerusalem at the request of the librarian of Alexandria, resulting in the Septuagint translation. Though some have argued that its story of the creation of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible is fictitious,[3] it is the earliest text to mention the Library of Alexandria.

Over twenty manuscripts of this letter are preserved and it is often mentioned and quoted in other texts. Its supposed author, purporting to be a courtier of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (reigned 281-246 BCE) is most often referred to as pseudo-Aristeas[4]

The work relates how the king of Egypt, presumably Ptolemy II Philadephus, is urged by his librarian Demetrios of Phalaron[5] to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek: the Pentateuch. The king responds favorably, including giving freedom to Jews who had been taken into captivity by his predecessors and sending lavish gifts (which are described in great detail) to the Temple in Jerusalem along with his envoys. The high priest chooses exactly six men from each of the twelve tribes,[6] giving 72 in all; he gives a long sermon in praise of the Law. When the translators arrive in Alexandria the king weeps for joy and for the next seven days puts philosophical questions to the translators, the wise answers to which are related in full. The 72 translators then complete their task in exactly 72 days. The Jews of Alexandria, on hearing the Law read in Greek, request copies and lay a curse on anyone who would change the translation. The king then rewards the translators lavishly and they return home.

A main goal of the second-century author seems to be to establish the superiority of the Greek Septuagint text over any other version of the Hebrew Bible. The author is noticeably pro-Greek, portraying Zeus as simply another name for Hashem, and while criticism is lodged against idolatry and Greek sexual ethics, the argument is phrased in such a way as to attempt to persuade the reader to change, rather than as a hostile attack. The manner in which the author concentrates on describing Judaism, and particularly its temple in Jerusalem could be viewed as an attempt to proselytise.

Early philological analysis detected that the letter was a forgery. In 1684, Humphrey Hody published Contra historiam Aristeae de LXX. interpretibus dissertatio, in which he argued that the so called "Letter of Aristeas" was the late forgery of a Hellenized Jew, originally circulated to lend authority to the Septuagint version. Isaac Vossius (1618-1689), who had been librarian to Queen Christina of Sweden, published a rebuttal to it, in the appendix to his edition of Pomponius Mela, but modern scholarship is unanimously with Hody.

Victor Tcherikover (Hebrew University) summed up the scholarly consensus in 1958:

"Modern scholars commonly regard the “Letter of Aristeas” as a work typical of Jewish apologetics, aiming at self-defense and propaganda, and directed to the Greeks. Here are some instances illustrating this general view. In 1903. Friedlander wrote that the glorification of Judaism in the letter was no more than self-defense, though “the book does not mention the antagonists of Judaism by name, nor does it admit that its intention is to refute direct attacks.” Stein sees in the letter “a special kind of defense, which practices diplomatic tactics,” and Tramontano also speaks of “an apologetic and propagandist tendency.” Vincent characterizes it as “a small unapologetic novel written for the Egyptians” (i.e. the Greeks in Egypt). Pheiffer says: “This fanciful story of the origin of the Septuagint is merely a pretext for defending Judaism against its heathen denigrators, for extolling its nobility and reasonableness, and first striving to convert Greek speaking Gentiles to it.” Schürer classes the letter with a special kind of literature, “Jewish propaganda in Pagan disguise,” whose works are “directed to the pagan reader, in order to make propaganda for Judaism among the Gentiles.” Andrews, too, believes that the role of a Greek was assumed by Aristeas in order “to strengthen the force of the argument and commend it to non-Jewish readers.”[7]

Scholars avid for the scant information about the Library and the Musaeum of Alexandria, have depended on ps-Aristeas, who "has that least attractive quality in a source: to be trusted only where corroborated by better evidence, and there unneeded," Roger Bagnall concluded.[8]


1. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. (Palo Alto: Mayfield) 1985; André Pelletier, SJ, La Lettre d'Aristée à Philocrate (Paris) 1962.
2. Antiquities XII:ii passim. Online in Greek and English at York University
3. the narrative is "open to the gravest suspicion , and the letter abounds with improbabilities and is now generally regarded as more or less fabulous," observed The Classical Review 335/6 (August-September 1919:123), reporting H. St.J. Tackeray's The Letter of Aristeas, with an Appendix of the Ancient Evidence on the Origin of the LXX..
4. Prosographia Ptolemaica 6 (Leuven 1968: §14588) considers him probably fictitious.
5. Demetrius, a client of Ptolemy I Soter, is not a good candidate as a collaborator with Ptolemy II, Roger S. Bagnall notes, in "Alexandria: Library of Dreams", Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 146.4 (December 2002:348-362) p. 348; he made the strategic mistake at the beginning of the reign of supporting Ptolemy's older half-brother, and was punished with internal exile, dying soon afterwards.
6. The writer of the letters supposes that there were currently twelve tribes in Judea.
7. V. Tcherikover, "The Ideology of the Letter of Aristeas" Harvard Theological Review 51.2 (April 1958), pp. 59-85 (JSTOR ref.)
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:15 am

Masoretic Text
by Wikipedia

The Masoretic Text (MT) is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible regarded almost universally as the official version of the Tanakh. It defines not just the books of the Jewish canon, but also the precise letter-text of the biblical books in Judaism, as well as their vocalization and accentuation known as the Masorah. The MT is also widely used as the basis for translations of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles, and in recent years (since 1943) also for Catholic Bibles.[1] In modern times the Dead Sea Scrolls have shown the MT to be nearly identical to some texts of the Tanakh dating from 200 B.C.E. but different from others.

The MT was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the seventh and tenth centuries CE. Though the consonants differ little from the text generally accepted in the early second century (and also differ little from some Qumran texts that are even older), it has numerous differences of both greater and lesser significance when compared to (extant 4th century) manuscripts of the Septuagint, a Greek translation (made in the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC) of the Hebrew Scriptures that was in popular use in Egypt and Palestine and that is often quoted in the New Testament.

The Hebrew word mesorah (מסורה, alt. מסורת) refers to the transmission of a tradition. In a very broad sense it can refer to the entire chain of Jewish tradition (see Oral law), but in reference to the Masoretic Text the word mesorah has a very specific meaning: the diacritic markings of the text of the Hebrew Bible and concise marginal notes in manuscripts (and later printings) of the Hebrew Bible which note textual details, usually about the precise spelling of words.

The oldest extant manuscripts of the Masoretic Text date from approximately the ninth century AD,[2] and the Aleppo Codex (once the oldest complete copy of the Masoretic Text, but now missing its Torah section) dates from the tenth century.


The Nash Papyrus (2nd century BC) contains a portion of a pre-Masoretic Text, specifically the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael prayer.

Origin and transmission

The Talmud (and also Karaite mss.) states that a standard copy of the Hebrew Bible was kept in the court of the Temple in Jerusalem for the benefit of copyists; there were paid correctors of Biblical books among the officers of the Temple (Talmud, tractate Ketubot 106a). This copy is mentioned in the Aristeas Letter (§ 30; comp. Blau, Studien zum Althebr. Buchwesen, p. 100); in the statements of Philo (preamble to his "Analysis of the Political Constitution of the Jews") and in Josephus (Contra Ap. i. 8).

Another Talmudic story, perhaps referring to an earlier time, relates that three Torah scrolls were found in the Temple court but were at variance with each other. The differences were then resolved by majority decision among the three.

Second Temple period

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, dating from c.150 BC–AD 75, shows however that in this period there was not always the scrupulous uniformity of text that was so stressed in later centuries. The scrolls show numerous small variations in orthography, both as against the later Masoretic text, and between each other. It is also evident from the notings of corrections and of variant alternatives that scribes felt free to choose according to their personal taste and discretion between different readings.[3] However, despite these variations, most of the Qumran fragments can be classified as being closer to the Masoretic text than to any other text group that has survived. According to Shiffman, 60% can be classed as being of proto-Masoretic type, and a further 20% Qumran style with bases in proto-Masoretic texts, compared to 5% proto-Samaritan type, 5% Septuagintal type, and 10% non-aligned.[4] Furthermore, according to Haas, most of the texts which vary from the Masoretic type, including four of the Septuagint type manuscript fragments, were found in Cave 4. "This is the cave where the texts were not preserved carefully in jars. It is conjectured, that cave 4 was a geniza for the depositing of texts that were damaged or had textual errors." [5] On the other hand, some of the fragments conforming most accurately to the Masoretic text were found in Cave 4.[6]

Rabbinic period

An emphasis on minute details of words and spellings, already used among the Pharisees as bases for argumentation, reached its height with the example of Rabbi Akiva (d. AD 135). The idea of a perfect text sanctified in its consonantal base quickly spread throughout the Jewish communities via supportive statements in Halakha, Aggada, and Jewish thought;[3] and with it increasingly forceful strictures leading ultimately to the statement in medieval times that a deviation in even a single letter would make a Torah scroll invalid.[7] Very few manuscripts are said to have survived the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.[8] This both drastically reduced the number of variants in circulation, and gave a new urgency that the text must be preserved. New Greek translations were also made. Unlike the Septuagint, large-scale deviations in sense between the Greek of Aquila and Theodotion and what we now know as the Masoretic text are minimal. Detailed variations between different Hebrew texts in use still clearly existed though, as witnessed by differences between the present-day Masoretic text and versions mentioned in the Gemara, and often even Halachic midrashim based on spelling versions which do not exist in the current Masoretic text.[3] (Mostly, however, these variations are limited to whether particular words should be written plene or defectively - i.e. whether a mater lectionis consonant to represent a particular vowel sound should or should not be included in a particular word at a particular point).

The Age of the Masoretes

The current received text finally achieved predominance through the reputation of the Masoretes, schools of scribes and Torah scholars working between the 7th and 11th centuries, based primarily in Palestine in the cities of Tiberias and Jerusalem, and in Babylonia. These schools developed such prestige for the accuracy and error-control of their copying techniques that their texts established an authority beyond all others.[3] Differences remained, sometimes bolstered by systematic local differences in pronunciation and cantillation. Every locality, following the tradition of its school, had a standard codex embodying its readings. In Babylonia the school of Sura differed from that of Nehardea; and similar differences existed in the schools of the Land of Israel as against that at Tiberias, which in later times increasingly became the chief seat of learning. In this period living tradition ceased, and the Masoretes in preparing their codices usually followed the one school or the other, examining, however, standard codices of other schools and noting their differences.

ben Asher and ben Naphtali

In the first half of the tenth century Aaron ben Moses ben Asher and Moshe ben Naphtali (often just called ben Asher and ben Naphtali) were the leading Masoretes in Tiberias. Their names have come to symbolise the variations among Masoretes, but the differences between ben Asher and ben Naphtali should not be exaggerated. There are hardly any differences between them regarding the consonants, though they differ more on vocalization and accents. Also, there were other authorities such as Rabbi Pinchas and Moshe Moheh, and ben Asher and ben Naphtali often agree against these others. Further, it is possible that all variations found among manuscripts eventually came to be regarded as disagreements between these figureheads. Ben Asher wrote a standard codex (the Aleppo Codex) embodying his opinions. Probably ben Naphtali did too, but it has not survived.

It has been suggested that there never was an actual "ben Naphtali"; rather, the name was chosen (based on the Bible, where Asher and Naphtali are the younger sons of Zilpah and Bilhah) to designate any tradition different from Ben Asher's. This is unlikely, as there exist lists of places where ben Asher and ben Naphtali agree against other authorities.

Ben Asher was the last of a distinguished family of Masoretes extending back to the latter half of the eighth century. Despite the rivalry of ben Naphtali and the opposition of Saadia Gaon, the most eminent representative of the Babylonian school of criticism, ben Asher's codex became recognized as the standard text of the Bible.

The Middle Ages

The two rival authorities, ben Asher and ben Naphtali, practically brought the Masorah to a close. Very few additions were made by the later Masoretes, styled in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Naḳdanim, who revised the works of the copyists, added the vowels and accents (generally in fainter ink and with a finer pen) and frequently the Masorah.

Considerable influence on the development and spread of Masoretic literature was exercised during the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries by the Franco-German school of Tosafists. R. Gershom, his brother Machir, Joseph ben Samuel Bonfils (Tob 'Elem) of Limoges, R. Tam (Jacob ben Meïr), Menahem ben Perez of Joigny, Perez ben Elijah of Corbeil, Judah of Paris, Meïr Spira, and R. Meïr of Rothenburg made Masoretic compilations, or additions to the subject, which are all more or less frequently referred to in the marginal glosses of Biblical codices and in the works of Hebrew grammarians. Many believe that the ben Asher family were Karaites.


By long tradition, a ritual Torah scroll shall contain only the Hebrew consonantal text - nothing may be added, nothing taken away. However, perhaps because they were intended for personal study rather than ritual use, the Masoretic codices provide extensive additional material, called masorah, to show correct pronunciation and cantillation, protect against scribal errors, and annotate possible variants. The manuscripts thus include vowel points, pronunciation marks and stress accents in the text, short annotations in the side margins, and longer more extensive notes in the upper and lower margins and collected at the end of each book.


The Hebrew word masorah is taken from Ezekiel 20:37 and means originally "fetter". The fixation of the text was considered to be in the nature of a fetter upon its exposition. When, in the course of time, the Masorah had become a traditional discipline, the term became connected with the verb ( = "to hand down"), and acquired the general meaning of "tradition."

Language and form

The language of the Masoretic notes is partly Hebrew and partly Aramaic. The Masoretic annotations are found in various forms: (a) in separate works, e.g., the Oklah we-Oklah; (b) in the form of notes written in the margins and at the end of codices. In rare cases, the notes are written between the lines. The first word of each Biblical book is also as a rule surrounded by notes. The latter are called the Initial Masorah; the notes on the side margins or between the columns are called the Small or Inner Masorah; and those on the lower and upper margins, the Large or Outer Masorah. The name "Large Masorah" is applied sometimes to the lexically arranged notes at the end of the printed Bible, usually called the Final Masorah, or the Masoretic Concordance.

The Small Masorah consists of brief notes with reference to marginal readings, to statistics showing the number of times a particular form is found in Scripture, to full and defective spelling, and to abnormally written letters. The Large Masorah is more copious in its notes. The Final Masorah comprises all the longer rubrics for which space could not be found in the margin of the text, and is arranged alphabetically in the form of a concordance. The quantity of notes the marginal Masorah contains is conditioned by the amount of vacant space on each page. In the manuscripts it varies also with the rate at which the copyist was paid and the fanciful shape he gave to his gloss.

In most manuscripts, there are some discrepancies between the text and the masorah, suggesting that they were copied from different sources or that one of them has copying errors. The lack of such discrepancies in the Aleppo Codex is one of the reasons for its importance; the scribe who copied the notes, presumably Aaron ben Moses ben Asher, probably wrote them originally.

Numerical Masorah

In classical antiquity, copyists were paid for their work according to the number of stichs (lines of verse). As the prose books of the Bible were hardly ever written in stichs, the copyists, in order to estimate the amount of work, had to count the letters. For the Masoretic Text, such statistical information more importantly also ensured accuracy in the transmission of the text with the production of subsequent copies that were done by hand.

Hence the Masoretes contributed the Numerical Masorah. These notes are traditionally categorized into two main groups: the marginal Masorah and the final Masorah. The category of marginal Masorah is further divided into the Masorah parva (small Masorah) in the outer side margins and the Masorah magna (large Masorah), traditionally located at the top and bottom margins of the text.

The Masorah parva is a set of statistics in the outer side margins of the text. Beyond simply counting the letters, the Masorah parva consists of word-use statistics, similar documentation for expressions or certain phraseology, observations on full or defective writing, references to the Kethiv-Qere readings and more. These observations are also the result of a passionate zeal to safeguard the accurate transmission of the sacred text.

The Masorah magna, in measure, is an expanded Masorah parva. It is not printed in BHS.

The final Masorah is located at the end of biblical books or after certain sections of the text, such as at the end of the Torah. It contains information and statistics regarding the number of words in a book or section, etc.

Thus (Leviticus 8:23) is the middle verse in the Pentateuch; all the names of Divinity mentioned in connection with Abraham are holy except (Genesis 18:3); ten passages in the Pentateuch are dotted; three times the Pentateuch has the spelling לא where the reading is לו. The collation of manuscripts and the noting of their differences furnished material for the Text-Critical Masorah. The close relation which existed in earlier times (from the Soferim to the Amoraim inclusive) between the teacher of tradition and the Masorete, both frequently being united in one person, accounts for the Exegetical Masorah. Finally, the invention and introduction of a graphic system of vocalization and accentuation gave rise to the Grammatical Masorah.

The most important of the Masoretic notes are those that detail the Kethiv-Qere that are located in the Masorah parva in the outside margins of BHS. Given that the Masoretes would not alter the sacred consonantal text, the Kethiv-Qere notes were a way of "correcting" or commenting on the text for any number of reasons (grammatical, theological, aesthetic, etc.) deemed important by the copyist. [Reference: Pratico and Van Pelt, Basics of Biblical Hebrew, Zondervan. 2001. p406ff]

Fixing of the text

The earliest labors of the Masoretes included standardizing division of the text into books, sections, paragraphs, verses, and clauses (probably in the chronological order here enumerated); the fixing of the orthography, pronunciation, and cantillation; the introduction or final adoption of the square characters with the five final letters (comp. Numbers and Numerals); some textual changes to guard against blasphemy and the like (though these changes may pre-date the Masoretes - see Tikkune Soferim); the enumeration of letters, words, verses, etc., and the substitution of some words for others in public reading.

Since no additions were allowed to be made to the official text of the Bible, the early Masoretes adopted other expedients: e.g., they marked the various divisions by spacing, and gave indications of halakic and haggadic teachings by full or defective spelling, abnormal forms of letters, dots, and other signs. Marginal notes were permitted only in private copies, and the first mention of such notes is found in the case of R. Meïr (c. AD 100-150).

Tikkune Soferim

Early rabbinic sources, from around AD 200, mention several passages of Scripture in which the conclusion is inevitable that the ancient reading must have differed from that of the present text. The explanation of this phenomenon is given in the expression ("Scripture has used euphemistic language," i.e. to avoid anthropomorphism and anthropopathy).

Rabbi Simon ben Pazzi (third century) calls these readings "emendations of the Scribes" (tikkune Soferim; Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7), assuming that the Scribes actually made the changes. This view was adopted by the later Midrash and by the majority of Masoretes. In Masoretic works these changes are ascribed to Ezra; to Ezra and Nehemiah; to Ezra and the Soferim; or to Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and Baruch. All these ascriptions mean one and the same thing: that the changes were assumed to have been made by the Men of the Great Synagogue.

The term tikkun Soferim has been understood by different scholars in various ways. Some regard it as a correction of Biblical language authorized by the Soferim for homiletical purposes. Others take it to mean a mental change made by the original writers or redactors of Scripture; i.e. the latter shrank from putting in writing a thought which some of the readers might expect them to express.

The assumed emendations are of four general types:

• Removal of unseemly expressions used in reference to God; e.g., the substitution of ("to bless") for ("to curse") in certain passages.
• Safeguarding of the Tetragrammaton; e.g. substitution of "Elohim" for "YHVH" in some passages.
• Removal of application of the names of pagan gods, e.g. the change of the name "Ishbaal" to "Ishbosheth."
• Safeguarding the unity of divine worship at Jerusalem.

Mikra and ittur

Among the earliest technical terms used in connection with activities of the Scribes are the "mikra Soferim" and "ittur Soferim." In the geonic schools, the first term was taken to signify certain vowel-changes which were made in words in pause or after the article; the second, the cancellation in a few passages of the "vav" conjunctive, where it had by some been wrongly read. The objection to such an explanation is that the first changes would fall under the general head of fixation of pronunciation, and the second under the head of "Qere" and "Ketiv". Various explanations have, therefore, been offered by ancient as well as modern scholars without, however, succeeding in furnishing a completely satisfactory solution.

Suspended letters and dotted words

There are four words having one of their letters suspended above the line. One of them, (Judges 18:30), is due to an alteration of the original out of reverence for Moses; rather than say that Moses' grandson became an idolatrous priest, a suspended nun was inserted to turn Mosheh into Menasheh (Manasseh). The origin of the other three (Psalms 80:14; Job 38:13, 15) is doubtful. According to some, they are due to mistaken majuscular letters; according to others, they are later insertions of originally omitted weak consonants.

In fifteen passages in the Bible, some words are stigmatized; i.e., dots appear above the letters. (Gen 16:5, 18:9, 19:33, 33:4, 37:12, Num 3:39, 9:10, 21:30, 29:15, Deut. 29:28, 2Sam 19:20, Isaiah 44:9, Ez 41:20, 46:22, Ps 27:13) The significance of the dots is disputed. Some hold them to be marks of erasure; others believe them to indicate that in some collated manuscripts the stigmatized words were missing, hence that the reading is doubtful; still others contend that they are merely a mnemonic device to indicate homiletical explanations which the ancients had connected with those words; finally, some maintain that the dots were designed to guard against the omission by copyists of text-elements which, at first glance or after comparison with parallel passages, seemed to be superfluous. Instead of dots some manuscripts exhibit strokes, vertical or else horizontal. The first two explanations are unacceptable for the reason that such faulty readings would belong to Qere and Ketiv, which, in case of doubt, the majority of manuscripts would decide. The last two theories have equal probability.

Inverted letters

In nine passages of the Bible are found signs usually called "inverted nuns," because they resemble the Hebrew letter nun ( נ ) written in some inverted fashion. The exact shape varies between different manuscripts and printed editions. In many manuscripts, a reversed nun is found—referred to as a "nun hafucha" by the masoretes. In some earlier printed editions, they are shown as the standard nun upside down or rotated, because the printer did not want to bother to design a character to be used only nine times. The recent scholarly editions of the Masoretic Text show the reversed nun as described by the masoretes. In some manuscripts, however, other symbols are occasionally found instead. These are sometimes referred to in rabbinical literature as "simaniyot," (markers).

The primary set of inverted nuns is found surrounding the text of Numbers 10:35-36. The Mishna notes that this text is 85 letters long and dotted. This demarcation of this text leads to the later use of the inverted nun markings. Saul Lieberman demonstrated that similar markings can be found in ancient Greek texts where they are also used to denote 'short texts'. During the Medieval period, the inverted nuns were actually inserted into the text of the early Rabbinic Bibles published by Bomberg in the early 16th century. The talmud records that the markings surrounding Numbers 10:35 - 36 were thought to denote that this 85 letter text was not in its proper place. One opinion goes so far as to say that it would appear in another location in a later edition of the Torah!

Bar Kappara is known to have considered our Torah as comprised of 7 volumes in the Gemara "The seven pillars with which Wisdom built her house (Prov. 9:1) are the seven Books of Moses". Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus and Deuteronomy as we know them but Numbers was really 3 separate volumes Num 1:1 to Num 10:35 followed by Number 10:35-36 and the third text from there to the end of Numbers.

The 85 letter text is also said to be denoted because it is the model for the least number of letters which constitute a 'text' which one would be required to save from fire due to its holiness.

History of the Masorah

The history of the Masorah may be divided into three periods: (1) creative period, from its beginning to the introduction of vowel-signs; (2) reproductive period, from the introduction of vowel-signs to the printing of the Masorah (1525); (3) critical period, from 1525 to the present time.

The materials for the history of the first period are scattered remarks in Talmudic and Midrashic literature, in the post-Talmudical treatises Masseket Sefer Torah and Masseket Soferim, and in a Masoretic chain of tradition found in ben Asher's "Diḳduḳe ha-Ṭe'amim," § 69 and elsewhere.

Critical study

Jacob ben Hayyim ibn Adonijah, having collated a vast number of manuscripts, systematized his material and arranged the Masorah in the second Bomberg edition of the Bible (Venice, 1524-25). Besides introducing the Masorah into the margin, he compiled at the close of his Bible a concordance of the Masoretic glosses for which he could not find room in a marginal form, and added an elaborate introduction – the first treatise on the Masorah ever produced. In spite of its numerous errors, this work has been considered by some as the "textus receptus" of the Masorah (Würthwein 1995:39), and was used for the English translation of the Old Testament for the King James Version of the Bible.

Next to Ibn Adonijah the critical study of the Masorah has been most advanced by Elijah Levita, who published his famous "Massoret ha-Massoret" in 1538. The "Tiberias" of the elder Buxtorf (1620) made Levita's researches more accessible to a Christian audience. The eighth prolegomenon to Walton's Polyglot Bible is largely a réchauffé of the "Tiberias". Levita compiled likewise a vast Masoretic concordance, "Sefer ha-Zikronot," which still lies in the National Library at Paris unpublished. The study is indebted also to R. Meïr b. Todros ha-Levi (RaMaH), who, as early as the thirteenth century, wrote his "Sefer Massoret Seyag la-Torah" (correct ed. Florence, 1750); to Menahem Lonzano, who composed a treatise on the Masorah of the Pentateuch entitled "Or Torah"; and in particular to Jedidiah Norzi, whose "Minḥat Shai" contains valuable Masoretic notes based on a careful study of manuscripts.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have shed new light on the history of the Masoretic Text. Many texts found there, especially those from Masada, are quite similar to the Masoretic Text, suggesting that an ancestor of the Masoretic Text was indeed extant as early as the 2nd century BC. However, other texts, including many of those from Qumran, differ substantially, indicating that the Masoretic Text was but one of a diverse set of Biblical writings (Lane Fox 1991:99-106; Tov 1992:115). §Among the rejected books by both the Judaic and Catholic canons was found the Book of Enoch, the Manual of Discipline or "Rule of the Community" (1QS) and the "The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness." (1QM).[9]

Some important editions

There have been very many published editions of the Masoretic text; this is a list of some of the most important.

• Daniel Bomberg, ed. Jacob ben Hayyim ibn Adonijah, 1524-1525, Venice
The second Rabbinic Bible, which served as the base for all future editions. This was the source text used by the translators of the King James Version in 1611 and the New King James Version in 1982.[10]
• Everard van der Hooght, 1705, Amsterdam and Utrecht
This was practically a reprint of the Athias-Leusden edition of 1667; but at the end it has variants taken from a number of printed editions. It has been much prized because of its excellent and clear type; but no manuscripts were used in its preparation. Nearly all 18th century and 19th century Bibles were almost exact reprints of this edition.
• Benjamin Kennicott, 1776, Oxford
As well as the van der Hooght text, this included the Samaritan Pentateuch and a huge collection of variants from manuscripts and early printed editions; while this collection has many errors, it is still of some value. The collection of variants was corrected and extended by Johann Bernard de Rossi (1784–8), but his publications gave only the variants without a complete text.
• Meir Letteris, 1852; 2nd edition, 1866 (published British and Foreign Bible Society)
The 1852 edition was yet another copy of van der Hooght. The 1866 edition, however, was carefully checked against old manuscripts. It is probably the most widely reproduced text of the Hebrew Bible in history, with many dozens of authorised reprints and many more pirated and unacknowledged ones.
• Seligman Baer and Franz Delitzsch, 1869–1895 (Exodus to Deuteronomy never appeared)
• Christian David Ginsburg, 1894; 2nd edition, 1908–1926
The first edition was very close to the second Bomberg edition, but with variants added from a number of manuscripts and all of the earliest printed editions, collated with far more care than the work of Kennicott; he did all the work himself. The second edition diverged slightly more from Bomberg, and collated more manuscripts; he did most of the work himself, but failing health forced him to rely partly on his wife and other assistants.[11]
• Biblia Hebraica, first two editions, 1906, 1912; virtually identical to the second Bomberg edition but with variants from Hebrew sources and early translations in the footnotes
• Biblia Hebraica, third edition based on the Leningrad Codex, 1937
• Umberto Cassuto, 1953 (based on Ginsburg 2nd edition but revised based on the Aleppo Codex, Leningrad Codex and other early manuscipts)
• Norman Snaith, 1958 (published British and Foreign Bible Society)
Snaith based it on Sephardi manuscripts such as British Museum Or. 2626-28, and said that he had not relied on Letteris. However, it has been shown that he must have prepared his copy by amending a copy of Letteris, because while there are many differences, it has many of the same typographical errors as Letteris. Snaith's printer even went so far as to break printed vowels to match the broken characters in Letteris. Snaith combined the accent system of Letteris with the system found in Sephardi manuscripts, thereby creating accentuation patterns found nowhere else in any manuscript or printed edition.
• Hebrew University Bible Project, 1965-
Started by Moshe Goshen-Gottstein, this follows the text of the Aleppo Codex where extant and otherwise the Leningrad Codex. It includes a wide variety of variants from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, early Rabbinic literature and selected early mediaeval manuscripts. So far, only Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel have been published.
• The Koren Bible by Koren Publishers Jerusalem, 1962
The text was derived by comparing a number of printed Bibles, and following the majority when there were discrepancies.
• Aron Dotan, based on the Leningrad Codex, 1976
• Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, revision of Biblia Hebraica (third edition), 1977
• Mordechai Breuer, based on the Aleppo Codex, 1977–1982
• The Jerusalem Crown, 2001: this is a revised version of Breuer, and is the official version used in inaugurating the President of Israel
• Biblia Hebraica Quinta, revision of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia; only three volumes (Five Megilloth, Ezra and Nehemiah, Deuteronomy) have been published so far.

Hebrew Bible
Q're perpetuum
Samaritan Pentateuch
Micrography Decorative illustrations often made using the text of the Mesorah in medieval Pentateuch codexes.


1. Pope Pius XII on 3 September 1943 decreed the Divino Afflante Spiritu which allowed Catholic translations based on other versions than just the Latin Vulgate, notably in English the New American Bible.
2. A seventh century fragment containing the Song of the Sea (Exodus 13:19-16:1) is one of the few surviving texts from the "silent era" of Hebrew biblical texts between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Aleppo Codex. See "Rare scroll fragment to be unveiled," Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2007.
3. a b c d Menachem Cohen, The Idea of the Sanctity of the Biblical Text and the Science of Textual Criticism in HaMikrah V'anachnu, ed. Uriel Simon, HaMachon L'Yahadut U'Machshava Bat-Z'mananu and Dvir, Tel-Aviv, 1979
4. Shiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls
5. Gretchen Haas[citation needed]
6. Ulrich, E., Cross, F. M., Davila, J. R., Jastram, N., Sanderson, J. E., Tov, E. and Strugnell, J. (1994). Qumran Cave 4, VII, Genesis to Numbers. Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 12. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
7. Rambam, The Laws of Tefillin, Mezuzot, and Torah Scrolls, 1:2
8. Sir Godfrey Driver, Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English Bible, 1970
9. Mansoor, Menahem. The Dead Sea Scrolls. Grand Rapids, Michigan and Driver, G. R., The Judaean Scrolls. Great Britain: Oxford, 1965.
10. Price, James D. (1994-02-14). "This file is a letter I wrote to Mrs. Ripplinger in 1994 in response to her book, New Age Bible Versions. It deals primarily with her criticism of the New King James Version." (MS Word). James D. Price Publications. ... ,_1994.doc. Retrieved 2009-03-18. "But regardless of these details, as former executive editor of the NKJV Old Testament, I can confidently assure you that the NKJV followed, as carefully as possible, the Bobmerg 1524-25 Ben Chayyim edition that the KJV 1611 translators used--I personally made sure."
11. "Introduction to the Ginsburg Edition of the Hebrew Old Testament", British and Foreign Bible Society, 1928.
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Re: Bible, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:17 am


Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded; a work, simply, "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past."[1] The word "pseudepigrapha" (from the Greek: ψευδής, pseudēs, "false" and ἐπιγραφή, epigraphē, "inscription"; see the related epigraphy) is the plural of "pseudepigraphon" (sometimes Latinized as "pseudepigraphum"); the Anglicized forms "pseudepigraph" and "pseudepigraphs" are also used.

The Book of Enoch is an example of a pseudepigraph; no Hebrew scholars would ascribe its authorship to Enoch, a figure mentioned in Genesis 5. Nevertheless, in some cases, especially for books belonging to a religious canon, the question of whether a text is pseudepigraphical or not elicits sensations of loyalty and can become a matter of heavy dispute. The authenticity or value of the work itself, which is a separate question for experienced readers, often becomes sentimentally entangled in the association. Though the inherent value of the text may not be called into question, the weight of a revered or even apostolic author lends authority to a text: in Antiquity pseudepigraphy was "an accepted and honored custom practiced by students/admirers of a revered figure".[2] This is the essential motivation for pseudepigraphy in the first place.

Pseudepigraphy covers the false ascription of names of authors to works, even to perfectly authentic works that make no such claim within their text. Thus a widely accepted but incorrect attribution of authorship may make a perfectly authentic text pseudepigraphical. Assessing the actual writer of a text brings questions of pseudepigraphical attributions within the discipline of literary criticism. In a parallel case, forgers have been known to improve the market value of a perfectly genuine 17th-century Dutch painting by adding a painted signature Rembrandt fecit.

On a related note, a famous name assumed by the author of a work is an allonym.

These are the basic and original meanings of the terms.

In Biblical studies, the Pseudepigrapha are Jewish religious works written c 200 BC to 200 AD, not all of which are literally pseudepigraphical.[3] They are distinguished by Protestants from the Deuterocanonical (Catholic and Orthodox) or Apocrypha (Protestant), the books that appear in the Septuagint and Vulgate but not in the Hebrew Bible or in Protestant Bibles.[3] Catholics distinguish only between the Deuterocanonical and all the other books, that are called Apocrypha, a name that is used also for the Pseudepigrapha in the Catholic usage.

Classical and Biblical studies

There have probably been pseudepigrapha almost from the invention of full writing. For example ancient Greek authors often refer to texts which claimed to be by Orpheus or his pupil Musaeus but which attributions were generally disregarded. Already in Antiquity the collection known as the "Homeric hymns" was recognized as pseudepigraphical, that is, not actually written by Homer.

Literary studies

In secular literary studies, when works of Antiquity have been demonstrated not to have been written by the authors to whom they have traditionally been ascribed, some writers apply the prefix pseudo- to their names. Thus the encyclopedic compilation of Greek myth called Bibliotheke is often now attributed, not to Apollodorus, but to "pseudo-Apollodorus" and the Catasterismi, recounting the translations of mythic figure into asterisms and constellations, not to the serious astronomer Eratosthenes, but to a "pseudo-Eratosthenes". The prefix may be abbreviated, as in "ps-Apollodorus" or "ps-Eratosthenes".

Biblical studies

In Biblical studies, pseudepigrapha refers particularly to works which purport to be written by noted authorities in either the Old and New Testaments or by persons involved in Jewish or Christian religious study or history. These works can also be written about Biblical matters, often in such a way that they appear to be as authoritative as works which have been included in the many versions of the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Eusebius of Caesarea indicates this usage dates back at least to Serapion, bishop of Antioch)[clarification needed] whom Eusebius records[4] as having said: "But those writings which are falsely inscribed with their name (ta pseudepigrapha), we as experienced persons reject...."

Many such works were also referred to as Apocrypha, which originally connoted "secret writings", those that were rejected for liturgical public reading. An example of a text that is both apocryphal and pseudepigraphical is the Odes of Solomon, pseudepigraphical because it was not actually written by Solomon but instead is a collection of early Christian (first to second century) hymns and poems, originally written not in Hebrew, and apocryphal because not accepted in either the Tanach or the New Testament.

But Protestants have also applied the word Apocrypha to texts found in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox scriptures which were not found in Hebrew manuscripts. Roman Catholics called those texts "deuterocanonical". Accordingly, there arose in some Protestant Biblical scholarship an extended use of the term pseudepigrapha for works that appeared as though they ought to be part of the Biblical canon, because of the authorship ascribed to them, but which stood outside both the Biblical canons recognized by Protestants and Catholics. These works were also outside the particular set of books that Roman Catholics called deuterocanonical and to which Protestants had generally applied the term Apocryphal. Accordingly, the term pseudepigraphical, as now used often among both Protestants and Roman Catholics (allegedly for the clarity it brings to discussion), may make it difficult to discuss questions of pseudepigraphical authorship of canonical books dispassionately with a lay audience. To confuse the matter even more, Orthodox Christians accept books as canonical that Roman Catholics and most Protestant denominations consider pseudepigraphical or at best of much less authority. There exist also churches that reject some of the books that Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants accept. The same is true of some Jewish sects.[clarification needed]

There is a tendency not to use the word pseudepigrapha when describing works later than about 300 AD when referring to Biblical matters. But the late-appearing Gospel of Barnabas, Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius, the Pseudo-Apuleius (author of a fifth-century herbal ascribed to Apuleius), and the author traditionally referred to as the "Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite", are classic examples of pseudepigraphy. In the fifth century the moralist Salvian published Contra avaritiam under the name of Timothy; the letter in which he explained to his former pupil, Bishop Salonius, his motives for so doing survives.[5] There is also a category of modern pseudepigrapha.

Examples of Old Testament pseudepigrapha are the Ethiopian Book of Enoch, Jubilees (both of which are canonical in the Abyssinian Church of Ethiopia); the Life of Adam and Eve and the Pseudo-Philo. Examples of New Testament pseudepigrapha (but in these cases also likely to be called New Testament Apocrypha) are the Gospel of Peter and the attribution of the Epistle to the Laodiceans to Paul. Further examples of New Testament pseudepigrapha include the aforementioned Gospel of Barnabas, and the Gospel of Judas, which begins by presenting itself as "the secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot".

Biblical Pseudepigrapha

The term Pseudepigrapha commonly refers to numerous works of Jewish religious literature written from about 200 BC to 200 AD.[3] Not all of these works are actually pseudepigraphical.[3] Such works include the following:[3]

• 3 Maccabees
• 4 Maccabees
• Assumption of Moses
• Ethiopic Book of Enoch (1 Enoch)
• Slavonic Book of Enoch (2 Enoch)
• Book of Jubilees
• Greek Apocalypse of Baruch (3 Baruch)
• Letter of Aristeas
• Life of Adam and Eve
• Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah
• Psalms of Solomon
• Sibylline Oracles
• Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch)
• Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs


1. Bauckham, Richard; "Pseudo-Apostolic Letters", Journal of Biblical Literature, Vo. 107, No. 3, September 1988, pp.469–494.
2. Colossians as Pseudepigraphy (Bible Seminar, 4 Sheffield:JSOT Press) 1986, p. 12.[not specific enough to verify]
3. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
4. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiae 6,12.
5. Salvian, Epistle, ix.


• von Fritz, Kurt, ed. Pseudepigraphica. 1 (Geneva:Fondation Hardt). Contributions on pseudopythagorica (the literature ascribed to Pythagoras), the Platonic Epistles, Jewish-Hellenistic literature, and the characteristics particular to religious forgeries.
• Kiley, Mark. Colossians as Pseudepigraphy (Bible Seminar, 4 Sheffield:JSOT Press) 1986. Colossians as a non-deceptive school product.
• Metzger, B.M. "Literary forgeries and canonical pseudepigrapha", Journal of Biblical Literature 91 (1972).
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