10350Re: [ANE-2] Re: BH 'oth and Akkadian awa:tum?
- Apr 1, 2009Brian -- I'm not sure why you didn't mention it, but of course the
Akkadian word for 'sign, mark, signal, token' is ittu. The second t is a
feminine marker and the plural is ita:tu. Since it is widely accepted
that Hebrew 'oth is cognate with ittu, a relationship of 'oth with
Akkadian awa:tu is impossible because the t of awa:tu is again a feminine
marker since, as you point out, awa:tu is based on the verbal root awû,
there is no connection between the two because ittu has a t in the root
and awa:tu does not.
On your problem with reading ya ta ta, this may simply be an artifact of
the writing system. With an open syllabary there will be a vowel
appearing after every consonant regardless of whether it is there in the
language or not. Thus ya ta ta may not be meant to write the plural
yata:ti (as in mata:ti) but rather the accusative singular yatta.
On Wed, 1 Apr 2009, Brian Colless wrote:
> If in BH, as some have argued, the verbal root aleph-waw-taw is
> actually derived from the noun aleph-waw-taw, i.e., 'oth, is it
> imaginable that the noun was related to the Old Babylonian awa:tum?
> Xianhua Wang
> I do not know whether others have responded to you privately, but I
> will take this opportunity to make a few observations on these two
> words, particularly their occurrences in the early West-Semitic
> epigraphic texts that I work on.
> (1) 't, plural 'tt
> This word ('tt 'signs') appears on the Izbet Sartah ostracon (Iron
> Age), in the first line of the inscription, and as the bottom line of
> the text is a copy of the West Semitic consonantal alphabet, we could
> assume that it is a reference to those letters as 'signs'. (In
> Mishnaic Hebrew the term for letters of the alphabet is 'otiyyot.) My
> reading of the letters preceding 'tt is 'lmd 'I learn' . (The M has
> also been seen as Sh, but it is not the same as the Shin in the list
> of signs at the bottom, nor is the last sign of the text, in the
> bottom right corner, in the phrase h.ld`lm 'duration(s) of the the
> world'; the writer apparently means that this document he has written
> and stored away in a hole in the ground will keep his memory alive for
> For a (murky) photograph and a drawing go to:
> Now, the second T of 'TT is below the first one, but not clear; only
> the horizontal stroke of the + stands out; but we can see what the
> scribe intended, in the first words of the second line: K T T N, with
> two clear examples of T in a ligature (as in Arabic writing). The
> sequence KT in this context might lead us to expect KTB 'write', but
> this is not possible, because of the double T and the N, which matches
> the N in the alphabet on the bottom line; the k could be the
> conjunction kiy, and ttn a verb from ntn 'give'; my interpretation is
> "I see that the eye gives the breath of a sign (' T again, 'letter')
> to the ear".
> Notice that there is no W in the word 't in this document.
> Another possible occurrence is on Byblos tablet D from the Bronze Age,
> written in the WS logo-syllabary (lines 23-24):
> pa ti sa ta ru ni 'u ya ta ta la ki ti ma
> "and (pa) they observe (tisataru) for me (-ni) the sign(s) ('uyatata)
> for truth (la-kiti-ma)"
> This is in a covenant context, and the reading of the signs is
> according to George Mendenhall (The syllabic inscriptions from Byblos,
> 1985, 71) and myself (Brian E. Colless, The syllabic inscriptions of
> Byblos: Text D, Abr-Nahrain [Ancient Near Eastern Studies] 31, 1993,
> 1-35, 22). The root str is common Semitic for 'cover, protect'.
> Notice the Y in the noun taken as meaning 'sign' or 'signs' (but the -
> a seems to be accusative singular, whereas -ti would be expected for
> the plural form, as in matati 'lands', see below; it could be a
> 'misprint' with so many instances of TA and TI in the line).
> Mendenhall invokes Arabic 'ayat (cognate with Hbr 'ôt, 'sign, mark')
> and assumes that the root is 'YT (not 'WT) .
> (2) hawatu, awâtum
> The same Byblos tablet D (Colless 1993, 6-7) )begins thus (1-2a)
> ha wa tu h.u ru ba `i lu 'i 'a tu 'u ni ma ta ti la ki ti
> "The word(s) (hawatu) of H.uru-Ba`ilu: I bring (root 't') the lands
> (matati) to myself (-ni), to truth (la-kit(t)i)"
> For my part this reading immediately gives me confidence that the
> values Mendenhall has assigned to the syllabograms are correct, though
> I altered a few of them on my own table of signs:
> Ugaritic has plenty of examples of hwt 'word', and the initial h- may
> have been present in Akkadian (right? but not written?)
> The Akkadian awâtum is said to come from awûm 'speak'.
> In this connection, the Hebrew word hawah has been studied by Meir
> Lubetski (Religion, 20, 1990, 217-232); it is usually given the
> meaning 'desire', and the basic meaning may be aspiration, exhalation,
> but could also be outbreathings, utterances in Psalm 52:4, 9, and 91:3).
> Finally, with regard to your question, there may be a connection
> between everything in this section (roots HW and AWU, breathing out)
> but not with the 'sign, mark' words in part 1.
> Brian Colless
> Massey University, NZ
> On 30/03/2009, at 11:45 PM, X.Wang wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> I am currently trying to publish a review article on the meaning of
>> the sign of Cain. Hopefully another one following up will be on the
>> subject of fratricide. This current one is expected to be a
>> philological foundation-building for the next.
>> Moberly's 2008 Harvard Theological Review article and Fox's 1974
>> Revue Biblique article are my major references for the current
>> paper. I hope to present in a few more supporting points for
>> Moberly's view that the sign of Cain was actually provided in the
>> Biblical text. The sign is a judgement made by YHWH.
>> My academic command in Biblical Hebrew and Semitics in general and
>> the availablity of references in Beijing can only allow for such a
>> tiny project. Hope it can bring me back a little bit to the Biblical
>> During the preparation of the paper, I came up with quite a crazy
>> idea: If in BH, as some have argued, the verbal root aleph-waw-taw
>> is actually derived from the noun aleph-waw-taw, i.e., 'oth, is it
>> imaginable that the noun was related to the Old Babylonian awa:tum?
>> I am wondering if this idea is worthy of a passing note in the paper.
>> I believe I have a lot of specilists in this list to learn from for
>> the question. Enlighten me if you happen to know any information
>> related to the etymology of 'oth. Thank all in advance.
>> Sincerely yours,
>> Dr. Xianhua Wang, Associate Professor
>> School of History, Beijing Normal University
>> 19# Xinjiekouwai Dajie, Beijing 100875, China
>> ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ Charles Ellwood Jones
>> ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ 2009-03-17 04:58:57
>> ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ANE-2
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>> -Chuck Jones-
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