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10368BH 'ot, Akkadian ittu, WS 'uyatata

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  • Brian Colless
    Apr 2, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Bob, at the outset, I want to say how heartening it is for me to see
      you accepting (tentatively, hypothetically, "for argument's sake") the
      readings that George Mendenhall and I have proposed for a Gubla/Byblos
      logo-syllabic text. (- ;

      On 1/04/2009, at 11:06 PM, Robert M Whiting wrote:

      > Brian -- I'm not sure why you didn't mention it, but of course the
      Akkadian word for 'sign, mark, signal, token' is ittu.

      *Bob, I simply did not know that.
      Mendenhall did not invoke it, and it is not in the original Köhler-
      Baumgartner Hebrew lexicon as a cognate, but I see now that the new
      one has it with a question mark. WvS AHw has Hbr 'ot with ittu (the
      one that means Zeichen).

      > The second t is a feminine marker and the plural is ita:tu.

      *GM pointed to Arabic 'ayat (as in Ayatollah); but he argued that the
      duplication of the final t in 'uyatata shows that the root was 'yt;
      and that Hbr 'ôt has a long vowel to compensate for the loss of -t-.

      *For the form 'uyatata he tried a 'feminine singular collective', or a
      'broken plural' of the form qutalatu (Classical Arabic), which would
      not explain -ta for -ti (plural), but the singular would be acceptable
      in the context, anyway.

      *Do we just say 'dissimilation' to explain the initial 'u (versus Akd
      i- and Arb a-) with three following -a syllables?

      > 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.

      *OK, but I started writing this yesterday and I have now seen
      Xianhua's response.

      > 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.

      *Yes, I would be glad to clutch at that straw, but ... the examples I
      have provided raise difficulties. Here they are again, from Tablet D:

      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)"

      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)"

      (1) No indication of vowel length (assuming there were long vowels in
      the language).
      MATATI (which does not need to be a borrowed word from Akkadian) would
      presumably be mata:ti because of the plural accusative -ti (not
      singular genitive). But is hawatu sg? or pl? And similarly kiti.

      (2) No indication of double consonants. George and I want kiti (only
      in la-kiti, never kitu) to be kitti, as in Akkadian (but it would be
      derived from the verb kawana 'be', which is one of the key words in
      the Mendenhall decipherment).

      But keep in mind that this is a 3rd M language we are looking at, and
      *uyatata is possibly an exact transcription. So, while we are at it,
      consider this sequence:

      (11b-12a)'i li la ha ki mi 'u
      They make binding (cp Akd km' ) the covenant (ilila or illa, Arb. ill
      'pact')

      (12b-14a) pa ti sa ki ru ni li 'i mu hu lu h.i sa ma mu ra `a mu ru `i
      shi li ta ti ya
      And so (pa) his people(s) (li'imuhu) shall deliver up (root skr) the
      whisperer (luh.isa) and (-ma) the doer of evil (rt r`) of my dominion
      (shilitatiya, t. is assimilated to t)

      (26b-27) pa ti sa ta ru [ni] `u ma 'a ka wa na ma `u bu di
      And (pa) they protect (str) [for me] [ni] the people (`uma) I
      establish ('akawana-ma) as obligors (`ubudi).

      (31b-32) ha bu 'a bi t.a bu du sa nu bi tu ni bi ma nu
      Our sickle (ma[galu] nu, logogram) brings in (habu'a, causative ha,
      'harvests, makes come in') in the good work (bi t.abudu) of
      fructifying fruit (sanubi tunibi, root nwb).
      [Note ha- and sa- causative forms in the same sentence. Never mind, it
      happens in the Bible, too!]

      (33) ya ma sha du da bi 'a h.u sa pa yi (reverse the positions of 'a
      and h.u)
      on the day (yama, adv. accusative?) of harvest (shaduda) in (bi) the
      month (h.u[dsh, logogram) of ingathering ('asapayi).

      Things to note are the use of syllabograms as logograms wherever
      possible (and the same practice is found with the letters of the proto-
      alphabet, functioning as a logo-consonantary): MA(ggalu) 'sickle';
      H.U(dshu) 'month'; ZU(ru`u) malaki, 'the arm of the king' in 34.

      But the question is whether 'uyatata represents 'uyatta, given that
      kiti = kitti.

      The form t.abudu ('goodness') could be t.a:btu or t.a:buttu (if the
      second means 'friendship' it is less likely). But shaduda seems to
      correspond to Akkadian shadduttu, exaction (of payment, Concise Dict
      Akd (shanduntu, rt ndn); it is about income (including produce) and
      taxation; it occurs as shadut- 4 times in Text A, which is a king's
      decree about produce in stores and granaries, and also fish (dagati).

      So -tt- (and -dd-) could, apparently, be represented by a single t or d.
      Thus 'uyatata may well be how the word was pronounced, with no 'dead'
      vowels (as in t.ab(u)du, possibly

      Note that these are my interpretations (my translation differs from
      George's considerably in lines 31-34, but I hope it is now evident
      that these transcriptions do yield credible West Semitic texts.

      Accordingly I would urge anyone who wants to know what Proto-Hebrew
      looked like in the Bronze Age (before it became Hebrew, Phoenician,
      and Aramaic) to study these West Semitic logo-syllabic and logo-
      consonantal inscriptions, especially if you have a working knowledge
      of East Semitic (Akkadian). I have found in the task of interpreting
      the Sinai and Byblos texts that words occur which are found in the
      Akkadian lexicon, but not Ugaritic or Hebrew (notably on the bi-
      lingual sphinx statuette from the Sinai turquoise mines: Dh N Q Y L B
      ` L T, "This is my offering (niqaya) to Ba`alat").

      Brian Colless
      Massey U, NZ



      Bob Whiting
      whiting@...

      > Brian -- 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.
      >
      > Bob Whiting
      > whiting@...
      >
      > 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
      > >
      > > Xianhua
      > > 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
      > > ever.)
      > >
      > > For a (murky) photograph and a drawing go to:
      > >
      > > http://cryptcracker.blogspot.com/2007/01/ancient-abagadary-abecedary-this-is.html
      > >
      > > http://collesseum.googlepages.com/abgadary
      > >
      > > 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:
      > > http://collesseum.googlepages.com/westsemiticsyllabary
      > >
      > > 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
      > >> world.
      > >>
      > >> 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,
      > >> Xianhua
      > >> Dr. Xianhua Wang, Associate Professor
      > >> School of History, Beijing Normal University
      > >> 19# Xinjiekouwai Dajie, Beijing 100875, China
      >
      >
      >



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