Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Unicorns and the Dating of Deuteronomy

Expand Messages
  • Yitzhak Sapir
    Anyone visiting the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem will notice a very significant omission. It might be understandable as these are rare creatures whose capture
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 9, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      Anyone visiting the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem will notice a very
      significant omission. It might be understandable as these are
      rare creatures whose capture and breeding in captivity is very
      tricky. But still, one does not go to the biblical zoo in order to
      see the common fly. Nevertheless, while there are no unicorns
      in the confines of the zoo, the zoo did devote a monthly focus
      webpage to the unicorn:

      http://www.jerusalemzoo.org.il/english/upload/month/unicorn.html

      The Septuagint translates the word "r'em" as "monokerwtos" in
      Num 23:22 (see:
      http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/gopher/text/religion/biblical/parallel/04.Num.par
      ).

      Another verse in the Bible that may suggest the "r'em" is a unicorn
      is Psalm 92:11, which says "wattarem kir'em qarni" -- "and you shall
      exalt my horn like a r'em's [horn]". Interestingly, this verse spells the
      word r'em as "r)ym", using a -y- for a vowel letter, which is consistent
      with late orthography. It may thus provide additional and indirect
      support for the reading of "r)m" = "unicorn" in post-exilic or Greek times,
      the primary evidence being the translation of the Septuagint.

      However, it is also possible to read this as "wattarem kir'em qarnay" --
      "and you shall exalt my couple of horns like a r'em's [horns]" if one
      pays no attention to the Massoretic vocalization. This verse just goes
      to show that the Biblical Zoo webpage is not kidding when it writes:
      "Any efforts to approach them have usually ended in disaster, for the
      animal or for the researcher."

      It probably goes without saying, that a unicorn has one single
      horn. It would be silly to claim that two-horned beast is a unicorn.

      In the Hebrew of the Massoretic Bible, horns, like other body parts
      that normally come in pairs, are read as a dual: qarnayim. It is well
      known, that Ugaritic has a much more extensive system for duals,
      which affects not just "normally paired words" but even common
      everyday words. Telling apart words that are duals in Ugaritic is no
      simple matter. Sometimes, we just don't know, or we guess. Daniel
      Sivan, in "On the Dual in the Ugaritic Nouns", Leshonenu 46/1: 65-71
      (Hebrew), writes:

      "At times, forms that have the -m ending will be considered dual since
      their plurals have the ending -t: so thlxnm 'two tables' and in plural
      'thlxnt', l$nm 'two tongues' and compare the plural l$onot in Hebrew,
      li$a:na:tu in Akkadian, (nm 'two eyes' alongside the plural (nt
      'fountains'. At times, the forms themselves are dual from their very
      nature (for example, dual body parts, etc). So ydm 'two hands'; (nm
      'two eyes', mtnm 'two hips', qrnm 'two horns'." On the last one, he
      provides a footnote: "KTU 1.12, I,30, and compare the plural qrnt
      KTU 1.17 VI,22."

      It is not usually realized that these comments are useful for Hebrew
      as well as Ugaritic. The words ydm and qrnm in Ugaritic are in
      parallel to the Hebrew yadayim and qarnayim, and both have -t ending
      plurals in Hebrew, yadot and qarnot. For example, "qarnot hammizbeax",
      "horns of the altar". This can be compared to the "qrnt" of the Ugaritic
      plural mentioned in Sivan's footnote. The dual in the Hebrew of the Bible
      is very "flexible" as to what a "dual" means. In Jer 38:4, we find "ydey
      )n$ey hammilxamah" in the sense that each man has two hands, even
      though there are more than two hands in the total count (more than one
      person * 2 hands each = at least four hands, and likely many more). In
      contrast, where the subject does not have a pair of "hands", the word
      "yadot" is used. For example, in the case of 1 Kings 7:32, it says
      "wydot ha)opannim bammkonah".

      Another good example is Deut 33:17: "bkwr $wrw hdr lw, wqrny r)m qrnyw".
      The JPS translates this as "His firstling bullock, majesty is his; and his
      horns are the horns of the wild-ox." What this translation does not make
      clear is that the Hebrew uses the dual of the word qeren, thus making it
      obvious that the subject -- the r'em -- is not a unicorn, no matter what the
      Septuagint says. It might be argued that the r'em is used in the collective,
      and that the words 'qrny' and 'qrnyw' are intended in the plural, whereby the
      masculine is known to displace the feminine plural in many places in
      Hebrew, but this appears to me to be really a forced and unlikely
      interpretation. Besides, as the Biblical Zoo webpage says, "once one has
      observed a true unicorn, one will never again make an identification error!"

      It is more reasonable to argue that the verse does not speak of a unicorn,
      and it is only under Greek influence that the r'em was identified as a
      unicorn. While one verse is by no means evidence, it appears that the
      usage of "r'em" in Deut 33:17 predates both the Greek period and the
      Septuagint translation.

      Yitzhak Sapir
      http://toldot.blogspot.com
    • Peter T. Daniels
      ... Tropper s grammar of Ugaritic (sec. 53.2) appears not to mention the contrast between duals with -m and plurals with -t, though he cites Sivan s 1983 JSS
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 9, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        --- Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...> wrote:

        > In the Hebrew of the Massoretic Bible, horns, like other body parts
        > that normally come in pairs, are read as a dual: qarnayim. It is
        > well
        > known, that Ugaritic has a much more extensive system for duals,
        > which affects not just "normally paired words" but even common
        > everyday words. Telling apart words that are duals in Ugaritic is no
        > simple matter. Sometimes, we just don't know, or we guess. Daniel
        > Sivan, in "On the Dual in the Ugaritic Nouns", Leshonenu 46/1: 65-71
        > (Hebrew), writes:
        >
        > "At times, forms that have the -m ending will be considered dual
        > since
        > their plurals have the ending -t: so thlxnm 'two tables' and in
        > plural
        > 'thlxnt', l$nm 'two tongues' and compare the plural l$onot in Hebrew,
        > li$a:na:tu in Akkadian, (nm 'two eyes' alongside the plural (nt
        > 'fountains'. At times, the forms themselves are dual from their very
        > nature (for example, dual body parts, etc). So ydm 'two hands'; (nm
        > 'two eyes', mtnm 'two hips', qrnm 'two horns'." On the last one, he
        > provides a footnote: "KTU 1.12, I,30, and compare the plural qrnt
        > KTU 1.17 VI,22."

        Tropper's grammar of Ugaritic (sec. 53.2) appears not to mention the
        contrast between duals with -m and plurals with -t, though he cites
        Sivan's 1983 JSS article on the same topic. Perhaps this is because
        Tropper considers the dual marker to be aa (< au) and the m to be the
        enclitic. Curiously, Pardee in his encyclopedic review of Tropper (AfO
        online version only) does not notice this, and even at one point refers
        to Tropper's "dual morpheme m." Sivan in his grammar (HdO) mentions
        neither of his own articles but clearly states his position on m vs. t;
        for him, the dual marker is Vm just as it is for every other Semitist.
        (What's the year of the Leshonenu article?)

        --
        Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
      • Yitzhak Sapir
        ... The date of the Leshonenu article is 1981/1982. So it is possibly an original from which the JSS article was translated and perhaps expanded. I had
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 9, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          On 7/9/06, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

          > Tropper's grammar of Ugaritic (sec. 53.2) appears not to mention the
          > contrast between duals with -m and plurals with -t, though he cites
          > Sivan's 1983 JSS article on the same topic. Perhaps this is because
          > Tropper considers the dual marker to be aa (< au) and the m to be the
          > enclitic. Curiously, Pardee in his encyclopedic review of Tropper (AfO
          > online version only) does not notice this, and even at one point refers
          > to Tropper's "dual morpheme m." Sivan in his grammar (HdO) mentions
          > neither of his own articles but clearly states his position on m vs. t;
          > for him, the dual marker is Vm just as it is for every other Semitist.
          > (What's the year of the Leshonenu article?)

          The date of the Leshonenu article is 1981/1982. So it is possibly an
          original from which the JSS article was translated and perhaps
          expanded.

          I had thought the dual marker and in fact so too the masculine plural
          marker was what remained of the original PS "enclitic" m/n after nouns.
          Is that Tropper's position? This would explain words in Hebrew such as
          xomotayim "two walls" where both the -ot ending appears and the -ayim
          appears.

          Why do you suggest that aa (the same as "a:"?) < au? Is that also
          Tropper's suggestion? I thought that because aa appears in Arabic as
          well, the reconstruction was only aa. An "au" reconstruction would
          explain such forms as the Gezer calendar yrxw which I have suggested
          on my blog is to be associated with the word yxdw:
          http://toldot.blogspot.com/2006/02/yrhw-in-gezer-calendar.html

          Thank you very much for your comments!

          Yitzhak Sapir
          http://toldot.blogspot.com
        • Peter T. Daniels
          ... I had just typed out Tropper s entire section on the dual morphology when I touched some key and the whole thing disappeared, and I won t do it again. I
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 9, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            --- Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...> wrote:

            > On 7/9/06, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
            >
            > > Tropper's grammar of Ugaritic (sec. 53.2) appears not to mention the
            > > contrast between duals with -m and plurals with -t, though he cites
            > > Sivan's 1983 JSS article on the same topic. Perhaps this is because
            > > Tropper considers the dual marker to be aa (< au) and the m to be the
            > > enclitic. Curiously, Pardee in his encyclopedic review of Tropper (AfO
            > > online version only) does not notice this, and even at one point refers
            > > to Tropper's "dual morpheme m." Sivan in his grammar (HdO) mentions
            > > neither of his own articles but clearly states his position on m vs. t;
            > > for him, the dual marker is Vm just as it is for every other Semitist.
            > > (What's the year of the Leshonenu article?)
            >
            > The date of the Leshonenu article is 1981/1982. So it is possibly an
            > original from which the JSS article was translated and perhaps
            > expanded.
            >
            > I had thought the dual marker and in fact so too the masculine plural
            > marker was what remained of the original PS "enclitic" m/n after nouns.
            > Is that Tropper's position? This would explain words in Hebrew such as
            > xomotayim "two walls" where both the -ot ending appears and the -ayim
            > appears.
            >
            > Why do you suggest that aa (the same as "a:"?) < au? Is that also
            > Tropper's suggestion? I thought that because aa appears in Arabic as
            > well, the reconstruction was only aa. An "au" reconstruction would
            > explain such forms as the Gezer calendar yrxw which I have suggested
            > on my blog is to be associated with the word yxdw:
            > http://toldot.blogspot.com/2006/02/yrhw-in-gezer-calendar.html

            I had just typed out Tropper's entire section on the dual morphology
            when I touched some key and the whole thing disappeared, and I won't do it again. I suggested nothing; I merely passed on what I thought T. was saying. But that wasn't it; the nominative is a^ < a^u. The dual is /-a^/, to which mimation is added. He notes that Lipinski (he fails to note that everyone else as well) says the dual is the unanalyzed suffix -a:m or or -i:m.

            --
            Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
          • Amanda-Alice Maravelia
            I have gathered the following references to the unicorn , following the Hellenic (o ) translation of the Bible (Vulgata in paremthesis): 1. Numeri, 23, 22; 2.
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 10, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              I have gathered the following references to the "unicorn", following the
              Hellenic (o')
              translation of the Bible (Vulgata in paremthesis):

              1. Numeri, 23, 22;
              2. Numeri, 24, 8;
              3. Deuteron., 33, 17;
              4. Iob, 39, 9-12;
              5. Psalmi, 21 (22), 22;
              6. Psalmi, 28 (29), 6;
              7. Psalmi, 77 (78), 69;
              8. Psalmi, 91 (92), 11;
              9. Damiel, 8, 5 (?).

              The doubted word being "r'aim" (resh-'aleph-yod-mem)

              A.-A.M.

              Amanda-Alice Maravelia


              >From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir@...>
              >Reply-To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, biblical-studies@yahoogroups.com
              >Subject: [ANE-2] Unicorns and the Dating of Deuteronomy
              >Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2006 13:04:21 +0300
              >
              >Anyone visiting the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem will notice a very
              >significant omission. It might be understandable as these are
              >rare creatures whose capture and breeding in captivity is very
              >tricky. But still, one does not go to the biblical zoo in order to
              >see the common fly. Nevertheless, while there are no unicorns
              >in the confines of the zoo, the zoo did devote a monthly focus
              >webpage to the unicorn:
              >
              >http://www.jerusalemzoo.org.il/english/upload/month/unicorn.html
              >
              >The Septuagint translates the word "r'em" as "monokerwtos" in
              >Num 23:22 (see:
              >http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/gopher/text/religion/biblical/parallel/04.Num.par
              >).
              >
              >Another verse in the Bible that may suggest the "r'em" is a unicorn
              >is Psalm 92:11, which says "wattarem kir'em qarni" -- "and you shall
              >exalt my horn like a r'em's [horn]". Interestingly, this verse spells the
              >word r'em as "r)ym", using a -y- for a vowel letter, which is consistent
              >with late orthography. It may thus provide additional and indirect
              >support for the reading of "r)m" = "unicorn" in post-exilic or Greek times,
              >the primary evidence being the translation of the Septuagint.
              >
              >However, it is also possible to read this as "wattarem kir'em qarnay" --
              >"and you shall exalt my couple of horns like a r'em's [horns]" if one
              >pays no attention to the Massoretic vocalization. This verse just goes
              >to show that the Biblical Zoo webpage is not kidding when it writes:
              >"Any efforts to approach them have usually ended in disaster, for the
              >animal or for the researcher."
              >
              >It probably goes without saying, that a unicorn has one single
              >horn. It would be silly to claim that two-horned beast is a unicorn.
              >
              >In the Hebrew of the Massoretic Bible, horns, like other body parts
              >that normally come in pairs, are read as a dual: qarnayim. It is well
              >known, that Ugaritic has a much more extensive system for duals,
              >which affects not just "normally paired words" but even common
              >everyday words. Telling apart words that are duals in Ugaritic is no
              >simple matter. Sometimes, we just don't know, or we guess. Daniel
              >Sivan, in "On the Dual in the Ugaritic Nouns", Leshonenu 46/1: 65-71
              >(Hebrew), writes:
              >
              >"At times, forms that have the -m ending will be considered dual since
              >their plurals have the ending -t: so thlxnm 'two tables' and in plural
              >'thlxnt', l$nm 'two tongues' and compare the plural l$onot in Hebrew,
              >li$a:na:tu in Akkadian, (nm 'two eyes' alongside the plural (nt
              >'fountains'. At times, the forms themselves are dual from their very
              >nature (for example, dual body parts, etc). So ydm 'two hands'; (nm
              >'two eyes', mtnm 'two hips', qrnm 'two horns'." On the last one, he
              >provides a footnote: "KTU 1.12, I,30, and compare the plural qrnt
              >KTU 1.17 VI,22."
              >
              >It is not usually realized that these comments are useful for Hebrew
              >as well as Ugaritic. The words ydm and qrnm in Ugaritic are in
              >parallel to the Hebrew yadayim and qarnayim, and both have -t ending
              >plurals in Hebrew, yadot and qarnot. For example, "qarnot hammizbeax",
              >"horns of the altar". This can be compared to the "qrnt" of the Ugaritic
              >plural mentioned in Sivan's footnote. The dual in the Hebrew of the Bible
              >is very "flexible" as to what a "dual" means. In Jer 38:4, we find "ydey
              >)n$ey hammilxamah" in the sense that each man has two hands, even
              >though there are more than two hands in the total count (more than one
              >person * 2 hands each = at least four hands, and likely many more). In
              >contrast, where the subject does not have a pair of "hands", the word
              >"yadot" is used. For example, in the case of 1 Kings 7:32, it says
              >"wydot ha)opannim bammkonah".
              >
              >Another good example is Deut 33:17: "bkwr $wrw hdr lw, wqrny r)m qrnyw".
              >The JPS translates this as "His firstling bullock, majesty is his; and his
              >horns are the horns of the wild-ox." What this translation does not make
              >clear is that the Hebrew uses the dual of the word qeren, thus making it
              >obvious that the subject -- the r'em -- is not a unicorn, no matter what the
              >Septuagint says. It might be argued that the r'em is used in the collective,
              >and that the words 'qrny' and 'qrnyw' are intended in the plural, whereby the
              >masculine is known to displace the feminine plural in many places in
              >Hebrew, but this appears to me to be really a forced and unlikely
              >interpretation. Besides, as the Biblical Zoo webpage says, "once one has
              >observed a true unicorn, one will never again make an identification
              >error!"
              >
              >It is more reasonable to argue that the verse does not speak of a unicorn,
              >and it is only under Greek influence that the r'em was identified as a
              >unicorn. While one verse is by no means evidence, it appears that the
              >usage of "r'em" in Deut 33:17 predates both the Greek period and the
              >Septuagint translation.
              >
              >Yitzhak Sapir
              >http://toldot.blogspot.com
              >
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.