The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

Shari'a, errancies, miracles and science
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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(Comment: previous post is obsolete and will be rewritten. We'll go for the covenant approach)

Dadanitic Toponyms and the Dew Ceremony in a Northwest Semitic Context Part I

In this post we will try to deliver an alternative translation of Dadanitic inscription U 079 bis. This inscription tells the story of two men who perform the Dew Ceremony and mentions two localities: BTR and DʿMN. When using the transliterations of Oxford (see 'Place names in the Dadanitic inscriptions of al-ʿUḏayb', 2014) inscription U 079 bis translates as:
…. performed the ZLL Ceremony at 'sandy terrain scattered with white stones' for the sake of his palm trees and his crops of the season of the later rains at 'flat land' for The-One-of- the-Forest.
Locality BTR
Inscription U 079bis
Source translation: 'sandy terrain scattered with white stones'
Alternative: Proto-Semitic root brt meaning covenant or 'b- brt' the Place of the Covenant, related to Hurrian and Ugarit ’il brt.

Locality DʿMN
Inscriptions: U 079bis; AH 062; U028; U 066; U 079bis;
Source translation: flat land
Source comment: The first element of this compound place name is the relative pronoun d and the second is ʿmn. This can be interpreted to Sabaic ʿMN meaning 'flat' and related to Arabic 'amina' meaning 'plain or soft land'.
Alternative: The Hebrew word amen derives from the same ancient triliteral Hebrew root as does the verb āmán. These three consonants of triliteral root (aleph-mem-nun), identical to those of ʾāmēn, means to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe. So 'b- dʿmn may simply mean 'The Place of Faith' (or Place of Faithful).

So let's now test our alternative transliterations, based upon our Northwest Semitic approach. Our source translates inscription U 079bis as
...…. performed the Dew Ceremony at the Place of Covenant for his lead to water and for his 'crops of the season of the later rains'* at the Place of Faith for the 'One of the Fortress'
Seasonal crops or spring rain?
The phrase 'crops of the season of the later rains' does not fit well. It's a transliteration of -dt'-, translated by scholar Macdonald a by-form of Saifatic expression Cardafa'iyyun, dataʾ iyun, which refers to the period between sita and sayf, which modern Bedouin call smak. (See An outline of the Grammar of the Safaitic inscriptions, Ahmad Al Jalald, page 311) and relates to dṯ‘ to spend the autumn’ (Macdonald 1992b). Phrase Dṯʾ would then correspond to the Rwala as‐smāk, stretching from mid‐February to mid‐April.

The usage of dṯʾ in both ancient and modern South Arabian confirms the approach of Mcdonald as it refers to either 'spring herbage' or 'spring rain' (see Eblaite(!) and Nortwest Semitic Lexical Links, G.A. Rendsburg, p. 207)

So our final translation of inscription U 079 bis:
… performed the Dew Ceremony at the 'Place of Covenant' for the sake of of His lead to water and His spring rain at the 'Place of Faith' so 'One of the Fortress' favor them and reward them.
Inscription U 079 bis at Ociana
http://krc.orient.ox.ac.uk/ociana/corpu ... 33153.html
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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Dadanitic Toponyms and the Dew Ceremony in a Northwest Semitic Context part II

Introduction
This post merges the transliteration of inscription U 089 from two different sources : The OCIANA Corpus of Dadanitic inscriptions and Place names in the Dadanitic inscriptions of al-ʿUḏayb', 2014. In default translations Oxford's Ociana Database only refers to external sources for localities and toponyms.

Inscription U 089 (AH 085)
In this dedicatory inscription S¹lm performs the sacred ZLL-ceremony and mentions toponyms khl and mhgt.
s¹lm/bn/s²rdh/ʾẓll h- ẓll/b- khl[/]bʿd/ml -h b- mh{g}t/l- ḏġbt/f rḍ -h w ʾḫrt -h
Source translation (Oxford)
S¹lm son of S²rdh performed the ẓll-ceremony at 'Covered with Flowers' (khl) for the sake of his property in 'place of the dried herbs' (MHGT) for 'The-One-of-the-Forest' and so favor him and his descendants.
Locality Khl
Inscription U 089 (AH 085)
Source translation: 'covered with flowers'
Alternative: qahal, meaning 'assembly' or 'congregation' -see previous post on consonantal shifts from NW to Central Semitic.

Locality MHGT
Inscription U 089 (AH 085)
Source translation: 'place of dried herbs' or 'far extending desert'
Alternative: Possibly 'territory' or 'district' (Hoftijzer, ‎Karel Jongeling, 2003, p 611), 'ring' in the context of pilgrimage – hgg(w) (Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament: Volume IV. p. 202) or 'encirclement wall' (see THE ZAKIR INSCRIPTION AND THE DANKLIED, 1969, Berkeley).

Property, Divine Allot or Water?
The phrase 'ml -h' is translated as 'his property' but doesn't fit nicely in the context of a Northwest Semitic approach. We follow scholar Sima who reads 'nḫl -h', referring to either Akkadian and Ugarit root nhl meaning divine allot, which describes a transaction as a permanent allotment of goods or Hebrew nahal, meaning Lead To Water.

Our Translation
S¹lm son of S²rdh performed the Dew Ceremony at the 'Place of Assembly' (qhl) for the sake of his Lead (to water) in his district (territory) so 'One of the Fortress' favor them and reward them.
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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Dadanitic Toponyms and the Dew Ceremony - Part III

Introduction
This post merges the transliteration of inscription U 089 from two different sources : The OCIANA Corpus of Dadanitic inscriptions and Place names in the Dadanitic inscriptions of al-ʿUḏayb', 2014. In default translations Oxford's Ociana Database only refers to external sources for localities and toponyms.

Inscription AH 096 (Sima 1999: 43)
In this dedicatory inscription Wahab-Allah performs the sacred ZLL-ceremony:
whblh/bn/zdʿzy/ʾẓll
h- ẓll/b- khl/l- ḏġbt
bʿd/nḫl -h/b- tqmm/f rḍ -h–
m/w s¹ʿd -h{m}
Source translation (Oxford)
Wahab-Allah son of Zdʿzy performed the ẓll-ceremony at Covered With Flowers for 'The-One-of- the Forest' for the sake of of his palm trees in Located-at-the-Upper-Part and so favor them and help {them}
Locality TQMM
Inscription U 089 (AH 085)
Source translation: Located-at-the-Upper-Part' (of something)
Context: Etymology of word TQMM can be explained though Arabic root Q-M-M which in the V-stem taqamama means to be located on upper part (of something), compare with Ugarit q-m-m for 'top' or Sabaic “summit”.

Alternative: place of refuge.
Old Aramaic ta-qu-um-mu, from the neo-Babylonian period, refers to this (place) is a refuge or asylum and is comparable with a Phoenician votive inscription of Ptolemaic date from Cyprus stating '…to the refuge of the people', phrase t°qûmāh from Leviticus 26, 37-38 where t°qûmāh signifies 'refuge' or 'asylum' and in later Greek-Aramaen inscriptions or names. Also significant is that root tqm is used in conjunction with elaya meaning 'the most high' making 'the Refuge of the Most High'. TQMM would then render as Taqumam meaning 'this is a refuge', linking it to other Dadanitic compound and theophoric names that include HRM (haram as refuge, sanctuary).

Our Translation
Wahab-Allah son of Zdʿzy performed the Dew Ceremony at the 'Place of Assembly' for the 'One of the Fortress' for the sake of his Lead (to water) at the 'Place of Refuge' so favor them and help them.
As one can see, even Wahab-Allah pays tribute to El - a thousand years before the birth of Islam.
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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Dadanitic Toponyms and the Dew Ceremony - Part IV
Locality BDR: Place of Scattering (Sunrise)

Introduction
This post merges the transliterations of multiple Dadanitic inscriptions containing toponym BDR, a place name mentioned regularly in dedicatory inscriptions from OCIANA's Corpus of Dadanitic inscription with those from Place names in the Dadanitic inscriptions of al-ʿUḏayb' (2014). In default translations Oxford's Ociana Database only refers to external sources for localities and toponyms.

To understand the meaning of toponym BDR we shall examine inscriptions AH 010.1, AH 068, AH 069.

Source translations (Oxford)

Inscription AH 010.1
“Tḥbb daughter of ʿb– dḏktb performed the ZLL-ceremony for The-one-of-the-forest for what she has in A-Heap-Of-Grain for she has in Bdr and so favour her and {her} {descendants}
Inscription AH 068 (Sima 1999: 39)
Ṣḫbn son of Wʾlh performed the ZLL-ceremony at at Covered-With-Flowers for The-one-of-the-forest for the sake of that which belongs to him in A-Heap-Of-Grain and so favor him and his descendants.
Inscription AH 069 (Sima 1999: 39)
ʾʿtl son of Mlḥ performed the ẓZLLceremony to The-one-of-the-forest for that which belongs to him in A-Heap-Of-Grain and so favor him.
Context
In Arabic topography the form Baydar means 'treshing floor', a heap of grain, a place for drying dates (Groom 1983:61). In accordance with this, Lane (1968:166a) states that Baydar is a 'place in which wheat or grain is trodden out. A place for drying dates.' So alternative names for BDR may include “Treshing-floor” or “Place-for-drying-dates”.

Alternative: Place of Scattering (Sunrise)
Syriac root BDR refers 'to sprinkle' and maybe a term describing a ritual function. There is, however, no conclusive evidence that this relates to scattering in drops or particles. In a more general sense root BDR is used for verb “to scatter”. Some scholars propose that BDR was used as a ceremonial stol on which stood a sacred pillar.

Semitic root BDR may refer to Northwest Semitic/Akkadian/Ugarit 'baddara' meaning to dissipate or squander, the act of breaking something apart or attenuate to the point of disappearing (synonym: to scatter).

And that's preciously what we looking for as it fits the proposed religious context (dew, dawn, dusk, morning star etc) and northwest Semitic origin. Because what does scatter? Sunlight. It may refer to rayleigh scattering which causes the blue color of the daytime sky and the reddening of the Sun at sunset.

Image
Rayleigh scattering causes the blue color of the daytime sky and the reddening of the Sun at sunset.

Our Translations

AH 010.1
“Tḥbb daughter of ʿb– dḏktb performed the Dew Ceremony for the 'One of the Fortress' for what she has in the Place-of-Scattering (Sunrise) and so favor her and her descendants
AH 068 (Sima 1999: 39)
Ṣḫbn son of Wʾlh performed the Dew Ceremony at the Place-of-Assembly for the 'One of the Fortress' for the sake of that which belongs to him in the Place-of-Scattering (Sunrise) and so favor him and his descendants.
AH 069 (Sima 1999: 39)
ʾʿtl son of Mlḥ performed the Dew Ceremony to the 'One of the Fortress' for that which belongs to him in the Place- of-Scattering (Sunrise) and so favor him.
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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Update Dadanitic names

Davidic name Tamar(a)
Inscription JaL 028
Text: ʾdn/bn tmr
Translation: ʾdn son of tmr

Comments: ʾādôn or aydin, son of Tamar(a)
Tamar[a] is a figure described in 2 Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. In the biblical narrative, she is the daughter of King David, and sister of Absalom. In 2 Samuel 13, she is raped by her half-brother Amnon.

The root ʾdn is of special interest as it could render as either Hebrew ʾādôn, “lord, master”, Phoenician ʾdn, “lord”, Aramaic. ʾdn, “lord, husband” or Arabic Aydin (Paradise, Eden).

Root 'edem has been related to Akkadian edinu or Sumeria eden meaning “steppe, plain” other scholars refer to Northwest Semitic root 'dn meaning 'luxury', 'delight' or something in the sense of fertility. Nevertheless an Aramaic inscription from Tell Fakhariyah in northeastern Syria and dating from the 9th century BC might provide an illuminating example as it repeats much older Akkadian hymnic literature – using root 'dn to express the concept of a well-watered, luxuriant place.

The root ʾḏn occurs in toponym b- ʾdn which renders either as 'Belonging to the lord' or 'Belonging to Paradise'.

Update: that's an easy one actually. A little online search brings up Isaiah 45:8 "Heavens above, rain down justice; let the clouds pour it down. Let the earth open, so that salvation springs up, and justice sprouts with it. I, Adonai , have created it." Preciously what you expect in the context of dew and rain.

Toponym b- ʾdn renders as 'Belonging to Adon(ai)' or "The Lord's Possessions". This makes it very likely that Adonai is the same as Dedanitic "One-of-the-Fortress".

----------------

Israelite name Er (watcher)
Inscription U 090 (AH 083)
Text: ʿr son of Hnʾs¹d
Comment: The eldest son of Judah, the son of Jacob. Judah took for him a wife named Tamar. See above.

Israelite name Ahab
Inscription JSLih 012
Text: l- ʾhʾb/bn/s¹mk/h- mṯbr
Translation: The grave-chamber belongs to Aḥab son of S¹mk
Comment: Ahab was the seventh king of Israel, the son and successor of King Omri
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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Correction: Toponym b- dʾdn instead of b- ʾdn
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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Revision: Dadanitic RELIGION : The Beautiful Covenant

Introduction
Previously we tried to explain Dadanitic phrase TBRT mentioned in inscription AH 084 and translated it as 'Lead', related to root DBR with the meaning 'to lead' used in Judean and Babylonian Jewish, Aramaic and Syriac. In Mandaic it is used with the specific meaning “to lead something out” and in Syriac as “leading the water into the wadi”. In Biblical Hebrew form dbrt with a final -t is used to express 'to direct' as in Job 5:8 (dibrati) or as noun dibr(at) meaning 'Leader'.

Unfortunately new palaeographical and epigraphical developments provide a better transliteration.

Inscription AH 084
zkyh/s¹l[ḥ]/ḏġb–
t[/]ʾẓll/h- ẓll/l- ḏ–
ġbt[/]bʿd/ṯbrt -h
f rḍ -h[/]w ʾṯb -h

Zkyh {priest of} Ḏġb– t
performed the ẓll-ceremony for Ḏ– ġbt
for the sake of his grain
and so favor him and reward him
Oxford's Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia follows Farès-Drappeau (2005: 206, siglum D 121) in taking ṯbrt as possibly cognate with Hebrew šeber "grain".

Alternative transliteration
As always we look for a root with a Nortwest Semitic origin. The phrase TBRT starts with Semitic letter Tet, related to Phoenician Ṭēt, Phoenician teth, Hebrew Ṭēt ט‎, Aramaic Ṭēth, Syriac Ṭēṯ and Arabic Ṭāʾ ط..

According to a recent hypothesis (Brian Colless, 2014), this letter continues a Middle Bronze Age glyph named ṭab meaning 'good' or 'beautiful', related to Aramaic טַב 'tav', Hebrew טוב‎ 'tov', Syriac 'tava', modern Arabic طَيّب 'ṭayyib', all of identical meaning, whose picture is based on the Nefer 'good' hieroglyph common in ancient Egyptian names (for instance Nefertiti).

Letter Ṭēt appears once in the Sinai corpus and is obvious a borrowing of the Egyptian nefer hieroglyph, which stands for goodness and beauty, and Semitic ṭab (good, beautiful) provides the acrophone (see The origin of the alphabet, Brian E Colless, 2014, p 87 and a mapping of Proto­Sinaitic Letterforms to Semitic consonants hat is based upon the palaeographical dis­tinctiveness of attested signs - Revisiting the Encoding of Proto­Sinaitic in Unicode, Anshuman Pandey, page 8)).

The second part of this phrase, element brt, can then be related to Hebrew bərît, covenant, akin to Akkadian birītu, in-between area or link and Qatna: be-ri-tu meaning “contract” - Akkadian root brt, to bind seems to be the most probable origin and would reflect the idea of a binding tie or binding contract.

So when we combine letter Ṭēt with root brt in Dadanitic compound phrase ṯbrt it renders as 'beautiful binding tie', 'perfect binding tie' and most likely “beautiful covenant” or “covenant of goodness”.

So let's verify if this fits with a new transliteration of inscription AH 084
(H)ezekiyah, devotee of The-One-of-the-Fortress
performed the Dew Ceremony for The-One-of-the-Fortress
for the sake of his 'Covenant of Goodness' ('Beautiful Covenant')
and so favor him and reward him
Hmm, not too bad.
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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A few notes, related to the previous post
(1) zkyh should be transliterated as Zaki-Yah but might be a variant of an older Hebrew name or vice versa (see 3)

(2) Proto-Siniatic doesn't mean that a related inscription has to be found in the Sinai Peninsula - until 1186 BC, the collapse of the Middle Bronze Age, the Egyptian empire maintained 33 administrative centers throughout the Levant, from Lebanon to Northwest Arabia. So the transformation from Egyptian glyphs to Phoenician or proto-Hebrew script took place in ancient Israel with a proposed start among Israelite or Semitic miners in the southern Sinai.

(3) Most Dadanitic inscriptions are dated between 600 BC to 100 BC but contain Biblical names written in an older proto-Semitic variant - for instance the name Adinah is written as ʾḏnhḥ and ends with glyph ḥ or heth, originally a voiceless fricative which renders as a variant of 'Adinah' (delicate). Voiceless fricative ḥ is also found in a Dadanitic name like ḫlbn, a variant of Biblical 'Laban' (to be white). So Dadanitic Adinah and Laban suggest a much older origin for Dadanitic language and script.
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Re: The Quran versus the Arab Oral Tradition

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Dedanitic architecture and culture and an Old Covenant.

The second half of the first millennium BC is a key chapter in the history of north-west Arabia with the rise of Lihyān, a powerful kingdom centered in the oasis of Dadan which ends with the Nabataean takeover of northern Hijāz. Most scholars agree that ‘kings of Lihyān’ appeared within the fifth century BC, replacing an earlier local dynasty whose members were called ‘kings of Dadan’.

All we know is that this kingdom probably appeared after Nabonidus’ arrival at Teman in north-west Arabia (552 BC) because a ‘king of Dadan’ is still mentioned in the Royal Chronicle of this king (Lambert 1968: 8; Macdonald 1997: 336).

In a famous article, scholar Tarn (1929) made the case for strong ties between Lihyān and Ptolemaic Egypt. According to him, the Lihyanite kingdom reached its heyday at the time of Ptolemy II, who established a protectorate over northwest Arabia. This theory relies on a controversial interpretation of an enigmatic Egyptian text, which has been much criticized in recent scholarship.

Tarn raised two interesting arguments, however, concerning the chronology of the Lihyanite kingdom. First, he argued that the name tlm(y) - talmay- which is borne by several Lihyanite kings, is otherwise unknown in ancient North Arabian languages but was carried by Aramaen kings. Second, he underlined the strongly Egyptianizing features of the colossal statues found at Dadan and related them to the influence of Ptolemaic Egypt.

Image
Colossal statues found at Dadan

Egyptianizing features found in these statues may be dated as early as the late 26th Dynasty (664–525 BC) and the protruding clavicle (collarbone) is particularly reminiscent of sculptures from the 25th and 26th Dynasties (see Perdu 2012: 61).

For the rest, most iconographic features (the stiff frontal posture, the clenched fists, the simple loin cloth) and anatomical details (the basic treatment of the upper limbs, the thigh muscles forming an inverted V over the kneecap, the sharp tibial crest) are found in Egyptian art since the Old Kingdom (Perdu 2012: 46–49, 60–66), known since 2686 BC. The local iconographic features (headdress held by a rope, belt, arm rings) have no chronological significance, at least in the current state of knowledge.

The fact that either kings of Dedan or Lihyan decided to implement Egyptian iconography tells us that they probably wanted to memorize something. During the sixth century BC Dedan was part of a busy trade network with Babylonian king Nabonidus having his seat of government in nearby Teman – they could have chosen any kind of iconography.

Image
Main temple at Dedan

These colossal statues with Egyptianizing iconography were found near the main temple of Dedan, which was, according to inscription AH 219 the center of feast and pilgrimage: ḥgt h-mṣd. The temple's architecture can't be related to ancient Egypt but has remarkably, some features in common with the recent discovered temple complex of Tel Moza near Jerusalem, dated to Iron IIA (10th BCE). Both temples share characteristics with Salomon's temple and have a huge basin.

<image temple tel mosa>
Image
Temple complex at Tel Moza, Jerusalem

Minean inscriptions from Dedan (trade settlement from Main) mention temple servants as male and female Levites (lw' and lw't - priest and priestess), dating from the 5th or 4th century BC. Apparently the temple of Wadd borrowed from Dedanitic traditions as the servant class lw' is not known in the two South Arabian kingdoms, Maín in the north and Aswan in the south, were W'add was the state god.

Baptism was an Old Covenant act, carried out by the Levites in the Temple.

Update: there might have been an link with the 25th Egyptian dynasty: the Kush rulers of Egypt.
Image
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