Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hendel's Text of Genesis 1-11 Online

Ron Hendel has now put his book The Text of Genesis 1-11: Textual Studies and Critical Edition online on While I would have a few minor critiques, this is an excellent work worthy of study by anyone interested in textual criticism and an essential reference tool for anyone working on the text of Genesis 1-11. This book also gives a good taste of the kind of work we can expect from the Oxford Hebrew Bible project, though the latter editions will probably vary significantly in format from Hendel's initial work.


  1. Have you done analysis on "Genesis 2:13", in KJV translations its the "Land of Ethiopia" and
    Ethiopia is from the Hebrew "Kuwsh" but geographically this is not "Cush/Ethiopia" of Egypt
    but somewhere in East Mesopotamia.

    In Isaiah 18:1 the term "Kuswh" is used again and
    in Isaiah 18:3 uses the term "Nahar-Baza" (River Divides) which is obviously Mesopotamia..

    Theorys for Cush is "Kashshu/Kassites/Suza(Cusa).

    What is your take on the word "Kuwsh"

    Do the e

    1. Truxton,

      No, I haven't really done any detailed research on this word. In your Isaiah example, messengers are sent from Kush to Mesopotamia, so we're clearly talking about two different groups of people, not a Mesopotamian Kush. The normal meaning for the word is definitely "Ethiopia," and the ancient translations seem to understand it that way (LXX, V). The Greek Γηων of this verse is also used to refer to the Nile in Jer 2:18; Sir 24:27; and Josephus' Antiquities 1.39. גחון is found in 1QapGen XXI 15, 18, but I'm not sure exactly what it is referring to on a first reading, since Abraham begins his circuit there (Mesopotamia?), but it is also south of the Reed Sea (Ethiopia?). I suppose it is possible that this river in Gen 2:13 is actually a reference to the Nile extending down to Ethiopia, as the ancients seem to understand it.

      On the other hand, maybe you can make good contextual arguments that it refers instead to a Mesopotamian river, possibly connected with the Kassites? I honestly don't know.

    2. The location of "Ethiopia" is rather confusing, as the word is Greek, In Greek Mythology , Perseus travels to
      Ethiopia and finds his consort, "Andromeda" but this is not the "Ethiopia" of today, rather its East-Mesopotamia and the name "Andromeda" means "Person from Medes" as the historical identity of Perseus is Cyrus the Great, whom is also prominent Messianic figure in Isaiah.

      In LXX Septuagint.. Gen 2:1/Isaiah 18:13 uses the term Αἰθιοπίας(Aithiopias).

      Kush is the mountain country north and east of Mesopotamia, so river Gihon must have been one of the several rivers which descend from the northern mountains to join the Euphrates river in the Syrian plain.

  2. I have found another mysterious phrase.

    Genesis 31:21 uses the phrase "Abar-Nahar"
    Ezra 5:3 - Tattenay , governor of ' Abar-Nehar"

    "Abar-Nahar" meant "Beyond the River" from
    "Ebir-Nari" in Akkadian.

    (that is, the Western bank of the Euphrates from a Mesopotamian and Persian viewpoint).

    Is not the term "Hebrew" a simplification of the phrase "Abar-Nahar", but the term works from a Mesopotamian view point ??

    Abram-Nahor ? Abar-Nahor ?

    Here is Abrahams Tree.

    Salah (Sprout)
    Eber (Beyond)
    Peleg (River/Channel)
    Serug (branch)
    Nahor (River)

    What does this mean ?

  3. Truxton,

    I'm honestly not entirely sure what you are getting at. The Genesis example is just a regular verb phrase for crossing a river, not a technical noun phrase at all. The Ezra example is not even Hebrew, but is rather in an Aramaic section of Ezra. It is apparently a technical term from the Persian empire written in Aramaic, the language of the Persian empire.

    As for Abraham||Abar and Nahor||Nahar, neither of these parallels are actually from the same Hebrew roots, so there is clearly no relationship here. The Nahor in Abraham's genealogy is not the same root as "river." As for the others, the precise meaning of a number of the names is uncertain. Either way, no clear pattern seems to emerge, and I don't suspect the author is trying to tell us anything with these names.