Reading the Word ‘Hebrew’ in Sinai 115: An Egyptologist’s Response
A Guest Post by Prof. Dr. Thomas Schneider
University of British Columbia
As part of Douglas Petrovich’s proposal that the Early Alphabetic Inscriptions (e.g., Serabit el-Khadem, Wadi el-Hol) are Hebrew, he has proposed (as putatively supporting evidence) to read a word in one of the Egyptian inscriptions (namely: Sinai 115) from Serabit el-Khadem as the word for “Hebrew.” This, however, is just not correct. Here are some of the reasons:
(1) the correct reading is in two lines: Jpn, son of Jrw. Petrovich combines J and p from line one with r from line 2.
(2) Egyptian /j/ is used to render Semitic aleph, never an ayin (and one would need an ayin here to have the word “Hebrew”).
(3) Similarly, in the 12th dynasty, Egyptian /r/ is never a transcription of Semitic /r/, but of /l/ and /d/.
(4) Also, /p/ is a regular rendering of Semitic /p/ and not /b/, although this is less objectionable.
(5) Ultimately, therefore, Petrovich’s proposed reading of this word as “Hebrew” is not possible.
Dr. Thomas Schneider