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Nahom Inscription


jmordecai

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Been doing some research on Nahom.

I found one photo at the Maxwell site, but you can't see all of the script. I found another independent photo but it too does not show all the script. Seems NHM is split between two faces of the altar? I also found a transliteration at Wikipedia, but having a drawing of the script symbols/alphabet would be more helpful.

Also, are there any known independent translations of the script? All I've been able to dig up is the one from S. Kent Brown, who evidently ordered a copy of a French museum catalog after learning that a couple altars from the Bar'an Temple were traveling through Europe. Evidently in that catalog was a translation from what is referred to as Altar 1. A group of LDS researchers have discovered similar scrips on Altar 2 and 3 at Marib, but I too cannot find any independent translations other than those LDS sources.

I presume the translation we see today on most LDS apologetic sites "... the Nihmite" are from Brown's initial translation of the french catalog. If so, we presumably have a Sabaean script translated into Arabic, into French, into English. While I don't doubt his ability to translate French, it would be helpful to examine the script itself.

Thanks

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I liked this part;

Seen from any perspective, S. Kent Brown's original assessment of this development as being "dramatic new evidence" in the quest to place Nahom firmly on the modern-day map holds true. Nephi implied that a place in southern Arabia named Nahom already existed in his day, and now three chiseled blocks of stone from a pagan temple in Yemen provide incontrovertible evidence that, in fact, it did.
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I'm going largely from memory here, so grain of salt.

During my one quarter of formal graduate study of Old South Arabian several years ago, I wrote a short paper on this inscription and several others.

As I recall, the catalogue itself provides the transliteration Mordecai holds to be incorrect. This is how one does transliterations, and the n should be there on that line as indicated. Whether there was a final dash in line 2 in the catalogue, I cannot recall.

Moreover, -n is sometimes added as a word-final morpheme in several cases. One of these uses of a word-final -n is to put the noun into the determinate state (like the word-final aleph and determined state in Aramaic), roughly equivalent to the definite article. This corresponds to "*the* Nihmite", so the -n is indeed translated. I believe that is the case here, though after several years of non-use, my OSA grammar/syntax skills are a bit rusty. I had to crack open my grammar to confirm.

This is how I translated in the paper, and my prominent professor had no problems with it.

So, much ado about nothing here. No conspiracy to hide other sides of the altar, no great academic misreadings on Brown's part. Brown, btw, has said that if he had opportunity to do his studies over again, he'd focus on OSA and the Arabian peninsula.

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I liked this part;

Seen from any perspective, S. Kent Brown's original assessment of this development as being "dramatic new evidence" in the quest to place Nahom firmly on the modern-day map holds true. Nephi implied that a place in southern Arabia named Nahom already existed in his day, and now three chiseled blocks of stone from a pagan temple in Yemen provide incontrovertible evidence that, in fact, it did.

Incontrovertible?

The Book of Mormon is allegedly a translation from "Reformed Egyptian", which makes a linguistic link premature. Even Brown admits a linguistic link is speculation:

"The exact equivalency of the root letters cannot be assured. It is probable that the term Nahom was spelled with the rasped or fricative Hebrew letter for "h" (het or chet) whereas the name Nihm, both in modern Arabic and in the ancient Sabaean dialect, is spelled with a softer, less audible h sound... One has to assume, it seems to me, that when the members of Lehi's party heard the local name for "the place that was called Nahom" they associated the sound of that local name with the term Nahom, a Hebrew word that was familiar to and had meaning for them."

S. Kent Brown, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol. 8, Iss. 1, pp. 66-68

Note: there is no Hebrew word

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Is your response to me meant to be counter-argument? It's not clear.

"Actually, the inscription above comes from an Aston/Hilton translation of "Altar 2". Evidently another translation was done for "Altar 3" by a BYU archaeologist..."

?? The inscription is on the altar. Do you mean translation or transliteration?

"The translation as relayed by S. Kent Brown from the french catalog is: "Bicathar, son of Saw_d, son of Nawc_n, tribe of Nihm."

http://www.fairlds.o..._of_Mormon.html"

So... the French catalog is part of the Mormon conspiracy? Why don't you find a University and check it yourself then?

"Can you cite other Sabaean script interpretations with the -n used as a definite article?"

Off the top of my head? No, but it's a general grammatical point.

But, if you think I'm making it up, I'll cite you the standard grammar so you can look it up yourself.

Beeston, A. F. L. Sabaic Grammar, Journal of Semitic Studies. Monograph No. 6. Manchester: University of Manchester, 1984.

Section 13.1 Nouns: The Determined State (p. 29 in my edition)

Am I lying? Wrong? Or do you grant that that's the case with the text, but think it doesn't apply here?

Your assessment seems to fall along two lines

1) The Mormons are lying about the text of the inscription. (Easily checkable by looking at the catalogue. I did, but I'm a Mormon so must be lying or mistaken.)

2) The Mormons have misrepresented the text with the -n (Demonstratively wrong.)

So... what's your claim?

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Not knowing any ancient near-eastern languages, I'm going to ride my hobby-horse again: here we have a single, isolated fact which may or may not support the BoM as literal history. It might, if we knew for a fact that Lehi and Nephi actually existed and left Jerusalem when the BoM says they did, and followed a route that would lead them past the place where this altar was found. We don't have any of that, nor do we have any scholar - LDS or otherwise - making any relevant claims in any scientific publication.

So what do we have, then? At this point, I think nothing but a coincidence. Remember that it's a classic trait of the human mind to underestimate the element of chance.

Still, it's worth looking into from an LDS point of view because of the reference to a "turn eastward" in the BoM text. To make a good case, however, you'd have to come up with more than two verses and an single altar. Maybe that's the reason why not more is made of this: because there is nothing more?

P.S. I thought of contacting the archeologist who found the altar but, as a layman in this area, I didn't know how and what to ask him. Maybe some of the more knowledgeable posters could do that? You could ask him how he thinks his find relates to the BoM story of Lehi's travels.

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Is your response to me meant to be counter-argument? It's not clear.

"Actually, the inscription above comes from an Aston/Hilton translation of "Altar 2". Evidently another translation was done for "Altar 3" by a BYU archaeologist..."

?? The inscription is on the altar. Do you mean translation or transliteration?

"The translation as relayed by S. Kent Brown from the french catalog is: "Bicathar, son of Saw_d, son of Nawc_n, tribe of Nihm."

http://www.fairlds.o..._of_Mormon.html"

So... the French catalog is part of the Mormon conspiracy? Why don't you find a University and check it yourself then?

"Can you cite other Sabaean script interpretations with the -n used as a definite article?"

Off the top of my head? No, but it's a general grammatical point.

But, if you think I'm making it up, I'll cite you the standard grammar so you can look it up yourself.

Beeston, A. F. L. Sabaic Grammar, Journal of Semitic Studies. Monograph No. 6. Manchester: University of Manchester, 1984.

Section 13.1 Nouns: The Determined State (p. 29 in my edition)

Am I lying? Wrong? Or do you grant that that's the case with the text, but think it doesn't apply here?

Your assessment seems to fall along two lines

1) The Mormons are lying about the text of the inscription. (Easily checkable by looking at the catalogue. I did, but I'm a Mormon so must be lying or mistaken.)

2) The Mormons have misrepresented the text with the -n (Demonstratively wrong.)

So... what's your claim?

I'm simply trying to verify the facts.

Keep in mind you started off your previous post with caution, "grain of salt", but concluded it with an absolute "much ado about nothing here".

Not to be rude, but I'm trying to obtain more tangible evidences beyond a poster named 'volgadon' who claims there is no need to scrutinize the conclusions, as his professor approved his translation. See what I mean? Since you made the assertion, I asked if you had any examples that we can examine for ourselves.

There is no conspiracy alleged other than a frustration of a lack of examinable evidences. I did point out that I found it odd why all of the LDS photos of the altar show only one face, which has the first two consonants "NH". Most apologetic articles refer the inscription as NHM, when in fact it is NHMYN. Making the claim that Nahom (NHM) is equivalent to Nihm (NHM) is much easier than linking NHMYN to NHM.

I have not been able to track down this "french catalog", and only know of it through second hands quotes of Brown. Since you've seen it, can you give me info on it. Frankly this is the only thing close to an independent translation that I know of, hence why I am looking for other non-LDS translations. Confirming the facts and verifying the conclusions is not the same as calling Mormons liars. "Trust but verify".

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the inscription as NHM, when in fact it is NHMYN

This is splitting hairs. It's like saying "Obama isn't President, he's THE President." The -y- makes it adjectival (nisbe adjectives, common across Semitic, came into English with things like Iraq-i and Israel-i) and the n puts it in the determined state. Neither the N or the Y are part of the root. Do you wish to argue that they are?

Making the claim that Nahom (NHM) is equivalent to Nihm (NHM) is much easier than linking NHMYN to NHM.
For the reasons above, this is irrelevant. This morphological issue is only a big deal to you because you (appear to lack) any understanding of Semitics.
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This is splitting hairs. It's like saying "Obama isn't President, he's THE President." The -y- makes it adjectival (nisbe adjectives, common across Semitic, came into English with things like Iraq-i and Israel-i) and the n puts it in the determined state. Neither the N or the Y are part of the root. Do you wish to argue that they are?

For the reasons above, this is irrelevant. This morphological issue is only a big deal to you because you (appear to lack) any understanding of Semitics.

I don't wish to argue, just understand.

How do you render these two Hebrew words:

NXMYH

NXMNY

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I don't wish to argue, just understand.

How do you render these two Hebrew words:

NXMYH

NXMNY

How do I "render" them? I don't understand what you mean by "render." Translate? Transliterate? Represent in Hebrew? Understand them? (assuming X is het)? With no vowels AND no context, there are likely several ways to understand them, but I'll wait for you to clarify what exactly you mean by "render."

If you've had some experience with Hebrew or Arabic, let me know, so I know what level you're at.

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How do I "render" them? I don't understand what you mean by "render." Translate? Transliterate? Represent in Hebrew? Understand them? (assuming X is het)? With no vowels AND no context, there are likely several ways to understand them, but I'll wait for you to clarify what exactly you mean by "render."

If you've had some experience with Hebrew or Arabic, let me know, so I know what level you're at.

Translate...

You translated NHMYN with no vowels or context so lets keep the same criteria.

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"The Arabic root NHM means "to sigh or moan," and the related Hebrew Nahum means "comfort," Nibley informs us. In 1978, an eighteenth-century map was noticed indicating a place name "Nehhm" in that region, but it was not until the early 1990s that ancient evidence of that name's authenticity surfaced. In that era, a German archaeology team discovered a carved altar a few dozen miles east of modern San'a in Yemen, inscribed with a reference to the tribe of Nihm, and another with a like inscription has since been found from that area. Found in the very area where Nephi's record locates Nahom, these altars may thus be said to constitute the first actual archaeological evidence for the historicity of the Book of Mormon." (Terryl L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New World Religion, Oxford University Press: 2002)

And a picture of the altar is provided. I don't know why the Mormon professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond publishing scholarly work on the Book of Mormon through one of the most prestigious secular universities in the world doesn't count.

Is there by chance on online link of that photo?

That the altars were "...Found in the very area where Nephi's record locates Nahom..." is misleading. Marib is over 70 miles southeast of the Nihm/Nehhm area (about 25-35 miles north of Sana'a). That's like saying an artifact in Philly is "in the very area" of New York city.

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You translated NHMYN with no vowels or context so lets keep the same criteria.

Nooooo.... I translated it in context of the rest of the inscription.

Seriously, what foreign languages do you know? Let's take french and the word "fait." All by itself it could be a noun, such as in fait accompli. But in a different context, such as il fait du vent, it could mean something idiomatic, such as "it's windy" or in yet another context, such as il fait du bruit it would be "he's making some noise"

In OSA and other Semitic languages, you can often do without the vowels because context dictates which word it should be. Without any context or vowels, there are multiple multiple possibilities, depending on the root, the spelling conventions, etc.

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Nooooo.... I translated it in context of the rest of the inscription.

Seriously, what foreign languages do you know? Let's take french and the word "fait." All by itself it could be a noun, such as in fait accompli. But in a different context, such as il fait du vent, it could mean something idiomatic, such as "it's windy" or in yet another context, such as il fait du bruit it would be "he's making some noise"

In OSA and other Semitic languages, you can often do without the vowels because context dictates which word it should be. Without any context or vowels, there are multiple multiple possibilities, depending on the root, the spelling conventions, etc.

You stated that the -y- in the altar nymhn "makes it adjectival" and the -n- "puts it in the determined state". Would the same rules apply in a translation of this transliteration (why, or why not?) to the -y- in hymxn and the -y- and -n- in ynmxn?

Me ysna rpom hneb Mwxn ywgb trpom Nslb ykdrm ynmxn hymer hyrze hymxn ewsy lbbrz Me Myabh

Thanks

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You transliterated (or copied) this backwards. It should read in the other direction.

And in this case, we have two proper names, Nehemiah and Nahamani. And I'm really not sure what you think this is supposed to be evidence of.

You stated that the -y- in the altar nymhn "makes it adjectival" and the -n- "puts it in the determined state". Would the same rules apply in a translation of this transliteration (why, or why not?) to the -y- in hymxn and the -y- and -n- in ynmxn?

First, Hebrew doesn't have a determined state, so the -n can't mark it. (It does, of course, have a way of making nouns definite, but this isn't the same thing.)

Second, the -yh in Nehemiah in this case is the a shortened form of Yahweh. But, if you asked, -yh on the end of a word in another context could be the adjectival marker +feminine morpheme. Or it could mark a plural possessive "his [whatevers]"

As for Nahamani, same comment for the -n morpheme. Two options here. Either the nxm is verbal in which case we have an apocopated theophoric name and the -ny is an object suffix, meaning "(God) has NXM'ed me" comforted me or something along those lines.

OR, it

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