Tag Archives: Egypt

Making Sense of Samson

By Joseph Manning

Probably one of the most bizarre stories in the Hebrew Bible is the story of Samson. The story of Samson is generally confused. The narrative is sketchy and full of riddles and often makes allusions the author seems to expect the reader to be able to connect but are meaningless to modern readers. It becomes much more clearer when viewed through the lens of ancient near-eastern mythology. Samson (שמשון) is related to ‘shamash’ (שמש) or “sun,” while his infamous wife’s name, Delilah (דלילה), is related to ‘lilah’ (לילה), the Hebrew word for “night.”  He is a solar mythic hero related to Gilgamesh, the hero of the Babylonian myth, and Hercules, the Greek mythic hero. (Indeed, Gilgamesh’s patron deity is the sun-god Shamash).

A statue of Samson in Ashdod depicting his toppling the pillars of the temple to Dagon in his dying moments.

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Filed under Ancient Egyptian, Biblical Archaeology, Classics, Hebrew Bible, Linguistics

Egyptian Hieroglyphics Part 2

By Joseph Manning

Egyptian has a set of suffix-pronouns which identify person, number, and gender of verbs; these also act as possessives when used with nouns.

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Egyptian Hieroglyphics

By Joseph Manning

Ancient Egyptian branches off a language family known as Afro-Asiatic. Egyptian has no close relatives within this family because it forms its own branch, but its Afro-Asiatic membership explains some basic grammatical functions it shares with other languages like Modern Arabic and Hebrew.  Egyptian changed a lot from when the first hieroglyphics were created (around 3100 BCE) until the language’s death.  It is divided into two forms each form is further divided into three stages.  The first form spanned 3000 to 1300 BCE divided into Old, Middle and Late Middle Egyptian.  The second form lasted until1500 CE, divided chronologically into Late Egyptian, Demotic, and finally Coptic. This post is about reading hieroglyphics from the language’s first form.

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Filed under Ancient Egyptian