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substitute the He for the Heth, only because it is the reading in the Samaritan text;-I never considered the word aaneach to be only Hebrew ;-I never said, that the scribe translated, or meant to translate, any Egyptian words by Zaphnath Paaneach; I never stated, that this same scribe inserted these words in place of the original Egyptian.
I have endeavoured to show both in my Essay on a Punic inscription, and in other publications, that the Egyptian, Ethiopian, Phoenician, Chaldean, Hebrew, and ancient Arabic, were originally cognate dialects, though I be still ready to admit, that the testimony with respect to the Egyptian is more incomplete than in the other instances. When I came to the words Zaphnath Paaneach, in my remarks on Genesis, I endeavoured to discover the real meaning of these words. It was obvious that my Paaneach was no Hebrew word, as we find it written in the Hebrew text. I then concluded that the word was Egyptian. The P I supposed to be the Egyptian article, preceding aaneach the noun. But if I were right in my general system, that the Egyptian and Hebrew were originally cognate dialects, the root my aaneach might be expected to be found in Hebrew as well as in Egyptian. In Hebrew, however, there is no such word as my aaneach. But I observed that Onkelos and others agreed in translating Paaneach "the interpreter, the revealer, &c."; and as the word my aaneah may signify "one who answers, who declares, who announces," I suspected that this was the proper way of writing the word. In the Samaritan text (which by the way has been highly valued by men not inferior to Hottinger) I found this to be the reading, and it confirmed me in my opinion.
My statement, then, simply amounts to this- Zaphnath Paaneach, (or Paaneah) were two Egyptian words, of which the last is preceded by the Egyptian article P'. These words according to the Targum, signified "the interpreter of the hidden things." We are authorised to suppose these words to be Egyptian, first, because they expressed a title bestowed on his servant by a monarch of Egypt ;-secondly, because the P' in Paaneach seems to be the Egyptian article ;—thirdly, because this word with the incipient P' cannot be Hebrew. With the
exception of this P', (the Egyptian article) and by following the Samaritan reading, the title expresses the same meaning in Hebrew as tradition really reports it to have done. But since the Egyptian article has been returned, I conclude that the Hebrew scribe retained the words in their original form. It then follows, that, though the articles were different in the two dialects, both continued the same words for "one who declares, reveals, answers, or interprets," and for "secret or hidden things".
Let us suppose that, three or four thousand years hence, a reader should meet with a passage in a Portuguese writer, who mentioned a complimentary title conferred by a Spanish monarch on a Portuguese. But as the Spanish and Portuguese strongly resemble each other, a question might arise whether his complimentary title were expressed by the historian in the former, or in the latter. This question would be immediately decided, if it were found, that there was an article employed which was the Spanish el, and not the Portuguese o. This I conceive to be nearly the case before us. The words Zaphnath Paaneach appear to have been Egyptian, and to have borne the same meaning that Zaphnoth Haaneah would have done in Hebrew the difference of the article constituting the difference between the Egyptian and Hebrew readings.
The objections, which your correspondent has made to my etymology of Pharaoh, are founded on similar misconceptions. I think that the word ny roh, was an Egyptian as well as a Hebrew word; and my reasons for holding that opinion are stated in the Essay to which I referred in my notes on Genesis.
Of some observations of your correspondent, which I think are a little more querulous than they need have been, I shall excuse myself from taking notice. As, however, he has condemned all my conclusions in one sweeping clause, I shall take the liberty of making some reply to his general assertion. "Those,” says he, "who conceive the Egyptian tongue to have any resemblance to the Hebrew, are in a great error; the Jews may have borrowed a few words from it while they lived in Egypt, and a few more may have travelled with their colonies to Greece; but it is altogether an original language, very harsh indeed, and abounding with combinations of consonants as bad as the Gothic,
yet as different from that and all other known languages, as Egypt and Lybia are unconnected with the rest of the world, except by the narrow isthmus of Suez.”
Your correspondent says, that the Egyptian is an original language, &c. He is then speaking of a language which he knows, and consequently, I conclude, he means the Coptic. Now, sir, I shall state, first, some reasons, in addition to those contained in my Essay, why I believe that the ancient Egyptian and Hebrew resembled each other; and secondly, why I think that he, who knows the Coptic, may still be very imperfectly acquainted with the ancient Egyptian.
1. That the Chaldean, Phoenician, Hebrew, and ancient Arabic, were cognate dialects, will, I conclude, be admitted. Should any doubts, however, occur to my readers, they may consult Bochart, Swinton, Bayer, Barthelemy, Schultens, and other writers, who have treated of these things. The affinity of the ancient Ethiopian to the Chaldean and Arabic has been shown by Ludolph and Bruce; but, perhaps, more fully by myself in my Essay on a Punic Inscription. Herodotus observes, that the Ammonian dialect partook of the Egyptian and Ethiopian. One of the Fathers of the Church, who had, at least, better means of acquiring information on these subjects than we can have, has told us that the Phoenicians, who built Carthage, changed some things in the language of the Africans, whence it may be inferred, that in the western parts of Africa the language already in use was not very dissimilar to that spoken at Tyre. If, indeed, we trust at all to the evidence of Moses, we must suppose that the descendants of Ham and Phut originally spoke the same language. Without insisting upon the accuracy of all Bochart's etymologies, I think he has succeeded in proving that most of the African names known to the ancients were Phoenician. When, then, we find all the nations to the east of Egypt as far as the Euphrates, to the south as far as the southern limits of Ethiopia, and to the west as far as Mount Atlas, speaking cognate dialects, it seems difficult to suppose that the people of Egypt spoke a language absolutely unlike to any of these dialects.
The common objections to the similarity of the Hebrew and the ancient Egyptian are founded on two passages in Genesis ;the first containing an account of the confusion of tongues ;the second implying, that Joseph spoke to his brethren by the help of an interpreter. I have shown in my Essay on a Punic Inscription, that both of these passages have been misunderstood; and that the translation is consequently erroneous. I have there proved, that in the Hebrew, at least, there is no evidence whatever of Joseph's having employed an interpreter to translate from the one language into the other. If, then, the Egyptian and Hebrew had been, not merely different dialects, but languages totally unlike to each other, in what way shall we account for the apparent ease with which the Egyptians and Israelites conversed together? It may be said, that Jacob and his sons, who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Egypt, might have acquired the language. Be it so. But Abraham who came all the way from Ur of the Chaldees, and whose language was Chaldaic, seems to have had no difficulty in making himself understood by the Egyptians.
I by no means pretend, however, that the Hebrews and Egyptians spoke precisely the same language. I only contend that their dialects were cognate. I think that the roots, for the greater part, might have been the same, while the articles, pronouns, and the inflections in nouns and verbs might have been different. Let your correspondent reconsider what he himself has said concerning the word Ehoou, (in the Saidic dialect Hoou,) and compare this word with the Hebrew, which with the jod appellative becomes M.
2. I am not one of those, who with Vossius would consider the Coptic as a spurious jargon, begotten by provincial Arabic upon barbarous Greek. We know from Plutarch (in his life of Antony) that the Egyptian language continued to be spoken in the time of Cleopatra. It also appears from the same author, that before her time the Egyptian, and not the Greek, was the language of the court. Even after the Christian æra, the vernacular tongue seems to have been generally spoken in Egypt. I have already observed, that the Coptic version of the Bible
is referred by Wilkins and others to the second century; and the testimony of several of the Fathers may be adduced to prove, that the Egyptian continued to be the common language of the country. (Orig. cont. Cels. 1. vii. p. 60. Hieron. Vit. Pat. Hist. Ecclesiast. &c. &c.) But, perhaps, the most curious evidence is thus given by Capitolinus. Gordiano sepulcrum milites apud Circeium castrum fecerunt, in finibus Persidis, titulum hujusmodi addentes, et Græcis, et Latinis, et Persicis, et Judaicis, et Ægyptiacis literis, ut ab omnibus legeretur.
Thus, sir, I am ready to admit that the vernacular Egyptian continued to be spoken in parts, at least, of Egypt, (in which country, however, it had divided itself into different dialects,) until within the last two or three centuries. But while I make this admission, I cannot persuade myself, that even in the second century the Egyptian, or Coptic, had not already undergone very essential changes.
Whether or not the ancient language of Egypt suffered any alterations in consequence of the invasion of Cambyses, and of the conquest of the country by the Persians, I shall not presume to say; but I should think it difficult to show, that it underwent no changes after the Greeks had there established their empire. We find the Coptic now containing a great many words of Greek origin; and it seems, therefore, that we must either allow a very considerable influx of Greek words into Coptic, or say with Kircher, that the Greek sprang from the Coptic. But as this last proposition is generally rejected, we must admit the first.
Without insisting, however, on the numerous Greek words, or rather barbarous corruptions from the Greek, to be found in the Coptic, we may observe, that it would, indeed, be very surprising, if the Egyptians, who had so often changed their masters, continued to speak, at the beginning of the second century, the same language, which had been spoken by their ancestors nearly 2000 years before.
It is impossible not to observe, that if the Coptic be the same with the ancient Egyptian, we ought to find in it the sources, at least, of those names which are recorded by the Jewish, Greek, and Latin writers. I believe, every person capable of