Re: Jewish name for Isabelle? #general

Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>

On Thu, 13 May 2004 16:07:23 UTC, (chaikin) opined:

Robert Israel wrote:

See for instance

=In another site, there is another possibility, to which I referred, and to
me it makes much more sense:

Best regards,
Udi Cain, Israel
It does indeed make a lot of sense. What it says is:

Most likely a medieval Spanish form of Elizabeth, although some theories
state that Isabel actually derives >from an old Semitic name meaning
"daughter of Baal".

The crucial difference >from what you said is that it gives the most
probable, most generally accepted, and most defensible derivation, and then
offers the admitted fact that there are some people who favor the "Jezebel"
explanation. The site is clearly not propounding it as fact,

It has been remarked to me in a private communication that the latter is a
"traditional explanation" of the derivation of the name. "Traditional
explanation" here can *only* be understood as meaning "folk etymology". That
is, a person unfamiliar with the history of a word (or name), without access
to documentation of its development over time or interest in the same, can
be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that current phonetic resemblance
is a reliable guide to the origin of the word/name.

Folk etymologies are notoriously unreliable, although they may "make much
more sense" on cursory view.

I can give an example: I once participated in a newsgroup devoted to
New-Kingdom Egyptian language (i.e. >from the centuries that included the
Exodus >from Egypt), in which I was the only participant grounded in Hebrew.
In one discussion, another person told me that, in his opinion, the name
"Abraham" was derived >from the name of the Hindu god Brahma, and that the
Jewish mourning custom of "Shiva" was derived >from that of the Hindu god of
the same name. Because the latter is the god of destruction and
regeneration, the transition seemed quite reasonable for a mourning custom;
Brahma being the source of all being, his name is appropriate for a
Patriarch; and the orthographic evidence (especially after transliteration
to a Latin alphabet) seemed to him overwhelming -- all in all, his idea
"makes much sense".

It doesn't to you and me, of course, because we have much more knowledge
than he did

Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel

ISMACH: >from Lomza Gubernia, Galicia, and Ukraina
HERTANU, ABRAMOVICI, LAUER: >from Dorohoi District, Romania
GRISARU, VATARU: >from Iasi, Dorohoi, and Mileanca, Romania

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