JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Isaac=Jonas=Julian ? #general
Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>
On Fri, 13 Jan 2006 15:49:15 UTC, firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Venetianer)
To my best knowledge, Jonas originated >from the Biblical name JONAH,The birthname of the last Egyptian king of the fifth dynasty (24th
century BCE) is usually written "Unas" in English. What I saw in his
cartouche as written on the walls in his tomb at Saqqara is "Yunas". I
do not know why the initial consonant is regularly omitted in English,
but I assure you that it is there in the cartouche.
It is true that anyone named Jona is justified in connecting his name
with the tale of the man in the fish (read the story, it is not a
whale). But there isn't any warrant for thinking that the name was
minted new for that character. In fact, there are several "Hebrew"
names that are actually of Egyption origin. "Moshe" is one: In Hebrew
it would mean "he draws" (>from the water), rather than "he is drawn",
which doesn't match the account in Breshit, and which suggests that
the derivation in the story is a backformation, folk etymology. In
fact, it means "born", and is a common element in Egyptian theophoric
names, beginning with "Ra-", "Ptah-", "Ah-", and names of other
deities. That last one gives us "Amos". Preserved Egyptian literature
is filled with characters bearing the nickname "Mose" or "Messe" (two
syllables in each case).
It may be interesting that the Arabic forms of "Mussa" and "Younis"
are closer to the Egyptian originals that are the Hebrew names.
"Miryam"/"Maryam" is another name of Egyptian origin. The first
element means "Beloved". I do not know what the last, probably
corrupted, element is. But there is an error in gender: for a feminine
name, there should be a "T" after the "Y".
None of this should be surprising. There was a time when Egypt was THE
superpower and THE metropolis dominating the Middle East. People
often give their children names that give them the "prestige" of
connection with the metropolis: I know a man born here in Israel,
"Yona", meaning "dove" would be in any case a strange name to saddle
an infant boy with. It recalls a song that Johnny Cash used to sing,
about "A Boy Named Sue". For that matter, the folk derivation of
"Miryam"/"Maryam" >from "bitter" is not one that would attract the
average parent to use the name on a defenseless babe, though it
happens to fit well with Christian theology.
Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel
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