Pavel Čech, Institute of Comparative Linguistics, Charles University – Prague
The Eleventh International Conference on Jewish Names, Paper Abstract
Recently, deserved attention has been given to the improved reading of the toponym, written in hieroglyphic Luwian as pa/wa-TA5-sà-ti-ni, and the related ethnonym pa/wa-TA5-sà-ti-ni-za (ALEPPO 6 and 7, MEHARDE, SHEIZAR). The new understanding of these proper names as the northern (Land of) “Palistin“, roughly equivalent to the Amuq valley, seems to be established beyond reasonable doubt. The logical next step is to analyze the anthroponym of the king of this land/these people, conventionally normalized as “Taita“. Given the specifics of hieroglyphic Luwian script and language (constraint graphemic/phonemic opposition of voiced versus voiceless phonemes; closed syllables written as CvCv; and the uncertainty – perhaps caused by regional diversity – regarding the reading of some signs, e.g. wa/i ,*439), the Semitic rendering of this royal anthroponym as “David“ can be defended and, of course, compared to the name of the – roughly contemporary – biblical king. The onomastic argument based on this new reading seems to move the name to the category of royal anthroponyms, known well from the Amorite as well as Hittite onomastic material. The formulation of "the fact that we know of no other person having that particular name from the same time and place" (L. Mykytiuk in Maarav 16 (2009), p. 119) has to be modified accordingly.