Difference between revisions of "SAM"

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The eyymology of this name remains open. In north-west Semitic languages the element ''sumu/samu/šumu'' is well attested in texts that predate the Hebrew Bible, namely Amorite and Ugaritic.<ref>See Huffmon, ''Names'', 247-49; and Gröndahl, ''Peronennamen'', 193f.</ref> The meaning however remains uncertain, though it has been linked to the common Semitic vocable ''šm'', meaning "name."<ref>Huffmon, ''Names'', 247.</ref> If '''SAM''' is related to biblical ''Samuel'' (see below), then ''samu'' may be a theophoris element.<ref>''HALOT'', sub שמואל</ref> Or the name itself could be hypocoristic. The final /''u''/ of ''sumu/samu/šumu'' is most likely a nominative case ending and need not be considered when determining etymology.
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'''SAM''' is most likely a shortened form of the biblical name ''Samuel'', even though neither '''SAM''' nor ''Samuel'' reflect the Hebrew pronunciation, ''šĕmûʾēl'' that might be expected from the plates of Nephi. That '''SAM''' is the English version of what was on the Vorlage of the Book of Mormon is supported by examples of other names in the Book of Mormon that also take King James biblical spellings rather than reflecting the Hebrew pronunciation, such as ''Jacob'', not the Hebrew form ''Ya’akob'', and ''Messiah'' and not ''Mašiaḥ''. Additionally, besides the regular though mutable nature of the sibilants ''/š/'', ''/ś/'' and ''/s/'' in and between the various Semitic languages, the change from the Hebrew ''/š/'' in Samuel to ''/s/'' (as in English) occurs in the Greek text of the Old Testament because Greek has only one character, sigma, for transcribing the Hebrew sibilants.  Therefore, the explanation of '''SAM''' as the English equivalent of a hypocoristicon (shortened form) of ''Samuel'' has merit.
  
The vocable ''šm'' appears in Aramaic names in Egypt, e.g., ''šm'', ''šmṭb'', and ''šmʾdd''.<ref>Bezalel Porten and Jerome A. Lund, ''Aramaic Documents from Egypt: A Key-Word-in-Context Concordance'' (Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns, 2002), 414-415.</ref>
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If '''SAM''' is a hypocoristicon from ''Samuel'', '''SAM''' would represent the common Semitic vocable ''šm'' and would most likely mean “the name,” “Name,” or even “descendant/offspring.”  '''SAM''' may even be a theophoric element in its own right.
  
Because the English name ''Sam'' is a shortened version of the Hebrew ''Samuel'', it has often been assumed that this is the origin of Book Mormon '''SAM'''. While there is no evidence that the ancient Hebrews ever shortened ''Samuel'' to ''Sam'', the Amorite PNs containing the element ''sam''- would support the sugestion that '''SAM''' could be a hypocoristicon meaning, "Name of..." See the Amorite PN ''sa-mu-ú-i-la''.<ref>Huffmon, ''Names'', 247.</ref>
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Hypocoristica are well known in the Semitic languages. Though '''SAM''' does not occur in the Hebrew Bible,  the Hebrew name ''šm'' does appear in a biblical period signet ring, but the authors read the name as ''Shem'', the same King James Version pronunciation as the son of Noah.  The Arabic pronunciation of Noah’s son is ''Sam''. The element ''šm'' also seems to occur in other west Semitic languages. See the Aramaic name ''šm'', along with longer forms, ''šmṭb'', and  ''šmʾdd''the Amorite PN ''sa-mu-um''  (with the masculine singular nominative ending ''–um''); and the Ugaritic name elements ''sumu/samu/šumu''.  
  
Other etymologies have been suggested. Early on it was suggested that '''SAM''' is EGYPTIAN.<ref>Reynolds and Sjodahl, 1:16&26; and Reynolds, ''Story of the Book of Mormon'', p. 298.</ref> Nibley suggested the Egyptian title ''s3m'', "uniter."<ref>''LID'', 30&45.</ref> Others have referred to the Arabic '''SAM''', which is the Arabic form of the biblical name [[SHEM]].<ref>''ABM'', 59-60.</ref> However, it is unlikely that the Lehites would have used the Arabic form of [[SHEM]] when the Hebrew form of the name is attested at the close of the Lehite period, late in the Book of Mormon (JAT).<ref>[http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/morm/2.20-21?lang=eng#19 Mormon 2:20-21] and [http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/morm/6.14?lang=eng#13 6:14].</ref>
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Other etymologies have been proffered, including the suggestion that '''SAM''' is Egyptian. Nibley has interpreted the Egyptian title as ''sm3/s3m'', “uniter.” 
  
Minaean ESA PN ''͑msmy'' and ''smʿ'' (JAT) cannot be appealed to because it would require dropping a phoneme from the name.
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Minaean ESA PN ''ʿmsmy'' may hold promise. But the PN smc cannot be appealed to because it would require dropping the last phoneme of the vocable.
==Notes==
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<references/>
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Confer '''[[SHEM]]''' and '''[[MOSIAH]]'''.
  
 
[[Category:Names]][[Category:Lehite PN]]
 
[[Category:Names]][[Category:Lehite PN]]

Revision as of 22:29, 13 June 2011

Lehite PN 1. Son of LEHI no. 1, brother of NEPHI no. 1, ca. 600 BC (1 Nephi 2:5; Alma 3:6)

SAM is most likely a shortened form of the biblical name Samuel, even though neither SAM nor Samuel reflect the Hebrew pronunciation, šĕmûʾēl that might be expected from the plates of Nephi. That SAM is the English version of what was on the Vorlage of the Book of Mormon is supported by examples of other names in the Book of Mormon that also take King James biblical spellings rather than reflecting the Hebrew pronunciation, such as Jacob, not the Hebrew form Ya’akob, and Messiah and not Mašiaḥ. Additionally, besides the regular though mutable nature of the sibilants /š/, /ś/ and /s/ in and between the various Semitic languages, the change from the Hebrew /š/ in Samuel to /s/ (as in English) occurs in the Greek text of the Old Testament because Greek has only one character, sigma, for transcribing the Hebrew sibilants. Therefore, the explanation of SAM as the English equivalent of a hypocoristicon (shortened form) of Samuel has merit.

If SAM is a hypocoristicon from Samuel, SAM would represent the common Semitic vocable šm and would most likely mean “the name,” “Name,” or even “descendant/offspring.” SAM may even be a theophoric element in its own right.

Hypocoristica are well known in the Semitic languages. Though SAM does not occur in the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew name šm does appear in a biblical period signet ring, but the authors read the name as Shem, the same King James Version pronunciation as the son of Noah. The Arabic pronunciation of Noah’s son is Sam. The element šm also seems to occur in other west Semitic languages. See the Aramaic name šm, along with longer forms, šmṭb, and šmʾdd; the Amorite PN sa-mu-um (with the masculine singular nominative ending –um); and the Ugaritic name elements sumu/samu/šumu.

Other etymologies have been proffered, including the suggestion that SAM is Egyptian. Nibley has interpreted the Egyptian title as sm3/s3m, “uniter.”

Minaean ESA PN ʿmsmy may hold promise. But the PN smc cannot be appealed to because it would require dropping the last phoneme of the vocable.

Confer SHEM and MOSIAH.