Names of Jerusalem

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Names of Jerusalem refers to the multiple names by which the city of Jerusalem has been known and the etymology of the word in different languages. According to the Jewish Midrash, "Jerusalem has 70 names".[1] Lists have been compiled of 72 different Hebrew names for Jerusalem in Jewish scripture.[2]

Today, Jerusalem is called Yerushalayim (Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם) in Hebrew. This is a derivation of a much older name, recorded as early as in the Middle Bronze Age, which has however been repeatedly re-interpreted in folk etymology, notably in Biblical Greek, where the first element of the name came to be associated with hieros "holy". The most common name in Arabic is al-Quds (القدس), also meaning "The Holy [City]".

Bronze Age[edit]

The Bronze Age core of the city is the Jebusite fortress which would become known as the City of David in biblical times.

A city called Rušalim in the Execration texts of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (c. 19th century BCE) is sometimes identified as Jerusalem although this has been challenged.[3][4]

Jerusalem is called either Urusalim (URU ú-ru-sa-lim) or Urušalim (URU ú-ru-ša10-lim) in the Amarna letters of Abdi-Heba (1330s BCE).[5]

The Sumero-Akkadian name[clarification needed] is variously etymologised to mean "foundation (Hebrew/Semitic yry, ‘to found, to lay a cornerstone’) of the god Shalim", the Canaanite god of the setting sun and the nether world, as well as of health and perfection.[6][7]

Biblical names[edit]

Coordinates: 31°46′25″N 35°14′08″E / 31.77361°N 35.23556°E / 31.77361; 35.23556

View from the City of David

The older parts of the Hebrew Bible refer to Jerusalem as the capital of the Kingdom of Judah (10th to 6th centuries BC). The younger parts concern the city of the Second Temple period, or the 5th to 3rd centuries BC (during which the city's population declined to below 1,500 people).

Shalem[edit]

In the Book of Genesis, Salem or Shalem is the name of the place of which Melchizedek is king. Genesis 14:18 has מלכי־צדק מלך שלם ... כהן לאל עליון׃ The KJV renders this as "Melchizedek king of Salem ... the priest of the most high God (El Elyon)." Shalem is from the Semitic root š-l-m "being whole, complete, safe, at peace" as shalom,[8] the Hebrew word for "peace".[9]

That the name Salem refers to Jerusalem is evidenced by Psalms 76:2 which uses "Salem" as a parallel for "Zion", the citadel of Jerusalem. The same identification is made by Josephus and the Aramaic translations of the Bible.

An alternative explanation offered by many scholars is that the city took its name from a local god, Shalem, the Canaanite god of twilight or evening.[10] In this view, the name is Yeru- or Uru-Shalem, meaning the foundation of Shalem or founded by Shalem.[11] There is a reference to the city in the Amarna Letters (ca, 1400 BCE) as Beth-Shalem, the house of Shalem. [12]

Language Name Translit.
LXX Σαλήμ[13] Salēm
Greek (variant) Σόλυμα[14] Solyma
Biblical Latin Salem
Arabic ساليم Sālīm
Hebrew שָׁלֵם Šālēm

Jerusalem[edit]

Jerusalem is the name most commonly used in the Bible, and the name used by most of the Western World. The Biblical Hebrew form is ירושלם Yerushalaim, adopted in Biblical Greek as Ιερουσαλήμ Hierousalēm, Ierousalēm, Ιεροσόλυμα Hierosolyma, Ierosolyma, and in early Christian Bibles as Syriac ܐܘܪܫܠܡ Ūrišlem, Latin Hierosolyma Ierusalem.

The name "Shalem", whether as a town or a deity, is derived from the same root as the word "shalom", meaning peace,[15][16] so that the common interpretation of the name is now "The City of Peace"[7][17] or "Abode of Peace",[18][19]

The ending -ayim indicates the dual in Hebrew, thus leading to the suggestion that the name refers to the two hills on which the city sits.[20][21] However, the pronunciation of the last syllable as -ayim appears to be a late development, which had not yet appeared at the time of the Septuagint.

In Genesis Rabba 56:10, the name is interpreted as a combination of yir'eh, "He will see [to it]," and Shalem, the city of King Melchizedek (based on Genesis 14:18). A similar theory is offered by Philo in his discussion of the term "God's city." [22] Other midrashim say that Jerusalem means "City of Peace" [shalom].[23]

In Greek, the city is called either Ierusalem (Ἰερουσαλήμ) or Hierosolyma (Ἱεροσόλυμα). The latter exhibits yet another re-etymologization, by association with the Greek word hieros "holy".[24][25] Similarly the Old Norse form Jorsala exhibits a re-interpretation of the second element as -sala, denoting a hall or temple, common in Old Norse toponyms.

Zion[edit]

Mount Zion (Hebrew: הר צִיּוֹן Har Tsiyyon) was originally the name of the hill where the Jebusite fortress stood, but the name was later applied to the Temple Mount just to the north of the fortress (also known as Mount Moriah, possibly also referred to as "Daughter of Zion" (i.e., as a protrusion of Mount Zion proper) originally).

Still later (Second Temple era), the name came to be applied to a hill just to the south-west of the walled city. This latter hill is still known as Mount Zion today. From the point of view of the Babylonian exile (6th century BC), Zion has come to be used as a synonym of the city of Jerusalem as a whole.

Other biblical names[edit]

  • Mount Moriah (now the Temple mount) was a part of Yevus (Jebus, see Judg 19:10) city inhabited by the Jebusites. According to the Bible, this land was sold to King David by Ornan (the Jebusite) for the full price of purchase (six hundred shekels of Gold).<Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).

Bayt al-Maqdis or Bayt al-Muqaddas is a less commonly used Arabic name for Jerusalem, a variant of the previous. It is the base from which nisbas (names based on the origin of the person named) are formed - hence the famous medieval geographer called both al-Maqdisi and al-Muqaddasi (born 946.) This name is used in the Hadith (Sahih Muslim 234, 251). The name is in reference to the Hebrew name for the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, "Beit Hamikdash." (בית המקדש)

  • Avar Байтул Макъдис (Baytul Maqdis)
  • Azeri Beytül-Müqəddəs
  • Malay Baitulmuqaddis
  • Persian بيت مقدس (Beit-e Moghaddas)
  • Turkish Beyt-i Mukaddes
  • Urdu بيت مقدس (Bait-e Muqaddis)

البلاط al-Balāṭ is a rare poetic name for Jerusalem in Arabic, loaned from the Latin palatium "palace". Also from Latin is إيلياء ʼĪlyāʼ, a rare name for Jerusalem used in early times Middle Ages, as in some Hadith (Bukhari 1:6, 4:191; Muwatta 20:26).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Numbers Rabbah, 14, 12; Midrash Tadsha (Baraita Phinehas ben Jair 10; Midrash Zuta Song of Songs 3,1; Midrash ha-Gadol Genesis 46, 8;
  2. ^ Ilana Caznelvugen lists the 72 names in her two articles "Many names for Jerusalem" and "70 Names for Jerusalem", Sinai 116, Mosad Harav Kook, 1995. The Jerusalem municipality website lists 105 Hebrew names.
  3. ^ David Noel Freedman; Allen C. Myers; Astrid B. Beck (2000). Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 694–695. ISBN 978-0-8028-2400-4. Retrieved 19 August 2010. . Nadav Naʼaman, Canaan in the 2nd Millennium B.C.E., Eisenbrauns, 2005 pp.177ff. offers a dissenting opinion, arguing for the transcription Rôsh-ramen, etymologised to r'š (head) and rmm (be exalted), to mean 'the exalted Head', and not referring to Jerusalem.
  4. ^ G. Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren (eds.) Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, (tr. David E. Green) William B. Eerdmann, Grand Rapids Michigan, Cambridge, UK 1990, Vol. VI, p. 348
  5. ^ Urusalim e.g. in EA 289:014, Urušalim e.g. in EA 287:025. Transcription online at "''The El Amarna Letters from Canaan''". Tau.ac.il. Retrieved 11 September 2010. ; translation by Knudtzon 1915 (English in Percy Stuart Peache Handcock, Selections from the Tell El-Amarna letters (1920).
  6. ^ Meir Ben-Dov, Historical Atlas of Jerusalem, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002, p. 23.
  7. ^ a b Binz, Stephen J. (2005). Jerusalem, the Holy City. Connecticut, USA.: Twenty-Third Publications. p. 2. ISBN 9781585953653. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  8. ^ The two words Shalem and shalom, when written without vowel points, are the same: š-l-m. Vowel points did not come into existence until many centuries later, so there is no way to distinguish Shalem and shalom in the text.
  9. ^ From the New International Version of the Bible: "and Abraham gave [Melchizedek] a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." Hebrews 7:2
  10. ^ See the Anchor Bible Dictionary for an extensive discussion with citations. http://www.biblicalwritings.com/shalem-deity-the-anchor-bible-dictionary/
  11. ^ See Holman Bible Dictionary, http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/print.cgi?n=3384 ; National Geographic, http://education.nationalgeographic.com/media/file/Jerusalem_ED_Sheets.FasFacts.pdf ("As for the meaning of the name, it can be assumed to be a compound of the West Semitic elements “yrw” and “s[h]lm,” probably to be interpreted as “Foundation of (the god) Shalem.” Shalem is known from an Ugaritic mythological text as the god of twilight.").
  12. ^ See, e,g,, Holman Bible Dictionary, op. cit. supra.
  13. ^ E.g. found in the Septuagint and the writings of Philo; cf. Melchizedek as "king of peace" (Σαλήμ) in Heb. 7.1–2, based on Gn. 14.18; cf. also Philo, leg. all. 3.79.
  14. ^ Cf. e.g. Flavius Josephus, Ant. J. 1.180.
  15. ^ Elon, Amos. Jerusalem. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-00-637531-6. Retrieved 26 April 2007. "The epithet may have originated in the ancient name of Jerusalem—Salem (after the pagan deity of the city), which is etymologically connected in the Semitic languages with the words for peace (shalom in Hebrew, salam in Arabic)." 
  16. ^ Ringgren, H., Die Religionen des Alten Orients (Göttingen, 1979), 212.
  17. ^ Hastings, James (2004). A Dictionary of the Bible: Volume II: (Part II: I -- Kinsman), Volume 2. Honolulu, Hawaii: Reprinted from 1898 edition by University Press of the Pacific. p. 584. ISBN 1-4102-1725-6. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  18. ^ Bosworth, Clifford Edmund (2007). Historic cities of the Islamic world. The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. pp. 225–226. ISBN 90-04-15388-8. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  19. ^ Denise DeGarmo (9 September 2011). "Abode of Peace?". Wandering Thoughts. Center for Conflict Studies. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Wallace, Edwin Sherman (August 1977). Jerusalem the Holy. New York: Arno Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-405-10298-4. "A similar view was held by those who give the Hebrew dual to the word" 
  21. ^ Smith, George Adam (1907). Jerusalem: The Topography, Economics and History from the Earliest Times to A.D. 70. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 251. ISBN 0-7905-2935-1. "The termination -aim or -ayim used to be taken as the ordinary termination of the dual of nouns, and was explained as signifying the upper and lower cities"  (see here [1])
  22. ^ With Letters of Light: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Early Jewish Apocalypticism, Magic and Mysticism, eds. Daphna Arbel and Andrei Orlov
  23. ^ Bar Ilan University, Prof. Yaakov Klein
  24. ^ Alexander Hopkins McDannald (editor), The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 16, Americana Corporation, 1947, entry Jerusalem
  25. ^ Gerhard Kittel (editor), Gerhard Friedrich (editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (editor),Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume, Eerdmans, 1985, entry Sion [Zion], Ierousalem [Jerusalem], Hierosolyma [Jerusalem], Hierosolymites [inhabitants of Jerusalem]

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