Cup and Throne

copyright 2008 Stephan Huller

by Rory Boid (personal correspondence)

The Aramaic for cup is kâs, definite kâsa (kaf-samech-alef). (I don’t see how Jastrow can double the samech with endings, but it doesn’t matter for the present purpose). The difficulty is that the Aramaic word for “chair” does not resemble this. It is kurseyah (kaf-vav-resh-yod-he), definite plural kurse. On its own, the Hebrew kisse [“chair”, but in poetic language and on a sign or notice it could mean “the chair”] (kaf-samech-alef) could be misread as Aramaic kâsa, “the cup”. The difficulty is that the word would not stand on its own. The Hebrew word for a cup is kos [kaf-vav-samech0, plural kosot 9kaf-vav-samech-vav-tav). The plural of kisse is kis’ot (kaf-samech-alef-vav-tav). These two words in the plural would only be confused by someone with no real knowledge of Hebrew. On second thought, that description might fit Irenaeus, as we have seen. Both plurals are regular, but would seem irregular to someone with no real knowledge of Hebrew. This is because both words, although masculine, have the plural suffix –ot. For most (not all) masculine nouns the plural suffix is –im. (Common exception are avot, fathers; dorot, generations; meqomot, places). ). For most (not all) feminine nouns the plural suffix is –ot. It is easily predictable from the form of kos and kisse (and maqom and dor and av) that they will have their plural in –ot, but only if you know Hebrew properly.

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