On the Etymology of “Goliath” – A Carian Origin?

Aren Maeir (The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog) notes a new proposal for the etymology of the name “Goliath”. A 2012 paper by M. Vernet Pons relates the Hebrew “Goliath” to the Carian personal name WLJAT/WLIAT. (Caria was located in Western Anatolia, to the south of Lydia, and the Carians lived there before Greek (Ionian and Dorian) colonisation.) Pons also rejects the idea that the name “Goliath” is a cognate of the name of the Lydian king “Alyattes” (619-560 BC).

See M. Vernet Pons, “The Etymology of Goliath in the Light of Carian PN WLJAT/WLIAT: A new proposal.” Kadmos 51 (2012): 143-164.

See also Aren M. Maeir, Stefan J. Wimmer, Alexander Zuckerman, and Aaron Demsky, “A Late Iron Age I/Early Iron Age II Old Canaanite Inscription from Tell es-Safi/Gath: Palaeography, Dating, and Historical-Cultural Significance”, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 351 (Aug 2008), 39-71 – which links the two names found at Tel es-Safi / Gath, ’lwt and wlt[ ], to the name “Goliath” and suggests Greek or Anatolian origins.

See also “The ‘not Goliath’ Inscription from Tel es-Safi/Gath: Archaeology, Bible, Politics, and the Media“, Remnant of Giants, 5 February 2013


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