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SHINAR (Heb. שִׁנְצָר), place-name referring to *Mesopotamia, the area once termed Sumer and Akkad. In Genesis 10:10 the name Shinar as a geographical name appears alongside the names of such ancient Mesopotamian sites as Babel (Akk. Bāb-ili), Erech (Akk. Uruk), and Akkad. So, too, the Septuagint transcription of the name (i.e., Σεννααρ) is replaced by the rendering "Babylonia" in, e.g., Isaiah 11:11 and Zechariah 5:11. Various attempts have been made to determine the etymology of Shinar, relating it, in some way, to the name Sumer (see *Sumer). Whatever its ultimate etymology, the designation Shinar for Mesopotamia is paralleled in the el-Amarna letters (ea 35:49), where it appears as šanḥar, as well as in Egyptian records, where it is written sngr.


J.A. Knudtzon, Die El-Amarna Tafeln (1964), 1080.

[Murray Lichtenstein]

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