“The גיימי קארטר Inscription

This post is a parody. Let me explain.

When I was working on my PhD at Southern Seminary, every year the Hebrew students met for a Christmas party. One of the things we did at the party was to present a funny paper that used Hebrew in a way that it was supposed to be funny. The party was sponsored by professors J. J. Owens and Page Kelley who taught Hebrew at Southern Seminary.

The year that I presented my paper (I do not remember the date, probably 1981 or 1982), I decided to write a parody on the treaty between Israel and Egypt. The signatories of the treaty were Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel, Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, and Jimmy Carter, President of the United States of America. The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed on March 26, 1979. The treaty is also known as The Camp David Accord, because it was signed at Camp David, Maryland.

I apologize to my readers who do not know Hebrew. The funny part of this post is in the way the Hebrew words are interpreted (or misinterpreted) to make the parody of the peace treaty.

Below is the paper I presented. It is called “The גיימי קארטר Inscription.”

“The גיימי קארטר Inscription.”

On July 25, 4036 C.E., the world-renowned archaeologist, Bible scholar, and linguist, Dr. J. J. Kelley, found a copy of a treaty between Egypt and Israel dated 1979 C.E. This treaty was a covenant of peace between these two nations. The treaty was signed by King Begin of Jerusalem and Pharaoh Sadat of Egypt.

This covenant between Israel and Egypt follows that usual pattern of ancient oriental treaties. However, an inscription was found in the treaty that has defied interpretation. This paper will present a possible translation and a probable interpretation of the inscription. The inscription reads as follows:

גיימי קארטר נשיא
ארצות הברית של אמריקה

The first word, גיימי defies interpretation. The word could be a proper name like יעקב, James, but no important leader ever signed his name as גיימי. This word is a hapax legomenon in peace treaties between nations. I propose that the word is an English loan word that has come into Hebrew, from the verb “to give” and it means “give me.”

The second word of the inscription is קארטר. The root for this word is קאר. The קאר was a means of transportation and it was very well known in 1979 C.E. The word קאר is attested abundantly in the literature of the period. It was probably an ancient word for gasoline powered chariots. A קארת was a small קאר. A קארטר was a medium size קאר, therefore, the קארטר was a medium size chariot.

The word נשי is a rare word. The word means “vapor” as in Jeremiah 10:13: “he causes the vapors (נשאים) to ascend from the ends of the earth” (see also Jeremiah 51:16).

The word ארצות is a plural noun. The word is the plural of ארץ, a common word for land, earth.

The word הברית is the word usually translated “covenant.” The word הברית is used to identify this peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

The word של is probably an Aramaic word that came into late Hebrew. In Aramaic, the word של means “neglect,” “negligence” as in Daniel 6:5: “no negligence (שלו) or corruption could be found in him.”

The word אמריקה is a hapax legomenon. Scholars believe that the text here is corrupt. The word should read אמר, which is the perfect, third masculine singular from the verb אמר, which means “he said” together with the word יקה, the name of an individual, like the name Jakeh (יקה) in Proverbs 30:1.

After studying the words found in the treaty, I offer a possible translation for “The גיימי קארטר Inscription.”

“Give me a chariot; a vapor is in the land, the covenant is neglected, said Jakeh.”

This covenant between Israel and Egypt that was signed thousands of years ago, was a commercial treaty between the two nations proclaiming peace (commercial peace) between Egypt and Israel.

Jakeh, who witnessed the signing of the treaty, is lamenting the air pollution in these two nations as a result of the treaty (hence the plural of ארץ). Jakeh is saying that he needs a medium size chariot to escape the air pollution because of the remissness of the two nations in keeping a prior berith.

This inscription could be classified as a satirical lamentation for Jakeh wants to use that which is causing the pollution.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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3 Responses to “The גיימי קארטר Inscription

  1. Pingback: “The גיימי קארטר Inscription | Talmidimblogging

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