Noah and Human Etymology
by Bengt Sage
As traditions of the universal flood spread around the world with the post-Ararat migrations, the venerable name of Noah traveled with them.1 This seems especially evident by way of the ancient Sanskrit language and the name Manu. The Sanskrit term may in turn have come from an equivalent word in the so-called "Proto-Indo-European" language.
Manu was the name of the flood hero in the traditions of India. He, like Noah, is said to have built an ark in which eight people were saved. It is highly probable that Noah and Manu were thus the same individual. "Ma" is an ancient word for "water," so that Manu could mean "Noah of the waters." In the Hebrew Old Testament, the words "water" and "waters" are both translations of mayim, with the syllable yim being the standard Hebrew plural ending.
The "ma" prefix could well be the original form of mar and mer (Spanish and French for, "sea," both from the Latin mare) and thus of such English words as "marine."
In Sanskrit, the name Manu appropriately came to mean "man" or "mankind" (since Manu, or Noah, was the father of all post-flood mankind). The word is related to the Germanic Mannus,2 the founder of the West Germanic peoples. Mannus was mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus in his book Germania.3 Mannus is also the name of the Lithuanian Noah.4 Another Sanskrit form, manusa is closely related to the Swedish manniska,5 both words meaning "human being."
The same name may even be reflected in the Egyptian Menes (founder of the first dynasty of Egypt) and Minos (founder and first king of Crete). Minos was also said in Greek mythology to be the son of Zeus and ruler of the sea.6
The English word "man" is thus also related to the Sanskrit manu, as well as its equivalents in other Germanic languages. Gothic, the oldest known Germanic language, used the form Manna, and also gaman ("fellow man").
The name Anu appears in Sumerian as the god of the firmament, and the rainbow was called "the great bow of Anu,"7 which seems a clear reference to Noah (note Genesis 9:13). In Egyptian mythology Nu was the god of waters who sent an inundation to destroy mankind.8 Nu and his consort Nut were deities of the firmament and the rain. Nu was identified with the primeval watery mass of heaven, his name also meaning "sky."9
For complete article, see: http://www.icr.org/article/166/