[B-Greek] Greek spelling of the Tetragrammaton
VadimCherny at mail.ru
Wed Aug 3 04:04:31 EDT 2005
In a recent discussion about the vowelization of the Tetragrammaton on b-hebrew list, I argued against the Tetragrammaton-as-a-verb hypothesis.
Basically, the point is that we have Iao spelling of the name from Diodorus and Varro. Clement has more or less the same Iaoue reflecting the final Hebrew he, or Iaouai, seemingly the plural form of Iao. The association with ass, Iao in Egyptian, shows that the spelling was consistent among different language speakers (Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans) and at different periods.
If YHWH is a verb, its possible spellings are ihie or ihawe. I argued that Greeks were unlikely to transliterate either variant with Iao.
True, Greeks routinely omitted guttural he, but in YHWH he is the only consonantal sound, and pronounced fairly clearly even in Modern Hebrew which all but lost he.
In a similar case of the name Jehu, the shortest transliteration is Iou, seemingly with o for the Hebrew he.
If I am correct, and ihie or ihawe is unlikely to be spelled as Iao, then my hypothesis of YHWH as a set of matres lectionis + suffix of result he remains the only explanation, fully conformant with the spelling Iao. YHW matres lectionis are the possessive suffixes for 1-2-3 person, respectively, making YHWH mean "mine, thine, his" or "I, thou, he." A similar process of compounding the possessive suffixes created, I believe, suffix of duality ai-e-im and of abstract plurality au-o-on-ot.
I realize that we cannot say with certainty how the Greeks would have transliterated this or that word. I can, however, ask for your informed opinion, whether you think it is plausible that the Greeks transliterated ihie or ihawe as Iao?
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