[b-hebrew] Are peh, taw and kaf aspirated in Biblical Hebrew?
kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Jun 3 02:23:24 EDT 2003
I noticed when reading the Majority Text of the New Testament that place names in Judea were almost constantly written with the kaf written with a chi, peh a phi, and the taw with a theta, while those names from Galilee were sometimes written as in Judea, sometimes with kaf as a kappa, peh as a pi and taw with a tau. For example, Nazareths taw is written with a tau and not a theta, Capernaum the kaf with a kappa, the peh with a pi, the two taws in Matthew, the first with a tau, the second with a theta. (This raises a question for me: if the Majority Text is accurate enough as to preserve something as inconsequential as indications of a difference of pronunciation between Judea and Galilee, while the Nestlé / Aland text does not, could it be more accurate where it differs in other areas as well? But thats off topic for this board.)
Is it not true that when spellings are fluid, that letters tend to remain stable in pronunciation, as when the German city of Stratteburg changed to Straßburg, but when spellings are static, the letters change pronunciations? So Hebrew, when it was no longer spoken by the majority of Jews, its spelling froze while the pronunciations changed, a change masked by the static spelling?
Karl W. Randolph.
> Thanks for the information about Greek.
> But I guess that people of that period transliterating
> Hebrew into Greek, if peh, taw and kaf were at that time pronounced as
> fricatives, would have chosen phi, theta and chi as the best fit. And it is
> certainly not out of the question that the changes in Greek could have
> prompted changes in how Hebrew was pronounced, but all the more so if Hebrew
> was in fact dying as a spoken language.
> Peter Kirk
> peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
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