[b-hebrew] Transliterating from Hebrew to Greek
jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Mon Jan 18 10:00:17 EST 2010
recent discussions have led me to take a closer look at transliteration
patterns from Hebrew to Greek. I share my preliminary observations below:
>From Genesis 2:8 we see Eden in MT as עֵדֶן however, in Greek we see Eδεμ
(edem) thus highlighting two features.
1) Ayin has no correspondent in the Greek and so it moves straight on to the
2) A confusion between the similarly pronounced phones of n and m.
In Genesis 2:11 we see the river Pishon in MT as פִּישׁוֹן while in Greek φισων
thus highlighting other interesting features:
1) A confusion between aspirate p and unaspirated p (Greek uses phi).
2) We see Greek omega (long o) stading in the place of holem waw as we would
In Genesis 2:13 we see the river Gishon in MT as גִּיחוֹן while in Greek we
see γηων thus highlighting more interesting features:
1) Despite Greek having a letter chi kh sound is completely omitted. We only
see its trace in the middle of an unusual combination of Greek vowels ηω
2) Long /i:/ vowel transliterated with η
3) Again Greek omega stands for holem waw as we would expect (we haven't
gone far into the Torah but we are already starting to notice a consistent
We see in MT אָדָם but in LXX we see Aδαμ again highlighting an already seen
1) Impossible to represent consonant aleph is dropped from transliteration
and its following vowel is the first letter we see (i.e. alpha)
In general, we see that problem consonants are omitted and their nearest
vowels are used instead. This pattern is considerably evident and well
testified for the Hebrew holem waw combination which is consistently
transliterated with Greek Omega (if there are counter examples I would be
delighted to see them).
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