[b-hebrew] Transliterating from Hebrew to Greek
jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Mon Jan 18 12:01:48 EST 2010
2010/1/18 Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>
> In one wants to do this, one needs to consider the phonology of the
> languages across time, like 2nd Temple Hebrew, 2-3 century BCE Greek,
> and also 3-4c CE Greek when our uncials B, A, and Sinaiticus were
> copied. Fragments and the minor prophet scroll from earlier times round
> out the picture.
> > 1) Ayin has no correspondent in the Greek and so it moves straight
> > on to the
> > following vowel.
> this is correct, though from what follows I'm not sure that it was
> > 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).
> Confusion? Greek has it correct.
> Hebrew 'p' was probably aspirated, just like English 'p' is aspirated.
> For aspiration you may be thinking of modern Greek/Erasmian phi='f'?
> Unaspirated Greek pi was like Spanish 'p'. But Hebrew did not have a
> phonemic feature aspirated vs. unaspirated stops the way that Greek
> and Sanskrit did.
This is a bit of a messy area but I agree that you seem to have touched on
the basic points. There are so many variables here that we have a bit of a
mess. All we can really say with certainty is that:
1) We know the difference between pi and phi in modern Greek dialects.
2) There was some difference in Attic and Koine Greek also but we are not
entirely clear what it was
3) Hebrew may or not originally have represented two different phones with
its consonantal equivalent
4) By the time of the pointing of the MT there clearly was a difference in
Hebrew and so the scribes made this evident with differences in pointing.
This leads to an absolute mess of variables with many possible logical
frameworks. Of course we can call in evidence from other languages but that
just adds more variables to the confusion.
> > 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.
> Why "despite"??. An Indoeuropean velar fricative is not a Het, which is
> a pharyngeal fricative, voiceless. Greek had nothing
> like Hebrew Het, instead, just like `ayin, the voiced pharyngeal,
> Greek tended to
> skip it.
> But there is a caveat here, because Hebrew dialects tended to preserve
> the pharyngeal/velar contrast that was lost in Phoenician and thus not in
> Phoenician-based alphabet.
> So Het's and `Ayin's that were VELAR (something not shown
> in the Hebrew writing system but sometimes showing up in names like "Gaza")
> were sometimes retained as Greek velars. And Greek velars 'g' and 'chi'
> became fricatives quite early, probably by the 1st century. Consider
> words on the
> 'holy' root spelled IGERO- (ιγερο- for IERO- ιερο)
Agreed. I originally didn't write despite. I originally wrote how Greek had
no chet sound but then thought someone might pick me up on the chi. So I
changed it to what it now says. Looks like it backfired but I'm glad you've
shown that they were two different enough sounds for the Greek
transliterator not to have used it.
> > We only
> > see its trace in the middle of an unusual combination of Greek
> > vowels ηω
> And here one must ask which value of HTA was intended, an [i] or [e], and
> always remembering to ask according to which manuscripts?
> Apparently, HTA went to [i] around the 2nd century CE, maybe a little
> Fortunately, because this was about 4-5 centuries later than EI went to I,
> the spelling traditions with HTA are relatively stable, especially in the
> centuries 2-5 CE, when the historical spellings were usually preserved.
I'm not sure you can say most of what you just said in the last paragraph
with any degree of certainty. We've just thrown even more variables into the
Computationally speaking the more variables you throw into the mess the more
the number of plausible frameworks exponentially explodes making which
particular framework you put your trust in a matter of faith.
The only things we can say with certainty is that a lot of the consonant
values in Hebrew (whatever they were) had no correspondent in Greek and
where skipped. We can also see a pretty much consistent use of Omega where
we find holem waw in the MT.
> Randall Buth, PhD
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
More information about the b-hebrew