Jerusalem, neuter plural

Jim West jwest at
Tue Sep 7 14:52:26 EDT 1999

At 12:20 AM 9/7/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Those who have taken a cursory look at Latin and English grammar will 
>recognise the ungrammatical nature of the statement "The yod is always 
>optional because it is a matres." I suppose that the writer meant "The 
>yod... is a mater". But perhaps he meant "The yod... is a mattress". 

hahahaha... anyway the reductio ad absurdam peter deftly attempts to apply
here has nothing to do with the issue at hand.. whether i say matres, or
mater, or even mattress, is a complete red herring- but I suppose Peter has
to find something to carp about- as his namesake was quite the fisherman... :-)

>Perhaps the truth value of the two statements is the same.

perhaps not.  if we are weighing truth statements we will hav to discuss a
whole range of philosophical questions- the first- please, peter, describe
in full your epistemology.  then we will be well armed to refute you on your
own field.

>But in fact I agree that the yod, which we are told occurs in 1% of 
>occurrences, is a mater. 

well said.  you are partially right.  thank you for supporting the point I
have made all along.  It is, however, a mater, 100% of the time.

>That is, it is a consonant letter written, 
>originally in unpointed texts, to indicate a vowel sound. In the dual 
>ending (as opposed to the masculine plural ending) the yod does not 
>represent a vowel sound but is rather pronounced as a consonant. Can 
>you find any other cases of a dual ending in which the yod is optional 
>or missing? I think not. 

The last sentence is most revealing and one is almost tempted to believe
Freudian.  In any case, Peter is wrong here.  He suggests that the yod's of
duals are consonants.  they clearly are not.  instead, they are vowels of
the diphthong.  thus, as mater's (matres, or matress- it matters not what
they are called) they function as helpers in pronunciation and are therefore
easily left aside.

>Can you find any other cases in which a 
>consonant sound was to be pronounced but was regularly not written? I 
>think not. 

surely- take any of the furtive pathach endings....

>This is surely a clear indication that at the time when the 
>consonantal text was fixed this city name was not understood as a 

what was the understanding then?  which Jew of the 9th century have you
interviewed to acquire this information?  or are you relying on information
not available to the rest of us?

>The understanding as a dual is also incompatible with the ancient 
>(popular?) etymology of the name as "City of Peace", for the M is a 
>root vowel, not part of a dual ending, in the word for peace, Shalom 
>or possibly Shalem. Then we have the evidence from Aramaic, Greek and 
>other ancient spellings of the name, which as far as I know always 
>include M (no Aramaic dual in N!) but never anything like AYIM.

So you are convinced that the folk etymology is correct?  i am not.  

>Thus the theory has arisen that the traditional pronunciation of the 
>city name changed between the 1st century CE destruction of the city 
>and the time of the Masoretes, for reasons which may include the ones 
>which John put forward initially. No-one is disputing that the 
>Masoretes accurately represented what they heard read, and sought to 
>represent it using unusual pointing to represent a consonant which 
>they heard but which was not in the consonantal text.

nevertheless, removed from the masoretes in time and space you know better
than they how words were pronounced?  this is really remarkable.

>This is surely evidence that requires a more thorough rebuttal than 
>"Nope... Nope... Nope..." and "simply wrong". I look forward to a 
>point by point answer to the points I have made above.

see above.  nevertheless, your "proofs" are no proofs at all but the mere
reiteration of folk etymology.  



Jim West, ThD
email- jwest at
web page-

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