Jerusalem, neuter plural

Joe A. Friberg JoeFriberg at
Wed Sep 8 15:43:22 EDT 1999

----- Original Message -----
From: <peter_kirk at>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>

> Summary: The majority of Hebrew dual form names are rendered as -aim
> or -ain in LXX. There is some inconsistency, especially in the
> renderings of "Mahanaim" (which is also often translated as
> "Parembolai") Some have shortened endings such as -an. Only once is
> there an ending -hm (cf. Greek Yerusalhm). There are no cases of an
> upsilon corrseponding to the Hebrew -AYI-, and there are no cases of a
> suffixed -a or any other declinable Greek ending. This suggests that
> it is very unlikely that the Greek form HIEROSOLUMA is derived from a
> Hebrew dual ending.

I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusions thus far.  Also, with your
point that:
> The closest to the upsilon would be a long I
> sound, as in the Arabic spelling above.

A long /-I-/ could also account for 1) the occurence of -Y- in the 1%
spellings, and 2) for the later /-AYI-/ pronunciation in 2 ways (a)
phonologically it would provide the /Y/ element, and (b) morphologically it
could be re-interpreted as a ending, which could support the change to
a dual.

> On the other hand, I have read
> that the form HIEROSOLUMA is derived from an assimilation to a Greek
> popular etymology: HIERO = "Holy" and SOLUMA = ??

This is interesting--no idea of source?

> We might be able to help in answering Jonathan's question ("the
> pronunciation Yerushalayim is a late development. How late?") by
> looking at forms in other Middle Eastern languages.

Has Syriac been thrown into the mix yet? It is:

Joe Friberg

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