Mesha Stele and the Tetragrammaton

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Fri Feb 23 07:31:02 EST 2001

OK, I misunderstood you: your Greek W was a representation of digamma, and
you are referring to a Greek text in which the name YHWH was written
iota-alpha-digamma-epsilon or something similar. That seems to me extremely
improbable given the early disappearance of digamma, but it is not
impossible. Please can you give the reference for this text.

Peter Kirk

-----Original Message-----
From: Eduardo M. Acuna [mailto:eacuna at]
Sent: 22 February 2001 16:39
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: RE: Mesha Stele and the Tetragrammaton

> May I ask again, what do you mean by "the greek use of W"? There is no
> letter W in the Greek alphabet. The shape W is used by convention in
> and online texts for the Greek letter omega, but this usage became
> widespread only in the computer era, and certainly cannot predate the
> addition of W to the Latin alphabet which is medieval. So the
> IAVE attested in an ancient document cannot possibly result from the
> use of W for omega and for waw.
I disagree. Clement of Alexandria in Stromates 6.16 talks about the
disappeared letter of the alphabet whose number corresponds to six. The
letter was the greek digamma which corresponds to the Waw (sixth letter of
the hebrew alphabeth) consonant and the Omega was the correspondent to the
vowel Waw. John in Apocalypsis 1.8 writes "I am the alpha and the omega"
he writes alpha using the complete name of the letter while in omega he
writes only W, alone.
> So that rules out your step [2]. I have yet to see any comprehensible
> evidence for your step [1]. Step [3] is also wrong, for the abbreviated
> YAH. has a mappiq in the he and so should be pronounced IAH with an
> H.
So it does not rules out my step [2]. Regarding your opinion about step
[3], I also disagree since the pronunciation with the mappiq corresponds
to the second H in YHWH = Y [HW] H = YH, i.e., I [ehou] ah.
> > -snip-
> > In late LXX the complete greek word for ADONAI, KURIOS, was used as a
> > replacement for YHWH. It is worth to note that it was not inverted
> > (SOIRUK). The abbreviation KS from K(URIO)S may stand as a recognition
> > the abbreviation of Y(HW)H, as YH.
> >
> > The complete phonetic transcription: IAWE, is the samaritan
> > IAVE documented by Photius in his letter 162 to Amphiloque, which is the
> > modern Iahveh, Yahveh or Yahweh.
> > -snip-
> >
> The samaritan pronunciation IAVE is a non sense.
> The non sense of IAVE [Yahweh] comes from the fact that it is the result
> of mixed origins:
> A.- [1] the transliteration of the phonetic transcription of the
> incomplete inverted vowels of ADONAI as IAW. [2] The greek use of W as a
> transliteration for O, which is the very same letter used for the hebrew
> Waw and leading to the V as a phonetic transcription and B].- [3] The
> abbreviation of Y[HW]H as YH, pronounced IA. [4] the “matres lectionis”
> YHW being rendered as [YH]W, [IA]V, easily extended to [YH][WH], [IA][VE],
> for the Tetragrammaton.
> <snip>

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