hu=hi?

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Wed Jul 31 03:48:27 EDT 2002


What he said.  My thanks as well.

> My thanks to the list for the opportunity to share my views on this
> question.  Both Dave and I have opined at length, and I am satisfied that my
> points are understood even if not shared.
> Shalom le-Khulkhem,
> Charles David Isbell
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dave Washburn" <dwashbur at nyx.net>
> To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 6:24 PM
> Subject: Re: hu=hi?
> 
> 
> > Charles,
> >
> > > Hi Dave,
> > >
> > > Akkadian regularly uses shu and shi; Syriac hu'a and hi'a; and the
> oldest
> > > Aramaic inscriptions are all distinguished.  Old South Arabic, which is
> > > throughout conservative, clearly regards the distinction as
> huwwa'/hiyya'.
> >
> > Which "oldest Aramaic inscriptions" do you refer to?
> >
> > > As to my "jab," I see that you ignored it but the Hippopotamus
> apparently
> > > did not.
> >
> > "Hippopotamus" for "hypothesis" is one of my standard bits of silliness.
> I use it in
> > reference to my own as well as others'.
> >
> > I do not intend to harpoon anyone either way, but simply to note
> > > that the confusion in orthography, which Randall and others have pointed
> out
> > > correctly interchange YOD and VAV, is all late.  Again, I fail to see
> where
> > > the hu/hi situation in the Pentateuch bears on the DH one way or the
> other,
> > > and I have not weighed in on either side.  It is my observation that
> those
> > > who think or wish it dead find evidence of its demise in a variety of
> > > graves, while those who find it useful are still trying to modify it on
> a
> > > case by case basis without abandoning it altogether.  That is ALL I
> meant by
> > > "the eye of the individual beholder."  Show me a scholar who holds one
> > > position strongly and yet sees the evidence as mixed and I will retract
> even
> > > this statement that you take as a "jab."
> >
> > You're looking at him.  I hold to Mosaic authorship in the main, and hold
> it strongly,
> > yet I see questionable elements such as the anachronistic "Dan" in Gen 14
> and other
> > mixed evidence, and as yet I haven't really come up with a unified theory
> to explain it
> > all any more than anyone else has.  The goal, as Gordon Lewis used to say,
> is to find
> > the theory that best explains all the evidence with the least number of
> problems.  In
> > my case, I'm not convinced yet that the orthographical evidence points to
> lateness,
> > because as I mentioned, without the Matres Lectionis, we don't really know
> what
> > early pronunciation was and whether the situation under consideration
> reflects a late
> > development or preservation of an earlier pronunciation pattern.  Any and
> all of us
> > are free to assume one or the other, and I think a good case can be made
> either
> > way.
> >
> > If you wish to view Moses as the
> > > author of the Pentateuch, by all means do so with my blessing.  I would
> then
> > > merely ask how the great one himself could have been confused by so
> simple a
> > > matter a personal pronouns.
> >
> > When I see him, I'll ask him ;-)
> >
> > > In this regard, I think you are confusing orthography with grammatical
> > > function.  That is, if the earliest Hebrew mss. wrote H) for BOTH, that
> does
> > > not mean they were ever the same in function or pronunciation.
> >
> > Agreed, but as usual, arguments from silence cut both ways.  It doesn't
> mean they
> > weren't.  That's precisely my point, we don't really know.
> >
> > The VAV and
> > > YOD were added much later to assist those who, lacking native fluency in
> the
> > > language, could not make the distinction without such a crutch.
> >
> > What's your source for this statement?  We have what appear to be ML's in
> the
> > Siloam Tunnel inscription, several of the Lachish letters and elsewhere;
> in the DSS
> > we most often see KWL, with a ML, whereas in the MT it's consistently
> written
> > defectively; the DSS commonly use the pronominal suffix KFH, where the MT
> > (consonantal text) writes defectively; by contrast, with the possible
> exception of
> > YWM, the Yavneh-Yam ostracon doesn't appear to include any ML's at all.
> So we
> > have at least a few written vowel letters in the time of Hezekiah and at
> the fall of
> > Judah, but the one ostracon from Josiah's time doesn't show any, whereas
> at the
> > time of the DSS they are in common use (do you really want to say that the
> scrolls'
> > writers lacked native fluency?) but by the time the MT is standardized, at
> least some
> > have passed off the scene and others are inconsistent.  I really doubt
> that the
> > historical picture is as clear as you suggest.
> >
> > A similar
> > > situation holds today in modern Hebrew.  In an unpointed text, the
> > > ORTHOGRAPHY of "Pretty" is the same whether one reads YeLeD Y-F-H or
> YaLDaH
> > > Y-F-H. A speaker of Hebrew knows instantly seeing the one that it is
> > > pronounced YaFeH and the other YaFaH. This is clear not from the
> orthography
> > > but from the word being modified.  Only Hebrew beginners would need to
> have
> > > the points added to help them make the correct decision.  So in a
> > > consonantal Pentateuchal text, BEFORE the addition of VAV or YOD as a
> > > pronunciation guide to the perplexed, BOTH forms would be written the
> same,
> > > but a native speaker would have little difficulty in knowing which was
> > > which.
> >
> > Agreed.  But if we assume the Masoretes were preserving the pronunciation
> > traditions as handed down to them, they should have known, as well.  So
> none of this
> > really helps to explain the phenomenon under consideration.  The reasons
> for it are
> > still as clear as mud.
> >
> > The point of the original question from Liz was whether the
> > > confusion indicated an early or a late date.  Since the confusion is
> > > essentially a Pentateuchal phenomenon and since all the evidence I have
> seen
> > > here so far indicates that the confusion occurred late [surely your
> > > strongest plea builds on the DSS chirography], at least AFTER the need
> arose
> > > for helping vowel indicators, I still fail to see how an early date
> could be
> > > indicated.
> >
> > I believe the original quote that Liz offered and asked about gives a
> possible answer,
> > and for myself I'm not convinced that "all the evidence" points to a late
> phenomenon.
> > I'm also not totally convinced that what we are dealing with is a
> "confusion."
> >
> > [snip]
> > Dave Washburn
> > http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
> >
> >
> >
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> 

Dave Washburn
http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur





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