[b-hebrew] Variants of YHWH in the BHS Text

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Sep 22 18:15:56 EDT 2003

On 22/09/2003 05:43, David P Donnelly wrote:

>While taking a quick look at the document:
>"Issues in the Representation of Pointed Hebrew in Unicode (3rd draft)",
>on Peter Kirk’s web site,
>I discovered that at Genesis 3:14 in the BHS,
>the Tetragrammaton is shown just as it is shown in Hebrew word #3068,
>of James Strong's Concordance.
>At Ezekiel 12:25 [in the BHS Text],
>a variant of this form is found,
>which looks almost identical to Hebrew word #3068,
>until you examine it under a magnifying glass.
>Under a magnifying glass, 
>it can be observed that there is a diamond shaped cantillation mark,
>[Revia ??]
>not a holem, 
>above the waw/vav
This is indeed a Revia.

>At Exodus 6:3 [in the BHS Text]
>another variant of YHWH is found,
>in which no holem is found above the waw/vav,
>yet there is a qamets under the waw/vav,
>and a simple shewa under the yod.
This is the commonest version, occurring several thousand times with 
various accents.

>I have chosen only to present the above three variants,
>while ignoring the variants of YHWH found in the BHS Text,
>when YHWH immediately follows Adonay,
>when YHWH immediately precedes Adonay.
>The question I am asking is:
>Are there any Hebrew scholars who have examined the Leningrad Codex,
>and believe that the Leningrad Codex has been tampered with,
>at any of the above three mentioned variants?
>Dave Donnelly
 From a quick search I found that in eBHS the divine name is written 
with about 115 different combinations of vowels and accents. These 
different forms are used to fit with the context and with the 
cantillation of the verse. So you have to consider 115 variants not three.

It is highly improbable that L has been tampered with in any systematic 
way. Why would you suggest that? Remember that there are a number of 
other MSS of comparable date which usually read the same. Of course 
anything could have happened before the earliest pointed MSS which we 
have. But it seems clear that by the time that the Aleppo codex was 
written, some time before L, the traditional way of writing the divine 
name was already more or less fixed and has not been changed since.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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