[b-hebrew] END OF THREAD: Variants of YHWH in the BHS Text

furuli at online.no furuli at online.no
Sun Sep 28 06:28:27 EDT 2003

Dear Liz,

The things that bother you are real, because Yahweh is an artificial 
construction which has absolutely no basis in old Hebrew sources.  It 
is reported by some Church fathers that the Samaritans used a 
pronunciation close to Yahweh, but there are no Hebrew sources 
pointing in this direction.

An important argument against Yahweh is that it has just two 
syllables, whereas the evidence from theophoric Hebrew names in the 
Tanakh points in the direction of three syllables. There are so many 
names beginning with YEHU (YAHU?) suggesting that this was the 
pronunciation of the first two syllables. The forms YHW  (YAHU or 
YAHO ) from Elephantine may very well represent the first two 
syllables of an apocopated form.

We realize that the Masoretic pointing (E-A, E-O-A, E-I) do not tell 
us anything about the original pronunciation of YHWH.  However, few 
realize that the opposite is true as well.  There is no reason to 
believe that the Masoretes knew how YHWH originally was pronounced, 
so their borrowing the  vowels of )LHYM  and )DNY in no way rules out 
that these vowels were used in the original pronunciation.

Best regards

Rolf Furuli

>We will allow an answer to Liz recent points about the pronunciation of the
>tetragrammaton, shown here.  Keep it on track, folks!
>Dear Dave et.al.,
>I pronounce the name Yahweh when I teach
>largely because scholars have for the most
>part decided that this is how it was pronounced.
>As Peter says, it's based on the Greek where it was
>written IAOUE. However, several things have always
>bothered me about this. 1) it doesn't conform to any of
>the theophoric names that we have, 2) it doesn't conform
>to what we know from Elephantine, and 3) the Greeks, to
>my knowledge, do not have an aspirated H in the middle of
>their words, so that sound if there could not have been expressed.
>herefore, it doesn't make sense to me that Yah-weh is correct.

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