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

Trevor Peterson 06peterson at cua.edu
Sun Sep 28 06:39:28 EDT 2003

Liz wrote:
> Exactly so. So based on the Greek transliteration we ought to 
> feel free to add an aspirated H at the beginning of a sylable 
> in the middle of the word (a HU or HO), which we never do. So 
> I'm not convinced that YAHUAH or YAHOAH is so off-based. Liz

Maybe the problem is that you're using the wrong sound in your
explanation. If the Greek transliteration is IAOUE, and both sides are
saying that Greek would drop the /h/ from the writing, that gets us as
far as supposing a form like IA(h)OUE. The way I would progress from
there is to think of forms like OUAI and consider that OU seems to be
the closest thing Greek has to a /w/. Since initial I+vowel is a rather
standard transliteration in Hebrew names starting with yod, we end up
with /yahw/E.

Now, picking up from the common elements of the argument (/yah/OUE), you
seem to be suggesting that we suppose the vav also drops out of the
transliteration (like the he), leaving nothing but I representing
initial yod and the vowels of the name--/yah/OU(w)E--which gives us
something like /yahuw/E.* We know (from separate examples that Peter and
I cited) that /h/ typically drops out of Greek transliterations. But I
can't think offhand of the normal behavior of /w/. More to the point, I
don't know what normally happens when /uw/ is transliterated into Greek.
I would expect the separate sounds to each appear as OU, but I don't
know what they would do together. Does anyone know?

*--At least, I assume that is what you mean. The other possibility I can
see is that the O is taken as the vowel and the U as the consonant, but
I'd be pretty suspicious of that approach. OU is a diphthong in Greek,
and I don't think anyone would have found a transliteration helpful that
violated the rule.

Trevor Peterson

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