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

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sun Sep 28 14:29:59 EDT 2003

On 27/09/2003 22:24, Liz Fried wrote:

>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Peter Kirk [mailto:peterkirk at qaya.org]
>>Sent: Sat, September 27, 2003 6:01 PM
>>To: Liz Fried
>>Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
>>Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Variants of YHWH in the BHS Text
>>On 27/09/2003 14:42, Liz Fried wrote:
>>>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.
>>Indeed the Greeks didn't have an aspirated H in the middle of words. Nor 
>>for that matter do English speakers - do your students pronounce that 
>>first H in the form you teach them? The second H should of course be 
>>silent anyway, with the pointing I gave. So, if  a Greek speaker had 
>>heard the this pronunciation, complete with aspiration in the middle, 
>>how do you think they would have transliterated it? There is actually 
>>plenty of evidence from LXX for how they did transliterate Hebrew names 
>>whose Hebrew pronunciation is not in dispute. Just one example, Hebrew 
>>)AH:ARON > Greek AARWN illustrates that it was normal for medial he 
>>simply to be dropped, with no attempt to represent e.g. by chi.
>>Peter Kirk
>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.
Add H, yes, but why U or O? After all, the Hebrew basis of Greek ABRAAM 
and AARWN is not Avrahoam or Ahuaron. Maybe Greek IAOUE might be more 
like Yahue, but in Greek it would not be well-defined whether this was 
two syllables yah-we or three syllables ya-hu-e. To go back to Hebrew, 
if the vav is used as evidence for a central U or O vowel it cannot be 
reused as a consonant, but I supposed the pronunciation could be 
something like ya-hu-he, or even ya-huah with a furtive patah before he 
with mappiq. So maybe your conclusion is not so off-based, but not 
because HU or HO is dropped.

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

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