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

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sun Sep 28 14:59:37 EDT 2003

On 28/09/2003 11:41, Liz Fried wrote:

>>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.
>A furtive patah! of course!
>Right, I ran into problems, cuz I cannot have the W be both a vowel and a
>consonant, and I cannot have two vowels together.
>But YaHUaH would solve it all, no?
Well, in favour we have the final he with mappiq in the short form Yah.

But against, we have the etymology. Yahuah with a mappiq would have to 
come from an otherwise unattested root he - vav - he, with the last he a 
real one marked by mappiq and not a yod which has been dropped and then 
replaced by a he mater. So no relationship with HYH/HWH (really HYY/HWY) 
= "to be", and Exodus 3:14 becomes at best a misleading folk etymology. 
While I don't usually set much store by etymology, other things being 
equal it is better to link a word to a well known Semitic root than to 
an otherwise unknown one.

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

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