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

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sun Sep 28 18:48:57 EDT 2003

On 28/09/2003 15:24, Jason Hare wrote:

>BTW, one of the things that keeps me liking these two suggestions (and
>that's all they are) is that they maintain the consonantal nature of the
>first Heh. I just don't think that Heh would tend to be a /mater lectionis/
>in the middle of a word. I know that it (sorta) happens in forms of HYH -- 
>LiH:YoWT, &c. However, I don't think that it would function as a normal -ah
>within a word. Are there examples of this happening? Heh is normally a
>/mater/ at the end of a word.
Jason, I have never suggested that the first he is an unpronounced 
mater. There is no need to insert a vowel after he to make sure it is 
pronounced. In the form I preferred, where it is pointed with a sheva, 
it is a fully pronounced root consonant, as always when non-final, even 
in LIH:YOWT etc. And he can be pronounced word finally, when it is 
pointed with mappiq to indicate that it is not a mater. This accords 
with the general rule that a base letter with any kind of pointing is 
never silent, but that a non-final base letter without pointing, unless 
followed by full holem or shuruq, is silent.

In English we are not used to pronouncing an H sound at the end of a 
syllable. But this was perfectly normal in biblical Hebrew and still is 
in middle Eastern languages. It is no accident that for example the 
modern Turkish Bible uses, in the introduction and footnotes, the form 
"Yahve", which makes it clear in a language where there is a clear 
distinction that the first H is pronounced and the second is not - in 
line with the link to the verb "to be" explained in the footnote to 
Exodus 3:14.

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

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