Fw: [b-hebrew] Biblical Pronunciation of Waw and Ayin

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Aug 12 11:42:42 EDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
To: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
Cc: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2004 1:11 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: [b-hebrew] Biblical Pronunciation of Waw and Ayin

> On 12/08/2004 10:01, Yigal Levin wrote:
> >...
> >
> >However, since Greek did not have a "V" sound (it does now - Beta in
> >Greek is pronounced Veta), it transliterated most consonantal Vav's with
> >Upsilon. ...
> >
> Are you sure? I would expect omicron-upsilon rather than just upsilon,
> because this combination was generally used for the W sound, e.g. in the
> Greek word OUAI "woe". There are not many proper names with consonantal
> Vav to test this hypothesis with.
> Numbers 13:14: Vophsi > IABI
> Numbers 21:14: Waheb > ZWOB !!
> Ezra 10:36: Vaniah > OUIECWA (2 Esdras 10:36)
> Esther 1:9: Vashti > ASTIN
> Esther 9:9: Vaizatha > ZABOUQAIA !!
> And then there is the controversial YHWH > IAOUE, according to Clement
> of Alexandria, in which "OU" are clearly intended to go together to
> represent the W sound.
> I can only conclude that the Greek translators had no idea what to do
> with consonantal Vav, or perhaps that most of these names beginning with
> Vav result from textual errors - perhaps a couple of them with Zayin
> misread as Vav.
> Peter Kirk

Just my point - they didn't have a "V" sound and "W" was foreign to them
(although, presumably, that's how the Digamma was originally pronounced).
And it's hard to prove anything from rather obscure place and personal
names, since if they were either mispronounced or misspelled, the
Greek-speaking (probably Egyptian) Jews who produced the LXX, not to mention
its non-Jewish copyists and redactors over the centuries, had no idea what
the "original" was.


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