[b-hebrew] Proto-Semitic, was WAYYIQTOL

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Wed Mar 17 21:19:06 EST 2004

On Wednesday 17 March 2004 03:35, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 16/03/2004 17:07, Karl Randolph wrote:
> >Peter:
> >
> >English pronounces Latin loan words
> >according to a certain set of rules. Was
> >Latin at the time of the ceasars spoken
> >according to the same rules as modern
> >English rules for the same words? No one
> >that I know of would make that claim.
> >
> >By the time of the Masoretes, Hebrew had
> >not been spoken as a native language for
> >near a millennium. How do we know that the
> >Masorete pronunciation, very likely based
> >on Aramaic or other languages, was the same
> >as Hebrew was spoken a thousand years
> >earlier? There is reason to doubt it.
> We know quite a lot about how Hebrew was pronounced at various times
> from transliterations of names in the Septuagint, in the New Testament,
> in Origen's Hexapla, in the Vulgate, etc etc. If you want to go back to
> the pre-exilic period, we know some things from cuneiform and Egyptian
> hieroglyphic transcriptions of names, although there may be some doubt
> about their original pronunciation.

This may digress a bit, but I think it also might apply to the discussion, but 
as I recall, the Erasmian pronunciation that has been in use for New 
Testament Greek was based on the same sort of extrapolation, especially 
pronunciation of names that carried over into Latin.  But the current wisdom 
tends to downgrade the value of Erasmus' system and declare those proper-name 
pronunciation extrapolations suspect at best.  I wonder if the same is being 
said, or could be applied, to pronunciation of Hebrew using names in the LXX 
and elsewhere?  Note that I'm not saying I agree with the critics of the 
Erasmian system, I'm just pointing out that some have called this method into 

Dave Washburn
Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
is like getting a kiss over the telephone.

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