[b-hebrew] Re: PS /g/

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Nov 17 21:01:45 EST 2004


I am not a scholar of Greek language, New Testament nor NT textual criticism, never was, and so I leave the argument to those who are scholars. Harstad and his school claim that the "Coptic" (referring to Egypt, not language) rescension of Greek manuscripts is not the oldest line, and I, beyond reporting about it, will leave the discussion alone.

However, I now think that the soft sounds of BGD KPT letters in Hebrew are a late development, not original. And to see that at least in the Byzantine tradition of NT manuscripts that some of the transcribed names had the hard sound where later Hebrew had soft gives some (weak) support to my theory. That the texts that Nestlé is based on have a later pronunciation could very well be a result that they were produced in a millieu where there were many Jews (e.g. Alexandria) who could keep the scribes up to date on the latest Hebrew pronunciations.

The claim that the soft and hard sounds were original and peacefully coexisted over the millennia until the Masorites codified them with their points, does not match known patterns of language shift and development. (Don't anybody say that I claim that the Masorites invented anything other than the points themselves. They did not invent the pronunciations they codified.) Languages both lose and gain phones and phonemes, and I don't see that Hebrew should be an exception.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>

> On 17/11/2004 23:29, Karl Randolph wrote:
> >...
> >Harstad et al claim that the Byzantine tradition represents an older tradition than Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and others of the "Coptic" tradition. They say that accident of preservation does not necessarily mean older tradition.
> >  
> >
> Well, you can speculate that the Byzantine pronunciation is an older one 
> than the Nestlé etc one, but unless you can produce evidence for this 
> (and you cannot) you have left the realm of scholarship and for that of 
> speculation. And the word "Coptic" is quite inappropriate as these are 
> Greek language texts, of a family sometimes described as Alexandrian, 
> after the city founded by al-Iskandar = Dhul Karnain. He seems to be 
> cropping up in every thread!
> >Of interest to the B-Hebrew subject, the Byzantine tradition preserves more hard consonants than the Nestlé text, e.g. Nazaret instead of Nazareth, Matthaion instead of Maththaion, Kaparnaum instead of Kafarnaum (modern Kfarnahum) (e.g. Matt. 4:13). However most hard consonants had turned to soft (t -> th, p -> f, etc.) by that time, even in the Byzantine tradition.
> >  
> >
> This seems to suggest that the spelling differences reflect a change in 
> Greek rather than Hebrew pronunciation.
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/

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