[b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Aug 1 07:03:42 EDT 2005

On 01/08/2005 07:27, Vadim Cherny wrote:

>>The form IAW is just one of many different attested Greek forms of the
>>Name. It deserves no more specific attention than the others. But it
>>clearly corresponds to the first part of the names starting Jeho-, since
>>sheva was often represented by alpha and Greek has no "h".
>Why Iaw? Iao. Iaw gives substance to the verb hypothesis.
IAW is intended to represent Greek iota-alpha-omega (in the regular 
scholarly transcription), which is I understand the form actually found 
- although maybe there is also sometimes "iao" in Latin. I did not 
intend to suggest a final W consonant.

But why should I avoid suggestions which give substance to the verb 
hypothesis? I am only quoting the evidence.

>All other forms are derivative from Iao, as far as I understand. None of
>them is even remotely related to any possible pronunciation of the verb.
>That Greeks had no he doesn't mean that they could not transcribe it and
>omitted it. ...

True, they COULD have replaced it by gamma or something, as in Russian. 
But the fact is that they did not. It is abundantly clear from many 
transcriptions of biblical and other names that the normal practice was 
simply to omit he.

>... If alpha is for shewa, then it is completely incredible that
>reasonably careful Clement omitted both sounds he. The first he is
>sufficiently strong for the Greeks to hear; the sound is closer to gamma
>than to nil. ...

Maybe to Russian ears, because they are used to "h" transcribed as the 
Cyrillic version of gamma. But I think this usage derives from a dialect 
pronunciation of Cyrillic ghe which is closer to "h", as in modern 
Ukrainian and Belarussian, cf. Russian Gomel', Grodno = Belarussian 
Homel, Hrodno. In fact the evidence is clear that Greeks transliterated 
the "h" sound as zero.

>... Also, if your careful Greeks represented schwa with alpha, all
>the more they should represent somehow the second he - much strong than
>schwa. ...

Well, my position is that the final he of YHWH is in fact silent.

>I think, Feldman also cites Varro for Iao. It is unlikely that Romans, too,
>did not hear any he. ...

Maybe, but very likely Varro was transliterating a Greek version of the 

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

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