[b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Mon Aug 1 11:53:19 EDT 2005

According to the paradigms offered at the back of Davidson's introductory Hebrew 
grammar, lamed-he verbs in the hiphil and hophal are bisyllabic with a final 'eh'
e.g. YaGLeH, YaaGLeH
But we also need to consider the pe-guttural. The example given in Davidson's 
paradigms is:
Ya)aMiiD, Yaa)aMaD
Both have a vowel to facilitate the pronunciation of the guttural. I personally find 
it quite hard,but not impossible, to pronounce the 'he' in YaHWeH and when I succeed
it becomes part of the second syllable rather than an end to the first syllable.
Another factor we have to take into account is the the fact that HWH is an ayin-waw 
verb and so the standard 'a' vowel under the pe-guttural could well be affected by 
this. Alas, herein we reach data limitations because the verb example offered by 
Davidson has biliteral root and not a triliteral one but the exaples are as follows.

It appears that the verb HWH is irregular on three counts and that we must consider 
more than the lamed-he aspect in order to make a reliable reconstruction. If we take 
into account only the lamed-he we get the form:


which is admittedly popular in scholarly circles.
However, applying also the pe-guttural we get the form:


which seems to stand in opposition to the transliterations at our disposal.
Applying also the ayin-waw component it is not impossible that this factor 
has an influence on the second vowel which would produce something like:


which seems to be in agreement with both the theophoric components and the transliteration


Any thoughts?

Love and Shalom
James Christian

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Kirk [mailto:peterkirk at qaya.org]
Sent: Mon 8/1/2005 12:23 PM
To: Read, James C
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation
On 01/08/2005 12:09, Read, James C wrote:

> ...
> Peter! Can you run me through the long 'eh' reasoning again? I still 
> haven't
> quite got the grasp of it.
I rather think there are two bases for this:

1) The Greek attestations of the name, which mostly end in -E, or -AI 
which was pronounced like a long "e".

2) The hypothesis that the name is derived from a form of the verb HWH, 
which would typically end in -e(h).

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

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