[b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

Patrick J. Emsweller patrick at clubgraves.com
Mon Aug 1 21:27:37 EDT 2005


I don't know if this would interest you or if you may know of it already,
but I remembered coming across one of my readings referring to a Chinese
Emperor Yao, a mythological legend I believe. Here is a link to wikipedia
and you can do a google search like "Chinese Emperor + Yao" that brings up
some more links that could be of interest.  Anyway thought I would throw it
out, it is extra biblical but may not be necessarily Semitic. 



-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Read, James C
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 11:14 AM
To: Harold R. Holmyard III; b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

I sometimes wonder, but maybe I am just paranoid, if 
there are modern day Hebrews in high standing who keep 
the real pronunciation and meaning of yhwh as a closely 
guarded secret and pass them down from generation to 
generation to keep them alive.
I noticed before that someone mentiones that Josephus 
commented that 'it was no longer lawful' for him to 
pronounce the name, implying that it happened in his 
lifetime and that the current pronunciation was known to 
him. Does anyone know where exactly he says that? I 
should be very interested in reading the account.
It was also questioned before why ehyeh (hyh) is related 
to yhwh (hwh). I have reason to believe that as the name 
had already been widely accepted as being pronounced in 
certain way at the time of the penning of the Torah that 
this is why yhwh remained as it was even though the common 
usage in the Hebrew of that time was to use the hyh form. 
The reason I have come to this conclusion is the patterns we 
see in scripture before the widespread of the superstition 
which banned its usage.
1) Early MSS of the LXX show a hebrew tetragrammaton amongst 
Greek writing
2) DSS, in places, show archaic lettering of yhwh amidst the 
by now widely accepted aramaic lettering of the rest of the 
These factors led me to believe that the behaviour was to preserve 
its ancient pronunciation against the flow of evolution of the 
rest of the language. Thus Moshe wrote ehyeh as the normal way 
of saying the verb form in his day while he wrote yhwh which had 
already by now been written in stone (so to speak).

Does anyone know of extrabiblical semitic texts which attest to 
the divine name as a foreign god? 

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