[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.
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
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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