[b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Tue Aug 2 15:11:49 EDT 2005


RE: [b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation> I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear.
When I asked about masoretic pointing I was talking about the pointing of the theophoric
components. How do you account for these?

YHW=YHH with he instead of waw for 3ms suffix=YH with mappiq.
Since he is mater lectionis for a, natural vowelization is YaH.
YHU/ YHO have U/O for 3ms suffix.

Vadim Cherny



RE: [b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation> The rules for hebrew syllable structure, to the best of my knowledge, are quite
set in stone. We have CV  CVC

well, there are all kinds; cvcc


> but I have never seen VVV

you have; YHW
But serioously, YHW is not a word, but a compound. Like an acronym, it doesn't conform to morphological rules.

> Plus do you think you could go through the Egyptian/Clementine evidence again but
this time much slower and give links to the passages so that readers can verify your
proofs? It would make reading and accepting your arguments much easier.

Iao is commonly cited as an Egyptian for ass. True or not, I can't judge. Since our knowledge of Egyptian vowels is sparse to none, I wonder about that word, but it is so cited often.

Clement cited Iao variants. Someone gave references in a recent post; they are fairly well-known, and you can check in many online libraries. Diodorus was cited by Feldman in Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World.

> The IW (iota-omega) prefix we see in the LXX is quite clearly a transliteration of
the shortened divine name YHW with pronuniciation Y:HoW.

*If* YHWH is a verb, then he is relatively well heard even today, and should have been heard still stronger in antiquity. True, Greeks generally omit he, but, as I wrote to Peter, that happens in the words that have other consonants. In yhwh verb, he is the only candidate for consonantal pronunciation, and Greeks would have written it somehow, with epsilon, perhaps, but possibly even with gamma.
On the other hand, *if* YHW is a set of matres lectionis, then Io and Iao transliterations are natural.

> How do you account for the Masoretic pointing.

They deliberately mis-pointed the name, to keep it from being pronounced in vain. To think that they correctly vowelized the name is ridiculous. To do so, would have opened the name to multitude of empty pronunciations in daily prayers, etc.

> Another thing you should maybe take on board is that nobody said no to pronounce a verb,
they only abolished the use of the verb as a name. It's more modern etymological child verb
HYH is among the most common verbs of the bible.

hih is not "more modern." It's Hebrew, as opposed to Aramaic hwh.
*If* YHWH is a verb, then it is ludicrous to imagine--as is clearly stated elsewhere--that only the high priest knew it.

Vadim Cherny



RE: [b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation> Ok!Now I'm finally starting to understand you. You think IAO represents the suffixes I.You.He
which we find at the end of verbs.

nouns, too

> Your reason for this is that you feel that the IAO transliteration is more valid than the others, although, I'm still not sure why.

Because it is the only attested ancient pronunciation. Clement's are straighforward derivations from Iao.
Other arguments include: the Egyptian word Iao with related meaning, and impossibility of declaring a well-known hwh verb a great secret.

> Also, do you think you could humour me and say you/yours instead of thee/thine?

To avoid confusing 2nd and 3rd person.

> On to the theophoric componenents and the shortened name Yah. I still haven't entirely
understood how you would relate these to your suffix theory.

Assuming that Iao stands for 1-2-3s suffixes, imagine these transformations:

3ms suffix hu (later became au, then o) could be written as he rather than waw. This transforms Y-H-W into Y-H-H, or YH with mappiq. Thus the form YH or YaH.
Writing 3ms suffix as hu instead of waw, YH becomes YHu or YHo.

> Also, how does your theory entwine with Yah's revelation of his name to Moshe?

Let's keep this to linquistic issues.

> And what vowels would you have us put in YHWH to make your theoretical form pronounceable?

We started from that: Iao. No vowels. YHW consist of all matres lectionis; in a sense, monument to the linguistic breakthrough, invention of matres lectionis.

> Do you agree that the theophoric components were pronounced Yaho/Yahu/Y:ho/Y:hu?

No. Iota-omega. He was not pronounced precisely because it is mater lectionis, and its "a" sound was assimilated into omega.

> Can you cite any other examples of a 'he' maters lectionis midword?

YHW is not a morphologically normal word.

Vadim Cherny


RE: [b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciationStart with possessive suffixes: i, a, u. For this or that reason, not essential here, supportive consonants were introduced: i, ca (ta), hu.. Suffix consonants lack semantical importance. Also note that 3ms hu-au-o, giving rise to yhu-yho-yao variants.

There is a noun "an," essence. Ani (or, with non-essential suffix consonant, anoci) is "my essence," abstracized as I. Ata is anta, "thine essence" that became "thou." Anacnu is similarly "our essence." Different etymologies were proposed for hu, but for our case only u is important, 3s possessive suffix, making hu some word emasculated into he and 3s possessive suffix u.

Iao would be literally "my, thine, his" (i-a-u, or later i-a-o), but I speculate that Iao stands more generally for "I, thou, he" epitomized by the possessive suffixes.

Vadim Cherny

> To the best of my knowledge I,You,He would be:

)aNoCHiY)THuW)
and I really struggle to see how you turn that into a IAO transliteration.

RE: [b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation> I am interested to know how you come about such a radical
theory. You must have more reason than a philosophical idea of a society.

Well, only "I, thou, he" could be pronounced Iao.. The verb cannot.
Plural suffixes are construed similarly. Duality ai (later - plural e-ei-im) means "thou, I". Abstract plural -o (-ot) is -au, "thou, he." This makes sense: using 1s, the most personal relation, for duality, and 3ms, the remotest, for abstract plurality.
Suffixes are vowels only. Consonants are semantical devices, vowels - morphological. Suffix consonants change between nouns and verbs, but vowels persist. Suffix consonants (caf 2s nouns, tav 2s verbs) served perhaps to write down suffixes without matres lectionis, or perhaps to avoid post-tonic gemination in penultimates-stressed nouns. This is a separate topic.
YHWH cannot be a meaningful word, like the verb, since no one could possibly declare a well-attested verb a great secret with unknown pronunciation.

> How would you account for the forms YaH, YaHu/YaHo with your model?

he could be mater lectionis for 2ms suffix -a. Incidentally, he is also "supportive consonant" of 3ms -hu-au-o. Thus, yau=yhh=yh with mappiq.
yhu=yau with mater lectionis
yho=yao=yau with 3ms hu-o

> How would you account for the transliterations IABE, IAOUAI etc.?

Iabe is literal, not phonetic transliteration; waw-beta.
Iaouai is plural form of Iao, modeled upon plural Elokim..

> Are there any patterns ANE cultures that led you to this hypothesis?

Of course, Judaism is unique.

> Is there any internal evidence in the TaNaKH which supports your theory?

Depending on how you read it. Milgrom's interpretation, I believe, is supportive.

Vadim Cherny

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