[b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation
David P Donnelly
davedonnelly1 at juno.com
Wed Aug 10 13:10:17 EDT 2005
Gene Gardner wrote:
The Samaritans unlike the Rabbinates did not read Adhonai when they came
the Divine Name, but "yabe" or innon-Samaritan pronunciation "yafe"
Therefore the pronunciation of the divine name as Yahweh is inaccurate
based upon the Samaritan/Kushaniyya desire 'not' to pronounce the divine
Thus, not even theSamaritans to our knowledge remained as one group,
who were in complete agreement with one another.
Below is a portion of an article found in the Files of the
Messianic_Apologetic Discussion Board.
[You will have to join this group to gain access to the Files]
This article is titled: Gods Name51.pdf Tetragrammaton
This article, like the article quoted by Gene Gardner, critiques the
Greek spelling IaBe,
believing that it was inaccurately based on the Samaritan pronunciation,
"the beautiful one".
Note that b-hebrew transcriptions within brackets were Hebrew font in the
Theodoret says that the Samaritans pronounce the name YHVH as IABE
Now if we were to translate this directly back into Hebrew
we would get something like [ Y:ABEH ] Yabeh.
This example highlights some of the problems with using Greek
to precisely reconstruct Hebrew pronunciation.
First, we must observe
that ancient Greek did not have an H sound in the middle of words.
So the first H in YHVH,
whatever the vowels attached to it, would be dropped by the Greek.
Secondly, Greek did not have a W or a V sound.
So the third letter of the divine name must also be dropped or distorted
by the Greek.
Finally the vowels of ancient Greek were much different than the Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew had 9 vowels which do not have exact correspondents
vowels in Greek.
For example, Hebrew's vocal Sheva
(pronounced like a short i in "bit")
has no equivalent in ancient Greek.
So whatever Theodoret of Cyrus heard from the Samaritans,
his mission of transcribing the name in Greek was hopeless.
What of the form IABE?
Most scholars claim that the B in IABE is a distortion of a Hebrew Vav
and that the first He of YHVH dropped
because Greek does not have a H sound in the middle of a word.
As a result most scholars translate the Samaritan IABE back into Hebrew
Yahweh [ Y:AH:WEH ].
[Note the author of this article places a hatef-patah under the yod]
This is the "scholarly guess" of which the Anchor Bible Dictionary spoke.
The reason this pronunciation is given so much credence
is that it is assumed that the Samaritans were not yet under the ban of
and still remembered how to pronounce the name in the time of Theodoret.
But is this the best explanation of the Samaritan IABE?
It turns out that the ancient Samaritans called God
[ YFPEH ] Yafeh meaning, the beautiful one.
Now in Samaritan Hebrew the letter Pe is often replaced by B.
So what probably happened is
the Samaritans told Theodoret that God is called Yafeh,
"the beautiful one",
but in their corrupt pronunciation of Hebrew it came out as Yabe.
This seems supported by the fact
that the Samaritans did in fact adopt the ban on the name,
perhaps even before the Jews.
Instead of pronouncing the name YHVH the Samaritans call God [ $:MF) ]
Now shema is usually understood as an Aramaic form of hashem meaning "the
but we cannot help but observe the similarity between the Samaritan shema
and the pagan [ ):A$IYMF) ] ashima,
which according to 2Ki 17:30 was one of the gods worshipped by the
when they first came to the Land of Israel In the 8th century BCE.
So already c.700 BCE the Samaritans called upon Ashema and not YHWH.
On Wed, 10 Aug 2005 04:45:55 -0700 (PDT)
Gene Gardner wrote:
Here is another thought form a website that appears to
Thoughts of A Karaite: Yohanan Shalom Jacobson
Originally the Samaritans or Shamerim (keepers, as
they call themselves)were divided into two groups,
Dosithean and Sabbuai. The Sabbuai later became known
as the Kushaniyya, the modern day Samaritans are from
this group. The Kushaniyya refused to pronounce the
divine name and supplanted it with the term Shema
(Aramaic for "The Name"). The Dositheans on the other
hand used the divine name, but as they no longer exist
it cannot be known how they pronounced the divine
name. Many scholars claim that the pronunciation of
the Divine Name as "Yahweh" is accurate due to
Samaritan inscriptions written in Greek which write
the Divine Name as "Yabe." The Samaritans in most
instances pronounce beth, veth, waw, pe and fe as a
"b". But what these scholars fell to realize is that
the Samaritans like the Rabbinates subsituted a the
Name with another word when they came accross the Name
written in the Torah. The Samaritans unlike the
Rabbinates did not read Adhonai when they came accross
the Divine Name, but "yabe" or innon-Samaritan
pronunciation "yafe" (Beautiful). Therefore the
pronunciation of the divine name as Yahweh is
inaccurate based upon the Samaritan/Kushaniyya desire
'not' to pronounce the divine name. Thus, not even the
Samaritans to our knowledge remained as one group, who
were in complete agreement with one another.
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