[b-hebrew] Gen22:13 YHWHYiReH

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Aug 15 08:08:23 EDT 2005

On 15/08/2005 12:18, Read, James C wrote:

> Hi Peter,
> I usually pay little attention to the word separations which are 
> arbitrary to say the least. ...

They are not arbitrary especially if we are referring to the Masoretic 
pointing and pronunciation of anything. The word divisions are 
fundamental to the Masoretic system of pointing and accents, as is clear 
from the rule that there is one accent (or sometimes a pair of accents 
which go together) on each word (or group of words separated by maqqef). 
This implies that the Masoretes, when writing down the text as they 
heard it pronounced, heard word divisions in the accepted pronunciation, 
which was an ancient tradition. And aside from this ancient tradition 
and the Masoretes' recording of it, we have very little information 
about ancient Hebrew pronunciation. Also the Masoretic word boundaries 
correspond to the word boundaries marked explicitly (with dots) in early 
inscriptions like the Siloam Tunnel one. So there is no reason to doubt 
that these word divisions do represent ancient phonological word boundaries.

> This was a name and I see no reason for it to be split up into two 
> words as place names are
> generally considered to be one word even though they may be composed 
> of two (rather like
> English bookshelf etc.). ...

Many Hebrew (and for that matter English) place names consist of two or 
more words, although sometimes this is obscured in English translation 
e.g. Bethlehem is Beyt Lexem, two separate words (often written joined 
with maqqef) meaning "house of bread".

> ... I was theorising that if we were to recover the original 
> pronunciation of this place name we
> could also gather more clues for the YHWH pronuniciation.

Fair enough, in principle this is possible. But LXX has KURIOS EIDEN 
"Lord saw", so this is not much help. Are there any ancient 
transliterations, as distinct from translations, of this name?

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

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