[b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Tue Jul 19 18:56:46 EDT 2005

Dear list,

The problem with the timbre of the first vowel in YHWH can be 
illustrated by the syllables of cuneiform documents.  There are around 
40 transcriptions of Jewish names with the theophoric element YHW in New 
Babylonian and Late Babylonian documents.  Some of these names have been 
taken as evidence in favor of YAH as the first element of the divine 
name.  However, the sign which represents IA can also represent IE, IU, 
and JI.  Yehonatan is written dIA-HU-U-NA-TA-NU or dIE-HU-U-NA-TA-NU and 
Yehoiakin is written dIA-KU-U-KI-NU or dIE-KU-U-KI-NU.  Even if the 
first vowel is an "a" sound, that does not necessarily argue in favor of 
a patah as the first vowel of YHWH,  For example, the names Gedalyahu 
and Gemaryahu both has the sign representing GA as their first syllable, 
and these names have no theophoric elements at the beginning.  The same 
is true with Hezekiya which is written HA-ZA-QI-A-A-A.

Best regards

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

>On 7/19/05, Yigal Levin wrote:
>>Yes John, you are correct. From the epigraphic evidence that we have
>>(ostraca, bullae, burial inscriptions etc.), it seems like the form YH (Yah)
>>was common in pre-exilic Judah, YW (Yoh, or maybe Yaw) in northern Israel,
>>and YHW (Yahu) in the post-exilic period. The Bible, which, even it it does
>>preserve ancient material, was edited by post-exilic Judeans, has all three
>>and is not consistant, even giving variant spellings of the same name:
>>Yehonatan/Yonatan, Yoram/Yehoram, Eliyahu/Eliyah etc.
>What about the name of Hezekiah as preserved in the Sennacherib prism?  See
>for example: http://fontes.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/king_hezekiah.htm#1e
>Yitzhak Sapir

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list