[b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Jul 20 16:36:55 EDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Read, James C" <K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk>
> 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.

As a "modern day Hebrew", I doubt it very much. As has already been noted,
by the late second temple period, it had become normative to avoid
pronouncing the name outside the ritually proscribed temple service, and
when the Temple was destroyed, the pronunciation was lost. This is probably
what Josephus means.

As for the use or paleo-Hebrew letters for YHWH in some of the DDS, the
usual understanding is that this is a sign of the name's special-holy
status. But I have read suggestions of the opposite - that by using the
"non-sacred" script, the scribes were attempting to avoid possible
defilement of the Name.


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