[b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Jul 20 19:32:10 EDT 2005


RE: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciationHi James,

Presumably, by "Hebrews" you mean Jews. So you want a crash course on Judaism. I'll try to answer briefly.

1. Are any of the modern day hebrews able to trace their genealogy?
If so, are there any that have a claim to descending from the
priesthood? And more particularly from high-priesthood?

There are many Jews who claim to trace their genealogies for many generations, but very few that can actually prove that they go back to antiquity. There are many thousands of Jews who's family traditions claims that they are descended from priests or levites. Often, their surnames will reflect that - priests called "Cohen" and various variations, Levites called "Levi/Levy/ Levin" etc. However, one does not have to be able to trace his lineage to make such a claim, and it is agreed that when the Messiah appears, we will "set the record straight". I don't know of anyone who claims direct descent from the high priesthood.

2. Also, I notice you mentioned that the name was already out of use
during the second temple period. How do we know this?

This has already been discussed in this thread.

3. Does anyone also know when the rise of the pharisees and the saducees
took place? And the beginnings of the attitudes we read about in
the gospels?

The only complete description that we have of the pharisees and the saducees is in Josephus, and even that seems simplified. The two groups apparently arose during the Hasmonean period, say around 100 BCE, although they obviously did not apear out of no-where. As far as the way in which the Gospels portray the pharisees, let someone else comment.

4. I was just wondering if you knew the present sentiments
of the hebrew community on the attempts to pronounce or restore
the divine name. 

Orthodox Jews adhere to the dictum that the Name is ineffible and is NEVER to be pronounced. Most other Jews do not object in principle, but do follow the tradition of adressing God as "Adonai".

Yigal
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Read, James C 
  To: Yigal Levin 
  Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2005 12:02 AM
  Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation


  Thanx Yigal!

  Are any of the modern day hebrews able to trace their genealogy?
  If so, are there any that have a claim to descending from the
  priesthood? And more particularly from high-priesthood?

  Also, I notice you mentioned that the name was already out of use
  during the second temple period. How do we know this?

  Does anyone also know when the rise of the pharisees and the saducees
  took place? And the beginnings of the attitudes we read about in
  the gospels?

  Also to Yigal. I don't know any hebrews but have found a local
  synagogue and was hoping to benefit from a few visits in the near
  future. I was just wondering if you knew the present sentiments
  of the hebrew community on the attempts to pronounce or restore
  the divine name. Also, do you know the traditional hebrew view on
  the meaning of the name or its relation to Moshe's meeting with
  el shadai on mount sinai?

  -----Original Message-----
  From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org on behalf of Yigal Levin
  Sent: Wed 7/20/2005 9:36 PM
  To: b-hebrew
  Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation


  ----- 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.

  Yigal




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