[b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Thu Jul 21 06:44:25 EDT 2005

>Yes, James, this does make sense, at least to me as a linguist. Your 
>explanation of how Hebrew W became Greek beta in IABE etc is good, and 
>this is good evidence for a pronunciation Ya(h)ve derived from Yahwe; 
>the Greek forms IAOUE and IAOUAI also clearly support the pronunciation 
>Yahwe. So Rolf is wrong to state that there is no ancient evidence for 

Do you know where these transliterations come from? Which cultures?
Which dialects? What dates? Which MSS? I just knew about them because 
I read about them once in an Anchor Bible Dictionary. But I would 
be very interested in learning more about their actual sources.

The Greek forms IAOUE and IAOUAI seem to strongly support a trisyllabic 
pronunciation with long middle o/u vowel. I think it is reasonably clear 
that the initial I is supposed to represent the yodh consonant. And that 
the first vowel was an 'a' and that the 'he' we read in b-hebrew is meant 
to be in this position 'IA.H.OU.E/AI'. Which all seems to bolster the 
evidence we have seen in hebrew names (Yaho/Yahu) that there was clearly a 
long o/u vowel understood to rightly reside in the 2nd syllable.

I'm sure I read somewhere that IABE transliteration was of Samaritan influence 
but am not sure of the origin of such a conclusion. But if this is true 
would not this just suggest a mere dialectal variation of the more authentic 
yehudan trisyllabic version 'YaHoWaH/YaHoaH'.

Finally, I find it difficult to entertain the idea that the final 'he' was 
nothing more than matres lectionis because the consonant was clearly part 
of the orginal root 'HWH' which is the verb in question. Obviously, this 
argument would only be valid if we are to accept that yhwh is in fact a verb 
form. However, I think it is by now reasonably clear that it has always been 
considered to be so even back to the time of Moshe.

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