[b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sun Jul 24 19:16:28 EDT 2005

On 23/07/2005 15:48, Uri Hurwitz wrote:

>   In addition  to the well known attestation of YHWH, in Mesha, late 
> ninth century, the name is fully written out in several pre-exilic 
> inscriptions: in Kuntillat Ajrud, c. end ninth- early eighth century 
> ;  in the Arad ostraca, e.g no. 18, late eighth century;  in the 
> Lakhish letters, e.g. no. 2,  during the  the war   mentioned  in Jer. 
> 34: 7, that is c.586 BCE. There are other pre-exilic examples.

Thank you, Uri and also Bryan. So, it seems that the final he on the 
Mesha stele does not predate the first use of he as a mater lectionis. 
And it seems that none of these other examples are significantly older 
than than that stele. So, unless someone can provide such an example, I 
think we can safely conclude that the final he may very well have been a 
mater lectionis, and so silent.

It is interesting that a spelling YHW on a very early inscription, 
predating matres lectionis, is likely to be evidence for a pronunciation 
like Yahwe or Yehowa, whereas the same spelling in a later inscription 
would probably be intended to be pronounced Yahu or Yaho.

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

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