[b-hebrew] dating of matres lectionis

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Jul 26 01:01:05 EDT 2005


Actually, the final W in Shema'ayahu is not a mater lectionis, since the
..yahu is an abbreviation of YHWH, in which the W is obviously consonental.
I'm not sure how it was pronounced, but it was not written just to indicate
the vowel u.

True that Mesha uses matres lectiones, but not fully (mostly at the end of
words) and differently than "classical" Hebrew (final He for o). So that
they were just developing in the 9th century, and probably becam very common
much later.

Yigal

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Bearpecs at aol.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 5:35 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] dating of matres lectionis


> According to Cross & Freedman, _Early Hebrew Orthography: A Study of  the
> Epigraphic Evidence_, pp. 46-48:
>
> The Gezer Calendar (c. 925) does not use them.  (The waw in YRXW is  not a
> mater lectionis, but is to be understood phonetically as "ew" (contraction
of
> "ehu", and the word translated "his two months".)
>
> The Shemaiah Seal (9th century) has the word LSM(YHW "belonging to
> Shemaiah":  "The final vowel u is represented by the vowel letter  waw.
If the dating
> of this seal is correct, this is the first instance of  a mater lectionis
in
> Hebrew orthography."  They also note: "The fact that a  full system of
matres
> lectionis was employed in the Me$a` Inscription from the  middle of the
9th
> century, suggests strongly that they were being used in Israel  at the
same time."
>
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