[b-hebrew] dating of matres lectionis

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Jul 26 08:20:00 EDT 2005

> >
> Thank you. I prefer to accept this scholarly evidence. I don't think we
> can trust Karl's proto-Sinaitic evidence as we don't know how the words
> were pronounced.
> So, if matres lectionis were new in the 9th century, is there any
> earlier evidence of the name YHWH, complete with final he?
> -- 
> Peter Kirk

No, there is not. The earliest epigraphic evidence we have of the
Tetragrammaton is in Mesha. But there, where, as I have written, matres
lectionis are used only partially, final he's are used for the vowel o. So
if the final he in YHWH was intended as a mater lectionis, it would have
been pronounced Yahwoh. But I don't think it was. Which is why I think that
all four letters of the Tetragrammaton were pronounced as consonants, and
that the Name was never taken to be a verb (even if it is etymologically
related to the verb HYH/HWH).


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