[b-hebrew] DSS --> MT silent letters and vowel-points

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Mar 15 15:18:38 EST 2005

On 15/03/2005 19:36, Dave Washburn wrote:

>On Tuesday 15 March 2005 11:58, Vadim Cherny wrote:
>> ...
>>What does silent aleph have to do with spelling? In the absence of vowel
>>points, aleph and waw were used to mark vowels. This constitutes no
>>"significant and consistent differences." ...

A word spelled with a silent alef is a different spelling from a word 
spelled without it. My point is that simple. The significance of this is 
debatable, and Dave has put forward certain possible interpretations. 
But it is certainly a phenomenon which needs an explanation. And it 
contradicts Karl's thesis that spelling was frozen at the time of the 
exile, and so undermines his conclusion that Hebrew was not a living 
language. In fact I continue to hold that it is a positive indication 
that it was a living language, but I would agree that that is not a 
certain conclusion.

>... but DSS Hebrew spelling at least seems only 
>to have been "fluid" in a very narrow sense of the word.  I doubt whether the 
>phenomenon in question really indicates anything of a linguistic nature at 
>all, and have serious doubts whether it indicates anything of a truly textual 
>nature, either.
Sorry, I don't understand your ""fluid" in a very narrow sense of the 
word". But you slightly misquote. I did not state that DSS spelling was 
fluid (although in some sense it is), but that Hebrew spelling was fluid 
in that it changed from period to period, between the DSS which had one 
convention and the consonantal MT which had another. I agree that it is 
uncertain what this indicates, but it does go against the kind of frozen 
situation associated with dead language texts copied only for liturgical 

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

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.308 / Virus Database: 266.7.2 - Release Date: 11/03/2005

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list