[b-hebrew] Initial "Beged Kefet" consonants always have a...

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman joel at exc.com
Tue Oct 11 09:26:52 EDT 2005

>>There is considerable pre-masoreteic evidence, and none of it confirms
>>the Masoretic Beged Kefet rules.  I go through the evidence in great
>>detail in my NYU book (_In the Beginning: A Short History of the
>>Hebrew Language), which is available from most libraries.  "Rebekka"
>Joel, from what you posted before it seems that in your studies you have 
>failed to take account of the known facts about changes in Greek 
>phonology, but rather have assumed that the traditional pronunciation of 
>classical Greek is correct for all periods. That would throw 
>considerable doubt on your conclusions, for the main evidence for your 
>theory comes from Greek transliterations. No time to go into it more 
>now, but I would like to at another time.

Not at all.

My point is that from a Masoretic point of view, the BEGED KEFET
letters receive inconsistent treatment in the LXX.  That is, no matter
how you think Chi and Kappa were pronounced, e.g., their usage does
not match up with Kaf/Chaf/Koof.

For example, in Rivka, the Koof is a double Kappa.  In Keturah, the
Koof is a Chi.  In Cain, the Koof is a single Kappa. In Milca, the Kaf
is a Chi.  (I'm trying to obtain permission from NYU Press to post my
table of Greek/Hebrew names.)

I'm not saying that any of this proves that the Masoretes were wrong
("wrong" in that they failed to capture the sounds of ancient Hebrew),
but rather that it provides no evidence that they were right.

(Additionally, I disagree with the "known facts" about Greek
phonology.  I looked through the evidence very carefully when I wrote
about Greek and Hebrew, and even Greek scholars tend to agree that we
do not know how Greek was pronounced.  But even if I'm wrong, and even
if we have perfectly understood Greek, the Greek still does not
support the Masoretic understanding of the Hebrew.)

-Joel M. Hoffman

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