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

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman joel at exc.com
Mon Oct 17 08:45:36 EDT 2005

>>    http://www.exc.com/JoelHoffman/Excerpts/ITB-p95.pdf
>Thank you for this list. There are of course much longer and more 
>complete lists in dictionaries like BDB.

Of course.  The point of this list is more modest - to show that the
LXX does not support the Masoretic pointing, including Beged Kefet

Unfortunately, my mail reader will not decode the Greek parts of your
message, but I think I get the point.

Still, I disagree.  I think a much more plausible hypothesis is that
The Greek LXX more accurately reflects the pronunciation in the time
of the time of the Greeks than the Tiberian pointing.  In fact, I'm a
little surprised than anyone takes a rendition from -250 and from +850
and considers the later one more accurate.

In further support of the hypothesis that the LXX is more accurate, I
note that the Tiberian Masoretes were not the only Masoretes.  The
Eretz Yisrael and Babylonian Masoretes also recorded pronunciations of
the Bible, but in a way inconsistent with the Tiberian Masoretes.  Is
there any other linguistic endeavor in which we would arbitrarily
assign more accurace to a later transcription than to a concurrent


>tet as Ï„ tau - all irrespective of dagesh. The only exception in this 
>small list is the initial chi in the LXX form of Keturah, but this could 
>be influenced by a Greek phonological rule which tends to avoid 
>successive unaspirated plosives

It's true that Greek doesn't like words that start Ket-, but Kat- is
common, and all of Kit-, Kot- and Kut- are attested.

Really, I go through all the evidence in great detail in my NYU book.

>Greek forms. There could be a number of reasons for this, not least that 
>the LXX translators were working from an unvowelled text and in a 

So were the Masoretes, a millennium later.

>If we put forward the hypothesis that for the LXX translators every 
>Hebrew consonant was pronounced according to the standard reconstruction 
>of Masoretic pronunciation, and the LXX translators rendered every 

There's enormous evidence against this hypothesis:  

1.  Example such as:

	    `Atarot (TH) -- Xataruth (LXX)
	    'Ebes (TH) -- Rebes (LXX)
    are many.  

2.  Double letters in the LXX do not match up with anything in TH.  (A
    particularly striking example comes from I Chronicles 24:13:
    XuPah [TH; P=peh with dagesh] -- Oxxoffa [LXX]).

3.  We have already noted that syllable structure in the LXX does not
    match TH.

4.  We have also already noted that vocalization does not match TH.

5.  Methodological considerations --- including the time sequence and
    the general unreliability of transliterations --- militate against
    using the LXX to understand TH or perhaps Hebrew at all.

>short vowels in word initial syllables have often changed from "a" 
>sounds to hiriq since the LXX translators' times, cf. LXX Samson and 
>Hebrew Shimshon - so this might explain the hiriq in Rivka (and in 
>Milcah and Bil`am), and some other vocalisation anomalies.

I think a better explanation here is that TH regularly recorded chiriq
between the first two of three consonants, not just RIVKA and MILCAH
(names), but also Piel (DIBBER), infinitives (LISHMOR) etc.  This TH
rule didn't exist in the days of the LXX.

-Joel M. Hoffman

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