[b-hebrew] Is YaH:WeH derived from IaBe or Iaoue or "Other"?

Marten Docter martendocter at gmail.com
Fri Aug 25 05:08:25 EDT 2006

> Is "YaH:WeH" an accurate translation of "Iaoue", or is it necessary to
> engage in scholarly speculation to translate "Iaoue" as "YaH:WeH"?  Many
> scholarly sources merely state that "Iaoue" favors the translation
> "Yahweh".
> Dave Donnelly

'YaHWeH'  is a theoretical vocalization of the tetragrammaton which, as it
stands now, indeed draws heavily on the argument of the 'Iaoue'-translation.

Lately I've been reading a dissertation titled
"Observations on
 אהיה אשר אהיה
שם המפורש"  by one M. Reisel, a Dutch linguist and philosopher. In it, he
argues for the form יְהוּהַּ  ('Yehuah') or יַהוּהַּ ('Yahuah') as the
original pronounciation of the tetragrammaton. Thereby he draws heavily on
the transliteration 'Iaoue'. He argues that in the Septuagint and in the
Hexapla, medial 'ou' followed by a vowel does not indicate a consonantal wav
but rather the vowel וּ. He refers to transcriptions like Ἐμμανουελ,
Σαμουελ, Μελκισουε; ισουωθ = ישועות and σασουου = שסוהו.
Second, he argues that the final ε must not be seen as representing ה, but
rather as a rendering of a guttural, which was made audible by a Patach
furtivum, just as the ε in Νωε (Hebrew נוֹהַ), Μανωε, Ωσηε, Ελισουε,
Αβισουε, Μελκισουε, and Θαφφουε.
In the form thus defended (יְהוּהַּ  ('YeHuaH') or יַהוּהַּ ('YaHuaH')), the
final ה is an integral consonant, which would be in accordance with the fact
that even on the Mesa-stone the ה is written.
He offers additional support for this thesis, which I will not discuss here,
but all in all, his arguments are reasonably strong. His own thesis that no
sufficient grounds exist in support of the view that a pronounciation YaHWeH
deserves more credit than the pronounciation YeHuaH, seems to be correct to
be sure.

We may reach the conclusion that at the present, we cannot reconstruct the
original pronounciation of the tetragrammaton with certainty, since
differing pronounciations can be defended succesfully.

Personally, this has brought me to the conclusion that the claims of the
Sacred Name movement are devoid of linguistic support.


The unreconstructability of the sacred name is of course theologically
highly significant. From a New Testament point of view, in this regard the
confession that Jesus is κυριος whom has been given the name above all
names, whereas κυριος in the Septuagint as well as in the NT is the
translation par excellence of the tetragrammaton, is equally significant.

                 ---------END OF EXPLICIT THEOLOGICAL CONTENT---------


Marten Docter
theology student from The Netherlands

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