[b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Sat Jan 7 13:19:56 EST 2006

Karl Randolph wrote:

>Your sources are not as aurhoritive as you may want. See below.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Harold Holmyard" <hholmyard at ont.com>
>>HH: All right. Thanks. You're saying that what seems quite certain to
>>you is that the divine name had three syllables, with the second one
>>being "o." Most scholars, according to reports both Catholic,
>>Protestant, and Jewish, apparently believe that two syllables is closer
>>to the original sound, though some allow that it could have been three
>This researcher first said that the pronunciation was lost before 
>70 AD, then cited sources from after as proof.

HH: This is G. R. Driver, a well-known scholar, and he doesn't exactly 
say that the pronunciation was completely lost:

The true pronunciation was already passing into oblivion before A.D. 70; 
but Christian writers between A.D. 150 and A.D. 450 have Yaouai and Yabe 
(Yave) in Greek characters, and early magical texts have Yhbyh (Yahveh) 
in Aramaic characters, all pointing to Yahweh as the original 

HH: He said it was passing into oblivion, not that it had passed. He 
doesn't give the next data to prove that it had passed into oblivion, 
but rather to show what may have been preserved.

>This author simply takes the Yehweh pronunciation for granted, 
>gives no evidence for it.

HH: The writer has a doctorate. He cites articles by recognized 
scholars, one by Anson Rainey and another by Barton Payne. Anson Rainey 
is Jewish and Barton Payne was Protestant.:

    1     Anson F. Rainey, "How was the Tetragrammaton Pronounced?," 
Biblical Archaeological Review (July/August 1985), pp. 78-79. J. Barton 
Payne, ha-wa-, TWOT #484a.

>This author cites unnamed scholarly consensus and some of 
>their reasons. But he acknowledges that this is not proof.

HH: You would have to show me that what you're talking about. This 
Catholic encyclopedia cites evidence, accepts it, and shows that 
scholars accept it, too, in his further remarks about the meaning of 
Yahweh after the following quote. This quote gives and accepts evidence 
(not because of the consensus but because of the evidence):

To take up the ancient writers:
    .     Diodorus Siculus writes Jao (I, 94);
    .     Irenaeus ("Adv. Haer.", II, xxxv, 3, in P. G., VII, col. 840), 
    .     the Valentinian heretics (Ir., "Adv. Haer.", I, iv, 1, in 
P.G., VII, col. 481), Jao;
    .     Clement of Alexandria ("Strom.", V, 6, in P.G., IX, col. 60), 
    .     Origin ("in Joh.", II, 1, in P.G., XIV, col. 105), Jao;
    .     Porphyry (Eus., "Praep. evang", I, ix, in P.G., XXI, col. 72), 
    .     Epiphanius ("Adv. Haer.", I, iii, 40, in P.G., XLI, col. 685), 
Ja or Jabe;
    .     Pseudo-Jerome ("Breviarium in Pss.", in P.L., XXVI, 828), Jaho;
    .     the Samaritans (Theodoret, in "Ex. quaest.", xv, in P. G., 
LXXX, col. 244), Jabe;
    .     James of Edessa (cf.. Lamy, "La science catholique", 1891, p. 
196), Jehjeh;
    .     Jerome ("Ep. xxv ad Marcell.", in P. L., XXII, col. 429) 
speaks of certain ignorant Greek writers who transcribed the Hebrew 
Divine name II I II I.
 The judicious reader will peceive that the Samaritan pronunciation Jabe 
probably approaches the real sound of the Divine name closest; the other 
early writers transmit only abbreviations or corruptions of the sacred 
name. Inserting the vowels of Jabe into the original Hebrew consonant 
text, we obtain the form Jahveh (Yahweh), which has been generally 
accepted by modern scholars as the true pronunciation of the Divine 
name. It is not merely closely connected with the pronunciation of the 
ancient synagogue by means of the Samaritan tradition, but it also 
allows the legitimate derivation of all the abbreviations of the sacred 
name in the Old Testament.

>Rehash of the same arguments as above.

HH: But this is from an authoritative, if old, Protestant source.

>This author takes the HWH root as the reason for the pronunciation.
>Is YHWH from the verb HWH? Conjecture, some would call it the 
>root fallacy.

HH: This is the Jewish encyclopedia. These are authoritative sources 
from widely differing backgrounds showing broad agreement. The original 
pronunciation has been lost, so I suppose various things are possible.

>Was the Hebrew pronunciation similar to the Samaritan? Contradicted 
>by the early Greek transcriptions. The Samaritan pronunciation could 
>have been a way to say the name without really saying it.

HH: The last sentence seems empty speculation. The early Greek 
transcriptions do not absolutely contradict the the Samaritan 
pronunciation. Epiphanius has the same thing as the Samaritan. Some of 
the other ones with "Jao" may reflect a sound similar to Yahweh.

James of Edessa has something very close (Jehjeh), though he is later 
(A.D. 633-705). Here is a word about James of Edessa:

He was not only familiar with Greek and with older Syriac writers, but 
he also had some knowledge of Hebrew, and willingly availed himself of 
the aid of Jewish scholars, whose views he often records. His writings, 
which are not all extant, were very varied and numerous. Among them may 
be noticed first, his important revision of the Old Testament.

>Ancient Greek transliterations, while good enough to show that they 
>contradict the Samaritan pronunciation, the lack of the H sound make 
>them an uncertain source. In other words, they don't contradict my 
>conjectured pronunciation of "Yahohe", nor "Yahwey", nor "Yahoweh". 
>Or more accurately, evidence for all three of these pronunciations 
>could be adduced from one or more of these trascriptions.

HH: The "h" sound does not even have to be pronounced, just as it isn't 
in Yahweh.

>>From the theophoric use in names, I come to the conclusion that 
>YHWH was originally pronounced Yahohe or something similar. But 
>this is conjecture, no less so than the conjectured pronunciations 
>listed above, and I expect other people to disagree.

HH: I don't mind what your view is, or Rolf's. If we want more details, 
we may have to go to scholarly articles in libraries, not necessarily at 
easy access on the Internet.

Harold Holmyard

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