[b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Sat Jan 7 16:18:19 EST 2006

Dear Harold,

You do not find real evidence regarding the pronunciation of the divine 
name by stumbling "upon letters dating throughout the Persian occupation 
period of Egypt".  Neither do you prove anything by quoting different 
lexicons and writings from different dates and with different qualities, 
or by quoting some of the so-called "Church Fathers".  If you are going 
to make a case for the pronunciation of the Hebrew divine name, you have 
to do that on the basis of *Hebrew* sources. And this you have not done!

Arguments must be evaluated on the basis of quality and not on the basis 
of quantity.  Please give a scholarly answer to the following question:  
In the Elephantine letters we find the letters YHW for the god that was 
worshipped by the community. What are the Aramaic  (or Hebrew) 
*phonological* reasons for pronouncing these three letters as YAHU?  Are 
there any phonological reasons that forbids that the three letters are 
consonants and that they were pronounciated YEHOWA, or YAHOWA, or 

And further: Different Greek words are supposed to represent the divine 
name in the writings of the Church Fathers. How can we distinguish 
between the forms that represent YHWH and those that represent the 
shortened Hebrew form YH? And how can we demonstrate a possible 
phonological road from the theophoric element YE-HO or YA-HO in Hebrew 
names to the different forms used by the Church Fathers?  You cannot 
quote something here and another thing there according to what suits 
you.  But you have to address the real questions in a scholarly way in 
order to be taken seriously.

So please address the following point: I and others have shown that the 
second syllable of the divine element in theophoric names in the Tanach 
has the letter O and that the first syllable has E or A. Because the 
second part of the divine name is written as WH, how can you reconcile 
this with the two-syllabic Yahweh? Please argue on the basis of *Hebrew* 
phonology, and note that the Greek evidence of the Church Fathers is not 
pertinent, because we are discussing the numbers of syllables and the 
phonology of Hebrew and not of Greek.

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

Harold Holmyard wrote:

>Dear Karl,
>Here is an idea Rolf mentioned in passing, but this is not Rolf writing 
>the following:
>Recently I had been reading up on a lot of archaeological discovered 
>letters and inscriptions found throughout the entire Levant to Egypt 
>dating from the 9th-8th centuries BCE all the way to the end of the 5th 
>century BCE (Persian Period). These letters were written in both the 
>Hebrew and Aramaic tongue. . . .
>I had stumbled upon letters dating throughout the Persian occupation 
>period of Egypt that spoke of the Temple of YHWH at Yeb (the ancient 
>name for Elephantine....an island in the Nile located in Upper Egypt 
>[southern Egypt]). By the end of the 5th century the Egyptian had 
>destroyed the temple and it is believed that the reason for this is 
>because the Egyptian disliked the animal sacrifices (the Egyptian held 
>much respect for animals and mummified them so it would be natural for 
>them to see this with disgust). In these inscriptions, the temple of 
>YHWH was said to have been built during the time of the Pharaoh Kings 
>(before the Neo-Babylonian Empire). To this day scholars are baffled as 
>to when this temple was built and how the Jews migrated there and when.
>These inscriptions offered a clue to a possible PROPER pronunciation of 
>YHWH. In all the Aramaic written inscriptions...the temple of YHWH was 
>written as (imagine right-to-left) YHW and also YHH. I will explain the 
>possible pronunciation below and whether this was the original or a 
>corrupted form is still questionable.
>You see...scholars believe that in YHW we have a clue that the waw 
>served as a matres lectiones to show us a vowel like pronunciation. Such 
>as a 'u' sound giving us Yahu. The YHH may be a possible confirmation to 
>that. I am not able to do so currently for I am at work but if anybody 
>wishes for me to post some of the inscriptions, I would be happy to do so.
>HH: Here's a site he cross-references later:
>HH: Here is more ancient data on the standard view of Yahweh that 
>supports the Epiphanius, Samaritan, and Aramaic magical text pronunciations:
>New Bible Dictionary (1962) " The pronounciation Yahweh is indicated by 
>transliterations of the name into Greek in early Christian literature, 
>in the form iaoue (Clement of Alexandria) or iabe (Theodoret; by this 
>time Gk. b had the pronunciation of v)"
>HH: As far as an etymological fallacy by linking the divine name to the 
>verb hwj, that seems an unnecessary charge, since the context in Exodus 
>3 makes the connection quite natural. The BDB lexicon says that hwh is 
>the root behind the name hwhy.
>HH: Here is what another Jewish source (not the Jewish Encyclopedia) 
>says about that Exodus context in relation to hwhy:
>God's personal name--YHVH--can be "defined" etymologically or 
>grammatically. Hebrew linguists believe yhvh is a form of the verb 
>havah, meaning to be or become.   Specifically, many linguists say yhvh 
>is a Qal imperfect third masculine singular. Following normal Hebrew 
>grammar patterns, the vowels "a" and "e" would be added to these 
>consonants, giving us the word "YaHVeH." This pronunciation is supported 
>by early Greek biblical texts that spell the name "Iaoue" (Ya-oo-eh) and 
>"Iabe" (Yabe; there is no "v" sound in Greek).
>What does "Yahveh" mean?
>As he revealed it to Moses, God's full name is actually Ehyeh asher 
>Ehyeh--"I will be what I will be." Ehyeh is the Qal imperfect first 
>person form of the verb havah: "I will be." God thus says to Moses: 
>"Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'Ehyeh--I will be' has 
>sent me to you" (Exodus 3:14-15). Ehyeh by itself is God's shortened 
>name: when he speaks of himself in the first person.
>In contrast, when people refer to God in the third person, he taught 
>them to say "Yahveh--He will be" (not "I will be"). [Insights from 
>Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms Volume 1 (Zondervan, 2002), p. 210.]
>Harold Holmyard
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

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