[b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM

Rochelle Altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Sun Jan 8 05:19:44 EST 2006

At 08:55 AM 1/8/2006, Rolf Furli wrote:

>Dear Kelton,
>Arguments in favor of a particular pronunciation of a word can be tricky,
>because pronunciation change through time, and even at the same time there
>may be different ways of pronouncing the same word.

Otherwise known as dialects -- in which Semitic languages abounded... just 
look at the different dialects recorded in Old Aramaic.


>In any case, what we can learn regarding syllable number and pronunciation
>must come from Hebrew sources, and not from Greek and Latin or other
>languages. Not even Aramaic, that is so close to Hebrew, is a good
>candidate, because of the phonological differences between the two
>languages. So we must go to the text of the Tanach and see what we find -
>and we find names.

Coming from another direction, we also find songs...


>The prefix JO evidently is an abbreviation of JE:HO and the suffix YFH is an
>abbreviation of YAHU. The important point is that a plene O occurs in the
>second syllable when the first part of the divine name is not abbreviated.
>That the vowel O occurs in the first syllable of an abbreviated form does
>not lead us is another direction, because pronunciation should be construed
>on the basis of the full form. The evidence of theophoric names is not
>conclusive, but it is the best we have. And it suggests that the divine name
>had at least three syllables and that the vowel of the second syllable was

I don't know about the 'O'  (and have reservations on the grounds of 
vocalic euphony and progression) but there is one form of text in the 
Tanakh that settles the question of the number of syllables.

Look at the songs (a poem can be set to music, but a song is NOT a poem).

WhiIe we do not know exactly when ADONAI was determined to be the 
replacement for whatever was the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, one 
does not, repeat, DOES NOT replace a bi-syllable with a tri-syllable in a 
song... not in its native tongue. It messes up the rhythm of the melody -- 
turns a flowing melodic line into a tongue twister..

Psalms 29, and 90-100 (definitely pre-monarchial) and other older songs 
(e.g. Deborah, EX: 15:1-19) were simply too early to have fallen under the 
Neo-Babylonian superstitious fear of saying a God's (or king's for that 
matter) name. (Divine right to rule under the protection of a people's god 
dates back to Sumer and Akkad as well as Pharonic Egypt -- and they weren't 
afraid to say a god's name.)

These pre-monarchial psalms are the closest to folk song in their 
simplicity of vocabulary, but not in their melodic range or structure. 
Rhythmically, Psalm 96 (for instance) is a chanty. (I suppose that some 
will consider it blasphemous to point out that many of the songs of praise 
are "whistle while you work" songs -- meant to be sung when rowing, 
plowing, walking between sites...). You don't mess with the rhythms of a 
work chanty. A change from a bi-syllable to a tri-syllable would stand out. 
It does not occur.

The Davidic Psalms are extremely sophisticated and tightly constructed. Any 
change of syllabic divisions from a bi-syllable to a tri-syllable would 
stand out like the proverbial sore thumb..It does not occur.

Apocopation in names was (and is) very common. How turn of the Common Era 
groups rendered YHVH in their dialects does NOT tell us the original 
pronunciation -- or syllabic division.

Song does tell us syllabic division: it was three..

>Best regards,
>Rolf Furuli
>University of Oslo

Back to lurking,

Rochelle Altman, PhD.

>----- Original Message -----
>From: <kgraham0938 at comcast.net>
>To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 11:05 PM
>Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM
> > @Rolf,
> >
> > Sorry I am coming in on the tail end of this one, so excuse me if I am
> > off.  But I always wondered why people try to figure out YHWH name based
> > off the other Hebrew names since not all the Hebrew names, that contain
> > the divine in them have the W as the second syllable.  Some have it as the
> > first syllable, like say Joah.
> >
> > Also there are other names like Jehu where the W is not a holem/vav but
> > rather a shureq.  Personally, I think the Hebrew names are too
> > inconsistant to try to figure it out.
> > --
> > Kelton Graham
> > KGRAHAM0938 at comcast.net

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