[b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Sun Jan 8 13:26:45 EST 2006

On 07/01/2006 21:18, Rolf Furuli wrote:

>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 

Or for that matter YEHAWA, YEHIWA etc? Or YAHWE, YAHWA etc? Since you 
are making the W here a consonant, there is no reason to read a long O 
vowel here, rather than another vowel or a silent sheva. And in fact it 
is rare to have a long O vowel not marked with a vav (which, by the way, 
Jack, is the internationally standardised name for the sixth letter of 
the Hebrew alphabet, regardless of pronunciation as [v], [w] or a 
vowel). So, if the original pronunciation was something like YEHOWA, 
with both a long O vowel and a consonantal vav, one would expect that 
someone somewhere would have written a double vav here. But as far as I 
know no one ever had. I think that is quite a strong argument against 
forms like Jehovah.

Rolf, if you accept, as you seem to, that the theophoric prefix was 
pronounced something like YEHO- with the vav as a vowel (and not for 
example YEHAWA- with a consonantal vav), your arguments would seem to 
imply that the vav in the full divine name is also a vowel. That would 
in fact suggest that the full divine name is something like YEHO or 
YAHU, with the final he as a redundant mater lectionis. This form would 
also explain the variants YHW and YHH, with the redundancy removed.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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