[b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM

Rochelle Altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Sun Jan 8 16:23:21 EST 2006

Dear Rolf,

 >Dear Rochelle,

 >See my comments below.

 >Rochelle Altman wrote:

 >>>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...
 >You are perfectly right.

 >>>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 
 >>>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..

 >Your reasoning above is very interesting and logical, and is very
 >difficult to contradict it.  My only reservation relates to "the
 >Neo-Babylonian superstition".  I have never seen evidence that the
 >non-use of YHWH by some groups started as early as the fifth century
 >B.C.E. (althogh I know that Encyclopedia Judaica suggests an early

One sign of Neo-Babylonian provenance is Jeremiah's atbash....

Then evidence of post-exilic influence from Babylon is found in the DSS... 
all those cases of dots, etc. in place of writing the tetregrammaton. It 
certainly was not a Ptolemaic Greek concept.

 >It seems to me that it particularly was the Greek influence
 >after Alexander the Great that caused some groups to view the name of
 >God as ineffable.  In A. Marmorstein. (1969) "The Old Rabbinic Doctrine
 >of God" p. 17 we read: "Greek Philosophy, Jewish Alexandrian theology,
 >Christian apology, and Gnostic lore concur in the idea of God´s
 >namelessness.  That God had no name was taught by Aristotele, Seneca,
 >Maxim of Tyre, Celsus, and Hermes Trimegistus."

"No name" and fear of writing out or pronouncing the tetragrammaton are not 
the same thing. No name is specifically stated in Exodus. with the answer 
YHVH. Nothing is stated about pronouncing the no name.. Point is, it's not 
a name; it's a way to refer to the God of Moses and Israel.

Then, the second-century BCE example of "no name" in the Ptolemaic age 
Zoilos inscription from Tel Dan clearly demonstrates that a god was 
expected to be named.

The Greek inscription is pure formula  (so is the _Hebrew_ formulaic -- 
it's not Aramaic).  The clerk at the shrine clearly expected to hear the 
name of the god under which the vow had been made -- but there was no name 
-- resulting in an attempt by the clerk/stone scribe to spread out 
"THE  OS" to fit into the correct position and to fill the necessary amount 
of central space allotted to this portion of the inscription.  It's all 
very formulaic; but then, covenants, vows, oaths, etc. are formulaic. . (I 
did write up a requested report on the Zoilos Inscription; it's in the 
article archives on Orion.)

 >There is evidence that the Morning-bathers and the Pharisees (who
 >hardly existed as a group before 150 B.C.E) and others continued to use
 >the name (See L. Finkelstein. (1969) "New Light from the Prophets" pp.
 >9, 10).

I didn't say that everybody stopped using the tetragrammaton -- but we do 
not know if they pronounced it as it was pronounced in pre-Monarchial and 
Monarchial days -- that's why we can't put a date to ADONAI.

 >Again, thank you very much for your interesting post.

You are welcome; never hurts to look at a problem from another direction 
and training in music theory -- ancient and modern -- is essential in order 
to work with Biblical songs

 > Best regards,
 >Rolf Furuli Ph.D
 >University of Oslo

All the best,

R.I.S.Altman, PhD 

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