[b-hebrew] furtive patah (was Re: 2Ki 2:10)

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Feb 24 16:45:48 EST 2007

On 2/23/07, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 23/02/2007 13:37, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> > ...
> > Had this form survived into Biblical Hebrew, the vocalization would
> > probably have been laqiax, since the i: was split (in my opinion, for
> > musical liturgical purposes) and the het influenced the second part of
> > the split.  This is the furtive patax phenomenon that Uri was talking
> > about, and it probably took place after the first century CE if we
> > compare the name Jesus where it is not observed.
> >
> >
> There is no sign of furtive patah in this Greek form of Joshua/Jeshua,
> but there is in the Greek form Messias (Messiah) from Hebrew Mashiach,
> also found in the New Testament. (Compare Arabic Masih, which has never
> had the furtive patah.) The difference may be that the latter could have
> been quite a recent loan into Greek, whereas the form Iesous/Jesus goes
> back at least to LXX. From this limited sample of evidence which in fact
> must be much wider, it seems likely that furtive patah became widespread
> some time between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st century CE.

The evidence from the word Messias is scant.  I am curious even to know
when it is first attested (that is, the earliest copy of the NT where
it is found).
While one recognizes an apparent patah in the end, the word itself seems to
exhibit a different noun form (q-ttil) rather than that recognized in Hebrew
(q-ti:l).  That is, we notice first the gemination of the letter Shin.
 Secondly, the
first vowel is transcribed as an epsilon.  An epsilon was used to transcribe
short i and e (tsere).  Thus, we have a difference of quality (i/e instead of
patah/qamats) and a difference of quantity (short vs long) from the Hebrew
word's initial vowel.  The issue of the gemination can be probably considered
an internal Greek development.  According to:
http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/TC-John.pdf (p. 42, TVU 17),
there are variants where the gemination does not appear.  Now, in an article
on the short vowels in the second column of the Hexapla, Alexey Yuditsky
notes transcriptions of the word with suffixes in Hebrew as mesiw.  (He also
notes a Hieronymus transcription of "messio").  Yuditsky argues that the first
vowel (a short "a" in Tiberian Hebrew) assimilated to the sibilant nearby to
become epsilon.  We can argue the same for the word Messias.  That is, the
word Messias in the Greek represents a short assimilated patah in the first
vowel and no gemination in the second letter.  Now, while Hebrew had a long
first vowel in this word, the Aramaic cognate ma$i:xa: did not.  In fact, the
transcription Mesias appears to match the Aramaic perfectly.  There is no
reason to suggest then that the word Messias in the NT shows evidence of
a patah.

More significant is the Hexaplaric evidence.  The word lmncx pronounced in
Biblical Hebrew as lamnacceax was transcribed lamanassh and a
similar transcription of mafatteax is transcribed by Hieronymus as
maphate.  It appears that in both cases, there was no such patax.  Now,
in the case of Septuagint evidence, most words show no such patax.
That is, about twice as many words show no furtive anything.  In some
words we find an epsilon, which again, transcribed short i or e but not patax.
For example, the name )by$w( is transcribed with an epsilon in 1 Chron
8:4, and without in 3 other places in the same book.  Given the possibility
of later pronunciations influencing the manuscripts and the fact that it is not
even a patax, I think this is rather weak evidence.  Rather, the fact that later
transcriptions such as the Hexapla still do not transcribe a patax, suggests
the phenomenon took place later on.

Yitzhak Sapir

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