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

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Feb 24 21:21:00 EST 2007


On 2/24/07, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 24/02/2007 21:45, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> > ...
> > 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). ...
> >
>
> The Greek word MESSIAS is found in just two places in the New Testament,
> both in John's gospel, 1:41 and 4:25. (CRISTOS is the much more common
> Greek word with the same meaning; in both of these places MESSIAS is
> further explained as CRISTOS.) Both of these verses are attested in the
> papyrus P66 from c. 200 CE, which may be the oldest evidence for this
> form.

I accept this evidence as more significant than the link I brought.  I assumed
you would probably have more authoritative sources for this matter.  It could
also be that the gemination was an internal Hebrew development (perhaps
like in the word xami$$i:m) but which was lost later on.  I note the
Hieronymus transcribes a double s.

> This does seem to be a possible alternative explanation. I note that
> this would only work with an Aramaic common noun which could take the
> definite suffix. A proper name would not have this suffix, and so if we
> could find in Greek, for example in the New Testament or in Josephus, a
> proper name with an -IAS type ending where there might be a furtive
> patah in Hebrew, this would prove that furtive patah was pronounced at
> the time these books were written.

It might be good evidence.  Since there are also certain Greek manuscripts
found at Qumran, those might be better evidence to work with, if they are
significant enough to contain enough proper names.

> And here is an example of that: Noah, NWE in Greek (LXX, NT and probably
> elsewhere)

Well, Josephus has nwxos and even goes to explaining it, "With a view to
euphony and my readers' pleasure these names have been Hellenized. The
form in which they here appear is not that used in our country, where their
structure and termination remain always the same; thus Nwxos in Hebrew is
Nwe, and the name retains this form in all the cases."  This is a quote brought
by Steiner's article in the JBL on Ghayin/Ayin and Het/Khet, where he
argues that the epsilon variant shows the Khet had merged in common
speech by Josephus' time.  Perhaps it might be reasonable to argue that
a "furtive tsere" had begun to develop at this time which later became a
patah.  But it would still be preferable to work with inscriptional/epigraphic
evidence rather than manuscripts that may contain later influences.

> I note that the English form "Messiah" implies that the word comes from
> the Hebrew. If your hypothesis is correct, it should be re-spelled
> "Messiha".

The following may be of interest:
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=messiah&searchmode=none
Thus, Messias may be originally from Aramaic, but was "corrected" based on
the Hebrew.

Yitzhak Sapir



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