[b-hebrew] "th" and "b"

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Jun 18 13:39:04 EDT 2008


On Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 4:30 PM, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>

> On Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 3:06 PM, K Randolph wrote:
> > Yitzhak:
> >
> > We have gone over this before, so I don't see any real benefit in
> > going over it again.
> >
> > I have already described what appear to be pronunciation shifts in the
> > post Babylonian Captivity era, but that the data is too sparse to
> > prove it. But you  can't disprove it either.
> >
> Just because we have gone over this before, and we don't have to go
> over it again, doesn't mean I can't get straight answers.
> I have given straight answers, or am I assuming more knowledge on your part
that what you possess?

> What I don't understand, and I'm just asking, is what your position is?
> Is it that the Byzantine texts preserve "capernaum" from pre-exilic
> times before the shift you say happened?

Hardly pre-exilic. If you had been reading my posts, I claim that the
pronunciation changes started possibly already during the Exile. But like
all such linguistic changes, especially when there were a few sounds that
changed, it was a gradual process that took centuries,
with unevenness caused by both tradition and geography, as is normal in such
linguistic changes. In general, the consonantal changes had hard letters
changing to soft equivalents: x -> s, t -> th, etc.

> … Are we talking Greek or
> Latin?

Hebrew, of course, and how it was transliterated into Greek.

> … And, if I may still ask, what is the author of that article (which
> I only read as F.C.B., I think I worked it out back then), suggests
> as the underlying cause of the shift?

The author of the article with which I disagreed, assumed that there had
been no change in Hebrew. That's why he could not account for the pi in
Capernaum instead of phi Cafernaum.

> … I'm only asking you to reiterate
> his position, even though I understand you dismiss it.

Why reiterate his position?

> … Let me just
> point out that my sources show that Latin from the Roman Empire
> onwards transcribed the aspirated peh as ph, not p.  Latin may be
> the way to go, because it has both p and f, and so can differentiate
> aspirated pe from spirantized pe.

Why even consider Latin, when the earliest transliterations of Hebrew into
Latin occurred centuries later? In fact, by the time of Jerome, which had
changed more: the Greek or the Hebrew? Or was Jerome dealing with a regional
dialect of Greek or a regional variation of Hebrew tradition that was
different from the most common variety? Or even Latin, how consistent was
its pronunciation over the whole of the empire by the late empire period in
which Jerome lived?

> … Greek cannot so it has to
> transcribe them both with phi.  Except in the word apedno, where
> apparently tradition, maintained an emphatic non-aspirated pe, that
> was transcribed as pi in Origen's Greek and p (no h) in Jerome's
> Latin.  That's what the above quoted article by Steiner is all about.
> Thank you.
> Yitzhak Sapir

Did the whole of Steiner's article address the questions I listed above?

Karl W. Randolph.

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