[b-hebrew] Biblia Hebraica transcripta

David Steinberg david.l.steinberg at rogers.com
Tue Mar 4 15:39:06 EST 2008

Isaac -


1 It is clear that /Chet/ in written Hebrew corresponds to two 
proto-Semitic consonants which, to avoid typographic problems we can 
write /kh/ and H. Similarly '/ayin/ in written Hebrew corresponds to two 
proto-Semitic consonants which we can represent as /^c / and /gh/.


2. Most scholars have been convinced by Wevers  (Wevers J. W., /Heth/ in 
Classical Hebrew by in /Essays on the Ancient Semitic World/ ed. J. W. 
Wevers and D. B. Redford, University of Toronto press 1970) and Blau 
(/On Polyphony in Biblical Hebrew, /  Israel Academy of Sciences and 
Humanities Proceedings, vol. VI no. 2 1982) that the original dual 
pronunciation /Chet/ and '/ayin/ was only lost in the Hellenistic period 
-- i.e. these letters were polyphonic in the pre-exilic, Persian and 
early Hellenistic periods. E.g. see  Sáenz-Badillos/ /p. 69 
(Sáenz-Badillos/ /A/, A History of the Hebrew Language/ by, Cambridge 
1993), Kutscher pp. 17-18 (Kutscher,/ /Eduard Y. , /A History of the 
Hebrew Language/  edited by Raphael Kutscher Published by The Magnes 
Press, 1982) and Rainey (Jewish Quarterly Review XCI pp. 419-427, 
Jan.-Apr. 2001).  See also Consonantal Polyphony in Biblical 


3. You can make the argument that you should ignore etymology in 
defining the semantics of Biblical Hebrew words as is being done in 
/T//he Dictionary of Classical Hebrew/ , David J.A. Clines, editor. 
However even a synchronic approach cannot ignore the phonemic structure 
of the language as it existed at the time of text composition.


4. In practice, in the cases of discontinuous semantic ranges of 
biblical roots containing /Chet/ or '/ayin, /it seems useful to look at 
the etymological background to see whether it might account for what se 
see in the Hebrew.


5. Re the specifics see HALOT (/The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the 
Old Testament // by Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner ; subsequently 
revised by Walter Baumgartner and Johann Jakob Stamm ; with assistance 
from Benedikt Hartmann ... [et al.]. Leiden ; New York : E.J. Brill, 1994)



Ugaritic nHlt --take in possession; nHl heir

Hebrew -- basically the same semantic range


Nkhl -- apparently gorge in Ugaritic and definitely in Akkadian

Hebrew -- basically the same semantic range


^c lm ('ayin, lamed, mem)

   1. ^c lm = concealed in Arabic and possibly in Ugaritic with parallel
      meanings in Hebrew
   2. ghlm = dark, obscure in Ugaritic with possibly st same meaning in
      Job 42:3 etc
   3. ghlm = Ugaritic to be agitated, Arabic to be filled with
      passionate desire.
   4. Note the word for boy is derived from ghlm not ^c lm.



David Steinberg <mailto:webmaster at adath-shalom.ca>


David.Steinberg at houseofdavid.ca <mailto:David.Steinberg at houseofdavid.ca>

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