[b-hebrew] Transliterating from Hebrew to Greek

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Mon Jan 18 10:08:34 EST 2010

Dear James,

A very good source that illuminates the 
correspondence and lack of correspondence between 
Hebrew and Greek letters is: E. Brönno. "Studien 
über hebräische Morphologie und Vocalismus". 
Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 
xxvii, 1943.  This is a study of the Mercati 
manuscript of Origen's Hexapla.

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>Hi all,
>recent discussions have led me to take a closer look at transliteration
>patterns from Hebrew to Greek. I share my preliminary observations below:
>>From Genesis 2:8 we see Eden in MT as ÚÕ“‘Ô however, in Greek we see EÉ¬ÉˆÉ 
>(edem) thus highlighting two features.
>1) Ayin has no correspondent in the Greek and so it moves straight on to the
>following vowel.
>2) A confusion between the similarly pronounced phones of n and m.
>In Genesis 2:11 we see the river Pishon in MT as 
>Ù¦È÷ÂðÔ while in Greek É"É«É-É÷ÉÀ
>thus highlighting other interesting features:
>1) A confusion between aspirate p and unaspirated p (Greek uses phi).
>2) We see Greek omega (long o) stading in the place of holem waw as we would
>ordinarily expect
>In Genesis 2:13 we see the river Gishon in MT as ’¦ÈÁÂðÔ while in Greek we
>see ɡɉÉ÷ÉÀ thus highlighting more interesting features:
>1) Despite Greek having a letter chi kh sound is completely omitted. We only
>see its trace in the middle of an unusual combination of Greek vowels ɉÉ÷
>2) Long /i:/ vowel transliterated with ɉ
>3) Again Greek omega stands for holem waw as we would expect (we haven't
>gone far into the Torah but we are already starting to notice a consistent
>pattern here)
>We see in MT ýÀ“ÀÌ but in LXX we see AɬÉøÉ 
>again highlighting an already seen
>1) Impossible to represent consonant aleph is dropped from transliteration
>and its following vowel is the first letter we see (i.e. alpha)
>In general, we see that problem consonants are omitted and their nearest
>vowels are used instead. This pattern is considerably evident and well
>testified for the Hebrew holem waw combination which is consistently
>transliterated with Greek Omega (if there are counter examples I would be
>delighted to see them).
>James Christian
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

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