[b-hebrew] Evidence for three-syllables in the Tetragrammaton (was Re: [Can theophopric names with Yeho prefixes be derived from Yehovah or maybe from Yehowah or maybe from "Yahweh"?)

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Fri Jul 2 08:08:11 EDT 2010

On Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 9:16 PM, James Christian wrote:
> Hi Yitzhak,
> I suppose nobody really bothered explaining because it is in itself self
> explanatory. We have shortened forms Yeho and Yahu which are bisyllabic and
> account for the first three consonants of Yhwh only. We are left with one
> unexplained consonant and the only logical way of completing the name is to
> supply some vowel proceeding the final consonant such that it is
> pronounceable. Now, did this really have to made explicit or was your
> question for rhetorical effect only?

James, I did not make the question for rhetorical effect.  Generally, if I make
rhetorical questions, it is only after I clarified the alternative
position and showed
the evidence for it.

The problem for me, however, is that any way that I see of using the theophoric
names to support a three-syllable pronunciation is flawed in some way.  I would
rather understand your position in your words.  This may turn out to be one of
the ways I could think up or it could be an alternative method that I
did not think
up.  If the first, I can then try to convince or explain why I think
the method is
flawed, and if the second, perhaps I would accept it.

In any case, it is not self-evident for me.  I actually think that
analysis of the
theophoric names in all kinds of ways leads in some cases to the conclusion
that the independent tetragrammaton had two syllables only.

For example, I see the above explanation as consistent with a three syllable
pronunciation but not evidence.  We could just the same take the -o- vowel
and place it after the -w-, not after -h-, giving [yahwo].  In this case, the
last letter -h- is understood as a vowel letter of -o, which is a legitimate
interpretation of that letter since in other Biblical words -h- is used as a
final vowel letter for -o (for example, שלמה).  Also, we would understand the
prefixes and suffixes as derived from yahwo > yaho: or > yahu:.

In light of this possible alternative, we could consider for now both methods
as valid and equivalent.  In such a situation, neither method provides
evidence for a two or three-syllable pronunciation.  Rather, they show that
both a two and a three syllable pronunciation is consistent with theophoric
names.  This is a much weaker statement than saying that theophoric
names provide evidence in favor of a three syllable pronunciation.  So I am
curious why you chose to place the -o/u- vowel specifically after the first -h-
in the Tetragrammaton and not after the -w-?  That is, did you consider the
alternative I explained above, and if you did, why did you consider it to be
evidence rather than a pronunciation consistent with the evidence?

Yitzhak Sapir

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list