wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Wed Jul 7 06:42:42 EDT 2010
Thanks for the reply. I'm convinced on some points, but not others...
On Tue, 6 Jul 2010 05:49:16 +0300
Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 12:37 AM, Will Parsons wrote:
> Welcome to the list!
> >> In the case of the name Jerusalem, the last vowel was original a long
> >> i:. We know
> >> this from Assyrian transcriptions and also from the name of the Canaanite god
> >> Shalim which underlies the city's name.
> > I don't know about the Assyrian transcriptions, but can we know with
> > confidence that the pronuncation of the Canaanite god *was* Shalim? My
> > understanding is that Ugaritic like other Semitic languages didn't regularly
> > represent the vowels, so how would this be known?
> Yes. We have the transcriptions of Abdi-Hepa, Amarna age ruler of Jerusalem,
> we have the transcription of Sennacherib talking about Jerusalem in
> various copies
> of the Sennacherib prism, and although Ugaritic is written mostly with
> an alphabetic
> cuneiform, there are also tablets written in other cuneiform where
> personal names
> DINGIR-shalim and DINGIR-shalima appear.
OK - I'm convinced that the form "Shalim" can be estsblished. You say above,
though, that the vowel is long, specifically [i:]. Is this implicit in the
> >> The yodh could represent this long i:
> >> and nothing else.
> > Why nothing else? Couldn't the yodh indicate a pronuncation (e.g.) such as
> > -aym?
> Perhaps my Hebrew is interfering with the English here. The above is meant
> to mean - the yodh could be nothing more than a long i:. There are other
> possibilities, and indeed I advocate one below.
I'm confused by what you mean here - which yodh are your referring to?
And do you mean that this yodh could not refer to [e:] for example?
> >> However, the Greek eta used to transcribe the name indicates
> >> a lowering of the vowel at this position. It is perhaps significant
> >> that the eta itself
> >> has its development from both a long a: and a long e:.
> > Although true, I don't see how development in Greek is significant for Hebrew.
> > The transcription with eta just indicates the translators of the LXX heard a
> > pronuncation similar to [jeruʃale:m].
> No. I think it means that we cannot rule that this transcribes a diphthong.
> Just like the yodh is ambiguous, so too is the eta.
Here I must disagree concerning eta. I don't believe there is any possibility
of seeing Ιερουσαλημ/Ierousalem as indicating a diphthong in the last syllable,
or any pronuncation other than one substantially like [jeruʃale:m].
> >> See here -
> >> http://books.google.com/books?id=yws4Zey-ZnYC&pg=PA73&dq="mid front vowel"
Yes, I am familiar with Allen's work (I have a copy) and nowhere does he suggest
a diphthongal value for eta.
> >> In my opinion, the use of a yodh in mid-word position is indication
> >> that the vowel
> >> already had a diphthong pronunciation at this point, even if it wasn't
> >> the [ai] or
> >> [ayi] of Tiberian [yarushalaim].
I'm confused here. Aren't we talking about the *absence* of yodh in the
> > Rather than the diphthong being a development of an earlier simple vowel, and
> > that Yerushayim vs Yerushalem is the same sort of doublet seen in bayith vs
> > beth? In which case Yerushalayim (or rather *Yerushalaym) would represent an
> > earlier pronuncation, the diphthong being monophthongized as usual in the
> > pronuncation reflected by the usual Hebrew spelling and Greek transcription.
> > The diphthongal pronunciation would be an alternate preserved either as a
> > dialectal variant or perhaps in a different speech register, ultimately to
> > survive and prosper in the pronuncation reflected by the Massoretes.
> The evidence simply does not support this.
> 1) Historical *ay is always spelled out in pre-exilic inscriptions
> from Judea (in
> contrast to other locations). But Jerusalem is spelled ירשלם in Kh. Bet Lei.
OK - I think that the absence of yodh in early spellings is evidence that
points away from a *ay.
> 2) Jerusalem in pre-exilic Assyrian transcriptions has an -i-.
I have to accept the transcriptional evidence, but then the phonetic process
by which [i:m] finally arrived at [ajim] becomes hard to understand.
> 3) The Canaanite patron god of the city is Shalim.
OK - I'm convinced.
> 4) Eta and -y- could both represent either a diphthong or a simple vowel.
No - I don't think eta could. Eta has three basic origins in Greek:
a) The result of fronting an original [a:] in Ionic to something like
[æ:]. It was apparently this phonetic change in Ionic that caused H
to be first used as a vowel instead of an aspirate.
b) The reflex of an inherited Indo-European [e:]. By the classical period,
H had further evolved to a closer vowel, (though still relatively open)
[ɛ:], and at this point H came be used for both these cases as they had
fallen together in sound.
c) The result of contraction, most notably between [e] & [a]. The result
would most likely have resulted in something like [ɛ:].
This relatively open sound continued to become closer in time, until by
the middle ages it merged with [i]. This of course took time, and for
a lot of the Hellenistic period we can posit a transitional form like
[e(:)]. (This is further bourne out by the use of H to transcribe long E
in Latin, and conversely, the use of Latin E to transcribe Greek H.) But
at no time during this process, did H have a diphthongal value.
If ירשלם *did* have a diphthongal pronunciation at the time of the
LXX, one would expect it to be transcribed as Ιερουσαλαϊμ/Ierousalaïm.
Note that e.g., on one hand we have transcriptions like Ισραηλ/Israel,
and on the other Εφραϊμ/Ephraïm.
> 5) Normal *ay become tsere in Biblical Aramaic. But Jerusalem has seghol.
I didn't know that. I don't know the significance of having the seghol is,
though (apart from it pointing away from *ay).
> 5) I dislike "alternate register preservation" explanations. Sometimes
> there is no alternative - Masoretic pronoun suffixes -ka and -ta appear in
> DSS as -kh and -th but in the Secunda without a vowel, making dialectical
> variation very likely and the most reasonable and simplest explanation.
> But here the evidence suggests just the opposite - that -i- became -ay-
> or -ayi- by Masoretic times. There is no evidence for an -ay- in pre-exilic
> times and various evidence (Assyrian, Kh. Bet Lei) against it.
I guess you've convinced me that my hypothesis of a doublet Yerushalayim/
Yerushalem is mistaken, but I still find it hard to posit a credible path
by which [i:] evolved to [a(j)i], in lack of additional corroborative
evidence. (Of course, I realize that my lack of knowledge of such evidence
is not the same as there being none.)
> Best, and again, welcome to the list!
> Yitzhak Sapir
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