[b-hebrew] Yerushalayim, you say? Really?

Garth Grenache garthgrenache at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 7 09:09:54 EDT 2010

Thanks Yitzhak and Will and Kenneth,
 for your contributions to this discussion so far.

My suggestion is that the name was simply Yerushalem, in the 1st century CE, with long u, a, and e in the last three syllables.

I am suggesting that the pronunciation -ayim developed after that, and was documented as such by the Tiberian system, and standardized after that.

What evidence is there for and against this?

Yitzhak wrote,
> It is best to analyze all reading developments, not least
> of which the name Jerusalem, as resulting from standard
> phonetic developments in pronunciation.

I agree that we should attempt this approach first: I have.
Where else  in Hebrew does a long 'e'  (or 'i') become -ayi-?

Perhaps there is semantic influence: a dual because of 'two hills' of Jerusalem, c.f. Misrayim upper and lower?

On Ugaritic Shalim ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalim ), Ugaritic script fails to distinguish between short and long vowels, and only marks vowels with alef.
Do syllabic cuneiform renderings tell us that Shalim has a long i:?
If not, what does?

It is Protosemitic short i that regularly corresponds to long 'e' in Hebrew.
The ultimate accent appears to have resulted in this change of short i to long e: (tsere) in Hebrew.
In Aramaic, Protosemitic short i regularly corresponds to short 'e', as in Yerushlem.

In neither language does a long i: regularly change into e: or short e, and I don't any vowel has a standard development into -ayi-.

Therefore my current guess is that Shalim was short a, short i, and that both vowels were augmented to form long a: (qamatz) and long e: (tsere) in Hebrew.

I agree that the yodh was a mater, and thus treating it as consonantal 'y' does not reflect the original phonology of the consonantal text.  (But Yitzhak is right that the Tiberian reading tradition did diverge from the consonantal text, even in substituting different words.)

Will wrote,
> 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 

I agree.

The yodh (which is usually absent, but present in a few post exilic books) could have originally marked long e: (tsere).  These late books typically mark more medial maters than the former books.  (And yet in the same works, Yerushalaim is marked with no y.)

Yitzhak wrote,
> In the case of the name Jerusalem, the last vowel was original a long
> i:.  We know this from Assyrian transcriptions
> We have the transcriptions of Abdi-Hepa, Amarna age ruler of
> Jerusalem, we have the transcription of Sennacherib talking 
> 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.

Can you send me a link to see the Assyrian transcriptions, and explain why the 'i' in the transcriptions must be interpreted as long?  I am aware that some syllable signs stand for both li or le, and some for both im and em.  I'd really like to have a look and to understand such things.  As far as I'm aware, cuneiform doesn't distinguish between short and long vowels.  I am not doubting that it was 'i': that is my understanding.  I am doubting that it was ever both 'i' and long i:.

Yitzhak wrote,
> 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].

Do you interpret tsere as a diphthong?
I don't.
Are diphthongs ever without 'y' in the MT as Yerushalaim is without 'y' even in the same texts which occasionally include it?

Will wrote,
> 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.

It seems a good suggestion, Will.
But being after the *original* pronunciation, I do find a difference between bayith and -shalayim:  baytu already had a y in it.

Is not -shalayim from sh-l-m? (cf Heb 7:2)   Then are you suggesting that it has had an infixed y?  Does this happen?

And if it is -aym/-ayim from being a dual, should it not be -shalimaym?
What happened to the root 'm'?

Or is anyone suggesting a different root than sh-l-m?  If so, what root and on what basis?

I think it is much easier to interpret the y as a mater for a vowel e: lengthened from i,
or at least to suggest that any diphthongal pronunciation was a development of an unusual(perhaps pseudo-semantic) sort.

> >> 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 [jeru?ale: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.

But the lack of yodh is not ambiguous, is it?
No y means no ay diphthong in Hebrew, doesn't it?
> 1) Historical *ay is always spelled out in pre-exilic inscriptions
> from Judea (in
> contrast to other locations).  But Jerusalem is spelled [YRShLM] in Kh. Bet Lei.
> 2) Jerusalem in pre-exilic Assyrian transcriptions has an -i-.
> 3) The Canaanite patron god of the city is Shalim.
> 4) Eta and -y- could both represent either a diphthong or a simple vowel.
> 5) Normal *ay become tsere in Biblical Aramaic.  But Jerusalem has seghol.

All this lends to an original short 'i' becoming long e:, doesn't it?

As to the meaning, Kenneth, so far you have at least provided a means to insert a 'y' into  the name.

As to the original pronunciation and it's meaning, my wild theory is here:
If my wild theory is right,
*Uru- may stand for Yuru-, and
*Yerushalem may not be from yerusha "inheritance" + shalim, (it is not spelled yerushashalim, is it?)

Garth Grenache,

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