[b-hebrew] Jerusalem

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Mon Jul 12 01:01:56 EDT 2010

Hello Garth,

I do not think the examples you bring for the yodh for tsere are sufficient.
While the Qumran examples are the most relevant, the question still
remains -- why do we need to go to the distinctive Qumran orthography
to find the use of yodh for tsere.  Why is it that in the Bible we find the
rare use of ירושלים, and yet uses of yodh for tsere appear to be even
more rare.

The Biblical spelling if ירושלים is used in Esther once (there is no use
of ירושלם), and the it appears three times in Chronicles, once in a non
parallel passage (1 Chr 3:5) and once in a paraphrased passage
(2 Chr 32:9 vs Isa 36:2 and 2 Ki 18:17).  Are there comparable uses
of yodh for tsere in MT Chronicles?

I don't think that the pronunciation necessarily changed at once.  If
the -aym of other place names influenced this pronunciation, there
might have been a situation where over time, there were two by-forms
one -sale:m and one -salaym, the second slowly displacing the first.
In this case the use of ירושלים in Chronicles may indicate an initial
stage of this displacement.  Rather than a copyist changing the
text later on to conform to his more common convention, we could
also explain the uses as an early stage of the displacement where
the -aym form already exists but the ירושלם spelling is still more
common (perhaps in speech too, the -e:m form might have been
more common).

Following I discuss some of your other points in detail:

Regarding the spellings you provide for the Great Isaiah scroll,
see the discussion by Tov (Intro to Textual Criticism, p 108) -

The Great Isaiah scroll along with other Qumran documents use a
distinctive orthography that differs from the MT.  It is wrong to take
these practices and apply them inconsistently to the MT.  However,
it would be interesting to compare the usage of the name ירושלים vs
ירושלם in the DSS and see how often ירושלים and ירושלם each appear
in scrolls that contain "standard" orthography as opposed to the
distinctive Qumran orthography.

The Samaritan pronunciation of שדה is ʃɔ:di.  The spelling with yodh
could indicate simply the final vowel -i, and in any case the Hebrew
has seghol (an ɛ or ae vowel) rather than a tsere (an e vowel).

Regarding Aramaic ירושלם, the pronunciation is with a long tsere in
the final syllable in MT (long because it is a stressed syllable).

The relevant coins are mentioned by Gesenius here:

where he refers to a discussion by Eckhel here:

These are coins from the Great Revolt (~ 70 CE), in contrast to
what Gesenius says.  You can see a large picture of such a coin
at - http://www-scf.usc.edu/~ciccone/images/reverse%209%20in.jpg

The full site is - http://www-scf.usc.edu/~ciccone/index.htm

As for the use of yodh for e: < aj, there are various ways to
explain this.  First, it is possible that at the time the MT spelling
was fixed, there was still no e: < aj.  The yodh was used for aj
and i only, not for tsere [e].  After aj > e:, the spelling now seems
to be able to distinguish historical aj > e: from i > e: but this is
really a result of how the spelling developed.  Additionally, it is
possible that the pronunciation may have been slightly different.
A lengthened i > e: by reduplication was actually i > ee whereas
aj may have developed to a simple long vowel e: (non duplicated).
Scribes may therefore have been able to recognize the difference
even after the change.

Yitzhak Sapir

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