[b-hebrew] historical question with linguistic import
TedBro at aol.com
TedBro at aol.com
Thu Jul 12 22:44:58 EDT 2012
The C-V theory is intriguing, but also appears to have some glaring
difficulties. Since there are only 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, there would
only be one possible vowel following each consonant. Do you find such a
When the vowel points were added to the text, there were, of course,
various vowels that could attach to each consonant. In addition, there are C-V-C
syllables. Wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that the vowel pointing
represented actual pronunciations in use in the Hebrew, rather than an
artificial system? How do you get from a syllabary, with only one vowel per
consonant, to the much more varied pronunciation schema found in the pointed text?
In a message dated 7/12/2012 8:32:17 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
kwrandolph at gmail.com writes:
Thank you for your quick response.
The claim that I heard of has its roots in the temple of Karnak, with the
claim of 300 gold shields being carved in the walls. I did a Google search
and found a few sites that repeated this claim.
http://www.specialtyinterests.net/thutmose.html This is a site that I have
found as questionable. This page actually shows an photograph of the
symbols claimed to show that there were 300 shields collected. I found a
couple of other sites that basically repeated the claims from this site. As
I wrote before, I take the claims of this site with a big grain of salt,
neither accepting nor rejecting its claims.
points to Thutmosis III being Shishaq. Again reference is made to 300
http://www.hshideaway.com/chap15.htm gives a detailed explanation as to why
the image should be read as 300 gold shields.
Solomon made 300 gold shields 1 Kings 10:17, 2 Chronicles 9:16.
The Tel Amarna letters show a political and social situation consistant
with the divided kingdom period of Biblical history.
Now the linguistic reason I ask this question:
Previously I mentioned on this list that I suspected that the Hebrew
alphabet was in reality a syllabary, with each letter standing for a
syllable consisting of a consonant followed by a vowel. My reason was from
reading the Hebrew text using the pre-Babylonian Exile font on my computer.
Because that font totally lacks any pronunciation dots found in the
medieval MSS, it led me to question the multiple pronunciations for BGD-KPT
letters, making many words impossible to pronounce without adding vowels.
Later I noticed that poetry seems to have a rhythm when each letter is
pronounced as a consonant followed by a vowel.
The latest is that I had a chance to look at Waltke & O’Connor and in their
discussion on the roots of Hebrew. cited the Amarna texts as evidence that
the language of Canaan at the time these letters were written appeared to
be consonant followed by a vowel. Different evidence, but coming to the
If Thutmosis III was Shishaq as proposed by the sites above, that will
indicate that the pronunciation of Biblical Hebrew probably continued to
have a consonant-vowel construction throughout the pre-Babylonian Exile
period, as the Amarna letters were written during the divided kingdom
I’m not 100% convinced of the theory that Biblical Hebrew had the
pronunciation of consonant / vowel, not yet, but the more I see of the
evidence, the more it appears that way.
Karl W. Randolph.
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