[b-hebrew] Theophoric names
uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 24 20:44:53 EST 2013
I tend to agree that in the pre-exilic, first temple,
period YHWH was fully pronounced, though it is
impossible to determine the vocalization now.
The way it is used in the Lakhish and Arad letters,
for instance, seems to support this, but does prove it.
On the other hand, I think that the spelling of
theophoric additions can not help here since names
like Yehonatan are also spelled Yonatan in quite a
few chapters in the text. As if to emphasize this point
the two forms appear in one verse 1 Sam. 19:1!
Similarly are Yoram and Yehoram, Yoaxaz and Yehoaxaz
That a diachronic factor was involved in these slight
variations is possible. Such a factor becomes definite
in the extra-biblical suffixes -yahu and -yah which you
asked about. The former appear exclusively in pre-exilic
inscriptional evidence, the latter in post-exilic.
This process is also in evidence in the text; compare
the difference between the prophets' names Yishayahu,
Yirmiyahu and the much later Ts'fanyah, Zekharyah .
Unilke the uniform evidence from archaeological findings,
the shift in the HB text is gradual, and not consistent
as fits in much edited material. There is quite a
literature on the subject. I follow Richard Hess and Avi
Hurvitz (no relation) among others. George Athas, I Think,
And you had another good question - when was the
tetragammaton considered too holy to be pronounced?
Perhaps a clue that YHWH was considered different
from other words can be found in those instances when
it was written in some Dead Sea Scrolls in the old
paleo -Hebrew script as against the accepted Aramaic
script in general use in the rest of the scrolls.
In Egypt, it was said about one of the highest gods,
Amun, that his name should not be pronounced.
I have always been interested in the custom of theophorics and what appears
to be a pattern. During the 1st temple period, there was no problem voicing
the name of God. When the theophoric was a prefix to a name, it appears to
have been יְהֹו "Yeho" (yod-tsere) such as Yeho-shua, Yeho-nathan,
Yeho-sef, Yeho-Yakhin, and as a suffix, Yirmi-yahu, Yesha-yahu, Hizqi-yahu.
Inscriptions on bullae or LMLK impressions reveal the full suffix
theophoric, i.e. חִזְקִיָּהוּ hzqyhw while the Biblical translations are
"HezekYAH. I think the 2nd temple prohibition on the Shem haMeforash
resulted in truncations, such as Ye-shua for Yehoshua, Yo-sef for Yeho-sef,
Yesha-ya for Yesha-yahu (Isaiah). Does anyone else see this pattern for
theophoric use and its altered praxis post-exilic? Does the prefix YE-ho
and suffix YA-hu tell us anything about the actual voicing of YHWH?
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