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"Jehovah" as the Pronunciation of יהוה

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  • "Jehovah" as the Pronunciation of יהוה

    For those who are interested...
    למתעניינים...‏

    I’ve completed writing up my response to the recent discussion about “Jehovah” being the proper pronunciation of the Nomen Tetragrammaton. You can access it here. I’d love to hear back from you. I tried to keep it as non-technical as possible and to teach some Hebrew things as going along, but there are aspects of this question that you must understand Hebrew morphology to put it focus. I’d be glad to hear back from you guys on it.

    Well... not all of you. Feel free to contact me on Skype (on my profile).
    I have permission to post on the Biblical Languages forum, as per email correspondence with Diane S.

  • #2
    Excellent write-up, Jameson.

    For me, the fact that 4Q120 Septuagint Leviticus b (4QLXXLevb) in the DSS has Ιαω is more than enough reason for taking 'Yahweh' as the correct pronunciation.

    Your response however will now be my go-to source for others who may have this question

    Comment


    • #3
      Jameson,

      I had time to read the beginning and the end of your paper today. When you say someone convinced you that the Hebrew letter was a "vav" not a "waw," did you put the evidence leading to that conclusion in the middle of your paper (and so I haven't read it yet), or does it remain in that other person's work?

      In all my previous world-language study, the voiced labiodental fricative evolves from the voiced labio-velar approximant, never the other way around. Or did your source assume that the former merely took place as an innovation into Proto-Hebrew from Proto-Semitic (or Proto-Canaanite)?
      57 weeks of original-language exegetical work in the last 5 years.
      It is now certain that "Biblical Unitarianism" is an oxymoron.
      About 16% of the NT indexed.
      90 claims of The Son's deity and counting.

      Comment


      • #4
        Great work. I'm not sure I would give Nehemia Gordon any credence whatsoever as a scholar -- his writing seems heavily agenda ridden. One of my colleagues is a Rabbi getting his Ph.D. in OT from, of all places, Union. His comment was that it mostly had to do with how the kere would have been written in a given context, referring to those 50 or so examples which are supposed to prove definitively that the pronunciation was Jehovah (the cholem issue). I didn't read your paper in detail to the end, so do you address this or think it's a possibility?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by S Walch View Post
          Excellent write-up, Jameson.

          For me, the fact that 4Q120 Septuagint Leviticus b (4QLXXLevb) in the DSS has Ιαω is more than enough reason for taking 'Yahweh' as the correct pronunciation.

          Your response however will now be my go-to source for others who may have this question
          Do we have online photographic evidence of 4QLXXXLevb? I'd love to see it.
          Last edited by Jameson; 10-12-17, 02:23 PM.
          I have permission to post on the Biblical Languages forum, as per email correspondence with Diane S.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ACAinstructor View Post
            I had time to read the beginning and the end of your paper today. When you say someone convinced you that the Hebrew letter was a "vav" not a "waw," did you put the evidence leading to that conclusion in the middle of your paper (and so I haven't read it yet), or does it remain in that other person's work?
            I too had thought all along that Hebrew originally had the w sound, which switched by (perhaps) German or other influence to v. However, it is significant that Jews from all over the world, in all but five communities, uniformly read vav as v. How could that be the case? In fact, even Lebanese Jews who spoke Arabic and used waw outside of the synagogue, yet Lebanese Jews use v when they read vav. How can that be explained otherwise? It seems that Jews who moved into Arabic-speaking areas were more likely to be influenced by their use of Arabic to pronounce Hebrew as waw. That seems like a convincing argument to me.

            Originally posted by ACAinstructor View Post
            In all my previous world-language study, the voiced labiodental fricative evolves from the voiced labio-velar approximant, never the other way around. Or did your source assume that the former merely took place as an innovation into Proto-Hebrew from Proto-Semitic (or Proto-Canaanite)?
            This is how I understood it, too. I think the argument needs to be dealt with. I don’t see a good reason for why w would switch to v uniformly all across the diaspora.
            I have permission to post on the Biblical Languages forum, as per email correspondence with Diane S.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Barry Hofstetter View Post
              Great work. I'm not sure I would give Nehemia Gordon any credence whatsoever as a scholar -- his writing seems heavily agenda ridden. One of my colleagues is a Rabbi getting his Ph.D. in OT from, of all places, Union. His comment was that it mostly had to do with how the kere would have been written in a given context, referring to those 50 or so examples which are supposed to prove definitively that the pronunciation was Jehovah (the cholem issue). I didn't read your paper in detail to the end, so do you address this or think it's a possibility?
              I mentioned that in the paper, but it seems like an absurd argument when understood in analogy to יהוה being read as אֱלֹהִים – that is, יְהוִֹה. Whether it is יֱהוִֹה or יְהוִה, everyone would read this as elohim.
              I have permission to post on the Biblical Languages forum, as per email correspondence with Diane S.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jameson View Post

                Do we have online photographic evidence of 4QLXXXLevb? I'd love to see it.
                That we do!

                http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rak//lxxjewpap/4QLevB.jpg

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jameson View Post
                  I too had thought all along that Hebrew originally had the w sound, which switched by (perhaps) German or other influence to v. However, it is significant that Jews from all over the world, in all but five communities, uniformly read vav as v. How could that be the case? In fact, even Lebanese Jews who spoke Arabic and used waw outside of the synagogue, yet Lebanese Jews use v when they read vav. How can that be explained otherwise? It seems that Jews who moved into Arabic-speaking areas were more likely to be influenced by their use of Arabic to pronounce Hebrew as waw. That seems like a convincing argument to me.
                  What I am saying is that "w" to "v" is a very common morph in many world languages of different families and even phyla across the entire world. The fricative is simply easier to say than the approximant, and all language tends toward truncation and ease of pronunciation. "W" is comparatively rare as a consonant anyhow, and Arabic being an extremely conservative language accounts for the retention. Which non-Arabic Afroasiatic language has it survived in other than the anomaly of Neo-Aramaic? This is what needs explained, not that all but one variant of Hebrew went the way of the labiodental fricative. That is natural!

                  Originally posted by Jameson View Post
                  This is how I understood it, too. I think the argument needs to be dealt with. I don't see a good reason for why w would switch to v uniformly all across the diaspora.
                  In light of my above, even more so, I concur. Since your concluded pronunciation is different from the conventional conclusion by only one phoneme, the argument for this "v" becomes crucial for any distinction at all, and thus the continued necessity of your paper on it.
                  57 weeks of original-language exegetical work in the last 5 years.
                  It is now certain that "Biblical Unitarianism" is an oxymoron.
                  About 16% of the NT indexed.
                  90 claims of The Son's deity and counting.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think we also see the similar phenomenon with things like the Greek β and the Hebrew ב, both of which have morphed from a hard /b/ to a /v/.

                    There any other languages where we see a b-v transition?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I honestly had never heard anyone make a single argument that ו originally represented v. I had always heard that Proto-Semitic had the w sound, which went directly into both Hebrew and Arabic (as well as the other Semitic languages). I’m not sure how it sounded (or sounds) in Aramaic, but I haven’t really seen evidence in support of the common position.

                      Unless… Do you think it’s possible that the ו shifted during the Second Temple period? If that’s the case, it would have been carried to the Diaspora as v while still being w in ancient times.
                      I have permission to post on the Biblical Languages forum, as per email correspondence with Diane S.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by S Walch View Post
                        Danke schön!
                        I have permission to post on the Biblical Languages forum, as per email correspondence with Diane S.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by S Walch View Post
                          I think we also see the similar phenomenon with things like the Greek β and the Hebrew ב, both of which have morphed from a hard /b/ to a /v/.

                          There any other languages where we see a b-v transition?
                          At least in the Tiberian period, ב was both b and v. It hadn’t morphed from one to the other. This is how it is still today. The question would be how we could determine if it was only one sound in antiquity, which is something that I don’t think we could securely prove. The same is true of ו, which is the issue with יהוה that we’re discussing.
                          I have permission to post on the Biblical Languages forum, as per email correspondence with Diane S.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            While many are inclined to view the pronunciation “Yahweh” as the more correct way, we have retained the form “Jehovah” because of people’s familiarity with it for centuries. Moreover, it preserves, equally with other forms, the four letters of the divine name, YHWH (or, JHVH).

                            We count ourselves happy to be privileged to present this revision of The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures in the interest of Bible education,
                            https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101985061

                            In one of the most spectacular admissions in religious history, the JW's actually admit that Jehovah is wrong: "Yahweh . .. is admittedly superior to Jehovah. 'The wrong spelling Jehovah OCCURS since about 1100' and then it offers its arguments in favor of Yahweh as the correct and original pronunciation." Let Your Name Be Sanctified, Jehovah's Witnesses, p 16-20)
                            Deuteronomy 6:4. Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Jehovah] your God [Elohim] is one LORD [Jehovah].

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Daniel Marsh View Post
                              In one of the most spectacular admissions in religious history, the JW's actually admit that Jehovah is wrong: "Yahweh . .. is admittedly superior to Jehovah. 'The wrong spelling Jehovah OCCURS since about 1100' and then it offers its arguments in favor of Yahweh as the correct and original pronunciation." Let Your Name Be Sanctified, Jehovah's Witnesses, p 16-20)
                              Not really. If you look at the actual publication, that may be from the 1960s, it is an equivocal review of various positions. The "wrong spelling" is just a 3rd-party quote. This section is not being represented well by the Christians who are using it to critique the JW usage.

                              "Let Your Name Be Sanctified" Chapter 2
                              http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/san...nctified2.html

                              One key quote (the source is unclear) we now know to be simply in error:

                              It was not before the year 1100 that a vowel sign for the letter "o" was put in the middle, to make the combination read Ye·ho·wah'.
                              There are JWs who strongly defend a Jehovah/Yehowah form. Gerard Gertoux would be an example. Likely Rolf Furuli (who also tries to defend the mangling insertion into the NT that was done in the NWT.) Jason BeDuhn straddles. Is he JW? Or just defending their NWT?

                              Others who may be in this group of Jehovah Witnesses writing about the tetragram are Martin Rösel of Rostock, Germany and Pavlos Vasileiadis of Thessaloniki. However, their background is unclear.

                              I've never seen a JW actually declare for Yahweh.

                              While I agree that it is noteworthy that the JW org tends to be confused (I first noticed that in their literature looong ago), it is not particularly relevant to the scholarly and Hebraic discussions.

                              Steven
                              Last edited by Steven Avery; 10-14-17, 08:00 AM.

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