Jehovah vs Yahweh

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SteveMiller
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Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby SteveMiller » Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:47 pm

Why are scholars fairly sure that God's name is pronounced Yahweh? Is it just a guess? Is Jehovah just as good a guess?
Thanks.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
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http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

kwrandolph
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby kwrandolph » Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:52 am

Steve:

SteveMiller wrote:Why are scholars fairly sure that God's name is pronounced Yahweh? Is it just a guess?


This is one of the few words, if not the only one, where scholars admit uncertainty in the pronunciation. It is generally recognized that the points for Adonai were added when YHWH was found in the text, which come out as “Jehovah” in English. This is probably the most common Kethib/Qere pair in Tanakh.

The story told to me is that the name “Yahweh” was an invention of Gesenius, and because he is held in such high regard most scholars follow him. As far as I know, most modern dictionaries from ancient Hebrew to English are basically updates of his dictionary.

SteveMiller wrote:Is Jehovah just as good a guess?
Thanks.


Well, in actuality, yes.

Because ancient Greek had neither “h” nor “w”, the jumble of vowels used to transliterate the name can be read as anything from “Yahweh” to “Yehowah” to “Yehowahe” (the last one is the one that I think is most accurate, with the accent on the third syllable).

The question on pronunciation came up on an earlier thread, which included the Greek transliterations. I probably should have saved those transliterations for this discussion.

Personally, I’m not dogmatic on any of the pronunciations. So take your pick.

Karl W. Randolph.

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enkidu
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby enkidu » Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:02 am

There are quite a few considerations which favour Yahweh over Jehovah. These include theophoric elements in names, sounds in cognate languages, transliterations into some languages, and so forth. Consequently it is widely believed that ו (waw) was pronounced as "w" not "v" and that "j" is just wrong (just look at how other names beginning with yod are read in modern translations). So while there will always be some uncertainty over the precise pronunciation (and there may have been some variation in pronunciation in different regions and at different times anyway), it is pretty certain that "Jehovah" is wrong while "Yahweh" is close.
Martin Shields,
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SteveMiller
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:15 pm

Thanks Karl,
Why do you think “Yehowahe” is probably most accurate?

Martin,
Why do scholars say that the vav sounded like a w rather than a v? How did they come up with the vowels for Yahweh?

Thanks.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

S_Walch
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby S_Walch » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:49 pm

I believe the Moabite Stone/Mesha Stele has helped in understanding the V/W connection.

As for the vowels for Yahweh - The fact that names ending in -yh or -yhw are vocalised -yah or -yahu has convinced many, not to mention the Greek manuscripts from Qumran have it transliterated into Greek as Ιαω/Ιαο (The Hebrew Vav/waw transliterated into Greek as ω is the most common, so I'm not quite sure as to whether the Greek omega had more a -u rather than an -o sound than currently understood).
Ste Walch

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SteveMiller
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:05 pm

Thanks Ste,
I can see that as a good reason for the "Yah" part of Yahweh, but why does Yahweh have no vowel sound with the H?
I still don't see why the vav is transliterated to a W, since omega did not sound like a W.
How would the Gk Ιαω/Ιαο be pronounced?
For comparison, do you know how Qumran transliterated the name Joshua into Greek?
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

S_Walch
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby S_Walch » Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:43 am

SteveMiller wrote:I can see that as a good reason for the "Yah" part of Yahweh, but why does Yahweh have no vowel sound with the H?

Does it need to have a vowel after the H?

I still don't see why the vav is transliterated to a W, since omega did not sound like a W.

Did it not? I don't think we actually know how ancient Hebrew/Greek was pronounced.

Seeing as though there're more than a few Hebrew names transliterated into Greek using ω for a Waw, one may find a correlation between the two.

How would the Gk Ιαω/Ιαο be pronounced?

I would guess it would be pronounced Ee-ah-ou - but that's just how I pronounce it :)

For comparison, do you know how Qumran transliterated the name Joshua into Greek?

I don't believe there're any Greek manuscripts at Qumran that have Joshua transliterated. I know that the Greek Minor Prophets scroll doesn't have the name extant amongst its pages.
Ste Walch

Jemoh66
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby Jemoh66 » Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:48 am

SteveMiller wrote:Thanks Ste,
I can see that as a good reason for the "Yah" part of Yahweh, but why does Yahweh have no vowel sound with the H?


I believe the basic reason for this pronunciation is taken from the Samaritan pronunciation, [jɑ-vɛ'], taken from the Greek transliteration, Ἰαβέ. In my opinion it was probably pronounced with a /β/ (voiced biblabial fricative). Try to say a /v/ with both lips, instead of using your upper teeth touching the lower lip.

SteveMiller wrote:I still don't see why the vav is transliterated to a W, since omega did not sound like a W.

If the vav was a consonant, then it most surely was a /w/, not a /v/. However, it seems that by the time of the 2nd Temple period, that the Samaritans pronounced the vav at least as a /β/.

SteveMiller wrote:How would the Gk Ιαω/Ιαο be pronounced?


[yao].
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

kwrandolph
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby kwrandolph » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:58 am

SteveMiller wrote:Thanks Karl,
Why do you think “Yehowahe” is probably most accurate?


I have seen more than one indication that in Biblical Hebrew, i.e. before the Babylonian Exile, that the writing was not an alphabet, rather a syllabary. As a syllabary, every consonant was followed by a vowel. That’s why indications of which vowels was not included, because people who were native speakers could recognize which vowels to include.

Jst lk ths sntnc, a ntv spkr of Englsh wd rcgnz whch vwls t insrt.

So a word with four letters would have had four syllables, four consonants each followed by a vowel. Hence the pronunciation would probably have been similar to Yehowahe. I suspect that the transliteration of יה came out as ιαω, that this was not the transliteration of the full four letter name.

S_Walch wrote:
For comparison, do you know how Qumran transliterated the name Joshua into Greek?

I don't believe there're any Greek manuscripts at Qumran that have Joshua transliterated. I know that the Greek Minor Prophets scroll doesn't have the name extant amongst its pages.


The New Testament, one example Hebrews 4:8, mentions Joshua but transliterates that name as ιησους “Jesus”.

SteveMiller wrote:Why do scholars say that the vav sounded like a w rather than a v?


Ancient Greek also didn’t have the “v” sound, so transliterated that as “b”. When we look at names transliterated into Greek, the ו is almost always transliterated as a vowel, or omitted listing only its vowel, rather than giving a hard consonant.

My understanding is that Yeminite pronunciation as well maintained that “w” sound until fairly recently.

Karl W. Randolph.

S_Walch
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Re: Jehovah vs Yahweh

Postby S_Walch » Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:14 pm

kwrandolph wrote:I have seen more than one indication that in Biblical Hebrew, i.e. before the Babylonian Exile, that the writing was not an alphabet, rather a syllabary. As a syllabary, every consonant was followed by a vowel. That’s why indications of which vowels was not included, because people who were native speakers could recognize which vowels to include.

Jst lk ths sntnc, a ntv spkr of Englsh wd rcgnz whch vwls t insrt.

So a word with four letters would have had four syllables, four consonants each followed by a vowel. Hence the pronunciation would probably have been similar to Yehowahe.

Could the final ה not be a vowel, rather than a consonant?

Also the orthography of Qumran would need to be looked at. There're more than a few times that we see readings like לכה for לך, and כיא for כי; so how Hebrew used it's vowel-consonants has changed over the centuries, as would be expected.

The New Testament, one example Hebrews 4:8, mentions Joshua but transliterates that name as ιησους “Jesus”.

Well technically, it uses the nomen sacrum ι̅ς̅ (Papyrus 13) / ι̅η̅ς̅ (Papyrus 46), rather than doing a full transliteration.

This is also the case in most OG (Old Greek) manuscripts, where we see the Nomina Sacra used rather than full name transliteration for Joshua/Jesus when he's mentioned (look at MS2648 - link - see the Nomina Sacra quite clearly).

The transliteration of יהושׁוע is also further complicated in that we have it transliterated fully in the Lucian LXX recension as Ἰωσηε.

This is one of the things I really wish we had found at Qumran - a Hebrew-Greek transliterated list of names, for the transliteration of Hebrew-Greek names is not unanimous throughout our extant Greek manuscripts, of both the LXX and the GNT.
Ste Walch


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