Wednesday, October 26, 2016

No J or V Sounds in Ancient Hebrew?

The claim is often made that in Hebrew there is no "J" sound and/or "V" sound, and thus that "Jehovah" in English is a false name, assuming that this is in reference to ancient Biblical Hebrew, not modern Hebrew. Most who make this assertion, however, do not usually make the same assertion concerning the use of English form "Jesus" as the name of the savior. Often these same ones make the false claim that the name of Jesus is greater than the Holy Name. It is usually only in reference to the English form of the Holy Name as "Jehovah' that most apply the idea that since there was no "J" in ancient Hebrew that this is some manner would make "Jehovah" a false name. The inconsistency of such is highly baffling, but it appears that most people are not really concerned about consistency, but rather in maintaining the traditions and doctrines of men.

Regarding the assertion, however, that there is no "J" or "V" sound in ancient Hebrew, we should wonder how anyone on earth today would know this for a certainty? This author once spoke with a Hebrew professor from Jerusalem, and he stated that no one knows for a certainty what the original Hebrew sounded like. The Masoretes reconstructed the language after it had already been dead for two hundred years, but there is no guarantee that what they presented is 100% correct. Indeed, we cannot even be sure that the sounds we attribute to the Masoretic text, both its consonants and the added vowels, actually represent what the Masoretes themselves intended, and even less what was actually the original sounds. Others also have sought to reconstruct the sounds of ancient Hebrew, but once one realizes the methods used, they all are based on assumptions, despite how much the authors make their conclusions appear to be fact. 

There are several transliteration standards, but no one can be for certain as to what English phonemes would actually match the intended phonemes of Masoretic text or any Hebrew text.  Nor is it important that we do so. The Almighty has never commanded that one needs to learn the original pronunciation of any name in Hebrew, not even His own Holy Name, or the name of His son, and then pronounce the names according that pronunciation. If this was true, then we are at a loss, because the only way anyone on earth today could be 100% certain of the original pronunciation is if he lived in the Old Testament times and knew and remembered how it was then pronounced, or else if he received a special revelation from the Most High in which the true pronunciation would be made known (since Jesus is the only such prophet of this age [Hebrews 1:2]), and he revealed all through his apostles by means of the Holy Spirit in the first century, we do not expect any more direct revelation until the age to come).

It is also often asserted that it was not until the middle of the 17th century that the letter "J" was added to the English alphabet, so the English form Jehovah could not have possibly been used by any authors earlier than that. Nevertheless, the name represented by the English form Jehovah has been existence for many millennia in the Hebrew Scriptures. Nor does the addition of the English "J" to the alphabet mean that English did not already have the sounds we now attribute to the letter "J".  More than likely, the sounds were already in use and the letter "J" was added to accommodate the already-existing sounds. Likewise, the addition of the letter "J" to English does not offer any proof that a similar sounding did not exist in ancient Hebrew.

It is further claimed that the Jewish Talmud (Sanhedrim 10:1) explains that the name of the Almighty is written ( Yah), but pronounced Adonai (The Sacred scriptures p. 4.) We do not have a copy if this writing, and we would have to see this in the language it was written to see what is being actually stated. The English from "Yah" is obviously based on someone’s transliteration/rendering, but we are not sure from what language it is being transliterated. Nevertheless, man’s law (the Jewish Talmud) was written by overstepping the Law of Jehovah. What may be found in any such Jewish law is not the basis for truth. God no where authorized anyone to change His Holy Name to, and to (mis)prounounce His Holy Name as Adonai. Indeed, the transliteration of Adonai (or Adonay) comes from the Masoretic text, not the original Hebrew; transliteration of the ancient Hebrew would be "DNY" or "DNI", all being used as consonants.

It is claimed that "the name Jehovah was invented by a Catholic Monk" from the Dominican Republic. The spelling Jehovah is an English form that represents the same Holy Name as found in Hebrew. One should certainly not claim, and it is not our claim, that the English pronunciation of "Jehovah" is the way it was originally pronounced in ancient Hebrew, nor is such variant form of the Holy Name given any importance in the scriptures. Nevertheless, "Jehovah" is a direct transliteration from the Masoretic Hebrew text. It is the very same name, it is not a different name, whether it was pronounced exactly the same in ancient Hebrew or not.

It is definitely false, however, that the form "Jehovah" was invented by a Catholic Monk. The idea that the "name" -- as it is usually designated -- was invented by a Catholic monk appears to stem from an error that was made in some of the WT publications, and this error appears to be based on some others even earlier than that. We know that it is often claimed that the form Jehovah was the invention of a Spanish monk (Raymundus Martini) in 1270; some have even claimed that he did this by inserting the consonants for the words often transliterated as "Elohim" and "Adonai" in between the four Hebrew letters representing the tetragrammaton of God's Holy Name in Hebrew, which he, as it has been asserted, "translated into 'Jehova' or 'Jehovah'". Regardless, many often claim that "Jehovah is a false name" "made up by a Catholic monk", which is simply false.

The reality is that Raymundus Martini presented a Latin form of the Holy Name as "Yohoua". As yet, we have not been able to ascertain how he obtained the vowels to make this Latin form, "Yohoua". The real point is that Martini never used the later English form "Jehovah" at all, nor is the English form "Jehovah" based on the form that Martini used. The Masoretic text was in existence before Martini was alive, and the forms "Iehouah", "Yehowah", "Jehovah", are all based on the Masoretic Text.

Related to this, it is often claimed that Jews do not believe in saying the sacred name out loud, although in reality, we do not know of any Jew that does not give some king of vocalization to the Holy Name, whether it be the English "the Lord", or "Adonai", or, "HaShem", or something else. We do not know of anyone, whether Jew or not, when reading the Bible, who totally skips over the instances where the Holy Name appears, without attributing some pronunciation to the Holy Name. For instance, when reading Isaiah 42:8, how do you read the Holy Name? In many translations, the Holy Name is given as "The LORD." If that is the way you read it, then if avoidance of the pronunciation, pronouncing the name as being "the LORD" does not accomplish such; what one is actually doing is pronouncing the Holy Name as being "the LORD,"  which actually is false. And some claim that they do not wish pronounce the Holy Name for fear that they will mispronounce it. In this case, "the LORD" is definitely a total mispronunciation of the Holy Name.The forms in which the Holy Name is most often mispronounced in English are "the Lord", "God", "Adonai", "Elohim," "HaShem".

If the assertions that the "Jehovah" is a "made up" name are valid, then similar would be true also of the English "Jesus", "Joshua", and every form of every Hebrew name that is presented with any Latin characters. Those promoting the assertions, however, most often fail to reason about such, and many of them may assert that the Holy Name is ineffable, unpronounceable, although no scripture says such.

A further reality is that the English form "Jehovah" is actually a transliteration of the most common form found in the Masoretic Text. Some claim that the Masoretes invented the form upon which "Jehovah" is based by adding vowel points they supplied to form the words transliterated as Adonai or Elohim into the tetragrammaton of the Holy Name. This again, however, appears to be an assumption that was made several hundred years after the Masoretes completed their work. We haven't found any thing in the work done by the Masoretes that would suggest that they created the form in their text by such a method as often suggested. Nevertheless, the written vowels in Hebrew were provided by the Masoretes long before any Monk provided a Latin form of the Holy Name. The Masoretes provided at least two different variations of the Holy Name, depending on the context. This indicates that the Holy Name may not have had just one original pronunciation, but at least two, depending on the sounds in the context.

No comments:

Post a Comment