Thoughts On The Lemnos Stele

proto-language proto-language at
Thu Mar 15 14:56:43 UTC 2001

Dear Peter and Ernest and IEists:

Original Message -----
From: "petegray" <petegray at>
Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2001 3:42 AM

I fear that I have abraded some religious sensibilities and I apologize for any
disrespect perceived but not intended.

I have combined my answers to Peter and Ernest into one post for convenience
(uninterested readers will only have to press DELETE once).



>But Ya is.


>> Yah is indeed found as an alternative for Yahweh, but my point still stands
>> - it is never found without the written <h>.  Indeed, in some places there
>> is a sign which indicates it must be pronounced.



> Brown, Driver and Briggs tell me that Yah is contracted from YHWH and is the
> proper spelling.  See page 219.

> In the few passages I have examined it is always spelled Yah.

> Did you forget the "aitch?"


There are a number of personal names in the OT which seem by some scholars to
be analyzed as containing the divine name Ya, written simply [y]; e.g. Jehu
(y-hw?), 'Ya is he'; 'Ya is able'; Jeremai (yrm-y), 'Ya is high'); Jeribai
(yryb-y), 'Ya contends'; Jeshishai (yshysh-y), 'Ya is high'; etal.

These are the standard interpretations in the field (Young's Analytical
Concordance) though, of course, it might be possible to tease another analysis
from them.



>I find your speculations of the origin of YHWH curious.  Remember, this form
>is part of, and should be connected with, the full conjugation of an important
>Semitic verb.  That verb means "to be," "to exist," "to form," "to mold," "to
>constitute," and so on.

>To suggest that it was expanded from a pagan Akkadian Ea/Ia neglects that
>important root verb.  I do not know anything about the Akkadian language, but
>I surmise that such an important verb should appear in that Semitic language

>It seems to me that to neglect the significance of Creativity in that verb,
>and speculatively cast the origin of the name upon some pagan superstitious
>source, is a real failure in linguistic studies.

>Such speculation also rejects the devout religious attitudes of people who
>truly believed in God, and not merely pagan gods.

To the worshipper of any single god, all other worship is pagan.

"Expanded" is not really what I had in mind. I had thought more along the lines
of a people borrowing a creator god, E/Ia from the Mesopotamian culture; and
perhaps writing it [yh] to give it better recognizability or to indicate a long
vowel (/ja:/). At some point realizing that the verb form [yhwh], having to do
with "creation", contained the first two consonants of the form in which [y]
had come to be written ([yh]), perceived that [yhwh] could better explicate the
nature of Ya as 'creator' (since [y] or [yh] could provide no Hebrew

Alternatively, [yhwh] might be an explicationally expanded from of [y-hw(3)],
'he is Ya'.

I have also explained that E/Ia should be analyzed as Sumerian E(11)-a, 'that
which is engendered', or 'the engenderer', so the creative aspect of the god is
not being neglected.



> I am sure that any name so profound as that of God would not be a vehicle for
> linguistic play.  Remember, after about 300 BC the Jews would not even
> pronounce it, and have held to that superstition to this day.  So to play
> around with the name of God was strictly a no-no.


The Hebrews were in the Egyptian cultural orbit.

If I need to give examples of the ubiquitous habit of Egyptian word-play with
divine concepts, by which they meant no disrespect but only hoped to illuminate
inherent connections among important concepts, then the discussion is simply


PATRICK C. RYAN | PROTO-LANGUAGE at (501) 227-9947 * 9115 W. 34th
St. Little Rock, AR 72204-4441 USA WEBPAGES: PROTO-LANGUAGE: and PROTO-RELIGION: "Veit ec
at ec hecc, vindgá meiði a netr allar nío, geiri vndaþr . . . a þeim
meiþi, er mangi veit, hvers hann af rótom renn." (Hávamál 138)

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