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ISHO

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  • joe baxter
    I wrote: Does anyone know much about the Thomas church with current followers who still speak Aramaic, the lingua franca of the earliest christianity? The man
    Message 1 of 20 , Jul 1 7:02 AM
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      I wrote:

      Does anyone know much about the Thomas church with current followers who
      still speak Aramaic, the lingua franca of the earliest christianity? The
      man we call Jesus and Y'shu, they call him, in their old tongue, ISHO! --
      where the I is sounded like ee.

      <<Jack wrote:

      His name was y$w( br ywsf (yeshOOOa bar yoSEF.) The final ayin of his
      name would have been dropped in the Galilean Dialect and his mom would
      have called him YESHooo.

      Jacob's Knee gave an excellent list of
      most of the 'churches of the east' who see themselves as
      sharing a common syriac heritage, with helpful web sites, which I will
      research (thanks).

      Jack added:

      Syriac still exists as the primary language in two mountain villages
      northwest of Damascus. It is not the same dialect as Palestinian
      Aramaic or the Galilean dialect of Western Aramaic spoken in
      the 1st century.>>

      The group of Thomas Christians I am personally familiar with probably comes
      from Damascus, or that portion of the Mid-east. Hundreds (or more) have
      migrated to an area in northern California. In addition to the Aramaic
      dialect which they speak, they also know, for religious purposes old
      Aramaic. As I noted they maintain that his ancient and original name is
      ISHO, as above sounded. That is the way they sound his name in the old
      dialect, which they maintain is the !st century dialect.

      Jack, Jacob, fellows, is there any plausibility to this? Is "Yeshoo" Hebrew,
      as opposed to Aramaic?

      As a side note, Jesus in Arabic is "Isa". Note in Michael Grondin's
      interlinear translation of the Coptic version of Thomas, he uses "JSO". Can
      Michael, or one of you fellows pronounce what he writes there? And the
      Coptic original says IC with a bar over it. Is that just an abbreviation,
      and if so, for what?

      And back to my question. Are there any extant Aramaic texts? How is his name
      written in those texts?

      Joe Baxter
    • Tom Simms
      On Wed, 1 Jul 1998 07:02:29 -0700 (PDT), joseph@wco.com writes: [... snip ... noted ...] ... From the Days when I surfed in the Old Fashoned Way I printed out
      Message 2 of 20 , Jul 1 11:50 AM
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        On Wed, 1 Jul 1998 07:02:29 -0700 (PDT), joseph@... writes:


        [... snip ... noted ...]

        >As a side note, Jesus in Arabic is "Isa". Note in Michael Grondin's
        >interlinear translation of the Coptic version of Thomas, he uses "JSO". Can
        >Michael, or one of you fellows pronounce what he writes there? And the
        >Coptic original says IC with a bar over it. Is that just an abbreviation,
        >and if so, for what?

        From the Days when I surfed in the Old Fashoned Way I printed out a number
        of issues of CopTnet where on either arm of the Cross on the cover
        ___ ___
        were the letters IHC on one arm, and nXC on the other.

        Inside, after a brief dissertation on the Liturgy of St.Basil and
        of the Coptic Alphabet arranged in ASCII and with a brief note on
        abbreviations as with the ones above just noted there followed an
        an explanation of ___ ___
        IHC nXC as Isoos Pi'eKhrestos.

        ASCII Letter Shape
        ---------------------------------
        ___
        17. n Pi | |

        From that I realized "n" lower case was the abbreviation for "Pia"
        the Egyptian for Pa as in Pa Neter or Pa Aten. It hit me with a rush
        that Coptic really WAS linked to AE!!

        I also learned that IHS = Iesus Hominum Salvator was a later and not
        quite similar version.

        >And back to my question. Are there any extant Aramaic texts? How is his name
        >written in those texts?
        >
        >Joe Baxter
        >


        Tom Simms
      • Mike Grondin
        ... 1. Coptic writers employed a number of sacra nomina abbreviations borrowed from the Greek. IC with an overstroke, and also IHC , were abbreviations
        Message 3 of 20 , Jul 1 10:05 PM
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          Joe Baxter writes:

          > As a side note, Jesus in Arabic is "Isa". Note in Michael Grondin's
          > interlinear translation of the Coptic version of Thomas, he uses
          > "JSO". Can Michael, or one of you fellows pronounce what he writes
          > there? And the Coptic original says IC with a bar over it. Is that
          > just an abbreviation, and if so, for what?

          1. Coptic writers employed a number of "sacra nomina" abbreviations
          borrowed from the Greek. 'IC' with an overstroke, and also 'IHC', were
          abbreviations for the name 'IHCOYC' (or 'Iesous', if you prefer). As Tom
          mentioned, there were also a pair of sacra nomina abbreviations ('XC'
          and 'XPC', in my transliteration) which stand for 'XPICTOC'. ('C'='S')

          2. The abbreviation which occurs most often in GThom is 'IC'. It occurs
          102 times, the alternative 'IHC' only three times. (n.b. total = 105).
          What I have done on the English line of my translation is to try to use
          some equivalent of 'IC', rather than the full name 'Jesus' (for reasons
          which I won't go into here). 'JS' was my choice, but I would be just as
          happy with 'YS' or 'IS'. (Anybody care to express a preference?)

          3. So your 'JS0' is really a misunderstanding, and perhaps indicates
          that I ought not to have done what I did in the latest version, which
          was to number the occurrences of 'IC' (& 'IHC'). The numbering runs
          JS01-JS102, so it's really 'JS-zero-one', e.g. (I believe I will remove
          this numbering in the next version, both because of this possible
          confusion, and also because the numbering seems to be of interest only
          within my own peculiar performative theory of the nature of GThom, which
          is not only not yet proven, but seems unlikely to even me, when I'm not
          looking at the Coptic.)

          4. As Tom pointed out, the definite article is normally attached to the
          abbreviation 'XC'/'XHC'. For example, the last line of the Apocryphon of
          John, which precedes GThom in NHC2, is (in my transliteration):
          > 'IC pe-XPC 2AMHN' = "Jesus the-Annointed, Amen."
          ('pe' is the proper form of the article to use, in Sahidic Coptic)

          5. As for pronunciation, I'm no expert in that area. Tom wrote it the
          way it's apparently pronounced in _some_ Coptic tongue (probably modern
          Bohairic, since Sahidic was supplanted by Bohairic in church usage).

          6. I cannot stop myself from adding that the overstroke was also used to
          indicate that a group of letters was a number, instead of a word. Thus,
          'IC' could have been considered a reversal (reading right-to-left, as in
          Hebrew) of the normal equivalent of '210', 'CI'. Probably just a
          coincidence that 'IC'/'IHC' occurs 105 times in GThom, and that '105'
          was (and still is) considered significant for being the product of the
          first four odd prime numbers (three, if you don't count '1'). That
          would, of course, make '210' the product of the first _five_ primes
          (1x2x3x5x7), as well as being notable as a sequence of digits: 2,1,0,
          with sum = 3 (as in Trinity?). (I'm sure this is very far from your
          concerns, but somebody might be interested.)

          Mike G.

          p.s. Sorry if I've confused things by using my own translit-scheme,
          rather than the TLG or B-Greek schemes. The addition of 6 Coptic
          letters, as well as the uncial style of Codex II, suggests certain
          deviations from the standard Greek translit-schemes. These schemes are
          all shown on the "Coptic Fonts" page of the below-mentioned website.
          ____________________________________
          The Codex II Student Resource Center
          http://www.Geocities.com/Athens/9068
        • Mahlon H. Smith
          ... Hi, Joe: This thread interests me because I ve long had a fascination with the mutation of phonemes between dialects & languages. For changes in
          Message 4 of 20 , Jul 3 1:19 AM
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            joe baxter wrote:
            >

            > The group of Thomas Christians I am personally familiar with probably comes
            > from Damascus, or that portion of the Mid-east. Hundreds (or more) have
            > migrated to an area in northern California. In addition to the Aramaic
            > dialect which they speak, they also know, for religious purposes old
            > Aramaic. As I noted they maintain that his ancient and original name is
            > ISHO, as above sounded. That is the way they sound his name in the old
            > dialect, which they maintain is the !st century dialect.
            >
            > Jack, Jacob, fellows, is there any plausibility to this? Is "Yeshoo" Hebrew,
            > as opposed to Aramaic?
            >
            Hi, Joe:

            This thread interests me because I've long had a fascination with the
            mutation of phonemes between dialects & languages. For changes in
            pronunciation often affect connotations & this impacts on the history of
            ideas, which is my bag. In the case of Semitic tongues I usually defer
            to Jack K., since he is probably the best Semitist on this list. But
            since he did not answer this question, I'll offer my two cents.

            First, Yeshu'a is the *Aramaic* corruption of *Hebrew* Yehoshu'a (YHWH
            saves) which the English, including my own ancestors, mispronounced as
            Joshua. As Jack noted, Galileans had a tendency to drop initial & final
            vowel sounds. So Elazar was pronounced Lazar & Yeshu'a was shortened to
            Yeshu (ye-SHOO).

            But oral economy is only one factor in the development of this name,
            since even in the 1st c. the Christian movement was not a purely oral
            culture. Orthographic conventions influenced the mutation of Aramaic
            Yeshu to Greek IHSOUS to Latin Iesus to French/English Jesus. The final
            S was originally added as the normal Greek nominative ending of any
            Semitic masculine name that ended in a vowel sound, since in Greek only
            feminine names end in a vowel. The J was introduced as the standard long
            form I in the gothic script of the high medieval period. Each of these
            orthographic developments in turn produced changes in the way the name
            was pronounced. For the oral reading of written texts has been the
            primary means of retelling the story of Jesus since the late first
            century. And a person reading a text aloud is more influenced by
            standard conventions of phoneticization than by oral memory.

            So ye-SHOO eventually became DGEE-zuss for those of us who speak a
            derivative of the West Saxon dialect. But just try telling average
            modern English-speaking Christians that the correct pronunciation of
            "Jesus" is ye-SHOO. They take the written form of the name as
            definitive & cannot conceive of those letters having some other
            pronunciation.

            My guess is that something of the same process is at work among your
            20th c. Syrian Thomas Christians. They have an Aramaic text where the
            name of the carpenter from Nazareth is written: yod-shin-vav. And they
            have been taught to pronounce these letters EE-sho. This is perfectly
            plausible since the initial yod can indicate either the consonantal
            "yuh" or the vocalic "ee." And the final vav can represent the long
            "oh" sound or the broader "oo." So the same Aramaic letters could be
            pronounced ye-SHOO or EE-show. Only an Aramaic speaking Jew would know
            which one was the proper way to pronounce the variant form of the
            theophorous name Yeho-shua.

            If your Thomas Christians come from north of Damascus, their ancestry
            was most likely gentile & probably did not have much direct oral contact
            with Palestinian Jews. For Syrian Christian Aramaic is not a direct
            descendent of Galilean Jewish Aramaic. The link from one to the other
            was Hellenistic Jewish Christian missionaries (the Syriac NT is a
            retranslation of Christian texts into the vernacular Aramaic of northern
            Syria from the Greek). Thus, my educated guess is that "Isho" is based
            on the liturgical reading of Aramaic Christian texts rather than a
            fossilized memory of the original oral pronunciation of Jesus' name in
            Galilee.

            If the latter were the case it would be a linguistic miracle. For the
            colloquial pronunciation of no known living language has remained static
            for more than a century. (Whether the technology of the electronic era
            that has made possible the preservation & broadcasting of oral
            communication will change that remains to be seen).

            I wouldn't bother trying to explain this to them, however. My 30 years
            of experience with eastern Christian students, who are legion in the
            central New Jersey, is that most have difficulty putting their own
            tradition in historical perspective, since their concept of history is
            still more intimately tied to their liturgy than is the case with
            secularly educated modern western Christians. If they want to think that
            they have the correct original pronunciation of Jesus' name you might as
            well let them. I give many lectures to Jewish audiences & my
            pronunciation of Hebrew words is often corrected by Ashkenazim who are
            smugly confident that the dialect that they learned in European or North
            American synagogues is identical with the one that Moses spoke from
            Sinai. I've learned not to argue when this happens. I just smile & say
            thank you.

            Shalom!


            Mahlon

            --

            *********************

            Mahlon H. Smith,
            Associate Professor
            Department of Religion
            Rutgers University
            New Brunswick NJ

            http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
          • Mike Grondin
            Once again, I find myself totally in awe of the mind of Mahlon Smith. His latest note on this thread combines a grasp of large and small issues that I still
            Message 5 of 20 , Jul 3 10:18 AM
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              Once again, I find myself totally in awe of the mind of Mahlon Smith.
              His latest note on this thread combines a grasp of large and small
              issues that I still find amazing, no matter how often I see it in
              action. I would just like to underline one passage in particular:

              > ... changes in pronunciation often affect connotations & this impacts
              > on the history of ideas ...

              Or, as it might be put in more general (and much more pedestrian) terms,
              "little things mean a lot", and "the devil is in the details". It's very
              difficult to get others to see this point (I've been working on my wife
              for many years now, unsuccessfully), because little details like this
              tend to be below the threshhold of consciousness. I'm most happy to see
              them articulated by someone such as Mahlon.

              But the purpose of this post is not to give Mahlon a swell head. Rather,
              it's to ask about a little detail which I (and perhaps others) don't
              understand: what is the purpose or function of the apostrophe in names
              such as "Yeshu'a"? Why not just write it "Yeshua"? Does the apostrophe
              make a difference in pronunciation? (Bear in mind I'm Greek-illiterate.)

              Mike
              ____________________________________
              The Codex II Student Resource Center
              http://www.Geocities.com/Athens/9068
            • Jack Kilmon
              ... The Aramaic script is y$w( yod-shin-waw-ayin and since the vowel sound of a tsere is not written, it is often written Y shua. The ayin, however was a
              Message 6 of 20 , Jul 3 11:25 AM
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                Mike Grondin wrote:

                > But the purpose of this post is not to give Mahlon a swell head. Rather,
                > it's to ask about a little detail which I (and perhaps others) don't
                > understand: what is the purpose or function of the apostrophe in names
                > such as "Yeshu'a"? Why not just write it "Yeshua"? Does the apostrophe
                > make a difference in pronunciation? (Bear in mind I'm Greek-illiterate.)

                The Aramaic script is y$w( yod-shin-waw-ayin and since the vowel
                sound of a tsere is not written, it is often written Y'shua. The ayin,
                however
                was a throat sound that some indicate by an apostrophe. Galilean
                Aramaic, sorta like cockney English dropping the H's, dropped
                the throats at the beginning or end. It's just a preference in the
                English transliteration of Aramaic or Hebrew and writing it as
                Yeshua is OK too. There is a "standard" transliteration scheme
                that is used in more formal publications by scholars. In a discussion
                list, however, rather than writing:

                )bwn db$my)

                which may not be clear to some, it is more considerate to write:

                Awoon d'wushmaya

                to show how "Our Father in Heaven" was pronounced in
                Aramaic.

                Jack
                jkilmon@...
              • Mike Grondin
                Let me see if I ve got this right, Jack. Starting from my own perspective (which, as always, is oversimplified so that my errors can be easily spotted): We may
                Message 7 of 20 , Jul 3 1:12 PM
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                  Let me see if I've got this right, Jack. Starting from my own
                  perspective (which, as always, is oversimplified so that my errors can
                  be easily spotted): We may distinguish "transliteration" from
                  "transvocalization" (if that's a word). The former has to do with
                  representing the actual written characters of the subject language by
                  means of native-language equivalents, whereas the latter has to do with
                  representing the _sounds_ of the subject language with the same set of
                  native-language characters. Thus, for example ')bwn' is a
                  transliteration, but 'awoon' is a transvocalization. Right so far?

                  (This distinction is over-simplified because it's hard to get away from
                  representing at least some characters in the subject language by means
                  of English letters which have the same sound. Thus, for example, we use
                  'R' for Greek rho, even though the uncial more closely resembled 'P'.)

                  (aside: Those unfamiliar with the standard (English) transliteration
                  scheme for a given language may or may not be able to guess why a
                  particular English symbol was used for a particular native-language
                  character. For example, with respect to 'y$w(', I can guess why '$' was
                  used for 'shin', but I can't guess why '(' was chosen for 'ayin'.)

                  So, with respect to 'Yeshua', the apostrophe in your version [y'shua] is
                  more in the nature of a transliteration, because there is no character
                  in the Aramaic of this word representing the English letter 'e'. On the
                  other hand, the apostrophe in Mahlon's version [yeshu'a] is more in the
                  nature of a transvocalization, since it's intended to represent a sound
                  rather than a letter, right? But since no English-speaker would think of
                  making such a sound at that point in that word, I fail to see how the
                  apostrophe in Mahlon's rendition serves any useful purpose in our
                  context. Please enlighten me.

                  Mike
                  ____________________________________
                  The Codex II Student Resource Center
                  http://www.Geocities.com/Athens/9068
                • joe baxter
                  ... Thanks Mahlon for your learned answer. Considering the link to Hellenism, do you think that Eeshow may be a corruption of IHSOUS, and that Isa, or Issa,
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jul 3 1:54 PM
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                    I wrote:
                    > The group of Thomas Christians I am personally familiar with probably comes
                    >> from Damascus, or that portion of the Mid-east. Hundreds (or more) have
                    >> migrated to an area in northern California. In addition to the Aramaic
                    >> dialect which they speak, they also know, for religious purposes old
                    >> Aramaic. As I noted they maintain that his ancient and original name is
                    >> ISHO, as above sounded. That is the way they sound his name in the old
                    >> dialect, which they maintain is the !st century dialect.
                    >>
                    >>Mahlon Smith wrote:
                    >Hi, Joe:
                    >
                    >This thread interests me because I've long had a fascination with the
                    >mutation of phonemes between dialects & languages. For changes in
                    >pronunciation often affect connotations & this impacts on the history of
                    >ideas, which is my bag.

                    >If your Thomas Christians come from north of Damascus, their ancestry
                    >was most likely gentile & probably did not have much direct oral contact
                    >with Palestinian Jews. For Syrian Christian Aramaic is not a direct
                    >descendent of Galilean Jewish Aramaic. The link from one to the other
                    >was Hellenistic Jewish Christian missionaries (the Syriac NT is a
                    >retranslation of Christian texts into the vernacular Aramaic of northern
                    >Syria from the Greek). Thus, my educated guess is that "Isho" is based
                    >on the liturgical reading of Aramaic Christian texts rather than a
                    >fossilized memory of the original oral pronunciation of Jesus' name in
                    >Galilee.
                    >
                    >If the latter were the case it would be a linguistic miracle. For the
                    >colloquial pronunciation of no known living language has remained static
                    >for more than a century . . . .

                    Thanks Mahlon for your learned answer. Considering the link to Hellenism, do
                    you think that Eeshow may be a corruption of IHSOUS, and that Isa, or Issa,
                    also comes from the Hellenistic trunk of the tree?

                    As for linguistic miracles, and fossilized memories, this rule seems
                    supportable in the West. Compare, however, the East. While Sanskrit and Pali
                    and Maghadi are now not spoken as common tongues, still the names Gautama,
                    Siddhartha, Buddha, Krishna, Ram, Dirga, etc. are spoken as they were in
                    ancient times. This, at least, is what these cultures say, and their claims
                    are well supported by the evidence.

                    This may be partly attributed to differences in language systems. The above
                    written languages are phonetic, as is Hindi. Thus one knows from the
                    spelling of a word exactly how it is pronounced. There is no "where" ,
                    "wear", "ware", etc.

                    There may also be a component of phonetic reverence. For example, in these
                    cultures, the exact pronunciations of the God's name is associated with the
                    God himself. there are many stories about this. Thus when Hanuman observes
                    Ram behaving poorly, he quips that he worships not the physical embodiment
                    of Ram, but the God Ram who is produced by the sound Ram.

                    Of course, these cultures are more static than our own. Hinduism is still in
                    its homeland. But Buddhism has shifted outside of its homeland, but not
                    anywhere near as far as Christianity.

                    Still, there is a power in sound. For my part, and to my ear, the
                    Franco-English "Jesus" seems weaker than IHSOUS, ISHO, ISA, and Y'SHU. Am
                    I alone in thinking this way, about a language which also produces "plastic
                    Jesus"?

                    Joe Baxter
                  • Jack Kilmon
                    ... Yupper ... Probably because o is used with a waw to denote a holem waw. Inthe Michigan Cleremont scheme ( is ayin and ) is alef. ... I can t speak for
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jul 3 2:15 PM
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                      Mike Grondin wrote:

                      > Let me see if I've got this right, Jack. Starting from my own
                      > perspective (which, as always, is oversimplified so that my errors can
                      > be easily spotted): We may distinguish "transliteration" from
                      > "transvocalization" (if that's a word). The former has to do with
                      > representing the actual written characters of the subject language by
                      > means of native-language equivalents, whereas the latter has to do with
                      > representing the _sounds_ of the subject language with the same set of
                      > native-language characters. Thus, for example ')bwn' is a
                      > transliteration, but 'awoon' is a transvocalization. Right so far?

                      Yupper

                      > (This distinction is over-simplified because it's hard to get away from
                      > representing at least some characters in the subject language by means
                      > of English letters which have the same sound. Thus, for example, we use
                      > 'R' for Greek rho, even though the uncial more closely resembled 'P'.)
                      >
                      > (aside: Those unfamiliar with the standard (English) transliteration
                      > scheme for a given language may or may not be able to guess why a
                      > particular English symbol was used for a particular native-language
                      > character. For example, with respect to 'y$w(', I can guess why '$' was
                      > used for 'shin', but I can't guess why '(' was chosen for 'ayin'.)

                      Probably because o is used with a waw to denote a holem waw. Inthe Michigan
                      Cleremont scheme ( is ayin and ) is alef.

                      > So, with respect to 'Yeshua', the apostrophe in your version [y'shua] is
                      > more in the nature of a transliteration, because there is no character
                      > in the Aramaic of this word representing the English letter 'e'. On the
                      > other hand, the apostrophe in Mahlon's version [yeshu'a] is more in the
                      > nature of a transvocalization, since it's intended to represent a sound
                      > rather than a letter, right? But since no English-speaker would think of
                      > making such a sound at that point in that word, I fail to see how the
                      > apostrophe in Mahlon's rendition serves any useful purpose in our
                      > context. Please enlighten me.

                      I can't speak for Mahlon's preferences but the apostrophe could
                      be a reminder that the "a" is not an alef or that the final sound was
                      dropped.

                      Jack
                    • joe baxter
                      As Jack noted, Galileans had a tendency to drop initial & final vowel sounds. So Elazar was pronounced Lazar & Yeshu a was shortened to Yeshu (ye-SHOO). If
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jul 3 6:07 PM
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                        " As Jack noted, Galileans had a tendency to drop initial & final
                        vowel sounds. So Elazar was pronounced Lazar & Yeshu'a was shortened to
                        Yeshu (ye-SHOO). "

                        If the initial and final vowel sound was shortened in Yeshua, wouldn't we
                        have "eshu"?

                        Joe Baxter
                      • Jack Kilmon
                        ... It is not the vowel sound but the glottal (throat sound) that is dropped. Yod is a consonant as are all hebrew letters. The yod is voiced. Jack
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jul 3 6:37 PM
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                          joe baxter wrote:

                          > " As Jack noted, Galileans had a tendency to drop initial & final
                          > vowel sounds. So Elazar was pronounced Lazar & Yeshu'a was shortened to
                          > Yeshu (ye-SHOO). "
                          >
                          > If the initial and final vowel sound was shortened in Yeshua, wouldn't we
                          > have "eshu"?

                          It is not the vowel sound but the glottal (throat sound) that is dropped.
                          Yod is a consonant as are all hebrew letters. The yod is voiced.

                          Jack
                          jkilmon@...
                        • Mahlon H. Smith
                          ... Mahlon adds his 2 cents: As one who was largely self-taught in Hebrew & Aramaic & the smattering of other non-Indo-European languages I ve dabbled in over
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jul 4 12:34 AM
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                            > Mike Grondin wrote:
                            >
                            > Those unfamiliar with the standard (English) transliteration
                            > scheme for a given language may or may not be able to guess why a
                            > particular English symbol was used for a particular native-language
                            > character. For example, with respect to 'y$w(', I can guess why '$' was
                            > > used for 'shin', but I can't guess why '(' was chosen for 'ayin'.)
                            >

                            Jack Kilmon replied:

                            > Probably because o is used with a waw to denote a holem waw. Inthe Michigan
                            > Cleremont scheme ( is ayin and ) is alef.

                            Mahlon adds his 2 cents:

                            As one who was largely self-taught in Hebrew & Aramaic & the smattering
                            of other non-Indo-European languages I've dabbled in over the years I
                            cannot pretend to give a definitive explanation for the choice of
                            standard transcriptions of Semitic characters. But Barnie Anderson used
                            to explain the distinction between Hebrew Alef & Ayin to his first year
                            seminary students (who had already been introduced to the mysterious
                            cyphers of the Greek NT) as roughly analogous to the rough-breathing &
                            smoothe-breathing marks over initial Greek vowels. And these look
                            something like opening & closing single quotation marks. Since such
                            characters are generally lacking on standard keyboards, the modern
                            academic convention of using open & closed parentheses was adopted for
                            transcribing Semitic characters.

                            In transliteration, the Greek rough-breathing is usually represented by
                            an initial "h." But this system cannot be used for transcribing Ayin,
                            since Semitic phonetics have a much more nuanced variety of gutteral
                            sounds than European tongues. The latin "h" is usually reserved for the
                            Semitic "he" while the "heth" is transcribed either as as "ch" (which is
                            okay if you speak German but will inevitably lead to mispronunciation by
                            English speakers) or "h" sitting on top of a period. Alef is so faint
                            that it is usually omitted in transcription but can sometimes be
                            recognized simply by the presence of an intial "a" or an "a" following
                            another vowel.

                            This left the problem of how to represent Ayin, which falls roughly
                            between an Alef (=smoothe breathing) and a He (= "h") as a gutteral
                            stop. This led someone to institute the convention of representing Ayin
                            by an apostrophe or single quote in English transcription. The reader
                            has to be given some sign to distinguish Ayin from Alef or He to prevent
                            mispronunciation. E.g., Ba'al should be pronounced "Bah-ahl" not "Bahl"
                            (or a worse barabarization like the English "Bale") as it would be if it
                            were written as Baal. In the case of Yeshu'a the apostrophe representing
                            the final Ayin is less crucial since there is not much difference
                            between "yeSHOOuh" & "yeSHOO-ah" in vocalization & gross
                            mispronunciation is unlikely (except for putting the accent on the wrong
                            syllable).

                            Mike replied to Jack:
                            >
                            > > So, with respect to 'Yeshua', the apostrophe in your version [y'shua] is
                            > > more in the nature of a transliteration, because there is no character
                            > > in the Aramaic of this word representing the English letter 'e'.

                            Mahlon comments:

                            I would regard Jack's "y'shua" as a transcription of a vocalization
                            rather than a transliteration (in which a latin letter or letter
                            combination is used as the equivalent of each Semitic letter). A proper
                            transliteration would be Jack's "y$w(" --- just as YHWH is a
                            tranliteration of the Hebraic divine name, whereas Yahweh is a
                            transcribed approximation of the proper vocalization.

                            > > On the
                            > > other hand, the apostrophe in Mahlon's version [yeshu'a] is more in the
                            > > nature of a transvocalization, since it's intended to represent a sound
                            > > rather than a letter, right?

                            Well, not quite. The apostrophe does represent the letter Ayin which has
                            no discernible sound of its own other than as a gutteral stop separating
                            the vowel sounds in two syllables. My own usage is inconsistent, since I
                            sometimes write Yeshu'a & other times Yeshua, depending on whether I am
                            thinking of the Semitic characters used to write J's name or merely
                            encouraging an English reader to use a Semitic rather than a Anglo-Saxon
                            pronunciation. If I were transcribing the original Galilean vocalization
                            of J's name I would write Yeshu (as I usually do).

                            Mike puzzled:

                            > > But since no English-speaker would think of
                            > > making such a sound at that point in that word, I fail to see how the
                            > > apostrophe in Mahlon's rendition serves any useful purpose in our
                            > > context. Please enlighten me.
                            >

                            Again:

                            Think of the apostrophe as a reminder to take a breath between vowels so
                            that one does not simply slide from one to the other. Remember: the
                            apostrophe represents an actual consonant in Semitic script, the
                            following "a" does not. That is why Galileans regularly did not vocalize
                            Ayins. In their phonetic system the Ayin represented a pure gutteral
                            stop &, unlike Judean Aramaic, was not followed by any vowel sound.
                            Cockneys are regularly accused of dropping their "Hs." But that is not
                            linguistically correct. They simply vocalize the consonant H differently
                            than most other English speakers. In fact, they are more consistent than
                            the rest of us. For we give a wide range of vocalizations to an H: from
                            a strong "Huh" as in haphazard to a gentler "hih" as in human to a
                            virtually inaudible gutteral stop as in honor. Tell me: what is the
                            correct pronunciation of "herb." If you say "erb," as I do, that's a
                            classic giveaway of your family's roots. Cockneys are consistent. To
                            them every H is pronounced as in "erb" or "onor." Likewise, with
                            Galileans. To them an Ayin meant, don't vocalize.

                            Shalom!


                            Mahlon



                            --

                            *********************

                            Mahlon H. Smith,
                            Associate Professor
                            Department of Religion
                            Rutgers University
                            New Brunswick NJ

                            http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                          • Stevan Davies
                            ... And the response would surely be Gesundheit. Or perhaps, as around here ubiquitously, Bless you. In fact my daugher, when about 2 years old, used
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jul 5 12:41 PM
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                              Mahlon wrote:

                              >. If I were transcribing the original Galilean vocalization
                              > of J's name I would write Yeshu (as I usually do).

                              And the response would surely be "Gesundheit."

                              Or perhaps, as around here ubiquitously, "Bless you."
                              In fact my daugher, when about 2 years old, used "bleshu"
                              as a synonym for "sneezed" as in "The cat just bleshu."

                              Steve
                            • Mike Grondin
                              ... Along the way, Joe made it clear that he appreciates the difference between transliteration and phonetic transcription, so my comments are not directed so
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jul 5 3:03 PM
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                                Joe Baxter started this thread with the following (in part):

                                > Based on the extant Aramaic scriptures, how would his [Yeshu's] name
                                > be sounded? Would this not be his name as he was known?

                                In a later note, Joe wrote:

                                > ... back to my question. Are there any extant Aramaic texts? How is
                                > his name written in those texts?

                                Along the way, Joe made it clear that he appreciates the difference
                                between transliteration and phonetic transcription, so my comments are
                                not directed so much at him as to certain issues which came up in the
                                subsequent discussion.

                                First, my thanks to Mahlon and Jack for taking the time and trouble to
                                answer the rather small question of the purpose/function of the
                                apostrophe in their respective renditions of the name 'Yeshua'. That, to
                                me, is one of the great virtues of this list - that we can discuss
                                issues both large and small, both mundane and other-worldly, as long as
                                they're relevant, and as long as we maintain a scholarly approach to
                                them.

                                Second, lest someone else follow my lead in using the term
                                'transvocalization', which I evidently coined, let me say that I now
                                regard that term as untenable. Mahlon was kind enough (or subtle enough
                                - or both) to avoid correcting me, but the fact that he himself failed
                                to use the word didn't escape my attention. In a phonetic transcription,
                                it's not as if we were trying the represent the sounds of the subject
                                language by means of the (different) sounds of our own language - which
                                would be the parallel with the term 'transliteration' - rather, we are
                                trying to capture the subject-language sounds by means of groups of
                                letters of our own alphabet which we take to represent those _same
                                sounds_. Thus, in order to get into the OED, I'm gonna have to come up
                                with something else. How about 'phoneticription' or 'phonacription', as
                                a conflation of 'phonetic transcription'?

                                Third, I sense potential confusion arising from the fact that we haven't
                                been using any special symbols to indicate "phoneticriptions".
                                Elsewhere, I've seen the symbols '<' and '>' used to differentiate
                                phonetic transcriptions from transliterations. Thus, 'YHWH' versus
                                <Yahweh>. Of course, we wouldn't want to have to set off the name
                                'Yahweh' in special markings whenever we used it, but perhaps when the
                                issue is one of pronunciation, as it is here, we might consider using
                                some such device to keep things straight.

                                Mike
                                ____________________________________
                                The Codex II Student Resource Center
                                http://www.Geocities.com/Athens/9068
                              • Jack Kilmon
                                ... But you would have to retain the s in order to preserve the root script referring to letters. Hence Phonetiscription to apply letters to hearing.
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jul 5 3:41 PM
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                                  Mike Grondin wrote:

                                  > Thus, in order to get into the OED, I'm gonna have to come up
                                  > with something else. How about 'phoneticription' or 'phonacription', as
                                  > a conflation of 'phonetic transcription'?

                                  But you would have to retain the "s" in order to preserve the root
                                  "script" referring to letters. Hence Phonetiscription "to apply letters
                                  to hearing." Of course, when you phonetiscribe phonetiscription, you
                                  get fonetiscriptshun (g)

                                  Jack
                                  jkilmon@...
                                • Mahlon H. Smith
                                  ... Mike: No need to abandon the term transvocalization, just give it a more precise definition. E.g., Transvocalization: the attempt to pronounce words
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jul 6 7:47 AM
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                                    Mike Grondin wrote:
                                    >

                                    > Second, lest someone else follow my lead in using the term
                                    > 'transvocalization', which I evidently coined, let me say that I now
                                    > regard that term as untenable. Mahlon was kind enough (or subtle enough
                                    > - or both) to avoid correcting me, but the fact that he himself failed
                                    > to use the word didn't escape my attention. In a phonetic transcription,
                                    > it's not as if we were trying the represent the sounds of the subject
                                    > language by means of the (different) sounds of our own language - which
                                    > would be the parallel with the term 'transliteration' - rather, we are
                                    > trying to capture the subject-language sounds by means of groups of
                                    > letters of our own alphabet which we take to represent those _same
                                    > sounds_. Thus, in order to get into the OED, I'm gonna have to come up
                                    > with something else. How about 'phoneticription' or 'phonacription', as
                                    > a conflation of 'phonetic transcription'?
                                    >
                                    Mike:

                                    No need to abandon the term "transvocalization," just give it a more
                                    precise definition. E.g., Transvocalization: the attempt to pronounce
                                    words written in a different language or dialect according to the rules
                                    of one's own phonetic system.

                                    This phenomenon happens all the time & is a key factor in the mutation
                                    of words. A writer in one language transcribes words using the
                                    orthography standard for codifying sounds in that language. Someone
                                    whose phonetic system differs reads that text out loud, giving those
                                    words a different pronunciation. Those who hear the word(s) read accept
                                    that pronunciation as normative & it becomes part of the common
                                    vocabulary of that language. Hence the written name "Jesus" has as many
                                    pronunciations as there are human tongues. From Yay-soo to Hay-soos &
                                    Zhay-syu to Dgee-zuss.

                                    If this phenomonenon is currently covered by a single linguistic term, I
                                    am unaware of it. Since the direction of influence is not from oral
                                    speech to text it cannot be called "transliteration" or "transcription."
                                    "Vocalization" is inadequate to describe all the steps in this process.
                                    And "mispronunciation" is linguistically unacceptable since it
                                    presupposes that one phonetic system is normative. "Transvocalization"
                                    very nicely conveys the sense of mutation through the reading of a text.
                                    The term "transvocalization" is particularly apt for my conjectured
                                    explanation of the mutation of Galilean Aramaic ye-SHOO to northern
                                    Syrian Aramaic EE-show through the mediation of the written letters
                                    yod-shin-vav.

                                    [BTW, those who don't speak Hebrew, may have noted the difference in my
                                    spelling of the last letter in that name (vav) & Jack's (waw). Jack's
                                    spelling is the classic English transcription that is used in most
                                    grammars of biblical Hebrew, while mine is the transcription preferred
                                    by most modern American Jews, who generally have Ashkenazic (i.e.,
                                    German) roots. A German-spear who read "waw" would inevitably
                                    transvocalize it as "vav." Thus, whether they admit it or not, western
                                    Jews speak Hebrew with a German accent].

                                    See, there, I didn't avoid your neologism. In fact, I gave it a learned
                                    defense. So when OED credits you with inventing this word, you can tell
                                    them to footnote this CrossTalk post in their definitions. Thus, one
                                    little word can bring guarantee two humans immortality ;-) Now there's a
                                    resurrection for you!

                                    Shalom!


                                    Mahlon



                                    --

                                    *********************

                                    Mahlon H. Smith,
                                    Associate Professor
                                    Department of Religion
                                    Rutgers University
                                    New Brunswick NJ

                                    http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                                  • joe baxter
                                    ... Mahlon, if I may ask: 1. If I understand your point Galileans and North of Damascus early Christians shared the Aramaic script y$w ( yod-shin-vav ), but
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jul 8 9:23 PM
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                                      Mahlon said:
                                      >The term "transvocalization" is particularly apt for my conjectured
                                      >explanation of the mutation of Galilean Aramaic ye-SHOO to northern
                                      >Syrian Aramaic EE-show through the mediation of the written letters
                                      >yod-shin-vav.

                                      Mahlon, if I may ask:
                                      1. If I understand your point Galileans and North of Damascus early
                                      Christians shared the Aramaic script y$w ( yod-shin-vav ), but both
                                      probably pronounced it differently, just as I say Harvard, and New
                                      Englanders say Hahvad. (This is perfectly plausible since the initial yod
                                      can indicate either the consonantal "yuh" or the vocalic "ee." And the
                                      final vav can represent the long "oh" sound or the broader "oo." So the same
                                      Aramaic letters could be pronounced ye-SHOO or EE-show.)

                                      2. If I understand your point further, despite the fact colloquial
                                      pronunciations do not remain static, you are not necessarily saying that
                                      early Thomas Christians from the mountains North of Damascus, say, did not
                                      pronounce ySw as EE-show. As I may have told you, these people describe this
                                      as the ancient way of saying ySw, although the modern way is not that
                                      different to a western ear.

                                      3. But how do we know how something was pronounced in Galilean Aramaic (or
                                      Jerusalem Aramaic for that matter) 2000 years ago? As yourself has said,
                                      the colloquial pronunciation of no known living language has remained static
                                      for more than a century. And what records tell us about, or allow us to
                                      infer regarding, specific pronunciation back then?

                                      Joe Baxter
                                    • joe baxter
                                      Last week I posted a reasonable question. ... Jerusalem Aramaic for that matter) 2000 years ago? The full text is provided below. Any input would be
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Jul 12 8:25 AM
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                                        Last week I posted a reasonable question.

                                        > But how do we know how something was pronounced in Galilean Aramaic (or
                                        Jerusalem Aramaic for that matter) 2000 years ago?

                                        The full text is provided below.

                                        Any input would be appreciated.

                                        Joe Baxter


                                        Mahlon said:
                                        >The term "transvocalization" is particularly apt for my conjectured
                                        >explanation of the mutation of Galilean Aramaic ye-SHOO to northern
                                        >Syrian Aramaic EE-show through the mediation of the written letters
                                        >yod-shin-vav.

                                        Mahlon, if I may ask:
                                        1. If I understand your point Galileans and North of Damascus early
                                        Christians shared the Aramaic script y$w ( yod-shin-vav ), but both
                                        probably pronounced it differently, just as I say Harvard, and New
                                        Englanders say Hahvad. (This is perfectly plausible since the initial yod
                                        can indicate either the consonantal "yuh" or the vocalic "ee." And the
                                        final vav can represent the long "oh" sound or the broader "oo." So the same
                                        Aramaic letters could be pronounced ye-SHOO or EE-show.)

                                        2. If I understand your point further, despite the fact colloquial
                                        pronunciations do not remain static, you are not necessarily saying that
                                        early Thomas Christians from the mountains North of Damascus, say, did not
                                        pronounce ySw as EE-show. As I may have told you, these people describe this
                                        as the ancient way of saying ySw, although the modern way is not that
                                        different to a western ear.

                                        3. But how do we know how something was pronounced in Galilean Aramaic (or
                                        Jerusalem Aramaic for that matter) 2000 years ago? As yourself has said,
                                        the colloquial pronunciation of no known living language has remained static
                                        for more than a century. And what records tell us about, or allow us to
                                        infer regarding, specific pronunciation back then?

                                        Joe Baxter
                                      • Mahlon H. Smith
                                        ... Sorry, Joe, I ve been swamped this week & haven t been able to keep up with, much less answer, all e-mail that has been mushrooming in my in-box. Not being
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Jul 12 8:44 PM
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                                          joe baxter wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Last week I posted a reasonable question.
                                          >
                                          > > But how do we know how something was pronounced in Galilean Aramaic (or
                                          > Jerusalem Aramaic for that matter) 2000 years ago?
                                          >
                                          > The full text is provided below.
                                          >
                                          > Any input would be appreciated.


                                          Sorry, Joe, I've been swamped this week & haven't been able to keep up
                                          with, much less answer, all e-mail that has been mushrooming in my
                                          in-box. Not being a professional Semiticist I didn't have a pat answer
                                          to give you anyway. I was sort of hoping Jack Kilmon would pick up on
                                          this one. Your question is an excellernt one that really should be
                                          addressed to a linguistic specialist. How can we be sure how *any*
                                          language was pronounced more than 100 years ago? I'm not certain that we
                                          can be absolutely certain. I recall when I took courses in Chaucer &
                                          Beowulf that I was told how to pronounce middle & old English. I guess I
                                          just accepted my teachers' word for it. But they hardly had first-hand
                                          acquaintance with these dialects, so how they knew is a good question.

                                          In western poetry, which uses rhyme & alliteration, there are clear
                                          clues as to how words are to be pronounced. Orthography is also
                                          sometimes a help, since the spelling of any word originated as an
                                          attempt to provide a phonetic code for how words were pronounced orally
                                          (even if they are no longer pronounced that way). E.g., English
                                          S-I-G-H-T betrays its roots in old Saxon S-I-C-H-T. Presumably at one
                                          time both words were sounded practically the same even though we modern
                                          English speakers pronounce the first SYTE while our Germanic cousins
                                          pronounce the 2nd ZIKhT. Both languages have been evolving. But since
                                          the Germanic pronunciation is closer to the orthography, it is probably
                                          closer to the original vocalization.

                                          The original Aramaic pronunciation of YShW can likewise be approximated
                                          in relation to its Hebrew roots YHWShW' [Yehoshua] & its transcription
                                          in Greek as IHSOUS. The opening letter combination in Greek indicates
                                          the pronunciation of the name transcribed was something like EE-AY or
                                          EE-EH (which naturally become "Yay" or "Yeh" when said fast). If one
                                          ignores the final S, the Greek OU vowel combination also indicates that
                                          the original ending was closer to "Ooo" than "Oh." If the latter were
                                          the case the Greek spelling would probably have used an omega rather
                                          than an omicron + upsilon.

                                          This may not be much help, but it is the best I can come up with without
                                          doing further research.

                                          Shalom!



                                          Mahlon



                                          --

                                          *********************

                                          Mahlon H. Smith,
                                          Associate Professor
                                          Department of Religion
                                          Rutgers University
                                          New Brunswick NJ

                                          http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                                        • Jack Kilmon
                                          Joe: There are a number of clues in linguistic archaeology that allows us to excavate approximations of original pronounciation. One of these clues is the
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Jul 13 12:12 AM
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                                            Joe:

                                            There are a number of clues in linguistic "archaeology" that allows us
                                            to excavate approximations of original pronounciation. One of these
                                            clues is the transliterations of Aramaic words in Greek or Latin and
                                            the use of Aramaic loan words in Hebrew. For example, the Latinized
                                            "Lazarus" for Jesus' buddy "Alazar" (dropping the Latin masculine
                                            ending, tells us that the glottal was dropped. The pronounciation of
                                            Aramaic in the few villages in the mountains of Syria where it is still
                                            spoken also gives us clues. The relationship with Hebrew and Arabic
                                            is helpful. In many ways, it is like comparitive zoology, since languages
                                            evolve and develop almost in a Darwinian fashion.
                                            Although Aramaic was supplanted...even repressed, by Arabic in the
                                            7th century, it was still preserved and kept alive in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq,
                                            Iran and Turky, representative of its many dialects. I guess we can
                                            say that the "fossil record" is extensive. The ancient Estrangelo script
                                            also gives us aspirant clues for the different between the W-beyt and
                                            the B-beyt. Aramaic poetry and prose helps us with word plays and
                                            alliterations. I haven't touched a tenth of the methodologies, but you
                                            get thje idea.

                                            Jack

                                            Jack Kilmon
                                            jkilmon@historian .net
                                            http://www.historian.net

                                            joe baxter wrote:

                                            > Last week I posted a reasonable question.
                                            >
                                            > > But how do we know how something was pronounced in Galilean Aramaic (or
                                            > Jerusalem Aramaic for that matter) 2000 years ago?
                                            >
                                            > The full text is provided below.
                                            >
                                            > Any input would be appreciated.
                                            >
                                            > Joe Baxter
                                            >
                                            > Mahlon said:
                                            > >The term "transvocalization" is particularly apt for my conjectured
                                            > >explanation of the mutation of Galilean Aramaic ye-SHOO to northern
                                            > >Syrian Aramaic EE-show through the mediation of the written letters
                                            > >yod-shin-vav.
                                            >
                                            > Mahlon, if I may ask:
                                            > 1. If I understand your point Galileans and North of Damascus early
                                            > Christians shared the Aramaic script y$w ( yod-shin-vav ), but both
                                            > probably pronounced it differently, just as I say Harvard, and New
                                            > Englanders say Hahvad. (This is perfectly plausible since the initial yod
                                            > can indicate either the consonantal "yuh" or the vocalic "ee." And the
                                            > final vav can represent the long "oh" sound or the broader "oo." So the same
                                            > Aramaic letters could be pronounced ye-SHOO or EE-show.)
                                            >
                                            > 2. If I understand your point further, despite the fact colloquial
                                            > pronunciations do not remain static, you are not necessarily saying that
                                            > early Thomas Christians from the mountains North of Damascus, say, did not
                                            > pronounce ySw as EE-show. As I may have told you, these people describe this
                                            > as the ancient way of saying ySw, although the modern way is not that
                                            > different to a western ear.
                                            >
                                            > 3. But how do we know how something was pronounced in Galilean Aramaic (or
                                            > Jerusalem Aramaic for that matter) 2000 years ago? As yourself has said,
                                            > the colloquial pronunciation of no known living language has remained static
                                            > for more than a century. And what records tell us about, or allow us to
                                            > infer regarding, specific pronunciation back then?
                                            >
                                            > Joe Baxter
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