Thanks for the links to the website; although the site provides little in the way of evidence to support the claims you have made about the pronunciation of the vav in antiquity, it provided a wealth of information about the biases you bring to the table. I am sorry but I do not believe there is any merit to the KJV only'ist position and I did not realize that this is where you were headed.
Originally Posted by Adelphos
You make your own assumptions in your statement above, so don't delude yourself and think you stand alone in that regard, and if you think you don't bring a bias to the table then you only prove yourself to be the most biased person of all.
Originally Posted by benelchi
Your above assertion also has nothing to do with the point at hand, which was your contention that I should not have said that it is foolish to judge the Hebrew by the Greek.
If you understood the concept, you would know that the depravity of B and Aleph makes it utterly foolish to correct the Hebrew based on the text of B and Aleph, et. al., which was my earlier statement, because it is obviously clear that the scribes of B and Aleph were ignoramuses in Greek, and therefore to try to derive the Hebrew from the Greek of scribes who were themselves ignoramuses in Greek is foolish to the extreme.
Ok, so I realize this is an old, old discussion, but I was doing some research and, happening upon it, found myself in a position to further address some of the points discussed in this thread.
Basically, regarding the waw, it was, by all our best evidence, originally a waw. One of the greatest proofs to this is the use of it as a mater letter. Mater letters were the first attempt at vowel markings in the Hebrew. They also became the foundation used for the current vowel markings. The Masorites basically used the consonants that were closest to the vowel sounds to indicate the vowels. Hebrew has three vowel categories: the a family, the e/i family and the o/u family. Since the closest letter to the a vowel sounds is the h sound, they used "he" for the a vowels, which makes sense, since even in English we often use "ah" in phonetic spellings to indicate the soft a vowel sound. E/i took on the yod, and o/u took on the waw. If it had been vav instead of waw, it would not have been a close enough consonant to the o/u vowels to be used FOR the o/u vowels. Pay attention to what your mouth is doing for a moment, if you don't mind. Say wah, ooh, you (as in u) and ohhhh. Notice the position of the lips and tongue do not change much.
This isn't the only differences noticed in the classical vs modern pronunciations. All of the BeGaDKePaT letters (letters that take dagesh lene) all have dual pronunciations based on whether they have the dagesh or not. Modern Hebrew, if I recall correctly, only has dual pronunciation on bet(h) and maybe one other letter.
And the soft b, or bet(h) without the dagesh, is where the v sound can be found in classic Hebrew. The letter bet in classic Hebrew is beth, because the final letter of bet is a tau, which without the dagesh has a th sound. We see this survive in worlds like Bethlehem and Bethel. Yet modern readings of Gen 1:1 start with bereshiyT instead of bereshiyTH (which would be proper in classical/Biblical Hebrew).
So why aren't modern Hebrew speakers aware of this? Doesn't that prove that waw was a later construct? No. Most, if not all, who read this are native modern English speakers. Do you all know that English used to have case endings? Did you know that English verbs used to be highly inflected? Even if you do, did you learn that in public school? I didn't learn those facts until after college, in private study. (I am a bit of a language buff.)
So if modern pronunciations do not affect meaning, why do so many seminary professors insist on classical pronunciation? Well, there are a few reasons. This actually came up between a professor and myself in a discourse regarding learning modern Hebrew.
1) The idea of learning ancient pronunciation for purposes of reading the Scripture in the original text is the pursuit of hearing, reading and experiencing the ancient text in the same way that our spiritual predecessors did.
2) Because Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew diverge in grammar and certain key vocabulary, it is helpful to the Biblical Hebrew student to separate him/herself from the Modern for better focus and understanding UNLESS they have also a desire to travel to Israel some day. If you don't plan on conversing with a modern speaker, Modern Hebrew is more cons than pros to the Bible student. If your purpose is strictly to learn to read the Bible in the ancient tongue, focusing on the Classical will be clearer AND faster. (In MH you have to learn words like cellphone, airport and automobile, which just add unnecessary words to your vocab lists.)
3) Many who pursue this do so because a love of the Word AND a love of language. And if you have a passion for languages, there is a certain intimacy to taking a language back that far. In Koine, I leaned to pronounce iota as ee-ota, because that is how they said it in Koine. Those little intimate details are the things that take you from the realm of learning a language to knowing a language, making love to the language, if you will. Yes, some of us are that passionate about language.
4) And this is one of my own predilections. Hebrew is a guttural language, with a lot of hard sounds. V is a hard letter. W is a soft one. Retaining the waw returns that softness to the language which was originally there that balanced the hard and guttural letters. Just my humble opinion on that one.
Anywho, those are my two cents on the discussion. It really doesn't matter if you learn it as waw or vav, at the end of the day.
Professor Benzion Netanyahu
The late Professor Benzion Netanyahu stated at the Messiah Truth Forum that “ The earliest Hebrew grammar texts that were produced in a European language were published in Austria and hence were written in German. The Hebrew letter ו (vav) was transliterated by the letter W in those grammar texts because the letter W has the same sound in German as the letter V has in English. Unfortunately, though, the transliteration scheme was overlooked when these grammar books were subsequently translated into English, and consequently the use of the letter W to represent the Hebrew letter ו (vav) was never corrected to the letter V. From this simple oversight has grown the unshakeable conviction among many christians that the Hebrew letter ו (vav) “originally” sounded like the English letter W “because books written by Jews say so” and, however many times they are told that this is not the case, they flatly refuse to accept it.”
I came across this info when I was researching GOD'S sacred Hebrew name for my teaching on You Tube titled "Why So Many Names"?