Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Transcriptions of Hebrew Proper Nouns in a Fifteenth-Century Spanish Bible (MS. Escorial I.j.3)

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2004), 81, (4), 427–452.

Abstract

This article is concerned with the transcription into Latin letters of proper nouns (personal names and toponyms) in MS. Escorial I.j.3, a 15th-century Castilian translation of the Bible. The examples considered are taken from the book of Genesis, and compared when necessary to the transcriptions in the 15th-century Alba Bible, in Castilian translations of the Bible in 14th- and 15th-century manuscripts, and in Castilian court poems from the 15th century. In some cases the transcriptions are compared with those in the Vulgate and the Septuagint.

The linguist working in this area faces considerable methodological difficulties, since the phonological systems of Hebrew and Castilian are quite different, so that, for example, some Latin letters are used to transcribe more than one Hebrew letter. Nevertheless, the diverse phonetic phenomena that come to light make it possible to complete certain details in our picture of the diachronic development of the pronunciation of Hebrew and Castilian in the Middle Ages up to the 15th century.

Se trata en este artículo de las formas transcritas en el alfabeto latino de los nombres propios de persona y de lugar en manuscrito Escorial I.j.3, una traducción castellana de la Biblia, hecha en el siglo XV. Se consideran aquí los nombres del libro de Génesis, y se comparan, cuando resulta conveniente, con las transcripciones de los mismos nombres en la Biblia publicada por el Duque de Alba (siglo XV), en las traducciones bíblicas castellanas de los manuscritos del siglo XV, y en la poesía de la corte castellana del siglo XV. A veces se comparan con las de la Vulgata y de la Septuaginta. El lingüista que trabaja en este campo se enfrenta con varias dificultades metodológicas. Los sistemas fonológicos del hebreo y del castellano se diferencian bastante, de modo que, por ejemplo, algunas de las letras latinas se emplean para transcribir más de una letra hebraica. Sin embargo, los distintos fenómenos fonéticos que se iluminan en este estudio nos ayudan a completar unos detalles de la visión que tenemos del desarrollo diacrónico de la pronunciación tanto del hebreo como del castellano medieval hasta el siglo XV.

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Dodi, Amos